Sometimes restrictions are a good thing. I’ve made a lot of games that use keyboard and mouse controls but always hit a mental wall when thinking about how to get effective game play across on a mobile device with only touch and knowing that your thumb will be blocking part of the screen most of the time.
My brain considered that a challenge and decided to solve it one morning in the shower. My basic thought process went as thus
- Touch screens should be used to touch things or at best touch side for directional input
- If you can’t always see it can’t be a time sensitive task
- Text for game play is a head-ache (literally) on a phone
- What can I do with time based directional game play? A maze or something, that’s very 1990’s screen saver…
- Maze puzzle game? Done!
So I set upon my house mates with whiteboard prototypes of a grid based maze game where you had to get multiple explorers through a maze without back tracking back over old paths. Tron Light Cycles style. I also added in some special per-explorer powers to make them unique. This whiteboard prototype ended up rather good for what I expected I pretty much ported it directly to electronic format. I even used the same white board style sketches and colors.
While its a mobile PoC I only have it available for Steam-PC at the moment. Its all in Game Maker though so its just an export away from actually being on mobile. There are some keyboard shortcuts for usability but the game stands on its own with just mouse input.