On your first look at Snoopy's Street Fair [Free], you'll probably feel a warm glow of nostalgia. It might be for Charles Schulz' classic Peanuts comic strip or television specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas. But you also might be thinking of something a little more recent. Like, say Beeline Interactive's big hit, Smurfs' Village [Free].

The apps have a lot in common, you see. Both of them are fantastic at bringing back the properties we know and love. Both flawlessly emulate the look of the classics. Both are missing a few key features. And both are cripplingly tied into IAP and grinding mechanics.

Snoopy's Street Fair does a particularly good job of cranking up the nostalgia machine. As you build up your street fair to help Charlie Brown go to the baseball tournament, you'll be flooded with memories. The game is filled with familiar sound bites that were either pulled from the Peanuts TV specials or are excellent impersonations. All manner of beloved characters pop up -- Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty, Linus, Lucy and a huge roster of B, C and D-listers.

But more than that, nostalgic features are peppered throughout the experience. As you level up, you unlock classic comic strips that you can go back and read freely. After unlocking a certain item, you can take Peanuts photobooth pictures and send them to your friends. There are Snoopy trading cards to collect. These sweet little Easter eggs really elevate Snoopy's Street Fair to something occasionally special.

It's almost enough to make you want to use the app to, say, introduce the Peanuts gang to your kids. I'd recommend against it. To its credit, Beeline Interactive does a very good job of pointing out that the IAP costs real money, and warning players that there are real world purchases to be made. But that hasn't stopped the developer from making this game's argument for IAP very compelling. You can earn everything in-game, it seems, but it would take an extremely long time. You only earn a couple Snoopy Dollars each level, and many of the items and characters can only be bought with them -- for 20, 50, even 75 Snoopy Dollars a pop. The minimum purchase is 50 for $4.99, so be prepared to dig deep.

This wouldn't be so irritating if the game surrounding the IAP was more compelling. I've fallen in love with a few freemium games with simple grinding mechanics, but this one is just a bit too brainless. You can tap each of the stalls and features of your fair once in a while - 30 seconds, 24 hours, or somewhere in between. You get coins and experience when you do, and occasionally random rewards pop out to try to hit the part of our psyche that loves that kind of thing. The grinding is oversimplified, as is the decorating. It's all just rather bland.

There are a few mini-games that round out the experience, but they're pricey and straightforward. You can twist lemons for lemonade, or marshmallows for campfire roasting, and you can play with paints. But you can only do these things occasionally, because you could otherwise earn too much experience or have some kind of fun.

Rounding out the flaws, on the other hand, are a pair of familiar issues. While Snoopy's Street Fair lets you add Game Center friends, it doesn't have any other Game Center integration. Worse, it doesn't make any attempt to save your progress to the cloud. Delete the app for any reason and you'll have to start over from scratch. It's a bad call for a game with its hands so deep in your pockets.

If Snoopy's Street Fair is a game for nostalgic adults, it's not interesting enough to hold any attention. If it's a game for children, the aggressive focus on IAP is distasteful. Still, if you have fond memories of Charlie Brown and crew, it's worth your time to poke around briefly and see what charm this game has to offer. Just don't get sucked in -- unlike Peanuts, wine, or cheese, Snoopy's Street Fair doesn't get better with age.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Jason Blakeney

    Thanks for the review. Would the author care to suggest a few Freemium games that he has fallen in love with? I'm hunting for something like this.

    • David Howe

      I can't speak for Nissa, but I enjoyed We Rule a year back or so. I think the company behind that game has come out with several more recent adaptations of the gameplay model (which is nearly identical to that of Snoopy's Street Fair).  Like she said, games like this CAN be fun and addictive (always wanting to check back every time you have 30 seconds here or there)...  but if they dip too far into the IAP model (particularly just to speed up those wait times for something to build/grow), it gets annoying very fast.

      A colleague of mine has a kid who loves these kinds of games...  she had her credit card tied to her iTunes account, and he racked up several hundred dollars in bills one night without realizing it.  Games like this that market to children yet place a premium on spending dough to get things done faster can really be kind of dirty.

      I'd prefer to see the developers start trending more towards IAP that adds value and unique gameplay experiences.  Think more DLC on the consoles than silly consumables and conveniences.

      • Jason Blakeney

        Yeah I agree. Personally, I have been playing a few of these games exactly for the reason Nissa said. I have a few minutes or two, I'll check my games... But I have NEVER, EVER spent a dime on these games because I just can't see the real-world dollar-to-fun-factor value in speeding up something in the game. It's like saying, "Here! Take my money! I want to get this over with!"

        I especially love the premium currency packages offered that cost upwards of $49.99 to a hundred dollars. $100 dollars??? For an iPad game??? I can think of a lot more dollar-to-fun-factor transactions worth a hundred clams.

        As far as the IAP "accidental" conveniently placed purchase buttons that younger gamers tend to just click on without thinking, I always turn off my WI-FI on my iPad to prevent that because my 3-year-old would probably do just that. I don't have a 3G or mobile phone iDevice, so I am not sure if that can be toggled off easily in those cases. But if it can, I'm sure it would be worth the two seconds to do it so as to guard your little one against crafty IAP buttons. :)

  • http://twitter.com/cheeyi Chee Yi

    Now playing this game and totally hooked! It's better than Smurfs IMO, I think the graphics and cute Snoopy theme is great, though it would be even better if players earn more Snoopy dollars per level. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BY5MOZKYLHIVKJC25VEAZFRYJU Anonymous

    Re deleting a Snoopy game and not being able to get it back through game center... I found when it happened to me- twice- that if I had a friend, I could start a new game and when I went to visit my friend's game, it gave me a notice that I had a saved game with so much money/points and would I like to revert to that game... Which of course I did. So you can save a deleted game that way.

Snoopy’s Street Fair Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 2.5