In addition to PopCap’s Zuma Biltz, and GameStop/Jolt Online’s Utopia Kingdoms, Sony Online Entertainment isn’t leaving any pixel hungry fans out in the cold this season. Launched yesterday, SOE wants to bring a little free-to-play mystery to your holiday season. Billed as a puzzle adventure game, James Patterson: Catch a Killer is up an running on Facebook, and combines best-selling author James Patterson’s content with the interactive game play style of Facebook games.
“We have an incredible relationship with James Patterson and worked closely with him on the development of this game to explore interesting and creative ways we could approach his unique way of storytelling within a Facebook game environment,” comments SEO head John Smedley. “Fans of James Patterson and crime dramas will enjoy James Patterson: Catch a Killer as it combines social gaming with the mystery and suspense of a Patterson novel to deliver an interactive and entertaining gameplay experience.”
Playing as protagonist Alex Cross, the title challenges would-be-sleuths to decipher cryptic puzzles and use technology and skill to help the good guys bring home the bad guys. A series of clues and hidden items, complete with gritty CSI-esque crime scene photos await, as players piece together fingerprints and DNA sequences to discover the truth. And while the sleuthing is the mainstay of the title, SOE has taken full advantage of the Facebook platform’s offerings, as Catch A Killer also features a virtual world where players can interact with friends, invite them to the game, gift items, and publish achievements to their news feed.
You’ll note the “gift items,” as Sony has built in a microtransactions mechanism, whereby players may send gifts to other players and/or friends, as well as purchase Energy Packs and other in-game items to enhance their playing experience. Players may use Station Cash, Sony’s own virtual currency to purchase said items. Again, the title is free-to-play, but based on SOE’s previous experience with free-to-plays (read: Free Realms), chances are Sony’s got a few enticing offers that are sure to draw in the microtransactions.
“Sony Online Entertainment has delivered a really unique online crime drama experience,” said Author James Patterson. “I think fans of Alex Cross – and of crime stories in general – will really get into the experience of becoming a detective and solving mysteries online.”