The last few months have seen some tectonic shifts in the world of social gaming. Zynga went public, and after a series of rallies and plunges, the stock has ultimately taken a beating and is hovering around $3 after an IPO price of $10. Other social gaming giants like Playdom and Playfish have seen all but the most diehard players head overboard . The accepted word is that Facebook gamers just aren’t playing games on the social network as much as they once were, instead favoring iPad games and other diversions like Pinterest.
So it was a bit surprising to hear that Amazon has decided to step into the game at this time with their first Facebook game, Living Classics. I take a look below.
As reported on Inside Social Games, the announcement of the game is the first official announcement from Amazon Game Studios. Amazon has been hiring for the team for over a year, and this is their first release. Amazon has a long history of shooting first, thinking later when it comes to new businesses (see their once incomprehensible jump into cloud computing), but they’ve had tremendous success across most of their endeavors. So how is the game, and what does its quality hint about the future of Amazon Game Studios?
Living Classics is a “moving images” game where a user is meant to observe an image and click the objects that are moving in the picture, however slightly the move is. You get more points for clicking the images quicker and can build combo scores based on how many images you click in a short period of time. The gameplay really becomes about maintaining your combo: after you’ve clicked the 6th item in a row, you’re going to want to maintain your 6 combo and try to get 7, so you’ll be desperately searching the page for that next moving item, and the game seems to know that and tease you with a bit of movement. It’s surprisingly addictive and entertaining.
It’s not an overly complicated game – as is the trend for Facebook games – but the production quality on the game is top notch. Just looking at the image above, you can see the beautiful level of artwork, and when you see some of the animations, it’s a real treat for the eyes. The sounds are also delightful and simple, and I was also impressed with the speed of the game. Menus flew in and out at high speed despite the game being programmed in Flash. Clearly, Amazon was able to hire a few quality engineers to keep the game code lean and speedy.
The graphics are a real surprise in the game, and my gamer crystal ball seems to be telling me that this is game was meant to be somewhat of a test to determine what quality of game the team would be able to produce, so that the team could plan for perhaps larger games in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team helps create launch games for the Kindle, as well, but we’ll see. In any case, this is a good start for Amazon Game Studios and I look forward to seeing more.