It isn´t unusual to see online multiplayer and online leader-boards incorporated into smartphone games, but you rarely see games relying on local multiplayer as the primary draw. The small screen makes it difficult to share the experience between players and the controls becomes a challenge.
As Erik Pöntiskoski, CEO at Dodreams Ltd. explained when we asked him why he chose to pursue the challenge of local multiplayer, however, online leader-boards are not enough to create a truly social experience. “Our goal at Dodreams is to make mobile gaming a social experience. Like many others, we first experimented with online tournaments and challenges. However, in our experience only a limited share of gamers want to compete for high scores with strangers online”
He continues: “parents hate it when their children are glued to smart phones and tablets during family time. Also, there aren’t that many mobile games you can play when you are actually hanging out with friends. We need games that bring family and friends together on one device.“.
The teams isn´t unfamiliar with local multiplayer either as they have all “(…)enjoyed multiplayer games like Towerfall Ascension and Smash Bros on other platforms. So we set the goal to reinvent the genre on a single mobile device.” Dodreams Ltd. is looking for the familiar feeling that makes players shout in joy and disappointment, just as the development team was doing while testing the multiplayer features.
“Local multiplayers are pretty fun and noisy. We had to move our development team behind closed doors while testing because of the frequent shouts of joy and disappointment! It has been rewarding to see the same reaction in user testing and on online forums.” Pöntiskoski explains.
Dodreams Ltd. faced several challenges while trying to do local multiplayer on smartphones as well. First of all, they had to fit a lot of game related information onto a very small screen. Next, they had to worry about controls “How should the characters move and how can up to four people control the characters at the same time? There isn’t that much room on the screen for large arenas. Four people cannot operate complex controls at the same time.” Pöntiskoski explains.
To solve these issues Dodreams Ltd. chose to make a game where the characters can move from the bottom of the screen to re-appear from the top, allowing players to chase each other without worrying too much about space. Furthermore, the controls were kept simple and easy to understand, with only one button to control the player character. “the characters are controlled with a single button. They run, shoot and pick up items automatically. You can only control when and how high you jump.” Pöntiskoski concludes.
Battle slimes is available on android and Ios, with a new update pending. “The next version will include four new power ups and one battle arena you can unlock by simple playing. We want to reward our players with this gift. The update will be available in 1-2 weeks depending on Apple’s review process. The update will be available on Android devices at the same time.”