After playing through Battle Cats this last week, I decided that I would check out the other games that Ponos had developed.
I wound up downloading Do Do Egg!, a 0.99 color match sort of game that does its level best to scratch the human need for bright colors and energetic cheery music and happy animations. Digital sugar is what we’re talking about here, delivered in heaping spoonfuls.
I kind of assumed that it would be yet another bejeweled sort of thing and was rather happy to find that it has a bit of a twist to it – you’re not making threes or fours of a kind but rather stringing together connections of like color.
Here’s a sample game screen that may help explain:
The goal is to match pieces that are separated from each other by two pieces which can be of any color, and then to hopefully keep making chains to boost your score.
So, for example, if we started with the blue piece in the upper left corner here, we could skip over two pieces to find the other blue piece, skip down two to make a chain to the blue piece on the fourth row, go right and down to the blue piece on the fifth row on the very right side, go left and down again to the blue piece on the sixth row and then release to make a chain of four matches, removing all the blue pieces we just used and all the pieces we had to cross over to make those chains.
It plays with the mind a bit and it takes a little while to start seeing the connections – and, unlike most match-three style games, there’s no accidental awesome chaining as stuff cascades from above. You have to explicitly make each connection yourself.
Making matches is rewarded with colorful and charming explosions as pieces are flung off the board and new ones spill in to take their place. More digital sugar.
I was a bit surprised, when I bought it, to discover that several of the game modes were locked off behind my choice of a skill gate or a pay wall. When you buy the game, you get a mode that is your standard endless, timed game where you have a constantly running clock that can be pushed back by making matches. Do well enough in that – or pay another buck – and you open a mode that gives you a minute to make as many points as you can. Do well in THAT – or, yes, drop another buck – and you open “mission mode” where the game constantly throws challenges at you “Make three chains using blue pieces!” and you have sixty seconds to do what it tells you to do in order to get it to hand you the next challenge.
Oh, and FINALLY, if you do well enough on Mission mode – or fork over another dollar – you unlock a relaxed endless un-timed mode that only ends when you run out of moves.
I unlocked them all through skilled – and occasionally lucky – gameplay and take great pride in this.
The “mission” mode was particularly vexing to clear because you have to clear twenty missions in a row and I kept having it say “OK, now make five chains in a row using red pieces” when there were almost no red pieces on the board, meaning that I had to clear frantically in hopes that red pieces would drop onto the board for me. Fun the first couple of times, not so fun after a dozen.
Since almost every mode is timed, it makes for an intense and frantic game that really demands you think on the fly.
If you want something a little less stressful, there’s also a puzzle mode, where you get a set arrangement of pieces and have to clear the board. In this case, you get twenty puzzles, with eighty more locked behind a shopping cart button. I had hoped that it would follow the same pattern as the other game modes and let you work for them by playing the game, so I set about getting three starts on all the puzzles…
…and, sadly, it didn’t work. To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded if this was just a 1.99 game that came with all the puzzles from the get-go, but there’s something annoying about paying for a game – even if it’s only 0.99 – and being asked to pay more for these extra puzzles.
Finally, there’s an amusing button on the game’s main screen that must be pointed out, as it engages “Summer Mode.”
In Summer mode, the game is more or less identical, but the little chunks of happiness shrapnel that fly out when you make matches are replaced with icons of a generally-beachy motif. Sand umbrellas, crabs, watermelons, that sort of thing.
There is also a subtle change to the main menu which I’ll present here. See if you can catch it.
Oh, Japan, there’s just no help for you.
I didn’t try the multiplayer modes. Oddly enough, they all seem available from the beginning, so at least you don’t have to worry about unlocking them.
Final summation: A fun take on the matching-color game genre with the caveat that some stuff is locked behind shopping cart buttons so it’s not REALLY a 0.99 app.