Zynga's latest Facebook game gives players strategic control over their own armies.
Zynga is now trying its hand at the strategy genre with a Facebook title called Empires & Allies. The game has players running their own island nation, building an army, and protecting themselves from an evil tyrant called "The Raven."
Unlike Zynga games such as FarmVille and FishVille, Empires & Allies is a story-based game. It even has an opening cutscene. The main goal is to figure out why Raven is being such a jerk and dropping bombs on top of your citizens.
Empires & Allies also differentiates itself with some of its new concepts. Players construct buildings such as barracks, and then build units like soldiers and tanks. These units are deployed in an animated combat system with players targeting their foes. In the long-run, players will need to use strategy to defeat opposing armies by building a strong troop that can take on varying types of attackers. Artillery is good against tanks, tanks are strong against soldiers, etc.
Also unlike FarmVille, players of Empires & Allies can actually attack their friends for Infamy. Recruiting friends to your side and helping their empires to earn Honor might be smarter, but if you're a jerk, go for it.
I'm happy that Zynga is trying new genres, but keep in mind that Empires & Allies is still very much a Zynga title. Players will find themselves waiting out timers during play and needing to refill their energy points to perform more actions before long. That's the formula that Zynga and many other free-to-play companies use, which is totally fine, just don't expect a total revolution here despite some fun new additions.
Empires & Allies can be found here