Pixels 2048 usability evaluation

As part of a benchmark series, we will look at many 2048 games out there to see how they compare, and highlight best practices swell as common pitfalls for this type of games.

Next up, Pixels 2048.

Tutorial

pixels-tutoIt’s good that the game starts with the tutorial directly. The textual description is likely to be skipped though, and it is more abstract to understand for players, should they need the tutorial.

The retro font provides good contrast and readability, when the size is big but becomes difficult to read when small, despite contrasted outlines.

A more visual tutorial would be more efficient for players to understand and learn the game.

Goal

pixels-mergestrategyThe game provides no particular emphasis on reaching a new max number of tiles : the game is more focused on scoring than on progress.

The feedback on progress towards the highscore is difficult to understand during the first few sessions. It gives more of an impression of a timer, or seems like a goal that is already reached.

The highscore is defined by the first game session here. Default target scores, like in old arcade games, would be more motivating.

Feedback

pixels-mergefeedbackShort and visible animations when tiles appear and merge give a clear feedback to the player of his actions and their results, while highlighting the changes in the game’s state.

Flashes on the score make the change noticeable but make it more difficult for the player to assess the nature of the change: the amount of points earned is not highlighted and the flash makes it harder to compute the change manually by creating a blindness to change effect: the player can’t just see the change but has to remember the previous value before computing the difference.

Menus & options

pixels-pausemenuClear menu & icons allow the user to play without reading / translation issues. This allows a larger variety of players to enjoy the game, without increasing the production (localisation) workload.

The animation also feels smooth and gives a nice, polished touch to the game.

 

What have we learnt from this game?

  •  Textual tutorials tend to be skipped, and are harder to understand for users, specially without illustrations. They also require translation, else the player can completely miss the information. It is better to use a more visual approach.
  • Text should be legible and readable and well contrasted on any background
  • While the goal is clear, the game doesn’t really reward or encourage the player to reach further goals by providing specific feedback or incentives with short, medium and longer term objectives.
  • Using explicit icons in menus makes the game clearly understandable by all users and reduces the localisation workload.

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