Ideas: A Fork in the Road
There’s little more frustrating to me when a game is almost good. That was my overall assessment of Daddy was a Thief – it’s well made, it’s funny, there’s a high level of attention to detail – but it’s a game that in the end just lost its value after the first couple of playthroughs. What can they do to rectify that in a potential sequel?
Move Away from the Endless Design
Normally, I’m against following trends for the sake of it. However, there’s a good reason why the most successful mobile games are split into short, quick levels; and it’s because most people that play them only have a limited amount of time per sitting.
Daddy was a Thief’s major problem is that after a couple of runs, you kind of know what you’re doing – and that greatly increases the length of each play, to the point where you’re looking at runs of five to 10 minutes or even more.
The other problem created by the endless format is that there’s no scope for increasing difficulty as you get further down, due to the procedural generation. The only reason the game becomes harder is player fatigue from having to pay close attention to what is at times a pretty fast moving game. A level based design would allow the developers to make later stages really challenging and present a challenge for skillful players.
A level based design would also, I believe, make people more willing to purchase powerups, especially if they can’t quite beat the harder levels without any extra help – although Rebel Twins should avoid the common mobile trap of making them a requirement.
What About the Story?
Stages would also allow the game to carry more narrative. In Daddy was a Thief, you’re basically given a single blink-and-you’ll-miss-it screen for the entire plot. Even having a single screen at the start of each stage would increase the volume of story that can be relayed to the player tenfold.
With regards to the story itself, perhaps Daddy was a Thief 2 could start with our booty-endowed thief locked in a cell, being taunted by an overbearing warden about missing his kid’s birthday. Each level could be a step in breaking out of prison and rampaging through various buildings in the city in order to reach the party on time.
A storyline such as this would allow the developers to introduce some different environments, art assets and NPCs, all of which would keep players interested for a longer period, even though each session of play may well be much shorter than in the original game.
This could allow for a little more creativity, too – imagine a stage where you’ve broken into a space agency’s zero gravity testing lab, and instead of breaking down through a building, instead you have to go upward and deal with a new set of physics interactions.
Rebel Twins could also consider adding a couple of extra game modes. Modes like time attack where a ghost of the player’s best run is shown on screen nearly always go down well in fast-paced games. They could even make monthly challenges with public leader boards based either on existing stages or levels created especially for each new leaderboard.
I really think that Daddy was a Thief 2 would benefit greatly from leaving the core mechanics alone, but moving away from the endless level design that, for me, made the game feel repetitive and boring after the first 10 minutes. A more traditional staged design could be just what the doctor ordered.