Zynga wants to turn your pocket into a bustling metropolis

As big as Zynga might be on Facebook, the social gaming giant has had something of a chequered past on the iPhone. After a few early, watered-down versions of Facebook games like Mafia Wars and Street Racing hit the App Store back in 2009, the company seemed to maintain iOS radio silence for almost a year. That was broken with the release of FarmVille, but shortly thereafter their lips were once again sealed on mobile devices. Now, after months of smart acquisitions in the mobile field, Zynga finally seems to be coming out of their shell. Last week’s release of Hanging With Friends has already soared to #1 in the charts, and hot on its heels Zynga is prepping a new portable version of their popular CityVille for release.

From what little we’ve seen so far, CityVille Hometown seems to be a culmination of lessons learned on the App Store over the last two years. Unlike their earliest releases, CityVille Hometown is gearing up to deliver an experience as deep and well-rounded as its Facebook counterpart. And unlike the iOS version of FarmVille, CityVille Hometown isn’t simply another screen on which players can continue living in their Facebook-based city. It would seem that by offering a standalone game that’s as rich as its Facebook-based cousin, CityVille Hometown is trying to deliver the best of both worlds.

Considering that the most successful social games on iOS don’t tie directly into any kind of Facebook counterpart, this might not be that bad of a strategy to try.

CityVille Hometown

CityVille Hometown

CityVille Hometown has already launched in Canada, as and usual, Gamezebo has taken this opportunity to bring you a firsthand account of what the game looks like in action.

Much as can be expected, CityVille veterans are going to feel right at home in CityVille Hometown. For the most part, the game reproduces the original CityVille experience to a tee. Players will build homes, businesses, farms, and public buildings – all in an effort to make a profit and grow their population. Everything you loved about the original is here, yet they’ve managed to tweak the experience slightly to make things a little more personal. How, you might ask? With the addition of individual citizens.

Gone are the large population numbers and nameless masses, replaced by a small group of fictional individuals who want to become integral figures in your town. Houses are now filled by one or two people instead of 10’s and 100’s. And all of these people have names – and they want you to get to know them in the hopes that you’ll place them in a house and help them to find a job. That’s right – in CityVille Hometown, you’ll need to assign a person to each and every business if you want it to run.

CityVille Hometown

CityVille Hometown

Missions will now be attached directly to a person as well. This is something that the original game had hints of, but it’s gone full tilt here, as players will need to tap on walking citizens to check on their quest lines and see how they can best serve your community.

CityVille Hometown launched in Canada last night (download here, Canadian friends!), and while there’s no specific date for a worldwide release, Zynga is aiming for this one to be in the App Store before the end of the month. Be sure to follow the game right here on Gamezebo to be alerted of its release, as well as our forthcoming review and guide!