Friday, 11 April 2008

pay attention to your game mechanics

So, I'm playing through a match-3 game called The Rise of Atlantis - the basic gameplay idea being that you have to make matches on the board in order to move special bonus items down the board and off the bottom. A timer is counting down and you must get all the bonuses off before it runs out.

Generally match games reward you for matching more than three in a row and for creating combo chains, where the blocks falling in to replace one match cause another match and so on.

In this game, matching more than three in a row gives you special sun power which will eventually be used like a smart bomb to help knock out stubborn tiles in your way. This is a very desirable thing.

The problem comes in with combos. Combo chains count for extra score points, but they have no gameplay value, they don't help you make progress towards getting those bonuses off the board. Worse, they take time. The timer continues to run down while these chains go off - and while combo chains are going off YOU CANNOT MOVE OTHER PIECES.

So you're *stuck* there watching the game go
as the chain goes on longer and longer and YOUR PRECIOUS SECONDS ARE RUNNING OUT and you can't do anything about it. Bad game designer. No biscuit.

This is especially annoying because at times the random generator seems to go all silly near the top of the board and drop match after match from the ether - so you couldn't possibly have seen this coming or have any idea how long that chain's going to be.

No comments: