August 22, 2012 8:00 PM | John Polson
Logan Fieth ditches his Perspective and The Fourth Wall puzzle platforming inclinations for a rather old school, arcade experience called Bumper Jumper for Windows. Fieth aimed to make a satisfying scoring system, something he says many arcade-style games currently lack.
Inspired by the likes of Qix, Geometry Wars, and Pixeljunk Eden, Bumper Jumper is a high-score "bounce-em-up" where players must color the circular arena entirely blue or orange to score points and earn cash to unlock new cosmetic items. Advanced players can switch color mid-flight to match the color of objects and smash through them. The white cube is also worth smashing since it erases the color from the walls. Players can expect new obstacles every 5 points accrued.
The scoring system is always 1 point for each painted arena. Fieth said he wanted to keep the system simple and measurable. "I didn't grow up playing arcade games, so I can see the context for why people enjoy [playing for high score]. But, I myself don't find it engaging most of the time to play just for a higher number. I mainly looked at Super Crate Box and Geometry Wars 2 for games that did it well."
The problems Fieth was trying to solve were number inflation, round times, and progress. He says of number inflation, "If I can't instantly connect an amount with an action, that action and amount has become less meaningful, because a player can't calculate it into his strategy as quickly. High amounts coupled with lots of actions that score different amounts makes it too abstract, causing players to become so overwhelmed that they don't even want to try to remember which actions lead to which scores."
Regarding round times, "The longer it takes to get to my high score from the beginning, the less I want to play again. By condensing round times, players are more easily able to play again. 1 minute rounds are easier to swallow than 15 minutes, even if your overall play time is the same."
Finally, he feels progress is key to keeping players coming back. "The cosmetic shop helps with this but the other part is the round times that I mentioned. Since the round times are so condensed, players feel like they are progressing quicker."
Bumper Jumper for Windows is available now and requires an Xbox controller to play.