The Story Behind iPACROSS – Launch on iPad (#2)

iPACROSS available in iPad and Mac AppStoreThe selling number was very low at the beginning. One of the reasons was because I made a brainless mistake in the submission. When filling the submission form, I chose “Entertainment” as the primary category, and “Games” as secondary. I did not know AppStore entirely ignored the secondary category, and our game had not appeared at the Games section at all. I noticed that immediately and submitted an update to switch the category. But we already lost our first chance to build the visibility.

That was bad but not the worst. There were some players already known our game from the forum. They downloaded the game immediately, and gave us feedback that we had never expected. They complained that some puzzles could not be solved, including one of the entry level puzzles.

Unsolvable puzzle in the initial build of iPACROSS

Which is the right solution, red or yellow?

We knew that player would have to guess on some points when we designed the puzzles. But we never thought it was that serious. In our imagination, it would be acceptable to guess and take a chance in the puzzle solving. We had the time penalty when the try was wrong. And we provided “hint tool” to unveil a small region when player could not decide the result by logic. Apparently, most of our players did not think in a way that we expected. What was wrong?

Ironically, the root of problem came from our marketing direction contained internal contradiction, which we had never considered seriously. When we designed the game, we assumed the game’s primary target would be casual players, who won’t spend too much time on solving the puzzles and would take risk to act when they could not make a quick decision. That’s why the hint tool was invented and some puzzles were left unsolvable with pure logic. On the opposite, in the iPad game market, our dark-and-pixelated art direction was much more attractive to the hardcore puzzle fans than casual players.  As puzzle experts, they prefer to solve a puzzle with real brain challenge; the “luck” is absolutely out of their consideration.

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