Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Number Jumper for Facebook

Number Jumper was surfaced to me on a recent InsideSocialGames RSS feed item. It was described as a “deceptively simple” game – something that I love mostly because I associate this with thoughts of approachability.

The game boils down to a kind of mashup between Tetris. Minesweeper, and a match-3 game. Its name made me think that it was going to be some sort of Sudoku math puzzler, but really the numbers are only nominal in nature and most likely are included to help discriminate between different colored blocks (like balls on a billiard table). Unfortunately, the chosen color scheme probably prevents them from being useful to color blind players.

Although the basic mechanics were simple – click a numbered block and click an empty space – the game was somewhat difficult to figure out. The instructions were a big intimidating mass of unformatted text.

After restarting several times and then re-reading the instructions I was able to piece together the core mechanics and, yes, it’s a pretty fun and addictive game.

Would I like to dive in and help fix the initial experience? But of course:

  • I’d love to create a learn-as-you-play sandbox mode where players could experiment in a controlled environment as they learned the basic rules.
  • I’d also love (LOVE) to make the ranking system less pejorative. I mean who really wants to be called a “noob” when they fail to shine on their first few attempts.
Addendum: I'm still quite enjoying the game, but I wish it did support more casual game modes. For instance, it would be fun to have a non-timed version just to practice moves without worrying about time pressure and the ability to tweak variables such as length of time, size of board, and number of block types (between 4 and 7 or 8). Theoretically you could figure out some interesting default modes and progressions based on the core mechanic and then have players flow through different variations depending on their skill and mood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just came across your Blog! I loved Number Jumper Deluxe too, and I have just discovered that it has just been made available on iTunes!Brilliant, now I can play it on the move!