Interaction Review “Analyzing the Juice”

Prompt: “Find 2 examples of games that do a good job with ‘juicy’ design. One of these games must be made for a touch-screen device.”

The first game that comes to my mind when thinking of a “juicy” games is one I have been playing quite a bit lately, called Dune. Dune is a game I play on my Android phone. The way the game works is that you are a ball. When you press the screen the ball will move faster, but also forces the ball to drop from the sky quicker. When you release the screen it allows the ball to travel further in the sky. The object is to get the ball as high as possible and to smoothly land on the hilly surface to increase your overall score. They managed to add a lot of juiciness in such a simple game. When you first begin to play you will notice that the ball has a particle trail following it the entire time. As the game progresses you earn more balls that are all different designs. Each ball will have its own unique trail as well. For example, you can change your ball to look like a record and the trail for it looks like sheet music with music notes coming from it. They also added juiciness to the scoring system. You get points multiplied by landing smoothly and this appears on the screen with sayings like “SMOOTH LANDING: x4” and then you get points for getting your ball above different height lines. For example at a certain point it will say “TO THE MOON +2” next to where the ball is and then it will fade out. Most of the juiciness in the game comes from when you get a combo of smooth landings in a row. After 2 smooth landings in a row, the phone will vibrate, the background changes color, the ball gets a slight glow to it, and the trail behind it intensifies. All of this is done to reward the player for achieving the highest point multiplier and doing a good job of playing the game. Also, the only way to lose is to hit one of the hills directly and when you do the phone will vibrate then and the ball will stop dead in its track and the trail is no longer there. So the juiciness ends when you fail to succeed at the game. The biggest way I think juiciness could be taken further with this game is with sound. Currently there is no sound. But if there was a little sound effect every time you got points or made a smooth landing it would add a fun little aspect to the game. There could also be background music that speeds up or changes beat when you get the combo landings. Overall the juiciness of this game is very effective.

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The other game I’ve played that does a great job with juicy design is Rocket League on Xbox One and PS4. This game is basically soccer with cars with a variety of game modes. This game adds juiciness everywhere. The ball in the game has multiple lights that flash the entire game. It also has a ring that shows the location of it on the field while it’s traveling through the air. When the ball gets hit hard, there is a trail behind the ball for a short period of time. Also, when the ball is hit there are sparks that fly from the impact. The goal has an outline that has lights circulating around it and when the ball is scored there is a big explosion animation and it sends the cars flying in the opposite direction. Each car has boost that they can use and can customize the boost trail to numerous different things. Common ones are colored smoke trails, but you can have anything from nuts and bolts to bubbles to hearts and streamers. There is also a points system for different things accomplished during the game. If you save a goal, score a goal, get a bicycle hit, or other things there is a quick score update that appears towards the top of the screen in the middle. Each one has it’s own little logo and the number of points you get is displayed under it. After a goal is scored it shows the replay of it, and then when you re-spawn in the starting position the car has a little light animation that flies around the car as well. There are boost spots around the arena that fill your boost bar. When you run one over it also explodes and looks like gel exploding out of the lighted circles. They also utilize sound very well. Every time the ball is hit there is a sound effect, each boost has a unique boost sound to it, and when a goal is scored there is an explosion sound effect and then music plays right after. A couple things that I think could use some juice are when you drive up onto the wall or are drifting. When you do either of those things, nothing happens. It would be juicier if they added drift marks or smoke coming from the tires during a drift, or add tire marks that are lit up a certain colors on the walls when you drive along it. They do a very good job at making most interactions juicy there are just a few small things they could have added. Not having these doesn’t take away from the game at all or make it less fun.

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