Facebook gaming powerhouse, Zynga, whose crowning achievements include the likes of FarmVille, Café World and Mafia Wars, recently released a brand new war game entitled Empires & Allies.

As a leader of an island nation, it is your duty to build up your army and defend your islands from an evil force called the Dark Alliance. To do so, you must fight your way across the ocean and defeat their leader, Raven, in his impenetrable island fortress.

Empires & Allies is everything you’ve come to expect from a Zynga game. You can build up your island with farms, houses, industry and more. Military buildings allow you to bulk up your army with soldiers, battleships and war planes, which should be a good indicator of three types of battlefields: land, sea and air.

Government buildings can increase your allowable population and, like Zynga’s hit game CityVille, will require you to use your friends and neighbors to staff the buildings. But staffing isn’t the only social aspect of the game. You can also visit your friends’ Empires. Whether you choose to assist your friend or bomb the heck out of them, you will gain Honor or Infamy scores which allow you to collect bonus rewards as you level.

Like most Zynga games, there are missions you can choose to participate in – usually to gather materials or visit neighbors. One thing that sets Empires & Allies apart from some other Facebook games is the Campaign, which is exactly what typical gamers think it would be: a string of missions you can follow as you level up your Empire and work towards defeating the ultimate villain.

The combat in Empires & Allies is strangely dynamic for a Facebook game. Certain combat units work more efficiently at killing certain other units, so choose your army wisely. You can’t take out an enemy jet with a  bulky cannon artillery! If you lose a unit in war, it’s gone for good and you’ll have to build a new one. Upgrades are available for combat units through Research facilities. They will require parts that can be sent from your friends or bought with Empire Points. Power-ups are also available, which include items such as field repairs, air strikes, and missile attacks.

You will have to strengthen the defenses of your island by placing combat units in strategic positions near your buildings. Fail to do this, and your invading neighbors will reap YOUR rewards. Your friends can and will attack you, along with the current villain of your Campaign quests. Darn you Kai Tana!

Empires & Allies is as addicting as most Zynga games we’ve come to know and love. With engaging quests, Campaign mode and the satisfaction of dropping poisonous gas on your friends (because you know they deserve it), this game is shaping up to be another Zynga classic.