The launch of yet another match 3 game for the iPhone shouldn't be a surprise for fans of the Bejeweled franchise. This new take comes with a new twist, game modes and power-ups that you just didn't expect. Spanish developer Small Wonders, the people behind the award-winning Battle of Puppets and World of Popus have done it again.
Yum Yum Boy [iTunes Link] follows the adventures of a soon-to-be obese kid and the desperate efforts of his mom to get him to eat healthy food. This time round you play on the dark side and will feed our young hero with all sort of junk.
Set in eight different scenarios ranging from fast food outlets to amusement parks, Yum Yum Boy will move his favourite snacks around seven columns and make them disappear. In a classic approach of the match 3 genre, you can combine three plus items to create combo sequences to increase your score. The score bar in this game is, however, the kid's belly filling in with gastric juices…
The most awesome part of the game comes with the power-ups. Gone are the power games seen in Blitz. Yum Yum Boy (and the developers) seem to be huge fans of Japanese popular culture. The game includes a Mazinger Z power-up that allows you to launch missiles for a brief period of time, a handy Dragon Ball Kame Hame Ha, a flamethrower, burps, along extra caloric blasts and bombs.
The story mode introduces new features as you progress, making you play some short tilt-based minigames that make Yum Yum Boy less monotonous. There are three game modes included: "Story Mode", which teaches the player how to perform different tricks, "Puzzles", where you can select levels like as in Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, and "Gluttony", an infinite time level.
Graphics are on the cute side with smiley junk food, characters with big heads plus anime-like sound effects. The background music tends to be repetitive but it gives you a break changing with every scenario. The controls cannot be customised but the game can cater for different tastes. You can either choose to drag Yum Yum Boy on the bottom and then through the food, or simply swipe upwards in the desired column. I must warn that the game area is rather small and you might end up covering your columns or sending junk food somewhere you didn't intend to.
The addition of Japanese manga references will crack gamers over their 20s for sure and shows the geekiness level at Small Wonders.
The depth and variety of Yum Yum Boy not only please younger players, but also hardcore fans of the genre. The main problem with it is that despite the short minigames, it doesn't add much to the scene, having the classic gameplay elements we all know under an appealing theme. Yum Yum Boy is a fun puzzle game with loads of geeky references. Once these wear out, I see the replay value dropping big time, but it is really up to them to release new levels to keep it fresh.