Overview: Cricket Master Blaster is a simple flash game in which you try to hit as many balls just right (per the rules of cricket) as possible in as few shots as possible. It screams “niche market,” as a game relying on a fundamental understanding of cricket to get the full experience.
Action: Many players think of games as “a thing you do,” and while that paradigm is shifting as games that grow things while you’re away continue to rise in popularity, there are people who think they aren’t really playing a game unless they’re doing something. This game definitely meets that need.
Viral Technique: Challenge: The “can you beat my score” challenge is a very popular method of getting a new person into a game. In fact, it’s one of the first; Arcades thrived in the first place because people wanted to top their local pinball machine’s scoreboard.
Viral Technique: Leaderboard: Their leaderboard is done well. It updates daily, and has three different categories to shoot for, so the average player feels he has a shot at getting on there if he tries hard enough. That balance of prestige and accessibility is key, and it’s really present here.
No Space: There is a sense of detachment from the game, because there is no “place” in the world. If the opening area were a trophy room of some kind that the player could fill with achievements by playing along, the player would have a stronger sense of owning a little piece of the game. That sense of ownership is a strong incentive to keep coming back.
Incomplete Tutorial: The tutorial pops up whenever the player starts a game. It explains how to play their flash game in general, but players who have heard of cricket but never learned the rules feel totally lost. It should include the tutorial for their game the first time the player logs in, a tutorial that can be found in a help section if the player needs to review, and a short explanation somewhere of the sport itself, to get the “wandering player” interested. It’s nice to have a niche market, but far better to have a product that increases the size of the niche!
Not Much to Buy: Perhaps the colored uniforms are more meaningful to players in the countries they represent, but I really wish there were something I could purchase using winnings from playing the game well. Instead, the in-game money is more like Stamina in other games; you get it at regular intervals and it limits how much time you can play at once by running out. Ask around, and you’ll find that most people do not like the feeling of running out of money.
Much like the lack of “placeness” to the game, the lack of anything to spend in-game currency on makes the whole experience feel less real. The only thing you can buy (those uniforms) calls for the money you purchase (or earn by signing up for offers). Without merchandise, the leaderboard and friend challenges become the only strong incentive to play, the only in-game indicator that you’re doing well.
What to Add:
World: Hard to pin to a single principle, but I’ll try. If the achievements in the game are treated as objects (a trophy, medal, or placard) and the most recent or most impressive earned by the individual are posted on the main page, both the problem with lack of place and lack of stuff are solved at once.
Facts: This is really two separate things. First, as I said, is that teaching people about cricket in a fun way could grow interest in the game. Second is that the names of various cricket players could be brought in, to imbue the game with the kind of attachment to reality that Fantasy Football enjoys, or at least the star power of NBA Jam. The target audience is clearly the cricket fan community, so bringing in their favorite players could really increase interest.