At its recent Global Gamers Day in Las Vegas, Bandai Namco Entertainment showed off CineMagic, its upcoming movie-themed match-three puzzle game for mobile devices. In CineMagic, players create films in each of the game’s 50 levels, making matches with particular symbols to unlock new actors and actresses, filming locations, plot pieces and more to make their films a success (or not).
In each level of CineMagic, players work to beat a rival film, also headed to theaters. Success is based on box office earnings, and players spend some of their own virtual currency on each film’s budget before they begin. From there, levels are move-limited, and gamers make matches with symbols using standard match-three gameplay. Making a match with four or five symbols creates a power-up, capable of clearing a large number of symbols from the board, with all applying to unlocking new items for the film.
Premium power-ups are also available, which may instantly collect all symbols of a single type, or add more moves to the stage, as examples.
As gamers make matches, cards called CineBits appear along the bottom of the screen, relating to individual movie stars (based on real actors and actresses), narrative pieces and even film bonuses (like happy endings or pre-launch buzz). Players must collect specific numbers of certain symbols to unlock these for use within their current film, but gamers have the final say over what is added to the picture, and what’s left on the cutting room floor. Gamers unlock new CineBits over time, and can upgrade these to increase their effectiveness when used in a movie.
To be specific, players begin each level with a theme (say, a martial arts film), and can add new items as they’re unlocked, with each affecting the film’s expected performance. In this example, players would hope for cards with high action ratings, and would avoid items better suited for romantic or comedy films, for instance.
CineMagic’s theme is far from serious, allowing for plenty of humorous combinations of movie stars and plot devices. During our time with the game, we created a particularly outlandish combination, starring a male cheerleader and his lunatic friend, who are challenged to deal with an inherited fortune while competing in a skiing competition. The idea may sound preposterous, but the film earned over $18 million, and resulted in a three-star rating for the level.
As players add and remove cards from each film, the film’s rating is greatly impacted, for good or bad, which can make some levels more challenging to successfully complete, depending on the choices. If the film bombs, gamers can try again by spending more of their currency, until they beat the rival picture in the box office and eventually earn all three stars.
CineMagic is due out on mobile devices later this year. The game is currently in soft launch in limited territories, including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.