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Newbie game designer plays games #3: Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe

The game designer plays games

Hi! As an indie developer, I know how to write code. As an entrepreneur, I learned how to monetize games and what KPIs I should track. I also learned a lot about analytics, data, and ASO. Well. It’s not enough, because I know almost nothing about game design. I hope that acquiring this skill will allow me to finally earn living with games.
I think analyzing games and sharing this with the world can be a great solution to my problem.

Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe

Title: Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe
Seller: SQUARE ENIX Co., Ltd.
Platform: iOS & Android
Played version: 1.11.10 on iOS

SaGa Re;univerSe is a hardcore, jRPG game. I know it’s a sequel, but I’m totally unfamiliar with older games in this series. I suppose the main target is Japan so it already shows a different approach in design, I mean it’s not a casual friendly game and this is what I actually like here.

Anyway, let’s start. Now I’ll present to you some features and describe what objective the game designer probably had doing it that way. 

Distinguishment between plot missions and battle missions

The game is split into chapters and chapters are split into missions. Each mission has a type – it’s either a plot or a battle. Quests select screen is actually one of the best made in my opinion. It’s intuitive and informative.

Why is that? The game is grindy. Really grindy. Thanks to this distinction it’s much easier and faster to repeat battles.

Every mission is quite short

Well, it’s another point about missions. So, missions are short. I think they last between two and five minutes. Maybe a boss fights are sometimes a bit longer.

Anyway. My conclusion is that this is a mobile game and it’s important to have the possibility to play anywhere even if a player has no more than a few minutes to do so. If the main loop is short then it’s possible.

Long-lasting expeditions

In the game, there are countless ways to progress your characters. One of the most important are expeditions. Expeditions are automatic, few hours quests and they increase character’s attributes. When the expedition is done, then a player receives a notification and can now use those characters or send them to another expedition.

Thanks to this, players have additional motivation to open the game every few hours and think about the game even if their mind is in reality 🙂

Tutorials are optional

There are at least two tutorials in the game and both can be skipped. In more casual games it can be risky, but hardcore players know better what it means to skip a tutorial, and Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe is a sequel so I suppose some players can be already familiar with game concepts.

Problems with the game

Before I start talking about problems I have to say that personally I really like this game. At least for me, it’s addictive and interesting. But the first impression was not really good, especially that I’m not a fan of pixel art. Ok, here are the main problems:

  • One of the currencies is jewels. You can receive them for free or buy them in the shop. What’s wrong you ask? Well, paid and free jewels seem to be the same at the beginning, but they are not. Some things can be bought only with paid jewels. It’s really confusing because their icon is the same.
  • Another one is bad UI and UX. The number of popups that shows before the game starts for the first time is huge. On some screens, more important elements look the same as less important ones. Additionally, players can get lost with so many options and similar screens. 
  • Starting the game for the first time each day is funny. I receive daily rewards for countless occasions. Normal login bonus. August login bonus. Global launch login bonus. New expedition login bonus. And a few more. Additionally, after I dismiss each popup I can go to the shop or to another daily screen and receive additional bonuses. Even for a mobile game, it’s just too much. I probably should think about this a bit more and find a real purpose for this…

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