Cantasia review

Cantasia is a new Facebook game based on the popular children’s TV series Canimals. The long-term goal for the game is to turn it into a social gaming mini-platform in its own right, offering a variety of games for players to play so they can build up the titular kingdom. Unfortunately, it’s not quite there just yet.

Cantasia initially walks the player through a short intro quest in which it introduces one of the characters, implies some more will be on their way later and then throws the player into a very conventional Bejeweled-style match-3 game. Gameplay here is about as predictable as you can get — players swap colored gems around to make rows of three or more like-colored gems, and must score as many points as possible against the clock. There’s a leaderboard that resets every week, and purchasable “booster” items that provide special abilities to the player in exchange for soft currency. Soft currency is acquired through simply playing the game, though an energy system limits how much may be played in a single session.

Throughout the introductory quest, scenery elements appear on the player’s personal “Cantasia,” implying that the eventual aim is to rebuild the area so it looks more like the visitable kingdom of the “Oz” character. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there appears to be absolutely nothing to do beyond simply playing the match-3 game until energy runs out. There is no apparent in-game shop, no leveling system, no collectible items, no objects to interact with and no other quests. The match-3 game gets a slight twist on its usual formula with the addition of an optional “Tilted” mode, in which the gems drop at strange angles, making it harder to see matches, but the gameplay is fundamentally identical.

In short, there’s just not enough here right now to call a complete game. The match-3 gameplay is competent enough, but not interesting enough to successfully distinguish it from other titles that don’t throttle the player’s session, and there’s literally nothing else to do right now. Checking through the few menu options brings up an array of non-clickable interface elements that say “coming soon” — even the experience bar at the top of the screen is marked with a “coming soon” note, and the few quest popups at the top of the screen simple state what will be part of the game shortly, beginning with a “versus” mode on December 10.

It’s difficult to say any more about Cantasia in its current state because what has been described is literally all it offers right now. What is worth saying, however, is that this game should have spent more time in active, “behind closed doors” development before being released to the public. The state it is in right now clearly does not reflect what the developers are intending it to end up as, so it’s reasonable to question exactly why it has been released so early in this obviously unfinished state. As it stands, it’s entirely possible that users will come to the game, try it out, realize that it’s unfinished, and then never return to it again. This would be a shame, because the polished, smoothly-animating look of the game suggests that it will be a high-quality title worthy of players’ time and attention when it has a bit more to it.

Cantasia is one to check back on in a few weeks or months, then, because right now there’s just not enough to it. So far the game has picked up 6,000 monthly active users, 4,000 weekly active users and 800 daily active users. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.

Wait

There’s obvious potential in this well-presented game, but it’s in such a clearly unfinished state right now that it’s impossible to recommend for the moment.

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  1. My Blog | Cantasia review – Inside Social Games says:

    [...] Cantasia reviewInside Social GamesCantasia is a new Facebook game based on the popular children's TV series Canimals. The long-term goal for the game is to turn it into a social gaming mini-platform in its own right, offering a variety of games for players to play so they can build up … [...]

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