Kaya is a cool game with really nice design that seems to draw some of its inspiration from the flat iOS 7/8 design. The game is available for iOS through this link.
Dropping and matching
The gameplay is pretty straight forward and might remind you of the game Tetris at the beginning. There are shapes you can drop from the sky except that in the game they are all kind of rocks. Unlike Tetris, the shapes don’t fit each other nicely and while some space can be saved by smart placement, there is no way to complete lines and remove them but instead, users can match rocks to get different effects.
Crank up the difficulty and make it fun
One of the areas where the game can improve is the difficulty curve. Completing the first 10 levels didn’t pause a real challenge for me when I tested the game. One way to add some difficulty is to follow the original Tetris game – in other words, making the pieces fall slowly adds another level of complexity. A more simple and immediate fix, is to add a global time constraint. I like it also when games mix these various modes in different levels to create harder and easier levels. That really adds fun to the game and increases player engagement.
Gamify game progression
This sounds like a silly advice but many games get it wrong. In order to get users engaged for a long time and retain them, the game designer needs to build a narrative for the game progression as well as a persistent world that the user will want to get back to. A lot of casual puzzle games lack that component and Kaya is not different. I would recommend coming up with a reason why should users bother about fitting the rocks in the place? Once there is a goal, the game can visualize the progress towards achieving it. Users will want to come back and play more to complete that goal.
Another aspect where this game is lacking is what happens when you succeed in a level. Instead of recognizing users achievement and celebrating his success, the user is immediately transferred to the next level. Some users like a pet on the back when they do something good, others wants to see that they collected coins that can buy them game advancements, and some players like to see that they beat their friends. Anything that can give the user a reason to feel good about completing the level will make him want to complete more levels.