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Mermaid World is basically a DragonVale clone with a few added challenges and, of course, cute mermaids. You purchase realms for your mermaids to live in and can "summon" different kinds of mermaids to populate your realms. Mermaids have different characteristics that are described by color. For instance, a Velvet Twist mermaid is a Red, Blue and Green mermaid. Mermaids can have up to three characteristics, but may only have one. Characteristics determine the type of mermaid and are static. However, each individual mermaid has 4 criteria that determine their happiness. Mermaids like realms that are 100% decorated, they have a special trinket item that they like, they also have a preference for and against one other kind of mermaid. When all 4 criteria are met, the mermaid is ecstatic. Each realm can hold up to 5 mermaids and if you can make all 5 ecstatic, then your realm will rate 3 stars. Having 3 star realms is the goal of the game and will earn you pearls. Pearls are the in-app purchase for Mermaid World, and like DragonVale, the in-app purchase system here is done the right way. Pearls can be earned in game both by having 3 star realms and by sending mermaids out on explorations.
Explorations are the primary method of obtaining decor and trinkets. As the mermaids lounge about in your realms, they earn gold that you can spend on decor or explorations (trinkets cost pearls). The more characteristics a mermaid has the more it will cost to send them on an exploration, but there seems to be some correlation between the amounts of characteristics and the rarity of the mermaid and the items and trinkets they are able to find.
The balance of the game is spent trying to build, decorate, and populate your realms and then elevate your mermaids to ecstatic status. Populating your realms can be achieved by summoning mermaids by spending coins or pearls, but the much cheaper and more challenging way is to "call" them. Calling mermaids is conducted by having two mermaids sing a duet. The siren song they sing will summon a new mermaid to your realms. The kind of mermaid that is summoned will depend entirely upon the kinds that are singing. For instance, if an Aqua (blue) mermaid and Coral (red) mermaid sing, they might summon other Aqua or Coral mermaids, or they might summon a Fuchsia (red/blue) mermaid! Needless to say, the combinations can build from there. All in all there are 51 possible mermaids to summon ranging from those that have a single characteristic to those that are more complex and have three characteristics. There are also rare mermaids that have unique characteristics not governed by color types. Every kind of mermaid can be summoned by "calling."
(Click Here to visit the Mermaid World Calling Guide)
Calling mermaids is done by sending two mermaids to the Singing Summit. Once there, they will being their song and a status bar will appear telling you how long it will take them to sing the song. Generally speaking the longer the song, the greater the rarity of the mermaid summoned. For instance, the Tiger Lily mermaid is extremely common and takes only 5 minutes to summon, however the Silversong mermaid is fairly rare and takes 10 hours to summon. Those times are a bit deceiving, however, because in addition to the time it takes to sing the song it takes an equal amount of time to summon them, so a Tiger Lily mermaid will take 10 full minutes to summon in full (5 for the song and 5 for the summoning) and a Silversong will take 20 hours. It should also be noted that the cost for singing a song will be determined by the rarity of the rarest mermaid singing, not the rarity of the mermaid being summoned. Thus an Aqua/Coral duet may only cost 135 coins to sing their song, while an Aqua/Koi duet might cost as much as 2065 coins to sing.
There are other aspects to the game play that are explained within the game. For instance, your mermaids will go to sleep after some time if you are not actively engaged in singing or exploring. Sleeping mermaids earn no gold, so you'll have to check in regularly to keep them up and going.
The challenge of Mermaid World is that is can be extremely difficult to get a three star realm. When you consider that you need to meet the 4 needs of 5 different mermaids, and three of those needs are diverse and distinct, getting all of those criteria met is tough. You can spend pearls to randomize these criteria if you chose. This can be helpful if you have a rare mermaid with undesirable criteria, however the cost to randomize is based on the rarity of the mermaid being altered.
Keeping all of these criteria in balance can be a real challenge and will require summoning multiple mermaids of the same type to fit perfectly into a specific realm. One major tip is to remember that you only need a mermaid that likes an existing member of a realm and is not disliked by anyone in the realm. The only time you will need a specific type of mermaid is to meet the Liked criteria of an existing mermaid and if you do it right, you'll only have to worry about that once or twice per realm.
For a more in depth look at how to create Harmonious Realms, check out our Mermaid World Guide to Harmonious Realms!
To help you summon each and every kind of mermaid out there, Aimee and I are working hard on building a Calling Guide that lists the duets that will summon each type. This guide is a work-in-progress and will be updated regularly. I am putting the guide on its own page to help keep the size manageable. You can access the guide from this link or the link at the top of the page.
I never honestly expected to like, play or enjoy Mermaid World, but I gave it a try anyway. I assumed it was going to be some manner of silly dress-up paper doll game, but I am pleased to say that I am wrong. On its face this game appears to be geared for young girls, but I think the appeal is much broader and I think that players of all ages and genders can find something fun here. The in-app purchase aspect is minimally important to the enjoyment of the game and there is a broad social aspect as well. The only major downfall is that the game is bit buggy (lots of crashes and minor glitches) and it requires you to be friends on Facebook in order to be friends with people in the game. This can either severely restrict your friends list, if you have few who play games like this or are terrified of hybrid sub-sea dwellers, or it can open you up to friending all kinds of random people on the internet just to play a mermaid game. However, the game is new and hopefully will see enough support to get regular updates and improvements.
So go give Mermaid World a try. It's rather addictive and fun, and the mermaids are just as cute as they can be!
I got the Limited Edition Winter Mermaid! She is super-awesome! Check the Calling Guide for details about how to add her to your list!
Also, I got a Stinger and something a little odd occurred. I have mentioned above that the game is a bit buggy. Well Stinger's favorite trinket was a question mark, big one. When clicked upon, the question mark identified itself as a mandolin. I later found the mandolin (you can see it in the picture of Winter above), but the question mark icon remains. Was this intentional? If so, why? Is this a bug? What is the question mark really for? And where is the image for the mandolin? Weird.