Manchester, UK, 30th May 2012
A pocket-money indie iOS game is keeping players entertained for longer than massive $60 AAA console games.
Players of the BAFTA nominated iOS hit puzzle game Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint are racking up total playtimes measured in hundreds of hours, that's far longer than the playtime required to finish even the biggest console games - such as Skyrim, which boasts around 100 hours of content.
Many of the top players are racking up countless hours developing new techniques, swapping tricks and constantly pushing the envelope of scoring, long after mastering all the tables and game modes and entering the Hall of Fame.
Since updating the game with a Total Playtime leaderboard a few months ago game designers The Pickford Bros have been surprised and delighted at the incredibly high number of play hours players are recording.
"The top player on the leaderboard has currently played the game for almost 400 hours," gushed co-designer John Pickford, "which is probably the total amount of time I've spent on Bethesda RPGs Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and New Vegas combined," he spluttered. "I mean, I paid around $250 for those four games, and I'm perfectly happy because I got my money's worth, but the idea of someone getting the same amount of entertainment from our bargain-priced iOS game is mind blowing!"
"The top 10 players have all clocked up around 100 hours or more," chipped in co-designer Ste Pickford, "and the total playtimes drop off very slowly as you go down the leaderboard, so it isn't down to one or two freak players," he offered, getting slightly worked up, "which is all the more impressive when you consider how many iOS games only keep your attention for a few minutes. Even AAA console games are getting shorter. A typical modern shooter can be completed over just a few hours in single player," he ranted.
Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint is a new twist on pool where balls of the same colour stick together when they touch, forming clusters of balls that are removed from the table once they contain seven balls or more. Points are scored by taking the cleverest and riskiest shots, bouncing off the cushions and buzzing past balls of a different colour. Extra rewards are earned for making rare and unusual cluster shapes.
The game contains 80 cunningly designed tables to clear, three Arcade modes, and prototypes of new game concepts to try out, with more content on the way in future updates. Keys are purchased in-game to unlock extra content, including a Skeleton Key which unlocks all existing and future content for only $7.99.
"We knew our game was absorbing as very often during development we'd get distracted by playing the game, only to find that an hour or more had gone by without any coding being done," said John, now more composed, "but it wasn't until we added the Total Playtime leaderboard that we saw for ourselves just how many hours of entertainment our players were enjoying."
"Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint is a deep and rewarding game which seems very obvious at first, but only reveals all of its subtleties slowly, through many short play sessions over days and weeks," frothed Ste, "and at such a low price we think it offers way better value than any console or PC game."
--= Official Zee-3 Value Table =--
- Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint - $9 total price ($0.99 download + $7.99 Skeleton Key). 100 hours gameplay (typical "Hall Of Fame" player). $0.09 per hour
- World of Warcraft - ($19.99 Battle Chest + $12.99 per month x 11) $168.88 total price for 1 year. 520 hours playtime (2 hours a night, every weekday). $0.32 per hour.
- Skyrim - $60 total price. 100 hours gameplay (typical completion of game). $0.60 per hour
- Starbucks coffee - $2.00 typical price. 2 hour playtime (1 minute to order. 14 minutes to drink. 1 hour 45 minutes of caffeine buzz) - $1 per hour
- Watching Paint Dry - $12 total price (tin of paint), 8 hours playtime (2 hours to apply + 6 hours to dry) - $1.50 per hour.
- Avengers Movie - $15.00 total price (cinema ticket) 3 hours total playtime (143 minutes running time, 37 minutes tweeting about how great it is). $5.00 per hour.
Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint was nominated in the Best Mobile & Handheld category of the prestigious 2012 BAFTA awards and was nominated for a Pocket Gamer 2012 Most Innovative Game award. The game also earned second place in the Puzzle Game category of the 148apps.com 2011 Best App Ever Awards, has been named one of the 100 Greatest Apps Of All Time by Tap! Magazine, was crowned App Madness Tournament Champion in September, received a Gold Medal award from Pocket Gamer, and has secured a Metacritic rating of 81.
Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint is published by Zee-3 as a universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices, and is available on the App Store now.