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iPad  header logo

Cavemania

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

A new breed

Product: Cavemania | Developer: BonusXP | Publisher: Yodo1 | Format: iPad | Genre: Strategy, Tower defence | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Cavemania iPad, thumbnail 1
Surprising as it now seems, match-three gameplay wasn't invented for touchscreen devices.

The way it uses direct screen interaction makes it an ideal genre for such hardware, however, and this combined with its simplicity are two reasons for the current glut of titles.

But while the likes of Candy Crush Saga and Puzzle & Dragons rule the top grossing charts, can match-three developers come up with anything new in terms of gameplay?

Long, long ago

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US outfit BonusXP thinks so, with its designers drawing on their experience with PC strategy games such as Age of Empires to produce Cavemania.

This genesis reveals itself at the start of each level as you're presented with a multi-layered goal that you have to complete in order to win gold and unlock the next level.

These aren't abstract tasks such as matching 20 sets of a certain symbol, however. Instead, they involve more complex moves such as making matches on specific grid locations (or turning locked desert squares into useful playable squares, as the game describes it).

Given the caveman theme and RTS-inspired gameplay, the materials you're matching include gold, wood, and food, while you also have to deal with era enemies such as sabre-toothed cats and dinosaurs.

Raise an army

The specific, nitty gritty nature of the tasks allows Cavemania's designers to introduce a twist: you can drop playable units onto the match-three grid.

IAPs explained
Cavemania's hard currency is gold, with bundles ranging from £1.99 / $2.99 for a small pack to £6.99 / $9.99 for a large pack.

You can also buy consumable items, including extra turns, extra lives, plus food, crystal, and boost turn packs (each 69p / 99c).

Finally, there's a permanent double gold multipler, which doubles up all the gold you earn in the game. That is priced £1.99 / $2.99.
These range from Villagers to Warriors and Hunters, and each has to be unlocked by progressing through the game. To deploy one you need to have matched a certain number of resources during a level. Once units are available, you can then place them on the map and move them around.

This direct manipulation of resources is combined with each unit's special power - something you earn when you make a match-four and get a bonus crystal. For example, the Worker can transform up to three desert squares, while the Warrior's club knocks enemies away.

At the pinnacle of this gameplay sits your chieftain, who acts a bit like the king in chess. He's powerful in that he can move in any direction, but if he's killed it's level over. Of course, the other restriction is the total number of moves in which you have to complete each level's goals.

Your move

Being a free-to-play game, Cavemania does allows you to buy more moves, as well as bonus crystals, wildcards, and more gold, which is used to upgrade various aspects of your units - ranging from useful attributes like attack and defence to cosmetic ones.

Nevertheless, at its heart Cavemania is a game about learning tactical skills, and in the current market that's both its strength and weakness.

An audience attuned to the fast presentation of a Candy Crush Saga will become bored and frustrated by its pacing and skill demands, while an audience raised on the likes of Age of Empires will enjoy its tight gameplay and - for a mobile game - relatively tough difficulty curve.

You pays your money, and you makes your choice.
 
Cavemania
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 25 September 2013
Slow to get going, Cavemania nevertheless brings a new level of tactical skill to match-three gaming
 
Have Your Say
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Joined:
Dec 2012
Post count:
8
Achim Heidelauf | 11:52 - 3 October 2013
Thanks Graham.

So, to make that clear, there are 3 episodes to unlock with 15 levels each and every one costs 99ct? Is that correct?

After playing through those 45 levels for 3 bucks I would have reached the "end of the game" so to say?

If it is so, I would spend the money. If there is just an update waiting (to be paid for AGAIN), I would refrain from buying anything.

Apart from this mess, the game is nice and I would gladly pay for it.
Joined:
Aug 2013
Post count:
31
Harry Styles | 19:33 - 27 September 2013
Oh dear! Another match-three freemium? I guess we have enough of those around the various download platforms and that this title might just come across as a mere imitation even though it tried to innovate in some way.
Joined:
Sep 2013
Post count:
2
Graham Somers | 16:34 - 26 September 2013
To be perfectly clear in case my previous post wasn't, I work for BonusXP, developers of Cavemania.
Joined:
Sep 2013
Post count:
2
Graham Somers | 16:33 - 26 September 2013
Hi Achim - we've gotten feedback from other players that we haven't made it clear enough what you're getting for your $0.99. It's something we're looking at addressing and wasn't a sneaky plan. There are 15 levels in an episode, so that's what you get for your buck.
Joined:
Apr 2013
Post count:
9
Sixela | 14:59 - 26 September 2013
Maybe because some mobile developers think (erroneously IMO) that telling the player that the game is a trial will prevent some gamer from playing it, or that this sudden frustration will make the player obsessively spent 1$ to continue playing the game.

Mobile game developers are not know to treat players with respect. Players are not known to treat games with respect neither.
Joined:
Dec 2012
Post count:
8
Achim Heidelauf | 10:26 - 26 September 2013
it would have been wise to mention the GODDAMN PAY WALL you will hit. It will prevent you from playing more levels. Pay 99ct for the next Episode it says. And it wont even tell you how much the Episode AFTER THIS ONE will be. Absolutely disgusting monetization tactics.

*uninstall*
 
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