Commuting Cognition: Battle Golf Online, Swipe Casters

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), 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 internalising 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-impression brain dumps. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.


Battle Golf Online

Battle Golf Online is a somewhat bland cannon game skinned as a golf game.

You and your opponent start on either end of the screen, with a golf hole platform raising itself between the two of you. You can then tap to stop your aim gauge then tap again to stop your power gauge, in order to swing at the ball. The goal is to score the ball in the hole, at which point the platform will sink and a new one will rise. Best of X holes wins.

You can also swing the ball at your opponent’s head, which will stun them for a couple of seconds, but this didn’t feel worth the effort nor was it particularly entertaining, just annoying when it happened to me.

On the couple of matches i played the map rotation seemed to always be the same, making it painfully easy to predict where the hole will be and allowing you to easily swing and score before the platform even has enough time to fully rise. I saw an opponent doing this and quickly caught on; from that point onward the platforms barely had time to rise. I didn’t feel particularly clever while doing this, it just made the game feel repetitive. A means to fix this would be to have the platforms fall down instead of rising up, not allowing you to score before they were in full view. Another way would also be to have a completely random rotation and more distinct platforms; i didn’t see very many, which also contributed to the repetitiveness.

The game doesn’t feel very polished. There’s nothing flashy about it, no celebration when a ball scores, barely any sound effects, and repetitive music that persists through the menus and the whole game. While the premise is solid, the execution feels lifeless.

At the time of writing this game stood on the UK top 10, so i can only imagine what a more polished version could achieve.

Swipe Casters

Swipe Casters is a wave-based game where you swipe patterns to attack opposing foes. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all it is.

You begin the game with a board of 4 vertices, and with each enemy that comes against you you’re presented with a pattern. Swiping that pattern before the time limit runs out will perform an attack on the monster; letting the time run out will end the game, with the option of continuing by paying coins or watching an ad (once). As you damage and defeat enemies you’ll come across bosses who attack you in turn; defending yourself is just a matter of spam-tapping the screen.

Defeating a boss will end the level. At the end of the level you’re given the option to pick up one of tree passive skills — at the cost of coins or watching a video ad, which i thought was a little cheap. The next level then begins, which is basically the same but your board gains an extra vertex.

The coins you collect, if not used to continue, can be spent in the shop for permanent passive skills or new characters, the latter of which also change the game’s difficulty. Oddly the easy difficulty character isn’t the cheapest choice in the shop, which i feel should be the case in order to help less skilled players to continue playing. If easy difficulty isn’t the cheapest thing, and you’re so able and invested to save enough to get to it, there’s no real reason why you’d want to buy it instead of a harder one.

The mechanic is solid, but that’s pretty much all the game has to offer. I was expecting more Magicka, less Simon Says; using specific patterns to cast different spells, with different effects and elemental affinities, that kind of thing. As it stands, i didn’t really feel the need to have more than one match to get the full gist of the game.

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