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Ruzzle and Ruzzle Adventure, the story behind the games that have won us over

The CEO of the Swedish Mag Interactive tells us how Ruzzle Adventure was born and how the mobile games market works

(Photo: Mag Interactive)(Photo: Mag Interactive)

In the beginning it was Ruzzle, and the entire human species finds itself swiping its finger on the smartphone screen chasing words. Then came Ruzzle Adventure, which has not repeated the monumental triumph of its predecessor, but has nevertheless made its great figure in the rankings of the app half the world – after four days it was already a million downloads. Behind this success story lies the independent developer Mag Interactive, based in Sweden. A year and a half after the bang, we went back to talking to Daniel Hasselberg to understand how their adventure continued and how things work in the world of mobile games.

What size has Mag Interactive reached?

"Thanks to the success of Ruzzle we managed to grow the company from 6 people who shared the same desk at 35 today."

Why did you decide to create a single player game with Ruzzle Adventure, instead of focusing on the online challenge as before?

"We wanted the utmost freedom to add power ups and it wasn't feasible in a one-on-one game, because it could easily have been a way to trick the opponent. Comparing ourselves with our community of users, we realized that many wanted to be able to play more alone, without necessarily waiting for an opponent. The goal was to create a game that would complete Ruzzle, not replace it, and in fact there are still millions of users who play there every month ?.

What creative challenges did Adventure develop?

"We hired a couple of artists, because Ruzzle Adventure has more beautiful and detailed graphics than its predecessor and required more work. Adventure has also given us greater freedom to create new ways of using finger drag on the screen to form words. There are different game modes and, in the current version, 150 levels to deal with. Being able to tinker with the original formula was more an opportunity than an obstacle; rather, the challenge was to keep the game simple and fun, so as not to intimidate users with something too complex. "

The mobile boom is changing the video game market. What benefits can it offer an independent developer?

"You no longer need a producer if you can create a game that can spread like Ruzzle did. We have conquered the charts all over the world without knowing anyone in the video game industry. Flappy Bird and Timberman, for example, have shown it this year. "

And instead what risks can it entail?

"You must be able to manage various aspects of the activity, in addition to the development in s. If you don't understand how to make money with a free game or how to promote it effectively, don't last long in this area. Not to mention that the huge competition, because the mobile market is accessible to anyone. The key to lasting success is being able to build a solid community and strong brands capable of attracting users, and even, if possible, to generate profits even outside the app stores ?.

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