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Thoughts on mobile platformer games

08-01-2016, 11:01 PM
#1
Thoughts on mobile platformer games

Hey TA,

I have a lot of experience building platformer games, but I have never launched any on mobile. It seems a bit off to me to not have real buttons to press in this genre, but I have seen some successful platformers on iOS over time. My favorite was Limbo, and they didn't use any buttons.
All my prototypes I built for mobile had buttons, but if you need more than 4, it starts to become a bit too much.

What do you guys think about platformers on mobile? Waste of time? Buttons or no buttons?

I am asking because I am about to start my newest project soon, and I am torn between whether to finally make a platformer on iOS or not...

Also, one last question. Premium or free for platformers? It seems to me a platformer seems to be more of a premium model, but I am not sure if that would limit downloads and thus revenue.

Thanks!
08-02-2016, 12:23 PM
#2
Platformers on the iOS, when done right, can be a perfect marriage of intuitive and interesting gameplay while satisfying that 5-minute-break itch or that I-have-more-time-on-my-hands weekend stretch. Admittedly, there is a learning curve for one having gone from the console game universe leveraging external hardware to playing on-screen with buttons or floating displays, but the mobile gaming community has more than gotten used to this transition by now. There are a lot of factors that go into making a good platformer so I'll talk in broad strokes. (Note: you can give mobile gamers the best of both worlds by making your game MFi-compatible).

Content and controls seem to be some of the main drivers for success. As far as pricing model, I lean more towards premium since I'd like to know what I'm getting up front. I can pay a shiny shekel for premium platformers like Leo's Fortune or Cordy 2 as long as they're built well and play even better. I don't mind paying IAP for future updates as long as there is significant content being added (e.g. Monument Valley...more of a puzzle platformer, but you get the idea). I also don't mind a free version being released at launch with the option to pay full price for the rest of the game after experiencing a good chunk of it to make an informed decision.

As far as profitable and sustainable revenue streams, that's not really my realm, but there have been several series of platform games that been have spawned numerous iterations serving as a testimony to their popularity and success (some of my favorites are The League of Evil, Random Heroes, Lep's World and Mikey Shorts series of action platformers).

Anyway, I hope this helped a little...good luck on your venture and I hope to see it soon!


"@ColeDaddy - My wallet hates you. That is all."
Drummerboycroy

Last edited by ColeDaddy; 08-02-2016 at 02:04 PM. Reason: MFi comment

08-02-2016, 03:12 PM
#3
Joined: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 476
Most gamers in TA will tell you that premium is the way to go, and I agree. However, there are a handful of good F2P platformers, Leap Day being the most obvious one. I'd say the best examples are premium though, such as Goblin Sword, Thomas Was Alone, Lost Socks and Super Phantom Cat. All very different, too - yet they show touchscreen controls can work.

2016 GOTY nominations: Crashlands, FFIX, Sky Force Reloaded, Lost Socks, Tennis Champs Returns, Teeny Titans, Human Resource Machine
Comeback of the year: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

GC ID: OrangutanKungfu

Last edited by OrangutanKungfu; 08-02-2016 at 04:25 PM.
08-02-2016, 03:51 PM
#4
Thanks guys, you make a convincing point. I definitely want to give a platformer a shot, and I most likely will stick to on-screen buttons. I would like to incorporate gestures as well for attacks or moves, but that will come to me over time.

I am leaning towards a premium title, but I am not sure what is the best price cut-off. I have seen games in this genre range from 99c to $4.99 and not sure which side to lean towards. I will do some more research on this as all my projects I have setup as free apps and do not have much experience in the premium realm.

Thanks for mentioning some titles for me to study. I have played several of the ones mentioned, but there are some new names to me I will play!
08-02-2016, 04:16 PM
#5
Ah...Goblin Sword. How could I leave THAT one off of my list. Definitely one of, or probably THE all-time favorite action RPG platformer. Monument Valley is my favorite puzzle platformer. (Now that I have that off of my chest, you can return to your regularly scheduled programming).


"@ColeDaddy - My wallet hates you. That is all."
Drummerboycroy
08-02-2016, 05:15 PM
#6
What art style do you guys think is best for platformers? I see a lot of pixel art, a lot of cartoonish art too. To give you an idea of what I have in mind.. This is a concept scene from a platformer game I was building earlier this year for iOS. I dropped development on it because we decided to build the sequel to Tap Transcend first. We are considering picking back up on this project.

Let me know if this art style looks like something you would like to see on mobile.
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08-02-2016, 05:37 PM
#7
Joined: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Hero View Post
What art style do you guys think is best for platformers? I see a lot of pixel art, a lot of cartoonish art too. To give you an idea of what I have in mind.. This is a concept scene from a platformer game I was building earlier this year for iOS. I dropped development on it because we decided to build the sequel to Tap Transcend first. We are considering picking back up on this project.

Let me know if this art style looks like something you would like to see on mobile.
That is very pretty. I like that a lot. My only proviso would be that the Limbo-style silhouettes have become a bit of a thing. There have been several platformers of that style out this year alone, of which I can recall the title of only one, Star Knight (not bad, but not special), off the top of my head. Your screenshot is much nicer though.

2016 GOTY nominations: Crashlands, FFIX, Sky Force Reloaded, Lost Socks, Tennis Champs Returns, Teeny Titans, Human Resource Machine
Comeback of the year: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

GC ID: OrangutanKungfu
08-02-2016, 06:01 PM
#8
Thanks OrangutanKungfu.

It really is hard to innovate graphics these days, with so many games out there and constantly being released, it seems it has all be done at one point or another. It really comes down to borrowing concepts and merging and or adding. I really love the vibe Limbo created, and we definitely borrowed concepts in the style we were pursuing. We were trying to make it a bit more colorful however, instead of a pure black/white contrast. I am pretty convinced to go back to this project starting soon, hopefully in the next few weeks.
08-02-2016, 06:25 PM
#9
Thanks for sharing the pic. To be perfectly honest, anything Limboesque I just avoid without giving it a chance. That's my personal preference since the market has been inundated with shadowy figures. I see it more as a cop-out than an innovative look and feel. It's possible that this style of artwork is more difficult to generate than others, but I've had more than I could handle.


"@ColeDaddy - My wallet hates you. That is all."
Drummerboycroy
08-02-2016, 09:07 PM
#10
Thanks for the honesty ColeDaddy.

Our older prototypes were all cartoony, that art I posted was for a newer project we were prototyping earlier this year. Not sure what to do now, so many conflicting opinions