Paradise Paintball Gets a Big Upgrade and an Award

Over a year ago, we saw one of the first 3D games on Facebook, Paradise Paintball. At the time, the game was reminiscent of old PC first-person shooters (FPS) such as Delta Force. However, it was seen more as a proof of concept to the Unity Engine’s 3D capabilities on Facebook, and felt unfinished. Well, the game’s been about for some time now, and Cmune’s paintball FPS looks very different — and better — today. And it’s also available on a wider range of social gaming platforms.

Again, the game is an FPS that pits players into synchronous battles with each other in either team matches or free-for-alls. The idea is to rack up as many “splats” (kills) as you can before time expires. Of course, that’s a game 12 months past, and a little bit has changed since then.

Aside from visuals, such as foliage in the game’s tropical settings, looking significantly better, players have a handful of weapons at their disposal. Like the original version, there is still a pistol, machine gun, grenade launcher, and sniper rifle that all players enter a game with. Some weapons still feel stronger than others, but with five maps, as opposed to the original two, none of the weapons feel that much stronger.

The level design, overall, is not too bad. Most of the levels, save Lost Paradise, are small enough and have enough cover that a sniper can’t often sit unopposed, and a grenadier needs to be a surgeon with their shots lest they end up blowing themselves up. More than this, however, is the introduction of random items and power-ups throughout each world.

There are items floating about the various levels that grant users one of two types of power-ups: Player Power-ups or Weapon Power-ups. The former includes increasing movement speed and jumping height, which, by the way, is very cool, a “secret power up,” the ability to walk on water, and, well, ammunition. Each of these add a nice enhancement to play, and nothing is so powerful that an experienced player cannot handle it.

The latter, the weapon power-ups, are another story. These can be frustrating, and include “Old Man,” which slows you down (not a big deal); “Drunken Master,” which blurs the screen, making it more or less impossible to see; and the coup de grace, “Flipper,” which is quite possible the most obnoxious ability ever conceived. It turns the entire player upside down and puts everything backwards, making it not only dizzying and disorienting, but pretty much guarantees that you’re about to die.

That said, if you’re worried about dying, get used to it. It’s going to happen a lot. Most of the games people play – at least among Facebook’s 48,000, or so, monthly active users – are free-for-all games. These are usually unlimited time, and just meant to be fun, but some of the levels are so small that you’d be lucky to live 30 seconds.

Another change is that players can now improve their avatars Battlefield-Heroes style. Every day the user logs in, they earn 500 points which can be used to buy a handful of items to increase their chances of survival in battle… or just look cooler. Each item can be bought for either one, seven, or 30 days and include everything from a shotgun, to special hair and clothing, to body armor. Every weapon and piece of actual armor costs Credits, a virtual currency, that must be bought via PayPal or Zong, or earned through offers (however, the latter is currently only on Facebook, and an almost unnoticable link next to the giant PayPal buttones). Basically, if you want to spend money, you get rewarded, but not so much if you are loyal and play a lot. Furthermore, a recent study by Offerpal Media and comScore, just last week, showed that only 22.8% of players are willing and able to buy virtual currency or goods, yet 52.3% are likely to complete marketing actions for it. Basically, that means that Paradise Paintball’s monetization methods are limited.

Nevertheless, the game was still fun. Granted, the majority of social network users prefer asynchronous game play – as most do not consider themselves gamers – but Paradise Paintball was good enough to win the award of “Best New MySpace App” during the Game Developer’s Conference, 2010. Furthermore, with the game on Facebook, MySpace, Apple Dashboard, and Cmune’s own game portal, it’s hardly doing bad. Overall, it just needs a few tweaks here and there in the monetization department, but beyond that, if you like free shooters, this isn’t a bad one to try.

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