Township (video game)
|Township™ by Playrix|
|Platform(s)||iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Facebook (Adobe Flash)|
|Release||Apple App Store|
February 24, 2012
November 13, 2013
Amazon App Store
February 16, 2014
May 14, 2015
|Genre(s)||Construction and management simulation, city-building|
Township is a casual farming and city-building game developed and launched on multiple platforms by Playrix. The object is to develop a starter town by building factories, harvesting crops, and creating goods. Township was originally available as an Adobe Flash application on WhatsApp Social and later on was released on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore.
The gameplay is built upon farming and production puzzle cores and causal order board games. A player starts harvesting crops such as wheat, corn, carrot, potato, sugarcane, cocoa, tomato, rubber, silk, and strawberries. Assets are used to produce goods in factories to earn coins and experience points. At the initial levels, players are assisted by a character named Ernie who gives them brief tutorials. For instance, he explains that the process of feeding the cows and milk production can take 20 minutes or occur immediately by spending in-game currency. To produce eggs, wool, and bacon, players can farm chickens, sheeps, and pigs. There are more than 250 goods to harvest or produce. Production puzzles are driven by orders, which first appear on a helicopter pad. The game is in sync with real-time, and rewards for a taken assignment depend on its time to manufacture products.
Leveling up, players get access to new in-game activities and content. Level 5 unlocks a free train simulation that allows the exchange of goods for construction materials and mining tools. A reward for fulfilling orders would be available after the train's return in five hours. Later on, players can upgrade the train to reduce its travel time. Once they reach Level 17, players can repair an airport and use an airplane to earn coins and XP points, filling orders in stipulated time before departure. Upper levels unlock locations with Mine, Zoo, and Port. Mine allows extracting precious metals, hidden chests, coins, messages from friends, and other artifacts. Players need to use Pickaxes, Dynamites or TNTs to dig and destroy rock tiles. Mining also produces resources to level up buildings, which reduces production time and various improvements. Using Ships, players can get rare items and treasures. The maximum number of ships is 4, and each ship may carry up to 3 crates. Periodically, co-op regattas are taking place. Parties need to complete chosen tasks in a given time to collect points. After the 2015 upgrade, players got an opportunity to build and run Zoo, which upgrades require assets produced in the city. Unlocking new animals enables additional buildings to the zoo layout (a cafe, souvenir shop, and fast food).
The city-building mechanics of Township differs from traditional games of the genre. A layout and planning have an insignificant impact on the outcome that allows players to concentrate mostly on a maintaining aspect. They have access to constructions of different categories — Houses, Community and Farming Buildings, Factories, Decorations, and Special. Community Buildings and Houses have the most significant effect on a town-development strategy. They are needed to increase the population cap, which is necessary for building factories and expanding the territory. Barns set the capacity of all items a player can store and could be updated by collecting enough construction materials gathered from trains or by special Barn Upgrade Ticket. Players can design their towns with more than 200 available decorations like plants, yachts, castles.
Integrated mini-games engage the audience to solve new casual and hyper-casual challenges outside of a town layout. For example, Playrix included time management cooking sims Italian Week or match-three puzzle game Color Splash. The usual event duration is 7—10 days on a non-continuous basis. Each mini-game has its progression loop to motivate players to compete on a leaderboard.
Township encourages interactions between players by joining Co-ops or Clans. Members could ask for help with fulfilling orders; donate planes and trains; take part in regatta races. Later on, developers added chat to boost the social aspect of Township. In addition, players can invite Facebook followers to expand in-game friend lists. As a reward to involved players, the "Daily Bonus" is used, which is awarded after playing for five days in a row.
Commercial and reception
Township was launched in 2011 as a freemium social game on Google+, and later it was adopted for Facebook. After redesigning, it was also launched on smartphones and became the first mobile game from the developer Playrix — it was released for iOS in 2012 and for Android in 2013. During the first six years, the developers have implemented more than sixty updates. For example, they completely changed the in-game graphics in 2015. In addition, the number of levels increased from maximum of 38 levels to 90. In November 2019, the developers launched an in-game analog of the Season Pass called Professor's Experiments, which resulted in a one-time 22% increase in sales.
By 2016, the mobile game had over a million daily active users only in China. The number of daily users worldwide exceeded 3.5 million in 2020. The audience was divided roughly equally between iOS and Android devices. By 2021, the game was downloaded more than 248 million times, the developer's profit, excluding the seller's commission, was more than 849 million.  Together with Klondike Adventures by Vizor, Township makes up 40% of the addressable tycoon market.
Township has received mostly positive customer and critical reviews. Since 2013, Township, as well as other Playrix's games had consistently been rated as one of the Top 15 or Top 50 grossing charts in more than 50 countries worldwide. Township was named one of the Best Mac Games of the Year in 2014. Additionally, the game has been listed multiple times in the Top-50 grossing games for iPad and the Top 100 for iPhone.
Township, as with other games made by Playrix such as Homescapes, has been criticized for advertisements displaying misleading images and scenes that are not related to or otherwise misrepresent the core gameplay. However, according to the Australian Council on Children and the Media, no advertising and product placement was found inside the game itself.
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