Commuting Cognition: ChronoBob

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 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.

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ChronoBob

ChronoBob is a puzzle platformer that has you do low-gravity jumps to loop around the screen and reach other platforms, all the while collecting macguffins required to clear the level.

The mechanic is interesting enough, but it’s executed via virtual buttons that felt very unresponsive to me, possibly due to having small hitboxes. I’m sure there was a better control scheme for this, perhaps using the accelerometer to move and tapping to jump, anything that didn’t require virtual buttons (i don’t like virtual buttons).

The first level lasted me WAY too long and i ended up losing, which at first felt like there might be some severe lack of balance. I had zero motivation to try it again but i did it for science; on the second attempt, the required macguffin counter was much lower for reasons unknown to me, and i cleared the level much faster.

It wasn’t until the second level that they explained that the fireflies flying about the place dropped their own macguffins, consequently increasing the counter, and that you needed to capture them as well. It would’ve been nice to know this on the first level or, even better, to not have that mechanic in the first level at all. From my experience this added requirement feels a bit unreasonable, since the fireflies move about so quickly and unpredictably that every single time i caught one it felt like it was due to sheer luck.

I made it through the frustrating controls to the third level, but when they didn’t introduce anything new it felt like a perfect excuse to leave.

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