It’s a social game, Charlie Brown. The timeless cast of Charles Schultz’s world-famous “Peanuts” comic series are now the stars of their very own free-to-play iOS title from Beeline. You help Charlie Brown build up and maintain a street fair by purchasing rides, games, and booths that are run by Chuck’s pals.
Though Snoopy’s Street Fair plays similarly to most social games, its charm and the strength of its cast help it stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, the game’s slow pace and constant attempts to nickel and dime you via microtransactions is enough to make you say “Good grief!”
Snoopy’s Street Fair begins with Charlie Brown learning that his Little League team has somehow made it to a tournament being held in New York City. Peppermint Patty assures Charlie Brown that the team can’t suffer the humiliation of showing up without new uniforms (one would assume that she’d be more humiliated by the fact that Charlie Brown’s socks and shoes fly off whenever a ball he pitched goes firing through him, but there you go), and proposes that they all oversee a street fair to raise the necessary funds. Charlie Brown agrees, and starts planning.
What’s up, Chuck?
The street fair begins as a humble lemonade stand run by Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally. Typical of most social games, when a certain amount of time has passed, you tap on her booth to collect her earnings. From there, you can purchase food stands, attractions, and more booths run by Charlie Brown’s pals. Each booth and attraction brings in a certain amount of money at different intervals. As Charlie Brown levels up, he can purchase more stuff that brings in more money. Lawn furniture, flowers, trees, and other accessories and foliage are also available to pretty up the neighborhood.
If you’ve played any iOS-based social game, you already have a good idea of how Snoopy’s Street Fair works. Even so, the game has little bits of personality that make it endearing–the same traits that keep the Peanuts crew preserved as icons. The character’s voices are authentic, and they speak to you when you tap on them (though they say the same things over and over).
It’s a little odd to see Charlie Brown and friends as vector animations, but nostalgia will sweep over you nonetheless. There are also cool extras to find, like player icons and comic strips. And, like any good social game, Snoopy’s Street Fair is addictive. You’ll keep arranging your booths, tapping to collect your money, and aspiring to buy that next cool thing.
Not freemium: Lucy’s spiraling health care costs.
Herein lies a major problem with Snoopy’s Street Fair. Almost everything in the game costs gobs of money, and that goes for purchases made with Snoopy Coins, the in-game currency, and Snoopy Dollars, which are bought with real-world money. You’re quite limited in what you can buy with Snoopy Coins, especially as far as character-run booths are concerned. Do you want Lucy’s discount psychiatry booth at your fair? Or Linus, or Schroeder and his piano? They all cost real money. Same goes for most of Peanuts’ A-list cast. Nothing against Linus’ little brother Rerun (whose face-painting booth can be bought for Snoopy Coins), but he’s not the first character who slips into mind when we talk about Snoopy and the gang.
Some social games– Tiny Tower, for instance– are good about handing out freebies of “purchasable” currency. Snoopy’s Street Fair, however, is very stingy about doling out the Snoopy Dollars. You’re awarded a couple of bucks for each time you level up, but that’s pretty much it. The end result is a lot of grinding, or just giving in and buying yourself a fistful of Snoopy Dollars.
To be fair, Beeline needs microtransactions to support its game. On the other hand, it’s kind of disappointing to be drawn in by a free-to-play game, only to have to cough up real dough to see and play as the characters we know and love. Even more disappointing is the fact that most of the minigames can only be purchased via Snoopy Dollars.
Regardless, Snoopy’s Street Fair will make Peanuts fans smile, and it works well as a cute and fun social game for anyone who feels just a bit too old for Smurfs’ Village. One final observation: why is it called Snoopy’s Street Fair when, as usual, Charlie Brown is the one doing all the work?