From time to time I’ll be posting critique of video games in this way. It’s meant as constrictive criticsm in the nicest possible way. It also goes to show the type of feedback I give to developers when asked to test or review their games.
Recently I’ve been playing a fair bit of Hill Racer 2 on my Apple TV. It’s kind of like Tiny Wings, but with cars. Right up my street! Check it out:
It’s quite well done, but there are a few small details that the developers could look at to easily improve both user experience and engagement.
Game over, man!
When you run out of gas (or petrol as we say in the UK) the game ends immediately. This is quite jarring, and it would be much better if the accelerator stopped working and the car could then slowly come to a halt under its own moment. The benefit of this would be twofold:
- the experience would be smoother and less jarring for the player,
- the player stands a chance of reclaiming their game as they might be able to reach the next checkpoint even when they have run out of fuel. I have fond memories of clinching victory from the jaws of defeat like this in SEGA’s arcade classic Out Run.
Caught in a trap
Once you upgrade your car a few times you’ll have quite a decent top speed. This should be a good thing, but in fact it’s not. This is because the car body moves about a bit and can actually get stuck in bridges as you drive across them. This should be an easy fix by adjusting the collision of bridges against the car body only whilst the wheels are touching it.
You can tell that the game is an iOS port, as it’s built around grinding, in this case that’s earning in-game currency to be able to upgrade your car or buy a new one. On iOS this keeps users in the game and means that the developer can run more ads, and earn more money. On Apple TV ads in games are not an option, so I think the developer should have rebalanced the game to favour less grinding. This last one is a judgment call, though, as it would mean the game would be different across platforms.