Friday, November 25, 2011

Even My Anxieties Have Anxieties: Snoopy's Street Fair (iOS) Review

At it's core, Snoopy's Street Fair is a lot like FarmVille. If that immediately turns you off to the idea of ever playing this game, I understand. There's a lot to hate about FarmVille, and it effect on the casual games genre as a whole. While Snoopy's Street Fair doesn't deviate a whole lot from the tired and true formula, it is created with such love and respect to the Peanuts world created by Charles Schulz, that there's no way you can hate it.

Available as a free download on the App Store, Snoopy's Street Fair is big on microtransactions. Although you COULD theoretically unlock everything in the game through sheer persistence and patience, spending $5 here or $10 there is the only really way to get what you want in a timely fashion. There are two types of currency in the game; gold coins and Snoopy Bucks. At least that's what I'm going to call them. Gold coins are accrued pretty quickly, as nearly every item you place, or booth you open, earns gold coins on a regular basis. Snoopy dollars are far harder to come by, as you are given merely two Snoopy Bucks for every level you earn. And the levels don't come quick.

At the start of the game, you are given a moderate amount of gold, and Lucy's Lemonade Stand. After placing these few items, kids will wander into your block, and throw down their hard-earned (?) gold coins to buy lemonade, or take a photo in the photo booth, or buy cotton candy, etc. Every action or booth is on a cooldown, allowing you to collect the gold coins earned only once every little while. Some booths can be collected from every 2 minutes, while some can only be emptied out every 8 hours.

While collecting your daily take, you also earn XP, which builds your level. As you progress in level, new items become available to place in your fair. It can be a little maddening how items are priced, though. Why is a blue lawn chair 2 Snoopy Bucks, but a red lawn chair is only 50 gold coins? For the most part, you're better off saving up your Snoopy Bucks to unlock additional Peanuts characters, and their booths. Linus can be bought for 30 Snoopy Bucks, and he's got...wait for it...a pumpkin patch! Goddamn, this game is adorable!

You know, clown teeth.
Also included in the game are several different mini-games, which can only be played once you've unlocked the corresponding outfit for Snoopy. Only one costume is given to you for free, though. The others, of course, require Snoopy Bucks. The free one though, can be pretty entertaining. Using the first outfit, which I don't think actually changes Snoopy's appearance, he can jump in leaf piles that appear in your block. Once he scatters the piles, you can collect the XP that jumps out of them. Sometimes, you get lucky and a leaf pile contains a boost of gold coins, or a baseball card. Baseball cards, by the way, are another collectible. Yup, there's a lot to do in this game.

Snoopy's Street Fair is a bright, good-looking game. Developer Beeline put a lot of time into these character designs, and even went so far as to get actual Peanuts voice-overs for the game. Tapping on the different characters as they wander your fair is great fun, as they have some silly one-liners. Snoopy giggles, or blows a kiss, Sally tells you to "Go away!", and Charlie Brown spits out some seriously amusing ponderings. You're never quite prepared to hear a 2D character say out loud "There must be millions of people all over the world who never get a love letter...I could be their leader!" There's some spit-take inducing humor here, and that's not even including the unlockable classic Peanuts strips.

Send me gold. I need it!
There's a lot of fun to be had in Snoopy's Street Fair. As a free-to-play game, there's a lot more quality than one might expect. Everything is designed incredibly well, and it's rewarding to play whether you sink $0 or $50 into it. There's a lot of Peanuts reverence going on in here, and I'm happy to see Beeline got it so right. Now if only some of my friends would set up their own fairs, so we could visit each other! So goddamn cute!


Christopher Linendoll will kick that football, someday. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.

No comments:

Post a Comment