Cupcake Carnage was born out of my love of sweets and my need to learn game software (GameSalad). I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel while learning new software, so I went with a proven game mechanic of Space Invaders. But I didn’t want to do Space Invaders as everyone knows it, I wanted it to be obnoxiously adorable. Adorable to the point of disgustion. (Disgustion is one of my favorite words). With Carol on board to do art and sound, we jumped in and let the cuteness flow. 6 months of part time development later, we had a great kids game that we were proud of, and we learned a lot.
Launch day was a blast. Cupcake Carnage was a cute game that we were excited to share, so we figured that the best way to do that was by giving away free cupcakes. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Emily from Then There Was Cake generously donated cupcakes to our cause. The rules for the giveaway were simple: follow @HappyBadgers on twitter, download Cupcake Carnage, and tweet the link to the game. We tweeted our rules for the giveaway in the morning and started our deliveries as the responses came in.
So what did we learn? Cute sells. The icon is arguably the most important aspect of your game, as it’s the first impression for users. If it’s not interesting nobody will download it. The game then of course needs to be good, but the initial download is important. An overwhelming majority of our launch day downloads came from iOS. Nearly 3,500 downloads on iOS vs. less than 20 Android downloads on our first day.
What else did we learn? Playtesting is important. We held a playtesting event a few weeks prior to launch to really polish the game and make sure we weren’t overlooking anything important. We got great feedback, made the necessary modifications, and were happy with our final product.