How we took over a failed game and made it a success

After being a poorly developed and unsuccessful game for some time, Stymied was transformed by us into a successful and professional game.

How we took over a failed game and made it a success
Warwick Blent
Game Development
2019 – Today
IOS and Android

Project Overview

Stymied was originally developed by another developer, and unfortunately the quality of the game provided to the client was poor.

When we got the opportunity to develop this game for a mathematician and puzzle maker in the UK we realised that by no fault of his own, he had failed to make his dream game just by working with the wrong developer (an all too common occurrence). Warwick knew he had to give it another go. But this time he needed to choose the right developer. He knew he had a good game concept, he just had to find the right developer, trustworthy and professional.

From the very beginning, the client knew Mode was very different from the other game developer he had worked with previously. Since that moment he has never looked back. Unlike before, Warwick loved working with Mode and the redevelopment of his game. This is what our client Warwick had to say about working with Mode on his game:

“Stymied Puzzles are extremely happy with everything that Mode has to offer. From day one we knew we had made the right choice. Even though they are on the other side of the world, they are always available to offer advice and guidance on every aspect of the game's production. It’s the attention to detail that makes them stand out, from every little sound to the game play and the awesome creative graphics. They truly have made what was once my dream become a success.”

Warwick Blent – Puzzle Maker & Mathematician

The app contains the following:

  • 18 fun blocks set within four distinct themed worlds
  • Challenge and multiplayer match modes
  • Player profiles; choose a name and fun badge icon
  • Leaderboard with incentive mechanics

We provided the following services:

  • Game design and development
  • Art direction; we gave an old game a brand new look and feel
  • Concept direction and production of art for distinct environments
  • Multiplayer and leaderboard services with Google Firebase
  • Dynamic links; allowing players to share and download the app
  • UI/UX development
  • Data analytics
  • Music and sound design

As soon as we took over Warwick's game, we hit the ground running. It was important to build trust, so we thought what better way to do it than by showing what we can do. Therefore, we completed a professional game very quickly and to a high standard. Previously, the game had not been built using Unity, so we had to start from scratch. However, not all was lost, as we understood the design and incorporated 200 existing puzzle levels. We created a great new look for the game, which had to be fun and appealing to a wide audience. The Stymied game was re-released on both Apple and Google Play stores within a few months.

An interactive tutorial teaches players how to play the game. In the game, mechanics are slowly introduced and players are allowed to choose a level of difficulty that suits their abilities.

Project Execution

In 2014, a different developer developed this game, then Mode re-released it in 2020.

Designed by mathematician and puzzle maker Warwick Blent, Stymied is a challenging puzzle game. It is perfect for players who love challenging puzzle games. In the original game (that we re-released first), players were challenged to test their intelligence to beat the 200th level.

There are 18 fun and quirky blocks in the game, and they are embarking on a puzzle-solving journey within four distinct themed worlds. 

In the game, there are four block-ified worlds that are used to decorate the space around the puzzles.

In each of the following worlds there was a different level of difficulty, these included:

  • Forest (Easy)
  • Desert
  • Cave
  • Space (Hard)

Placing blocks within the grid area is done by dragging and dropping them. Players solve a level by placing all the provided blocks in the grid area.
Stymied is a simple game to play, but as players progress through the initial levels, it becomes very challenging very quickly, by design.

Mode has continued to work with Warwick to add great new features to Stymied since its initial release. Most recently in our updates Mode has added multiplayer modes into the game. Players can now play online or against friends. A player who wins a multiplayer match earns XP (Experience Points) and scores points. These points increase a player's ranking in various leaderboards. The experience level of each player is also taken into account when matching players. Additionally, players are encouraged to challenge more experienced players to earn higher match completion rewards.

The Stymied game uses Google Firebase to handle real-time database interactions between players. For this feature we could have used many off-the-shelf solutions. We had all the tools we needed to develop multiplayer features for Stymied using Google Firebase. With Firebase, we were able to design the backend and data to suit the game instead of being locked into a system that didn't meet our needs, be that now or in the future. We provided a very low-cost, no-hassle option with rock-solid performance for multiplayer gaming that can scale to meet traffic demands. In addition to anonymous authentication, Firebase provides dynamic links; to invite friends to play matches and cloud storage for sharing levels.

Project results

With the addition of multiplayer modes, we've seen a significant increase in daily players and a boost in average play time.

With a small budget and a short timeframe, we repackaged and released the same game design to a professional standard. Using our creative direction, we delivered a successful game release for our client that exceeded their expectations. And since then we've been making the game even better.

"I love it… the game feels so good it is exactly what I hoped it would be… I want this to be a success so we can add more features and then expand the Stymied world we've created."

Warwick Blent – Puzzle Maker & Mathematician
The number of permutations to solve a level on this moderately difficult puzzle is astounding. So, as the puzzles grow in size, they become much more difficult to solve.

This game was developed with the Unity Engine. We use it a lot because it is well supported and we have a lot of experience with it. The Unity game development tool is the industry standard for creating high-quality mobile games.

Stymied is currently maintained by us. We provide our services to improve the overall experience of the app by adding new features. Our aim is to increase engagement in multiplayer, to retain and attract new players to the client's app. We are working with our client to help him realise his dreams and goals.

Completing a level rewards players with points that contribute to their score on the challenges or multiplayer leaderboards. Leaderboards can be filtered by time for daily, weekly, monthly, and overall.

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