Adventure Time And Steven Universe Make A Great Mobile Game Better

Here is how to make a great video game featuring licensed characters. Step one: Find a great video game. Step two: Put characters from We Bare Bears, Steven Universe and Adventure Time in it. That's pretty much how Cartoon Network Match Land was born.

I'm barely exaggerating here. Last year indie developer Race Cat Games released Match Land, a delightful little free-to-play pixel art puzzle RPG that captured my heart with its adorable look, combo-based match-three mechanics and modest microtransactions. It's a charming game that I played daily for most of 2017. According to Chris Waldron, Cartoon Network's vice president of digital products and games, his team was similarly enthralled.

"When Joel Nelson, our developer relations manager, bubbled up the original Match Land to us, everyone within the Cartoon Network digital team immediately fell in love," Waldron told Kotaku. "For months, we referenced the game in almost every meeting we had."

The original Match Land. Look at them lil snakes.

And so Joel Nelson reached out to Race Cat Games, and now Cartoon Network Match Land is coming out March 22 on iOS and Android. There was probably some programming and stuff between the first and second thing, but you get the idea.

Instead of a team of random fantasy characters, players form a team from collectible Cartoon Network characters. Instead of fighting animals, the player's team is tasked with taking down evil edibles. And instead of unlocking a series of fantasy-themed shops that provide materials needed to upgrade characters, here it's food stalls and trucks.

Otherwise, the only major difference between the original Match Land and Cartoon Network Match Land is that the new game allows players to move gems diagonally to match, speeding up the combo countdown timer (how long the player has to make another match, continuing the combo) to counterbalance the extra freedom of movement.

I've been playing a test build of the game for a couple of weeks now, and it's like coming home, only this home is filled with talking bears, Crystal Gems and denizens of Ooo. And isn't it nice that Cartoon Network went to the original developer instead of just making their own version? It's a mobile gaming miracle.


Comments

    And isn't it nice that Cartoon Network went to the original developer instead of just making their own version? It's a mobile gaming miracle.

    This is the real surprise in the story.

    I havnt played this game in months, but i remember that unlocking the 5th colour hero made it much harder, as it adds another colour into the mix, reducing the chance of combos. I hope they've somehow balanced that, but if not my advise is it's a good game to try, but dont unlock the 5th character, keep using 4.

    I got a fair way into it before I decided it wasn't very good. You need to unlock new heroes because your starting heroes are pretty weak and have a level cap, which you mostly do through free and paid loot crates. The free ones aren't too bad, but the paid loot crates are expensive and are guaranteed not to give you a new hero: you get 'statues' that you use to unlock a hero and you need more statues than the loot crates give you. There's only one hero per colour and rarity tier, so they use the statue system to pad it out, but that means they've built a system where you pay money and can guarantee no reward other than ingredients (which you can get from the game). What really buggers it up is that if you get statues for a hero you already have, you instead get level-up tokens for that hero, so the odds of unlocking a new hero stay the same (low). The energy system gets increasingly punitive, so that you go from being able to pay I think it's 6 rounds per session by default to about 3. It runs out of new gameplay tricks fairly quickly, as well, so the only real difference between rounds is what colour is strong and what aspect of the economy the level's rewards feed into. It gets very samey.

    If you wanted to try it, I'd recommend playing the first world, then quitting.

    Last edited 20/03/18 4:02 pm

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