Amid my monthly blocking of all the apps that people have invited me to on Facebook, I came across a game that was - dare I say it - a real game. There may have been more before it, but Offensive Combat is the first functional FPS I've seen on Facebook. And it's actually quite fun.
Yes, Facebook is a great new frontier for developers. It has an amazing amount of people connected, some who can't seem to get off it, and unparalleled potential for viral expansion. But seeing as all the news that we get about Facebook games is Zynga, and we're used to the crazy popularity of games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, it's pretty easy to have the impression that Facebook games are time-wasters and nothing more.
In fact, I've always thought Facebook games had more potential. What if I had to spend less time blocking over-zealous apps when they pressure my friends into inviting me, and could just have games I'm interested in be presented? Online stores like Amazon have done this for ages, and surely Facebook has the search technology. They probably already know more about me than I do.
My last experience with a Facebook game was Ghost Recon Commander. It's not the prettiest thing... I never had time to find out if it had deep gameplay, but even for a turn-based game it seemed clunky.
But recently, one of my friends went beyond the annoying app invite (which I cynically always assume is so they'll get some form of in-game credit), and actually told me to download a game. "Oh," I said. "You mean that was a real invite?"
The game is Offensive Combat. It's a first-person shooter, on Facebook. And it's not terrible.
In fact, you can do far worse. If you've got a choice between this and Battlefield 3, you'll pick BF3 90% of the time. But Offensive Combat, in addition to being a capable shooter, has a humorous element that isn't found in many corners of the FPS genre.
You'll start off in Offensive Combat with a shirt that labels you a "Noob", and it's up to you to earn your way out of it. Not desiring to wear the Noob shirt any longer than I had to, I checked the store. There's a plethora of internet comedy there, from rage faces, to otaku gear, to Anchorman references. You can buy these with in-game coins, which are either earned through play or by paying real money.
It's obviously cashing in on easy internet jokes, but does that matter? It's still pretty fun, and funny, running around shooting people in a giant banana suit. The real-world cash cost for gold coins seems a bit crazy, but it's easy enough to get those coins just by playing.
There are lots of nice little touches, ranging from the subtle, like a slight zoom when sprinting, to those that fit in with the game's adolescent humour, such as getting rewarded for cock shots, and an ability to "pwn" (teabag) a downed enemy.
But the main thing is that it's an FPS that works just fine, on Facebook. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised - I'm far from a Facebook games expert, and this type of game has been around in browsers since Quake Live. But I can't help but feel good that there's a game on Facebook that I actually might once in a while want to play. Perhaps it's no longer the domain of the time-wasters.
You can check out Offensive Combat here. Have you played any Facebook games that you'd genuinely recommend to a friend?