Author Topic: Let's talk about mobile games  (Read 1232 times)

Marco

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2017, 06:55:32 AM »
Fallout Shelter is also an interesting case study in microtransactions.  Josh Allen's criticism (from his DGYHU podcast) was that they flubbed the microtransaction model, or maybe shouldn't have had them as the game was mainly an ad for Fallout 3.  (Caveat: if there have been any significant changes to the game since I played it, I probably missed them.)

In Fallout Shelter, your goal is to help settlers survive in the wasteland.  To do that you have to manage your base and build it out.  As you build out your base, threats increase and survival gets harder, but as you level and equip your settlers it gets easier to handle these threats.  Once you have a lot of high-level geared up settlers, base management is easy and you might feel like you're done with the game because you aren't making decisions.  An abusive business model would have been to make it very slow to level and gear settlers without microtransactions, so that the player feels like they are drowning unless they spend money.  Microtransactions could also have been necessary to correct mistakes in your base build-out without starting over.  In this model, the game might not have been very fun for players who didn't spend money, which might have made it a bad advertisement for Fallout 3.

So instead, the game flows pretty well if you don't spend any money.  If you do spend money, you reach "the end" very quickly and you feel like the game is really short.  I think this became even more the case when the game introduced robot units (I never saw these), as they take care of the easy management busy work for you, leaving you with a completely self-running base.

Gwyddyon

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2017, 09:25:24 AM »
I've been playing Fire Emblem Heroes which is a thing, I guess. The internet loves it, then they change one thing and the internet hates it. Whatever.

The game is based on Nintendo's Fire Emblem property which has been stateside for about 5 games and 15 years.

Gameplay basically consists of snack-sized puzzle levels populated by units that fight using rock-paper-scissors rules with each unit bound to rock, paper, or scissors (with some 'neutral'). Under certain circumstances, you can get scissors units to beat rock units but that's an uphill climb; it's usually much easier to deploy paper instead.

Being F2P, the power mechanism is related to what units you draw from the 'gacha' mechanism and many of the units are from games that never made it stateside, so while you might want to play with favored units from games you are familiar with, that will likely not be the most effective path and you may end up using units you may never have heard of or care nothing for the lore of.

I enjoy it because 1) I like to collect characters and 2) I like the snack-sized puzzles.

Content Warning: For some stupid reason, 90% of the female characters don't wear pants and really ought to (in the manner of many anime-based properties). All the guys wear fancy armor but the women wear fancy breastplates and stupidly short skirts.
Gwyddyon | Gwyllow | Gwyah | Gwystal | Eckhardt | Gwymbulvetr | Tethys | Gwynyang | Gwyabolic | Gwynchester

Snique

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2017, 08:57:56 AM »
Is it designed for a touch screen computer or large tablet, while you're running it on your phone?  If not, sounds like bad UX.

That's unclear. I know it's available through the Apple store/iPad. I might try playing it on my pad and see if it's any better.

Snique

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2017, 05:59:06 AM »
Another of the things I'm noodling at and y'all are free to skip...

I think I've uncovered a fundamental flaw in my thinking about mobile game economics. There isn't any good map to "game" economics. If you think about a board/tabletop game, or a PC game, you're buying an item. You might buy add-ons, or expansions, or DLC, but those are largely optional.

Mobile gaming, by contrast, seems to be much more a "hobby" model. You can buy a train set, but that's only small part of what you could get. You can add on more track, more buildings, more engines and cars, more decorative items, and build out your installation. Maybe you have different buildings or terrain pieces you change out to model different seasons - I once knew a guy who had a "4th of July" train set and another "Christmas" set. The question "how many outfits can Barbie have" isn't a question people tend to ask - they more go into "how many outfits and cool cars do I have?" and Mattel keeps churning out more to keep people engaged with the hobby.

Thus goes mobile gaming - there are an infinite number of features and "packs" you buy and that have impact on your gaming. Free to play, pay to win is a wholly acceptable model - and a side effect of this is that skill largely no longer factors into the conversation. There's no discussion of "skill" any more than you have skill in your stamp collecting. It's just a question of how many rare or unusual stamps have you been able to buy.

HeidiB

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2017, 08:04:59 AM »
I think some modern card and board games have caught on to the practice of selling expansions or alternate rule sets:  Dominion, Carcassonne, Trivial Pursuit, and Magic come to mind.

The question of whether success in the game depends on skill might be platform-based in another way.  In January I read _The Art of Game Design_, which described different gaming environments like hearth, workbench, and reading nook.  I played Words With Friends much differently than I play World of Warcraft, and if I played Ascension the same way I played Bridge I'd be much better at the game!  Where and how a platform is used affects what kinds of games will be successful on that platform.  So it may be that the sorts of skills you enjoy exercising are more suited to a workbench setting than a reading nook setting.

Or maybe not!  What do you think?

Snique

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2017, 07:40:49 AM »
Game of War (rightly called "Game of Wallets") jumped the shark a while back. I stuck it out for a couple months to see if sanity would return, but no. I've deleted the app - avoid unless you feel some need to attach a working shop-vac to your stack of money.

Some of my friends from GoW migrated over to Rise of the Kings, so I'm now trying that. It's a similar thing - build a castle, train troops, research tech, gather resources. Lather, rinse, repeat. The game is still small and introducing new things slowly. KvK (kingdom vs kingdom) was rolled out last month. KvK is a popular feature in a lot of these games in part because it's tiring and drags everyone down if you're constantly fighting with your neighbors over the same things. KvK allows you to band together with those neighbors against other people you hardly ever see, and so make much more convenient targets. It's also much less spendy than GoW - you can dump dollars if that's your style, and you get stuff faster, but there are no unique unlocks for cash (yet). If you're patient you can just keep building up and not spend at all.

I also picked up Eternium (Mage and Minions) which bills itself as the first action RPG for touch devices. It's a Diablo clone - you have a hero (fighter, mage, etc) and assistant minion(s) and you go around smashing a wide range of nameless monsters so you can take their stuff. There are combat abilities and spells you master, unlock, and improve in various ways - the gimmick is that abilities are bound to touch-device gestures - single-tap gets you this ability, double-tap gets a different one. Draw one shape to do a special move and another shape to do a different move. It's nice, and mindless in the way that Diablo is mindless.

Lots of game unlocks like extra inventory, more followers, and keys to open the best chests are behind the special currency, which you get slowly by playing or faster with cash. Also, advertisements. Mobs drop boxes that you can tap and get the option to watch a 30-second ad in exchange for 5 currency. Most unlocks I've seen so far are on the order of low hundreds of this currency so that's a lot of ads you can watch. You can also say no to the ad, in which case it goes away and doesn't nag you. The fact that it doesn't nag leads me to watch more of them - reverse psychology?

I tried a couple of "narrative fiction" offerings, but they seem to be fairly dumb "choose your own adventure" things that would likely be fun if I was 10. The fact that you can make a wrong choice and just die, ending things, was the final nail that coffin.

Marco

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2017, 08:26:08 AM »
In the action RPG realm, I have heard good things about Cat Quest ($5 for Android/iOS, $13 on Steam for PC) but haven't tried it.

For narrative fiction (if I'm understanding the genre correctly), Yesterday isn't bad.  I got stuck partway through and was too stubborn to look up a hint, so I haven't finished it.  There was a free ad-supported version last I checked.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 08:29:27 AM by Marco »

Snique

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Re: Let's talk about mobile games
« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2017, 05:42:23 PM »
I've come across a mobile game I think might appeal to many of the Cupcakes - it's called "Card Thief". It's kind of a stealth puzzler and it's not entirely easy to explain but I'll give it a try. You play a typical rogue-like: sneak in the shadows, extinguish lights, pickpocket guards, pick up treasure, escape.

Each level is a deck of cards with loot, guards, torches, etc on the cards that are laid out in a random placement 3x3. You trace a non-crossing path through the 8 cards that aren't you, and each card you move into has an effect, modified by things like the light level, direction you enter from, and so on. Cards you interact with are removed and new cards are dealt; finishing the pack ends the level and you score based on loots you've acquired. You have a stealth resource that you use to move from card to card - you can go negative as long as no guards can see you, and some cards will replenish your stealth.

It's a clever set of mechanics I haven't encountered before and it's challenging to figure out optimal paths - the random layouts give a lot of replayability. I haven't found any costs to it, yet. ETA: I finally completed a successful run with chest rewards. If you purchase the game ($4 on Android) then you can open your chests immediately. I'm told they open in time with the free version but for four bucks I wasn't going to wait.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 07:33:32 AM by Snique »