Build Your Own College In Playdom’s ESPNU College Town
Playdom’s latest social game is strikingly original, a hybrid city-builder and turn-based sports game produced in partnership with sports network ESPN. ESPNU College Town lets you build your own college campus, affiliated with your favorite real-world sports college, and build up your own sports teams. You can use your team to challenge random opponents or to challenge your friends for glory and more points for your favorite college on the leaderboard.
Part of building your school up is creating the campus. Various campus buildings serve different goals, like earning money or attracting more students to the school. Decorations like statues and trees can also serve to attract more students. As you attract more students, you increase the size of your campus and the quality of the players you can add to your roster. In time you upgrade your sports facilities so you can make more money from events and expand your campus to attract ever-larger numbers of students.
Friends in ESPNU College Town can send each other virtual gifts and keep track of each other’s win-loss records and leaderboard status. The bulk of the game is solo, though, and there’s plenty of things to keep a player who doesn’t have a lot of college football-loving friends to do. Building and upgrading your campus is engaging, as are the random challenges you can issue to others. Challenges are resolved using the stats of whatever players you use to play the challenge, which can involve football or basketball early in the game.
2010 is supposed to be the year that branded content takes off on Facebook and there’s a strong branded presence in ESPNU College Town. You can spend real money and in-game funds to purchase a wide range of items branded with the various college affiliations, logos, and mascots. You can also purchase famous venues you might associate with your favorite college. The ESPN brand appears only in the game’s title right now, but that may change in the future.
What’s truly remarkable about ESPNU College Town is how well it runs at launch and how amazingly detailed the visuals are. You can watch people play sports in your venues, watch cars drive along your roads, and watch people walk around campus. Buildings are absolutely convincing, with the charm of well-made miniatures. Upgrading your campus is fun just to see its look and feel evolve. Your campus will reflect your affiliation colors in little things like balloons and venue decorations.
ESPNU College Town isn’t quite like anything else available on Facebook now, though it scratches some familiar Facebook itches. It’s probably going to be a good fit for college sports fans and alumni of the various schools featured, especially as college sports seasons start up. The high-quality graphics and varied gameplay will hopefully keep the game sticky and engaging over the next few weeks.