TeamLava Continues Its Story Titles with Treasure Story

Over the past year, social mobile developer TeamLava has taken Facebook game concepts and translated them over to the iPhone and iPad to create its “Story” series of social games. A fifth title has launched this week by the name of Treasure Story. Essentially a mobile version of the Facebook games Treasure Madness and Treasure Isle, the new game falls hot on the heels of the barely week and a half old Bakery Story.

The premise is basic enough: players are on an island. There is treasure on the island. Treasure is good. Divided up into grid spaces, players tap each square to dig up whatever is hidden beneath. Each tap consumes a set amount of slowly recharging energy, depending on what is on the square (sand, grass, trees, etc.), and coin, food, or treasure will be rewarded, along with experience. As one might expect, each of the treasures are part of a set, that can be redeemed, once complete, for a large sum of in-game currency and experience.

As players complete islands (also granting experience), new ones will unlock, and it’s rinse and repeat. So what does one do from here?

This is where some Treasure Isle “inspiration” comes into play, as players can use their hard-earned income to decorate their very own virtual island. From palm trees to animals, players can use both in-game and virtual currency to create the island they see fit. Sadly, in this initial version of Treasure Story, the number of decorative items is extraordinarily low and most cost virtual currency. That said, décor is a huge part of TeamLava’s story games, so more will almost certainly be more available in upcoming iterations.

Also on the island, and also like in Treasure Isle, players can cook their own food on a pair of fire pits. This food will act like the food dug up on islands, and can be used to recharge small portions of energy. With that in mind, any cooking food works with the typical farming rules, in that if the player does not return in time to claim it, it will spoil. While players start with two fire pits, more will unlock as they level up.

Socially, Treasure Story implements the same mechanics it has had in all four of its past Story apps. This means that players can visit other random players’ virtual islands and “tend” to their decorations, granting bonus experience and coins. Of course, this works both ways, as users that tend to random community members will earn “Star Rating.” The higher this rating, the higher the user will appear in the social menu that displays random users.

Also like previous titles, players can use a Storm8 ID or Facebook Connect to invite friends as neighbors which allows for gifting and more tending opportunities for their island. And photos of the game can be taken at any time and posted to Facebook.

So what’s different about Treasure Story? Not much. Other than the social aspects and extra fire pits upon leveling, the only other change is simplification. Unlike either Treasure Isle or Treasure Madness, there are no mini-games to play, no gems to collect, no bugs to spray, nor any rocks to blow up. Whether or not this is a bad thing is subject to interpretation. None of the Story titles have been very complicated, and the tapping of island tiles to find treasure is, oddly, addictive; and since it’s mobile, it’s easier sit down and play for a few minutes.

Like all games, this will likely get old, but the big issue here has nothing to do with what features it doesn’t reuse, but the concept as a whole. TeamLava has had significant successes by deriving features from popular Facebook titles. In many cases, the differences have been small, and have only become smaller with its past two applications.

But love it or hate it, TeamLava is succeeding with this strategy, and there’s little doubt that Treasure Story will not follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. With its use of the same social mechanics that helped make TeamLava’s past titles popular, and history on its side, expect to see this new title rise in the top app lists in the very near future.