Spend five minutes browsing the App Store and you’re more than likely to come up with numerous games that feel identical in almost every way, from core gameplay mechanics, to features, to visuals. For every Temple Run and Candy Crush Saga that dominate the markets, there are dozens of smaller releases that follow the same pattern, hoping to land just a fraction of the user base of those giant titles. Even that kind of—relatively small—impact is difficult to pull off. Mobage’s recent release, Monster Match, is a wonderful example of a game that encounters these struggles.
Nobody understood the game’s early challenges as well as Roger Royce, the Monster Match product lead. “For Monster Match's initial spark of inspiration, look no further than the childhood fascinations of a team that grew up playing the original release of Pokémon,” Royce told us. “Monster Match is an attempt to prolong this imagination and rekindle the wonder [of a game like Pokémon] with new players.” Royce credits games like Puzzle Quest, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and Puzzle & Dragons as some of the gameplay’s main sources of inspiration.
As our review points out, there are numerous similarities to Puzzle & Dragons, proving that inspiration alone doesn’t make a game stand out. Royce pointed out, “There's something about the puzzle genre that people almost always categorize as being a ‘casual’ experience. When we first started designing Monster Match we played lots of other puzzle games and discovered a trend that contradicted this notion of ‘casual.’” Royce mentions strict timers as one of the first common elements the team wanted to remove. “If we were going to make a casual puzzle game, it was determined that the player should not be rushed into their gameplay decisions.” Read more »