Dragon Army’s most recent game release, Little Broken Robots was featured globally by Apple in January. It was also re-featured with it’s second release as a “Game we’re playing”.
Little Broken Robots is a casual puzzle game that is highly addictive and developed natively for iOS (phone, tablet and Apple Watch).
How it works: User’s each play as a robot repairperson working on an assembly line. Each robot comes with a “problem” (everything from the expected “low battery” to the not-so-expected “pirate”) that can only be solved with rewiring. As you solve each puzzle, the robot’s facial expression goes from sad to happy, and microchip obstacles on the board are sporting grins when boards are completed. To progress, users must connect wires on a circuit board. Each wire has a starting point with a number—this number indicates the number of spaces that wire must cover. Wires can move vertically and horizontally but not diagonally, and wires cannot overlap or cross without going through a junction. There are three gameplay modes: Classic, Advanced, and Timed. In Classic mode, circuit boards have obstacles but no junctions. In Advanced mode, junctions come into play.
One of the main objectives for the game was to test out various monetization models. Little Broken Robots operates on a freemium model—each robot you repair depletes your energy, which refills over time or can be earned by watching video ads. But unlike most freemium games with an energy-style currency system, Little Broken Robots doesn’t ask you to constantly purchase finite packets of energy. Instead, the game features a straightforward unlock: For $2, the game abolishes the energy system altogether and offers up unlimited puzzles. To keep things fair, the game’s hints work on a separate energy system that doesn’t automatically refill. You can get five hints every so often by watching a video ad, or you can purchase a pack of hints: $1 for 20, or $10 for 250. We found this model to be extremely effective.