Note: I am using an Android 6.0 2-in-1 "laptop" with a removable keyboard (RCA Viking Pro 10.1)
1: Better touch controls
The onscreen buttons are too big to use comfortably on tablet screens. Making them proportional to the screen size would be a good start. Adding small, medium, large, and left-handed options would be even better.
The swipe controls set to a .3 threshold work okay for me, but quick directional changes are difficult and often leave me squashed beneath a rock. Also, while the snap feature works well, dropping mines takes to long. Perhaps dropping one with a tap while your moving will be better, or perhaps a tap should always drop a mine and a left side swipe should snap in that direction.
The game is way too quiet. Some of the the 3rd party levelsets have music but not the built in content.
3: An easy tutorial
Most android gamers lack the patience for a real challenge. The Niko tutorial is more difficult than most Android games at their hardest settings. I enjoy a challenge, but for Rocks to compete in the android marketplace it should default to a simple but rewarding tutorial.
4: Fix the back button bug
When I tap the back button on my screen the game behaves as expected, asking to quit the level while playing or navigating backwards in the menu. If I press the back button on my keyboard, however, the game exits without confirmation. I have often exited the game by accident because I habitually use the back button on my keyboard whenever it's attached. I believe the back button sometimes acts as an "escape" key, but I doubt that the desktop versions of R&D exit without confirmation when the escape key is pressed(minimize, perhaps?)
5: Just start me over already
Don't make users press back and then touch "start game" every time they die, which will be often. It might feel natural with a gamepd or a keyboard with an 'enter' key, but in Android you actually have to tap "start game", which feels awkward ad is far too much work.
I think the level should just start over upon death, or perhaps open a "try again" menu. Instead, it just leaves me staring at the unfinished level until I remember that I have to press the back button(the one on the screen, not the one on my keyboard, because that exist the app!).
6: Access to the tape player
The tape player doesn't respond to my taps. As far as I can tell it is inaccessible without a keyboard.
7: A modern interface
I like that the menu can change appearance to match the levelset content, but the interface is quite old fashioned. That might be desirable for a retro computer game, but most Android users never played a computer game before. Some might fail to find the "start game option" unless it's on the top or bottom of the list.
The more android friendly options would be to have "start" at the top and quit at the bottom, or to have start at the bottom and make the back button quit (UPON CONFIRMATION!!!) Alternatively, Start at the bottom right and quit at the bottom left is okay, but would probably require too much work and break your theming mechanism.
8: Offer a premium option
Android users have been conditioned to expect in app purchases and/or adds in all "free" games, and they only expect a good experience if they pay a few dollars. Most have no idea that "free and open source" software even exists. You could offer the game free in the Play store, and earn a little money by offering a $1-3 dollar premium version with more content. Simply include the separately downloadable content already available, which many android users would have difficulty installing themselves.
Plenty of people have made a little money by selling opensource software in the mobile marketplaces. It offsets the work you have to do updating your app when an Android update breaks compatiblity (many opensource ports no longer work because of this). You won't get rich, but it might make spending a day or two implementing my suggestions worthwhile.
Got a cool idea that should be in R'n'D? Let's hear it!
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