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Ideal length for endless level?

04-24-2015, 12:55 AM
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Finland
Posts: 15
Ideal length for endless level?

What do you think is good length for an endless level in puzzle game if the player can stop and continue the game later? Under 1 minute? 5mins? 30mins? Many hours?

The endless level I have in my upcoming game (see signature) gets more difficult after each move. I have to decide now how fast I want the difficulty to raise. Player can stop and continue later as the game is saved after each move.
04-24-2015, 03:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 854
The likes of 2048 and Threes work well for me (though technically not endless as there really is a limit no matter how skilful and lucky you are). With those I think my early games took a few minutes and it worked up to 20-30 minutes for the longer games.
04-24-2015, 04:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Philippines
Posts: 22,129
For something like Threes, 5 to 10 minutes is a decent average, and getting good will take it up to even 20-30 minutes, even more.

Exact-Psience My 2014 Top 10 Games of the Year: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Hearthstone, VVVVVV, Battleheart Legacy, Wayward Souls, Bug Heroes 2, Powerpuff Girls Defenders of Townsville, Deep Loot, Monument Valley, Bioshock Honorable Mentions: Traps N Gemstones, Bardbarian, Goblin Sword
04-25-2015, 12:35 PM
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Finland
Posts: 15
Thanks for replying! I think typical play scenarios are shorts idle moments like recess, waiting for bus or TV commercials. Something like 3-15 mins. In my case the game can be continued later, but I think people want to see THE END at some point then try again.
04-25-2015, 05:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Arendelle
Posts: 654
I have had a lot of issues with endless games in the past. When I first play them I get a really fun and challenging 1-10 minute run. But once I start getting good at it, the playtime can easily stretch into hours. I don't even bother playing the game if I know I don't have at least half an hour of time for it. Pause and continue breaks the urgency and the need to complete the run with the best score possible.

Happened to me in Temple run, ninjump, Organ Trail, CoD WaW Zombies and many others.

I think the the key in solving this is the difficulty. I really like games where the difficulty doesn't just reach the peak at a certain point and just stays there, but instead it keeps ramping up exponentially. It ensures keeping the sessions short, it's challenging and also making every second close to the finish legendary. However you must also ensure that it doesn't get so difficult at a certain point that many come to it but nobody can pass it. This is a very delicate thing, but it can be done right.

Last edited by Elsa; 04-25-2015 at 05:08 PM.
04-28-2015, 02:00 AM
Junior Member [Original Poster]
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Finland
Posts: 15
Good points Elsa! I have tried to solve both the difficulty increase and the game length:
- My game is about matching numbers, so the numbers "attack" in waves of more difficult numbers followed by easier numbers. The base difficulty keeps getting higher slowly and so do the waves until the player is unable to survive an attack
- The game is saved after each move, so player can continue later (even after restarting phone)

The nice thing about slowly worsening attacks is that player might just barely survive later attacks and this gives this "epic battle" feeling. The downside is that each easy/attack cycle is around 1-3 minutes, so maybe 15-30 minutes to get couple of "barely made it" moments. Faster ramp up doesn't give enough time to recover, so after the first barely survived attack the player knows the end is near...

I am trying to decide how fast to ramp up the difficulty because I really like the epic battles, but it's difficult to find the time for longer games.