Review: Breaking Eggz for iOS 5

appicon.pngI was approached a few weeks ago by the fine folks at RedDreamStar, who asked if I wanted to review their new game called Breaking Eggz. I hemmed and hawed like I normally do, but ultimately said yes. I’m glad that I did.

Breaking Eggz allows you the player to do exactly what it says on the tin– break eggs. Using hammers to break eggs leads to the collection of more hammers, stars, multipliers and pickups. That is really the extent of your involvement when playing this game. However, the simple gameplay mechanic leads to an addictive gaming experience that I find hard to put down.

Aesthetics & Audio
The overall look and feel of the game is simplistic, colorful, and cartoonish. Personally, this is not to my taste, but is executed well here. It seems to appeal to a young audience- something that you would allow your child to play on your phone in a doctor’s office waiting room, or waiting to be seated at a restaurant (I will elaborate on this in a moment). In a word, it’s cute.

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To my mind, there was not much they could do in the way of sound effects. You are either cracking an egg or activating a drawing a circle or a star (again, more in a moment). The sounds are repetitive, but get the job done. As for the music, it has some charm, but overall feels generic. Then again, you did not download this game for stunning audio. It’s not a music puzzle game; little hinges on the game’s lack of audio finish.

Gameplay
The gameplay mechanics for Breaking Eggz are simple- you are presented with five eggs, of which you are allowed to break three. You will continue to be presented with five eggs at a time until you collect all of the pickups, and thus proceed to the next stage to begin all over again.

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You are allotted a certain number of “hammers” or finger taps, in which to break eggs with. Some eggs have nothing in them, others have extra hammers, some have star pieces, others have entire stars, yet others have pickups needed to proceed to the next stage. There are a variety of egg patterns and colors, and some require more than one tap to break. As far as I could tell, there is no correlation between color, number of taps it takes to break, and what that egg might contain. It seems totally random.

Based on the way that the gameplay works, it strikes me as a kind of gambling with little at stake and nothing to win, except for little chicks, which represent points in this game. The only way to break, or even see what is inside, all five eggs is to use a star. Throughout normal play, you can collect either star fragments (it takes five to create a star) or entire stars hidden within eggs. Once you have a complete star, you can use it by drawing a five point star on screen to activate it.

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Using stars and multipliers1 is the only way to collect more hammers, and thus, continue gameplay. Once you run out of hammers you have one of two options: wait four hours and you will be allotted 100 hammers2, or you can make an in-app purchase of hammers (and multipliers and stars) to continue gameplay immediately. I understand why the developers adopted the “freemium” model, which relies on in-app purchases to generate revenue for the developers– It gets the app in more hands. What I personally don’t care for is the way in which they are trying to pull money out of the customer by teasing you with a few minutes worth of gameplay in the hopes that you will want to continue badly enough that you shell out money to do so. To me, their take on the freemium business model feels unreliable for the developer, and worse, tacky for the customer3.

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As for proceeding from one stage to another, it’s an entirely perfunctory exercise. There are pickups needed to proceed to the next stage.4 These pickups are found at random just like anything else you find in the game. Proceeding from one stage to another, at least to my mind, does not lead to an increased difficulty in finding objects. It’s just a hollow benchmark to indicate progress that really doesn’t matter. After you clear all five stages, you enter a “Free Play” mode which is indistinguishable from regular play. This stage just never ends.

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Game Center achievements are incorporated into the game, but require little skill or effort to acquire. Just by playing the game for any length of time, you will begin to earn achievements. To my mind, this misses the point of achievements entirely. Other reasonable people may disagree.

Circling back around to the free allotment of hammers you are given every four hours– this can be manipulated in the player’s favor very easily. If you so much as play one set of eggs every four hours, the timer is reset and you will be allotted another 100 when that four hour period expires. So, in a hypothetical world where you do not sleep, you could receive 600 eggs a day barely playing the game. I can’t imagine this being by design, as it undercuts their (presumed) business model of hoping that you are addicted enough to the game to blow through your hammer allotment and purchase more.

As for the addiction, I was surprised. When I was approached to review this game, I thought it was a corny idea, and not something I would have picked out of the App Store on my own. However, I’ve spent a lot of my leisure time enjoying the game, and not only as a subject of this review either. I genuinely enjoy playing this game. In fact, I’ve hit the bottom of my allotment of eggs before, and not wanting to put the game down, paid for the privilege of continuing. Their business model works. It may not work on everybody, but if they get their game in enough hands, the sales they generate from a few, could easily support the rest.

Other Compliments and Complaints
Overall, there is an irresistible charm to this game, and it costs nothing for you to try it out. I would recommend you do so. It’s a nice way to kill some spare time, and has that satisfying feeling that comes with gambling. You want to succeed, but the odds may not let you. When you do begin to win it feels great, but that may slip from your grasp in an instant.

The same charm that may be appealing to some, could be irritating to others. The overall presentation seems to be directed toward a younger crowd. Which, as I stated previously, confuses me. Perhaps I’m not giving today’s youth much credit, but I cannot see a five, six, or seven year old understanding, let alone enjoying this game’s mechanics. I may be flawed in my thinking in that regard.

On a technical level, this game runs very smoothly on my iPhone 4S mostly due to the sheer horsepower offered by that device. Running on my first-generation iPad with iOS 5 installed is another matter entirely. Graphics refreshes and user input recognition can seem sluggish at times. I would certainly hope that a non-graphics intensive game like this could perform better on a device that is only one generation old. I would hope and assume that this could be fixed in a future patch.

Summary
It’s a cute game, with a lot to offer while maintaining a simplicity that is to be admired. While it is flawed, at least to my mind, I find it hard to put down, and I believe most people would agree. It’s definitely worth a look. For some it may not take more than that to be hooked.

1 Multipliers are activated by drawing a circle around an egg. It also seems to be an all or nothing gamble. Whether you have two or twelve, or more, all of them will be used once you draw the circle. If you choose correctly, you can collect a lot of hammer, stars, and even more multipliers. If nothing is in the egg, you’ve lost all of your multipliers. If there is a way to specify the number of multipliers you choose to use at a time, I have not found it.

2 A hundred hammers can be quickly used up in a matter of five minutes.

3 To be fair however, the player does not need to spend a dime to enjoy the game.

4 The number of pickups needed to proceed to the next stage corresponds to the stage number you are currently playing on. So, to pass stage one, you need to find only one pickup. To past stage two you need two pickups and so on until you reach stage five. After stage five you enter “Free Play ” mode and no further pickups are offered.

Breaking Eggz is available on the App Store for free.

Breaking Eggz was provided by RedDreamStar for review on iSource. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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  • umar z

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    http://www.blazemedea.com

    Really useful apps. Not spamming here, just a suggestion :)