We created a mindmap about the skills COR can acquire through the course of levels. Each level brings a new physic skills such as change of aggregate state, change of temperature, magnetism, creating self-gravity or an atmosphere which COR can use in order to accomplish new tasks and new levels.
Today we swapped a group member and explained our game concept to Alex from another group. We avoided telling him about our aimed target audience and he guessed that it would suit teenagers from 15 upwards, since they would at that age begin being more and more confronted with the laws of physics. Also, he said that he could not see any gender specific features, since our character COR is a little stone-like complexion with no specific gender and no human-like properties. All in all he was very interested in our concept and he said he would really like to play it and was looking forward on our visualization which he recommended doing in 2D – which we also had in plan. With that input, we are now highly motivated to work further on our storyboard and visualization.
Yesterday we visited Florian Satzinger’s Paperwalker exhibition in the designforum Graz.
It was really impressive to see how you can create really neat and exceptional characters with only a few lines and some talent. We have to say that we found his style really interesting and have never seen something like it before.
We also found drawings of rockets and outer space which helped us develop some ideas and get inspired for our project. Satzinger himself seemed quite down-to-earth and thanks to him, Lisa is even considering buying a graphic tablet now. As you can see, we also had quite a lot of fun during the exhibition:
SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION OF THE GAME
The name of the game
The producers or creators of the game
created iPhone apps since 2007
another famous game „Whale Trail“
There is not a lot of language during the game, only in the beginning of each level. However, Monument Valley was designed to read & match the language you have set on your device.
Game platform used for review
however, the game is also available on mobile devices.
The only technical requirement is a touch screen.
What documentation and help files are included?
There are no manuals, you have to figure it out on your own – which is the idea and sense behind this game. Ustwo’s intention was to create a game that everyone finish if you think hard enough and figure out the right perspective.
However, there is a support forum: blog.monumentvalleygame.com/faq/
There is not really a font resizing because there is hardly any text, only as already said, in the beginning of each level. Those texts are however already that big and clear to read that you do not need font resizing.
There are close caption features for events, however the only control is by touch screen which is not re-mappable. There is also no varied play speed, due to the fact, that the play speed depends on each individual. The color scheme is also not controllable, nevertheless the color scheme is already that beautiful and visually appealing that you have no urge to change it. Also, for those who suffer from colorblindness, the color does not determine or affect your success in playing.
SECTION 2 – SUMMARY DESCRIPTION AND CATEGORISATION OF THE GAME
This game is a single player game and does not offer multiplayer opportunities.
Ustwo did intentionally not define a target audience, since this game should be for everyone who has got a certain interest for perspective, geometry and optical illusions or just want to play a visually appealing game.
So the ESRB rating information would be for everyone.
Monument valley falls in the category of Puzzle game genre, since it offers the following:
visual perception tricks, different architectual landscapes or portions of landscapes/stairs that can be rotated, flipped or moved by handles, color changes or bumps resembling the connectors on Lego bricks.
Categorisation of the game
Monument valley may in our opinion hold some potential educational benefit for the following categories:
- presicion/motor skills: you have to shift, rotate and flip things, change perspective with and accurate and concise touch
- applying concepts/rules: applying concepts of perception, isometry and optical illusions
- decision making (stategy and problem solving): you have to figure out the precise strategy – of where to go, what to rotate and so on – with which you can master each level.
Does the game specifically target cultural issues and if so, which ones?
No, not really. Since the game plays in a fictive world in which a princess has to climb stairs and walk through architectural landscapes, there are no ethical or cultural issues being addressed.
SECTION 3 – OVERVIEW/ WALKTHROUGH OF THE GAME
Intication of my skill level/ experience in terms of computer/ video games:
Intermediate/ occasionally play games
Provide the back-story for the game and the conditions for success
For me as an intermediate player, it was pretty easy to start the game, since it begins fairly easy.
The first levels introduce the player to the rules and concept of the game. It gets harder and harder and more interesting with each level. Also, I have never seen such a visually appealing game before.
Provide a short walkthrough to describe the steps for successful play
You have to guide the white princess “Ida” through different levels which consist of various architectural landscapes. Those have to be put together or shifted, etc. so that the princess can get to the other side.
Describe the game play and navigation
You have to figure out the navigation on your own, there are various stairs, paths you can walk on, handles you can push or rotate so that paths change directions, perspective changes, and so on. In the end of each level, you always have to get through a door to step out of another one or into another level.
Highlight any issues that could hinder play/ confusing aspects
There are also crows wich walk through the levels and hinder you walking past them. They have to be tricked to get past them.
Also, your mind can be tricked through optical illusions, perspectives, etc.
Amount of overall game time
Always depends on individual and the individual skills
first levels: easy, 5–10 minutes
Later levels: 10–15 minutes, maybe more, depending on your capabilities
Learning curve time
The estimated amount of time needed to learn how to use the game: Under one minute.
Can the game be saved and restarted from the same point?
SECTION 4 – PEDAGOGICAL ASPECTS
Please provide suggestions for use of the game in the classrom/ formal educational setting
Monument valley could be used in psychology as well as art classes, due to visually appealing settings and optical illusions, perceptions which is introduced in the game.
Regarding learning outside of a formal education setting – please provide suggestions for use of the game for learning outside the classroom.
It stimulates the brain and the concentration, you learn how your perception can be tricked, how to see things from a different angle.
On Friday the 10th of October we visited the 8th Game City in Vienna and hoped we’d make the best gaming experience of our live. Sadly the Game City didn’t meet our expectations. Too long queues, overcrowded halls and a limited variety of already known games made the excitement disappear quite quickly.
But let’s start by telling what the Game City offered. After we found the entrance after a whole round around the townhall we were able to enter the Game City but only after we queued to get one of the extremely desired wristbands for the 18+ areas. The path we took led us past Gran turismo, the fanta-van with minecraft, journey and two other games we can’t remember. Inside the townhall there was “just dance” and some other games on the X-box like Fifa. In the main room “Sims”, “Far cry”, “Assasins creed”, “Shadows of Mordor”, “Halo” and some Indie games were offered. Waiting for those games would have cost us a lot of time so we decided not to try those games. Instead we focused on the more artistic games that could be testes immedietly like “Journey” and “Monument Valley”.
“Jorney” is a beatifully designed game which lets you travel through a huge world full of fantastic “animals” made of fabric. During this game the player will be connected with a random player. You don’t get to know the name of this player until the very end of the game and you are not able to communicate with each other in any way. The only thing you can do is help him or her with their journey. We thought it was very interesting to go on an epic journey with a total stranger and then losing him after you built a relationship with him.
Another game we found very interesting was “Monument Valley”. This game for tablets and mobile devices scores with it’s stunning artwork and magnificent game mechanics. The player has to change the point of view of the whole map by tapping and draging. This way he creates optical paths for the main character who has to reach the end of the level. A very awesome game in our opinion which we chose to do our game research about (details in the next blog).
To sum it up: The Game City had some great games hidden in the smallest corners and a lot of big visitor attractions with too long queues. A lot of fun if you have a lot of time but less joy if you got little time and a limited amount of patience.
A game is something you shouldn’t take too seriously. Its main purpose when playing, mostly, is fun. It’s the perfect way to escape the cold, cruel reality for a few hours and flee into a world of excitement and wonders, be it a computer game with thousands of magnificent characters and impressive sights to discover, or an absorbing board game on a table with some other reality-refugees.
Namesake of our virtual firm, therefore, is Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain’s flagship rascal is a suitable example of not taking your world very seriously, an example of living a game. And that’s what our game developement’s philosophy is.
Huckleberry Games. Live the game.
The logo shows a bunch of huckleberries forming a solar system, not only implying a figurative galaxy of gaming and fun, which huckleberry games is about to provide, but also hinting the setting of our first game!