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ZOOMING TO OUR OWN BEAT
Published 2 years ago
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How we developed a unique game experience
We set out to create a unique mobile game with mass appeal that would stand out from the ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ type of gameplay.  We wanted to carve out a totally different player experience.  But then we asked ourselves, “how do you craft something memorable with that ‘fun factor’ for all types of players to enjoy?”
We believe that the key is to start with a theme that appeals to everyone, and few can disagree that everyone dreams of being a superhero!  With that in mind, we created the concept for Zoom Blocks,™ a mobile game that we hope will stand out from the pack of trend followers. Taking a twist on the endless runner and classic arcade style games, players choose a zany hero and then zoom through a brightly colored city chasing the elusive hero signal, all while carefully avoiding tricky traps along the way to saving the day.  Zoom Blocks™ features winding paths that are randomly spawned, ensuring a wild world unlike anything anyone has seen before.
 
We wanted to make a game that appealed to all demographics, an experience that would catch anyone’s eye, from 5 years to 105. Focusing on vibrant colors, hidden snags, and cool powerups, Zoom Blocks™ was designed with a refreshing color scheme that breaks away from the cookie cutter world of mobile. Featuring a fun cast of characters, we felt that squishing recognizable character tropes into a quirky cube made for some hilarious arrangements. Tapping into our team’s personal favorites as well as pop culture, we came up with a diverse crew of blocky heroes, from a colorful unicorn lovingly named Nae Nae (now watch her whip, whip) to a frozen yeti named Twinkletoes who bares it all on his quest to save the day (while secretly mooning the city). Coming up with clever ways to cram a personality into a cube has been an amazingly fun challenge, and we love tossing ideas out to see what wacky character we can dream up next.
 
A huge focus of our game is the idea of an ever-changing gameplay experience that takes the player away from muscle memory and brings them into a fast-paced world of quick decision making. All of our power ups, obstacles, and paths change every time you start a new round, making for an entertaining chameleon challenge. Even the time of day changes to match your time zone as you go chasing the signal through the kaleidoscopic colors of the morning into the neon landscape at night.
In developing Zoom Blocks,™ we didn’t focus on just the visual look and feel of the game.  We composed sound effects and engaging music to enhance the game’s addictive nature. Captivating and catchy beats push you to go farther and do more, egging you on as you zoom along.  Another major part of the enjoyment comes from the ‘just one more try’ mentality behind the fast paced and unconventional nature of the game. Even on your first run in Zoom Blocks™, you quickly fall into the competitive nature of the game as it heightens your reaction time.  You can start to guess how the path progresses, and even develop unique tactics to avoid the cracked tiles that you will fall through or hop over the slippery ice that surely marks your downfall.  With a subtle high score flag that is always present during each turn, players know exactly how much further they need to zoom to reach their best score yet.
Developing the powerups is another key piece to the playability of the game.  Extending the duration of a super helpful coin Vacuum can mean the difference between being able to purchase the awesome zombie superhero named Brainz or having to play another round as your younger sister’s unicorn. Giving players the option to upgrade their powerups also enhances the resource balancing behind their coin gathering prowess and allows them to focus on the parts of the game that matter most.  Enabling users to rescue themselves with a parachute is another major component of Zoom Blocks™ and introduces the opportunity for players to continue their run, even if that hurdle hits them just a bit too quick!
Because we want to appeal to a widespread and varied audience, we had to pay close attention to the balance when creating Zoom Blocks™.  It could not be so challenging so that a novice player would be turned off from the game, but it also had to be fun for a seasoned gamer.   This delicate line of difficulty was something we focused on throughout the entire development process.
Another element to a successful game is giving the player a reason to come back!  In Zoom Blocks™, we created an extensive mission based system of achievements that allows players to earn even more gold by successfully meeting challenges along the way.  In addition, a daily reward that increases over time is a simple way for our players to nab more coins.
We believe that Zoom Blocks™ is a refreshingly challenging runner game that deviates from the standard set of mobile games on the market and appeals to everyone.  We started with the concept of unconventional superheroes and designed a futuristic and bright world of moving platforms and tricky traps.  Coming from a small powerhouse of dedicated developers and artists, this new game proves that it doesn’t take a major studio to dream big and zoom on!
 
WT
Wade Teman
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