A slew of Smurfs is about to swarm over smartphones in a new game — designed in part to drive fans into theaters to see the little blue beings’ new movie this weekend.
Sony has launched “Smurfs Bubble Story,” a free bubble-shooter mobile game for kids and Smurfs fans of all ages who care to admit it (Sony says the game is broadly targeted to women 25-55 as well as children). It’s tied to “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” the studio’s third movie in the Smurfs franchise, which opens April 7.
“Smurfs Bubble Story” grafts the characters onto a well-worn casual-game genre, similar to dozens of other bubble-popping titles. Indeed, the app was developed by Tic Toc Games, the Burbank, Calif.-based studio behind blockbuster game “Panda Pop” (published by Jam City).
Besides the goal of driving movie-ticket sales, “Smurfs Bubble Story” also stands to generate revenue from in-app purchases (for coins that can be redeemed for power-ups, more bubbles, and extra lives). In the game, published by the newly renamed Sony Pictures Television Networks Games unit, players must complete an assortment of challenges to build their own collection of Smurfs, including Smurfette, Hefty, Brainy and Clumsy. Ultimately, the goal is to defeat their archenemy, the wizard Gargamel, and find the Lost Village.
“‘Smurfs Bubble Story’ is a fresh take on a timeless genre,” said Geremie Camara, VP of Sony Pictures Television Networks Games. “We blended a beloved franchise with endlessly engaging gameplay, creating an experience that will delight both fans of the Smurfs and mobile-gaming players alike.”
“Smurfs: The Lost Village” is expected to debut with a $15 million to $16 million box-office take this weekend. The film’s voice cast includes Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Mandy Patinkin and Julia Roberts.
Other mobile games in the Smurfiverse include “iTalk Smurf” and “Smurfs’ Village.” Titles from Sony Pictures Television’s games division include “Sports Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune Puzzle Pop!” featuring letter-turner Vanna White.
Watch a promo video for the game featuring Michelle Rodriguez (who voices of Smurfstorm in the movie):