I played Dots and Bejeweled, two games in the Match Three genre, and I played both on my phone. Both games are simple premises of connecting items to remove them from the screen. Because their mechanics are similar, their unique themes showcase the differences: setting the tone, creating different types of fun, and attracting different audiences.
Themes and Story
Dots has a minimalist design with a clean, white background and sharp, bright colored dots. The font used throughout is a sans serif and ultra thin, highlighting the minimalist style of the game. Because the design does not offer any new information nor is any story explicitly offered in the game, there is no overarching story or premise to the game.
In contrast, Bejeweled has a gaudy theme. The game has varying colored and shaped jewels as the items to be matched, and the background is a dirt field with hints of jewels inside, all set inside of crown molding on the edges of the screen. With this theme, the game provides an overarching story of digging for jewels and taking on the role of someone else.
Impact of Theme
Sets Tone and Types of Fun
Dots and Bejeweled feel like different games, even though they have similar premises. By creating a theme centered around jewels, Bejeweled provides a storyline to the game. Additionally, Bejeweled creates a world that feels older and even luxurious, giving players a tone and aesthetic of fantasy in addition to challenge. Players feel like they are put into another world and take on the role of a character, digging deeper into the mines for jewels. The theme of the game creates another type of fun, utilizing classic royal tropes and allure to jewels to give players the fantasy of finding and collecting rare jewels.
In contrast, because Dots has a bright color scheme, the game offers a fun, exciting tone. However, because the game has no distractions on screen other than the game itself and no distraction, the game creates the primary fun of challenge. As the game has nothing on screen except the given level, the game offers little more than a challenge; players do not take on any roles or feel like they are placed into a new world. Instead, the game is simply the player vs. the obstacle in front of them, encouraging players to focus on nothing except conquering the level.
Finally, the games attract different audiences with their moods. Bejeweled will attract an audience who is interested in taking on another world and intrigued by the old world, gaudy look. Players who appreciate fantasy tropes will be more inclined to play Bejeweled. In contrast, Dots will attract an audience who is looking for a casual game to conquer a challenge, especially players who are not interested in feeling like they are in another world or are disinterested in fantasy.