When Hasbro announced its partnership with Zynga last year, the companies had to figure out how to translate Zynga's digital games into a physical form that Hasbro could stock on store shelves. It turns out that it made more sense to go the other direction.
This year, the companies decided to incorporate Hasbro's brick construction line Kre-O into Zynga's popular CityVille game. Where CityVille was all about building a town and establishing relationships, the new app, CityVille Invasion, introduces destruction and chaos to the popular series.
CityVille Invasion sets loose zombies, vampires, an oversize gorilla and the evil Dr. Mayhem, who is set on world domination, starting with your tiny digital town. Your citizens, known as Kreons, must build defenses and defeat Dr. Mayhem and his minions. The app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, is free, but it does include plenty of opportunities for in-app purchases.
But apps don't fill store shelves for the holidays, so Hasbro decided to release physical toys inspired by the digital property. Kre-o CityVille Invasion construction kits, which range from $10 to $40, are available now at most major retailers and Hasbro's e-commerce Web site.
The new kits introduce sonic motion technology to the world of brick-building with large bricks that induce movement in smaller bricks via sound waves. These smaller "motion bricks" have bristled bottoms that are designed to move across the surface of the play set.
When the motion bricks are attached to the feet of the Kreons, the sonic motion technology sets them moving in random directions, which is what I guess real people would do if zombies or a large gorilla were running amok. The technology is better applied to vehicles and buildings, like the rotors of the helicopter in the Skyscraper Mayhem set and the spinning beacon in the Police Station Zombie Defense set.
With CityVille Invasion, Hasbro and Zynga may have finally found a concept that works for both of them.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.