Party Politics 2

The unwritten rule says that you don’t discuss religion or politics with anyone if you hope to remain their friend. But nobody told this to the developers of Party Politics (which just launched on Facebook), a new campaign debate-themed free-to-play puzzle game in which you can declare your position on big issues…while fighting for a high score.

Party Politics comes from the same California-based developer that recently tried to stand up against the “virtual chores” of other Facebook games when it launched AviNation, a history-based airport management sim. According to a release by the studio, it hopes that Party Politics will maintain its history of creating products with “clever, diverse, and socially relevant game themes” by being a “bipartisan game that is fun and intuitive for all levels of players, and gives players a voice to engage their social network.”

Thankfully, Party Politics is about more than bothering your Facebook friends with messages about where you stand on all the hot-button issues. The gameplay itself is like a competitive version of Bejeweled, with you taking turns against an opponent to match colorful balls into groups of three. Of course it’s all cast in a political-debate framework, so the colorful balls actually represent things like the economy, the environment, and foreign policy. The more you collect, the better you do against whomever you’re debating.

It also has special icons, like one that represents campaign funds, that tie into the game’s free-to-play angle. You can spend these campaign funds (and real money) on items like new podiums or backgrounds that grant you specific bonuses during the debates. A giant banner with the words “These colors don’t run” buffs your defense against attacks on your foreign policy platform, while the classic “Hang in there, baby” cat poster protects you against attacks on social issues. It’s all metaphorical interpretations of current affairs, as viewed through a lens of cartoonish satire.

Speaking of cartoonish satire, the game also features dozens of avatars based on modern political figures, with some of the choices skewing slightly less obvious than GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama (though they are also included, of course). If you’ve ever wanted to see Michael Moore or Arianna Huffington take on Chuck Norris or Ted Nugent in a political debate (and who hasn’t?), now you can … sort of.

You can act out your bizarre political fantasies in a few different modes, including a single-player campaign (get it?) and asynchronous multiplayer against a friend or random opponent. It’s a lot like when you post an antagonizing Facebook status about whichever party you think is full of horrible monsters that will ruin this country, but less likely to inspire people to block you from their News Feed. Probably.

Party Politics is playable now on Facebook and is coming soon to iOS, Android, Kongregate, and Kindle Fire. When it does, it will feature Checkpoint’s Boomerang technology, which lets you play across multiple devices.