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Genres that work well on mobile... and those that don't

02-03-2015, 02:24 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 249
Genres that work well on mobile... and those that don't

Some games just seem more suited for mobile : puzzle games, match 3s, city builders.

And some games just don't seem to work well on mobile at all : 3d platformers, 3d shooters etc.

Now of course there are exceptions to the rule for any genre... but I'm curious to see what people think are among the best gaming genres on iOS in terms of how well they play and the possibilities for the game based on the device hardware and touch screen controls. Thoughts?
02-03-2015, 02:42 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,096
Best on mobile with flawless transition is puzzle and RPGs. Tap interface or light floating Dpad interaction makes it easy. Games with complex movements or heavy need for dpad/button precision like fighting games for example, are less optimal.

02-03-2015, 02:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 22,657
I think the best genre transitioning to the touchscreens are strategy/tabletop titles. From card games like Hearthstone and the Playdek titles, to realtime micro-management strategy like Battleheart and Guardians of the Galaxy, to the turn-based ones like FFT and XCOM.

That said, Tower Defense titles also shine on the touchscreen.

I think it's because touchscreens offer an experience that kinda lets you "move the pieces around" with your fingers, rather than use a mouse pointer or a cursor to control your units/pieces/cards.

Other genres well suited to the touchscreen are the touchscreen-designed games like Infinity Blade, Epoch, Fruit Ninja, The Room and Shadowmatic to name a few.

Those titles that requires additional buttons or control sticks are somewhat "forced" controllers, but if well done can be good as well, just doesnt feel natural like the ones mentioned above.

When talking about which genres make money, seems like freemium strategy RPGs are the most prominent, from the CoCs to the CCG RPGs, to the match-3 RPGs (take note that match-3 puzzles are strategy games as well in their core).
02-03-2015, 03:07 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: England
Posts: 11,295
Platformers work well (larger buttons, ability to adjust them as well) for 99% of games, theres some which arent great because the devs dont let you move the buttons or have them too close together

Dual sticks work very well as well

I cant stand it when devs try something different, eg for a platform game because in their view on screen buttons dont work (when they do as proved by so many classic ios platformers)

If it aint broke dont fix it !
02-03-2015, 04:31 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,075
All genres work on mobile. The controls just have to be done right. And with "right" I dont mean dumbed down version of the actual thing (like some developers believe mobile FPS games should rely on heavy auto-aim, auto-shoot, or that you cannot move properly and shoot simultaneously, therefore only on-rail shooters are viable on mobile etc...). I have noticed that more and more people believe touchscreen controls are better for FPS than a joystick (but still worse than mouse+keyboard), which I completely agree with.

Here is a comment on the on-rail shooter Midnight Star article:
Originally Posted by Mekklesack
Despite rhetoric from gaming sites about forcing the tethering of arcane input device methods to mobile, first-person-shooters have benefited the most from touch screen controls. In fact after playing enough Shadow Gun: Dead-Zone, and multiple Modern Combats, I say it "evens" the playing field. I've had "fun," "intense" and "challenging" battles over touch screen play especially in Modern Combat 5. I'm terrible with a controller, with their slow analog nubs and latency in real-time, the lightning quick precision I get between both moving and shooting on a touch screen is only rivaled by a mouse and keyboard interface. Midnight Star doesn't need to be on the rails, and it's a waste of a great looking universe.

Also the (updated, "manual") control method for Mass Effect: Infiltration will always be to me, considered the best touch screen solution for FPS on the go, no virtual buttons and moving, aiming and firing is always fully under the control of the player (in the "manual" setting). It actually felt a bit like a (true) touch version of Resident Evil 4 (no, not that mobile one from Capcom, but the console version, with a controller). Mass Effect: Infiltration was fast, gorgeous and is similar looking to Midnight Star, only with completely free movement. Today there's no excuse for a FPS on mobile to not have completely free movement. Come to think of it, Contest of Champions also uses this similar brilliant control method of using two halves of the screen for manual movement without on screen inputs. Mass Effect: Infiltration and iron-sites, I don't know why more developers interested in making FPS games on mobile don't apply a similar control method. Everyone who plays multiplayer FPS on any device always preps iron-sites before opening fire. Well most people do, I do most of my shooting from hip-fire in these games, it's worked out for me (especially on mobile), I need my peripheral vision is all.
Frankly, if you think a genre cannot work on mobile, I just think that you are just unable or unwilling to adapt to the controls, unless the controls are terrible or so called "intuitive" in the first place.

Because of the misconception that "some genres do not work on mobile device" we have only a few quality games.

Popularity or profit of games should be no indicator of whether genres work on mobile or not, as the majority of App consumers are casual players, who are unwilling to try "responsive" games, let alone adapt to their controls.

Also, here is a youtube video on this topic:

Youtube link | Pop Up

And while I am subscribed to this channel and watch their videos on a regular basis I think they really screwed the pooch with this video. While the basic idea they wanted to get across is good, statements like:
  • Quote:
    If your game requaires a virtual yojstick controller on your touchscreen, you are doing it wrong
  • Quote:
    In the every single instance I have seen so far where they do not require two hands, and many of the ones where they do, there has been a better native touch-based solution that could have been used
  • Quote:
    Touch games tend to work best when they only require one input at a time, which rules out stuff like combos and jump attacks and even simultaneous moving and shooting
are moronic and only apply when targeting the extremely casual audience. I am glad not all developers follow these "tips", otherwise we would only have the casual drivel that is flooding the AppStore more and more lately.

Last edited by Primoz; 02-03-2015 at 09:17 AM.
02-03-2015, 06:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philippines
Posts: 1,515
Strategy games also work well like XCOM
02-03-2015, 05:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 429
Point and click adventure games translate very well to mobile.