Then what you'd get is East Side Games' NomNom Combo on iPhone. Its first game for iOS devices, NomNom Combo draws plenty of inspiration from developer Spry Fox's Triple Town, unabashedly so. In essence, it's a free-to-play match-three puzzle game in which players don't match like colored or shaped items to destroy them, but rather to create them.
The twist, however, is that players are granted a limited number of moves per game in NomNom Combo, meaning players will have to think hard about each move they take. NomNom separates units into two types: Predators and Prey. Of course, each can be matched up in threes to discover new species in each type, which is exactly the point. However, the critical thinking part comes in when positioning is a concern, or all of the time.
To break it down even further, here's how the play hook works: On the Prey side, up to three adjacent green flies create one yellow mouse, while on the Predator side up to three green frogs create one yellow snake. Three yellow mice clumped together make one orange rabbit, and so on. Now, if a player happens to place a green fly near a green frog, that fly will flee to the opposite side of the game board, if it can. If not, then it gets eaten.
Players are rewarded with points for this, but having a unit bite the dust is rarely a good thing--it's largely a wasted move. This is especially when you consider that, whenever players match to discover a new species, they'll earn a shot at more moves via a wheel of chance that appears. To make sure this happens on cue, players can purchase the units they might need with coins they earn from successful matches, or as NomNom calls them, combos. (Hence the name.)
East Side has layered quests on top of all of that to add yet another motivator to how players engage with NomNom. However, you probably shouldn't bother focusing on these, regardless of the coin rewards they offer. Honestly, they just serve to muddy up the game you're currently playing, and aren't exactly elegantly presented. Consider them an added bonus, really.
NomNom Combo offers an interesting twist on what Triple Town started, and a funny one at that. From the goofy faces on all of the game's various animals to the sound that the Prey critters make when a Predator is about to step foot onto the game board, NomNom will draw chuckles out of some if not smiles out of others.
And that's what East Side Games seems to be about at its core: making games that aren't just fun, but funny. But does NomNom Combo add the "plus one" that company CEO Jason Bailey claims is crucial in drawing inspiration from an existing game? Well, turning Spry Fox's match-three creation gameplay into a dichotomy of predators versus prey certainly sets NomNom apart. However, there's only one way to find out whether that affects your opinion on the issue of copycatting.
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