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Why we are updating an 18 month old game

We decided to update a game we haven't touched in 18 months, now why would anyone do that?

Hi,

A little over 18 months ago we shipped an iOS game called Wacky Dragons that did not perform the way we had hoped it would. We spent a lot of time on reaching out to reviewers and being active on social media. 

The game has ended up with only 40.000 downloads and on a f2p title, that is rarely enough to mean anything revenue wise, so it is safe to say, that commercially Wacky Dragons was a failure.

But here comes the curious parts, atleast that is what we think.
The reviewers who picked it up really loved the game and the users on the app store in many different countries only speak very high praise of the game. 

So here we were, a lot of people openly saying how much they love the game, but not telling their friends it would seem.

At first we were very disappointed, we had worked extremely hard on the game and at first it was nice to see the great reviews, but when it didn't translate in to downloads, we lost our hope in the game and after 1 update that didn't make the game more popular, we decided to move on to make other games.

A lot of time has passed since then.
A few times since we decided to stop work on Wacky Dragons we have shown it off at conferences anyway and the people we show it to enjoy it and they instantly get competitve about their score.
So here again we are seeing a pattern, some people seem to love the game, but knowledge of the game doesn't spread.

Recently we decided to take some time to look in to what might be causing this. 

Doing a lot of testing with random people on the street and when we were out and about revealed something to us that we somehow hadn't caught before. Even though we have a tutorial that we think is very clear with an animated finger tapping on the screen and the words "tap or hold" we were seeing more than half of our testers swipe on the dragon and getting frustrated when it didn't move.

After some more frustration we would show them the controls and then they would get it and start to enjoy the game and have fun with it.

Other than the controls there were certain things you could pick up in the game that we found out communicated really badly, most players kept avoiding the good pickups and made an effort to pick up the bad pickups. And even after picking them up they did not realise what they did.

So it turned out in our opinion that we have a game that is extremely hard to pick up and play and even when you get a hold of the controls a lot of the gameplay is still way to confusing. 
This is in stark contrast to the excellent app store reviews and it seems that the experienced players who quickly grasped the game went and did a review, and the people who didn't like it just deleted it without saying a word. 

So maybe people who liked it were actually telling their friends about it, their friends were simple just unable to get enough in to the game to also tell their friends and would maybe even complain about the game instead of recommending it.

We believe we have a solid base of a game
What we have seen is that when you really get in to the game, it hooks you in. So we decided to revamp the game and make it way more accessible and adding more stuff to do in order to also allow for more different play styles.

We have completely revamped the controls and made a very thorough tutorial 

We have added missions to the game to give purpose to the players who likes to do more than simple compete for the highscore

We also added more customization and crafting options to the game to open up for more styles of gameplay.

We love Wacky Dragons and we hope that this update can help it achieve what we think the game deserves: A lot of happy players having fun with the game.

We are submitting the update to Apple one of the following days and then we will see if it will change anything. I will be happy to update with a new blog when we have some more data if there is an interest for it.

Thanks for reading along!
Peter
@PeterPixeleap
Screenshot from Wacky Dragons for iOS

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