Dear game developers: it’s a tablet, not a PS3
I quite like playing games on the iPad, as long as they are made for the platform. Quick, simple casual games that doesn’t need much explanation is perfect for 5 minutes of gaming here and there. Unfortunately, some game developers haven’t changed their recipe for games, just the platform.
More and more “full” games are getting released on tablets, especially the iPad. Ranging from adventure games to first person shooters, sports and racing games, it’s starting to look more and more like what you’d find on a console. While that’s great and all, it annoys me how so many of these game developers fail to realize that cell phones and tablets need casual games first and foremost. Take an example: racing games. The images are full of nice looking futuristic cars going 250km/h down the track. You buy the game, start it up, and find out that unless you play a 15 hour long “career” mode first, the only thing you’ll be racing in is an old VW Bug where it would actually have been faster to leave the car and jog around the track. When I pay $1 for a racing game on sale, it’s because I want to tilt my iPad around as a steering wheel for a while and control nice looking race cars, not to choose between spending the rest of the day earning virtual money in Soccer Mom Van Grand Prix.
Then you have Angry Birds, which is now (I assume) the biggest anything of any time. In theory it’s a casual game, but somewhere down the road they wanted to make the game more challenging and it now requires a masters of engineering to precisely calculate where to send your one single useless little red bird in order to kill those pigs. When they talk about the replay value of a game they aren’t referring to having to redo a level 29386242 times, as is sometimes the case with Angry Birds. I get that some people like the game a lot and want a challenge, but that just means they should add a difficulty setting, not force everyone to take a 5 year engineering course to play a game. Cut The Rope is the perfect example of how to do it right; it’s challenging, but not more so than that a couple of tries will earn you 3 stars. That means you can play a couple of levels, put it down and be happy with yourself, rather than getting an urge to strap you tablet to a slingshot and shoot it out the window in range as with Angry Birds.
I do like that we now have very nicely done games on tablets, games that would normally cost 10-100 times as much on a console. However these developers need to start looking at the platform they’re developing for a bit more thorough and allow people to play the games without investing a month of their life- at least where possible, like racing games and other games where you don’t strictly need to force people to unlock things.