Preview: Pocket God Is Coming to Facebook

Following its launch on the iPad, the popular pygmy-sacrificing iPhone title Pocket God is making its way to Facebook, courtesy of Quebec-based Frima Studio and Bolt Creative. While the game may not launch for a week or two more, we recently got an early look. The game looks great in its new Facebook home, hosting the same collection of quirky visuals, gratifying sacrifices, and pygmy nonsense iPhone players have come to love, along with a handful of Facebook-only mechanics.

For those unfamiliar with the iPhone original, players are a cruel and vindictive deity whose sole aim is to sacrifice sets of poor little pygmies as creatively as possible. Pygmies can be launched into the ocean, thrown about, slammed inside refrigerators, tossed into volcanoes, struck by lightning, and so on. On Facebook, there are new methods of torture, such as tar pits, a bomb bushes, and the sought-after female pygmy.

The really notable addition is progression, which is more or less absent in the mobile version.  On each island there is an idol that must be activated. When it’s turned on, each sacrifice will generate both the in-game currency, “Sacrifice Points”, and experience. That said, each sacrifice will also consume a recharging energy well called “Devotion.”

Players can only progress while the idol is activated and Devotion is available, bringing Pocket God more into the realm of five-minute social games. This doesn’t mean that players still can’t feed their pygmies to Venus fly traps or turn their whole world upside down at a whim. They can play for as long as they like, they just can’t unlock and purchase new powers until they have leveled up.

Pocket God’s visuals remain quirky, entertaining, and well done on Facebook, and players even have the option of being nice to the pygmies. That may not be as exciting as sacrificing them, but it is amusing to give the worshipers a refrigerator and watch them get drunk off of pina coladas, or grow them a coconut tree, only to open the coconuts with their heads (as a side note, items like these take a set amount of time to appear or grow and many will wither after a period of time).

Socially, Pocket God is a bit underwhelming, when compared to the rest of what the app has to offer. It does have a nifty little feature that allows users to spawn their friends, direct from the game leaderboard, as a pygmy version of themselves. It’s pretty easy to figure out what comes next: they get sacrificed, of course. This works the same as sacrificing any other pygmy, but there’s a nice little message sent to the victim, letting them know they’re now in volcano stew.

Though the developers gave no specifics, they did state that both more powers and social features are planned in 2011, as soon as January. Since many social games revolve around virtual items, such as avatar clothing, it has also been noted that these features too are being considered.

If Pocket God’s Facebook interpretation is lacking in any way, it’s the lack of connection to the original Pocket God. With the leveling system, new powers, and social mechanics, that is understandable but it is unfortunate, as each version has something about it that is much greater than its counterpart. For the Facebook version, that means a lack of the visceral gratification that comes with using the touch and accelerometer controls.

Overall, the level of quality for Pocket God on Facebook is easily up there with the top titles on the social network, and in its own sadistic way, extraordinarily addictive. As it stands, the social elements are fairly simple, but are slated to grow and evolve significantly with future versions. Nevertheless, Pocket God is still fun to play, and we will look forward to its full roll-out in the next couple of weeks.

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