Let’s break down the design of Best Fiends. Yes, it’s ‘Fiends’ not Freinds. At its core, it’s a Connect 3 gameplay. The core is then combined with RPG elements in a clever way. Each colored item represents an element (Leaf, Water, Mushroom, etc). Each element is then linked with a fiend (a hero character). Eg:
Leaf -> Frog
The player fights with slugs. When a match is made, its colored character hits the enemy slug. The bigger the match, the bigger the damage. The player has to finish certain objectives to finish a level within a specific amount of moves. Connecting what essentially is a color with a hero opens up opportunities for adding characters, hero skills, character variations, etc!
Let’s look into the resources. We have the following resources
|Soft currency (Yellow)||Crates and level win rewards||Upgrade the fiends (High activity)||High|
|Soft currency (Blue)||Crates and level win rewards||For upgrading the fiends (Low activity)||Low|
|Energy||Regenerates with Time||Each level play||High|
|Key||Level win rewards (3 per win, 1 per lose)||Crates||Medium|
|Gold||Level win rewards||Continue after fail||Low|
The simplest progression marker is the map as you move forward and new gameplay elements are unlocked.
Another significant progression marker is to upgrade and unlock the fiends and their skills. This kind of collection (Image 2) and upgrade-based progression can be very sticky. Each fiend has its own character progression in levels (Image 3). It offers the player variety which is good for player attention. In the character select screen, the shadows tell the player that there’s a lot to come, and the hints at special characters at the bottom give the player something to chase.
The characters are unlocked using keys to open crates. So keys are an important currency for progression.
This is a high-level view of how the flow looks like
It has certain RV (rewarded video) monetization points. For eg: After each match, the player gets 3 keys but has the chance to get +2 keys using RV. Since keys open crates. Crates contain chances to unlock more fiends, and contain currencies to upgrade fiends, it is a clear offer for the player to get quick progression.
We also see RV to get keys on the menu, and RV to spin the wheel, which contains keys and upgrade currencies.
Players can buy gold from the shop and then use it to continue a level after failing or finishing an upgrade if they don’t have the soft currency available
Overall, it felt good to play. The progression is somewhat controlled by the energy system. The game promises variety with its fiend system. The use of the blue soft currency was a bit confusing. But it might be there to control the upgrades of the user and to convert users later on. The meta feels in place with the core.
Monetization-wise, I feel there are more opportunities to convert players into buyers. Consecutive wins could offer a streak. Streaks could allow each level to start with unlocked abilities of the fiends depending on how far the streak is.