Pocket Festival by Chillingo Ltd icon

Pocket Festival (Free) by Chillingo Ltd is yet another freemium simulation game. You’ve been a zookeeper, maintained a cafe, ran an airport, bred frogs, raised dinosaurs and dragons, and overseen a village full of Smurfs, so now it’s time to try your hand at running your own music festival.

Your goal? Create the biggest, baddest, most awesome rock festival that the world has ever seen, in order to recruit the top bans and attract huge crowds of music lovers.

This game is similar to every other freemium game that’s been released. You will start out small, with a tiny stage and Bob the guitarist. You book musical acts by tapping on the stage, and then collect the coins and experience that follow.

Since this is a festival, you need places for people to sleep and eat, so essentially, you’re running a music-oriented town, complete with Porta Potties.

Pocket Festival by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

You will have a series of goals to complete that reward you with money and experience, and these goals will guide you through the game, from beginning to end, instructing you on what to build and when.

This is a freemium game, so you will be building new venues and buildings as the game progresses. These take time to complete, so you will need to wait or invest in some “amps,” which are the game’s freemium currency. Amps can be used for special purchases, hiring acts, and to speed up construction.

If you don’t want to spend amps, be prepared to spend some time waiting, but while you do, you can engage in other tasks like picking up garbage and visiting the music venues that your friends have made. You’re also able to listen to your own music, which you can import into the game.

Pocket Festival by Chillingo Ltd screenshot

There’s a strong social element to this Pocket Festival, and many of the quests will encourage you to interact with other people, placing flags, throwing mud, and helping out.

Content wise, Pocket Festival brings nothing new to the simulation genre, but the real problem is with the interface. There are a lot of minor annoyances that you will encounter while playing. For example, editing and completing quests both require accessing a menu at least two taps in, which is awkward.

Also, when you open the store interface, it starts out automatically with the expensive items that are purchased with amps and you must slide to access other items, which is both confusing and unintuitive. You’re also unable to place more than one building at a time, though the game often calls for multiples.

All in all, this is an unimpressive release from Chillingo. The gameplay is unexciting, the interface is poorly designed, and the content is downright boring. Though this is a free game, your time would be better spent finding something else to play.