YumYumBoy offers a tasty twist on match-3 gameplay
Match 3 has been a stalwart genre in the video game world for years now. Seems like we’ve always just been here, clearing lines and items for points, only to have the screen just fill up again and again and again. It’s amazing to me that we can even still be interested in the genre, yet it’s still just as compelling as ever. Some games, like YumYumBoy, manage to even make it feel a little refreshing!
The point of YumYumBoy is the same as every other Match 3 game out there, from Dr. Mario to Bejeweled. Match 3 or more like items on screen and they go away and you get points. Pieces that remain fall into their places, and the game continues. You can combo groups for more points and there are special item pieces that pop up that give you various bonuses as well.
What makes YumYumBoy unique is the delivery system. The pieces you’re attempting to match are different varieties of food, and fill up from the top of the screen down. If they reach the bottom it’s game over. You’re represented as a kid at the bottom of the screen who you feed the food to by swiping down on the screen over the food you want him to eat. You then throw it back up onto the playfield to make matches. You can hold 4 pieces of food in your stomach at a time and the order you eat them is important for how they’ll fly back up onto the field. It’s not gross as long as you don’t think about it too much.
What makes this interesting is that you may have a group of 3 or 4 matched food on the board but they won’t score and disappear until you hit it with another food from your gut. This lets you create longer chains and set up combos, and throwing that food back up is the trigger of sorts to make it all go boom. It’s certainly unique and actually made me stop and rethink my match 3 strategy a bit, which isn’t something I normally have to do.
The bonus pieces are typical in games of this type, letting you set up explosions to take out more pieces (like a glowing gem in Bejeweled) but there are a few that turn the little boy into a mech super hero or Street Fighter looking guy and fire away at the pieces on screen for a few seconds to clear way clutter and score some bonus points.
Just to throw a wrench into the operation, there are pieces that sometimes drop down from the screen that are bad for you. In this case, since you play as a kid that just wants to eat junk food, the bad foods are vegetables that are thrown down by your mother. YECH! Each round ends when you fill up your stomach acid meter (on account of eating too much junk food), and any vegetables you eat reduce the acid making the level last longer.
There are about 40 levels in the story mode, and another arcade like mode they call gluttony. The sound and graphics are both super cutesy and definitely make the somewhat gross nature of what you’re doing here palatable. There’s a cool manga-ish layer over everything that just ends up looking adorable.
YumYumBoy is another in a LONG line of match 3 games, even by iOS standards. I still find them to be enjoyable, but could certainly understand if some people are just done with them. I like that I can jump in and play for 5-10 minutes at a time, and games like this tweak the formula just enough to keep it interesting. Match 3’s are a fallback, but this one is at least a fun one.