Be the most popular lady (or lad) on Facebook but don’t lose your patience
Imagine The Sims wedged into a menu-driven social game that caters squarely to the female audience, and you have Lady Popular. You’ll get to micromanage every little detail about your character’s life in the hopes of being voted most popular Lady on Facebook.
The depth of Lady Popular is impressive. You’ll start by creating a Lady avatar and customizing her outfit and appearance. Her look can be further refined by going to the hair salon, tattoo parlor, or shopping mall to buy new outfits from a dizzying selection of clothes and accessories.
From there the world is your oyster. As in other menu-driven games like Mafia Wars, you can complete goals to earn experience points and cash. These could include visiting the Employment Agency to find a job, working said job, flirting with boys at the dance club (who knows, you might just get a boyfriend out of it), changing your hairstyle at the salon, buying items at the shopping mall, going to the gym, and so on.
That’s not all. One of your first missions will be to find a place to live, which to start out with is a rented apartment. You can deck out your living quarters with all the comforts of home, from furniture to windows, cutlery and other household decor items. Having some sort of pad to hang out in and decorate is nothing new for social games, but in Lady Popular you have multiple rooms to play around with.
Performing tasks affects your Lady’s stats. Working a job, for example, earns cash but decreases hygiene and energy. Dancing increases thirds while decreasing energy, hygiene and weight.
All of this hard work goes towards the chance to become the most popular Lady on Facebook for that given week. Every week, other players can vote on who they think the best lady is. Winners receive a special exclusive crown item.
The wide variety of things to do, and character customizations, are two of Lady Popular‘s strengths. You can basically create any look you want, from prim office worker to blue-haired punk with tattoos snaking up her arms. And you don’t have to commit to one look; in fact, the game encourages you to change it up frequently.
The downside is that it takes a long time to do anything. When you select a task you can set how long you’d like to spend on it, ranging from 30 minutes of real time to 8 hours. This seems far too long, especially since the only visuals to indicate you’re doing anything is a timer counting down. You can only have one action queued at a time by default, unless you want to buy energy drinks with the game’s premium currency (diamonds, which you have to pay real-world cash for).
You can help pass the time by playing 10 different minigames – including Sudoku, Concentration and slider puzzles – but there are standalone apps and games that do each of these things as good if not better.
Also, the emphasis on appearance and fashion might go a little too far for some players. I raised my eyebrows at the fact that the hospital was there not to heal scrapes or for volunteering at, but to get plastic surgery like breast augmentations! And while the weekly contests might motivate some players to invest more time in the game, they’re also a bit mean-spirited (you can not only vote on outfits you like, but assign negative ratings to outfits you don’t like).
What it boils down to is that unless you’re willing to fork over real money to buy the premium currency and speed things up, it’s simply too easy to disengage from Lady Popular for other games that offer more instant gratification and don’t make you wait for large chunks of time, whether on Facebook or downloadable sims like Kudos or Academagia. Lady Popular has a lot to offer, but you’ll need patience to build your Lady into a contender.