Game Design, Game Reviews

Look out for Yum Yum Yummy

Bacu BacuIt’s Wednesday, and you know what that means – it’s time for another game review. However, this time I’ll be doing something a bit different and also quite challenging for me.

Today I’ll review a game that’s far from a finished project – a game in its beta phase. So I had to ask myself, how do I criticize something that’s obviously not done, and everyone knows it? The answer is fairly simple – I don’t.

Instead, I will try to use the experience I’ve collected from playing (safe to say) hundreds of games and reviewing as many to try and give the developers feedback on their project and advice to help them pull out their maximum. I will cover two basic aspects: Game mechanics and visuals. After that, I’m expecting to play the perfect game 🙂

So let’s get down to it. The game is called Yum Yum Yummy, and it’s a mobile puzzle game built by game studio Bacu-Bacu. Similar to Bejeweled and others in the genre, its goal is to match certain tiles on the field to win the game.

However, the game comes with a couple of interesting twists to the old idea that makes it refreshing and unique.

The mechanics

The game’s premise is simple: You are presented with a number of animals like dogs, rabbits, and pandas, as well as their designated food (bones for dogs, carrots for rabbits, bamboo for pandas, you get the picture). These two types of tiles are spread around the playing area, and you can move one (only one at a time) to try and match them. If you managed to match properly, the animal will move from its position and into the position of the food.

The game is won after you’ve allowed all animals to eat their designated food.

yum2

The pig in the middle must be contained as it eats everything. EVERYTHING

Like I said, it’s similar to Bejeweled and other tile-matching games, but it has a twist – once an animal eats its food and goes away, the remaining tiles fall vertically to the bottom until there’s no space left. But unlike Bejeweled where you match colours, and can only remove tiles in certain shapes, there are no such limitations here. If the animal can eat half of the game board, it will!

So the player must think long and hard, as well as think about three, four moves ahead if he wants to clear the board. I am warning you, even in such an early stage, this is not an easy game.

It gets even harder, as the developers did their best to make sure the game doesn’t get boring, really fast. With almost every new level it introduces a new element to the game, which is an approach I find perfect. So you’ll have animals eating other animals, balloons, animals in ice blocks and God knows what else they’ve thought of and haven’t implemented just yet.

The visuals

If I wasn’t told in advance that this was a work in progress, I’d say the graphics are good. I’ve played complete games with far, far worse graphics and they were just fine. It’s colourful, it’s sweetly animated, it’s simple and not too cluttered. However, there’s something that doesn’t quite hit the mark for me, and it’s a pretty big deal.

When playing this game, I can’t shake the feeling I’m playing a Candy Crush spin-off. Especially when going through the level picker, it seems the developers have looked to that particular game to use the same principle it uses.

yum1

This really reminds me of Candy Crush

The worst part is – the level picker’s design isn’t essential to the game. It could be anything: a list of levels, a horizontal swipe, vertical swipe, it could even have level packs themed by animals from the game (you could have a panda level set, dog level set, etc). Instead, it has the curvy road easily associated with Candy Crush.

I also liked the game’s interface, as well as the background music. The interface was nice and clean and follows the game’s theme. However, I’d love to see more music in the game, and perhaps link it with particular level sets mentioned earlier. So you could have a Panda set of levels, with graphics and music associated with the part of the world where pandas usually live. Same goes for dogs, rabbits and other animals. It really has a lot of room to make the game vivid and constantly on the move.

The conclusion

As you might have noticed, I avoided criticizing bad and unfinished aspects of the game, as it’s still in development. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any: the game moves fairly sluggish, it has a slow loading screen and it only has a handful of levels to go through. But none of that matters at this point – what matters is that it is original in its premise and that it has solid mechanics. Which it has, for the most part.

I’d just honestly change the level picker design. There’s no need for everyone to think of Yum Yum Yummy as a Candy Crush spin-off when it can easily surpass it. Keep in mind, Candy Crush has a huge studio behind it, this game was built by a total of four people.

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