In “The Pioneer Trail,” you will work your way across 3 distinct maps — Beaver Valley, High Plains and Avalanche Pass — in order to reach the safety of Fort Courage. To help you get to Fort Courage, you can select 3 of your Facebook friends to form your Trail Crew. You can designate those friends as your crew’s doctor, carpenter and hunter, each of whom have their own special abilities. This gives an interesting twist to the game, as the more active your friends are on “The Pioneer Trail,” the faster you will progress.
While working your way towards Fort Courage, you will be faced with several choices in a story that is filled with plot twists, creatures and other characters. Soon after setting off on your journey, you will learn of a kidnapping that has been carried out. The story then plays out as you discover clues to solve the mystery.
“The Pioneer Trail” is around 5 times the size of other Zynga games and it is the first game from the company that lets you progress across different maps and through changing environments. There are also several ways to work through the story. The choices that you make will determine how well you do as you travel across unfamiliar territory. After you successfully play through a map, you can play it again and possibly end up with a different outcome.
The game also contains a points system, where you can earn points while traveling to Fort Courage and see how your score ranks against your friends and other players.
If you are new to “FrontierVille,” you will be able to set out on “The Pioneer Trail” after building your homestead. If you already have a homestead, you can find it at the bottom of the screen while playing “The Pioneer Trail” and you can switch back and forth between the main “FrontierVille” game and “The Pioneer Trail.”
It appears that Zynga is experimenting with new social gaming mechanics in “The Pioneer Trail.” Limiting your crew to just 3 friends adds a strategy element of which friends to choose, while a closed story mode (as opposed to the open-ended format of other Zynga games) should add an extra dimension of gameplay to “FrontierVille.”
Of course, this is not the first time that Zynga has launched a game-within-a-game. The company created “GagaVille” within “FarmVille” to promote Lady Gaga‘s latest album. The company has launched several other new games in recent months, including “Hanging With Friends” and “CityVille Hometown,” while it has brought its popular “Words With Friends” mobile game to Facebook. Meanwhile, “FrontierVille” was used to promote the animated movie “Rango” earlier this year.
You can check out “The Pioneer Trail” for yourself by visiting “FrontierVille.”