Ten-year-old Little Worlds Studio, based in Lyon, France, is fighting for survival. Their tactic: start a ‘kickfailer’ campaign to get people to try (and hopefully contribute to) the company’s latest mobile game, Mana Crusher.
It’s hard not to be ‘touched’ by the appeal (in more ways than one). “The fate of our 13 staff is hanging in the balance, and every download of our charming and addictive new title, Mana Crusher counts,” says the press announcement.
“Meet Dave,” it continues. “Dave founded Little Worlds 10 years ago. He has a wife and 3 kids… Together we have celebrated 3 weddings (including 2 employees who married each other) and the birth of 5 babies. We are a family and we would like to stick together!!”
“Mana Crusher is free and you can finish the game without spending anything, but if you want to support us, you can buy something in game,” said David Chomard, studio founder.
Mana Crusher looks like yet another variant on the time-honored ‘match the item’ formula. (Think Bejeweled, or Puzzle Quest.) It’s said to include a “hundred plus” levels. Players take the role of one of six banished wizards, and trace paths by connecting objects such as pumpkins, crystals and potions. The longer the path, the bigger the score.
Players also train new wizards, collect cards and master spells that can attack enemies.
Like Kickstarter, ‘kickfailer’ offers rewards as each funding target is met. If the game achieves 1,000 downloads, “the 13 developers will go out for a filling and nutritious meal at their nearest fast food restaurant (a kind of “Last Supper”).”
At 10,000 downloads, every player will get a credit of 10,000 in-game ‘clovers.’ At 1000,000 downloads, a new character will appear in the game. At 100,000,000 downloads, “the developers will spend a night in prison on your behalf.”
You have to admire the effort. (What’s French for ‘chutzpa’…?) Let’s just hope this isn’t the beginning of a trend.
Mana Crusher is available for iPhone, iPad and Android, from the respective stores.