A soap opera where you play the part of the mischievous (but well-liked) host.

The social gaming connoisseurs at Zynga have decided we need more drama in our lives, and Party Place provides just the atmosphere to achieve it! You have the task of throwing party after wild party, stirring up trouble with your friends in the name of earning cash to make your apartment even swankier. Who needs a BFF when you’ve got a foosball table, right?

Party Place is built around parties, drama, and customization. You start in a bare apartment furnished with just a few of the necessities and must earn your way to fabulous fame. You do this by throwing get-togethers where neighbors and Facebook friends stop by, have a few drinks, do some dancing, and most importantly, get mixed up in drama! During the party you to march around and interact with everyone, chatting them up with three different styles of conversation. Use your flirtatious powers, tell a joke, or pick a fight, it’s your choice! The important thing is you push people to the extremes of an emotion, then drag another partygoer over to start something interesting. The drama plays out, you get cash and popularity, and the people leave. The party ends as soon as the place is empty, and you get to spend the next morning cleaning up the mess!

Party Place

This entire fiasco is fueled by “mojo,” a popularity score, and two forms of cash. Coins are a basic currency used for purchasing most items in the game. Green cash is needed to purchase other items and can also be used to speed up the real-time deliveries instead of waiting hours for your stuff to arrive. Popularity helps determine what’s available to buy in the stores. And mojo, oh that mojo. This crucial stat is what parties are made of. You’ll need it to start the actual get-together as well as each time you engage in conversation. As soon as mojo runs out, the party is over, and you’ll be stuck with nothing to do. You can recharge it through in-app purchases or by doing leisure activities (exercise, taking a nap, playing guitar), but wise partiers never waste mojo!

Customization is a huge part of the Party Place experience, and Zynga didn’t skimp on options. The store is filled with countless varieties of furnishings and character outfit possibilities, making your shopping trips almost as intricate as the parties themselves. You also have missions and bonus achievements to work towards, adding a lot more “game” to the experience so it isn’t just parties and drama queens.

Party Place

Unfortunately, Party Place does trip over its own design a few times, creating a number of small annoyances that quickly add up to meaningful flaws. For starters, this is Zynga’s first 3D mobile game, and when you soak in the audio and visual atmosphere, you won’t be impressed. The sound effects could have been recorded inside of a tin can, and the characters look like paper craft models with sloppy tearing and overlapping joints. Not exactly top shelf material. Just below the surface you’ll hit the risk/reward structure of managing mojo, a model that is inexplicably flawed. Party Place just doesn’t reward you enough for building your life or for managing your character, turning what should be a fun and casual social party atmosphere into an exercise in mojo conservation and microtransactions.

Party Place is a decent diversion, and if you get your real world friends in on the experience, it offers a nice virtual atmosphere to create lighthearted drama, customize your apartment, and become the social butterfly you always knew you were. It’s the guilty pleasure app of the mobile world, and just like any soap opera or dime novel, it’ll hold your interest for a short time and then be happily left behind.