After a successful launch on Facebook, Ludia has released its pachinko-inspired Pako King: DreamWorks Adventures on iOS and Android devices. The game stars famous DreamWorks Animation film characters, including those from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, and asks players to shoot balls at peg formations on the screen to remove key red pegs and earn points before running out of shots.
In each level of Pako King: DreamWorks Adventures, players are presented with a different arrangement of both key and secondary pegs on the screen. A bucket automatically cycles left and right across the bottom of the screen, and if an orb lands in it, players receive a free shot for the level. Free shots are also awarded for earning a large number of points in a single shot (breaking a yellow peg triggers an instant score boost).
To play, gamers drag their finger on the screen to aim, and tap to shoot. From there, the shot bounces and flies around with the help of gravity and momentum, until it eventually exits the stage. Any pegs hit with the shot also disappear, and the game continues.
Each level is themed around a character from one of the DreamWorks Animation films, and each comes with his or her own power. In Shrek’s levels, for instance, players can hit special blue pegs that automatically eliminate all nearby pegs. In Donkey’s levels, hitting a blue peg creates ramps on the bottom bucket, making it more likely the shot will hit the bucket for free shots. In Dragon’s levels, shots turn into fireballs, which fly through pegs without bouncing, and so on.
Additional powers are also available to purchase while playing. One creates a longer aiming trajectory line for better aiming accuracy, while another turns one shot into three orbs once it hits its first peg (think a multi-ball bonus in pinball). Some of these powers are given away for free, but can also be purchased with premium currency after the samples run out.
Levels become more complex over time, with the addition of immovable obstacles, and even boss fights. These particular levels contain more challenging elements than most, and may see some key pegs wrapped in barriers, so they must be hit multiple times before being removed from the stage, as one example.
If players fail to remove all of the key pegs before running out of shots for a level, they have the option of spending premium currency on a spin wheel for more shots, or to start over from scratch.
At the end of each level, players earn up to three stars, depending on their final score, and can compare those scores with friends via Facebook Connect. Users who have played the game on Facebook can pick up right where they left off in this mobile version, thanks to cross-platform compatibility.
Earning stars in bulk is useful for more than bragging rights, as players are rewarded with free premium currency bundles when they complete all of a single character’s levels with full stars.
As players progress, they’ll unlock overall score multipliers that can be triggered before starting levels. Players can go back to previously completed stages, with these multipliers in place, for a better chance of earning all three stars on a level. If they reach the top of their friends leaderboard (which is filled automatically with other DreamWorks characters for instant competition), they receive free coins as the “Pako King” of the level. These coins can then be used to purchase access to the score multiplier versions of levels, continuing the cycle.