A game usability review of Ellie

Screenshot_2015-02-07-18-11-36Ellie is a Japanese visual novel, similar to a point and click game. In this game, the player’s car breaks down due to an earthquake, and he stumbles upon a kidnapped girl while searching for help himself. The goal of the game is to help the girl escape from her kidnapper.

Tested on Andoid / Samsung Galaxy 3


The player can see her through surveillance cameras. The player can then indirectly control the girl, telling her what to do. In order to help her escape, she’ll have to explore her cell and solve riddles to escape before her kidnapper comes back.

01_EmoticonsHDcom First of all, the game is very quick to launch and the menus are both clear and simple, visually appealing. The user can start playing really fast, which is mandatory for mobile games.

01_EmoticonsHDcomThe game starts with an introduction on the story, which is nice to put the player in context and contributes to their immediate immersion in the story. It is however possible to skip it if the player likes, which gives him control over his play session.

01_EmoticonsHDcomThe overall interfaces are very clean and pleasant to use: text is large enough to read easily, with a clear font and good contrast. The interaction targets are large and easy to both reach and tap, avoiding frustration for the player.


61_EmoticonsHDcomThe game presents interstitial adds, which are easy to close. That would be ok, but when using the devices back button, no error prevention was implemented.

This means the player is likely to close the game by accident on start-up, trying to close the add only. Not only with adds, but to close windows or dialogues, the player can also quit the game repeatedly by accident. When designing for mobile, the games should take in account player habits on each specific device to provide a smooth experience.