Homescapes

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Homescapes
Homescapes icon.png
The protagonist, Austin, with his cat. The player can create a name for the cat.
Developer(s)Playrix
Publisher(s)Playrix
Platform(s)Android, iOS
ReleaseApple App store
September, 2017
Google Play
August, 2017
Amazon App store
September, 2017
Genre(s)Puzzle
Mode(s)Single-player

Homescapes is a free-to-play video game released by Playrix in September, 2017.[1] The game is available on iOS, Android and Amazon App Store. Homescapes is a Gardenscapes spin-off and shares the same gameplay concept, combining traditional match-3 mechanics with a well-developed storyline. The game’s protagonist is also the same: Austin the Butler.

Premise[edit]

The story revolves around Austin, who feels homesick and moves back home with his parents, Olivia and William.

He is in for a rude awakening when his parents tell him that they are selling the family mansion, which is in poor condition. They feel that it would be too costly to renovate it, and due to their old age, they are unable to do so.[2] Nevertheless, Austin tries to convince his parents not to sell it, and gladly volunteers to restore his ancestral home (with the help of the player) to its former glory.

As the story progresses, the player (and Austin himself) learn more about Austin's childhood and Olivia and William's younger years.

Gameplay[edit]

Homescapes is a match-3 puzzle game, where the core gameplay is based on swapping two adjacent elements to make a row or column of at least three elements.[3] The player can obtain helpful power-ups and activate them by double-tapping them or switching with another element.

Power-ups
Power-up Purpose Obtained by
Rocket clears 1 row or column match 4 in a straight line
Plane clears 4 surrounding spaces, then 1 additional in another area match 4 in a square
Bomb clears many surrounding spaces match 5 in a "T" or "L" arrangement
Rainbow Ball removes all of one type of element match 5 in a straight line

The power-ups can also be swapped with one another, resulting in powerful combos.

Power-up Combos
Combo Purpose
2 Rockets clears 1 row and 1 column
2 Bombs clears a large surrounding area on the board
2 Paper Planes clears a few surrounding spaces, then 3 spaces in different areas
2 Rainbow Balls clears entire board
1 Rainbow Ball +

1 Rocket, Plane, or Bomb

multiplies the swapped power-up, then all copies of the power-up are activated
1 Rocket + 1 Bomb clears 3 rows and 3 columns
1 Plane + 1 Rocket or Bomb clears 4 surrounding spaces, then activates swapped power-up in another area

To complete levels, the player must achieve the listed goals in the level (e.g. collect a number of certain elements, lay down carpet, remove suds, etc.). In doing so, the player will earn stars to complete tasks around the house and progress further in the game.

The game is free to play with in-app purchases, allowing the player to purchase the in-game, fictional currency with real-world money.[4] Functionally, it works similar to Candy Crush Saga, allowing the player to purchase the ability to retry levels upon failing them.[4] It also includes In-app purchasing and other micro transactions.

There are also "events" throughout the game, where the player can get special rewards (e.g. power-ups, coins, etc.) after completing the event.[2] One of them includes a sub-plot revolving around Austin's cat, who falls in love with a female cat. The player completes special levels to help him meet the cat.

Development[edit]

The game was developed by Playrix, who had previously developed and released the game Gardenscapes.[5]

Reception[edit]

In the first week after its release, Homescapes was downloaded seven million times.[6] By the end of the first month, on October 19, total downloads had reached 28 million.[7] In October, Homescapes was the 4th most downloaded game on iOS worldwide and the 8th most downloaded on Android.[8]

Gamezebo awarded the game a four out of five star rating, generally praising the game, but feeling it was not quite as good as Gardenscapes, concluding "The result is still a wonderful match-3 slash simulation game that scratches all the same itches as Gardenscapes but in an entirely new environment. If you’ve conquered Gardenscapes and are looking for a new version of roughly the same experience, Homescapes is a must-play. But newcomers to the series should stick to Gardenscapes for now, at least until Homescapes catches up to all the updates and enhancements of the original."[9]

False Advertising[edit]

From 2018 to 2019, Homescapes and its other games made by Playrix, including Gardenscapes, Fishdom, Township and many other mobile app games made by other developers, such as Matchington Mansion, another match 3 game with a similar plot to Homescapes, had created adverts where the gameplay is untrue to the game. They would include titles such as "Why is this game so hard?" or "Save your garden/mansion" and the advert would show gameplay where the area is in a mess and the player must choose certain items for certain problems. The player is shown to be incompetent by choosing inappropriate items for certain problems, such as adding gasoline to a fire. This has caused a lot of frustration to players, as the gameplay is false to the actual game.[10][11] [12] [13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Playrix scores another big match-3 mobile game hit with Homescapes". venturebeat.com.
  2. ^ a b "Homescapes - Homescapes Fans". Homescapes Fans. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  3. ^ http://www.pocketgamer.biz/news/66301/playrix-soft-launches-sequel-homescapes/
  4. ^ a b http://www.pocketgamer.biz/the-iap-inspector/66779/how-does-homescapes-monetise/
  5. ^ http://www.pocketgamer.biz/interview/67045/the-making-of-homescapes/
  6. ^ "За неделю с момента релиза мобильную Homescapes от Playrix скачали 7 миллионов раз". dtf.ru.
  7. ^ "Homescapes — 28 млн загрузок в первый месяц и большая касса". app2top.ru.
  8. ^ "App Annie: самые скачиваемые и доходные игры сентября 2017". app2top.ru.
  9. ^ http://www.gamezebo.com/2017/10/04/homescapes-review-homeward-bound/
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRx-zEqxC8I
  11. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkK_6ZWSKJA
  12. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnoxWeEC_B8
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SxVD8uynys