For many developers, creating a prototype that successfully passes a market test the first-time around can be challenging. Coda experts estimate that successful hyper-casual developers will often create 15 games for every 1 game they publish. This large ratio of prototypes to published games demonstrates just how many concepts often fall short of reaching those key publishing benchmarks.
In our latest series, Games Doctors, we’ll take a look at recent games tested by the Coda Games team and identify why certain prototypes didn’t pass marketability tests. We’ll go one further to identify areas of improvement, helping you to identify any parallel feedback that you can use in your own game.
Test Game #1: Classroom Battle
In Classroom Battle, players are given a number of different tasks to complete based on typical and entertaining school scenarios. Contrary to the latest version that shows multiple game mechanics, the first prototype submitted only featured one game mechanic.
Particularly in hyper-compact games and the way they’re monetised, it’s important for there to be at least 10 different mechanics for the game to be successful (we talk more about hyper-compact games here). After this initial feedback, the developer went back to add more mechanics, however, by this point a competitor had already released a similar game. It’s extremely important in these cases with publisher feedback to act as quickly as possible before a similar game is released!
Test Game #2: Light Maze 3D
In Light Maze 3D, players navigate a white ball through the shadows in a maze and must avoid being caught in the light. A rather unique concept for a hyper-casual game this initial prototype was a promising concept, however the difficulty in levels became its downfall.
The levels for the game were extremely hard, which we know is not the right approach in hyper-casual. Since the genre must accommodate for gamers of all skill levels, it's imperative that the difficulty in levels is easy to start. Furthermore, while the concept was unique, it was also quite abstract and lacked a real narrative behind the story.
We then saw similar concepts released from competitors that were more successful as they had included such a narrative, such as Hunter Assassin and Wobble Man.
Sometimes it can be difficult to understand why your prototype hasn't advanced past the first marketability test. More often than not, the devil is in the game design details, and communicating with your publisher can help you to better identify areas of improvement.
If you've got a prototype that wasn't successful and you'd like to receive feedback from our gaming experts, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to appear in our next Game Doctors episode.