Friday, January 12, 2007

One Button Gaming

Some years ago, I had a brief but passionate affair with an excellent Warcraft 3 mod called 'Tower Defense'. It made for excellent multiplayer gameplay, was extremely quick and easy to pick up and had enough depth to keep me coming back for several weeks.

Today on b3ta I came across a flash version of Tower Defense that I've just spent the last 45 minutes playing (I got to level 27. Can anyone out there top that?).

If anyone from the mobile or casual (*ahem* Kim *ahem*) space is reading this, if you haven't already done so, take a look at Tower Defense as an excellent example of 1-button gameplay done right. The core concept is very simple and easy to grasp, the controls and be dumbed down to the most basic of input devices, but there is plenty of depth available. Throw in multiplayer and controlable heroes (as in the WC3 mod) and you have something that can keep the attention of casual and hardcore players for hours.


Update The always excellent Jay Is Games did a review of this title a couple of days ago and the forums show some good strategies. My ego always falls about 5 notches after reading the forums on JIG as these people always have stratospheric scores.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm... my last comment seems to have been deleted, and now you have spam there..

Anyhow, I'd commented that we'd tried a couple of games that had been exact clones of this (more or less - 1 was 3D though) and they'd not done super well.

However, then I remembered that there was one that has done OK: Oasis. You can check it out on playfirst's site. It's kind of a variant of this, only the path of the enemy isn't known, and there's a different resource tradeoff. Check it out (www.playfirst.com)

2:11 AM  
Blogger Ben Mattes said...

Kim,

Sorry -- I didn't see the first comment, and I have no idea how the Spam replaced it. I deleted the spam, but perhaps one day I'll need to turn on the dreaded 'comment verification' system.../me shudders.

I looked at (didn't play yet) Oasis and I have to say I'm a little confused at the connection between it and TD. Is it possible you meant the game 'Master Of Defense', also by Playfirst? It seems to be a clone re: gameplay, in 3D. Unclear from the screenshots how they manage enemy path, though.

Final point -- you obviously know more then I do re: casual games and what works. Any theories on why the TD clones you've seen have failed to catch on in the casual space?

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to play it to see. It's similar in that it's:
- prepare the battlefield
- watch the incoming hoards with fingers crossed (and some limited interactivity)
- repeat if you survive

The difference is that the prep stage has some mechanics added (have to 'discover' where your cities are, and then cities are what you defend (vs a 'goal' at teh end of a maze)

I didn't say they'd failed to catch on. I said they failed to catch on, *on our site*. Different sites, different audiences. Alas, I don't know why, but that's why we try a lot of stuff and let the consumer speak with their dollars.

Master of defense, IIRC, the 'path' is just a straight line through the village.

2:00 PM  

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