Have you ever been bored and downloaded a random game, be it from the App Store or Google Play? I do this a lot. At the moment, I’m playing a daft game where you summon all the chickens, akin to the little girl who wants you to look at all of them. I’m also playing some castle defense game, where I just summon as many monsters as I physically can to take down the enemy. As such, I’m pretty set in that I have games to play – And I find them amusing. Sometimes though, I yearn for a new game… And I love strategy, puzzles and more. It’s also here I find the most deadly sin of all; energy systems.
This article isn’t about games where you run, then have to recover stamina within a short space of time – Those are perfectly fine. This is about those games where you only get to do a certain amount of actions in any given period, be it an hour, two hours, four hours or more. I’ll take a fantastic game ruined by this – Hue. This is a beautiful game if you’ve never seen it, but if you like to binge through games on your phone, then you’ll legitimately have to come off of the game for a while and come back the next day. This doesn’t make it harder or anything, nor does it make you want to come back. Au contrair, you’ll probably forget about it. This is exactly what happened to me.
I love games in all forms; I love a serious MMORPG as much as I love an FPS. I certainly can get behind a good casual game, as well as games about educating it’s audience. I feel video games have a lot of potential that’s still untapped, even though it is, without a doubt, one of the best industries out there for innovation. As such, when we end up getting games made as if they were just there for a quick buck, that infuriates me. The biggest problem is how easy it is to tack on an energy system to a game too.
Hyper Heroes was a game I enjoyed, but this game also suffered this same problem.
Oh, don’t think I’m being delusional either. I don’t believe this article would make any difference, I am just having a good vent about a common issue with the industry. The current state of mobile games are you either pay a couple of quid to get an ad-free experience (not so bad if the ads are well controlled), or you get a game which allows you to make as much progress as you want, but you can do optional adverts (again not bad) and use an energy system. This links back to the genres I mentioned earlier.
In puzzle games, especially those Hidden Object games, you typically need to have, for arguments sake, 30 energy. Doing an early room, you may have to spend 1 energy point, which will restore at about 1 energy per 15 minutes. Hey, that’s not too bad! It effectively means in a day you can do a whopping 19 rooms, assuming you are awake for 16 hours. Except, that’s the beginner rooms which are supposed to act as nothing more as a tutorial. The longer you play, the deeper you go, the more expensive a room can be – Usually capping off at between 8-10. It’s either an awkward number, to encourage people to wait, or a flat number to draw people in and make them feel compromised.
Unfortunately, the mobile game scene is full of these kind of traps. Gem systems shouldn’t be free from scrutiny either, where you can upgrade a single character merely for the price of a high quality indie title. My thoughts are simple: The industry is full of these kinds of nusiances – So why can’t we start to see more innovative ways for these companies to get a quick buck? Why does the reward for paying money to them have to be more time to play their games? So we can spend more money?
Anyway, what do you think of energy systems? Do you think they need to be tamed somewhat, or do you think energy systems give you a good excuse to get away from games? Do you think there is too much emphasis on these kinds of transactions, even ignoring microtransactions? Share your thoughts, or frustrations, in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.