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Chimera Genesis Usability Review

(Testing and reporting originally from Spring 2016)
Chimera Genesis is a multi player co-op game where players take on various animal forms and explore different worlds. Players must steal limbs in order to gain abilities and fight for survival. Chimera Genesis is developed by North Games, LLC

Location and setup
Five participants played Chimera Genesis for 20 minutes each.
Four of the participants were observed at GlitchHQ on 3/8/16. One participant played the initial demo on 3/3/16 and was observed in their home.
Participants were observed by myself as a moderator and asked to engage in think-aloud.
Following the usability session, participants were asked to engage in a short questionnaire regarding their thoughts on the game.

Key findings:
  1. Players did not learn how to control their character
  2. Gameplay mechanics were not fluid
  3. The busy screen made it difficult to tell each character apart

  1. Players did not learn how to control their character

Severity: High

All players agreed that character control was confusing..

  • It would be helpful for learning how to use the limbs.
  • It would be helpful for learning what each button does.
    • The current control boxes were distracting and not always useful. For example, at the beginning there was a box by enemies. If a player has to choose between fighting an enemy or looking at the instruction box, a player will likely choose to battle the enemy.

  • Having a tutorial would also probably help reduce the number of deaths. Most players died at least several times per level.

  • The screenshot confused me and other players that accidentally fell into this area of the game. When I would try to choose other characters it wouldn’t let me. I think it would be more clean looking if the text was changed so it’s not covered by any of the animals.

A: We could get the fox arm if you like.
B: I can’t really tell the difference

Recommendations: It would be helpful to include a tutorial explaining what limbs do. For example, a player might have a trial level that’s very short so all the moved can be pointed out and at the end a player could com across the first limb. Game could be asking the players to press each action button in order to become familiar and once the players gains the limb then it could segway into the player screen like that above. Some intro text and obvious arrows could be used to explain to the player how to navigate this area.

  1. Mechanics/UI

Severity: Medium. Tutorial would hopefully help to resolve some of the misunderstanding issues.

  • Mechanics: Players often complained about mechanics. This includes easiness to interact with selecting limbs and getting to an area where players can be together and are not separated from the rest of the group. I personally remember feeling increasing tension when I would be separated from the group and others were trying to progress without me. In the observation I noticed that one player would occasionally find it difficult to jump around obstacles and join the rest of the group and progress.

  • UI: Participants felt that the life bar at the top was not very helpful and unnatural for players to look at. Players felt that it made the screen even more busy and that it should be organized differently or taken out all together.

*Second level boss glitch. Glitched above a ledge and into an open room. Most people lost some interest around this time due to being dead and not being able to fix the problem and restarting.

3. Busy screen:

Severity: Medium

  • All participants felt that the screen was too busy for them and that it was difficult to tell each other apart in an already busy screen. Participants also found it difficult to tell when they died because of this.

A: Did you die?
B: On this level? I don’t think so, but it’s possible.
C: I don’t remember dying, but if those are like, my lives, it looks like I did.

Trailer crowded.PNG

Participants were asked who they thought would be the most likely people to play this game. The findings were unanimous in that they felt the target audience for the game would be younger children. 

Target audience: Younger console gamers (middle school age). Every participant individually identified this as the target demographic. Reasons were that the graphics style seemed chunky and the characters seemed to be of interest to a younger audience.

Recommendation: Identify type of game in order to avoid confusing audience as to what the game is about.

Final Thoughts
Chimera Genesis still has some sorting out to do in order for the game to feel less clunky to players. The lack of communication regarding the limbs left players feeling confused and frustrated. Once Chimera Genesis is able to do this, I believe players will feel more confident in their playing ability and will experience better flow in the game play. 


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