A new App Store board game staple? You decide

WARWICK, RI, April 28, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — If you’re a board game fan, or simply pay attention to the games gaining traction on the App Stores, you will have noticed a new classic rising through the ranks. On Thursday April 27th, Mouse Trap, the latest from Marmalade Game Studio, reached the #2 spot in the Top Paid Board Games Chart within hours of launch. This kind of instant success deserves closer inspection, because new games usually take days or even weeks to achieve that level of visibility. So what is at the heart of this game that’s propelled it into the lead?

Mouse Trap is the latest in a list of Marmalade Game Studio success stories. A short look at the board game charts on both app stores proves their track record. Their official board game adaptations for Hasbro include: Monopoly, The Game of Life 2 and Clue (Cluedo). These titles dominate the charts and have done for years. At the time of writing this article, their Monopoly game was sitting firmly in the #1 spot in Top Paid Games, above Minecraft, Football Manager, Plague Inc and Bloons TD 6.

Their games have lasting appeal. Clue was released in 2016 and continues to rank alongside their other titles, currently at #4 in the Top Paid Board Games Charts. The Game of Life 2 is at #3, and since releasing on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Steam throughout 2021 and 2022, it’s been a regular on “Top Recommendations” lists.

Now Mouse Trap has raced to the top to sit alongside the rest. In fact, in many App Store charts, this game is only competing with other Marmalade Game Studio titles, leaving other creators far behind.

The Mouse Trap board game was released in the 60s and has been described as a “nostalgic game from the 80s and 90s” when sales were at their peak. But in recent years it’s fallen out of fashion. Unlike Marmalade Game Studio’s other titles, Mouse Trap doesn’t come with a consistent fan following, which makes its rise in the charts even more impressive. This is a true revival.

So what is it about this version of Mouse Trap that has players hooked?

There’s no doubt that it brings the game into 2023. There are obvious changes in direction here, with a ready-built trap and more focus on added strategic elements. Crucially, instead of looping around the board on a single path, there are 4 crossroads where players make real choices with real consequences.

This style of reinvention is more aligned with their updated version of The Game of Life, The Game of Life 2, where some clever additions introduced more nuance to the game. These changes work. The Game of Life 2 outperforms The Game of Life everywhere, and Mouse Trap is set to be another case where Marmalade not only recreated the game, but improved it.

Mouse Trap also comes with flexible online multiplayer options, a consistent and essential feature of all Marmalade titles. Players can connect with their friends in private, or play with people around the world. It really is a very well made game.

The success of Mouse Trap is no-doubt linked to a wave of nostalgia sweeping the gaming industry at this time. Players are reconnecting with their childhood favourites through remakes, sequels, and the rising trend in YouTubers and Twitch stars revisiting classics in live play throughs.

The reason for this is simple. Now, the kids who grew up playing noisy board games and classic computer games from the 80s and 90s are well into their 30s. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the typical player is now 37 years old. They have careers, families, and not much time.

With less time to learn new rules and connect with new games, these players seek comfort in the games they already know and love. This explains the enduring popularity of classic titles like Monopoly, Cluedo and The Game of Life.

According to Marmalade Game Studio, Monopoly is such an essential game for families around the world that “69% of players have never actually read the official rule book… and 49% of players freely admit to making up their own rules”.

Far from disapproving of this trend, Marmalade Game Studio have made space for it, creating a whole selection of “house rules” for players to choose from at the start of the game.

This passion for not just the games but for the players has had a clear impact on the changes they’ve made to Mouse Trap. It maintains everything that makes it iconic, while finding unexpected ways to elevate the gameplay, taking the experience to a whole new level.

It’s fun. There’s no doubt about it. I found myself playing multiple times as I got the hang of the new elements and started to appreciate the pace and details. The trap is very well executed, as the 3D format allows for it to wrap around the board, weaving under and over the pathway like a nostalgic hug. It includes all the elements you remember, plus the tension of not knowing which way the trap will fall. In appealing to an audience that has aged since playing in the 80s and 90s, this version of Mouse Trap has “grown up”. It feels old and new at the same time. Familiar enough to relive the memories, and smart enough to be a fresh challenge.

I downloaded Mouse Trap because I was curious about what made it such a sudden success. After just a few play throughs I have no doubt that this will become another App Store board game staple.

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