Review: Priestville (Facebook)

I'm trying to figure out whether or not games on Facebook should be called genius or a travesty. Genius in that some of the best, such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, have hooked thousands upon thousands of players (some who have never even touched a controller). Or travesty in that the games can sometimes turn into boring, pointless mouse clicks.

I've played my fair share of Mafia Wars and Farmville (I quit Farmville after the South Park episode mocking it: I bow to peer pressure), and was always hooked at first, but lost interest later on. In the beginning, it was sort of a challenge. Gather as many weapons as you can so you can take on other mobsters, or grow a bunch of crops so you can get a Farm. Fun at first, but once you're making billions of dollars by owning 2,000 hotels, what's the point of taking on another job? I'm lazy in my real life, so why should I care about maintaining a virtual job?

But when KJMA's Dan Sealana told me about Priestville, I had to give it a try. Always good to support other Catholics when they branch out and try new things. Otherwise, we're left with the same boring stuff. And nobody wants 24 hours of EWTN.

After naming my priest Lou Rulli, in honor of the folks on The Catholic Guy, I set out to become the greatest priest in the world. The game even tells you that it's goal is to show you how much work goes into being a priest. Immediately after naming your priest, it asks you to state your beliefs: Whether or not you think Priests should marry, if a bishop should be picked by the diocese or Rome, and if the statute of limitations on a priest should expire after 20 years or have no expiration (for fun, I put that priests should be able to marry, that Rome picks the bishop and that there should be an expiration on statutes of limitations).

The game has you carry out priestly tasks to level up (using indulgences instead of points), such as saying Mass, giving homilies on certain topics, etc. In addition, you can buy priestly items such as bibles, stoles, chasubles (some of which you'll need to do certain tasks), and challenge other priests with different beliefs to win their parishioners. The game does a decent job at making you feel like a priest (minus the 3 a.m. phone calls from college kids going through a mental crisis), making you choose between improving your charisma or religious knowledge, or choosing what duties you carry out in a certain day. It's not perfect (you can't say Mass six times a day), and I fear that some of the duties come off as just mindless tasks instead of meaningful things to do (a lot more effort goes into a homily than a mouse click).

One interesting way they could do this? Make you press a series of arrow keys on the keyboard in a certain pattern (much like a rhythm game), that way you've put some effort into whatever task you set out to do. That would certainly make people feel more involved with the game.

The layout was easy enough to navigate, although there were a few instances where it told me to click something and nothing happened. The items used to do battle can sometimes be confusing to figure out. Is a purple stole better than a red stole? It's not as obvious as comparing a knife to a tommy gun. Some more labeling would do a world of good, but overall the game performs very well with little bugs or slowdown (plus, the developers have thrown in some amusing features, such as the online confessional).

There's a heavy Mafia Wars feel to this game, which made me feel a little at home having played Mafia Wars before. It does have a few things, other than the theme, that differentiate from Mafia Wars, such as choosing your beliefs. But the similarities to MW are just a little too striking, such as having enough powerful items to win a "battle" against a different priest.

Then again, most RPGs play the same way, and I've come to accept that, so I can't really fault SGR Games for borrowing some of MW's elements. And hopefully, since the game is new, they'll be able to add new things that can really make it stand out. I'd personally like to see someone being able to customize what kind of religious life they are (missionary, priest, religious community), and having the gameplay conform to that choice. The developers are working on the ability to upgrade the church, along with adding a college of cardinals, so let's hope those things really make this game unique, along with giving you an incentive to keep playing once you've leveled up pretty high.

Priestville is a fun (free obviously) game that should definitely appeal to the Farmville crowd who want to add more religion to their lives. Even though I've lost interest in the other Facebook games, the week I've spent playing Priestville has been an amusing timekiller. I can't say that I've rushed home desperate to try to win battles with other people or perform other duties, but it has been a fun way to pass the time. My main concern though is whether or not I'll stay motivated to keep playing, or if the game will turn into a steady, monotonous series of mouse clicks.

Bottom line, Farmville fans should absolutely start playing this game. I think you'll really love it. But if you don't enjoy playing games of the Farmville genre, then the joys of Priestville will wear off pretty quick. Of course, that will just give you more time to say a Rosary.

Looks like everyone's a winner then.

Priestville by SVG Games: B


My Twitter feed

    follow me on Twitter

    About This Blog

    A blog for the masses, if by masses you mean myself and family members who probably read this out of pity.

    I'm dustin Faber, the 16-bit Catholic. This blog is an amusing, sometimes thought-provoking look at my life and the world around me. Poetry, cooking recipes, gaming, faith, things that make me go awww, things that make me go grrr, and my obsession with a good glass of root beer can be found here.

    If you're looking for gaming-centered posts, check out catholicvideogamers.blogspot.com. If you seek the blog I keep with my fiance, check out thecatholiclovebirds.blogspot.com

      © Blogger template 'Photoblog' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008 | Blogger Blog Templates

    Back to TOP