Hi, thanks a lot for your review and the time you spend on it. I'm definitely going to follow most of your advice and it's going to improve the game. I'll post it when it's ready.
You Gotta Text Love
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Saw your post on r/itchio
Here's a play-by-play of all the steps I did.
When I hit 'Play' there was a wall of text. I didn't read though it because the game splash and this screen is designed to look so appealing that I though I'd jump into the game and figure it out. Big Mistake :)
Once I hit the flashing right arrow, the in-game screen had quiet a bit of content to grok. The background text caught my eye, as I started reading though it I noticed the first emoji fall downwards. I was not sure if I had to do anything yet as I was still reading though the text. In a very short moment, a bunch of emojis started falling down. And before I knew it - I hear the buzzing sound. The Emoji Life bar on the top right caught my attention and displayed one crossed out emoji. The screen cleared up for a brief second, before the second set of emojis filled the screen and I lost a second emoji life. The third try came and went really fast and and the 'High Score' screen took over.
I hit the flashing 'replay' icon, hoping to read though the instructions this time around, but was directed back into the game.
So here are my suggestions
1) On the Launch Screen - you can change the text from 'Play' to 'Start'. I do love the flashing button because you have used that consistently though out all the screens and it is attention grabbing.
2) Simplify some of the instructions - may be "Tap on these Bad Emojis" and show three of them below.
"Let only the good emojis through" three examples below this line.
"Hit [Send]" after collecting emojis!".
Add the "Play" button here so player knows that they are now going to start playing the game.
3) Have a counter here so the Player can get ready. (3,2,1...)
This will give them enough time to study the UI and figure out what's on the top right, and bottom of the screen.
4) For the first x (where x is any number you decide) emojis appear at a slower interval, and move slowly towards the bottom of the screen.
5) There should be sound auditory or visual feedback when you tap on a bad emoji and destroy the object. There should also be some auditory or visual feedback for all the good emojis that get collected in the message box.
6) The first time you collect three good emojis, give the Player a little more time (either increase the interval rate at which new emojis are created, or reduce the speed at which emojis fall)
7) If you really want to teach the send mechanics, have three good emojis fall first, once the three emojis enter the message field, flash the 'Send' button so players figure out that mechanic. Then slowly generate a few good emojis and an occasional bad emoji for them to understand the mechanics a bit more.
8) Id suggest moving the "Score" and emoji lives to the lower section of the screen so it does not create too much visual clutter towards the top of the screen where emojis populate at birth.
Alternatively, you can use a opaque header behind the UI to visually separate the UI from the in-game emojis.
9) When a bad emoji hits the message box - the message box has the X mark on it, and so does the life - both happen at the same time and both are attention grabbing. Which one do you want your player to focus on more? Make sure that element is blinking only.
10) Make it less punishing where the player does not lose all their good emojis collected in the message box. After all they are losing a life.
11) I am not sure if there is a victory screen, but I did see the High Score screen a lot :P . I wish there was a button to the instructions here, just in case one needs a refresher.
12) Credits screen has a lot of links - none of them clickable. I wonder if that is because of my adblocker plugin or it was not programmed to be clickable. The Menu button is a bit buggy too. I had to refresh the game to get this playing again.