Role: Writer and Lead Level Designer
Genre: Match Puzzle Game
Engine: Unity 5
Team Size: 8 Developers, 1 Composer
Chronolink DX involves connecting cubes shaped like animals in as few moves as possible to progressively unlock historical eras. There are a total of eight eras in the game – each leading to ever more challenging puzzles. I was involved in the project during its pre-production and production phases (2015 to 2016). It was released one year after, and can be checked here.
Project Details and Challenges
Chronolink DX, formerly known as Age Linker, started as a game jam exercise at Give Me Five. We created the game over a weekend, and decided to expand on it to polish it. I was in charge of all the levels during the game jam, but then I collaborated with three other developers on the ones we created later. We iterated on each other’s levels, adjusting the difficulty curve on an on-going basis throughout development. We then decided to include a bit more story into the game, with small messages from the cubes, including historical bits and playfulness.
Age Linker was released in July of 2015, using a free-to-play model with video ads to get more tries. We soon realized that it could defeat one of our pillars, which was making sure everyone could play anywhere. If they weren’t connected to the Internet, they couldn’t access the videos. Instead, we went back to polish the game, create more levels and release again in a paid model, without ads, and considering all the feedback we got from our players. The new version, Chronolink DX, was released on July 7, 2017.
Challenges: The constant scope changes in Chronolink DX made it difficult to keep a cohesive vision, but once we defined it for the version under the new name, everything went better. I believe the change in the pricing model affected the difficulty curve, but knowing we had 200 levels also meant we had to spend a lot of time doing polish on that. Additionally, making sure the tutorials were clear enough and the feedback the user got was always effective was a constant discussion in the team. I personally believe that frequent playtests helped solve this problem quicker.