Posts Tagged mini golf matchup

rocketjumpLogoBigOur own David Rabinowitz checked out Scopely/Rocket Jump’s Mini Golf Matchup a couple of months ago, and thought very highly of it. And why shouldn’t he? It’s a great casual game of virtual mini golf with painless online functionality. We’ve since managed to get in touch with Antony Blackett, the Managing Director of Rocket Jump, who agreed to give us some insight as to how their project became the gleeful game of putt-putt that it is.

148Apps: I imagine it was fairly easy to decide to make a mini golf game since virtually everybody loves mini golf, but were there any unexpected challenges in actually creating Mini Golf MatchUp?
Antony Blackett (AB): Mini Golf did seem like the an obvious choice for an asynchronous multiplayer game. We experimented with a few methods of input and only after much discussion and testing did we eventually land on the sling shot method that’s in the game today. Another big challenge was finding out how to make each shot satisfying even when the player didn’t manage to get the ball in the hole. We wanted to make it feel physical and solid as if it were a little toy inside your phone, and also remain predicable unlike a lot of other physics-based games. Finally, while the idea of making a turn-based mini golf game was intuitive, we quickly discovered that creating a polished multiplayer game is no easy task, especially for a small team.

IMG_0948148Apps: I know touch interfaces, especially in physics-driven games, can be tricky to pull off. Did it give you any trouble? And if so how were you able to get through it?
AB: The hardest part of designing the input system in Mini Golf MatchUp was discovering not only how to communicate things like power and direction to the player, but also figuring out exactly what we did and didn’t need to communicate to the player. Our initial approach was a flick system where the ball would inherit the momentum of your finger along the screen, but we found it was difficult for people to grasp the concept. Scopely ran frequent usability tests on players that had never seen the game before. We recorded them playing and ran over the videos many times to get an idea about what players expected to happen. Watching the video recordings gives you clues to what is really going on as people play the game and we closely analyzed these usability tests with the Scopely team to hone in on how best to improve the game.

Specifically with the flick system, we learned that it was easy for the player to make a mistake, but hard for us to know programmatically whether they had made an error. This meant we couldn’t reliably show them corresponding help tips and teach them effectively. On the other hand, the sling shot mechanic was a lot clearer to players because we included an arrow that indicates direction, and power appears as soon as they touch the screen.

148Apps: Any juicy bits of gameplay, specific holes, or mechanics that never made it into the final build? Any chance they may make an appearance in the future?
AB: We’re currently discussing how we can add even more variety to the gameplay in Mini Golf MatchUp. We have some ideas around more pickups and new power ups to go alongside the mulligan, scoring changes, item collection mechanics and even cooperative gameplay. Potentially, developing new social features like sharing replays of your awesome, unbelievable hole-in-one shots. We might even stumble across completely new ideas along the way that are better. Who knows? It’s an organic process, but ultimately it’s driven by a detailed analysis of how players are interacting with the game.

IMG_0951148Apps: I love the colorful, yet simplistic, visual style. Was that pretty much what you had in mind from the get-go?
AB: Corie Geerders is an amazing artist and he’s never shy of using color. Just look at the other titles he’s worked on that exemplify this vibrancy: GripShift, Shatter, Major Mayhem. At Rocket Jump, we find that nailing down a visual style very early in a project helps to unify all the decisions we make in the future. It’s much easier to see if a game mechanic, feature or sound effect doesn’t match the visual style of the game thereafter. One of the best parts about working with Scopely was that they supported our artistic vision, and they gave us the freedom to explore various approaches so that we could find the most exciting and engaging style for the game.

148Apps: Assuming you’re able to talk about it, what’s the plan for Rocket Jump’s next big project?
AB: We have a few ideas in the back of our minds about what we want to do next. One of the things we’d like to do most, and what our fans would love to see, is a sequel to Major Mayhem. We don’t have anything planned out in terms of storyline, gameplay features, or dates, but we have a ton of ideas! We definitely want to push the limits of what mobile games can be like Major Mayhem, Rail Shooters, and Mini Golf MatchUp.

We’d like to thank Antony for taking the time to fill us in on the ins and outs of Mini Golf Matchup. If you’re interested in checking this cartoony game of golf out you can do so right now by grabbing the universal version off the App Store for free.

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Poker Night 2

 
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Poker Night 2 brings together Brock Samson from Venture Bros. (which has a season premiere very soon!), Claptrap from Borderlands, Ash Williams from the Evil Dead series (not voiced by Bruce Campbell, unfortunately), and Sam from Telltale’s own Sam and Max to play some high-stakes poker. Oh, and GLaDOS from Portal is the dealer. Moxxxi from Borderlands makes a silent cameo as the bartender. It’s a basic game of poker, with both Texas hold ‘em and Omaha hold ‘em (like Texas hold ‘em but with four dealt cards, two of which can be played with the community cards). However, the fun comes as much from getting to experience the witty banter from these cross-media characters meeting up. Each character has their own playing style and personality that must be considered when playing against them. Ash is rather cocky and willing to bluff a lot. Claptrap really seems to only like to play when he has good hands, being extremely conservative. Brock will go hard when he has a good hand, but will bluff occasionally. Sam…I can’t quite figure him out but he does seem to be a bluffer. Ash scares me the most because he matches my own play style. –Carter Dotson

Hipstamatic Oggl

 
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Long ago, as iOS reckons time, before the 1 billion dollar acquisition of Instagram by Facebook, and before photo filters were ubiquitous, there was Hipstamatic, a digital recreation of an analog camera, complete with changeable lenses and film types. But alas, time passed by and Hipstamatic, while still useful and engaging, lost mindshare to Instagram and the onslaught of photo processing apps. Many fondly remembered it, but used it less and less. Hipstamatic’s developer hopes to change this with the introduction of Oggl, their new social network/camera app hybrid that attempts to link the Hipstamatic name and legacy to a powerful but easy to use photo hub. –Chris Kirby

Manuganu

 
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I have no idea how to pronounce Manuganu, nor do I know what it means. It just looks llike a string of random letters to me. It’s supposed to be the main character’s name, but we all know names usually mean something. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it must amount something like “gorgeous and fantastic endless runner.” Just a guess. Manuganu is a kid with problems. Specifically he can’t seem to go anywhere without having to leap over chasms, dodge swinging boulders, or avoid all sorts of sharp-toothed nasties. Every single stage is full of them, as well as a number of tokens to collect, and players will have to make good use of the intuitive controls to dodge and collect everything. There are only two buttons (jump/double-jump and halting), and a single gesture (swipe down to slide) to worry about. Halting makes for an interesting addition as there are times when players won’t simply be able to run past something. Instead they’ll have to stop running, wait for an opening, then make like a tree. –Rob Rich

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Sago Mini Sound Box!

 
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I have some interesting news that I would like to share with readers. Toca Boca has recently acquired zinc Roe’s series of Tickle Tap apps. As readers may know, Toca Boca is a favorite developer of mine, as are the Tickle Tap apps that were developed by zinc Roe a few years back. These Tickle Tap apps were some of the first apps I shared with my son, and they still are perennial favorites that have kept my son’s attention for all this time. The joining of Toca Boca and the creative minds behind these Tickle Tap Apps has created a true dream team of app developers with the common bonds of highly stylized illustrations, bright and bold colors and whimsical details that produce very high expectations of what is to come from this new developer, Sago Sago. –Amy Solomon

The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure

 
critter

The Trip Little Critter Reading Adventure is a fun, interactive storybook app based on Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter’s The Trip, with versions for both iPad as well as iPhone available through iTunes. This new application, developed by Silver Dolphin, differs greatly from – and should not be confused with – the straightforward adaptation of Little Critter stories developed by another company. It is worth explaining to readers that the original Mercer Mayer title focuses on a car trip to a camp site as told in pictures. Yet the text, although also telling the tale of this long family outing, included a heavy use of alphabet letters, from A to Z, such as B for Bags and C for Car, as well as words adults can relate to, possibly even more than their children can, such as E for the car’s engine overheating, letter M for the mess the Critter kids made in the back of the car, or T for the flat tire they get along the way, creating a witty alphabet book enjoyable for all – children and parents alike. –Amy Solomon

On Beyond Bugs: All About Insects

 
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On Beyond Bugs: All About Insects is a thoughtful adaptation of the book of the same name, part of The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library developed by Oceanhouse Media. Here, children will learn about many bug-related topics as they enjoy the Seuss-like illustrations and rhyming text to which this book is fashioned as The Cat in the Hat, along with Thing One and Thing Two, introducing readers to many fun bug facts such as basic anatomy, natural defenses or the strength of insects such as ants. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Star Wars Pinball

 
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Pinball is an interesting state of flux: the genre as a physical form is not in great shape, but it is doing fantastic in virtual form. Fans of the silver ball have series like Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball which both provide regular amounts of new tables to freshen up the experience regularly. Star Wars Pinball, a standalone release of the Zen Pinball table based off of Empire Strikes Back, is a great way to check in to this series. While the game includes in-app purchases for two other Star Wars tables, the base purchase includes just the one table. That’s hardly a bad thing – there’s a lot going on here. There’s multiple missions to complete by hitting various triggers, lots of targets to go for, and plenty of flashing lights and loud noises. The fanservice is strong with this one – there’s all kinds of art and sounds from the movie. This isn’t a cheap cash-in, a lot of love was put in to this game. –Carter Dotson

Mini Golf Matchup

 
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Mini Golf Matchup is a pleasant putt putt sim that puts a major emphasis on social interaction. The multiplayer format really encourages playing with friends. I can play with people in my email contacts, or random strangers. Upon finding an opponent, it comes down to turn-by-turn play on the same course. I love the fact that I could have games going against numerous people simultaneously, and at my own pace. For the random games, I simply waited for the game to do the matching, and waited for my turn. The courses had different looks, different levels of difficulty/hazards and different scenery. To get the ball into okay, I simply long-pressed and pulled… sort of like creating the virtual motion that mimics how a pinball machine game is started. In true real-life fashion, the shortest distance between tee and chip was rarely a straight line; thus, using the boundaries as bumpers was almost a needed skill. –Tre Lawrence

Boardtastic Skateboarding 2

 
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Boardtastic Skateboarding 2 from Perblue is a cool game that invokes the Tony Hawk in everybody. As a reboot of Perblue’s original skateboarding game, it has some big shoes to fill. It was a graphical feast, with fine looking 3D graphics. The developer did a good job with shadows and imagery, with realistic animations that mimicked real life skateboarding movements quite well. The skate environments all have realistically gritty feels to them, and frankly, I found it easy to enjoy how the game looked. There are several game modes to enjoy: By myself, I could do Ladder, for personal advancement, or stuff like Freestyle, Survival, Circuit or I could get into a Tournament. There was a multiplayer section as well. –Tre Lawrence

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