Imangi Studios' Harbor Master HD has seen a number of additions since its original iPad launch in April. The base game includes a single map and can be downloaded for free, but they've since added four new maps for $0.99 each as in-app purchases. The map above is called the Bermuda Triangle and includes pirates, monsters and cyclones to make your line-drawing life a bit more difficult.

But with the latest updates, they've also added a clever rewind feature that lets you restart the game right before that last fatal mistake:

We've also added a really cool feature - rewinds. With rewinds, after you crash, you can choose to rewind (or undo) the crash, and continue playing where you left off. You can only use ONE rewind in a game, and you get a limited number of rewinds total. When we launched the update, we gave people 5 rewinds, and then they could earn 1 rewind for each 1000 pieces of cargo they ship. So they more you play, the more rewinds you earn, and therefore you can use a rewind more often.

You start off with 5 rewinds and can use one in any particular game. Rewinds are then earned for longer play time or can be purchased via in-app purchase ($0.99 for $2.99 for 20, $4.99 for 40).

Balancing in-app purchases is always a challenging problem for a developer. On the one hand, in app purchases need to offer a legitimate value in a consumable product. But that product can't be one that gamers feel is a necessary component of the game. I feel like the rewinds fill this sort of niche well, and I'd expect we'll see it more often in the future. As an added bonus, I've always thought the compelling feature of these chaos management games is the "oh no!" last second regret when death comes suddenly. Now you get a second chance.

  • redribbon

    woww another IAP?
    *game deleted*

    just some suggestion :
    make this game paid version for 4.99 to 9.99(whatever u want) then give all the maps available and raise the numbers of how many times player can rewind, maybe like 10times for starter.delete the rewind IAP.

    i think the fun and challenging in games just disappeared when everything can be achieved through "purchase"...

    whatever, u wont listen anyway...

    • Adams Immersive

      Is the game fun without IAP? If yes, then there’s no reason to delete. If no, then consider the necessary IAP part of the purchase price and judge whether the game is enough fun to be worth a buck or two for the devs’ work.

      I like this game enough to keep it in either case! (And the IAP I’d be buying would be one-time map buys, if anything. I don’t feel the need to buy rewinds, and nobody’s forcing me to. They’re neat but not necessary, and there are other ways to get them anyway. So we’re talking a lot of fun for a one-time cost less then the coffee I’m drinking.)

      I can understand how people who pay have a better shot at high scores. So be it: a game had better be fun for its own sake, not JUST for beating scores! If that extra fun costs a little extra, I can deal with that—or happily skip it and beat my own scores instead. (How many people in the world are going to end up on the top of the world scoreboards anyway, IAP or not? The tens of thousands of the rest of us have little reason to worry.)

    • Tom

      I totally agree. I would rather pay a higher up front price for a complete game than purchase IAP. I don't mind spending money in the app store, but don't think I've ever bought any IAP for any game. 🙁

  • JazzFlight

    That seems like setting a bad precedent. This means that the best high scores are most likely obtained using a rewind, which unless you play a loooooong time (1000 cargo shipments for 1 rewind? Ouch.), you'll be outclassed on the high score boards by people who spend money on the rewinds.

    I personally think it's a bad idea, at least if you care about fair high score boards.

    • Matt Rix

      But it's just a second chance, it doesn't actually help you get a high score aside from letting you avoid one mistake per game. If you've gotten so far that you almost have a high score, there will be so many boats that you're probably gonna die really soon anyway. I think this will be of way more benefit to casual players.

  • Cougarcat

    This is a really bad idea, unless rewind-users High Scores are separate from everyone else.

    • Adams Immersive

      Good compromise: the kind of solution that will have to evolve. The IAP system (not to mention the whole App Store concept) is still young! Developers (and users) have to try different things to see what works in practice, and I like the separate scores idea.

      Or better yet: one simple list, but allow it to be viewed with a filter if you choose.

  • Natalia

    Guys, there are hundreds of thousands of people playing the game. The 10 people at the top of the leaderboards are freakishly good. Their scores are in the multiple thousands, whereas an average player's scores are in the 50's. Using a single rewind at the end of a game will *not* let an average person get anywhere near the top of the leaderboards, even if you use a rewind at the end of every single game. It will probably raise *your* average by some points - not thousands of points.

    The point is not to let people climb the leaderboards, because like I said, that's pretty much impossible, unless you take special pride in going from #51,437 to #51,425. The point is to let people improve their own best scores, because that's what most people compete against.

    For example my own Treasure Island high score is 212. I may have an amazing game and get to 205 and crash because of a stupid mistake. Instead of crying in frustration, that one time I can rewind and possibly beat my own high score, which will make my day and give me an excuse to do a victory dance. Will that let me beat the #1 player who has a score of 11,219? Not even close 🙂

    In the future, we may mark scores on the leaderboard to show which ones were obtained using a rewind. But it really won't change much.

    • Lord Gek

      While I grant you only allowing one "second chance" a game forces some restraint, once you get to selling these rewinds it feels a little strange.

      I contend not just an asterisk but entirely separate scoreboards like was done in Bear Paw.

  • eugekava

    I think that you should make earning rewinds a bit more achievable. 1000 units of cargo for 1 rewind? Thats a bit too much.

  • Josh

    IAP's like this really piss me off. Time to get get rid of all apps from this dev now. No longer supporting them.

  • GTJuggler

    I think this is a great idea.

    Shouting about how this will affect leaderboards seems pretty shortsighted. Natalia explains it perfectly above. "#51,437 to #51,425"... not exactly a reason to uninstall the game. I'm consistently amazed by how fickle gamers can be when it comes to app store pricing, IAP, and just change in general.

    Take a look at Bejeweled Blitz. Their upgrade system affects scores much more dramatically, yet I don't hear people bitching about their system.

    Usually IAP monetization targets users in the 'hardcore' sector...those that want to get every item and max out every stat. If Imangi figured out a fair way to let casual players pay for something they desperately want (a quick second chance), I say kudos to them.

    • Andsoitgoes

      Everyone here is looking at the wrong angle here.

      No, this isn't 51,437 to whatever, but the thing is, the people at the TOP of the list could be impacted.

      The difference in errors within the top players is what, maybe 5? 10? Less?

      Well then THIS is a big, big thing for people who care about leader boards.

      Make separate leader boards for people who use rewinds.

      Done and done.

      • Natalia

        If you're in the top 10 players, you earn 1-10 rewinds for every game you play and would never need to buy one.

  • oliath

    I wonder how many of the people b!tching on here about how it is unfair on the leaderboards actually genuinely care about the leaderboards and regularly check their score - Sounds like people are making a fuss for the sake of it..

    Ooh IAP... Booo-Hisss.

    This is a very clever and un-intrusive way to introduce it to a game. As Natalia says - it will not actually make a blind bit of difference to the overall scores.

    Also - every single person has access to FREE rewinds. It clearly states that you can either purchase more - yes - but also EARN them by playing well.

    So ultimately you have now have an ingame currency which you can earn.
    To me that has added value to the game.

    I had long got bored of this game - but this makes me want to start playing again.

  • Stormchild

    This is retarded. Nobody in their right mind is going to pay money for a continue.

    This game's just a boring ripoff of Flight Control anyway.

    • jake

      exactly....what is so clever about this??

  • eheh

    I don't pay extra for things that are 'consumable'.

    If it unlocks new content, maybe, if it is worth it.

  • Brake

    Yes, I have a "clever" idea for in app purchase, too. You pay a dollar and you get 200 points added to your score.

    • redribbon

      hahahahaha.....agree.... :p

  • Yog Shoggoth

    Leaderboard fairness asides, all I'm reading in this article is that you can now pay for an Undo feature.

    That's another notch of the bedpost of greed...

  • breeze

    This Harbor Master IAP-strategy is like paying your teacher additional money for getting 5 tries on each exam. THIS IS UNFAIR BULLSHIT.
    Even though I'm one of the Guys who rather pays 5$ instead of 1$ to get the full experience from beginning (Just for the pleasure to know you really GOT the game), I think IAP are acceptable if they are limited to additional content. However, as soon as they change the gameplay (and therefore give players who do pay additional money an unfair advantage over players who do not), IAP JUST SUCK.

  • James Cude

    Funny how this site spins the gouging of folks for an IAP that should be free by calling it words like clever and challenging instead of usurious and cynical. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it's funny when editorial and commerce meet.

  • Maniacfive

    Wow, so so sooooo much moaning and whining like little babies.Everytime I see a game with IAP mentioned it makes me chuckle as I know the usual bout of cry babies will head to their keyboard and start moaning like impotent jerks how unfair it all is.

    Is IAP required to play? No? Is the game fun with the IAP? Yes? then don't buy the IAP and carry on playing.