BUYER BEWARE! TL games are free to download, but THEY ARE NOT FREE: not free from devious tactics to take gems (that can cost actual money) unfairly, not free from increasing prices to the players disadvantage, not free of annoying advertising and not free of suspicious add-ons that have no reasonable use to players. Some TL tactics are the equivalent of bate and switch. TL customer support is dreadful; they claim they cant do anything when clearly they can; they do nothing to correct problems and wont refund money taken unfairly. AVOID TEAMLAVA GAMES.
I was a previously happy player of TeamLava (TL) mobile device games... until they changed and started cheating customers. I play Farm Story, but there are many others. Games supposedly are free. But gems (in-game currency) within the games, to buy nice things to enhance play, can be bought or earned. Earning them takes a long time, so many resort to paying for them. TL has numerous ways to take gems unfairly and to deceive players.
The problem was most noticed when TL introduced pop-up windows in the game that are easy to tap by mistake, and cost either 1 or 20 gems. There are other ways players get tricked into using gems unintentionally, as well, but I won't detail that here. TL also uses terms that are misleading: for example, to "fertilize a crop" of corn, if you have 50 squares of corn in your field, you might think all 50 would be fertilized. Wrong! Only one square, the equivalent of 1 stalk, is fertilized!! Some games are designed so you cant really get ahead without purchasing gems with real money.
There is no way to undo a gem purchase, whether intended or made by mistake. There is no warning, such as, Are you sure you want to spend Heaven forbid if you have a tremor, as I do, and cant always avoid the large pop-up windows!
Players also arbitrarily lose gems for no reason at times. They simply disappear! This seems especially true for Android users. Some players have spent gems for an item, and then the item disappears, and is not in inventory. Simply GONE. TL says it cant do anything. Without getting a refund, to me, this is like theft. But that is what happens in TL games!!
(If you are one of the unfortunate TL victims of unfair gem loss, I hope youll report it here as well as at Ic3.gov, a website designed for people to report Internet fraud, complaintboard.com, Amazon, and any other web sites that accept complaints.)
Other tricks TL uses, unknown to many players: They can raise the prices on things for some but not all players, so, the more you play, the more things may cost! They can charge different amounts for gems for different players. Also, a price on an item might go up right in the middle of a transaction: A player spent in-game currency for items that were supposed to produce a yield, only to find that what she got was less than half of the yield she had paid for. In another TL game, items costing gems changed dramatically in terms of amount of yield and how long it would take to produce the yield after being purchased. Sounds like bate and switch to me!
TeamLava is well aware of all these problems, but refuse to do anything about it. If a person complains about loss of gems, TL uniformly replies that they cant do anything about it. A few players were savvy enough to complain to the Better Business Bureau, however, and did receive a refund of their lost or stolen gems. So, TL IS capable of refunding gems taken unfairly. They just make it sound like they cant. TL does not make exceptions for someone with a handicap or for other extenuating circumstances.
TL also censors players, to prevent them from letting others know what they are up to. It is against the rules for a person to report to others, whether in the game, on their website, or privately, what TL has told them. They sanction players, by banning them from play or using their website for a period of time, but the player is denied the right to tell others about TL disciplining of them. They say it is for privacy reasons, but the truth of the matter is it is to protect TL. (e.g. if a person WANTS to report sanctions imposed on him or her, it is not allowed.!) Some people have been permanently banned for play, and TL has not even told them why!
There are other things TL does that cause players to be suspicious, such as introducing a neighbor (named Stormie) to all players. They say it is to help players, but their reasoning makes no sense! Players cant write on Stormies wall the way they can on all other neighbors walls; they dont get credit for going and watering Stormies farm, the way they can of others. They supposedly can use Stormie to ask for parts for construction of items, but if the player has lots of neighbors, there is no need for Stormie at all. So, is Stormie there to snoop? To advertise in an unpreventable way? What else is TL up to??
Games are rich with annoying pop-up windows advertising their other games, and encouraging players to download the other games. Thats the way TL can offer misleading advertising about how many of their games are downloaded. It implies everyone was interested in playing the new game or at least wanted to download it. Many times it is someone simply trying to avoid a nuisance by getting rid of a pop-up in the game they are trying to play.
TL now can make over a million dollars a day from their games. How much of that is from frustrated players buying gems to replace ones that were taken unfairly?? Probably lots! Dont be one of them!