Monster Mania

This is a cross-platform, mass-market, freemium casual game, inspired by successful puzzles such as the Candy Crush saga. It was a play on a traditional game mechanic that had seen great adoption in the mobile market.


Cinder Games & Ayopa Game Publishing


Game Designer



My Role

My role was that of game designer. This primarily meant building the concept and storyline for the game. Character creation, world and level design, and game mechanics design were all in the mix of my day-to-day tasks. I worked very closely with the artists and animators to give the game the personality and market appeal I hoped to find. I also ran the development team in a basic agile way throughout the production. Other tasks involved were creating SFX, as well as marketing assets and pitch decks to find publishing partners.

The Product

The story was simple; the quest of a cute blue monster to save his family. This was portrayed through various cutscenes through out the transition to new worlds. The mechanic was a grid based matching game, and the twist was that a player character was moved through the grid to find the matching enemies which he could then ‘munch’ through. Different levels and worlds would provide new enemy obstacles to be defeated in various new ways in order to complete the level in the least number of moves possible.

The challenge was time. Creating a game within budget and to a timeframe is one of the trickiest tasks I have come across. Games can take years to build, and hours to complete. Often a successful game will simply come down to the balance. The balance within this mechanic was focused around game play progression and monetising through the freemium model.

Evolution of the project

Within the first week of launch, MonsterMania was featured in the 'New Games We Love' list on the Apple App Store and in 'Top New Games' on the Google Play store. Within 5 days we received 240k downloads and well over a million games played. It went down very well initially, with a small viral uptake. However, one major issue soon arose - it was not monetising well. People who loved the game played through it easily and played around the paywalls, while others the hit the paywalls, became frustrated and stopped. In short, the balance was wrong and it killed the game growth after six months. On the plus side, we got incredible user reviews and significant accolades as an indie developer.

Key take aways

> Understanding that the smallest details in a product can have a great impact on its performance.  

> Working with close knit in-house teams is always more productive and conducive to the final outcome of a product, in particular if tight timeframes are at play.

> Testing at all stages is vital to the success of any product, and on this basis you can never test too early.

> Building the foundation and backstory of any product is key in the direction and growth of a business and product.

> Preparing and resourcing for the market and level of completion you are facing is crucial. 

Other work