Please tell my why my game sucks

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by Nicolinux, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Nicolinux

    Nicolinux Active Member

    Oct 21, 2008
    #1 Nicolinux, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    Just a little clarification. If you want the full info about why and how this game came to be, and its relationship to Tiny Wings, check out the entire blog post. I didn't write it all here in order to keep this post (while still long) at a reasonable size:

    Disclaimer: Please note that I am NOT doing this as a marketing trick to direct your attention to our game. I have already lost all hope for it...

    So for the past few months we ( - two developers from Germany) worked like mad to finish our game called "Bouncing Cow Bird". It is a physics based one-tap style game, made with Cocos2d. Very soon after release it was clear that the game was a complete and utter failure. (man this hurts so bad writing these lines, even after several weeks).
    However what I'd like to ask you dear reader, is WHY THE HELL nobody gives a damn about the game. Not because I have any hope left (we are at 0-1 sales per week) but because I think that there is clearly something wrong with my instinct regarding good iOS games. And I don't want to make this (costly) mistake ever again. Speaking of games - I do play a lot of them and these are my favorites - there is nothing wrong with them or is it?

    Please tell me why do you think the game isn't any good. Is it the icon, the name? Are the screenshots bad? As a side note, we have changed the icon, name and screenshots with the last update - just to test this assumption. Here is a comparison - in fact it is an entire blog post but I am linking to the relevant part only:

    Is the gameplay boring? (although one could argue that before buying the game one can not know if the gameplay is any good - which leads me to believe that at least the screenshots are bad).

    Please don't be nice, no kind words. I want the hard cold truth and I won't hate you for it

    I have made the game free for the next few days, so if you want to test it, here is the link:

    If this is too much to ask, here is a gameplay video (you don't see when the user touches - that's when you hear "inflate" sound from the cow). Maybe this is enough to tell what's wrong with it.

    I am forever grateful,

  2. WinneyL

    WinneyL New Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    The game looks fine on a general level although I admit I do not particularly like the art style. It looks like it doesn't know what it wants to be.

    However, I think your biggest problem is probably just marketing.
  3. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
    #3 psj3809, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    Well fair play to you for asking for truth from people.

    Obviously we all have different tastes, my spin on it after seeing your video...

    It looks to be a very simple bouncing game, dont get me wrong some of the most famous games of all time (and on iOS) are normally from basic ideas. Look at Angry Birds or Tiny Wings.

    Saying that Tiny Wings was 'okay' (quite dull though) but the problem is you then get 1000's of clones like you did with Angry Birds.

    So Tiny Wings to me was the 'peak' of that sort of game. I've seen so many poor clones though. As i'm not a huge fan of Tiny Wings i dont want to buy lots and lots of clones.

    Watching the video it just looks dull, theres no 'monsters' to bounce into to kill, you just seem to be constantly spinnng and tapping the screen to bounce now and then and thats it.

    With Tiny Wings you had to press to get some speed and then let go to use your speed to fly. Here you simply seem to just press the screen when you get to a ledge or something ?

    The graphics look pretty good and polished, i've seen a lot of games with very poor basic graphics. But i will say your graphics look alright.

    But just doesnt seem much to it, no gold coins in the air to perhaps jump to try to get , no different ledges to jump onto a bit like Mega Run so theres different routes to go. Tiny Wings was okay for a few minutes in my view, not a game i go back to and play over and over (but obviously i must be in the minority as its been a huge huge hit).

    So yeah the graphics look okay (surprised the guy above isnt keen, look at Tiny Wings thats pretty similar graphically) but the most important part (the gameplay) just looks dull. Sorry
  4. badmanj

    badmanj Well-Known Member

    #4 badmanj, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    Hey I'm sorry to hear your game isn't working out. I appreciate the effort it takes to do what you have done and it must be heart breaking when it fails.

    I'll be honest - since this is what you want...

    The name really does suck."Bouncing Cow Bird" doesn't work on any level for me. And after watching the video of game play it appears to be quite repetitive - games with levels need to invoke the curiosity of the player - what will happen next? But this game looks as though each level is the same with different colours.

    But really, for me the question you need to ask yourselves is why would someone play your game rather than something like Tiny Wings - which has similar "One Touch" game play, similar mechanics. What do you think? What does your game give me, the player, that Tiny Wings does not?

    And stepping back further still, why did you write this game when Tiny Wings already existed? Do you have an inspired new gameplay mechanic or hook? Or was it purely a clone? If the latter, why did you think your title would be purchased ahead of Tiny Wings?

    Hope this helps. It's just my opinion so quite probably doesn't mean very much ;-)


  5. geremy

    geremy Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2010
    I think the video and the icon look pretty nice. It looks like a fun, great looking game. I think in general though, the casual player has moved on from this type of gameplay, so I doubt that (other than a lack of marketing) it really has much to do with your particular title.

    I was pretty excited for the Tiny Wings 2.0 update for example, but I didn't really end up playing it that much. Not because the game isn't great, but because I had already sunk so much time previously that it just isn't that interesting anymore. Same deal for jetpack joyride.
  6. ArtNJ

    ArtNJ Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    New Jersey
    Tiny Wings is vastly more visually appealling. And the name of your app is a total baffler.

    Lets be honest here, the game play of Tiny Wings couldnt be more simple. There just isnt a lot to it. Its mostly about packaging it in a manner -- appearance, sound, music, style, achievements -- that it sucks you in and adds CHARM.

    Tiny Wings works because it blended all of these things and was rather charming. You cant just improve the gameplay (I dont see any evidence that you actually did, but lets assume it) and assume that the improvement -- without all the other elements -- is going to translate into interest. While I normally dont judge a game by its graphical appearance -- with a Tiny Wings type game, you almost have to do that, as you cant "get off the ground" without charm. And I dont really see charm in that video.
  7. Grungebob

    Grungebob Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2010
    Nicolinux, it takes a lot of courage to ask for honesty about something you poured your time and talent into. I commend you for that.
  8. cplr

    cplr Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2011
    #8 cplr, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    For one thing, your game appears to be very rough around the edges, and I mean that figuratively and also quite literally. If you drew a line following the path of the main character, you would have a lot of jagged lines and rough edges. Tiny Wings is silly smooth and is constantly following curves. This is a problem too many games have (particularly platformers, in fact I am constantly complaining about this when I see a new platformer!).

    The direction applied to the object(s) on the screen are applied directly to velocity rather than acceleration. Velocity should be calculated for each frame based on an object's acceleration. It's simple math in the end, but makes a big difference in making a game feel like it is living in its own world, rather than a crude software program. It looks like the cow bird actually slows down before making contact. This would be impossible with a basic physics algorithm in place, which leads me to believe that you have your hands on too many numbers rather than running a very small simulation of sorts.

    I'd also like to point out that you said you spent a couple months developing this. As long as we are comparing to Tiny Wings, the developer worked for about a year on the first version and another year on the latest update. I would bet a million dollars that after only a few months of initial development it also was not that great.

    No developer should release a product after only 2 months of development unless they are industry experts and can truly crank something out. Jeff Minter could do it, but he's been making games for a really long time.

    Also, I really like your icon and the design of your characters, when they are large (in the icon and main title screen). However it looks like you just shrunk down the assets to a much smaller size when displaying them on the screen. This leads to a great loss of "pixel fidelity." The assets need to be remade for the smaller size so they look perfect. The main character/cow bird spins too much during gameplay. It's a little confusing to see.

    Regarding your procedural content, the only thing that appears to be procedural is the coloring and length of each plateau. There is something unpleasant about the contours of the mountain however I am not sure what that is specifically. After the plateau, each cliff appears to be identical for every "step" which our brains are quite good at picking out. Seeing that over and over, it wears your eyes out. More things need to be randomly generated here.

    Also gameplay wise, it is not clear whatsoever what you are supposed to be doing. Where is the optimal place to hit in order to get bigger jumps? Whatever your answer is, it has no direct relation to real life, so it needs to be obvious through some other manner. Tiny Wings is quite obvious in what you are supposed to do as it plays on our understanding of gravity.
  9. CrazyQuest

    CrazyQuest Well-Known Member

    I think you did everything right except make a fun playable game. I don't understand what the optimal strategy is, as it seems you bounce around randomly (I mean I'm sure you have some control over it, but in your video you seem to miss 95% of the coins... it would be cool if you showed how to play your game "well")... I don't think the issue is the graphics, character design, OR marketing... It just doesn't look fun to play.
  10. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
    Yep i totally agree, i honestly dont like slating or being negative towards peoples hard work, but at the end of the day the constructive criticism will help him if he makes another game.

    Just wish i was able to create 'a' game so hats off you for doing that.

    But like Grungebob says, i commend you too !
  11. Blackharon

    Blackharon Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Game Designer for Ludia
    #11 Blackharon, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    From my point of view (after viewing the video), it's lacking a lot of polish. And probably user feedback (I'm talking the complete stranger, not afraid to tell you what they're thinking kind of feedback. Not friends and family "you're off to a great start" feedback).

    - The name is, quite frankly, off putting. Based on that I wouldn't have purchased it.

    - Is that a cow or a bird? (I know the answer but the app name confused me) Either way: wrong sounds, wrong shape. At least if it were a cow you could have had a cow bell!

    The ground isn't smooth. There appears to be coins on the ground, by why aren't there at heights? Hitting the ground isn't the achievement, hitting the highest bounce is! You're rewarding the player for doing poorly.

    Marketing? Was there any?

    The game had potential to be more than it is. For now though - I'm sorry to say - sales reflect the product.
  12. BazookaTime

    BazookaTime Well-Known Member

    Played the game and here are my thoughts.

    Your game does not suck, in fact it is pretty polished and enjoyable. This is the first time I have heard of your game and that is one of the biggest problems with the App Store, over saturation. It is very hard to find out about new games and marketing ios games is challenging and can be expensive.

    The name of your game threw me off but once the game started, I liked the wacky nature of the game.


    1)Do not give up, you have a good game here.

    2)I would add more items to the sky to collect, coins or whatever to give the sky more flair. Most of the coins, art is on the ground.

    3)(Maybe I missed it) Add a shop to the game where the user can spend the coins. Add unlockable items and or characters?

    4)Avalanche seems slow to catch up at times. There were a few times where I was having a bad run and just bouncing in place and it took a while for the avalanche to get to me.

    I think you put out a quality game, I am sorry it is not performing well.

  13. Gleeoch

    Gleeoch New Member

    Oct 12, 2011
    Just checked out your game and wanted to say that it doesn't suck :) The character is cute and fun and I enjoyed the beginning story bit. As far as feedback I'd consider speeding up the avalanche as someone mentioned and maybe change when cow bird spins really fast (a lame little nitpick) It made sense when I would spin quickly while falling towards the ground but it seemed like the crazy fast spin would come out of nowhere while flying through the air.

    I also like playing in portrait mode for hot one handed action.

    good luck.
  14. Varking

    Varking Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2010
    Stand Up Comedian
    North Carolina
    Your name sucks. It's a fairly fun but super simple game. But the name... Fix it.
  15. Jordanbuzz

    Jordanbuzz Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2011
    #15 Jordanbuzz, Aug 7, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
    Needs level

    Just watched 5secs and looks cool. Will try it out

    Edit: tried the game out. It's fun but gets boring after a while because u can't stop. I think you should add levels cause I was like when will I die. That's my opinion though. Fun game
  16. Ack! How do you control in this game? Wow...

    The graphics are alright, the intro graphics are very good.

    But boy, when you play the game, the controls are really weird. I just keep bouncing up and down. It is really frustrating. MayBe you can make it so when you hit the screen you fly or something.

    You are really brave to ask for negative feedback in a TA forum...
  17. Echoseven

    Echoseven Moderator
    Staff Member Patreon Silver Patreon Gold Patreon Bronze

    Jul 19, 2011
    The red Skittle
    #17 Echoseven, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
    I can't really offer much feedback on the game beyond what has already been better articulated by others, but this point I disagree with.
    TA is a great place for developers, because here they get to talk directly to the players and find out what they can do to change their games and make them better. A lot of the people here have a vested interest in seeing developers succeed, because it means that in the end, everybody wins.

    Back to the game - browsing in the App Store, there's absolutely nothing about it that makes it stand out. The graphics style I've seen before and it's a bit dull, the gameplay that I could piece together from the description and screenshots isn't that exciting. (Like others have said, it doesn't have to be deep - aka Tiny Wings, but it needs to be well-presented - again, Tiny Wings). Even having a great game isn't enough though - the App Store is a game of exposure. Even games that are featured by Apple see a pretty significant drop-off in sales after the feature ends (see VR Missions Ext for a recent example). I know it's easy to say and harder to do, but you need a way to make your game travel by word of mouth after any features and advertisements have ended. I can't offer any suggestions - but obnoxious social integration is definitely, definitely not the answer.

    The best thing you can now do is chalk this up to a learning experience and move on to the next bigger and better project.
  18. bacon-N-eggs

    bacon-N-eggs Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2012
    Hard truth, you're very brave :)

    Just from watching 10 sec of the video I can tell you I would never buy it. Might sound harsh, but here's why.

    The hills all look the same, there seems to be no other motivation to work for other the what looks to be randomly bouncing down a jaggy hill...... Over and over and over again... Sorry if this sounds cold. :(

    The name is bad, and the art is not bold/cute like tiny wings, also the gameplay look like a lot of the same. To be fair tiny wings gameplay would look the same in a video as well.

    Please take into account that I don't really "love" tiny wings all that much either. Haven't even played the update.... :) It's a great game and all, but I like games like bit less, LOE, LOE2, Hook Worlds, and other action games the best, a puzzle game is great for chill time. Tiny wings, it's okay, but your game seems to be a poorly done clone.

    Time to download it and see :)
  19. PRE

    PRE Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    To me it looks like crap sorry you asked for it :p

    I watched a good two minutes of the video and it's so boring. All you do is try to keep momentum rolling down a hill and collect coins or whatever. At least spice it up somehow add in power ups or obstacles to avoid. Your backgrounds seem to repeat over and over until a new level as well. Oh and the art style reminds me of something a young child should play. To be honest a flying cow bird is funny yeah but not something you should name an app like this.
  20. HelperMonkey

    HelperMonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    #20 HelperMonkey, Aug 8, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2012
    Not a good name. Just strange.

    The terrain looks like an ugly, knitted scarf.

    The main character is too small to show much personality.

    I thought the sounds were fine.

    Gameplay, based on the video, looks dull. Seems there's very little challenge or reason to interact with the general flow of the game, as you're just going downhill. There's no feeling of speed or urgency or tension.

    The icon(s) looked fine.

    Overall, there's a sense of being very derivative. Like a mash-up of games I've already played.

    You've also got no exposure, which is critical, but I don't know how to improve that.
    AND, if it had any exposure you would have to make a good impression immediately. And my first impression was that this was an ugly Tiny Wings derivative with a bad title.
    Nothing about this makes me want to play it.

    Sorry for the harsh words, but you wanted honesty, and I respect that.

    Unfortunately, though, I think it's time to dust yourself off and move on to something new.

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