Update, 6:58 pm: see end of story for more details on game play.
It just hit the Market, and just a few thousand users got there ahead of me. I’m downloading it as I write this, and I’ll be updating you with comments on how good an implementation it is, but for you MW fans, I’m sure you’re going to grab this one as soon as you read this. And you can do so right here on the Android Market, because it’s free!
For those of you who have no idea what this game is about, Zynga launched it on Facebook and MySpace and it quickly became one of their biggest hits (if you’ll pardon the pun). There’s a huge social component to the game, where you assemble as big a Crew as you can to watch your back as they cover yours, then you try killing off other players or stealing their property. You collect weapons and other goodies as you set up your businesses to bankroll your operations. Zynga made their fortune with this game and similar ones, because they found plenty of opportunities to sell players added goodies. And the Android Market’s new in-app payment feature was what Zynga was waiting for in releasing the game.
Zynga released an iOS (Apple iPhone and iPod) version of the game which didn’t interface with the Facebook or MySpace versions. Instead, you had to create a separate list of friends who played it on Apple devices. Since some of the reviews on the Market mention that this is a fairly limited implementation, don’t expect all your weapons and your 500+ closest Friends to show up on the Android version. The Facebook version has several different “cities” for the game (different adventures, tasks, levels and currencies), so it will be interesting to see how quickly those sections get added to the Android app.
A couple of reviewers note that a Facebook login is required because “it’s a Facebook game.” Hmm, that may be a worst-of-both-worlds scenario, if you have to give them your Facebook credentials but the game doesn’t give you the same standing as you have in Facebook.
Let us know in comments what you think of the Android implementation of Mafia Wars… or I’ll shoot you.
Update: Looks like it’s the Facebook Game, but you’re limited to Atlantic City so far and can’t do anything with your properties. You can do jobs, buy needed items, fight, and admire your Atlantic City inventory and loot (as well as loot from all places in the game). And of course, you can buy energy packs with your Reward Points so you can keep playing. Curiously, you cannot buy Reward Points within the app itself, which I would have expected. Instead you’re directed to do so via desktop Facebook. Going there links you with in-game requests from your Mafia Wars Friends; again, those requests to do each other mutual favors do not show up in the Android app.
I hope Zynga plans on fleshing this out to be more like the Facebook game, but avoiding the “gold-farming” feel of endlessly pressing buttons to get jobs done and fights over.