Omgpop Launches First Facebook Title, Cupcake Corner

Cupcake CornerWhile teen-oriented social site Omgpop has long had casual games tied to the Facebook through Facebook Connect, it has just released its first true social game on Facebook itself, Cupcake Corner.

Cupcake Corner is best described as a cross between games such as Zynga’s Café World and Booyah’s Nightclub City. It has a hodgepodge of older game mechanics, coupled with a handful of smaller, newer features. The game is technically sound, but does have some less than perfect features.

Similar to Baking Life, players are tasked with the cooking up fatty, guilt-filled creations of deliciousness. From cupcakes to donuts to ice cream, users cook up treats to turn their little bakery into a successful business.

To make these treats, players purchase an oven and pick something to cook. Higher level items earn more money and take longer to create. Once made, the food is placed on empty countertops for non-player characters to purchase. Each item has a set number of servings and different items require extra counter space.

CleaningSelling sweets is the primary source of income. But higher level foods do more than just earn coins; the more expensive treats also affect how much extra coin the NPCs leave behind on a table after they’ve eaten.

Each bakery also has a “Luxe Rating.” This is how luxurious your virtual space is, and the more decorum that is placed, the higher this rating will be. The higher the rating, the greater the tips. Unfortunately, here’s no way of knowing how much a particular item will increase the Luxe rating until it has been placed and the money spent. This moderately annoying for players that like to plan a purchase strategically.

Another statistic, “Satisfaction Rating”, works like most other restaurant games — the higher the rating, the more patrons come through the door. It’s not difficult to keep them happy. Thus far, they haven’t gotten upset during long waits and if there’s no seating, they’ll just pack up the treat and take it home. It seems the only way to lower this rating is by not having any food ready.

But seating is necessary in order to earn the  tips.  Patrons leave tips on the tables, and they must be manually collected, thus the more tables and seating a player has, the greater the potential income.

FriendsTips from friends’ bakeries can also be collected upon visiting them. Other social features include basic leaderboards and gifting. Friends are also necessary in order to expand the physical size of one’s bakery, and they can be hired as employees to man the register or treat counters.

Unfortunately, they are hired Hotel City-style, through a wall posting. In Cupcake Corner, this doesn’t appear to work well. After we added a friend and they accepted the hiring posting, our friend did not appear in the game. There were temporary NPC workers that did the work anyway, but they cost coin, while friends are free. Whether or not the friend-worker feature is broken or we’re did something  incorrectly, we don’t know. Either way, whether the feature is broken or just poorly explained, this is a glaring issue.

Flavor StationThe last interesting element is the ability to decorate treats. This activity is not nearly as in-depth as Baking Life, and only consists of changing the topping color (e.g. frosting on a cupcake) and you can only change it once. But you can spend virtual currency to use a color picker and pick a custom color.

Cupcake Corner works reliably for the most part, but it is disheartening to see another game that is merely a collection of previously designed mechanics. Many players are looking for more depth and innovation and unless a new game is significantly different and fresh, it will likely not pull users away from the original concept.

Still, this is just Omgpop’s first attempt on Facebook; Wilson Kriegel, the company’s chief revenue officer, recently admitted to us that the company would have to go through a learning curve to get everything right, with the first game serving as practice. As such, it’s worth keeping an eye on what Omgpop does next.