More than two years after ZeptoLab released the mega-hit mobile game “Cut the Rope,” the Russian developer is trying to lasso more players with its next venture.
Tomorrow, ZeptoLab plans to release its first game unrelated to “Cut the Rope” since the debut of the flagship franchise and its green baby monster, which spawned plush toys and cartoons. “Pudding Monsters,” the new game for Apple and Android mobile platforms, presents players with puzzles involving gooey cyclops creatures. Players shift and combine the blobs to move through each course.
It sounds gross, but the cherry-topped lady puddings and mustachioed monsters have a familiar charm thanks to the Russian twins Efim and Semyon Voinov, who are the creative forces behind the game studio. But ZeptoLab aims to create something distinct from “Cut the Rope,” where players guide candies into a creature’s mouth by using a finger to slice through the rope dangling in front of its face, said Misha Lyalin, the company’s chief executive officer.
“It’s going to be very different,” Lyalin said. ”We want to be a gaming company that’s not necessarily limited in what it can explore.”
Moscow-based ZeptoLab, which has racked up more than 250 million downloads for the “Cut the Rope” series, faces a serious challenge. Some mobile-game developers that became App Store phenomenons with one successful franchise have struggled to translate that recipe to others. Brisbane, Australia-based Halfbrick Studios has failed to create a hit on the scale of “Fruit Ninja,” and New York-based Lima Sky hasn’t produced a game anywhere near as big as “Doodle Jump.”
Rovio Entertainment of Finland has successfully sent “Angry Birds” into space and to a galaxy far, far away, and created a popular spinoff called “Bad Piggies.” Rovio’s attempt at breaking new ground earlier this year with “Amazing Alex” fared well, but the application has not maintained its place on the sales charts alongside the various “Angry Birds” games.
ZeptoLab may capitalize on its past success by running advertisements for “Pudding Monsters” within “Cut the Rope” games, which have 50 million people actively playing them, Lyalin said. Zynga used a similar strategy with “FarmVille” to expose its users to the company’s other games, before activity dropped off.
“We created a very powerful marketing platform,” Lyalin said. ”We’ll be able to tell our audience, ‘Hey, there’s a second game from us, and you should try it.’”
Regardless of how well “Pudding Monsters” does, Lyalin said ZeptoLab plans to release five more games next year, some of which will be new properties. And yes, that includes fresh “Cut the Rope” games.