WWE SuperCard: Onboarding

wwe supercard logoWhen I heard there was a digital CCG coming out in the WWE universe…I was confused more than anything. After hearing that WWE SuperCard (iTunes, Playwas downloaded 1.5 million times in the first week and a half of being available, I knew I had to give it a shot (for science!). After two days and some sore thumbs, I can see why it’s so popular.

But before a CCG can start hooking players into that sweet, sweet drip of new cards, it has to get players in the game first. Lets take a look at what all of those 1.5 million players had to get through before their first match in WWE SuperCard!

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Hearthstone: That New Card Smell

Hearthstone_LogoBlizzard’s Hearthstone (full name, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft) is a digital collectible card game that’s currently out on Mac, PC, and iPad. The obvious comparison is to the biggest CCG around, Magic: The Gathering. While MTG is a physical game that also has a digital component, Hearthstone is a purely digital game, designed to be purely digital. That poses both interesting challenges and opportunities.

Being a collectible card game, a huge hook of both of these game is of course, getting new cards. A recovering former MTG player myself, there is nothing quite like the experience of opening a new booster pack of cards. And while Hearthstone doesn’t reproduce that new card smell, it does go out of its way to try and evoke the same feelings as the real thing. Continue reading

MLB 14 The Show: Menu Usability Misses

Console baseball games are few and far between these days. MLB 14: The Show is the latest entry in the Sony-produced series, and basically the only option for fans of baseball sims. It’s one of the first sports games to come out on the next-gen console generation (the PS4 in this case), and accordingly, it’s graphically quite sexy. If you’ve ever paid attention, crowds in sports games have been laughably terrible for a long time, so I’m excited to see some much-needed diversity in crowd animations.

Anyway, being a sim-style sports game, there are a ton of modes to choose from, and of course, an equal number number of menus to go through. I started playing through the Road to the Show mode, which has me creating and controlling a lowly minor league ballplayer. Playing through games earns experience, allowing me to build up my minor leaguer’s stats, and waiting for that call-up to the majors.

Along the way, MLB 14 has some difficulties in the way of usability. I almost expect it at this point – that these big sim-style sports games have terrible menus – but that doesn’t make it any better.

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Numolition: An Exercise in Minimal Mobile Instructions

numolition logo

Numolition (iTunes StoreGoogle Play) is a math-y puzzle game from Q42, makers of the previously discussed Quento. For me, it scratches a similar itch as Threes, despite being a very different game. And it has way more explosions.

More to the point though, Numolition makes an effort to get players up to speed with the most minimal amount of instruction possible, which is really cool. There are a couple of places where it might actually border on too little information…but for a game that looks like a well-illustrated comic book, that’s certainly the side of the line you want to be on.

In this article, I’ll take a look at a couple parts of the Numolition UX. And as a bonus, I had the chance to ask some of these questions to Martin Kool, designer of Numolition – so you’ll see his responses sprinkled throughout.

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Quarriors! for iOS: A Brief Usability Review

quarriors logo

Quarriors(from WizKids/MFV) is a “dice-building” board game that’s been adapted to iOS. Board game to digital conversions are becoming more and more common, they offer some unique challenges that purely digital games don’t need to deal with. Not only do they need to make a fun experience, there’s also the need to emulate real-world components in a usable and realistic way.

With that in mind, today I’m going to run through a quick usability review of Quarriors! for iOS. There are four topics that I’d like to point out, and they are…

  1. Rolling virtual dice
  2. The GameCenter icon
  3. Chaotic notifications
  4. Visible highlights and hidden gestures

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