Most people are familiar with a Rubik’s Cube. It’s a nefarious device that looks so simple, but takes a lot of brainpower to solve. Unless you are this kid.
Now imagine a puzzle where shifting tiles were flattened out on a gameboard. That is the original ideal kernel where Squishy’s Revenge came from. The first code name for the game was Spooky (then later Monster) Slider so there would be no confusion about what kind of game it was.
Then the work began. Or the fun of scavenging bits of paper and other non-computery things, rather. We are extremely proud of the fact that we tested the game in nontraditional ways, but that doesn’t mean it was perfect the first time it was tested. The very first way Squishy’s Revenge was set up involved moving entire columns and rows of arrows. It was more confusing than it was fun.
It was quickly determined that the gameplay needed to be simplified. Instead of sliding all the tiles in a row or column, why not slide just one tile at a time? The pieces of our prototype were quickly shuffled around and it accomplished exactly the type of gameplay we were aiming for. It was simple, but complex and challenging at the same time. The difficulty was further increased by how often Squishy would move based on the level.
After locking in only sliding a single tile, it was discovered through more testing that leaving more than one empty space made some of the levels more fun because it increased the chances of walking into a hole in the world so there was more of a risk and reward to sliding tiles around the gameboard.
With the hero drawn and the gameplay all set, we were able to get a working version of the game on a mobile device. Since the only people to see Squishy’s Revenge were people working closely on the project, we set out to seek new opinions. We put the newest versions we had on our devices and asked some people at a local coffee shop what they thought of the game. At the time, it was still called Monster Slider.
It was great to see so many positive reactions. We did get a few suggestions and helpful insight into Squishy’s Revenge and how we could improve on the game which dialed in the gameplay into something we are extremely pleased with.
Next Dev Diary, we’ll see the different worlds Squishy will visit.