Taiwan-made app receives acclaim from users in Asia

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 - Page 3

A mobile application created by a Taiwanese video gaming startup has received rave reviews from smartphone users in Asia, and the year-old company is considering making physical dolls based on the popular game.

Mandora, a fast-paced arcade-style mobile gaming app, allows users to shake off their daily stress by plucking various plants with cute human-shaped roots from the ground.

The name of the app is taken from the story about a plant called mandrake, which is believed to shriek when it is being pulled from the earth, Rayark Inc game director Tony Lee said.

However, instead of undesirable shrieking, Lee said his development team thought cute, adorable sounds would entice stressed out office workers is use the app.

The app keeps users hooked by constantly adding new characters and allowing users to collect them in their “farming diary.”

Lee said the company is now looking to launch physical dolls based on the app’s most popular characters, marking its first attempt to venture into the physical marketplace.

It is not uncommon for mobile apps to move into physical stores. The Finnish mobile game giant Rovio Entertainment, developer of Angry Birds, and the mobile messaging service Line are some of the well-known examples.

The Mandora app, launched in November last year, reached 1 million downloads within three weeks of its launch, and will soon welcome its 1.5 millionth user.

The game has been received well in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, data compiled by app store analytics and market intelligence firm App Annie showed.

The game has been rated 4.8 out of 5 on Google’s Play Store and has 4.5 stars out of 5 on Apple’s App Store.