Kabam.com offers lots of great multiplayer ‘management’ games, for free. Among their best works are “The Godfather: Five Families” and “Thirst Of Night”.
Both of these games are strategy oriented, contain some very pretty graphics, and offer countless hours of play time, all at no cost. Kabam has lots of great other games, as well, but I will focus on these two for the purposes of this article.
Kabam allows you to sign up and log in using your Facebook or Google+ account, as easy options for those who have either of those accounts already. Alternatively, you can sign up with any email address that will allow you to receive and reply to a confirmation email they will send you.
Once you’ve started and confirmed your account, you’re ready to log in and play any of the great free games Kabam has to offer. All their games are web-based and do not require you to download or install anything other than Flash, which you probably already have on your browser.
The Godfather: Five Families is, obviously, based on the Paramount films by the same name. Thirst Of Night is an entirely original game about vampires. Both of these games fall into the category of strategy games, and I affectionately refer to them as ’management’ games because 90% of the gameplay itself involves management of resources and conquest of the game world. In The Godfather: Five Families, you are chosen as the heir of a particular family of gangsters featured in the popular film series. In Thirst Of Night, you are the chosen leader of a group of toothy monsters out to conquer the world. In both games, you manage your ‘gang’ and your available resources, such as weapons, money/blood, gang members, real estate, etc.
Both of these games feature some great work by original artists, designed and produced exclusively for Kabam’s games. You may already have seen ads or mentions of these and other Kabam games when you were on your Facebook or Google+ account, but Kabam has thrown open their doors to everyone. You no longer have to have a Facebook or Google+ account to play any of their games. You may find it easier to get your friends playing with you on either game by using the Facebook or Google+ portals, but it’s not a requirement. In each game, you’ll be taken through a short tutorial that painlessly gives you the basics of play, and then you’re left to your own devices to progress through the game’s various objectives.
In the lower left portion of either game, you’ll find a small window filled with chats from other players. As the games are online and multiplayer, you can chat with and interact with other players at your own discretion. There’s a pretty decent community of players for both games, and I was greeted and welcomed by no less than five people on each game when I first logged in. The overall air of the player community seems to be one of co-operation, rather than competition. Each of the games has its own details as far as what kinds of strategies you can employ to achieve your goals, but they have in common the fact that there isn’t any point-and-click shooting or ‘twitch fest’ gaming involved. These games are not ‘action’ games, so don’t go into them expecting to see tons of explosions and violently shaking camera shots. They are strategy games, and therefore you will be able to play and progress at your own pace. To me, these kinds of games are a great way to relax after a hard day of managing your real life.
The Godfather:Five Families is full of references to the famous films, and each time I did something new I was rewarded with gorgeous graphics and a well-written story. Thirst Of Night is full of references to traditional, as well as more esoteric, vampire myths and legends. The background music is serene without being annoying or invasive, and the overall graphic feel is perfect for its venue. You are presented with the map of the city, and each portion of it is available for conquest, either through economic or military means. It’s up to you how you want to proceed. One of the nice things about these games is their pacing. Each time you being a task, you will have to wait a certain amount of real time for your orders to be completed. Building a new apartment complex, for example, may take four minutes of real time, which is representative of your gang or minions rushing out to do your bidding. This means that you can play these games in spurts. Log in, set up tasks, log out, go to work, come home and log back in to start new tasks. It’s a great way of offering a quick gaming fix, or a long session, whichever your current life allows. As you complete each task, new ones will become unlocked, as well as new weapons, abilities, etc.
The games are both loaded with options, and the options for getting assistance are no exception. You can ask for help from others online at the moment, search through the available forums for your subject, or even send an email to the Kabam folks if you’re really stuck. Kabam has gone to lengths to make sure you can get the support you need when you need it. My question to them was answered by email in less than 5 hours. This may not seem like the fastest thing in the world, but those of us who are used to waiting for 4 or 5 days for a response from an MMO support system are quite happy with a 5 hour wait.
Overall, I was impressed with both of these games, and very happy that I am not forced to have a Facebook or Google+ account to play them. While Kabam does offer some premium content (usually in-game funds of some kind) for a fee, you can quite easily and happily play and experience everything they have to offer without ever spending a dime of real life cash. The premium options, it seems to me, are mostly there for people who don’t want to wait for the game’s natural progression, or for those who just want to show support for the company that creates them. In either case, it’s never required that you do so, and that is the way of the future for games as well as other forms of software. I know I will be playing Thirst Of Night for a long time to come, even if I don’t play it every day.
If neither of the games featured in this post appeal to you, head over to Kabam’s site anyway and see what else they have. It’s quite likely you will be able to find one that does interest you. Each of the games on Kabam’s site follows the same basic formula and format, just in different flavors, so there’s bound to be something that appeals to your gaming tastes.
Until next time, my friends!
Both games available here.