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Feedback plz. Is 'HEXA' match-3 puzzle just not fun? Why all the match-3 games are quad-based?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by zendesktest10007, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. zendesktest10007

    zendesktest10007

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    Hello, awesome game designers and developers!
    I was wondering if I could get some feedback.

    *Why are all the popular match-3 puzzle games quad-based? Why don't people like hexa grid match 3 puzzle?

    There are many mega hit match-3 puzzle games based on quad board. Candy Crush Saga, Homescapes, Cookie Jam and so on. You can name them forever.
    BUT, there are no hexagonal match 3 games that are actually doing well in the market. There are some hexa 'tab genre' or some 'piece-joining genre' like Blossom Blast. These are technically not 'match-3' puzzles.

    Here are few Hexa match-3 games I could find on app stores. None of them are making money in the western market. I dunno if there were more like these :

    - Beak Bang
    - Toy Party: Match 3 Hexa Blast!
    - Ice Crush - Hex Match 3 Game
    - Momo Pop : Match 3 Hexa Blast!
    - Line Pop 2 (Probably the only hexa match game making alot of money in Japan)
    - Friends Pop (Made a hit in S.Korea. Again, it's Asian)

    Would there be a reason why hexa puzzle is not popular?
    Possible reasons:
    1) Hexa game is too difficult.

    2) People are just not familiar with hexa, which means the market is not ready to adopt hexa. It's a matter of time

    3) In hexa, you cannot predict which way puzzle pieces would drop(left or right). So, gameplay is affected by more of 'Luck' factor, not player's skill itself. This frustrates puzzle gamers.(went too deep?)

    4) There's no decent hexa match game in the market yet.

    5) Any other reasons??

    Can you please give me some insight? What do you think?
     
  2. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Up/down/left/right is easy for human brains to think in. Up/down/leftup/leftdown/rightup/rightdown is less so.

    Match 3 type games represent one of the lowest forms of cognitive activity found in games. They are literally designed to be mindless. Adding complexity to these types of games defeats the purpose.

    Plus hex kills any semblance of intuitive physics. Again adding complexity for no real purpose.
     
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  3. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Actually that isn't true. Several of the more popular ones have increasing levels of complexity/challenge. Virtually all start out simple, then grow in strategy/modes and features. Homescapes, Fishdom, CookieCatsBlast (not actually a match 3), Languinis (which is also a word game), there are battle match-3 games, coop and competitive games, Best Fiends, Tiny Bubbles, Wooly Blast, Gardenscapes... etc. Complexity and additional features boost the retention and give them a long tail. As they progress, you are presented with many more choices, options, limitations and challenges and highly tuned to be challenging. (very few of the good ones are random/procedural, they are hand tuned.) And of course there are variations, like triple town which has pretty high level of strategy and planning. Certainly some keep simple, and some are just crap clones with no thought put into them. But the biggies... there is a lot more too them.

    Infinite runners are probably the lowest level challenge, given the limited set of choices and pretty much no strategy. And of course clickers, those aren't even games. And if you browse the bowels of Google play you will find all kinds of games that barely qualify as games, driving "simulators", platformers that are ass, bubble poppers, Unity tutorials, etc.

    It's a interesting question, I think it may be down to a couple of reasons, 1) hex games are a bit harder visually assess, and 2) that no one has really made breakout match-3 based on hex. There are several good ones, Game of Drones, Bee Brilliant, and there was a fantasy one I can't remember that was pretty nifty as it was also a dungeon crawler. Several the hex ones also tend to be select-3 vs. match-3. I think it could change, and they could be more popular if someone built a kickass one. I think I would add that simple grid allows a lot flexibility in terms of features, gravity changes, visually strategic structural layouts, etc..
     
  4. eatsleepindie

    eatsleepindie

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    Hello zen and welcome to the forums! I think you can predict which way pieces will fall if you use a pointy hex layout vs a flat; the leap that the player would need to make from the traditional match-3 games would be that you'd end up leaving holes sometimes, where pieces would not fall because one of the two pieces on either side of it are preventing it from moving. This of course assumes gravity will play a role, but there are other ways to move pieces on the board aside from that.

    Or continuing with the gravity version, from there you could play around with a lot of ideas; if you don't fill the gaps within a specific time then something occurs, resulting in progress being disrupted (stone that is permanent and cannot be removed comes to mind but is just one example).

    I'll stop there and just suggest making a prototype with some basic mechanics and see how it plays. I think it sounds like it could be worth the effort if it is something you're really interested in making. There are also some nice grid packages in the Asset Store that could give you a headstart in prototyping, even if you don't use them for the final game.
     
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  5. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    I find match-3 games endlessly fascinating as a genre. Both as a developer and player.

    As a player, they fill a niche. I play games all the time, big ones, small ones, board games and pnp. Match-3 games fill the small gaps, the good ones. The give a strategy and visual fix in 2-3 minute chunks and still have progression.

    As a developer, i am constantly impressed with developers who constantly add new and interesting modes, hooks and features to what is a relatively simple core mechanic.

    As an artist, I tend to gravitate to games with a high level artistry/animation/polish and juice. The successful ones have this in spades. Given the simple core, not only do they have be innovative and engaging, they have to sexy to rise above the competition, quality art direction is highly weighted in the best ones.
     
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  6. moonjump

    moonjump

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    I think that isn't true of the other examples you gave also.

    Infinite runners can be more complex. Jetpack Joyride adds power-up vehicles and multiple other features for example.

    Clickers are games, but much of the gameplay moves from the core loop to the meta game, at least in the interesting ones. Tap Titans has a lot of strategy around how to upgrade for example.

    Games of any genre can be simple or deeper, depending on what the designer includes. And deeper isn't always better, sometimes a distraction game that can be dropped in and out of can be just what the player wants. Variety is what makes games so interesting.
     
  7. zendesktest10007

    zendesktest10007

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    Hi @moonjump @zombiegorilla @Kiwasi @eatsleepindie
    Thank you so much for your valuable thoughts and feedback guys. This is really an awesome community with smart people :) Pointy hex layout diverted my thought. That's definitely somethin worth trying. I checked out thoes hex games you guys mentioned. There's alot to learn form them. As you guys said, match-3 game genre can literally be a casual game which simplicity matters. On the other hand, yes, it can have deep strategies, tweaks and complex mechanisms depending on the audience. My little hope is that my game will be beloved by many gamers as possible. That's why I asked that question. If hex grid games need to wait for its time to come yet, maybe I'd just keep working on it. If there was no breakout yet, wihch means there's alot of potentials. Thanks.
     
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  8. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    I would say it may boil down to usability and simplicity. It's much more complex to get your head around how to match things like on a diagonal, or what the ramifications will be for sliding something in a certain direction and it now hooking up with additional tiles unexpectedly. 6-way puzzling is simply more difficult than 4-way. Less is more. Simplicity rules.

    I would say also that it's also because there are in general far fewer programmers who understand how to program a hexagonal puzzle system like that, it's simply easier to develop a square grid. And so less of them are made.

    One game I did play on a square grid was 'merged' and I enjoyed it, and then there was 'hex merge' that came out on a hex grid... it was pretty ok really... for that kind of game where you're king of randomly accessing and thinking about where to put the next piece. So you're sort of thinking that way already. But if it were down to sliding rows and columns or trying to swap tiles etc it would sort of take you out of the flow. What makes a basic match3 easy to use is simply that it takes only basic thought to swap two tiles across or up-down, it's not difficult to operate that basic mechanic. Introduce hexes and you're raising the level of complexity and so the level of thinking and that's going to appeal to more intellectual people and less to the general audience.

    The other major factor of course is that SO many developers cannot think for themselves in an abstract way and tend to just COPY the heck out of what other people did, staying well within the limits of the genre etc without stopping to examine why something is the way it is or what the basis was behind the original design. So you get a ton of clones which all basically follow the same formula. If you can come up with something original that is actually "better" or more intuitive or more fun or whatever, that's great... but if "different" means harder or more complicated or less appealing that's a fail. Depends on the audience I guess.
     
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  9. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    Just consider that most match 3 games only use about six colors. On a hex grid with a random distribution, that's damn near guaranteed to have a match by default, and any movement is likely to trigger another match, leading to the game being horribly chaotic. Also, trying to increase the number of colors is likely to run you into accessibility issues. Colorblindness can be a subtle, but huge, problem (and that's both from people's eyes and from their screens), and many games can barely make six good silhouettes, much less more.
     
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  10. eatsleepindie

    eatsleepindie

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    I run into "problems" like the one you're suggesting all the time. It's sort-of part of the gig, isn't it. To come up with a new idea and hash-out how to make it work. I think saying that this game won't work because of color limitations is a bit much, no offense.
     
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  11. moonjump

    moonjump

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    I don't think it needs to wait. There are a lot players experienced in match-3, and also in hex colour matching games (mostly bubble popping). The issue may be with showing an advantage to having a hex grid. I've played a few, but none felt like I was playing something new.

    An additional thing is the match-3 market is dominated by big companies with high revenues. They tend to be very conservative in their approach. If one of those ended up making a hex match-3 and making some money, there would suddenly be lots of them.
     
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