So it’s time to say goodbye to Cranky Food Friends. Sega have released a press on the status of Cranky Food Friends here: https://forums.sega.net/t/cranky-food-friends-game-closure-march-31-2016/561
Let’s comb over some of the high-points and low-points of this game, and give an overall impression to what has happened, as well as finish off this chapter.
August 18th, 2015 – Soft Release starts in Canada, Sweden and Norway.
Fans hear about the release through SEGABits, and other news outlets in which causes general salt between the Puyo Puyo Quest Fandom, and general fans of the community. My full X-post is my general reaction with the kneejerk added in. Honestly from the very begining I thought it would flop.
Sega then remain silent about the game, posting nothing on it in @crankyfood, their Twitter account which got stormed with criticism against the decision to reskin Puyo Puyo Quest.
September 17th, the game that was soft-released alongside Cranky Food Friends, Puzzle and Glory, gets a pre-registration in preparation for October Release. Still nothing from the Cranky Food Friends Twitter, nor any news from Sega.
The game initially had an angry coffee cup as a game icon, before changing their icon to a somewhat impressed strawberry on February 7, 2016.
Appstore access stopped about a week or 2 ago, around about March 16’th side.
and here we are – sitting with the closure about to happen today.
So where did it go wrong?
In my opinion, where it went wrong was that it reskinned a well-known Japanese mobile game which is selling in its millions and is a MAJOR SUCCESS in Japan. The reskin didn’t make sense, the confusing series changes didn’t make sense and the order of things were really wrong.
Introduction stages had some major changes to them, such as removing the major character introduction before beginning the game.
The stones system did not work for Cranky Food Friends because there was no reason to fish for a favorite or a new card which is very much desired in Puyo Puyo Quest.
Most of the in-game data files are untranslated (fish around and you’ll find enough details) and Japanese data was garbled in noise static to obscure this fact poorly. The last thing that was even announced was a Guild Battle System.
Guild Battle systems don’t work quite well with players, and Puyo Puyo Quest don’t really do them anymore after the last mess up with the pirate series. I recall that there were two Guild Battles that happened in ver. 3.14: Venice and New York.
Fairy Gacha was changed to strictly materials, and made players suffer for material upgrades. Material upgrades were simple, yet confusing to keep an eye on. to use Magical Stone (chef gems) you would generally get a 3* or 4* character. Sometimes it didn’t work.
The Chef Points section (read the ぷよp section in Puyo Puyo Quest) was mainly only for materials that were hard to obtain, and had no characters which were of interest to battle with.
Leader Skills were forced to be used by guild members, when there weren’t many guilds around to begin with. As far as I recall there was also a guild level limit that had to be passed before you could enter a guild. I recall Level 7 or something like that.
Leader Skills were sparse. Only ones I could find were abilities which improved on multipliers, Toughness and Follow-Up attack. Combinations were also hard to come by unless you knew what each food was.
The game felt bare and lackluster to begin with, had problems with forum functions, had coming soon plastered all over it and its feedback is a Google Forms page with inputs with what you thought about the game.
It tried to appeal to a different audience than the audience already set up for it. In this case, it would have been easier to have pulled a Chain Chronicle on the game and release it as-is, which would have given moderate success to the game. Less complaints would have come out of this, as well.
I feel that the work done with Cranky Food Friends was wasteful because in concept this would have worked, if it wasn’t a reskin.
Cranky Food Friends was a noble attempt to see how far Sega could push themselves with the industry with the industry in mind. I hope they’ve learned a lesson from this failure, and I hope that they push forward to the quality that they promise to give.
While I would have tried the game myself and given my own broader opinion on public release, that never happened so I have to rely on secondary sources and workarounds to explain the experience.
Puyo Puyo Quest deserves better than to be reskinned into a concept that didn’t make sense at face value, only to be ignored and eventually killed in soft-release state. Right now, Story Quests, Multi-color 20th-anniversary characters, Multiplayer, Hard Mode Quests, and the normal daily iterations are what happens on Puyo Puyo Quest, covered by millions of monthly backing players who spend money on Magical Stones, support Sega through their Nicovideo livestreams, and make a generous contribution to the game’s franchise. Couple this with a diverse cast and weekly updates for the general user and events every week to cover gameplay for the rest of the time, the game is pretty lit in Japan, following themed Cafes, to even stageplay and drama events.
Cranky Food Friends did not have any marketing, or any social media presence after its initial release, which lead it further to its demise. To many of the people who wanted to play Puyo Puyo Quest localized, they were disappointed and concerned that Sega had made a big mistake in doing so.
This brings me back to this tweet:
Poll question: Are guys ok with the Puyo Quest reskin? Or would you have prefered another Robotnik Mean Machine reskin instead of food?
— SEGA Nerds (@SEGANerds) August 19, 2015
If you go through that thread, you’ll probably see a lot of us asking the same question.
Still, wish the Cranky Food Friends team all the best on their next endeavors for the future.