Gone Amazon lets you imagine what it might be like to be lost after a plane crash in the Amazon.
Gone Amazon is one of the most mysterious and original new launches available on Facebook right now. The developer information lists “Gone Amazon” as its creator, but speculation is rampant that the game is actually one of Ubisoft’s first forays into social game development. If so, it’s hard to imagine why Ubisoft isn’t eager to take credit for this game. It features actual cutscenes loaded with humorous dialog, giving the game a narrative that plays out as a sort of loopy parody of ABC’s recently-concluded popular drama Lost.
The plot of Gone Amazon goes like this: you’re on a plane trip to who-knows-where when your plane abruptly crashes in the wilds of the Amazon basin. Once there, St. Anthony, the patron of saint of lost causes and persons, appears to you and offers you help you learn how to survive in the Amazon rainforest until help arrives. St. Anthony teaches you how to do useful work like picking bananas and how to regain lost energy by relaxing. Sometimes when you level up you get another cutscene that explains a new game mechanic or introduces you to a new survivor that you can add to your settlement.
You might expect Gone Amazon to be a casual strategy title in the vein of MyTribe or Virtual Villagers, but right now its gameplay is much lighrer than that. It’s effectively a tycoon sort of game, where you try to have your survivors constantly mine resources that you can spend on expanding and upgrading your resources, buying relaxation facilities, or just buying decorations The gameplay ends up very passive in contrast to the lively humor of the cutscenes.
Gone Amazon has a few other types of gameplay added in to break up the monotony, but they feel pretty lightweight as of this writing. There’s a mini-game that involves taking pictures of animals; you click on certain pushes when they spawn in your camp. This unlocks a small portion of the picture, which by itself is not very inspiring. There are also chests that appear randomly in your camp, which you can try to open to gather keys. You need to gather 100 keys to have a 100% chance of opening a chest, but keys spawn at a rate of one per day in your campa nd in your friend’s camps.
There’s definitely a feeling that Gone Amazon isn’t quite finished yet, that the developer feels like it needs a little something more before its ready for prime time. Maybe that’s why Ubisoft has yet to take credit for the game, if it is in fact the developer. For now Gone Amazon is a very above-average game that’s worth playing just for the amusing dialog and the chance to cast your friends in roles like The Slacker.