It’s not Gnomeo and Juliet, but Odd Manor, a new social media game available only on Facebook, is a chance for players to build a life, or at least a home, with a gnome of their own.
“When we went to work on Odd Manor, our mantra was ‘more, bigger, sharper and deeper,'” explains game co-creator Charles Balas. “We have more varieties of gameplay and a bigger game world that anything Facebook audiences have ever seen and our story is much more involved with richer and better characters. It’s really all about giving game players more way to enjoy the game and characters they will really care about.”
This may have been the goal. In practice…it’s off to a slow start. The game loads slowly and has a tendency to hang. Further, although the graphics are wonderful, it’s not always easy to figure out what players need to do to accomplish the quests after the initial few. (Hint: the Help ribbon with the Journal is a wonderful thing!).
In Odd Manor, players work with a gnome assistant to rebuild a derelict estate somewhere on the English countryside. As they do they get to explore the magical realm surrounding it, discover secrets and solve the mystery of a missing family member (should we guess that might be the estranged uncle who left you the estate in the first place?). In short, Odd Manor is a wonderful new preternatural world full on mythical creatures, mystery and challenge that also allows you to interact with your social network of friends as you progress.
Odd Manor was created by Charles Balas and John Caporale, the team behind the best-selling Mae Quest and the Sign of the Stars, and more than a dozen programmers, musicians and voice talent (very little of which gets displayed right off the bat). Odd Manor is the first release from publisher KingX Studios out of Redmond, WA.
Co-creator and KingX CEO John Caporale explained his vision for Odd Manor as “A social game that will allow players to engage at whatever lever they are comfortable. They can experience the enjoyment of fixing up their estate and enjoy the magical characters, or find the compelling mystery drawing them into a whole new level of play not found on social portals with deeper immersion into an evolving story. At launch, players will only be able to get to about 10% of our game map, and there will only be 25 creatures. We have another 50 creatures ready for release before mid-summer and another 400 on the drawing boards.”
Facebook members can access Odd Manor at http://apps.facebook.com/oddmanor. The game, which launched 1 July, 2011, is ad supported and free to play.
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