[dropcap size=big]B[/dropcap]ack in April a smartphone-exclusive game by the name of Alpaca Party was successfully funded on Kickstarter to the tune of $3,717. I, along with a little over 100 other backers, for some reason adore alpacas and wanted to see this cutesy title become a reality. That was even before we had any real concept of what the game even was other than the vague “alpacas have a party” concept. Now that the game is finally available on Android (and coming soon to iOS) I hurriedly downloaded it and begun playing!
Alpaca Party is a free to play game and that’s for everyone – not just the Kickstarter backers. Your goal, as the name implies, is to have a party for a group of alpaca. But what mechanics are in play to make this work? Basically, there are slots for a few alpaca on the screen and each will dance happily until their fur grows out too much. At this point they sway slightly and sweat letting you know it’s time to shear them. Every shearing procures coins. These coins are required to purchase more party paraphernalia.
The types of goodies you can buy vary in type. There are food platters, musical objects, and decorations. Each of these seems to help grow alpaca fur faster but I’m honestly not sure. It might just be to customize your party. Alpaca Party doesn’t specify either way, unfortunately. You can also buy candy with coins. Candy is used to lure new, rare alpaca into your team. The more expensive the candy used, the better chances of getting an alpaca which drops a great deal of coins. Of course, to unlock all candy you need to first upgrade your alpaca license… and those are super expensive!
There’s a definite joy to simply watching the screen and clicking on alpaca. Each is outrageously adorable in its steppy, silly dance. On multiple occasions people have asked what I’m playing simply thanks to the incredibly colorful adorableness on display. Musically, although there’s not many tunes, it has a nice addictive and pleasant quality.
However, even the most aww-inducing graphics can’t shield how repetitive – and literally painful – gameplay became for me. Your goal is to collect coins but there’s no way to automatically procure more. After playing titles such as Cookie Clicker and Clicker Heroes this just feels like a tremendous oversight. By having to click alpacas regularly (and yielding only small sums each time) it requires continued screen touching. Not only does this eat away at the phone’s battery life but it also hurts my wrist after a while.
One strange addition to Alpaca Party is Floaty Alpaca. This mode is effectively Flappy Bird but a bit easier. You still gain coins in this mode but they drop at such a paltry rate there’s no reason to play it. In all, this smartphone game is super cute and easy to understand, but requires far too much attention. Sure, you can always buy a stash of coins for real money, but that’s just unfair. Alpaca lovers will get a kick out of the art style and concept, for sure. Just know if you install this game to play it in short bursts. Forcing yourself to collect coins for minutes on end will turn Alpaca Party into a terribly dull experience.