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Hands-on with Beeline's new freemium social iOS game Snoopy's Street Fair

Global release due in mid-November
Product: Snoopy's Street Fair | Developer: Beeline Interactive | Publisher: Capcom | Format: iPhone, iPad | Genre: Casual
Snoopy's Street Fair Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Capcom's Smurfs' Village will be one of the top grossing mobile games of 2011, but the company wants to do better.

At least that's what it told investors when it was asked 'What's your goal for Snoopy's Street Fair?', which is the new social mobile game from Capcom's Beeline label.

It's released for iPhone and iPad today - at least for players in Canda - so Beeline can solve any bugs and tweak the gameplay before it goes live globally, in mid-November.

Great American unsuccess story

Still, despite not living in the frozen north, Pocket Gamer did managed to get its hands on the game, which was developed by Beeline's team in good ol' London town.

As you'd expect from the title, the game revolves around the Peanuts characters, with you 'playing' as Charlie Brown, who starts out having to raise cash to buy uniforms for his baseball team.

Using typical freemium gameplay, you unlock various Peanuts characters - 21 in total - each of who have their own stands, which generate cash over time. For example, the first item you buy is Lucy's Lemonade Stand, while Linus sells pumpkins.

You place these on the roads outside Charlie Brown's house, with the area available slowly expanding as you level up and fulfil various missions.

Sketchy art

Of course, the look of the game is dominated by the classic hand drawn style of Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz, which means it's a 2D game and the zoom level is fairly restricted.

As you build up your street fair, more visitors will wander around, interacting with the stands and generating cash that you tap on to collect. You get to customise your location with items such as benches, flower beds, swings, slides, and you can play around with the colour of fences and buildings too.

The character of Snoopy has an important part to play. As you'd expect, he lives on the kennel in the back of Charlie Brown's garden. When he sleeps on top, you can hear him snoring, but more importantly, he provides some the game's main interactivity.

For example, when you see a pile of leaves, tapping on it gets Snoppy to run over to jump around on it. A similar thing happens when you tap on marshmallows - he comes running to collect them. These simple, fun tasks give you things to do, as well as unlocking achievements.

Adding to this, there are three Snoopy mini-games, which are accessed outside of the street fair action. These are speed and gesture-based having you turning/roasting marshmallows, making lemonade, and mixing colours. You gain experience points for performing these, and can also select different costumes for Snoopy - scout, artist etc - via the menu.

Phonecall for Chuck

In terms of the game's flow that is organised by the interaction between Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty, who will phone up to give you missions that will gain you experience points and generally give you some guidance about what to do next via a task list.

This is backed with short comic strips and voices, which as with all the main Peanuts' characters in the game, have the correct voices as from the TV show.

Social features include the ability to visit friends' fairs and taking Snoopy Snaps of your friends posing in scenes from Peanuts, and there are 27 character cards to unlock.

Play for free... or pay

And we've come to expect with such time-based management freemium games, as well as the XP you collect to level up, there's the Snoopy coin soft currency and Snoopy dollar hard currency.

You'll collect some amounts of this by building up your street fair, but if you want to progress more quickly, you'll have to spend real cash to buy currency as an in-app purchase.

Still, what's most significant about the game is the strength of the Peanuts brand.

Certainly, the game looks very different to the competition and the depth of licence means that during my admittedly short hands on session, it came across as a fresh experience in a genre that's increasingly becoming stale as more farm, city, restaurant etc clones are released.

Snoopy's Street Fair is out on the Canadian App Store on 3 November as a universal app, with the global launch currently pencilled in for the 17 November.

The gameplay trailer is below. 

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Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan 3 November 2011
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