Zynga recently unveiled the long-awaited coin store (complete with in-game customizations) as part of their Hanging With Friends game for IOS and Android systems. Using real money, you can now purchase coins which can be used for lifelines, or to customize your character or balloons. If you’re not interested in paying for coins you can still accumulate them the old fashioned way by playing the game, and building them up through the point value of each letter / word.
But be warned… if you’re considering saving up to get some spiffy new balloons, it’s gonna cost ya… Anywhere from 75 to 4000 coins to be exact. That’s ok, though. You can just dip into your real bank account and purchase a set of coins from the low price of $0.99 (70 coins) to the not-so-low price of $49.99 (5000 coins). Yup! $50 can get you a wicked set of virtual balloons to hover over molten lava with! If that seems like a great deal of real money, that’s because it is! But look on the bright side. They’re yours for life! Seems like a good deal now, doesn’t it? No, me neither.
I did upgrade my balloons from the default colourful to the rather drab looking grey (150 coins). Some people might consider that to be a downgrade, but I’ve always been rather partial to that colour scheme. (Just take a look at the current blog theme)
So imagine when you find a random opponent with some of the 4000 coin balloons! You know that you’re up against someone who is serious about their Hanging With Friends! Or they simply have a lot of spare change laying around the house, and nothing better to do with it.
Aside from the balloon upgrade, you can now choose a premium character starting at 500 coins. (Zynga also promises to release other goodies on a regular basis) I don’t have a problem with the balloons, but when it comes to the characters, I think that Zynga might not be going about this in a smart way. My issue is this:
Some of the “premium” characters are not exactly special or unique in any way, and charging 500 coins for them is ridiculous and wrong. I like to use the example of the blonde girl, but there are others there as well. She is the only blonde female character to choose, and if I was a woman with blonde hair, I would probably want to use her as my character. For some reason I would have to pay 500 coins ($9.99 if you don’t want to have to build up to 500 coins through the game, which would take forever) to get a character that resembles me. Why does the red head get her character for free? Or the brunette? It just doesn’t make sense.
Now when it comes to special characters, I’m all for paying for those. If I want to be a pirate, it’s gonna cost me some coin. And presumably Zynga will add more exciting character to choose from… maybe an astronaut, lion tamer, or blogger. The choices are endless! But there should be a distinction made between the ones that are free, and the premium characters. I hope that Zynga adds to the number of free characters. Hey, maybe even a bald guy… or a guy wearing a ballcap and a hoodie.
I actually like the way Microsoft XBox 360 allows you to customize your avatar right down to facial hair, footwear, and jewelry. Now THAT I would consider worthy of shelling out a few coins for.
So if you’re looking for a new addiction in your life, give Zynga’s Hanging With Friends a try. It’s a lot of fun, and you really don’t need to worry about any of these enhancements or buying coins. You can certainly play the game just fine without ever spending a penny of your hard-earned money. And the stability issues I mentioned in another post seem to have been resolved for the most part.
Look me up by my username “Dunnik“, and please… go easy on me! 🙂
[Updated 9 Apr 12] On a related note, I have noticed a real lack of resources and strategies for Hanging With Friends. Sure you can find an article here or there, but nothing comprehensive. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to change that! I am getting close to unveiling my ultimate Hanging With Friends membership site, and offering people the chance now to sign up for instant notification when this goes live. A few quick notes about the membership site: