I don’t particularly like mini-games. I’ve done them occasionally when trying to fill some restless time. I’ve played Bookworm Adventures trying to fall asleep in a hotel room. I’ve baked with Cake Mania wasting time in a LONG and boring meeting. However, when it comes to game time – moments I explicitly reserve for gaming, a mini-game isn’t what I’m after. I tried them before dismissing them. Games like Puzzle Pirates don’t appeal to me.
Then there’s instancing which I hate. I lump zoning into the same category. All those things that take me out of the game and sit me in front of a “please wait and watch this static picture” while the clock is ticking on your game-play time. I accept that they exist in all MMOs on some level. But games that zone me in and out at every turn immediately raise my ire. Pirates of the Burning Sea didn’t have a chance with me because of the constant zoning and instancing. I have a hard time considering that type of game play as MMO, even if I do prefer to solo content, I don’t want to be off in a private space doing it.
When you combine the above, it was no surprise that I didn’t like Free Realms. It’s much less MMO than mini-game portal. And e-v-e-r-y-thing is instanced. Literally, every action other than walking around is instanced. There are a splattering over land quests – touch/retrieval but those are far and few.
Lately, I’ve been having more trouble than usual falling asleep. It used to be work keeping me awake now it’s the writing workshop and my plot racing through my head all the time. In the past I’ve played my fill of Bookworm Adventures in those restless moments but I’ve had my fill of that game. I was about to head over to Popcap.com to check out more games when it dawned on me that I could just play FreeRealms and not think of it as a MMO. Why not just log in into FreeRealms, find their version of a Popcap game I like and play it? I’d have the added pleasure of having an avatar roaming around looking for games.
So that’s what I did. I created a new character on FR. Before long, I was sitting in front of the harvesting (farming) game collecting crops. At first, winning seemed impossible but after 30 minutes or so, I was doing that and completing 1 or 2 of the bonus goals. The third evening of doing that I had amassed a huge inventory of produce so I decided to figure out how to sell it or – hmm, I bet I can cook this stuff somewhere.
I found a cooking station in the Sanctuary, which is of course, is another mini game and cooked up all the items. I’d been granted recipes somehow – no clue how. I wasn’t paying attention. After a few late nights of distracting entertainment, I was a level 7 Chef with a satchel of food.
*Shrug* It was amusing enough. The game’s real selling point for me was finding out that it runs great on my Tablet PC across a wireless connection. This allows me to be lying in bed playing, using the stylus to do the little games until I feel sleepy. When I think of FR in that light, sure, it’s worthwhile entertainment. I could spend 10 to 20 bucks on another PopCap game or play FR. I could even subscribe and it’s still a better value than purchasing individual games that I will eventually get tired of playing.
I have no idea why I’d want to be a Chef in FR if I’m not adventuring to use the food. I don’t know if I can sell the items to other players or not? Selling them to NPCs would seem pointless, as I’m not sure why I’d need more money right now. I’ll probably check out pets the next time I’m online.