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Elevator pitch and Unique Selling Points for Project Ascension; an ambient puzzle adventure game

In this post I explore different marketing areas for my puzzle adventure, namely Target Audience, Similarities and Differences to other games (inspirations), Unique Selling Points, and an Elevator Pitch / Game Description (one sentence).

Adam Thompson, Blogger

November 2, 2015

8 Min Read

Originally posted on my tumblr devblog here. You can find me on Twitter as @EmotionTheory.


I’ve been talking to a local game marketing guru about Project Ascension, who managed to provide some pretty decent feedback on my marketing efforts. I thought I’d share my response to him, which explores different marketing areas for my game.


The main points of exploration here are 

  • Target Audience

  • Similarities and Differences to other games (inspirations)

  • Unique Selling Points

  • Elevator Pitch / Game Description (one sentence)

Before we begin, I’d just like to note that I’ll be constantly referencing Monument ValleyLara Croft GO, and Journey a lot. I’ve narrowed these three games specifically as my main points of inspiration for Project Ascension.

Alright, here we go.

Target Audience

I assume you’re targeting “indie gamers” or “gamers interested in something different and arty”.  The same crowd who already bought Monument Valley or Fez or Braid.  

This is exactly true, although I’m also considering non-gamers / females who like beautiful / pretty things, as well as casual gamers (people who played Monument Valley, Lara Croft GO, and Journey).

I know people shouldn’t stretch their target audience too thin, which is why I’d like your feedback here. The game plays with very simple and easy-to-use controls. Within moments people can grasp, understand, and enjoy the game. I did this to appeal to people like my wife who might be intrigued by something that looks pleasant yet is turned off by its complexity or skill requirement. In that respect, my game very much sits alongside Monument Valley and Lara Croft GO, both of which accomplish the same thing (and nail that target audience).

Thoughts? How should I go about marketing my game to cater to casuals without ripping off Monument Valley and without coming across as a lesser / non-gamers game?

Points of Difference (and similarities)

They are already familiar with these games. They may dismiss Ascension as “yet another wannabee indie isometric puzzler.”  You need to get really clear on your point of different to Fez (not your point of different to Call of Duty).

I’ve narrowed down the list of games which Project Ascension draws the strongest amount of inspiration from. My game is essentially a combination of the three, with its own unique flavour and twist.

I’ll go through a list of similarities and differences, which might help me figure out the angle with which I communicate the game.

Monument Valley

  • Real time movement

  • Architecture and structures that animate

  • Meditative - You cannot die

Lara Croft GO

  • Fully 3D (not isometric)

  • Simplistic node-based movement controls (emphasises puzzle solving over dexterity)

  • Beautiful and colourful low-poly environments


  • Thematic similarities (beauty, journey of life, the hereafter)

  • Visual (non-verbal) storytelling via beautiful camera shots and in-game murals

  • Intensely beautiful soundtrack

Finally, let’s consider my game’s points of difference:

Project Ascension

  • Unique puzzle solving mechanics about positioning, line of sight, and understanding of environmental changes.

  • Interactive environment that responds to your shooting ability.

  • Level mechanics that react differently to your ability (there are 9 unique mechanics in total, with multiple variations for each) 

    • Crystals that, when shot, activates structures and sends them in motion

    • Pedals which must physically be stepped on (that do similar things)

    • Deflectors (you must consider the path your shot takes when deflected)

    • Duplicators that split your shot multiple ways

    • Teleporters, when shot, teleports you to that spot

    • Remnants, when you’re in proximity to them, react and move

    • Rings slow your shot down, allowing you to move faster than them as they’re in motion

    • Portals sends your shot from one entry point and out another

    • Torches, when shot, will illuminate a level, opening up progression

  • The combination of these mechanics allow plenty of interesting puzzles, such as moving around portals, rotating deflectors, and teleporting someplace beyond your typical line of sight.

  • A seamless experience of continuous ascension 

Unique Selling Points

Here are what I think are the selling points of my game, taking in both aspects drawn from other games as well as my own unique points (as above):

  • Simple controls, elegant puzzles, easy-to-play

  • Environments and architecture that animate beautifully in response to player action

  • A beautiful, seamless, and atmospheric experience of continuous ascension

  • Unique puzzle solving about positioning, line of sight, and environmental / structural manipulation

  • Intensely beautiful soundtrack and sound design

Thoughts? How do I articulate and communicate these points? What do you think I’ve missed and / or which points should I focus on?

Elevator pitch / description

I’m still struggling with this one. What do you think a one sentence description should be based on the above points?

I’ve still just been running with a puzzle adventure about transcendence and architecture.

I’ll admit I was a little too inspired by Monument Valley, which was an illusory adventure about architecture and forgiveness.

Here are some I’ve brainstormed. Any comments or suggestions would be great!

  • a transcendent adventure about manipulating architecture

  • a seamless ascension through life and its puzzles

  • a puzzle adventure about ascending skyward by manipulating architecture

  • a beautiful adventure about manipulating structures and solving puzzles in order to ascend skyward

I’ll add more when I think of more!

In conclusion

I’m hoping to output a single sentence description / pitch, as well as nail my USPs (3 or more).

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!


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A blog summarising my game: What is Project Ascension (and why am I making it)?

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