Don't make your game too hard

2021-02-26

As a game developer it can be hard to gauge how your audience receives your game. One particular mistake I (and others) have made in the recent Godot Wild Jam is making a game too hard.

While playtesting my own game - You are Alone - I was winning quite often and was worried other people would find it too easy. However, what I forgot to account for is that I know the mechanics through and through: I know how the enemy "thinks", how to solve the puzzles and how the map generator works. Other people do not know this and thus will need a lot more time to figure it all out.

This also is clearly reflected in the ratings: While all of the comments are very positive, the game got quite a few 1- and 2-star ratings. As these raters did not leave a comment, I assume they got fed up with the difficulty. The commenters also hinted at the very high difficulty (with one admitting it straight up).

Ratings - 5 stars: 30%; 4 stars: 33.3%, 3 stars: 18.3%, 2 stars: 8.3%, 1 star: 10%

Note that no criteria in particular has a bad score.

So if you plan to release a game, make sure to let other people playtest it! The feedback you will get is very valuable.