Bake Shop Drop is a new Facebook game from Broken Bulb Studios, a developer best known for its Pokemon-esque Miscrits series. Bake Shop Drop showed up as the No. 1 emerging Facebook game at the end of last week, so it’s off to a good start.
Bake Shop Drop is a puzzle game. Puzzle games on Facebook tend to fall into one of three main categories — bubble shooters; Bejeweled-style match-3 puzzlers that involve swapping gems around; and Diamond Dash-style match-3 puzzlers that require players to click on contiguous groups of like-colored gems. All three of these genres are oversaturated, and the value of introducing more very similar games into the mix is somewhat questionable — so it’s very pleasing to see that Bake Shop Drop doesn’t quite fit into any of these categories, instead providing its own original take on the more cerebral side of gameplay.
Bake Shop Drop’s core gameplay still revolves around matching like-colored objects, but the means by which you go about this is somewhat different to most other Facebook puzzle games. Various differently-colored cakes line the bottom of the screen (with each having an obviously different shape to cater to color-blind players) and the player must create groups of three or more by dropping additional cakes from the top of the screen. Matches may be created horizontally, vertically or diagonally and do not have to be in a straight line, so long as the cakes are in adjacent spaces on the game grid. Every four moves, a new row of cakes appears at the bottom of the screen, but they are confined to boxes. To release them, matches must be created in adjacent spaces. As a single game progresses, boxes tied up with ribbon start to appear, and these must have two matches created adjacent to them before they can be opened. The game continues until one of more columns of cakes overflow off the top of the screen.
The game’s monetization is based on its currency of “Golden Tickets.” These may be acquired during gameplay by creating large matches and then opening special golden cake boxes in the same way as normal cake boxes, but can also be acquired through in-app purchase. Golden Tickets are used to purchase one of three different “booster” items to provide the player with an advantage, though none of these are available when the game is started for the first time. Instead, they are gradually unlocked as the player levels up, which is achieved simply by playing more games. To prevent the boosters becoming a “pay to win” system — they are all quite powerful — they are limited to one use per game each.
The game also makes use of a “lives” system to throttle play, though for the first three experience levels the player will level up and refill their lives stock well before they run out. Lives may not be replenished using Golden Tickets; they must instead either be acquired for free by inviting friends or paid for directly using Facebook Credits — the game does not have its own dedicated hard currency because it doesn’t really need one.
Bake Shop Drop is worthy of praise solely for not falling into any of the three particularly oversaturated Facebook puzzle game categories, but it’s also a fun game, too. It’s challenging and cerebral but never frustrating, making it accessible to a broad audience. Built-in leaderboard features encourage competition between friends, and the lack of premium items that inflate scores to an unreasonable degree help keep things balanced for both paying and non-paying players. It remains to be seen whether the “boost” items and lives mechanic provide sufficient incentive for players to pay up — early in the game, it’s easy enough to earn enough Golden Tickets to keep your balance relatively constant, even when using boosters — but even if it doesn’t, this game is worthy of note simply for being a good puzzler, and deserves to enjoy some success.
Bake Shop Drop currently has 50,000 monthly active users, 40,000 weekly active users and 10,000 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.
A quality puzzler that is not only a good game, but also worthy of praise for not falling into one of the oversaturated subdivisions of the genre on Facebook.