WORDFIX Word Game - retrospective - Android & Windows

This has been something I have been meaning to do for a while now, but as I`m sure you all know, time is a very limited resource. It has been just over a year now since I launched OrangeSpice Games and left the security of permanent employment as a software developer.

WORDFIX has been in the stores since June 2016 and I figured it would be nice to do a sort of retrospective post-mortem of the game. So without further delay, may I present our first self-published game - WORDFIX Word Game.
The game was made using Unity3D versions 4.5-5.4 and Visual Studio versions 2012 & 2013.






Windows Store(Windows 8-10 on PC, Tablet and Phones) :

Android Store (Tablets and Phones):

Game Overview / summarized Store Description:

Fix the words ... fix your boredom!
WORDFIX is a fast-paced word game that keeps you thinking.
Can you arrange the jumble of letters to reveal the unique word?
Survive the five levels of difficulty to win the game!

How to play:

Fix the word by ordering the jumble of letters before the time runs out.
Work your way through three words of the same length to complete one level.
Progress through all five levels of difficulty: Novice, Junior, Pro, Expert and Master.
With every level, the number of letters per word increases.
Win the game by completing the Master level.
Use the clues to help you solve the words.

About the words

The words that you WILL see in WORDFIX are:
* common to both British and U.S. English vocabularies
* adjectives, adverbs, common nouns and present tense verbs
* standard English words that even second-language speakers should know.

So, while you're playing, you WON'T see:
* plurals
* names of places or people
* academic or obscure words
* past tense, present continuous or third person verbs.


Short teaser video:

Full game play video:

Results and lessons learnt:

Well, to say that our first release was a challenge with many difficulties, would be an understatement of epic proportions.

I cant emphasize this enough - I completely underestimated the time required to complete, distribute and promote our first title. I soon learnt that time would become my favourite worst nightmare.

The game play, coding, design, animations, sounds, effects, menus, popups, platform requirements, game naming, API mismatching, store limitations, registrations, advertiser integrations, promotional materials, legal obligations, revenue models, financial infrastructure, social media, websites, etc,.. (you get the idea...) details were all agonized over. Fear of making a mistake when you are doing it all for the first time can sometimes be paralyzing. Naturally in keeping with this theme, anything beyond our control, also took considerably longer than I initially expected.

Coupled with hard-drive failures, power outages, and personal emergencies, the end result was that it left WORDFIX a staggering six months behind expected schedule and ultimately way over our budget - especially from an entirely self-funded effort.

Downloads, feedback, and reviews:

The game has been generally very well received by its players. Most who play the game enjoy the timed level progression and find the game surprisingly challenging. To be honest I am not really surprised. We spent more than a great deal of effort on the game to make it challenging yet friendly. We wanted to ensure our first title was something we would be proud of and that left a good impression to those who played it; a game well made, with as few bugs as possible; and ultimately a game that we ourselves would enjoy playing. Many adjustments were made to the game loop, design, timing and game AI, after repeatedly thrusting the game into the hands of unsuspecting friends and family members.

The game was reviewed by George Ponder on Windows Central (link to article), and also appeared in an article on Chartboost (link to article) written by Daniel Crawley. Our player reviews are generally very positive and our analytics suggest an above average session time. Really good long-term retention numbers have also become more evident. It's often the only reassurance that we got something right, as little else would suggest as much.

Download numbers were extremely disappointing. We knew WORDFIX was not going to be next best thing or the next world wide craze, and therefore had a very moderate expectations of the numbers - often only working our baselines on a mere 1% of of the market potential. All I can say is we are still a long way off from where we wanted to be. The biggest and most detrimental issue faced is exposure and awareness, added to the problem of no budget of any kind - we had the odds stacked against us.

Initially, we had high hopes that WORDFIX would get featured on the Stores prized front page and that media outlets would be interested in what we had made. We were dead wrong. Marketing our games was and remains the single biggest hurdle we face. It takes time, effort and a healthy budget to make a splash in a a very turbulent market. Also, spending money on a F2P title seems absurd when looking at the stats thus far.

Without the downloads we were expecting, ad revenues are way below anything meaningful. The number of IAPs are also way below expected averages. The majority of players don't seem to mind the ads and are content to play without using clues when they run out.

Future improvements:

We are looking to make an adjustment to the current one-directional game loop, where a player would traverse the levels, depending if they win or lose the previous level - as opposed to starting from the beginning should they fail along the way. This would open the game up to a 3-lives system, which may be more attractive IAP items to players. Other tweaks, such as cross-promotion into our more recent games - Ornamental Christmas and SUDOMATIK (more about those in future posts), as well as bringing store purchases more into the foreground, and tightening up our generous in-game give-aways.

Comments are very welcome:

As always, any comments, thoughts or questions are most welcome.

If you have a spare moment, we'd really appreciate it if you try the game out and perhaps even help us out with a rating or a review.

Windows Store(Windows 8-10 on PC, Tablet and Phones) :

Android Store (Tablets and Phones):


  • Seems polished. Will download. Doesn't Unity negate the need for speed Visual Studio? Anyway, how have the downloads been on Windows Phone?
  • Thanks @joshken.

    Yes, Unity3d ships with MonoDevelop to edit your scripts by default, but I have been using Visual Studio for more than 10 years so it is my preferred IDE.

    With that being said, in order to publish the game to the Windows Store, it is a requirement that you need to package it using Visual Studio (free Express versions or community editions are fine). There are some platform version complications, depending on your target devices - shout if you need more info on that.

    Without breaking any disclosure agreements I can safely say that Windows Phone downloads were at least 1000 times better than Android, but only second to that of Windows PC and Tablet.

    I can personally say visibility on the Windows Store is much better than Android, which is a great benefit to indies and startups like ourselves.
    Thanked by 2roguecode joshken
  • Thanks for the information.
  • Nice write up. Congrats on releasing your first commercial title!

    I'd definitely assume that downloads would be better on the Microsoft platform. What were the IAP differences in stores?

    Have you thought about taking what you've learnt from this release and working on your next title? Or do you think that the new additions will bring in the averages you had initially thought?
  • Thanks very much @SUGBOERIE

    "IAP differences on the stores" - both the PC and Windows phone versions have the same items and price points, while Android is monetized via Video Ads. The sales on the Windows Store favor PC more so than phone, bringing in two thirds of all sales from Windows PC and the remaining one third on Windows Phone. IAPs contribute to 60% of total revenue, whilst ads take up the remaining 40%

    "apply lessons learned to the next title" - We have since released 2 other titles, the latest being SUDOMATIK Mini Killer Sudoku, which was released at the start of January. We are trying a fresh approach with SUDOMATIK and have released it as a paid game.

    "WORDFIX new additions" - There is most definitely room for further improvement on the game's ability to generate revenue as well as better capitalize on its current user base through cross-promotion.

    "Will this bring in the averages we hoped for?" - I expect that it would definitely improve revenue, but not to the the point where we meet our targets. We will need a lot more players - either from a store feature or via organic growth, before we can achieve that.
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