December 31, 2015 - Tinytouchtales
Hello and welcome to the official End of the Year 2015 post! In this post i want to recap an amazing year for Tinytouchtales and talk about what we learned and which games we played.
The year began pretty exciting already. In January the money that i had saved up pretty much had ran out and i was living on the welfare of Wiebke who still was working full-time back then. I already knew that Card Crawl was literally my very own Final Fantasy at this point, because if it hadn’t worked out the way it did my dream of being independent would have ended in March. I have to admit that i had some sleepless nights at this point, but i also had the feeling that it could work out.
Fast forward to the beginning of March where i submitted the “final” version of Card Crawl only to realize that the iPhone 6+ version was completely broken. Due to a fast reaction from Apple i could send in two other versions before the release on the 12th. The time around the 12th was the most exciting this year by far. Card Crawls world wide feature, especially the #3 in the US was huge and we could recoup our investments in one Week. I wrote several big Blog-Post about it’s success on our Blog: The First Week of Card Crawl and The First Month of Card Crawl.
In June we released Card Crawl’s first Expansion where we added new cards and game modes, improved several performance issues and made some balance changes.
In August we released the Android version of Card Crawl which was a big success too. We wrote another big post about it here: First Week of Card Crawl for Android.
Just recently we released Card Crawl’s second expansion, which included another batch of 10 cards and the Deck Merchant, a custom deck editor where players can play, create and share their own Dungeon Decks.
The Deck Merchant seems to be a pretty popular feature and works out pretty good so far.
We also wrote about our Roadmap for Card Crawl and what could be up next for the game here: General Updates.
It’s pretty obvious that the success of Card Crawl was the biggest thing in 2015 for us. It brought us financial stability, amazing fans who are now anxiously waiting for our next game, several mentions in best of the year lists and also three (yes 3) best of the year awards from Pockettactics! Best card game, Readers’ and Editors’ Choice! Thanks for that – absolutely amazing!
As said we have some ideas for Card Crawl in the next year but we also will push our new game(s) and see how they will develop over the coming month.
Obviously there were a lot of other cool games this year and i want to talk a bit about what i thought was interesting.
If i take a look at my iPhone screen there are a few games that sticked with me.
Alto’s Adventure is one example. Smooth one tap Snowboarding (an iteration of Ski Safari) in gorgeous Landscapes made this game a very cool experience.
A cool little game that i played a lot is MicRouge. A chess like rogue-like that boils down a lot of the complicated and often unnecessary complex aspects of Dungeon Crawling into one compact experience. I especially liked the level structure of the game where not only reaching the treasure is a nice challenge but also escaping with the loot offers interesting problems. I absolutely loved how monsters can interact with each other and if i was given the task to make a similar roguelike i would completely focus on this aspect of the game.
Another cool game was Sage Solitaire. I have stated before that Zac Gage is one of my favorite game designers in general and he found a lot of success with Sage Solitaire himself. I’m not big into poker but the aspect of combining the two genres was a very fresh approach. Even though i did not play the later more gambling focused modes i can see why they where another great addition to the game.
A completely different game i liked was Trick Shot. Trick Shot is a physics puzzle game where you have to flick a bouncy ball into a chest. It’s a super simple and rather old concept but the slick presentation did it for me. I even almost completed all levels on perfect.
Finally to quench my retro thirst i played and completed Super Dangerous Dungeons. Jussi, the dev who made the game, is one of the indie devs i know from the Stencyl Forums. He still uses Stencyl to create his games and boy this guy has a hand for level design. Even if you are not into retro platformers (which are mostly shit on Mobile) you should check out his game because of the level design. I can’t adress what i like about them so much in detail but on the last level i was so close to throwing my phone out of the window, because the design of the boss level is just genius. Highly highly recommended!
My other tips are pretty common for this year: Downwell, which had it’s problems on Mobile but seems to be a superb game controller game and also my favorite power fantasy simulator Fallout 4. Which i don’t have to tell you about i guess…
There are a few things i’ve learned in 2015 that i want to share.
1) A dedicated community of players is the best marketing you can get.
2) Players want to play something new, but also want to stick with old themes and genres.
3) Having a well designed female lead character in your game results in positive feedback from both genders.
4) The Mobile market is pure hell, if you have no foot in the door already you are going to fail.
5) There is no over night success. Card Crawl took 9 other failed games to succeed.
6) Not answering reviews on Google Play was the right decision in terms of keeping my sanity.
7) There is no easier way to get happy players than honestly and also quickly answering all your emails.
8) Designing games for a very specific and dedicated audience is the only way to survive. If you design for an undefined mass your game will not be as good as is could be.
9) Listening to fellow designers feedback is key. It’s the only way you can improve your own designs.
10) Everything you do is marketing including this very list!
In conclusion 2015 was the best year so far and i can only hope that 2016 will be a tiny bit like it.
Thank you again and have a great 2016!