Earlier this week, casual game developer PlayFirst released its latest mobile game, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the mobile game developed in association with Sony Pictures’ film of the same name. This isn’t the first mobile game from the pair, as PlayFirst has previously released Hotel Transylvania Dash and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, both based on Sony’s films.
The game sees players joining Inventor Lockwood, Sam, Steve and the gang as they head back to Swallow Falls to stop a group of talking, walking food-animal hybrids from taking over the town. The puzzle game challenges players with completing challenges before time runs out by tapping and dragging their finger to make matches of foodimals.
We had a chance to talk with PlayFirst President and CEO Marco DeMiroz about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on mobile, and how this game has continued PlayFirst’s partnership with Sony Pictures.
Inside Mobile Apps: There are plenty of match-three puzzle games on mobile. What about Foodimal Frenzy sets it apart from the many other games in the genre?
Marco DeMiroz: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is charming and has expressive characters that come to life. It appeals to fans of the Cloudy movies and newcomers as well.
The match mechanic is unique in that players trace three or more foodimals of the same type to save them. Longer matches generate more points, and there’s no limit to the number of foodimals per match. This allows players to take on a variety of strategies and make use of every angle! For example, players can make short matches at high speed, or stop to evaluate the board and think about how to get the longest matches possible. Flint’s inventions like the Foodbar Unwrapifier also add an additional layer of strategy to the match-three genre that’s unique to Cloudy.
IMA: Screenshots show that some levels come with timers. Are all levels timed, or are there multiple level types in the game?
MD: All levels are constrained by time, and the rounds differ with a variety of unique goals. For instance, in one level, players might have to save a certain number of Barry, the Strawberry, or Fruit Cockatiels! In a different round, they may have to use a number of celebrationators – one of Flint’s clever inventions that is literally a party-in-a-box. Other times, players are tasked with matching a number of foodimals in one chain. Players will need to amass a certain number of stars – three available per level – to progress through the map and experience new environments and friendly foodimals.
IMA: How closely does the storyline of the game stick to that of the actual Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 film? Would players need to watch the movie before playing the game to get the most out of the experience, or does the puzzle gameplay stand on its own?
MD: While the game takes place during the same timeline as the movie and reflects the same storyline, it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone experience with no previous Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs know-how required. The charming characters, puzzle gameplay, progression model and collectibles are enough to keep players of all types entertained, whether they are the biggest fan of Flint and his inventions or have never seen the films.
IMA: What sorts of limits are placed on gameplay? Is there a lives system or an energy meter that limits gameplay length and simultaneously introduces opportunities for premium purchases?
MD: The game can absolutely be played without need for premium purchases, but there is an energy system revolving around Flint’s invention, the Foodimal Resculator. The device transports him into a virtual world where players must match and save foodimals. Because Flint’s ingenious inventions don’t always operate at 100 percent, they need energy to be rebooted. However, players will regenerate energy over time. They can earn more by progressing to special reward areas on the map and also have the option to purchase energy.
IMA: PlayFirst and Sony have now partnered on multiple games, including Hotel Transylvania Dash and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Are there plans to work on more games with Sony in the future? Would you say PlayFirst is now the go-to developer for Sony Pictures’ mobile offerings?
MD: Our commitment is always to develop high quality games that can be very successful on their own but can also enhance the movie content and experience significantly. We developed and published one game last year for Sony’s Hotel Transylvania animated film, and its success led us to expand our partnership this year with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and this week’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We are in ongoing discussions with various movie studios about developing original games for their future releases. We highly value our partnership with Sony and strive to earn our role based on the success and quality of our games.
IMA: What’s next for PlayFirst? Is the company working on any big first-party mobile releases?
MD: We are a leading original mobile game developer and publisher with a user base of 15M monthly active users; thus, we are always developing new games and actively managing them all day, every day!