Commuting Cognition: • Glide, Ball O

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company, so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalizing them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first impressions. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.

• Glide

Gilde (Dot Gilde?) starts off with a tutorial explaining the controls, which basically boil down to tapping the screen when your disc is in the center of an orb.
“Simple enough, this is a rhythm game”, I thought.
Once the game started proper I lost not soon after, because they give you zero feedback when you tap. But this is a rhythm game, right, and I wasn’t wearing my headphones, so surely if I have them on the music will guide me with the tapping. When a super soft ambient music starts playing, however, and the tapping STILL has zero feedback (not even audio feedback), it didn’t take me long (read: a few minutes) to give up and stop playing.
Input feedback is super important, people.

Ball O

Ball O one started off the opposite of Glide (Disc Glide?) for me. No tutorial, thrown to the wolves with little idea what I was doing and why.
Thankfully, the game is pretty self explanatory: once you tap the screen, your cannon fires pellets in the direction you tapped. Those pellets bounce off the little ring things and deplete number counters within them, scoring you points all the while. They also make really satisfying sounds.
That’s about all that I got from it. I don’t think there’s an end goal beyond high scores, and I have no idea why the rings have different colours; the red rings implied danger to me, but nothing happened when they broke. It’s also not clear to me how the game ends; it has something to do with your pellets being bounced off at the ring around you, but sometimes they fly overhead and sometimes they hit it. Again there’s very little feedback, when your pellets impact the ring a few particles fly off, but nothing that feels threatening or that makes you understand you’re doing something wrong. No way to tell how many hits you have left either, as far as I could tell.
Still, because of its really simple nature and instantly gratifying mechanic, this lasted me the remainder of the ride home and I didn’t feel the urge to uninstall it immediately after. So that’s something!

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