Boom Town is a new cross-platform puzzle game from appMobi, available now on Facebook as well as iOS and Android devices. The game was built in HTML5, which is how it was able to be released on all three platforms simultaneously without any complicated porting.
Boom Town’s gameplay takes very strong cues from Spry Fox’s popular puzzle game Triple Town, though incorporates a few changes to the basic formula to prevent it from being an outright clone. Basic gameplay, as in Triple Town, requires players to place items on a grid (6×6-1 in Triple Town, 6×5 in Boom Town) and match them together into contiguous groups of three or more. When a group is formed, its component pieces slide together onto the last item placed and “level up” into a more valuable item. Grass becomes tumbleweed, tumbleweed becomes cactus, cactus becomes outhouse and so on. In this way, the player must continue placing items on the board until they either run out of moves or have filled up the board completely. In the former case, players may purchase additional moves using gold earned through play, but a new game must be started when the latter happens.
Complications are added to the player’s item-placing in the form of “villain” characters. While Triple Town required players to place its bear antagonists in the same way as other items, Boom Town only forms villains when three snakes are matched together. Once this happens, however, they act much like Triple Town’s bears — they move around by one square per turn and may be “trapped” in an enclosed space, and subsequently matched with other trapped criminals to make more high-value items.
Boom Town’s main twist on the formula is the dynamite item, which may be purchased for in-game gold and then used to completely clear a 3×3 area on the board — but only if it can be placed in an empty space in the first place. This differs significantly from Triple Town’s main beneficial item, which was a robot that simply cleared any single already-occupied space. Triple Town’s robots also appeared infrequently as standard items given to the player and did not necessarily have to be purchased.
Boom Town’s monetization is handled through sales of the in-game currency, but it may only be purchased in $1 packages. An achievement is provided for those players willing to “pony up,” which may provide incentive for those who are enjoying the game to open their wallets, but the lack of larger packages may deter those who wish to purchase currency in larger quantities and also have a negative impact on the game’s monetization in the long term. On the flip side, the fact that “it’s only a dollar” has the possibility of convincing more people to try out the paid experience — though this does, of course, depend on whether or not the game manages to attract users in the first place and whether or not they feel it is worth spending money on.
At this time, Boom Town’s potential for success is questionable. While its HTML5 backbone means it fully supports cross-platform play between three very different ecosystems is impressive, its gameplay is too close to the already well-established Triple Town to make it particularly noteworthy to fans of social puzzle games. It’s also not nearly as polished as Spry Fox’s title, with minimal use of animation, a rather drab interface and poor integration with Facebook — an unfortunate side-effect of the cross-platform nature of the game.
Boom Town is not yet listed on our traffic tracking service AppData, but Facebook reports it has just 200 monthly active users at the time of writing. Check back shortly to follow the game’s progress according to its MAU, DAU and user retention figures.
While the cross-platform HTML5 development is impressive, this game is far too similar to Triple Town to be especially worthy of note.