This week I began testing our game with people from outside of our university. Now that we have a mobile build it is important to get as much feedback as possible in order to make the game fun and accessible to our target audience.
I was able to test the game on two age groups. The first were six 7-10 year olds, all male. who fit within our target audience. They took turns playing the game, all during one 20-30 minute playsession. The game ran smoothly on my S7, with no performance issues even after 20 minutes of continuous play.
Feedback wise, these younger players really enjoyed the exploration mode of the game, while finding the base-building side less appealing. Having to return home to drop off chests and train more Nubs quickly became a chore to them, and they told me they would prefer to be able to just explore. They also reacted positively to the design of the Nubs, and the overall aesthetic of the game, though they did comment on the lack of audio in the current build.
With only a brief explanation of how the game worked, they were able to pick it up fairly easily, and get a hold of the functionality quite quickly. The only issue they encountered was one that I have had myself; they didn't build a loot vault at the start and instead spent all the gold training Nubs. So, when they needed to open the loot chests they had received they were unable to, and building up enough gold to buy a vault purely from exploration takes a bit of time.
Based on the feedback from the first group of testers, I feel that we need to find a way to make the base-building side of the game more appealing to the younger audience, and feel less like a chore. We also need to increase the rate at which gold is obtained outside of loot chests, and ensure that the tutorial communicates the importance of building a loot vault.
The second group of testers were older, and just outside of our target audience, falling in the 25-27 age range. These testers, conversely, found the base-building aspect of the game far more enjoyable, and only went exploring as a necessity when they ran out of money for building things.
While the did appreciate the cuteness of the Nubs, they quickly lost interest in the points of interest, and would rush through as many as they could until they had enough money to build something new.
Based on this, and tying in the earlier feedback, I think we need to find some way to blend our two game modes a little better so that players can enjoy both, or failing that, tailor our marketing to emphasise that we essentially have two games in one.