Fruits & Friends – Variation on Match 3

The game by social bee is a variation on the match 3 genre that uses juice and fruit where others used rubies and diamonds

Fruits and friends is a fun game by a self published studio called Social Bee. It is a healthy variation on the match 3 genre that uses fruits where others used gems or candies. The game is available for iOS only and can be downloaded here.

Gameplay is fun and intuitive

One of the benefits of making a game within a genre is that most of your users have played similar games before and so you don’t have to start teaching them how to play your game. They see the game and they start playing. This is true as long as your game art communicates the game genre to the users by choosing visuals that hint the user what genre of game he is playing.

Challenge, achievement and accomplishment

The 1st world didn't introduce enough challenge and I breezed through it too easilyThe game uses worlds and levels to create the basic sense of progress in the game. Each world contains 15 levels and there are 10 worlds you can play. The move to the next level is only allowed once you completed the last level and the move between worlds is allowed only once you complete all the levels in the world. This is a pretty basic setup but there are two points to improve here:
  • The difficulty is too low! I’m a pretty average player of the match-3 genre (Level 50 at Candy Crush), and yet I breezed through the first world, collecting 3 stars in each phase without loosing 1 life point and without even using half the moves in most levels. My advice is to make 2-3 levels that are harder to get through in a set of 15 levels.
  • The move between the worlds can be gated by a more challenging criteria. This is an opportunity to enforce some social wall, pay wall or watch an ad wall.

Virtual goods, economy and in-app purchases

The match 3 genre has two problems when it comes to ingame economies:
  • The narrative doesn’t allow the user to collect coins so it’s hard to create a coin loop
  • There is no character or vehicle to upgrade

Fruits and friends promote its virtual goods in multiple ways but fails to indicate the price or create real challenge.The game designer overcomes these two challenges by creating implementing an economy based on lives. This is basically a variation on energy mechanics that was made popular by King.com with their saga series. The game also allows users to buy 3 types of consumable goods: extra moves, fruit shuffling and fruit smasher. There are multiple mechanisms implemented in order to increase engagement with the virtual goods. Here are some of them:

  • Purchase buttons are present in the game at all times
  • A new user starts off with a positive balance of goods so he can try them out first
  • Running out of lives will prompt you to buy more
  • When moves are running low, the moves purchase button is being highlighted
These are all very important but there are two more basic things missing. One is the sense of challenge – without it, it’s unlikely that the user will buy any upgrades or will need more lives. The second one is to indicate the price of the items before asking the users to pay.

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Raised in the Kibbutz and reborn in the city, Yaniv is a certified entre-parent-neur. When he’s not busy doing SEO, content marketing, administration, QA, fund raising, customer support… [stop to breathe], you can find Yaniv snowboarding down the slopes of France and hiking with his kids. Yaniv holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Management from Tel Aviv University. He is also an avid blogger and a speaker at industry events. Before SOOMLA, Yaniv co-founded EyeView and INTENTClick.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Great article! I just wanted to say this post is right on the money. Apps are difficult to market, and games specifically have there own challenges. Video is definitely one of the best tools to get started with, and search engines love video. Most apps need explanation with a voice over, but most games dont, so you really need to present the game play in an enticing way and keep it short. You can make one yourself easily with your developer tool and a decent screen recorder. It takes some time but its well worth it. You could also just pay somebody to do it. I personally have used blue fortress media to make mine, but I know there are other good ones like appvj, wyzowl, and demo fuck. Either way good luck to you! And once again great article.
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  2. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I’d also like to express that video games have been ever evolving. Better technology and innovative developments have served create authentic and fun games. These kinds of
    entertainment games were not really sensible when the actual concept was first of all being tried. Just like other kinds of electronics, video games also have had to grow via many decades. This itself is testimony on the fast continuing development of video games.thnkas
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