By Randy Nelson From Inside Social Games
Cheech and Chong's Animated Game relies on a few interconnected game mechanics, the first of which is actually growing pot. Players have a grow house as their home base, where they place pots, fill them with potting soil, plant seeds, and water them, then wait until their crops are ready. When they are, they place them into jars and can add them to their stash, or store them in their lowrider. Harvesting weed increases the player's experience, with prizes awarded when they reach new levels. For each amount of weed stored in the lowrider, the player gains more notoriety with the police, who will arrest them and take their drugs if they're not moved or sold fast enough.
Selling pot is one way to make money. Players can also earn coins by performing jobs, most of which require special items, such as shovels or oranges, and which have several levels. Performing jobs is a simple matter of clicking multiple times to fill a completion bar, although each click takes away from the player's high (energy), and no work can be performed when its level reaches zero. In order to replenish their high, players can either wait for it to refill, or smoke pot. Various types of pot can be grown, all of which have a quality rating on a five-star scale indicating how potent they are. It's possible to smoke too strong a weed, in which case players need to purposefully diminish their high by buying and eating snacks before they can work again.
Coins can be spent on buying grow supplies, food, and deco. Players can also save up to buy additional and larger grow houses, with some featuring more plant slots and electrical outlets for lights and fans, which also cost coins. Players can also hire helpers to tend to their plants when they're away.
On the social front, the game lets players add friends and visit them once per day to perform tasks, such as moving items between their grow houses for them. Players also receive rewards in the form of pot and other items for visiting their friends, and can send free gifts to one another once per day. The game features a dispensary shop where players can set up and sell their weed and items to other players, once they've acquired the jars need to do so. This location can also be customized using purchased deco items. In addition to a real-time ranking of friends'scores at the bottom of the play area, the game features an overall leaderboard, updated weekly, where the top 10 players each seven days receive items as prizes.
Cheech and Chong's Animated Game is monetized is a fairly basic way through players spending Facebook Credits to purchase coins. Rather than offer an option to speed up growing and other tasks directly with Credits, the game requires players to use coins to buy items that can do this.
Grow house helpers, mentioned above, were recently added to the game. Its developers have stated on the game's Wall that they intend to roll out more new features soon, such as the ability to sell in bulk and perform actions such as harvesting with fewer clicks. So far, there doesn't appear to be any connection between the game and Cheech and Chong's current comedy tour — although the official website does advertize the game.
It'll be interesting to see if the Cheech and Chong brand gives this game an edge over Weeds Social Club and Pot Farm in the long run (although Weeds also has a brand association behind it). After almost four decades of stand-up comedy, film, and TV appearances, the Cheech & Chong brand is recognizable; but on Facebook, it probably resonates more with the 35 and older crowd.
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