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Please critique our game - Promo codes available

06-13-2012, 07:58 PM
#1
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 91
Please critique our game - Promo codes available

Hello fellow devs of the TA forums,

I am in need of your help with some honest constructive feedback/criticism. I work at a small indie studio called Fun Mob Games with my 2 brothers. Our latest game Pocket BMX, grabbed a little attention during the pre-release stages when we released the teaser-trailer, however since launch (late last year) we haven't received any reviews or attention from any major game publication/website. I assumed this was because our game wasn't up to scratch, or not worthy of any attention. Each time we've released an update I've sent promo codes out to as many websites as I could with no response. Regardless, the game still sells OK on the App Store with 99% 5 star reviews.

I am wondering what we could do to our game, or improve on in future titles that would help grab/maintain some headlines, without resorting to paying for reviews. I would really like to know what areas we could improve on.

I have promo codes and my deepest appreciation for anyone who is willing to take a look and give their opinion.

Please note while Pocket BMX may look like a casual game, it is not designed for "casual" one-button gamers. I'm a huge fan of the Tony Hawk series ( especially THPS2) and you can tell it was a big influence when we designed this, which gives you an idea of what type of game we were attempting to achieve.

If you can help out, PM me and I'll send a promo code. Cheers and thanks for your time.

-Jason

Visit the FunMobGame’s Pocket BMX iPhone Bike Game Website.
Watch the iPhone BMX Game Trailer
Download the iPhone BMX Game in the AppStore
06-14-2012, 11:28 PM
#2
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 118
Hey Jason, sent you a PM!
06-15-2012, 09:59 AM
#3
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 243
Promo codes are not really necessary as there is a Lite version guys.


- The first thing that struck me was the massive amount of text in this game. This is a pretty casual platform (I know you say that's not your core target but the reality is that most players like an easy game to get into hardcore or not) and you need to make any game very easy to pick up and play. Even if you have depth later you should never have this much text straight away on launch. Your menu buttons are mostly text, your loading screens are full of text and the game starts with 2 jam filled tutorial screens that are again off putting.
I would personally try to stagger the learning curve through a few levels with a few simple interactive trials and get rid of any button text where you can.

- The stickman visual style is not bad but has been done a lot on iPhone. Might be hard to get attention with such a simple look.

- The controls: This was a major concern for me, they feel pretty awkard initially and there's just way too many on screen. I would suggest simplifying the whole system and trying to get closer to the feel of something like Bike Baron which is just awesome in so many ways. I hear you when you say you want to make a tricks style complex game but why make it on an iPhone then. You have no buttons why go for something this complex?

You've created a game with good tricks\moves depth and I like how it looks in general. The trouble is the lack of casual friendly design through out the game which will make it a hard sell imo.

Hope that is helpful

Check out my upcoming game Juice Jumpers

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06-15-2012, 09:48 PM
#4
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 91
Thanks very much for the feedback Mr Wexer Did you only play the Lite? if so I would love to get you a promo code to try the full version and let me know if you think the lite version is an accurate representation of the full. Let me know if you're interested. Also, do you think the fact it's not casual friendly would be the reason we haven't received much attention from websites?

You've hit the nail on the head when it comes to lessons we've learnt during this Pocket BMX journey.

Firstly, The amount of text is too much, I agree. When we launched Pocket BMX, the only websites that reviewed the game were a Chinese gaming website and a Italian Gaming site, both of which I needed to google translate to understand! This is when I saw the importance of localization. I had originally thought it's best to develop a game that targets the biggest market (the US), but now know that this is definitely not the case. Localization is VERY important. When the game is full of text, localization becomes a MASSIVE almost impossible task. This is a lesson we learnt the hard way. This and the fact that most people don't like to read largish bodies of text when gaming is the reason our next game has next to no text at all

Next, the controls... This is a tricky one because when making this game, a big focus I had was to re-create the BMX freestyle experience. If it was possible on a BMX in real life, I wanted to be able to perform it in our game. This required a lot of control over the character and the bike (eg, pedal, brake, change direction, jump, selectable tricks, etc) which in-turn required a lot of buttons. There are many other popular games out with as many if not more buttons so I didn't think this to be a big issue. I was wrong . This is not to say we didn't try out as many different controls as possible. We went through a heap of different control methods and ended up picking 2 styles(one with all the buttons, and one with less), that felt the most comfortable(and according to testers). This has turned into 3 different styles with the latest update. This is the next big mistake. Multiple control options is a bad idea. Mainly because most people wont bother to look in the options screen to see there are other controls. Most complaints we've had about the controls have been rectified after letting them know to check the options screen for other suitable controls. We tried to rectify this in the latest update by having all controls come up at the start of the first run to show the user the different control options. But this had no effect and people still didn't look further to find you can switch controls at any time. The next reason to never do multiple control options is because of support and extra stuff required such as, help screens for each type, in-game demos and ghost runs which show the controls being used had to support all the different styles, etc. There is a lot back end work needed to support multiple controls. Needless to say our next game is a one button/touch affair.

I wanted to make this game on iOS after playing Stick Skater and being let down by the lack of control. I played the tony hawk 2 port on the iphone and thought it worked well. So I thought, why not use one of my favorite hobbies of BMX freestyle and make something I've dreamt about for years. When I was still at school I used to spend all class drawing stick man bmx flip animations in my school books and turning that into a game for me was a no-brainer. Although it did take a prototype to convince my brothers about the idea.

Thanks again for your feedback, its very much appreciated. Sorry about the long winded reply, I should really put all of this in a post mortem.

Visit the FunMobGame’s Pocket BMX iPhone Bike Game Website.
Watch the iPhone BMX Game Trailer
Download the iPhone BMX Game in the AppStore