Rescue animals… in space… with meatballs…

The developer’s description provided for Rescue Party, a new Facebook game currently in beta, is a bit baffling: “…a beautiful game where you farm bait, fly through space, and rescue magical animals.” Nevertheless, the concept behind Rescue Party is actually quite sound – and pretty engaging from what we were able to see so far.

Rescue Party‘s gameplay pulls inspiration from several familiar genres. As the newest Rescue Party Recruit, you’ll travel through outer space to different planets to rescue creatures and return them to their home planets. In order to catch the creatures you’ll grow food for them that you set out as bait to bring them out of hiding so you can scoop the up with your ship’s tractor beam.

Rescue Party

The food-growing portion of the game is reminiscent of FarmVille. You’re given a patch of land to cultivate as you see fit by plowing, planting seeds that you purchase from a shop, waiting for the seeds to mature into plants, then harvesting them and re-tilling the soil to plant again. Except that in FarmVille you won’t be harvesting whimsical crops like Meatball bushes, Preachy Peaches and Bad Apples. You unlock more crops as you rise through the levels.

Once you’ve harvested some food, you zip into outer space and travel to one of the nearby planets. There, you drop food, wait for a creature to appear and take the bait, then beam it up to the ship. Once your cargo hold is full, you return to home base and turn in the animals to collect your reward, which comes in the form of RP Coins that can be spent on food, new ships, and other commodities. You earn bonuses for discovering new creatures, collecting more than one of the same species, and so on.

It takes a certain amount of real time to travel to other planets and reap crops, which is where the game tries to entice you to spend real-world cash. (You can spend coins to cut down the amount of time needed, and when you run out of in-game coins you can supplement your supply by buying more.)

Rescue Party

Rescue Party‘s appeal seems to be twofold: farming fans will enjoy cultivating their patch of land to grow a variety of quirkily-named crops. There’s also a definite “gotta catch ’em all” vibe to do with collecting all of the different species of animals. The game offers a handy stamp book where you can keep track of all the creatures you’ve discovered so far and learn more about them, and the item hoarders and completionists out there will no doubt get a kick out of seeing the book slowly fill up.

The game is still in beta, so expect new features and refinements to continue to roll out over the coming weeks and months. Be sure to add a Gamezebo game alert to be notified the moment our walkthrough and review become available!