A few years back, I got into online crane games from a company called Toreba, and of course blogged about it (that wasn’t a sponsored post, and nor is this – I’ve received nothing from them beyond any other player would have).
I hadn’t really done it since, up until isolation was thrust upon us. I wondered if there were other crane games around, or if Toreba had changed.
Toreba itself wasn’t much different, but it seemed reasonably difficult to win at. I searched the Google Play store and tried a few others I could find, but didn’t really like any of them – until I found Crane Master/Claw Machine Master by a company called Cremas (links for Google Play and iOS app).
I did want to try Sega’s version of this which has launched in the U.S., but isn’t out in Australia yet. Maybe that’ll be released here soon.
Back on Cremas – although there’s a bit of broken English and the occasional Japanese writing instead of English, overall it’s pretty good and makes enough sense to work out what’s going on.
After deciding I actually liked this one, I spent a fair bit of time working out how it all functioned. There’s a bunch of different games and different methods of winning – some are skills based requiring several turns to win, others are much more random – but I gradually got better at working out what I could win and when.
The lure of winning a bunch of Japanese items; toys, food and gadgets is strong. The price to play isn’t cheap, but as long as you load up enough money, delivery is free for whatever you win once a week. To give an idea on the cost – if you load up 5000 yen (about $75AU) (the minimum to get a free delivery) each point costs a bit under 2 cents Australian. A single game can cost anywhere from 77 to 777 (rare) with most games in the 100-250 range. That makes each turn on a 77 credit game cost ~$1.30AU and a 250 credit game cost ~$4.50.
A few weeks of playing and getting some prizes, I requested shipping and had two boxes turn up full of interesting goodies:
Some of the notable things so far; a Chain Chomp from Mario, a weird bath fishing set, and snacks that are half science experiment – dissolving powder into liquids, then combining and creating weird jelly balls. Chocco pies were tasty, as were the cream collon snacks I had to win purely based on name.
The things I liked about Cremas were that overall it seemed like they were trying hard to make this work and give people a good experience. They have constant promotions of giving away free turns and points, promotions that when you win something someone might give you a thumbs up – you have to link them your thumbs up video and just get bonus points for spotting it. They also actually assist you to win; I was stuck a few times and they’d reposition a box, refill up pingpong balls or do something to get you there. Support is really nice too.
Here’s some videos of my actual wins. I’ve used a video for each type of game they have and I’ll explain it and give some tips. This isn’t the full set of games they have either, there’s even more I keep discovering.
General hints – if you’re watching someone play and they’re making progress to winning, and you want the prize – reserve. It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t have to play if they give up and it’s your turn, but they might leave when they’ve run out of money and it’s easily winnable. Reserve early and often.
Most games aren’t designed to be won in 1 shot, unless you get really lucky. When looking through games you might find one that’s half done, or a bunch of ping pong balls are already played – this increases your chances of winning.
Log in a few times a day to get a bonus just for logging in – points and/or a free shot.
Log a support ticket if something goes wrong (like a game gets stuck, or you played a game that was already won), and tick which video shows it (every play is recorded). They’re quite good at giving you back what you’re owed, I’ve never had a problem.
Don’t spend too much – set yourself a budget and stick to it. Come back another day when you’ll probably get a good bonus on your first win for the day. If you spend more than you want, you probably need to stop playing altogether. This is for fun and you’ll be way behind on what you’ll spend vs the prizes you’d get – find an online Japanese shop if you just want to find cool Japanese items, or get a Japan Crate.