Mike Levine on Mystic Moose’s auto chess battler Mojo Melee

The game is currently available on android and playable in a browser with an iOS release in beta testing

Mike Levine on Mystic Moose’s auto chess battler Mojo Melee

Indie games studio and publisher Mystic Moose recently took its PvP auto chess battler title from browser to mobile, which is currently playable on Android and has a planned release for iOS in the future.

The title features Web3 elements in the form of collectables but aims to appeal to a mass audience with snappy, fun matches with strategy gameplay in mind.

Back in June, we had Mystic Moose founder and CEO Mike Levine on our podcast discussing the game, and now we follow up with Levine to discuss the initial ideas behind Mojo Melee and what to expect from the future. Can you tell us a little about your latest game in soft launch?

Mike Levine: Mojo Melee is a strategy, multiplayer auto chess brawler set on Planet Mojo, a mysterious planet made up of many clans and unique creatures with extraordinary abilities. We took a new approach to the genre, combining game elements like deck builders to allow players to collect and build their own unique teams and strategies. We also made the game with mobile in mind. We love other games in the genre, but sometimes matches can take 30 minutes. We wanted something people could more easily play on the go or during a quick break but still have deep strategy and progression.

Where did the initial idea for the game come from?

My last company, HappyGiant, made a game in 2017, HoloGrid: Monster Battle, with Academy Award-winning VFX legend Phil Tippett using his creatures, photogrammetry, and augmented reality. It was pretty groundbreaking for the time but also limited due to the restraints of AR on mobile. But it was Apple’s Game of the Day and the first they gave to an AR title. We learned a ton making it, and it was really a precursor of what was to come. When the next wave of auto chess games came in 2019, we took notice. We’re big fans of the genre, but we also felt like it had much room to grow.

How long has development taken?

We’ve been developing the game since about January 2022. We first made the WebGL version and have been testing that with our community since last summer, from pre-alpha to the full version. We’ve listened to feedback and continued to make key improvements before taking it to mobile.

Mojo Melee Battle

What were some of the biggest challenges the team had to overcome during development?

Our game began in the “web3” space, but the deeper we got into it, we realized that there was no playbook or roadmap to guide us. As veteran game developers, it was up to us to figure this out. As market conditions and attitudes changed, we needed to be adaptable and focus on what mattered most - making a fun game. To do that, we’ve put a lot of effort into making the web3 part of the experience practically invisible and seamless to new players. As we move forward, we’re treating Digital Collectibles as rewards for players who put the time into playing the game. Web3 Collectors can still purchase our assets on secondary marketplaces, but we want to reward players who put in the time and dedication to playing.

What are you hoping to learn from the soft launch period?

We have a great UA and Analytics team. We’ll be monitoring critical KPI metrics such as retention, ARPDAU, etc. We will also be monitoring reviews and listening to feedback from players. Raw data is important, but talking to players can never be replaced.

What can you tell us about the future of the project?

We’re looking forward to our full global launch, adding localization to focus on certain regions and new content and features. We have run some great tournaments and look forward to making those more regular with a larger player base.

Also, as we debut new games and experiences, users who choose to own their assets as Digital Collectibles will have early access and the ability to use them across all our games. The Mojos have an epic story, and we’re just in the first chapter. There is much more to come in future Planet Mojo games!

Deputy Editor

Paige is the Deputy Editor on who, in the past, has worked in games journalism covering new releases, reviews and news. Coming from a multimedia background, she has dabbled in video editing, photography, graphic and web design! If she's not writing about the games industry, she can probably be found working through her ever-growing game backlog or buried in a good book.