Tuesday, November 17, 2009

iPhone App Game Development Blog #15

iPhone App Game Development Blog #15

Development blog fifteen! What do ya say!

First of all, my girlfriend is addicted to the damned Farmville Facebook game. Or Barn Buddy. Whatever the hell it is. I am so tired of hearing of that crap (yeah, of course I am jealous that I didn't think of it first...) It's Animal Crossing all over again! (meets WOW). I hear there's like 15 million users on that thing now. Or 50 million. Honestly, when you get to that stage, does the difference really matter?

Things are alright in Headcase-Land. Getting stressful as we close in on submission for our new game 180, the days are numbered (maybe that is a catch-phrase!). Programmer informed me that it is coming up very soon and that we must wrap everything up immediately, so that is pretty much what I have been up to morning, noon, and night. We made a major change to the gameplay last week - one that I was not too keen on, but it ended up working out alright (the game is still plenty enjoyable/addictive, and that is my chief concern). Otherwise our biggest issues are tidying up the entire shell/feature set, and making sure the "how to play" is bone-simple. Simple enough to write, but doing that in a way that it is minimal programmer-impact is the clutch..

Anyway it is an interesting time for sure. Retro Game of the Day made the front page of Gamasutra late last week, which is also a big deal for us - they get like 70k views a day (seventy THOUSAND) so if I can get a couple of stray eyeballs to look at my little game, then I am beyond excited. Eyeball-looks are far off from $1 purchases however - but, even so. Welcome to the world of independent game development! Every little battle counts!

Anyway so many notes on the development, but I really have to save something for the post-mortem - in the meantime, let's see what is up in App-land, shall we?

Drop7 - alright I avoided this game for long enough. All of my friends (and girlfriend) have been playing it for months now. I never gave it more than a cursory glance ("I am sure it is good since everyone loves it, but I haven't the attention span to figure it out..") Well I finally gave it a shot. Damn game. I am hooked.

DropZap - saw this while scrolling down the new releases, tucked in a corner on TouchArcade. Brand-new, just released a few days ago. Free app and it looks like it - I wouldn't have given it a second look otherwise. Must be that I am still an App noob, I DL'd it and loaded it up. Took me a few minutes to figure out - another winner! I recommend grabbing it before he starts charging for it, though I would like ot see him make some cash on the game! It's absolutely worth a couple bucks, despite it's extreme budget looks.

Papaya Puzzle Bobble - Another freebie. Decent looks for what you get - though it's fairly rough-around-the-edges compared to the real deal (which I enjoyed, though this game is actually more challenging!) I'd not bother with it, but better than I expected.

Togglem - Been on my mind for some time since I saw some guys mention it on Neogaf. I have a soft spot in my heart for these small-dev-projects - and despite the looks I coughed up $2 (hey, it's just $2!) But man. This is another game where they went all out to do a layer of polish, but the gameplay is missing a big chunk of consideration.

Ka-Glom - Another free one - this is a Puyo-Puyo rip, I believe. Not super-familiar with that game so I can't say how much of a deviation this is - anyway it's not bad if you like this sort of thing. The graphics and polish are very nice - however with most of these "falling blocks like Tetris" games, in that they have pieces which must carefully be manipulated, control is of high importance, and it just becomes frustrating without a control pad.

bitFlip - I saw it advertised on Twitter somewhere, and the reviews sounded intriguing. The pics didn't look too hot - anyway I want my $2 back! (not really). Not a bad game, but it feels confusing and kind of a chore to play. I will try it a bit more to see if it hooks me, but not terribly excited.

Piyo Blocks - tried out the lite version of this. I feel bad when I have lots of negative reviews in this column, I guess I am just jaded - but this is what the appstore looks like. It's completely packed to the gills with these me-too ripoff games. Why single out Piyo Blocks? I actually do recommend picking it up, it's a gorgeous game - and I want to support the dev, Big Pixel. I think whatever they have next in line to release will be a noteworthy game, they have a wonderful style. I just regret that this game is "another bejeweled knockoff." Bejeweled is an okay title but I've seen it enough already.

Ghosts 'n Goblins Gold Knights - unusual for me, here is a game which I haven't actually played. If they put out a lite I'd check it out for sure, otherwise I am having a hard time biting. I am a superfan of the old games, this just sounds like it is too far-removed from what I love to be that enjoyable. The price is not bad at all ($3) but the price is not my issue - it just doesn't look like it would be tremendously fun to play, it's so gimped to work on the iPhone. If anyone can give a good argument I am game - but I don't feel the need to investigate every title out there, even when it's getting in the neighborhood of my particular fancy.


  1. Okay, I don't really have a "good" argument for Ghosts 'n Goblins, but if you're a fan of the series at all I'd pick this one up. I usually stay away from anything over a buck simply because I rotate my colletion out way too much to justify spending much money on games. However, I decided to give GnG a shot because I am a fan of the originals, and I don't regret my purchase at all. Graphics are quite nice, the music is a great homage to the original, and the game play is exactly what you remember and love from the nes version. It even has the cool progress map. Now I will admit that the first two levels are a bit wimpy in terms of difficulty, but the challenge ramps up quite nicely on level 3.

  2. ahh cool - I will check it out!

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