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There’s a new geo-gaming app in town. It’s called Wallabee, and it just arrived on iOS devices yesterday. It’s written by Ben Dodson and his cadre who have taken the Gowalla model and instead of throwing out all the fun parts like Gowalla did, threw out the lame parts and added in a few twists.

The object of Wallabee, as far as I can tell (part of the fun is making your own rules) is to “forage” at places near you, in hopes of finding objects and “honeycombs”, the game’s currency unit.  You can only forage at places within about 100 meters (or a little wider range for big places like parks and offices).

Items that you find can be:

* stored in your pouch,

* saved as sets,

* “mixed” i.e. merged into better, more rare objects a la Diablo

* dropped at places you’ve foraged

The mixes I’ve found so far are “Clowns” plus “Clown Car” which combines into a “Big Top Tent”, and “Elephant” plus “Lion” which combines into “Ringmaster”. Also, I’ve managed to pick up half a dozen pairs of Nerd Glasses. Is this a message, Wallabee?

The best part though, is that Wallabee appears to have… wait for it… a business model! Yes!  In fact, there are two ways you can spend money (in other words, that the developers can make money).

1) You can become a Wallabee “Pro” for about $5 / month. Being pro increases your chances of getting objects and honeycombs.
2) You can just flat out buy honeycombs, for a rate between 300 and 2000 for a $1, depending on what bulk quantity you buy, and you get a discount if you’re a Pro.

Honeycombs can be used to buy items from the store, where the shelves are limited and items disappear quickly if not purchased.

I love that Wallabee is earning money from Day 1—I’m tired of the free model that leads to flame out or burn out or both.

The profile is a little anemic, and you can only add friends via their email address at this point. You also aren’t able to check in on other services while you forage, but both those things will come late, I’m positive.  I figure they actually don’t want to encourage viral growth yet, while they’re so new.  It only takes one Scoble inviting everyone in his contact list and Boom, server go bye bye.

The art of the app is lovely, a little more detailed and less cartoon-y than Gowalla, which remains the gold standard in icons in my mind.

I look forward to seeing this app flourish, and I encourage you to play!

 



 
 

 

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