Beeline Interactive takes to the clouds with iOS app Fumbies
The creators of the incredibly popular mobile title Smurfs’ Village are taking another pass at the sim genre with the release of Fumbies: The Cloud Creatures. Taking many a page from its predecessor, the game combines the familiar with a very Sims and Pet Society-style feel, granting players the ability to care for a variety of quirky and cute bear… squirrel things. Relatively basic, the core of the app doesn’t feel all that unique, but it is polished with a rather original presentation and a good number of perks are peppered throughout.
So what exactly is a “Fumbie”? Well, these odd looking marsupial creatures are goofy-looking fuzzballs that can talk to clouds and live in the sky. Obviously. Unfortunately for them, they tend to be a bit of a lazy bunch, so it’s up to the player to take on the role of this skyward realm’s guardian and tell the little critters what to do and when. Fumbies is a free-to-play game, highly akin to those previously noted in that the sole objective is care for the critters whilst making money and further polishing one’s virtual space.
In terms of the Pet Society similarities, the game requires management of the basic Fumbie needs such as food, cleanliness, and entertainment. All of it controls easily enough, with the Fumbie informing players of its needs through thought bubbles, and each one being accessible simply by tapping on the avatar and using the feed, wash, and play buttons that pop up. Once these basic requirements are met, then the real aspects of the game can begin.
First off, Fumbies need money, and to do that, users can participate in various mini-games that earn coins based on how well they perform. Like Smurfs’ Village, these games are only available every few hours and usually consist of basic mechanics such as timing a tap. For example, the first “job” players can do is collecting clouds and turning them into “happy clouds.” To do so, they merely tap the handset’s screen when a gauge’s oscillating arrow is in the green zone. Each successive tap increases the combo multiplier, and in turn, the coins earned. However, each also causes the arrow to move faster.
Not a lot will be earned, but along with some minor FarmVille‘esque crops (sadly they do wilt if players do not return to harvest them), there is enough to get started with the most important aspect of Fumbies: the décor. Already designed in a cutesy fashion, the 3D space is a decent area to decorate with each of the items being interacted with by the Fumbies in some way. It’s a nice bit of polish that makes everything a bit more gratifying to purchase. That said, the starting space is pretty small, but as users level up they will be able to unlock physical space upgrades.
Also as players advance, they will unlock more Fumbies to plant on their island and interact with. This, in particular, is a great perk as part of the decorative aspect of the game ties directly to these avatars. As one of the more unique features of the game, players will be able to expend slowly recharging energy in order to train their Fumbie’s charisma, strength, or intellect. By doing so, they will level up that particular skill set, and while it doesn’t do anything functional for game play per se, it does allow users to unlock very unique costumes as rewards. Examples include pirate outfits, a karate gi, and knight’s armor.
One the downside of things, Fumbies doesn’t feel like the most adequately optimized game in the world. While playing and interacting with the Fumbie characters, everything looks great and works fine, but every single time players attempt to go to the store or enter the edit object mode (for moving décor around), the app has to take a significantly flow-breaking pause to load everything. It’s not a tremendous amount of time in the grand scheme of things (about five or so seconds), but it adds up very, very quickly and becomes incorrigibly annoying.
All in all, Fumbies: The Cloud Creatures is a pretty decent game. It’s more or less standard in terms of core game play, but it does try to differentiate itself with a few unique elements such as training avatars and a highly polished visual aesthetic. That taken into consideration, like other apps of the genre, it’s not a game for everyone but is certainly enjoyable for those that already play games of this style. Unfortunately, it is rather slow with loading in and out of the in-game store, making for a significant hindrance when one of the central draws to these games is the decorative elements themselves. Hopefully, future updates will remedy this quandary.