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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Dota 2: Die Less with a Hero Build


I think it’s fair to say that Valve’s Dota 2 is an intimidating game for new players. There are a lot of choices to be made at every turn – over 100 heroes to pick from, each with their own set of abilities, and lots of different items to purchase to fit a variety of strategies. Plus, it’s a team-based player-vs-player game, so you need to have a good deal of teamwork to be successful.

Thankfully, Dota 2 has gained a number of features that are designed help new users get their feet wet in this deep pool of gaming goodness. I’d like to take a minute here to point out one of my favorite features, Hero Builds. A Hero Build is an in-game, user-contributed strategy of how to build out your hero. And they are awesome.

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Rogue Legacy: It’s Hard to Quit (No, Literally)


Rogue Legacy from Cellar Door Games (Steam link) is a rogue-like platformer that is difficult to quit for two reasons. One, because it does a good job at activating my “just one more turn” syndrome. And two, because it’s not immediately apparent how you actually quit the game.

After booting up your game, there’s only one thing you can be sure that players will actually do – that’s leave. Like death and taxes, it’s inevitable. So, you might as well make it easy to find. Let’s look at how Rogue Legacy handles it.

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iOOTP 2013: Consistency Wins Championships


Out of the Park Baseball (from Out of the Park Developments) is a PC-based baseball simulation that started back in 1999. iOOTP 2013 is the most recent iteration of the franchise that was released for iOS in the spring of 2013.

Putting a fully-featured, text-based baseball sim on the screen of a mobile phone is no small task. All the “gameplay” of iOOTP 2013 is essentially done through a series of menus and tables. It’s complicated for sure, but so is baseball, and that’s kinda the whole point.

When dealing with a big menu structure in your game, website, webapp, TV, ATM machine, car wash, or anywhere else, one of the keys to making it usable is consistency. If whatever the interface is keeps changing on your users, it’s going to be frustrating. And in iOOTP 2013, there are a few places that are frustrating because of needless inconsistency in the menus – let’s take a look.

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Ascension: Long Drags are a Drag

ascension_logoAscension: Chronicle of the Godslayer is a deckbuilding card game that’s been ported to iOS (iTunes link) and is on its way to PC and Android. If Dominion and Magic: the Gathering had a baby, this is probably what it would look like.

If you’re not familiar with any of these, that’s okay. The point is, it’s a card game that has a lot of stuff on the screen – there are a lot of moving parts. The developers are trying to take a game that is played on a table and squish it into an iPhone, and that’s not always an easy task.

Ascension, like a lot of games, only displays in landscape mode. It has made me realize just how wide my iPhone 5 is. This is because depending on how I’m holding my phone, certain drag actions in the game are really difficult to pull off. Let’s dig into an example.

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