Friday, April 2, 2010

Easy Ways to Add Replayability to a Game

I played Lost Winds awhile back. It was fantastic. For 4 hours. Then it was literally over. I beat the game and got all its extras. With such a gorgeous-looking, well-designed puzzle game, and costing $10, I felt like the experience was cut short.

Adding replayability to a game is so simple, it's amazing to me when developers fail to do so. ICO suffered a similar problem. Although I think it felt more satisfying because it lasted twice as long as Lost Winds. Still, it could have used a reason to try again. Unfortunately, like Lost Winds, ICO is a puzzle game and has a similar lack of interest for a second challenge.

Then, the ICO team brought us Shadow of the Colossus. Not only did it offer twice as much gameplay to begin with, but they unlocked a new difficulty level and a second gameplay mode upon completion. Now if you were left wanting more, there was somewhere to go.

Some simple was to add replay value:

  • Play through with weaker monsters replaced by stronger ones (Super Mario Bros)
  • Reconfigure/reposition puzzle elements the second go (Zelda)
  • Play again with a different look for your character (Metroid 1)
  • Offer a time-limited mode ( Shadow of the Colossus)
  • Offer an increased difficulty mode (Shadow of the Colossus)
  • Put a score on each level, and unlock new hidden areas for achieving higher scores in the primary areas
  • Open up an arena mode for battling and throw in tiers and challenges
  • Incorporate a quest system that has innumerable little things you can go do in the same world (WoW, right?)
  • Incorporate an achievement system that has more innumerable little things you can go do in the same world (WoW again)

Alternate Endings--I think these are poor ways to motivate additional play. An ending is not play. So now you must go online and find out what you did wrong and go do everything over? That really doesn't count, for me. Replay value needs to be incorporated into play.

So what could LostWinds have done? I think it would have been easy enough for them to make the monsters a bit harder, or maybe add a ton more monsters. Slightly altering the puzzles in the game would have been great. As a reward, they might have had an extra character appear that teaches you a little additional background lore about the world that you didn't learn the first time. If they had a little more time, it would have been awesome if the world changed visually from day to night, too.

1 comment:

Thallian said...

Those are really insightful suggestions.