Mark and Parker Lewis had a great idea for an iPhone game. The father and son team hired MEDL Mobile, maker of such App store hits as Boxhead: The Zombie Wars, to create their game called Fruit Blast. But, the initial launch didn’t go as planned.
The game, which features a fruit-throwing monkey who splats the user’s screen with bananas, apples and pears, had all the mechanics of a hit. However, the app never broke through to the top of the App Store.
“Unfortunately, some of the decisions made in the first round just didn’t deliver what we wanted. For instance, in the original version, the player had to calibrate the game by shooting fruits in various places around the screen. We did that so the accelerometer could be accurate regardless of whether the person was standing up or lying down or sitting while they played. The problem was that if someone changed positions while playing, it threw the game off,” reports Dave Schultz, one of the co-founders of MEDL Mobile.
Swartz also spoke of another issue that the game’s development began prior to the creation of the Apple retinal display, but was finished after the retinal launch. And while the graphics looked great when the game was started, when it was done – it didn’t live up to the competition.
Unflustered, the father and son team recruited family members, friends and colleagues to help tear the game down to its core elements, and then worked with MEDL to hopefully build it back up better and stronger than before. “First we had to be honest about what was working and what wasn’t. And we had to put ourselves in the place of a brand new user just discovering the game – even though we had all lived with it for months. We collected the team’s feedback – and the feedback from interested friends and family – and categorized the feedback into different areas,” explained Swartz.
The areas of focus were playability, graphics and monetization. The team prioritized and set out to make the game a hit. “On the one hand, it was a tough process to begin. But once we started, it was very liberating. Our only concern was how do we make it better?” added Swartz.
The result is Fruit Blast 2.0 – with all-new graphics, new controls, new animations, a connection to Apple’s Game Center, and a host of new features and fun. “This whole process has been an amazing experience for my son Parker and I,” said Mark Lewis. “It’s a real-world opportunity to teach him about following your dreams, learning from your mistakes, and not giving up on success.”
The essence of the game remains the same. A crazed monkey throws fruit at the player, who uses the accelerometer to aim fruit blasting weapons and destroy the flying fruit before it splats all over the screen. But the team analyzed and improved every aspect of the game – from the initial load and help screen through to the in-game purchases that allow a user to acquire bigger and better weapons. Now, the game has better sound and music, a cuter monkey and higher levels have increased levels of difficulty.