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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How the mobile game experience of Lines could be improved

linesThe game start ups fast, but the first screen is immediately confusing. The player has to chose between puzzle and free.

In this screenshot, you can see a player expecting the “puzzle” to be a paying option, and pick the “free” button first.

From there, the next steps aren’t obvious, and the player finally realised their error, seeing there was no tutorial at the start of the game.

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Some Games User Research on Color Zen

colorzen-betterstartColor Zen is a game in which the player needs to fill the screen with a single color. To do so, he needs to move objects around. When two objects of the same color touch, they fill the screen with that color. Sounds simple enough?

Let’s have a look at the usability wins and fails of this game !

Tested on Android / One+

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A mobile game usability assessment of Hacker

Hacker is a small puzzle game in which the player needs to connect computers to a power source by rotating pieces of wire to create a fully connected network.

Tested on Android / Samsung Galaxy S3

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A game usability review of Box Pop

Box pop is a game in which the player has to move a knight –  as in the chess piece – on each spot of a predefined grid, but only once to complete a level.

Tested on Android / Asus Transformer Tab

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An animated Game User Experience review of Brain Dots

braindots-loadingThe game startup screen is enough to show the principle of the game. The volume is a bit loud though.

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A game usability review of Two Dots

Screenshot_2015-02-07-20-38-20Two dots in a game in which the player has to collect different colors and elements by tracing lines between dots of the same color to make them disappear, until the targets are met. For example, the player has to collect 50 red, 50 blue and 50 yellow dots, or special items such as collect anchors, break ice or remove fire from the levels, with specific rules for each.

Tested on Android / asus Transformer Tab

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Mobile Game Usability : 1010! seen through a player’s eyes

1010! is a puzzle game in which the player has to… well, let’s just have a look at the learning process through some bits of playtest videos. Here’s how Mickael(1) experienced the game.

Tested on Android, One+

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