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.
Questy Quest is a wave-based RPG (think StreetPass Quest), where you fight monster after monster by timing your taps to land a moving bar onto a target. The bar travels across a pattern which varies from encounter to encounter, as do the hit targets which spawn randomly on the pattern and must be hit consecutively to whittle down the health of the opposing foe.
The targets are always the same size, pretty small, and you die after missing (or overshooting) a single one, which removes an important knob from the difficulty curve. Instead, all they do to make the game harder is give the enemies more health, which is pretty boring and doesn’t feel terribly fair.
After dying from one miss, continuing respawns you in the same battle, which feels a bit counter-intuitive. It would make more sense to have a lives system and have to start from the last checkpoint upon death, because quick deaths leading to long battles feel a lot more frustrating than making the whole experience longer. It would also allow for paid / video continues, which are all the rage lately.
PixelMaze is a maze game, where you must collect all the coins to unlock the exit and make your way to it within the allotted time limit. I rarely turn the sound off while playing, but damn, those beeps are loud and insistent.
The game is pretty much what’s on the title, not sure what else i was expecting. Even with something as simple as this, though, the virtual joystick used for movement feels unreliable and terrible in general, but mostly it feels lazy. Would it be so difficult to find a control scheme suited to the platform? Here, have one for free: swipe to move constantly in that direction. Or tap anywhere to pathfind your way there. Or be constantly moving forward, and tap to rotate 90 degrees. It’s not that hard, people. (I hate virtual joysticks)