Due to reviewing a lot of iOS games of late, I now have an RSS feed that spits an overview of every new iOS game into Google Reader. And, my word, there’s an awful lot of utter crap out there. While I remain of the opinion that iOS is the greatest gaming system to date, it probably also has the worst ratio of good to bad games.
Ironically, much of the problem stems from Apple’s openness. Yes, you read that right. People bitch about the App Store approvals process, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to get a game on to the App Store than, say, make it for the Nintendo DS and get it on to store shelves. Apple recently in its review guidelines made a plea for quality, saying professional developers didn’t want their apps surrounded by ‘amateur hour’; from what I can tell, they already are.
So, if you’re planning on releasing an iOS game, I’ve provided some helpful tips below; and if you’re an app dev, now chuckling to yourself, switch ‘game’ for ‘app’ and see if you’re still laughing.
- Are you planning on releasing ‘My First Game’, just because you can? If so, don’t bother, unless it’s actually ‘My First Game, Which, Objectively, Is Actually Pretty Damn Good’.
- Are there already dozens of similar games on the App Store? If so, don’t bother, unless your title makes substantial improvements and changes to the genre. We don’t need yet another sodding Solitaire game, for example, or another 99-cent Reversi. Just stop it already.
- Can you think of at least a few dozen people who would buy your game? If there’s no market for it, don’t bother trying to sell it—just send ad-hoc builds to your friends.
- Does your game look and sound like utter crap? If so, consider getting an artist or musician on board. “I’m not very good at art and music” is not an excuse when there are loads of people out there who’d love the chance to collaborate with you on a project.
- Have you found a game on another platform and just ported it right across, without any consideration for the unique aspects of iOS interfaces? You’re not Sega, you know. (And if you are Sega, just set fire to your Mega Drive/Genesis emulator already.) The best games on iOS are the ones that take advantage of its specific features, not the ones that try to fight the system (man).
In my next post on this subject, I’ll return to a subject that fills me with an equal amount of HULK SMASH: app and game websites, which developers are still screwing up with alarming regularity.