Smurfs' Village

PLEASE NOTE: Smurfs' Village is free to play, but charges real money for additional in-app content. You may lock out the ability to purchase in-app content by adjusting your device’s settings.
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Give your Village a Smurfy Makeover in Version 1.3.8!
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Smurfs’ Village Hands-On Preview and Video

We love the ’80s, and with a CG version of The Smurfs coming to theaters next year, it’s as good a time as any to reacquaint ourselves with those tiny blue gnomes. Smurfs’ Village is an upcoming casual sim game similar to We Rule, and it’s being developed by Capcom.

Along with Lil’ Pirates and Zombie Cafe, this is the third online social game coming from Capcom this year. Based on the 1980s cartoon, Smurfs’ Village lets you build a village of mushroom-shaped homes and shops and interact with the smurfs as they go about their idyllic existence.

Your smurfs start the game in recovery mode as they rebuild their town after it was destroyed by the ogre Gargamel. Papa Smurf will give you a few pointers on how to get started: Build a farm to harvest crops, and place a few houses to hire some worker smurfs. Along with gold and the premium currency smurfberries (which let you speed up your progress), smurfs are your other main resource, since you can only build when you have enough smurf workers available to swing a tiny hammer.

In addition to the crops and buildings, you can tap on special smurfs for extra abilities. Smurfette, for example, will earn you experience points by blowing kisses to nearby smurfs. You can also activate minigames, like a fun little painting game at Painter Smurf’s studio, and a time-management baking game at Greedy Smurf’s bakery. The third and final minigame lets you mix potions at Papa Smurf’s laboratory by shaking your device, or stirring on the iPad.

Smurfs’ Village will be a universal app, and we thought it looked great on Retina display devices. It will also incorporate Facebook Connect so you can visit your friends’ villages. Capcom’s plan is to also incorporate Game Center in the future. Smurfs’ Village doesn’t do a lot that we haven’t seen in other online social games, but the popular children’s license and handful of minigames do set it apart. Download it for free on the App Store mid to late November.

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Smurfs’ Village Review

After the nefarious Gargamel finally manages to destroy the entire village of those pesky Smurfs, it’s up to you (and possibly all your friends) to help them rebuild. Capcom Mobile’s Smurfs’ Village doesn’t aspire to much beyond that, but if you’re a fan of the wee blue creatures that might be enough. You’ll have a variety of mushroom houses, crops, specialty buildings, and landscaping items at your disposal to make your Smurf Village the smurfiest place ever.

Smurfs’ Village is free to download, but relies a little more heavily on purchasing Smurfberries than most players will like. You can absolutely play the game without investing a cent, and (given enough time) end up with a large and thriving Smurf community. Yet, many of the advanced structures require the berries to actually purchase, and the time it takes to build anything past the initial basic house and crops feels extreme.

Colors so bright, they’ll give you retina burn.

It takes, for instance, 120 real-time hours to build a simple bridge to cross the tiny stream on your map, enabling you to expand the village further. Advanced houses like Handy Smurf’s workshop take equally absurd amounts of time. Granted, you can just turn the game off and let it sit there for the duration while you do something more interesting. On the downside, it’s likely that any crops you were growing before switching back to real life will die out during the wait.

Smurfberries, of course, make things happen instantly, but it’s hard to imagine too many players truly feeling this is worth the effort. While there’s no doubt that Smurfs’ Village is an adorable and dead-on homage to the classic series, beyond merely building them a nice place to live there’s little else that actually goes on here. The Smurf-specific minigames add a modicum of variety, but frankly they’re just not very good.

The crops won’t harvest themselves.

The minigames boil down to simple tapping or sliding. There’s a potion-shaking game, where you must slide your finger back and forth rapidly in a pretend vial-shaking maneuver. Another game tasks you with tapping on Greedy Smurf’s ovens and cookies to keep his baked goods constantly cooking, without burning them. There’s also a simple coloring game.

While the harder difficulty levels add more challenge and greater experience points, there’s nothing here that will have you addicted or even particularly impatient for the next available mini-game round.

Smurfs’ Village does allow you to easily share your achievements on Facebook, invite friends to visit your village, allow you to visit theirs, or just check out random villages. It’s actually a nice feature to be able to look around at what other players have done.

If you’re into the simple gameplay of sandbox-styled village building, Capcom has provided an acceptable take on the genre. Fans of the Smurfs will love the authentic look of the game and familiar characters, but anyone in search of any sort of adventure or depth will have to keep looking.