Bar Society starts slow but ends up being a fun business sim.
Five O’ Clock can’t come soon enough for RedAtom and Playdom, the creators of Bar Society. This fresh title sets players up in a virtual bar and asks them to erect a successful business around it. Just like the mind set real bar owners must take on, Bar Society forces you to learn the art of creating unique drinks, hiring a friendly staff, and making that dance floor pop.
From the moment the app installation is complete and before you even step foot into your new bar, Bar Society wants you to take the initiative of hiring your new staff. First up is the bar tender. He must learn the drink menu available at any run of the mill realistic bar, as well as more complicated drinks. The harder the drink is to make, the higher the level you will need to unlock it. Drinks can range from the simple, Vodka and Soda, to more complicated ones like a Long Island Iced Tea or savvy Martini combinations.
The bar tender makes the drinks; the players use their wait staff to bring the drink orders to the patrons. The staff is a combination of you plus the staff you hire, which are networked friends similar toRestaurant City. The more friends you have interacting and helping, the more orders you are able to handle. This doesn’t come without stipulations mind you, as carts are only allowed one type of drink per serving.
Bar Society does a great job of capturing the mood and process of what you the owner must deal with from a business perspective, but also how the patrons interact within it. Like in most cases, after a few drinks and when the customers have loosened up a bit, they hit the dance floor. I use the term dance very loosely here, as you will see when they start their little jigs; they are far from experienced in the art of dance. When a customer starts “dancing,” users can click on the music icon hanging over them. This will start to fill up when clicked. The clicks account as a rating system for your bar. After accumulating five ratings from different customers, your bar will be rated higher. The higher your bar is rated, the more customers will visit. And so on and so on.
Though initial setup of Bar Society may seem realistic to the way bars start up, being forced to create the staff first and go through some of the core set up feels a bit sluggish. Also, the staff is made up of your friends, whom you hire, but they can take a hefty slice of time to make simple drinks. At times waiting around for the drinks to be made, and for your friends to make them, can take away from that nightlife vibe. Yes, I know this is a Facebook game, but taking a day to prepare a drink at times just feels wrong; whether virtual or real.
Along with the bar’s rating system, players can purchase items to decorate. But much like the start of Bar Society’s interface, this is a slow rolling process. Most of the items at the games start are either not feasible with your established cash from the start or will be quickly depleted in a few purchases. Playdom and RedAtom aren’t trying to create a quick in and out audience, but rather a following that is willing to commit to the long haul.
Bar Society does a good job of creating the realistic vibe of nightlife in the culture from which it is mimicked, but there is one aspect it does not cover: the age limit. It is a bit strange that in countries where there is an age limit to purchase alcohol or enter a bar, all you need to run your own bar in this game is a Facebook account. Food for thought for any parent who may notwant your little ones playing and then making drink concoctions when the computer has been long shut down.
Such issues aside, Bar Society is a fun game. Instead of that “I’m at work” feeling, Bar Society creates an environment that makes you want to learn the drinks and create a fun setting to drink them in. Bar Society doesn’t engage you immediately, hoping you’ll tests your patience and hopes you’ll hang in there for the journey ahead. And you should. Those willing to stick it out will find a new virtual world that rewards you for your interaction within the environment, all while hanging out with friends before you meet up at the real bar after work.