Platforms: Android, iOS
Release Date(s): 5/03/2014 (Android), 16/03/2014 (iOS)
Sales Spreadsheet (ongoing)
The game was designed literally following the jam guidelines. Making a clone was pointless(but it could have been slighty more remunerative), therefore we aimed to reproduce the “successful” Flappy Bird formula from another point of view:
Simple mechanics + penalizing controls system + unforgiving design
The formula was translated in:
- Endless runner where you have to jump into point areas (rings)
- You have to load the jump first by tapping and then release at the right time to execute the jump. The loading time is linearly proportional to the jump height.
- One collision and it’s game over. You can collide with the ring top, bottom, deadly spikes and platforms. Rings are placed at 5 different heights and there are 14 different combinations of level elements mixing randmly.
The result was an hard game that was a bit more complex game than Flappy Bird. Internal testing showed that in Hedgy Jumper it was a bit easier to reach a minimum of 5 points (WRONG!).
The jump mechanics, despite being tuned to be responsive and scalable, weren’t seen as a great design element, but it was a jam and the project had to be shipped!
In the end the game was packed with a simple animal themed art (jumping + rings = Sonic -> hedgehog) and an ironic trailer was baked during a lunch break using gameplay footage.
The Android release went smoothly as silk wait.. not it didn’t: the game was mistakenly submitted to the Play Store in its alpha stage two days in advance (Dear Google, please don’t put the Beta and Alpha tabs next to the release one)
The iOS release wasn’t better: a surprisingly well written 2 star review in the US store crushed our dreams in the american market (I’m serious: if there were more reviews like that one, the mobile store market will be a lot better)
Budget: around 60€
A wide range of different approaches have been tempted. We knew that the app was almost impossible to market because there wasn’t nothing special about it.
- Sharing the game on appropriate subreddits, forums and other boards - Free
- Request media coverage -
Free lots of hours wasted
- Facebook Ads - 20€
- Admob - 20€
- Fiverr - 15$
- Other - remaining budget
The game was featured in two websites and reviewed together with other mobile games on IGN Italia.
I can’t say one of these approaches boosted the sales, Sharing and Admob gave some results but in the end they weren’t enough and I consider the money spent on them wasted.
Fiverr could be a powerful tool but it won’t boost your sales. In the last days sales improved because the game was featured in the new sections of the App Store in Italy and the Uk.
If you are a small developer selling a free apps is very hard to make traditional ads services profitable: you are practically paying every download and you’re not earning almost anything by it. Using ads to climb the charts on the release could be an option but it requires a LOT of money.
Following the last mobile phenomenon was a “waste of time” as forecasted( unless you develop a shameful clone sold at a lowered price shortly after the original game release).
Mobile gamers don’t seem to care about hard games even though they are very simple. Flappy Bird probably was (even more) successful because it was a viral phenomon (The success of the easier clone of Threes, 2048, fit this explanation)
The best way to be successful in the mobile market for a small developer is probably the oldest one: develop beautiful innovative game which often means to put lots of time and money on a relatively big project (unless you master minimalistic game design like Terry Cavanagh ).
However the jam experience was helpful and positive!