Playtest insights on Amanita’s Botanicula : interaction design and the complexity of puzzles

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.39.23PART 2 Botanicula is a “relaxed game perfect for hardcore gamers, their partners, families and seniors”; A point and Click adventure by Amanita Designs, who already won our hearts with Machinarium.

I’ve had the chance to test this game with two teenagers: Joe, a core gamer, Alex, a casual gamer and Robin, a 5 year old little girl, a 66 year old grand mother and a zen-game loving mom. Here’s some highlights of their player experiences.

Tested on PC/Mac

This review includes screenshots and details of the end of the game, beware of spoilers

Continue reading Playtest insights on Amanita’s Botanicula : interaction design and the complexity of puzzles

Playtest insights on Amanita’s Botanicula : goals, guidance and storytelling

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.39.23Part 1 Botanicula is a “relaxed game perfect for hardcore gamers, their partners, families and seniors”; A point and Click adventure by Amanita Designs, who already won our hearts with Machinarium.

I’ve had the chance to test this game with two teenagers: Joe, a core gamer, Alex, a casual gamer and Robin, a 5 year old little girl, a 66 year old grand mother and a zen-game loving mom. Here’s some highlights of their player experiences.

Tested on PC/Mac

Continue reading Playtest insights on Amanita’s Botanicula : goals, guidance and storytelling

Game review : Catherine’s Tutorials and Controls Usability Review

Tutorials & Controls in Catherine’s nightmares

In this article, we are going to have a closer look at Catherine’s controls and tutorials. Let’s have a look at how players accomodate awkward controls by moving from using the stick to using the less input-error-prone directional arrows. Next, we will see how even the good tutorial of Catherine can fire back when too much explanations discourage users from using game features.

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Problem solving in Catherine and how the interface design decisions influence player performance

Catherine is a game about problem solving. Players need to learn techniques, chunk them to remember them easily and detect patterns in the environment to know when to use which technique to progress in the game. Repetition also leads them to over-learning : techniques become automatic and allow the player to be faster and to reach higher awards as he masters the game mechanics and execution.

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Catherine’s game Interface usability review : how mismatching mental models affects player experience

Catherine is a mature game about adultery and pushing boxes. Don’t run away, it’s the good kind of pushing boxes. Just let me take you through the first steps of the game.

Tested on PS3

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Usability issues that break Tale of Tale’s Sunset experience

Sunset is the last of Tale of Tale’s games, and their first commercial attempt. We’re not going to discuss in depth the business issue, there’s already all the tough love for Tale of Tales out there, and it pretty much matches my point of view.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Sunset, as much as The Path or The Graveyard. The idea behind it is awesome to me. But that’s just because Tale of Tales inspire me, and I have an infinite patience with their games that most players I have watched play Sunset do not share.

This review is going to highlight 3 usability issues that can break Sunset’s experience.

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Good game usability ideas from Tale of Tale’s The path

The path is a short horror game by Tale of Tales inspired by Little Red Riding hood. Released in 2009, the game is known for its uniquely feminine and grown up vision of the grey area between childhood and adulthood, where the same sentence can be cynical and innocent at the same time. Even more skeptical reviews called it a triumph of atmosphere after condemning its pretentious artsiness.

When I played The Path, I was taken by its ambiance, but I my attention was also caught by some neat implementations of good usability practices. And that’s what this article is about

Tested on PC / MAC

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A game usability review of Shu’s Garden

Screenshot_2015-02-08-19-02-29

Shu’s Garden is a relaxing and fun exploration game. The player controls a small furry creature that can roll around a planet. Wherever it rolls, grass will grow. Using it, the player can gather seeds and plant them all over the planet, using trees to climb and jump from one planet to another to populate them all.

Tested on Android / Asus Transformer Tab

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Skies adrift

Cette année les étudiants de M2 de l’ENJMIN nous ont présenté 5 projets des plus intéressants. Cette série de post vous permettra de découvrir ces projets, si vous n’avez pas assisté aux présentations. Pour ce premier projet de l’après midi, découvrez Waban chasseur de vent, qui est determiné a retrouver les disparus de son convoi.

skies

Skies adrift est un savant mélange de the Journey et Don’t Starve, alternant navigation onirique survant à la voile sur les nuages, et phases d’exploration à la recherche de ressources rares sur des îles, à la poursuite d’un convoi disparu. Suscitant rêverie et perte de repères, on imagine très bien le plaisir que l’on pourra prendre à naviguer dans le ciel, la sensation de vitesse, le plaisir du vol, la sécurité relative de la solitude.

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