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Knight Girl - behind the scenes

Here is a short story about making our new match-3 game for iOS called Knight Girl.

Knight Girl is the third game on the App Store which is created by Playfo.

Previously we have created two popular games Tap the Frog: Doodle and Tap the Frog which was downloaded more than 25 million times on all platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone).


Last year we started to make a new game in match-3 genre.

Core team was 6 people - programmer, artist, game designer, animator and 2 producers.
Besides this, more than 10 people was involved into outsource production and development - composers, sound designer, voiceover artist, storywriter, webdesigner, localization and QA.


At first glance it may seem that Knight Girl is clone of other popular games ;)

It’s kind of true, but all match-3 games is similar to one another - there are falling gems/candies/items etc.. Player should swipe it and match three of the same.
That is where the similarities end.

When we started preproduction stage we was clearly understand that App Store is flooded with match-3 games and Knight Girl have to stand-out from the crowd.
So we did a lot of experiments with gameplay mechanics.


We used just paper and colored buttons for that:


We’ve brainstormed and created around 30 different mechanics.

Most of them was prototyped. All mechanics were changed and modified during the production process and just few of them was included into final game build.


The core difference from the usual match-3 games is that the player can launch rockets and change the angle of their flight using the "reflectors":


This feature added so much fun and to solve the puzzles.

It was interesting to watch people playing our game. Each move was choosed slowly like it was chess game.

Knight Girl is a game where skill is better than luck, unlike the other match-3 games.

Also, we have some unique mechanics in the game - flooding water, moving crabs, conveyor belts, hungry leaves, water whirpools etc.

We used Cocos2d-x for development, so in future it will be easy to port game to other platforms.


Texture packer was used for textures, Particle designer for effects, some of animations was made in Macromedia Adobe Flash.

Facebook SDK + Parse was choosed as mBaaS. Players could login with Facebook and compare game progress with their friends. Also this feature will allows us to make cross-platform. Player can play on iPad and continue the game on iPhone - all the progress is stored on Parse.

The game have 120 levels right now. We used Tiled Map Editor to create all of them.

Tiled Map Editor helps us a lot! It’s easily was integrated into Cocos2d-x. Level designer created the levels, uploded it to FTP and played it on device without the need to make a new build.

All text for characters was created by storywriter - we have a fun world and interesting Lore.

We’ve localized game into 6 most-used languages and Ukrainian (Playfo is from Ukraine).

Localization process is not easy. Even if you have good translators - you need to sure that all texts are correctly displayed, some texts has limited lenght due to interface limits. We’ve created excel Macro that converts xlsx to plist.

We’ve tried to find unique visual look and feel for Knight Girl. So, we draw around 30 different of gem/items sets. Finally, we decided to use gems.


A lot of work was put into coloring of gems.

8% of people are color-blinded, so we had to managed that too while choose colors:


Main character of the game is a knight girl. There was like 5-7 different girls created by our artist.



More than 20 different app icons was created, here is a few of those:

Our artist have created a bright fairy-tale world, which is inhabited by different characters in different locations. The player will meets them and complete their quests. Right now there are 12 characters in game:


There is a little hamster in game. Sometimes he helps, sometimes he is happy or upset.

Also, we’ve created a trailer::

One year after preproduction started, we’ve soft-launched the game in Russia, Ukraine and Canada. Soft-launch duration was 2 months - we’ve collected statistics and analytics, fixed bugs and prepared new content updates.

We are happy with soft-lauch numbers - player's reviews and ratings are good.

The game has good retention rate (more than 20% on day 28), more than 5 minutes session length, more than 40 sessions per user.

We are using 2 services to collect all data - Flurry and Game Analytics.

Worldwide launch of the game is scheduled to next Thursday, 24 July.
You can download Knight Girl from the Canadian App Store right now or wait few days until it will be available worldwide:

I hope you’ll enjoy my story, feel free to ask any questions and sorry for bad english. :)

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