Finally a Facebook game that makes you feel like you're on Kongregate! See those blood splatters in the header pic? That's monster blood, the result of killing via explosives and projectile launches. See that array of buildings? That's a non-decorative arrangement I used to express myself, with concerns for both architecture style and radius coverage of my peremeter, which has been optimized - optimized! - to cluster AI paths into areas of maximum overlap. In this game I was allowed to make decisions which affected my success relative to everyone else in a matter that was challenging. Surely italics are better than quotation marks for placing "sardonic" emphasis?
Yes, the folks at Casual Collective, makers of really neat multiplayer experiences like Buggle and featuring the maker of Kongregate breakout-hit Desktop Tower Defense, have applied their hybrid of depth and accessibility to that "space" where traditional designers have feared to tread but where angels tread quite freely: The Facebook. Now you can open that book of faces and proceed to start breaking them by spawing groups of home-brewed monsters at the door-step of other folks' tower defense arrays. If you succeed in overwhelming you can raid resources in order to grow your tower-defended base even faster. They take the chestnut of setting a timer and coming back for a reward and granulate it to a wide spectrum of time ranges, upgrade this building for 20 minutes, this one over two hours, research this monster for a day, harvest some putty in an hour and a half of the collector will be too full to continue - somehow this juggling act, in contrast to the optimal appointment that games like Farmville or Cafe World offer, appeals to the epic-compulsive drive of the active competitor or manager-type gamer. However according to their chart, people burn out on that and the resulting ratio of daily to monthly players is lower than you'd expect from a demanding strategy game.
The PvP is pretty fun as you raid someone multiple times and they start hitting back, so you reflexively get into these petty rivalries with folks you've never met - would like to see more with my actual friends, structured local leaderboards, short-term races to a goal milestone, alliances and wars and tournaments. But maybe they can roll that stuff out, at 200k DAU they're pulling prolly like 5k a day so they're probably holding onto positive operating-margins with this thing and you're going to see some new stuff roll out over time.
As far as the early game goes, I admire their boldness in not folding to the mainstays of Facebook game design. The interface is kind of a mess from a "casual" (or is that casual) point of view, but they just trust you to deal with it. Most notably, the focal mechanic of the game, attacking other players, doesn't become accessible until after a few days of active play, they even give you 14 days explicitedly when you start up. This kind of commitment, as fickel as it may seem to those who have losts years to MMORPGS, is staggering for a social game.
A note on the "indie" or indie aspect here: these guys were indie at one point, they got some investment put into them - so has practically everyone else doing games on Facebook with a significant level of success - does that make them less indie? According to my definition, only if they brought an MBA on staff.
But hey man, at least we have a game where you can post a newsfeed that isn't totally hokey, and maybe even inspire some badass admiration as you start unlocking that hardcore, high-level monster and warn your friends. I Like that.