Indie Mobile Game Shoutout: Why Goat Evolution Has a BANDAI UA Specialist Hooked
August 10, 2015
Welcome to a series of posts spotlighting indie mobile games that have won the hearts of gaming?s toughest critics: industry insiders.To any child of the '80s who spent time in arcades, Jon Chew's job is a dream come true. As a user acquisition specialist at BANDAI NAMCO, he was recently tasked with bringing the newest iteration of the arcade classic Pac-Man to market.[caption id="attachment_9789" align="aligncenter" width="900"]
Image via Phandroid[/caption]But Chew's 12-year-old self might not have been quite so impressed. The lifelong gamer's first love? Massively multiplayer online RPGs."I played a lot of Korean MMORPGs as a kid," Chew says. "Specifically, I was really in love with a game called Maplestory. I found hunting, selling and trading goods online in a virtual world fascinating. Virtual economies became a meta game in and of itself. It was very community-driven and I loved that part of it."Chew began his mobile gaming career as an analytics product lead with Vancouver-based indie studio East Side Games in 2011. Since then, he's been lucky enough to turn his childhood hobby into work."I find mobile games really fun because they are effectively portable MMORPGs," he says. "They are mostly free-to-play with virtual economies that can be gamed for production efficiency."[caption id="attachment_9765" align="aligncenter" width="900"]
Image via Youtube[/caption]We asked what game currently takes up most of his screen-time:The game: Goat Evolution. The casual game is an extreme departure from the MMORPGs of yore, but still has an element of creating ? combing the goats to make virtual currency with which players can then make different combinations.The developers: Brazil-based Tapps Games, which makes a string of other "evolution" games. Take your pick: giraffe, cow ... even platypus. For a relatively new studio (started in 2012), Tapps has been busy, either developing or publishing more than 150 mobile games over three years.[caption id="attachment_9768" align="aligncenter" width="900"]
Image via tappsgames.com[/caption]Monetization strategy: The game has a few interstitial and video ads, but it also sells premium currency such as blue diamonds. Chew says he generally interacts with the ads because, as an industry insider, he knows it'll give back to the game."It's very light on the monetization," Chew says, "but the rewards for video ads are pretty big, so every time I see one, I always click. I think I've watched at least 100 ads."What makes it different: Although Goat Evolution is simple ? really all you do is match goats together to make new goats and use their poop (yes, seriously) to create virtual currency ? Chew loves the nuances of the story. Nuances that you, as the player, have to really look for.[caption id="attachment_9769" align="aligncenter" width="900"]
Image via appsfan.org[/caption]"The more you pay attention, the more goats you can merge," Chew says. "In other words, you always have to pay attention to optimize the amount of goats you can merge, thus improving your currency production rate. Sounds silly to think about it, but I actually have a lot of fun with that game. It's literally the simplest type of game you can play for optimizing and maximizing: it?s value town!"Chew likes to play with his coworkers to see who can get the most currency in the fastest time ? creating his own version of a multi-player game. Ultimately, though, he loves that the game really has little point: "For me the journey is more fun than the destination."