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 impressions. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.
Bouncy Hero is an endless runner where you spend most of the time holding the screen.
You hold and drag to move, freeform as opposed to lane-based, and you *release* to jump, as opposed to tapping to jump. This is an odd control scheme, and i see no good reason to do it other than just to be gimmicky; it’s not intuitive, it doesn’t work nearly as well, and it ensures that you’re obscuring your character most of the time. In reflex-based games it’s important to not cover the screen any more than necessary; something like tap to move and swipe to jump would’ve worked much better.
There’s also the equivalent of a ransom system but this doesn’t bother me in games that don’t rely on progression, because nothing’s being held from you, you’re just given the option to extend what was always designed to be a limited run. Maybe that’s part of the issue, the assumption that the system would work just as well in level-based games as it does in endless games, when in reality it has the opposite effect.
Laps – Fuse is a take on Threes, where you have a rotating board from which you fire a ball with a number against the already placed balls. Matching three of the same numbers will fuse them and double the number, as in 2048.
The rotating board is an interesting spin on the mechanic (see what i did there), but i’m not convinced about it rotating automatically. Instead of a regular timer the game counts down board rotations instead, which is quite clever, but they could’ve kept that with manual one-way rotations as well. My issue is that the automatic rotation adds twitch thinking and reflex-based gameplay to the mix, which doesn’t fit with a puzzle mechanic that requires planning turns ahead. I’m not convinced manual movement would make the game that much easier either, as it’s still pretty easy to mess up the placements.