MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun: Subway Surfers

One of my favorite games to play when I am alone is Subway Surfers. Subway Surfers is an endless runner mobile game co-developed by Kiloo and SYBO Games. It uses the Unity game engine and is available on Android, iOS, Kindle, and Windows Phone platforms.

I will be analyzing this game in terms of experience-driven design, starting from aesthetics, and continuing on to Dynamics, finishing with the underlying Mechanics. The most favorite thing about this game is one of its aesthetic components: sensation. It is one of the reasons why I love playing this game. It gives me a sense of pleasure during the whole playing experience because of the game’s graphics and fluid animation without any noticeable hitches. It responds instantly to your swipes and taps giving you a smooth control. Moreover, the game provides challenges where you should avoid being caught by a policeman and avoid hitting obstacles in your way. As you progress in the game, the obstacles become more complicated.

Dynamics are optimized here by speed pressure that encourages a player to move and react faster. Dynamics include the ability to collect coins and unique features that allow you to gain certain powers. The primary motive of the setting is a protest, where a free graffiti artist is trying to escape from a police officer.

As for mechanics, the player runs along the railroad tracks, collecting in-game gold to buy skins and spends real-world money on flying boards. The player’s path is divided into three tracks, and the character should jump between them to avoid both static and dynamic obstacles that keep the player on the toes. The player swipes his character across the display (Subway Surfers has 2 basic movements, and 4 movement combinations, so the total movement amounted to 6 movements), collects coins and bonuses, and buys new heroes.

All those components of the game make it fun and engaging.

Below is a sketchnote of “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research”

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