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.
Disclaimer: i know next to nothing about WWE. Now that that’s out of the way, WWE Tap Mania is a standard tapper game. Not much to see here. You tap to have your wrestler punch the opposing wrestler, or let your partner wrestler automatically hit them for you every so often. After a few fights you’re treated to a boss fight, which is the same thing but with a 30sec limit, just to ensure you’re paying attention. That’s pretty much it. I’m sure the game is full of references, but i’m really not the target audience.
.io. starts off with fixed rotation, which doesn’t earn it any points. It’s a one-direction platformer where you hold down the screen to move your constantly bouncing ball forward, timing the jumps to make it over and under obstacles.
The game is effectively segmented into tiny levels played randomly in a row, each with its own very distinct layout and colour scheme. The variety at play is impressive, but the complete randomness of it all but ensures you can’t get used to any particular level, so you never really feel that you’re getting better at it.
Tapping the respawn button doesn’t immediately respawn you; instead, you have to wait about half a second for the title to fade in before the game registers your input. That doesn’t sound like much but, in games of this type where you die early and often, it adds up very quickly.
I also feel that much of the level design doesn’t feel fair for a game where you’re not allowed to move backwards. Moving platforms are nearly impossible. There were a few instances where a missed jump didn’t immediately kill me but i had no way to make it to the next platform without backtracking, which is basically equivalent to respawn delay but feels worse.
Line Ride is ostensibly an endless runner, kinda. You control a ball on a line, tapping to move it upward and releasing to let it fall, all the while avoiding incoming obstacles.
The simplistic aesthetic is very pleasing, and the obstacles are very inventive, but there’s a flipside to this: because the game is segmented into mini-levels, and because you start from the beginning after dying in one hit, the game loses its stylistic uniqueness almost immediately, as you keep seeing the same previously-inventive obstacles over and over again. As the mechanic isn’t exciting enough to carry the game on its own, this makes replays far less appealing. I feel this aesthetic would’ve been better applied to a level-based game with checkpoints and continues, so that you wouldn’t be overexposed to the same obstacles before moving on to the next.