Portrait for a seamless UX and a Dangerous Mode
I’ve always been a fan of having a portrait view of a mobile game because it feels such a natural way to play a game and it is in harmony with users who normally hold a phone in one hand. It is also more in line with user expectations where they may only want to play for 10-20 seconds, so the real UX advantage is in terms of deferring to the user how they want to play.
A great example of this is Crossy Road where the UI changes based on the orientation of the device, however it does not really change the gameplay that much because the extra distance the portrait view affords you does not help with immediate planning of the next move. The landscape view gives you more of a view of oncoming traffic and less of a view of the roads that are further away.
I had built the portrait / landscape autorotation into my game engine but I never expected to use it for Chasmic Rush – I only left it in by accident. What I found was that not only did it work, but it made the game significantly more dangerous, because you have less visibility over what’s coming. Sometimes I feel like an additional challenge or I just want to play with “less commitment” so I’ll play in portrait mode while maybe watching TV.
The irony about the Dangerous Mode is that it actually raised my concentration levels to the point that I’m more likely to go further when I play it.
Anyway – here’s the video so you can judge for yourself.