Boomle, the underdog of my iOS apps

Boomle is by far the lowest-selling app I have published on the iTunes App Store, and sadly as a result I just haven’t had the motivation to dedicate more time to it. However it’s times that I see people using it in person that I see just how much people enjoy playing it. I really hope I’ll have time to revisit it, because it’s one of those games that people just “get”, and is enjoyably challenging throughout the whole game.

Most anyone reading my blog won’t know what the game is, so let me explain a little.  Boomle is a relaxing game featuring balls bouncing around the screen.  They move slowly and peacefully, but if you tap anywhere on the screen you set of a small explosion.  If it encounters any of the floating balls, the ball it comes in contact with will explode as well.  This causes a chain reaction, detonating any other balls in their path.

The goal of the game is to eliminate a minimum number of balls per level, but extra points are awarded if additional balls over the minimum requirement are exploded.  And when each ball explodes, it makes a chiming musical sound.

Most people using the game for the first time will:

  1. Instinctually tap in the center of the screen;
  2. Try to tap directly on a ball, instead of in empty space (but in a place where a ball will travel to);
  3. Try to tap more than once to set off more explosions per level (which isn’t permitted).

My hope is that I can improve on the game to take advantage of the default actions people find most familiar or intuitive.  For instance, add a better scoring system that can keep track of your score over time.  When you have enough of a score you can get a second “bomb” to blow up in your level.  Each new level will give you a new bomb to detonate, but if you do well, you can acquire more bombs that you can use up on some pesky levels.

Another thing I’d like to add is an initial “Tutorial” level that has some text overlays to show how to play the game.  And to make the game more challenging, and to allow for more than the current 11 levels, I’d also like to add obstacles to make the bounce pattern of the balls inconsistent, or special balls that you should avoid detonating.

Unfortunately because of the way the game is built there are a few minor bugs, but more importantly the way the code is written makes it difficult for minor refactors.  In fact, I’m fairly certain the game will need a complete overhaul or maybe even rewrite in order to improve upon it.

In light of my limited time to work on my personal projects, as well as the aggressive roadmap I have for myDrumPad, I doubt whether I’ll have any time in the next few months to work on Boomle. Normally I’d just chalk a project like this up as a failure (the app itself works, but failed to net any large amount of sales) but since the game is so fun, and everyone I see actively playing the game absolutely enjoys it, it makes me feel guilty for leaving it behind in the dust.

If people were to discover the app and give it a try, I’m sure it would do a heck of a lot better. But due to the app’s poor visuals on the app store, it’s not something most people would try out just for the heck of it. Game Center support might help, as well as a way to share goals and achievements with friends on other places such as Twitter, etc. Beyond that, it seems like the mobile gaming space is just too noisy for a quiet and unassuming game like Boomle to be able to compete.

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