is a Flash-based game
by Zynga, Inc., available through Facebook
. It's the company's second most popular game behind Farmville
. You play a gangster who must rise through the ranks of The Mafia
by performing jobs, collecting gear, taking over businesses, recruiting members, and fighting with rival Mafias. Through these actions, you earn money and Experience Points
; XP is used to advance your Character Level
, which unlocks new content and gives you additional points to spend to raise your stats. It's billed as an RPG
, but contains no action elements whatsoever; the game's interface is simply a series of screens and buttons that you click on to perform the desired task.
The game has a timing element, in that your Energy (used to perform jobs), Stamina (used to fight and rob), and Health (depleted when you fight) refill on a timer, encouraging you to log in as soon as they are full to maximize your XP and cash income. Similarly, your businesses generate income on fixed timers ranging from every hour to every 72 hours, and many other actions such as gifting, requesting and providing help with jobs, etc. reset on a daily basis.
The social aspect of the game comes into play in that your ability to fight other Mafias is directly related to how many members your own Mafia has; these may consist of friends you recruit through Facebook
or "Hired Guns" that you buy with reward points. You can exchange gifts with your Mafia to complete collections and help with jobs, request and receive aid to perform jobs, send and receive Energy Packs, and even go to war with each other for fun and XP. There's also a "Hitlist" challenge where you try to stay alive as long as possible with everyone else gunning for you.
The game is divided into different mission areas, each with its own structure and unique challenges. All players start in New York City
(considered the "home city"), and the other locations become unlocked as you gain levels. The current locations are New York, Las Vegas, Italy
, and most recently (as of this writing), Chicago
. Four former locations, Cuba
and Atlantic City (The last of which was exclusive to the mobile version of the game), are now closed, with no word from the developers if they will be reopened.
Like all Zynga games, Mafia Wars
is entirely free to play, but you are encouraged to spend money to buy "reward points", which can be spent at the in-game Marketplace to purchase everything from skill points to energy refills to "limited edition" loot to additional Mafia members. Otherwise, they trickle in at the miserly rate of one every other level.
There is also a Mafia Wars
iPhone app by Zynga, but it's a self-contained version that does not link to the Facebook
A sequel, Mafia Wars 2
, is in development, which judging from the gameplay footage revealed so far, adds graphics and action gameplay by adding features from other Zynga games such as FrontierVille
and City Ville
, and Real-Time Strategy
elements as seen in games such as Commandos
This game provides examples of: