UI in games has many functions and purposes. From just being something that draws players in because it’s usually the first thing they see, to providing the most comfortable means to do a particular action. One of pretty big functions UI can perform is retention. And I’m going to talk about why this is important on the example of the game AaaaAAAaaaAAA!!! for the Awesome.
A few years ago, I played Badland on mobile by my fiancee’s recommendation, and I had tons of fun – it’s a great game. Beautiful art, simple controls yet challenging levels, and when you play it you really get into the state of flow as you try to make perfect runs. So I was really curious when I learned that the game would get a console/PC port, titled ‘Game of the Year Edition’. And thanks to it appearing among the PSN+ games, I got to try the port out.
Assassin’s Creed: Rogue is a curious beast. I don’t think it offers a well-put narrative, main campaign, or a cohesive overall experience. And the implementation of Assassin turned Templar concept is underwhelming at best. It does, however, offer some amazing side-content. It’s an Assassin’s Creed game where you just enjoy travelling around the world, exploring, and completing very well-designed side missions and activities. Including getting quite a lot of collectibles, which is the main topic of my today’s post.
I was so hooked on Rayman Legends the past couple weeks. You know those games that you’ve tried for a bit and know are really good but didn’t play extensively for some reason? Rayman Origins and Legends are some of those games in my case. And not long ago I played Legends for a bit longer and couldn’t let it go. It’s simply stunning. So well-designed, well-tuned, insanely creative and very engaging to play and the whole package is like, woah! And the music levels. Can’t talk about Rayman Legends without mentioning those. They’re amazing. But in this particular post, we’re gonna take a look at how Rayman Legends handles secret areas. It doesn’t take much to mess up with these kinds of things and make the process of finding them really arbitrary or annoying, but Rayman Legends does everything right.
A little story. I was playing and enjoying Teslagrad. And then, unexpectedly, the pathway to the last section of the game appears to be blocked by a door that can be opened only if you have 15 scrolls, which are hidden and tricky to get collectibles. I had only 3, there was nothing indicating that those scrolls are needed for anything else other than a bonus (for example, there’s a secret ending if you collect all 36 of them, which is perfectly fine). So to get the rest I’d have to go back through all the locations I’ve been to and search for those scrolls. That made me quit in frustration. In retrospect, I have overreacted, however I still don’t agree with the design decision. There’s nothing wrong with the idea of locking content behind collectibles (and to a certain audience there’s nothing wrong in how Teslagrad does it), but I want to talk about how such gating can be made less frustrating for a bigger audience.