Brandomania is a new Facebook, iOS and Android game from Emerging Games. It’s available now on Facebook, and also as a free download from the App Store and Google Play. All versions carry in-app purchases of in-game currency. This review is based on the Facebook version.
Brandomania challenges its players to identify popular brand names from partial logos. In order to make the game fair for international players, players may select their region in the game’s settings screen, which ensures they will only see brands from the appropriate territory. Progress is, however, reset if players change their region after starting to play.
For each question, players are given a clue as to the brand name by a series of jumbled-up letters at the bottom of the screen, some or all of which are part of the answer, and are also shown how many letters the correct answer is. Players may enter their answer either by clicking on the letters in the jumble (similar to how they would be tapped on in the mobile versions) or typing them directly using the keyboard. Typing a letter which is not in the jumble causes nothing to happen. If the player provides the correct answer first time, they receive a bonus of three coins and the logo is checked off; if the player makes incorreect guesses, the reward is gradually reduced each time.
The player has additional assistance offered to them in the form of “hint” and “bomb” items. Hint items bring up a single text-based clue for each logo; bombs put a couple of letters in the correct place automatically. A few of each item are provided to the player the first time they play the game; after this, they must be purchased using in-game currency. Players may also ask their friends for help with a logo, though when tested, this did not appear to work correctly — the game indicated that the post had been made, but there was no sign of it on my Timeline, News Feed or Activity Feed.
The core gameplay of Brandomania is solid, but there are a number of features that just don’t appear to work properly. Besides the aforementioned broken posting/asking friends facility, the in-game leaderboard, accessible from the game’s main menu, does not appear to update with the player’s current score, though the statistics page does display the correct score.
The Facebook version of the game is also not particularly well designed for computer screens. When tested on a monitor at 1920×1080 resolution, the interface still didn’t quite fit into a browser window as well as it could. It looks as if high-resolution visual assets from the mobile versions have simply been ported across into the Facebook version without considering whether or not they should be scaled up or down. It’s a relatively minor issue on a large screen, but those with lower resolution displays (such as laptops) may find this a little frustrating.
Brand-recognition games are fairly popular right now and so far as this rather simplistic genre goes, Brandomania isn’t a bad example. It does, however, need a bit of work before it’s ready for the prime-time — specifically, its social features and leaderboards need to be fixed if the developers want to ensure players are actually playing together. The game isn’t interesting enough to sustain itself as a single-player challenge — it needs that social competition to really “work” and at present, that’s just not there.
The core gameplay is solid, if a bit dull, but the social features need to be fixed before this is really worth playing.