So gameaccessibilityguidelines.com gives game developers a simple, understandable checklist of ways to improve the accessibility of their games, ranging from easy to hard. This is awesome particularly for disabled gamers, but implementing many of the guidelines will benefit everybody. I’d like to take a quick look at a few of my favorite guidelines that I wish more games had just for the sake of usability. Continue reading →
There are plenty of iOS apps that contain drink recipes, but there are very few games that have you actually making drinks on your phone. Bar Oasis is called a “bartender simulation” by Touch Arcade, which seems pretty accurate. It’s a very story-driven game that I guess would have to live in the simulation genre if I had to put it somewhere. You’re put in the shoes of a bartender, tending to your customers while listening to their problems, and of course, making their drinks.
In real life it’s definitely a skill that bartenders have to develop for making good drinks in a hurry, so how does that translate into an iOS game? As you might have guessed, it’s not ideal. There’s potential here, but there are a few quirks that really make it more irritating than it should be. Though at the end of the day, how much do perfectly precise controls really matter if the game is still fun? Let’s discuss…
Gamers might not like to admit it, but everybody needs a little help the first time firing up a new game. Experienced gamers can probably guess at what the controls are for common genres – how long has it been since the Madden series has made any kind of meaningful change in controls? For games that are a little more unique though, gamers need help in figuring out not only what buttons to push, but also on a deeper level gamers need to get familiar with what the game is all about. Since we all know that users/gamers/humans don’t read, the usual answer is some kind of in-game tutorial.
Then what happens when you throw a unique game type onto a mobile platform where there are no buttons? Where every game has totally different controls? Well, you might get something like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, originally a Nintendo DS game ported to iOS that (in a nutshell) features a dead protagonist going around possessing inanimate objects. Ghost Trick features an introductory tutorial level that takes the gamer around 25 minutes to complete! Tutorials for mobile games need to have more action sooner to grab and keep the interest of their probably distracted and already busy audience.
Note: since this article was originally published, Draw Something was updated to actually let you purchase colors from the shop. I’m sure it was a direct result of this article =)
Draw Something (iTunes link) is the new hotness for mobile phones. If you aren’t familiar, it’s basically turn-based Pictionary. Player 1 draws something, player 2 sees the drawing (it’s animated so you can watch the person draw the picture, which is pretty cool) and guesses the word. Pretty straightforward stuff.
As is the case so often for mobile apps these days, it’s a freemium app that tries to get you to purchase things with “coins”, the in-game currency. What can you purchase with coins? Two things. You can get bombs that help you either get a new set of words to draw, or more colors to add to your palette.
UX-wise, there’s not a whole lot going on in Draw Something, so it’s pretty solid. I do get a little frustrated when drawing, because it always seems to default to a bigger size of brush than I want, though that’s not a major issue.