When you say to us ‘The Wizard of Oz’ video game, the first thing that springs to mind isn’t a fully 3D Civilisation clone with social elements and in-game purchases. But that’s exactly what Spooky Cool Labs have spent the last two years building, and the game has just been launched on Facebook.[drop2]The game diverts you from more meaningful activities by placing you in Munchkinland in a pair of ruby slippers and – rather than making you simply follow the Yellow Brick Road to Oz – you now have to build the bloody thing as well. That’s austerity Oz for you folks, no investment in public infrastructure.
Tasks and quests are assigned by Glinda, The Good Witch of the South – along with other characters from the 1939 movie – and are completed by collecting a shopping list of stuff such as adding specific buildings to your Ozian development or putting Munchkins to work. It’s a very well-crafted and robust-seeming game engine but the fusion of story and game seems to be a bit of an unusual and surreal marriage. The day-glo colours of Munchkinland and clips from the movie add to the psychedelic craziness but it’s a mix that is bound to find an audience.
It’s a fairly interesting milestone on Facebook, dragging a big-name IP to its game portfolio, but did we need another resource management game? Meanwhile the big name in the social arena, Zynga, has announced the closing down of less popular games such as Fishville and Treasure Isle.