Nintendo haven’t had it easy with their latest console, the Wii-U. The device has suffered
from lackluster sales, waning third party support and speculation regarding the platforms
system architecture. One aspect of the device that has been received exceptionally well however is its integrated social network. The “Miiverse” presents an online offering not available on any other console platform, at the moment and comparable only to Valves Steam platform, though not quite as robust just yet…
The Miiverse invites gamers to share their gaming experiences across a huge range of
communities and even interact directly with game developers regarding updates and
bugs. New Super Mario Bros U delivered some interesting social elements, including the
ability to post challenges to Miiverse. This mainly consists of posts like “I just got 11,580
on Goomba Pass. Can you beat it?”. Seems simple enough but this mechanic kept me
hooked on the game, long after I bested Bowser and saved the princess for the umpteenth
Ubisofts new “Rayman Legends Challenge App” takes the ideas set forth by Mario U and adds depth, complexity, rewards and a fantastic sense of urgency. The App is somewhat of an apology from Ubisoft to Wii-U owners, who suffered a massive seven month delay due to the game changing from an exclusive release to multiplatform. It offers up three levels from Rayman Legends, a variety of characters but most importantly – early access to the Wii-U exclusive challenges portal.
This is where players can compete against friends, the world and even the devs themselves. The developers release daily and weekly challenges putting the impetus on players to rank highly as soon as possible. Watching the daily challenge clock tick down and knowing that you were only a few hundred points from the top score in the world is a compelling mechanic and before long 20 minutes turn into 4 hours. Even still I was only marginally closer to that top score, but dear god was I having fun trying.
It’s important to remember that while these elements add dramatically to Rayman
Legends appeal, they would be of no use without an incredibly robust game beneath them.
The social mechanics on offer in Rayman Legends boost what is already a stellar game
but they can’t be responsible for making the core game play better.
Still if you are looking for examples of a game that uses its platform, gameplay and social
mechanics together in an interesting and clever way, you should definitely check out
Rayman Legends Challenge App for the Wii-U. Alternatively you can check out the similar iOS release “Rayman Jungle Run”
Maybe it will give you guys some ideas about how you can use the Gamesparks platform to
make your own title more socially appealing.