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Please tell my why my game sucks

08-07-2012, 09:44 AM
Please tell my why my game sucks

Just a little clarification. If you want the full info about why and how this game came to be, and its relationship to Tiny Wings, check out the entire blog post. I didn't write it all here in order to keep this post (while still long) at a reasonable size:
Disclaimer: Please note that I am NOT doing this as a marketing trick to direct your attention to our game. I have already lost all hope for it...

So for the past few months we (http://spielhaus-ftw.com - two developers from Germany) worked like mad to finish our game called "Bouncing Cow Bird". It is a physics based one-tap style game, made with Cocos2d. Very soon after release it was clear that the game was a complete and utter failure. (man this hurts so bad writing these lines, even after several weeks).
However what I'd like to ask you dear reader, is WHY THE HELL nobody gives a damn about the game. Not because I have any hope left (we are at 0-1 sales per week) but because I think that there is clearly something wrong with my instinct regarding good iOS games. And I don't want to make this (costly) mistake ever again. Speaking of games - I do play a lot of them and these are my favorites - there is nothing wrong with them or is it?

Please tell me why do you think the game isn't any good. Is it the icon, the name? Are the screenshots bad? As a side note, we have changed the icon, name and screenshots with the last update - just to test this assumption. Here is a comparison - in fact it is an entire blog post but I am linking to the relevant part only:
Is the gameplay boring? (although one could argue that before buying the game one can not know if the gameplay is any good - which leads me to believe that at least the screenshots are bad).

Please don't be nice, no kind words. I want the hard cold truth and I won't hate you for it

I have made the game free for the next few days, so if you want to test it, here is the link:
If this is too much to ask, here is a gameplay video (you don't see when the user touches - that's when you hear "inflate" sound from the cow). Maybe this is enough to tell what's wrong with it.

I am forever grateful,


Unix guy, Mac head, iPhone dev, Rails wannabe, Computer Science alumnus, usability guesspert and overall big time visionary

Last edited by Nicolinux; 08-07-2012 at 10:04 AM. Reason: added link to complete blogpost
08-07-2012, 09:51 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
The game looks fine on a general level although I admit I do not particularly like the art style. It looks like it doesn't know what it wants to be.

However, I think your biggest problem is probably just marketing.

08-07-2012, 09:52 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 11,350
Well fair play to you for asking for truth from people.

Obviously we all have different tastes, my spin on it after seeing your video...

It looks to be a very simple bouncing game, dont get me wrong some of the most famous games of all time (and on iOS) are normally from basic ideas. Look at Angry Birds or Tiny Wings.

Saying that Tiny Wings was 'okay' (quite dull though) but the problem is you then get 1000's of clones like you did with Angry Birds.

So Tiny Wings to me was the 'peak' of that sort of game. I've seen so many poor clones though. As i'm not a huge fan of Tiny Wings i dont want to buy lots and lots of clones.

Watching the video it just looks dull, theres no 'monsters' to bounce into to kill, you just seem to be constantly spinnng and tapping the screen to bounce now and then and thats it.

With Tiny Wings you had to press to get some speed and then let go to use your speed to fly. Here you simply seem to just press the screen when you get to a ledge or something ?

The graphics look pretty good and polished, i've seen a lot of games with very poor basic graphics. But i will say your graphics look alright.

But just doesnt seem much to it, no gold coins in the air to perhaps jump to try to get , no different ledges to jump onto a bit like Mega Run so theres different routes to go. Tiny Wings was okay for a few minutes in my view, not a game i go back to and play over and over (but obviously i must be in the minority as its been a huge huge hit).

So yeah the graphics look okay (surprised the guy above isnt keen, look at Tiny Wings thats pretty similar graphically) but the most important part (the gameplay) just looks dull. Sorry

Last edited by psj3809; 08-07-2012 at 09:56 AM.
08-07-2012, 09:55 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Reading, England
Posts: 1,785
Hey I'm sorry to hear your game isn't working out. I appreciate the effort it takes to do what you have done and it must be heart breaking when it fails.

I'll be honest - since this is what you want...

The name really does suck."Bouncing Cow Bird" doesn't work on any level for me. And after watching the video of game play it appears to be quite repetitive - games with levels need to invoke the curiosity of the player - what will happen next? But this game looks as though each level is the same with different colours.

But really, for me the question you need to ask yourselves is why would someone play your game rather than something like Tiny Wings - which has similar "One Touch" game play, similar mechanics. What do you think? What does your game give me, the player, that Tiny Wings does not?

And stepping back further still, why did you write this game when Tiny Wings already existed? Do you have an inspired new gameplay mechanic or hook? Or was it purely a clone? If the latter, why did you think your title would be purchased ahead of Tiny Wings?

Hope this helps. It's just my opinion so quite probably doesn't mean very much ;-)



Last edited by badmanj; 08-07-2012 at 09:58 AM.
08-07-2012, 10:09 AM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 101
I think the video and the icon look pretty nice. It looks like a fun, great looking game. I think in general though, the casual player has moved on from this type of gameplay, so I doubt that (other than a lack of marketing) it really has much to do with your particular title.

I was pretty excited for the Tiny Wings 2.0 update for example, but I didn't really end up playing it that much. Not because the game isn't great, but because I had already sunk so much time previously that it just isn't that interesting anymore. Same deal for jetpack joyride.
08-07-2012, 10:12 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 3,099
Tiny Wings is vastly more visually appealling. And the name of your app is a total baffler.

Lets be honest here, the game play of Tiny Wings couldnt be more simple. There just isnt a lot to it. Its mostly about packaging it in a manner -- appearance, sound, music, style, achievements -- that it sucks you in and adds CHARM.

Tiny Wings works because it blended all of these things and was rather charming. You cant just improve the gameplay (I dont see any evidence that you actually did, but lets assume it) and assume that the improvement -- without all the other elements -- is going to translate into interest. While I normally dont judge a game by its graphical appearance -- with a Tiny Wings type game, you almost have to do that, as you cant "get off the ground" without charm. And I dont really see charm in that video.

Currently playing Hero Academy 2 and South Park Phone Destroyer
08-07-2012, 10:15 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 100
Nicolinux, it takes a lot of courage to ask for honesty about something you poured your time and talent into. I commend you for that.

Add me in Gamecenter: Grungebob01

Check out my game Mice and Mystics: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/games/mice-and-mystics
08-07-2012, 10:19 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 468
For one thing, your game appears to be very rough around the edges, and I mean that figuratively and also quite literally. If you drew a line following the path of the main character, you would have a lot of jagged lines and rough edges. Tiny Wings is silly smooth and is constantly following curves. This is a problem too many games have (particularly platformers, in fact I am constantly complaining about this when I see a new platformer!).

The direction applied to the object(s) on the screen are applied directly to velocity rather than acceleration. Velocity should be calculated for each frame based on an object's acceleration. It's simple math in the end, but makes a big difference in making a game feel like it is living in its own world, rather than a crude software program. It looks like the cow bird actually slows down before making contact. This would be impossible with a basic physics algorithm in place, which leads me to believe that you have your hands on too many numbers rather than running a very small simulation of sorts.

I'd also like to point out that you said you spent a couple months developing this. As long as we are comparing to Tiny Wings, the developer worked for about a year on the first version and another year on the latest update. I would bet a million dollars that after only a few months of initial development it also was not that great.

No developer should release a product after only 2 months of development unless they are industry experts and can truly crank something out. Jeff Minter could do it, but he's been making games for a really long time.

Also, I really like your icon and the design of your characters, when they are large (in the icon and main title screen). However it looks like you just shrunk down the assets to a much smaller size when displaying them on the screen. This leads to a great loss of "pixel fidelity." The assets need to be remade for the smaller size so they look perfect. The main character/cow bird spins too much during gameplay. It's a little confusing to see.

Regarding your procedural content, the only thing that appears to be procedural is the coloring and length of each plateau. There is something unpleasant about the contours of the mountain however I am not sure what that is specifically. After the plateau, each cliff appears to be identical for every "step" which our brains are quite good at picking out. Seeing that over and over, it wears your eyes out. More things need to be randomly generated here.

Also gameplay wise, it is not clear whatsoever what you are supposed to be doing. Where is the optimal place to hit in order to get bigger jumps? Whatever your answer is, it has no direct relation to real life, so it needs to be obvious through some other manner. Tiny Wings is quite obvious in what you are supposed to do as it plays on our understanding of gravity.

Last edited by cplr; 08-07-2012 at 10:34 AM.
08-07-2012, 11:46 AM
I think you did everything right except make a fun playable game. I don't understand what the optimal strategy is, as it seems you bounce around randomly (I mean I'm sure you have some control over it, but in your video you seem to miss 95% of the coins... it would be cool if you showed how to play your game "well")... I don't think the issue is the graphics, character design, OR marketing... It just doesn't look fun to play.
08-07-2012, 11:59 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 11,350
Originally Posted by Grungebob View Post
Nicolinux, it takes a lot of courage to ask for honesty about something you poured your time and talent into. I commend you for that.
Yep i totally agree, i honestly dont like slating or being negative towards peoples hard work, but at the end of the day the constructive criticism will help him if he makes another game.

Just wish i was able to create 'a' game so hats off you for doing that.

But like Grungebob says, i commend you too !