This week I’m looking at Nordeus’ Golden Boot – a fun soccer (or football depending on where you are) themed Golf Clash. It implements the concept really well and it plays like a fun, well designed and balanced game.
The game pits 2 players head to head. It’s a PvP game where each player has 45 seconds to net as many points as possible – and the player with the most point wins. Players get points by scoring goals, and there are bonuses depending on combos and where the ball hits. There are also special balls that provide extra points in different circumstances: one provides 3x points for goals in the last 15 seconds, another one shoot through the wall, another one provides bonus points when the ball hits the bar, etc. On a side note, one very enjoyable thing for me about the game is that I haven’t had one single draw (that was one thing I wasn’t crazy about in Golf Clash).
Below 3 (other) things I like about this week’s featured title
1) Easy and gratifying gameplay
The thing I like the most about the game is that the gameplay is very simple and rewarding. Most importantly, it’s all about the one thing that is the most fun, rewarding and exhilarating about the sport: shooting on goal and scoring. I feel like if playing a soccer game on console is the gaming equivalent of watching an entire match on TV, playing a soccer game on mobile should be the gaming equivalent of watching the highlights during the evening news. It should all be about the action-packed, emotionally charged moments – delivered in a short amount of time. I like football. But when I’m playing, I have no interest in doing a throw-in or playing any defensive phase. Golden Boot does a great job at providing players only with the most fun, rewarding and immediately gratifying part of football: shooting and scoring goals.
Players swipe to shoot the ball on goal. The player can alternate between fast and slow swipes to impact where the ball is shot. You can add a curve to the ball for an effect. The game alternates between shooting at an empty goal, shooting at a goal with only the goalie, and getting the ball behind a wall.
I was discussing last week how swipe mechanics are complicated (did not know about Golden Boot when writing my post on TSB’19). And the difficulty of swiping showed here (for me and at least one reviewer who might be taking the game a bit too seriously…).
During the intro, I failed a lot – although the more I played the better I got. However, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem to address. First, it’s going to be easy through analytics to see the success rate of players for each attempt during the tutorial (and easy to see to which extent low success rates in the first few steps of the tutorial are correlated to players abandoning the game). Second, if there actually is a problem, it could be a basic usability/HCI test case: playtest the game and ask players to swipe to make the ball hit a given point on the goal. You can then set the control/shooting system to match players’ natural inclination. In other words, playtest the game; identify the players’ instinctive swipe movement to hit various points on the goal; retroactively map your control mechanisms to make sure they map players’ default usability patterns.
2) Proactive monetization
It feels like monetization in the game checks all the right boxes. There are multiple offers surfaced to users. And the timing of those offers feels really good.
The starter pack appears right after the tutorial has ended and players are off the rails (I’ve already discussed here, here and here – and pretty much all throughout my blog – why that’s something all games should aim for)
When you get a new player for the first time, it’s immediately followed by an offer to rank him up.
In addition to the contextual offers, there are some really interesting monetization mechanics. In line with the Clash Royale model, players have 4 pack slots (you get a pack after each win). When all 4 pack slots are full, players cannot accumulate more packs. When players win a match and all pack slots are full, the game provides the option to directly spend gems to get the pack – or lose it.
Another great monetization format is the “gem back” feature. The more players spend, the more they get back. In other words, it’s a discount on gems. Except in this case players need to play the game (and spend) to get their discount. The outcome would be very similar if players bought 10,000 gems and got an additional 10,000 free. Except in this case a) players actually need to do something to benefit from the discount and b) as players work towards getting the discount, they are spending their gems. So this feature ensures players get a discount, but at the same time it prevents them from stockpiling their gems too much.
3) Collecting the Goal Pack
The third point here is a great ad placement in the game. In a standard way, Golden Boot features its own “Crown Chest”. As players score goals, they work their way towards the “Goal Pack”. The goal pack is a valuable pack (incidentally that contains quite a bit of gems) players get after scoring 100 goals. The thing is, players must watch a video in order to collect it.
This feels like a great placement because it’s something engaged players – customers and non-payers alike – will want. It’s a free pack that players work towards. But players must watch a video to get it – there is no other way around it. It’s a great implementation that normalizes ad watching on a daily basis. And because it’s a gate for something very desirable (it feels quite valuable for a “free” pack), it’s something that feels bound to get high engagement rates.