After spending two years in a tiny island nation called Kiribati (pronounced kee-ree-bas) I fell in love with the amazing people and their culture. I'm making this game in homage to them. Based around a fun Polynesian fighting game. You will learn about the people, language, culture, and legends of Kiribati while exploring the island of Butaritari.

Post tutorial Report RSS Koro Karewe - Keeping Players Playing

The koro karewe is very important in the Kiribati culture. Here I discuss how I implemented this into my game while looking at what makes a game addictive.

Posted by on - Basic Design/Concepts

Koro Karewe

Every morning and evening, I-Kiribati will climb coconut trees to shave a cut flower and collect the produced liquid. This process is called koro karewe (koh-roh kuh-reh-veh) or cutting toddy. While most other countries ferment it into an alcoholic beverage, in Kiribati it is also very popular as a fresh drink, and this is especially true on the outer (remote and less developed) islands where alcohol is often considered illegal.

Te koro karewe is very important in the Kiribati culture. It is an art, and a specific knife is set aside solely for the cutting of toddy. Each young man must learn this skill while growing up.

As such a central part of Kiribati society, it seemed essential for me to include this as a mechanic in my game. The main question was how to go about implementing it.


Because of the style of Kan Rebe! being an RPG with Clash of Clans-like interaction in the overworld, it seemed natural to add a time-based element to it. Thus the obvious solution would be to prompt the player to cut their toddy every morning and evening in real-life time, akin to how it is done in Kiribati.

Kan Rebe! overworld coconut tree koro karewe

Tapping on the coconut tree gives the option to Koro Karewe when available

The next issue I needed to address was how to incentivize players to keep coming back. If done properly, this mechanic could also be a tool to keep players playing the game.

The Two Types of Addicting

This is very important in game design, as you want your game to be addicting on two levels:

  • The player doesn’t want to stop
  • The player wants to come back after a break

Both are essential, so it’s important to make sure you’re doing it effectively.

GameMaker Studio 11 24 2018 6 0

Swiping in the correct direction successfully shaves the spathe and earns points

There are multiple way to utilize this mechanic. While I don’t have the time to outline every possible one, I ultimately decided on adding a health mechanic to the coconut tree for my game. The closer you cut your toddy to the allotted time (and also the better you cut the spathe), the higher the health of the tree and the more karewe (toddy) is produced. This is effective because it:

  1. Rewards the player for returning (You get more karewe)
  2. Penalizes the player for not coming back (Tree’s health is lowered, you get less karewe)
  3. Gives the player a timeframe, which acts as an incentive to not procrastinate and come back sooner.

GameMaker Studio 11 24 2018 6 0 1

An incorrect swipe subtracts points and hurts the tree

These points are important when considering adding a time-based mechanic to your game.

Hope you learned something new, whether about Kiribati or making games.

Tekeraoi ngkami! (Good luck to you all)


(Original post:

Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Report Profile
Kan Rebe!
iOS, Android
Send Message
Release date
Game watch
Related Games
Kan Rebe!
Kan Rebe! Role Playing
Related Engines
GameMaker Studio
GameMaker Studio Commercial
Related Groups
Android Fans
Android Fans Hardware & Tech with 484 members
Indie Devs
Indie Devs Hobbies & Interests with 1,647 members
Indie Gamers
Indie Gamers Hobbies & Interests with 1,503 members
iOS Gamers
iOS Gamers Hardware & Tech with 32 members