Noah’s Ark is one part farming simulator, two parts animal collecting, and a dash of exploration for good measure
Noah’s Ark proves that publisher Making Fun just might have chosen the perfect name for the company. For those not familiar with the story, a great flood sent by God threatened the existence of all the animals on the earth. Noah saved two of each type of animal and loaded them on his expansive ark, sailing them away to higher ground so that they could breed and flourish after the damage from the flood subsided. In Noah’s Ark on Facebook, players help familiar biblical characters such as Noah and his family to attract animals, care for them, and build the grandest ark imaginable.
At first glance, Noah’s Ark looks to be a typical farming simulator complete with plots, planting, and harvesting. However, while most farming games require you to harvest crops to level up and gain a small fortune, Noah’s Ark requires the precious resource feed to be harvested from plants on a regular basis. This feed is then used to attract animals with special contraptions called attractors that are specific to each species. Feed is also used to keep captured animals happy and healthy. Capturing animals takes varying lengths of time, and once an animal is within your possession they have to be housed within the proper habitat. For example, the adorable little sheep that I rescued demanded a grassland habitat to be happy. Happy animals earn progress towards collections.
The biggest overarching (or should I say “arking”) motivator in Noah’s Ark is building a bigger and better ark. All players begin without an ark and after completing the initial tutorial are launched into the process of upgrading an ark to stage one. Supplies and resources such as wood, pitches, and feed are required to increase the stage of your ark. These materials can be harvested and collected or purchased through Facebook credits. In addition, animal collections need to be completed to unlock higher ark stages. Currently, the maximum ark stage is 10.
One element that brings a suspenseful feel to Noah’s Ark is the exploration mechanic. When you first begin the game, your usable space is limited to a small area around your habitats and plots. A dim “fog of war” covers the surrounding land with sneak peeks of mystery treasure chests that lie beyond your reach. Collecting (or purchasing) maps allows you to increase the amount of real estate you can use for farming and building animal habitats. The mystery chests beyond contain exclusive animal attractors that are required to entice rare animal species to visit your land.
Noah’s Ark brings in many mechanics that are near standard in other isometric simulation games. Collection pieces can be found by farming, harvesting animals, and chopping down trees on your land. When completed, these collections can be turned in for sweet rewards such as experience points and coins, and you can add specific items to wishlists so that friends can help you out if you ask nicely. All actions require the use of energy, which replenishes slowly over time or can be purchased with Facebook credits. Naturally, you are free to decorate your land any way you see fit, and you can invite your friends to stop over and visit and see your handiwork.
Noah’s Ark is a surprisingly fun and well done game. The art style is light and fun with adorable vector avatars that suit the theme well. The collection aspect of the game is surprisingly deep with dozens of different animals to collect and an element of randomization that adds replayability. The goal of growing my ark was an enticing one, and I found myself disappointed when I ran out of energy. While farming and animal collection have certainly been done before on Facebook, Noah’s Ark feels like a polished and pretty package with a new and fresh feel that we haven’t seen before. There is a definite religious theme and story to the game, but Noah’s Ark keeps the holy references to a minimum in what may be an attempt to appeal to the largest audience possible.
There have been several missed attempts at religious games on Facebook, but Noah’s Arkis the best option available so far.