GnomeTown

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
GnomeTown Game Poster Image
Lighthearted building sim encourages playing with friends.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The goal is to restore the gnome kingdom by clearing debris, restoring ancient structures, and freeing forest creatures that have been captured by an evil gnome.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Quests encourage the player to contribute to the overall well-being of the Gnome Kingdom by clearing debris, freeing trapped creatures, and taking care of them.

Ease of Play

Gameplay is simple to pick up, with tutorials and quests that guide the player along.

Violence

Friends can play a "brawl" mini-game where a gnome is shown catapulting a giant tomato toward their opponent.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Some exclusive items can only be purchased with Facebook Credits, which cost real-world cash. Facebook Credits can also be used to speed up the game by unlocking quests.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the buildings is a tavern. Friends can compete in a "party" mini-game where two gnomes are shown getting tipsy in a drinking contest.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that GnomeTown is a simulation game played on the Facebook social network. It's free to play, but players can use Facebook Credits to buy exclusive items and speed up the game. Having a lot of friends helps players advance more quickly. While this game would appeal to kids younger than 13, Facebook requires people to be at least 13 to sign up for an account.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

In GNOMETOWN players are tasked with saving forest creatures and defeating an evil gnome by building a thriving village. The game is similar to FrontierVille and its ilk, requiring players to complete quests that include clearing away debris, constructing buildings, harvesting crops, and raising livestock. However, instead of having to ask friends for building materials to finish buildings, players instead ask them to staff buildings (friends take on the position of workers) in order to finish construction -- which results in less wall spam, but still requires players to have friends who are actively playing the game. Another difference is that players discover new bits of terrain one step at a time by spending special machete icons (which represent chopping down the underbrush).

Is it any good?

GnomeTown is a run-of-the-mill social sim game that doesn't play much differently from other offerings in the same genre, but its enchanting and unique setting does help it to stand out. Keeping with the gnomes' tiny stature, scenery like mushrooms and dandelions look huge, and the "livestock" that the gnomes raise includes snails and ladybugs. The game could use more interesting quests to go along with the adorable helpers that gradually get unlocked over time (such as a pair of weasels wearing giant turtleneck sweaters); as it stands, they seem a bit too much like filler. The bottom line is: although it's a little short on substance, GnomeTown is a good-looking fantasy-inspired sim for Facebook followers you like to build.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about GnomeTown's similarities to other sim games on Facebook. Which is more important, a unique theme or unique gameplay?

  • Families can talk about ways in which GnomeTown requires players to have friends who are also playing the game. Do you enjoy this aspect of social games?

Game details

  • Platforms: Facebook
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Playdom
  • Release date: July 29, 2011
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: NR

For kids who love social gaming

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