Herobrine escape is a cool platformer/runner that is themed after minecraft. It’s developed with Unity and with SOOMLA economy. The game is available for Android only through the play store.
Challenging gameplay that requires practice
The core gameplay in this game is very similar to other side scrolling infinite runners. There are different obstacles coming at herobrine from the right and two moves – jumping and throwing an axe that blasts the obstacles if they are high enough. Hitting an obstacle slows the hero down and the chaser closes in on him after hitting 5 obstacles or so. The running speed is quite fast which makes it quite challenging especially as some obstacles requires a combination of shooting and jumping. It takes quite a bit of practice to master this game and as the landscape is randomly generated, the practice phase can be fun. There are quite a few things that prevent this game from taking off and we will cover each in the sections below:
- Use of ads
- Scores and records
- Virtual goods
Use of ads between sessions
Ads are necessary evil in mobile games. No one likes them but people understand they are necessary to support the developers. It’s a question of frequency timing of the ads these two make all the difference. This game is failing on both.
Ad frequency is too high at the beginning
From the moment you start playing the game every time you fail you have to see a 15 seconds video ad followed by a full screen interstitial. As the game is quite challenging the first few challenges are rather short and the feeling is that you are watching more ads then you are playing. Apart from being annoying for the users this is not smart from retention and monetization standpoint. It’s really hard for users to fall in love with a game that puts this amount of ads in their face. More sophisticated games focus on getting the users hooked up first and then start showing ads only once they figured out the users is not paying. A really great example of that is dear hunter – here is the article about showing ads in dear hunter
Timing of ads really hurts gameplay
Herobrine Escape play session finishes when the hero bumped into too many obstacles and the chaser caught up on it. The game then shows a screen with two options: “revive” or “play again”. The repeated play option is important because the game requires a lot of practice at the beginning. The spontaneous purchase option, “revive” is a good way to get the user to buy something. However, none of this actually matters because as soon as this screen comes up it is overlaid with 15 second video ad, at the end of which, both options lose most of their appeal. A small tweak here could go a long way. Here are two options:
- Suggesting the users to revive herobrine by watching a video ad instead of paying
- Differing the ads for after the user clicks on “play again”
Game progression – celebrate the records
Like many other runners, this game has no levels. It uses google game services to manage missions but that’s practically like putting no missions at all. The only sense of progress and achievement in Herobrine Escape is to break your own records. There is a lot of room for improvement here as the game doesn’t offer any celebration when that happens. This game is hard to master and when I finally figured out the right moves and broke my record I expected cheering crowds and seeing my Herobrine gets some sort of a medal. Instead I was rewarded with a combination of a 15 second video ad followed by an interstitial. Come On! That was a huge bummer.
Game economy misses some single use items
Herobrine Escape implements an in game currency called Gems. Users can collect them and buy different items in the store. Having an in-game currency is a great start. The one thing missing here, however is a single use item that can be easily purchasable with these gems. After practicing for a bit, I was collecting 250-300 of these in a session. A single use item priced at 250-500 coins that could improve my chances in the next session would have been a very appealing purchase at that point. However, the lowest priced item in the store was priced at 1,000 gems and once I bought that, the next one up was 10,000 which seems way out of reach. A good way to introduce single use items in this game is using temporary shields like the surf boards in subway surfers.