Playcreek has been on our radar since they brought out Stoneloops of Jurassica, a marble-matching game we'd love to link to if it hadn't been removed from the App Store for looking a little too much like Luxor. Magic Wingdom [Free] is the developer's first trip back to the world of matching since then, and it's wild. Line drawing, marble matching, farm-handling and a lot more—it should probably be a total mess, but instead it really works.

The game at the midst of all the chaos is a collection of straightforward matching mechanics. Colored eggs roll inexorably toward the center of an arena. If two eggs that don't match meet, it's game over. Your job is to draw lines through matching eggs on the move, lining up big combos and avoiding every other colored egg. Combos have a chance to drop power-ups when they break, including the occasional coin.

The goal is to hit the highest score you can, and also to earn a boatload of coins. The higher the score, the more coins you earn. You need these coins to kit out your farm, to buy it birds and make them comfortable and dress it up. Conceptually it reminds me of Kitten Sanctuary [$1.99], but in this game the farm is a much more intrinsic part of the experience.

As you unlock more and more content for your farm, you earn stars. Earning enough of those stars unlocks new farms and new arenas. But more than that, individual items trigger mini-quests. Buying the item's pair unlocks a permanent reward that will improve your score in the matching game.

Playing also gives you experience, and every level you earn a boost. Boosts are crazy-big improvements to your matching skills—extra lives, bonus coins, combo boosters and more. It's all a huge ecosystem of progression: play the game to improve the farm, improve the farm to do better in the game, and earn more coins and boosts as you go.

You can short-circuit this ecosystem, if you want. You can buy your way into coins, boosts and unlocks. You can also pick up the Deluxe [$0.99] version of Magic Wingdom, which gives you a well-sized coin bonus for the first fifteen rounds you play to get you through the early days.

Matching and line-drawing mechanics work well together, but it's the progression that keeps this game compelling. It encourages players to keep driving toward one goal after another, without ever letting up. It makes Magic Wingdom much harder to put down than it probably should be, which is certainly one measure of success.

It's no huge surprise that Playcreek got another marble matching game right. The speed, the timing, the frantic swiping as you hit your limits—it feels just right. There is a cynical edge to the overwhelming array of in-app purchases, but it's softened by the fun of matching and the charm of farm-design. If you've been looking for a decent, fresh matching game, hop in—you won't regret it. Magic Wingdom has something for everyone, and it's all out there for free.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/thetanhen Tanner Hendrickson

    Reminds me of a combination of Flight Control and Collision Effect. I'm not complaining. 

  • http://www.vitaltitles.com/ Nick

    You know, with all the love for Stoneloops I was all on this, bought it day one. The deluxe edition because I want to support them! I didn't go for the free version, because these guys are the real deal!

    Then, what almost no time from its release they drop the DELUXE version to free. The deluxe version that is paid to support them, for free.

    I complain about paid dropping to free within the first few days a lot, but situations like this when there is a FREE VERSION the whole point of free entry.

    I'm just frustrated. I know "it's just a dollar" but those "just a dollar"s add up. This has happened more times than I would like to count up.

    The developers are shooting themselves in the foot. They want us to buy early, but then maybe they don't get enough early day sales and within a handful of days they drop the price, or they drop it to free.

    I can't begin to think the hell the developers go through, the money they lose when their game doesn't take stake in the app store. The insane money they invest isn't something I can imagine.

    And yes, we pay a pittance sometimes in app prices. Though many times a dollar app isn't worth a dollar, and some $5 apps aren't worth their price. Where some are worth easily 3+ times over what they're sold for.

    But when I invest a serious amount of money into this ecosystem, it gets irritating to see these things happen time and time again. I'd feel the same way if this kind of thing happened on XBLA, PSN Or so on. And while Steam has their sales, it feels very different than these.

    I can't be alone, and I'm not COMPLETELY unreasonable, am I? Especially in a situation like this when there's a free version already out there.

    • Alexander Kiselyov

      Hi Nick, first of all thank you very much for supporting us!
      I can understand your frustration when you buy the game and it becomes free the next day. But please also understand developers - they spend months (over a year in case of Magic Wingdom) to develop a game and if Apple does not feature you at launch day your game can have very few sales and become invisible somewhere behind top-1000.
      Temporarily going free sometimes is the only option to gain some visibility.

      Our deluxe version is free for some time for that same reason but we are still sorry that some of our supporters and early buyers feel frustrated about this.

      • Baby Landlord

        I'm often on here complaining about all the posts by cheapskates who feel like they got ripped off by $1 but hey not a bad post by Nick there! I bought the deluxe version solely to support the developers and even though they obviously got my money, it still feels a bit lame when they drop that version to free. I mean like, let us give you money and feel like we did something! Oh well, it is a great game, despite the free to play elements. Will definitely spend a year plus on my device.
        Despite being so incensed at the beginning of every comment by the time I get this far I almost always no longer care. That's the internet for you I guess!

Magic Wingdom Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 4