• Denis Buslaev

Puzzle mode release

Back in August, it seemed that releasing the puzzle mode would be as easy as pie. I've already completed the hardest part (target selection), and coming up with the levels couldn't be that hard. Right? Wrong.

First, I got stuck for a week with the attempts to add face-down cards into it. That was the case when the ideas looked so cool inside my mind but sucked ass the moment you've implemented them. I kept iterating but eventually came to the conclusion that it just not going to work, but the damage was done. I couldn't stand the idea of working on the project for at least another week. I think this is mostly due to my lack of experience with creative work.

Then in September school started for kids and that made my schedule much more fragmented which didn't help at all. I used to joke (to myself mostly) that my primary occupation is family, and this game development gig is something added on top of that. Well, I don't think it's a joke anymore. I mean, I'm happy being there for my family and proud that my wife has been gradually rejoining the workforce over the last two months, but for the project, it often meant that even if I get to the office it might be already late, or I need to go somewhere in an hour, etc.

Overall, the last three months were quite a ride for me emotionally. Getting all the positive feedback and seeing people engaged with the game felt awesome. I really enjoyed talking to other people on Discord and their comments and requests often motivated me to work harder (or at least work at all).

On the more pragmatic side, the game hasn't performed insanely well. We have 15% of people completing the campaign which is nice, but we lose a ton of players in the first levels (<50% reach level 8). It's hard to know why are those people are leaving, and what were their expectations when they downloaded the game. I wouldn't even care that much about it, but I know that a portion of those early leavers would've enjoyed the game had they stayed for longer.

Overall, in 3 months with the 2 week-long features from Apple, 2 Game of the Day features (Japan and UK), and a full month in Google indie corner we are looking at ~50k users and around $5k revenue (split 50/50 between ads/IAP). It is something but doesn't cover even half of my expenses. Still, I like where we are at, as it could've been so much worse, and I still see potential and room for growth.