Game description

Journey is a game co-developed and released by thatgamecompany and Santa Monica Studio in 2012. It is modelled after the progression of human life. (Note: I am unable to upload any images, hence I was unable to upload screenshots of the game)

Game website:

Game playthrough:

In this review, I first will be examining each of the elements of the elemental tetrad. Throughout and after this examination, I will be evaluating the game through different lens as well.


Journey is set within the landscape of a vast, endless desert with the remnants of a fallen civilization buried in sand.

  • #54 The Lens of Accessibility: The landscape of the game is marked consistently by one distinct mountain, with light flowing from its summit. This sends a strong signal that the mountain is the player’s destination and guides the player to travel in its direction.
  • Other than the general desert theme, the game is divided into several stages at different locations. From exploring ruins in the middle of the desert, to wandering lonely underground towers, to enduring the blistering cold of the mountain, the stages are varied enough to convey different moods and experiences to the player. At the same time, the setting of each stage is well integrated into the overall story.
  • The music is mainly orchestral, with oriental undertones, and ties consistently into the mood created by the setting and gameplay at each stage of the game.


In Journey, you play as a cute red cloaked being, with the goal of reaching the top of the mountain. On the way to the mountain, you reach checkpoints where you meet a larger white cloaked being, which could represent a deity or higher being of sorts. At each checkpoint, we learn more about the history behind how this world came to be, as well as how it met its ruin.


The story of the world depicted through the game suggests that its game world is structured around a single form of “magic” which comes from the mountain which you are travelling to. You can use this magic in two main ways:

  • The first is by evoking such magic through sound, which is dispersed in all directions in your immediate vicinity. In doing so, certain items can be activated and can fulfill certain functions.
  • Secondly, you can store this magic in the form of glyphs on your scarf. The length of the scarf represents its capacity. The magic from your scarf can be used to fly but must be replenished by certain magical items/beings at different locations.

#24 The Lens of Novelty: The concept of “magic” in this game manifests in a novel way compared to most other games. Magic in this game world can be felt and used in a variety of ways, allowing the player to explore all its uses and experience all its manifestations. For example, it can be visualized as glyphs on your scarf which light up, or when magical items turn from grey to bright crimson as they are activated, or different musical notes when you evoke the magic, or a form of communication towards other magical beings (e.g., you can use it to ask the magical kites to help replenish the magic in your scarf). In this way, it avoids an overly simplistic and cliched interpretation of magic.


The game was first released as a PlayStation game but can be played on the computer and various mobile devices. While the technology is limited, its stunning visuals and music are enough to make the game an immersive experience for any player.

Overall, the four elements of the elemental tetrad work well to portray a unified theme of the “journey of life” and bring the theme to life within the player’s experience.

Other lenses

#21 The Lens of Flow

  • The game structure is simple, having a purely linear flow with distinct stages (making it more game-like than the real world in this respect). At each stage, the goal is constantly to reach a checkpoint which brings you to the next stage. At the same time, there are typically sufficient spatial clues which lead the player towards this checkpoint.
  • During the 3rd stage through the desert, the path is less straightforward. However, this may have been done purposefully, with the aim to replicate the stage of nearing adulthood (in real life) when we are given more autonomy and choices, and the road ahead becomes is less fixed and certain.
  • The stages follow a gradual increase in difficulty, as players learn how to better use their skills. In the 2nd stage, not much skill is required as we are simply required to walk around the arena activate certain items in the desert to unlock the path forward. In contrast, in the 5th stage, we must avoid detection from huge metal monsters. However, it could be argued that the difficulty remains rather tame throughout the game.

#67.5 The Lens of Metaphor

  • The game manages to convey themes and feelings at each stage matching universal aspects of human life. For example, the awe and excitement when exploring the desert with magical kite friends is akin to that of childhood exploration and the fear when first encountering metal monsters in the underground ruins is akin to that of facing your first serious challenges in our childhood/teenage years.
  • Furthermore, as you come closer to reaching the mountain, your journey is shown as an important part of the narrative of this world. In the same way, perhaps all our individual life journeys carry significance in the real world.
  • However, the game avoids overly literal expressions such as dialogue, or environments which restrict the player’s freedom or movements. This leaves room for each player to interpret and experience each stage in their own way, proving complementary its objective in modelling human life, which similarly, would have a different set of experiences for everyone.

#94 The Lens of Atmosphere

  • The 4th stage brings the player through a lighthearted experience of surfing through the ruins of the desert, while being led by magical kites to our next destination. The thrill and fun of surfing is complemented by a breathtaking view of the sunset, inspiring awe and wonder at the beauty of the game world. The visuals are heavily populated with red and golden hues, complementing the warm bright red that characterizes magical items and creating a warm and bright mood.
  • In the 5th stage, the player enters the underground, which is coloured in dark blue hues, creating a colder, lonelier, and creepier atmosphere. This stands in stark contrast to the previous stage, invoking stronger feelings of fear and unease in players and warns of the dangers posed by the metal monsters which lie ahead.
  • The different atmospheres in these two stages are very well portrayed. Their juxtaposition also serves very well to evoke stronger emotions and immersion of the player.

All in all, with its stunning graphics and minimalistic gameplay, the game stays focused in bringing across its story and theme as an experience to players.


Valorant is a team-based first-person tactical shooter game developed by Riot Games. Even though the game started development in 2014, it was only released in 2020.
Set in the new future, players play as an agent that each have unique abilities and can utilise a variety of weapons to try and defeat their opponents in a variety of gamemodes.

Game Demo

Lens 9: Elemental Tetrad

As a tactical shooter, Valorant, at its core, is a game about working together with your teammates to try accomplish a specific objective or to defeat your opponents. Of course, being a shooter game, players are rewarded for precise and accurate mouse movements to aim and win gunfights. In addition, players can use their variety of abilities, as well as their knowledge of maps or understanding of different visual or sound cues to assist them in winning gunfights or achieving their objectives. The game also has an economy system, where players earn money from winning rounds or achieving certain results, such as defeating an enemy. Players then use this money before each round begins to purchase their weapons and utility for the next round.

The aesthetics of the game aren’t anything special. In fact, for a game released as recent as 2020, the graphics seem low quality. This is done on purpose however, as the developer intended for the game to be playable on any PC, no matter the specifications. Furthermore, as a competitive shooter, players need to be able to discern their environments and the location of other players as quickly as possible, something which high quality graphics could actually be detrimental for.

The game does not have much in terms of story apart from a couple of videos released every few months. This is to be expected however, as the bulk of the game is about its gameplay and competing with other players.

The developer, Riot Games, chose to develop the game on Unreal Engine 4, as it allowed them to focus more on gameplay and optimization. As I mentioned earlier, this was also done to lower the performance barrier and allow as many people as possible to play the game without worrying about hardware requirements.

Lens 34: Skill
Being a tactical game, Valorant requires many skills from players, which they can continuously develop and improve at the more they play. Things like being able to read the enemy’s intentions based on the information you have at any moment, using your abilities in the most efficient way, controlling the information you’re giving the enemy to work with and of course, the most important skill in a shooter, aiming. What I enjoy the most is that wins and losses are determined by how good a player is at any of this and the feeling that you are able to constantly improve as you play the game. Of course, this also means that the higher skilled player would win more often than not but this is made less of an issue with a matchmaking system to ensure that players in every game are at approximately the same skill level.

Lens 27: Time
In every match of Valorant, each team competes to be the first to win 13 rounds. Furthermore, each round lasts for only 100 seconds, which makes the game a fast-paced experience. This forces players to make decisions quickly , which in my opinion, makes the game more fun. It also prevents players from being dead for long periods of time or from being devoid of action for a long time. This ensures that the game remains engaging and not boring.

Lens 6: Problem Solving
Due to the fast paced nature and relative complexity of the game, a player would have many different aspects to consider at any moment, such as their time remaining, what resources they have to work with and information regarding their enemies, such as their last known position and the tools they have. They would then have to come up with a plan of action that they think would lead to them winning the round. This particular element of the game allows me to always feel engaged and invested while I’m playing, which in turn makes it feel enjoyable to me. Furthermore, there is also an economy in the game, where players can buy their utility and weapons for each round. This means players have to decide on the best way to spend their limited amount of money each round to maximise their chances of winning, as well as the number of rounds they win.

Lens 96: Friendship
As a team-based game, Valorant requires players to work together and to communicate to improve their chances of winning. Due to its fast paced nature, most players choose to communicate using the in-game voice chat as it is faster than typing. They can then use this to share information so that they can all make better individual or team based decisions. Valorant also allows players to add each other to a friends lists and allows them to queue up together, up to 5 players in a group. This means that players can choose to go into the next match with people they work well with or with their friends.

The analysis of this game has allowed me to see exactly what makes this game so enjoyable for me and why this game has been as successful as it has been up till now.

Genshin Impact


MiHoYo’s Genshin Impact is an open-world action role-playing game, launched in September 2020 and received the ‘The Game Award for Best Mobile Game 2021.’ Players will take on the role of the Traveller, who has travelled across worlds of different dimensions with his/her twin sibling before arriving in Teyvat, the universe where Genshin Impact’s stories and adventures take place. The story begins with the Traveller being separated from the twin sibling when they were attacked and lost the battle to an unnamed deity. On the journey to find the sibling, the Traveller meets many friends and enemies and eventually unravels the story and hidden mystery that lies beneath this world.

Gameplay Trailer

LENS 9: The Elemental Tetrad


• Aside from the Traveller, many other characters will be playable. The player can put four characters in a party and control one of these interchangeable characters; each character can use weapons from a specific category, and have attributes such as attack and HP, with the character fainting if the HP reaches zero.

The Player Can Swap and Play Different Characters

• Characters can simulate a variety of real-world realistic actions like fighting, climbing, swimming, air gliding, fishing, items collecting; characters will also respond verbally when weather changes or when they get attacked.

• There are seven magical elements that the characters can acquire; each element has its own elemental reactions, such as water and ice element will cause freezing, the players have to use elemental reactions to get advantages in battles; each element also has different usage to use in the world and to solve puzzles, such as fire being able to light a torch and melt ice.

• The game is set in an open-world where the players can do whatever they want and travel about freely, either alone or with up to three other players online.


• There are seven kingdoms in Teyvat, each controlled by one of the seven elements gods; the player will travel across these lands in pursuit of his/her twin sibling in the main plot.

Background Story

• There are permanent side quests and event stories that add to the game’s story.

• All of the playable characters will appear in the plot at some point, with many of them having their own backstories to help the player better understand them.


• Incredible 3D graphics for characters and landscape in-game, combined with 2D animation that plays during story-telling parts of the game.

• Excellent music composed and recorded by HOYO-Mix and world-famous orchestras including London Philharmonic Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

• Each of the 56 playable characters (as of now) has distinctive movements and voice-over. • Supports 13 text languages in-game and 4 voice-over languages for all characters and NPCs.


• Platform supported includes mobile (Android & iOS), PC, Play Station (4 & 5) and Cloud.

• Enable cross-play and cross-save progression across the different platforms.

• Supports cloud gaming which displays amazing graphics on any mobile device, however can have lags if the network connection is bad.

• Supports great game graphics at 60 FPS.

LENS 41: Skill vs Chance

• Gacha mechanisms are incorporated, allowing characters and weapons to be gained by chance and luck. The player may spend primogems (which can be gained in-game or purchased with cash) to summon characters and weapons for the characters. Some characters and weapons are more powerful and easier to use than others; if the player is fortunate enough to obtain them, it will be simpler to fight enemies.

Summoning Characters and Weapons

• To eliminate enemies faster and easier in Genshin, a certain amount of skill and strategy is required. Because some monsters have weaknesses, such as attacking a specific part of their body can paralyze them, players are encouraged to target their weak points. Also, to claim an easier victory, we must switch between characters at the appropriate times. Characters with various weapon classes have varied powers; for example, bow users can attack from a distance and aim precisely, whilst claymore users are the heaviest striking class and can suppress enemies in close battle.

• Another key part of fighting skills is the ability to employ the seven elements to cause elemental reactions. For example, we may use a fire element character to melt a monster’s ice shield, then switch to a water element character to cover the monster with water element, and then use an ice element character to freeze the monster to make it immobilized.

Freezing Water Element Slimes Using Ice Element

LENS 46: Reward

• Completing the main story and side quests will give rewards such as primogems and golds; these rewards may also be gained by killing monsters, solving puzzles and finding treasure chests on the map, playing mini-games or doing special missions during events. Exploring around the map can obtain raw materials such as mines (mostly for upgrading weapons) from mining, woods (for building furniture) from trees, ingredients (for cooking) from the wild and unique items that are used to upgrade corresponding characters. Each type of enemy will drop specific items that are used to level up certain characters and their skills. Therefore, the more time the player spends exploring the world, the more likely the player will obtain more items as rewards.

• The spiral abyss in Genshin acts like chambers, with increasing difficulty at each level. The deeper the player progress through the levels, the more rewards he will receive; hence the number of rewards obtained is based on the player’s abilities. Completing the abyss is one of the primary methods for obtaining primogems in-game; the rewards will be reset twice a month.

• Each playable character (apart from the Traveller) has a friendship level, which represents the growth of a character’s connection with the Traveller. By employing a character more frequently, players get awards in the form of unlocking additional stories and voice-overs of the character, as well as a special name card from that character at maximum friendship. There is also an achievement system whereby achievements can be achieved through various methods such as collecting items, solving puzzles and so on. These are intended for those who enjoy collection.

LENS 76: The Hero’s Journey AND LENS 78: Story

• In my opinion, has a fascinating backstory and a decent storyline. As an RPG, it may create an experience that allows the player to feel as though he is growing with the main character.  The main character (Traveller) faced many challenges and hard times while on his/her adventure to find the other twin sibling, made many friends, grew stronger by unlocking more than one element that can be used, and finally travelled across all seven nations and became a part of that world’s tale.

LENSE 79: Freedom

• The concept of freedom is critical in an open-world game; it is critical to strike a balance between what the player can and cannot control. The player is free to wander around the map and to switch between any of the summoned characters at any time during the game. Players who enjoy story-telling can concentrate on finishing the main story and/or character’s quest and various side quests, whilst those who prefer combat and exploration can unlock new regions on the map and roam freely. People who enjoy design and building or casual gaming can spend more time in Genshin’s housing system, where they can create and customize their own home and surroundings in special maps.

• There are a few constraints implemented to make the game more realistic. Characters will have a stamina bar that will deplete only when they perform strenuous activities such as sprinting (or dodging), climbing, swimming, air gliding, and performing charged attacks.  Therefore, the player can’t let a character perform these actions continuously without resting.  In addition, certain places or regions are accessible only by finishing certain stories or tasks that are related.

Brothers : A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (BATOTS) is an adventure game developed by Starbreeze Studios and published by 505 Games on numerous platforms. It has received critical acclaim, having won the award for Best XBOX Game (2013) at VGX Award Show and Best Game Innovation Award (2014) at British Academy Games Awards. The game has the option of co-op or single player and takes place in a fantasy world filled wth fictitious creatures like orcs and trolls. It brings you a puzzle solving experience involving the story of two young brothers on a fairy tale journey to find the “Water of Life”, a cure for their father’s illness.

#9 : Lens of the Elemental Tetrad


One of the essential elements and what I deem as the key for immersing players into the game is the constant need to interact between the brothers in order to progress in the game. I played this game with my brother and used the co-op function where we control one player each. Although both players have the same set of controls, most (if not all) puzzles require some form of collaboration between players to complete. In a sense, this naturally implies the need for communication between players which keeps players engaged throughout the gameplay. Even for single player mode, the player has to strategically decide how and when to move each of the brothers simultaneously to proceed.

Although the controls and mechanics of the game are fairly simple, the puzzle-solving aspect of the game makes the gameplay more dynamic – different situations require different approaches or combinations of controlling the characters. Players have the basic movement options like moving in 4 directions (left, right, up, down), jumping, grabbing and climbing.


The game provides a fantasy-based setting, where most of the entities are fictitious. It has the otherwordly feel which helps isolate the story into a specific “mini world”, where it focuses only on one problem. This gives the story a more coherent flow as the side plots are easily tailored to support the main storyline. The main conflict in the story was that the brothers’ father fell heavily ill and as sons, they wanted to find a cure. Emphasis was given on the “Water of Life” as the possibly only solution to save their father, hence the motivation to set on a journey to obtain it.

Personally, I feel that there is beauty in having a simple plot or context and expanding on it during the journey itself via tasks instead of introducing more complicated problems that digress from the main resolution. The game is well-made in a sense that it utilizes the potential setbacks or difficulties during the journey to be the puzzle-solving aspect, thus weaving in the plot and gameplay more seamlessly. Despite the storyline being simple, a plot-twist is introduced in the end which was impactful because (i) the plot involves kinship and death which makes it highly relatable to the human life, (ii) the journey gameplay gives time for players to get invested into the story and form attachment towards the character and (iii) it leaves players with thought-invoking topics and perspectives towards the ending. The plot ends in a conclusive (in terms of what factually happened) yet leaves you reflecting on life decisions and thinking back deeply about whether the journey was worth it in the first place.


The graphics did a beyond impressive job at extending that immersive experience to make the fantasy more convincing. The lighting and illumination gave the game a dream-like feel, hence accentuating the aspect of fiction in the setting. Additionally, since the tale takes place in a rural environment, the sounds of nature and human-made noises are amplified to set the mood and context. For example, you will hear sounds from birds chirping, wood knocking and people going about their daily duties. At this point it doesn’t just feel like a game but a movie that indulges you in the presence of a society, and you will be left with wanting more!


BATOTS is available on many platforms, ranging from PC to controllers. Depending on the platform you use, the difficulty level of the gameplay may vary. For example, playing in co-op mode and sharing a keyboard may be more difficult than having a controller each.

#44 Lens of Cooperation

Cooperation is one of the core mechanics of the game. When playing the game, my brother and I found ourselves taking turns to lead the path and being the supporter in solving the puzzles. This involves constant communication and understanding of each other’s skillset. Some players may be more skilled in parkour-based controls whereas some can plan more strategically. This game hones on the chemistry between the players and utilizes their individual strengths in order to come to decisions effectively. Not only do you have to progress, but you have to progress together because the camera only pans when both players are within the same frame or in a certain proximity.

One thing I found interesting was that since I played with my brother, it felt like we were a translation of the brothers in the game itself and that gave a real touch to the experience, almost as if this story was ours.

#50 Lens of Character

BATOTS brings a unique twist to reality in a sense that it incorporates civilization invention, materials and entities into the adventure. For example, players have to use man made bridges to crossover and start throwing sheeps around to act as weight. It gives a sense of humor when solving the tasks and puzzles because of how it contrasts with how we usually use or behave around such entities in the actual world. Another memorable component of the gameplay is also how trolls are central to the development and progress of the quest. They act as friendly aid to the players to open up more avenues for exploration, almost as if they were the key to our freedom. It plays into the idea of fiction and having fictitious entities expand the possibilities our imagination.

To build on the concept of trolls, I noticed that the trolls had faces resembling that of humans, and thought that this might be the reason why I felt safe in their company. The trolls resemble humans in their actions, reactions and appearance and that they are much bigger in size compared to the brothers. The brothers’ mother had died at the start and their father fell sick, hence they only have each other to rely on. The trolls could possibly symbolize as the guide and protector of the brothers. If so, this was a really nice touch to showcase or imply the inner feelings of the main characters.

#55 Lens of Visible Progress

On the note of progress, I liked that there were indications and clues provided throughout the gameplay to signify that my brother and I were one step closer to obtaining the “Water of Life”. What BATOTS did was to show that there was a change in the environment and mood of the avenues explored. This included changes in platforms, type of strategies used to solve the tasks and the characteristics of the entities encountered. This progression was also more seamless because of the nature of the mechanics, where the puzzles and tasks depends on the available resources in the environment and how players can potentially interact with them. There is also a visible change in climate, where you get to experience being in different temperatures and the four elements (i.e fire, water, earth, air). Interestingly, as the brothers got deeper into the adventure, the altitude of the platform and environment gradually increases too.

#54 Lens of Accessbility

BATOTS alternates between story plot and actual gameplay quite frequently, though the transitions are not abrupt. This actually helps preempt the players when they need to solve the puzzles presented to them in the environment. Despite the flow being non-abrupt, the switch is significant or noticeable enough to indicate that its time for the player to watch or act. The game also makes use of camera pannings, music changes and vocals to transition between the switches. The puzzles are easy to adapt to due to the clearly defined space given to players to explore when carrying out the tasks. The possible strategies are also highly visual based which eases players into the problem solving situation.

Overall Thoughts

Overall this experience has been nothing short of amazing. Despite it being a pretty short gameplay, my brother and I had fun discussing how to solve the tasks and being immersed into a new world together. Though BATOTS captures impressive graphics and feel of the game, I do believe that there could be more depth in the characters and how they feel throughout the journey. Yet, perhaps the whole point of not being more explicit with the emotions of the characters was to ride on the imagination and personal feelings of the players themselves. Each player feels and interprets differently, and there could be beauty in not excessively restricting the emotion flow throughout the gameplay. This might also be the reason how BATOTS was able to leave players with an impactful and thought-provoking ending.

Adventure with CHUCHEL

CHUCHEL is a comedy adventure game from the creators of Machinarium, Botanicula and Samorost. As the recipient of  Excellence in Visual Art Award in IGF2018 and many other rewards, CHUCHEL stands out by having its unique, cheerful and glamorous game designs, graphics, story lines, sounds and music that always crack players up throughout the game. In this blog post, I will analyse this game using 6 lens as well as its limitations.

Lens 1: Essential Experience

As an adventure game, CHUCHEL has a strong story line that is easy to understand and it makes the entire game more integrated so that players never feel lost. Each game level is part of this story and just like those popular movies, there are many twists in the plot and players never know what will happen next, which is essential for an adventure game to be successful and popular.

In the game play, players fully immerse themselves as the hairy hero Chuchel in solving numerous puzzles, conquering different challenges to retrieve the precious cherry that Chuchel lost while sleeping. In this process, players get to experience the amazing graphics, funny characters and lots of humours while they interact with the game objects. And probably the most outstanding element of the game is its expression of the emotions via presentations and music, and players could strongly experience them while playing, which makes the entire game more alive.

Lens 2, 3 & 4: Surprise, Fun & Curiosity

There are many game levels in CHUCHEL with no repetition with each other. The entire game is full of surprise which brings out players’ curiosity to further explore and experience the fun of it! For example, players might think they have gotten back the cherry, but there are always unexpected changes that surprise them, like being knocked down by the tree or stolen by the mouse.

In each game level, players have to be curious and interact with different game objects to understand the mechanics behind in order to solve the game puzzle and advance to the next level. The puzzles require open minds using untraditional thinking, which in personal opinion is the most fun part of it! At the same time, the puzzles are not too difficult to frustrate players and there are help along the way to facilitate players understanding the mechanics. Once figured it out, players could feel the level of achievement and satisfaction in solving the puzzle. The game also has different pacing at each level so that it does not make user feel monotonous and bored.

Unlike the normal adventure game, CHUCHEL is a comedy adventure game and the emphasis is to let players feel relaxed and experience humours and fun while solving puzzles, rather than tightening their nerves and surviving from the dangerous world. This makes CHUCHEL special with its own personalities.

Lens 5: Endogenous Value

Rather than monetary rewards, there are seven game achievements for users to unlock (Gooding Morning, Blabber, Blue Bean, Three Caps, Cloudbuster, Creature maker and Snail racing competition). All of the achievements is embedded inside the game levels and are secrets that players may not find out even though they pass the level. The seven rewards serve as an extra bonus for players to be more interactive with the scenes and re-explore the game.

And of course! CHUCHEL brings players cheerful situational humor, wild music and sounds by the band DVA and dozens of hilarious gags that warm up even the coldest of souls. Plus a huge pile of cherries that Chuchel receives at the end!

Lens 6: Problem Solving

As mentioned previously, CHUCHEL is a puzzle solving game that requires untraditional thinking. Players are the problem solvers that makes themselves advance to the next game level. And players have to observe the scene to spot the possible exit. Solving the puzzle normally requires multiple steps and a bit of extra thinking to alter the scene before finding the solution. But fortunately, the game has an excellent graphics design with simple and clean game scenes that makes problem solving easier.


CHUCHEL adopts the cartoonish style of design which might not appeal to everyone and some might view it as being childish and hence not able to sense the humour of it. Also as a common limitation for all adventure games, the entire game span is only around two hours and some people may prefer the longer games with more levels inside.


Despite its limitations, CHUCHEL is an excellent game that paves its own path of comedy adventure. For people who loves the cheerful theme and designs, this game is definitely a recommendation. Simply seat down and empty the mind, enjoy the simplicity and the humours, and release the stress from a day of busy and mind tiring work.

Brawl Stars

Brawl Stars is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) and third-person hero shooter video game that was developed and published by a Finnish video game company Supercell. The game was nominated for “Mobile Game” and “EE Mobile Game of the Year” at the 15th British Academy Games Awards. The game had the second highest game downloads in Europe.

Animation for the latest Season 10

Lens #9: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad


Before I touch on the mechanics of the game, I would like to explain a little about the characters and game modes that Brawl Stars offers.

There are 54 brawlers available in the game, where the player has to unlock or buy. The player can choose amongst the few that they have unlocked. This is important as each brawler can have very different ways of attacking. Some are shooters where you drag and aim to shoot, while some are throwers where you aim on a specific spot to throw your bomb at. There are also melee characters and many more.

Gameplay of all different brawlers.

There are tons of game events for the player to choose from. They are refreshed daily with different maps and sometimes changing events. Depending on the mode of game, there can be 1 – 3 members in a team playing for different objectives. Almost all modes (Gem Grab, Heist, Siege and Bounty, etc) have 3 members in a team, while Showdown modes have either 1 or 2 members in a team. For ease of discussion, I’ll focus on talking about some of main events of Brawl Stars — Gem Grab, Showdown and Brawl Ball.

Rotating events available
All event modes in Brawl Stars
  • In Gem Grab, a team of 3 has to gather and hold 10 gems collectively for 10 seconds for the game to end.
  • In Brawl Ball, your team has to shoot the ball through the opponents goal, while defending your own.
  • In Showdown, you have to survive! Take others out and be the last one standing.
  • Thanks to its amazing graphics, the 2D gameplay looks 3D. There are bushes and walls in the terrain that the players can hide in or destroy as well.


  • While there isn’t really a storyline in gameplay, Brawl Stars offer seasons instead. Each season last around 3 months and they offer an entirely new theme to the game. I find that it gives a sense of progression and continuity from one season to the next. Season 8 had Once Upon a Brawl, where game is based in the world of fairy tales, and Season 9 had a Brawlywood theme, inspired by Hollywood.
  • Each brawler may also have their own story that can be accessed in their character profile. Some character voiceovers and story even hint at possible friendships and relationships between different brawlers.
  • Brawl Stars also likes to release interesting animations (video above) to introduce new brawlers for each seasons. Here we can peek the personalities of various brawlers and the backstory of the new brawler.


  • Brawl Stars is published for iOS and Android in 2018. It only supports online multiplayer gameplay, though players can choose to team up with friends or be randomly matched with other players.


  • Each season in Brawl Stars brings about a whole new look to the game. It is impressive that they can retain the original feel of the game while changing its theme so often.
  • There are often new skins (unique to the theme or to festivals) for many brawlers and the event maps are also changed to match it.
  • All animations for each brawler are unique and dynamic, which I find adds to the game feel. I have heard people say that brawlers sometimes seem more invincible when they don a specific skin.

Lens #1: The Lens of Emotion

  • Playing Brawl Stars gives the player a sense of excitement during gameplay. Regardless of the game event, the games are usually fast paced and there is a strong sense of competition as we play against other people.
  • As I play against other teams, I often get excited, stressed and competitive. I get angry if there is a player on my team that afk-ed or if we are losing and the other team mocks us.
  • Gameplay is much more fun when played in a team of friends. We have fun strategising and celebrate our wins. Although there have also been times that we scold each other for mistakes in gameplay (all in good fun!).

Lens #21: The Lens of Flow

  • Each game mode has very clear goals. The instructions can be read in the event description. Even without it, the rules are simple enough for the player to figure it out as they play. In Gem Grab, an instruction to “Grab 10 Gems to Win” is very clear and takes no time at all to understand.
  • There are little to no distractions in the game as the objective is clear and it becomes the main focus for the player.
  • There is also a nice flow of progression as each brawler unlocked starts from power and rank 0. This allows them to start from the bottom and work their way up to face tougher and higher ranked opponents. This gives them time to familiarise with their new brawler and improve their skills.

Lens #37: Lens of Fairness

  • Players and teams are matched by their rank, not power. This makes the game asymmetrical especially if some players get a new brawler with rank 0 but spend a lot of money upgrading it to the highest power. This makes lower rank gameplay very easy for that player, but hard for everyone else.
  • The game uses our rank as an indication of our skill level and (hopefully) power level. In majority of the match ups, this does hold true. Despite that, the number of unfair match ups aren’t little as well.
  • In the case of lacking players, the game might match you with a team that has an average rank much higher than yours. The start of the game will indicate that we are the underdog of the match and we will get some additional trophies back as compensation.

Lens #96: Lens of Friendship

  • I love playing with my friends as it is easier to communicate and play together.
  • Other than known friends, Brawl Stars also allows you to play again with your team (whether you know them or not). After a couple of rounds with the same player, you can go to your friends list and send them a request. This allows players that worked well together become friends. There are chatting functions when you form your team, where stickers and text can be used.
  • During gameplay, players can also use emoticons to communicate with one another. They can put out happy emoticons when they score the great goal, or an angry emoticon when someone made a mistake.


There is much more to Brawl Stars that is hard to encapsulate in one blog post. I find the game a fun and competitive one that you can play with a bunch of friends. Looking at the Lens of Elemental Tetrad, the game is a bit lacking in the storyline component. Despite that, I think the game is very well made and all other components: Aesthetics, Mechanics and Technology work very well together in harmony. The unique character designs and backstories for each brawler makes for an interesting storyline for the game and could be a potential area to explore. Overall, the game has a great cohesive game feel and I would definitely recommend you to try it out!



Minit is an indie adventure game developed by Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Jukio Kallio & Dominik Johann. It was released in 2018 and was one of the finalists for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize in IGF 2019. In the game, you play as a creature (perhaps a duck) who is cursed by a sword, giving them only have 60 seconds each day before dying and then reviving back in their home. With the limited time you have each day, you must complete puzzles and help other creatures to unlock new items/abilities and thus new areas.

I actually first played Minit right before writing this blog post, so both the game and my experiences playing it are still fresh in my mind. In this post, I’ll write down my experiences and analysis for Minit using some of Jesse Schell’s lenses, starting with the Lens of the Elemental Tetrad. Do note that the numbering for the lenses follows the numbering in the second edition of “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses” (and also the app, “A Deck of Lenses”).

Lens #9: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad

1. Mechanics

  • Countdown timer: The unique mechanic of Minit is the 60-second timer. As soon as it reaches zero, you die and respawn in the last home/save point you visited. You still retain the items you have collected, though.
  • Controls: The controls for this game are very simple. You can move in four directions using the arrow keys, and you can use your equipped item (usually the sword) using the ‘X’ key. You can also instantly kill yourself using ‘C’.
  • Puzzles: You progress the game by solving puzzles. Most of the time it involves helping an NPC in the game. After completion of these puzzles, you are awarded an item or a new area to explore.
  • Items and obstacles: There are items in the game that you can collect. Some of them grant you new abilities to explore previously inaccessible parts of the map. For example, in the middle of the game, you obtain the Flippers, giving you the ability to swim. Water areas, which were previously an obstacle you couldn’t go through, are no longer a problem.
  • The goal of the game is to unravel the mystery of the cursed sword and of course, lift the curse. By unlocking more and more abilities you can reach the final location, fight the boss, and end the adventure.

2.  Story

  • The cursed sword: One day the main character finds a sword, which cursed them to live only 60 seconds each day. An NPC tells them to go to the factory to fix the problem.
  • The factory: Apparently, there is a factory mass-producing the swords. The factory’s activities are also causing harm to the environment, as evident from the toxic waters near it. The main character has to destroy the machinery inside the factory, fight the boss, and finally flush the remains of their sword down the toilet.
  • Given that Minit is quite a short game and also focuses more on puzzle-solving than the main narrative, it makes sense that it has such a simple story.

3. Technology

  • The mechanics and design of Minit are actually not too far off from old-school top-down adventure games, like the original Zelda game released in 1986. The in-game timer mechanic has also been done in Majora’s Mask. That being said, it is not exactly innovative in terms of technology. The bright side is that it has a relatively smaller memory requirement (1 GB RAM) compared to other modern video games.
  • Minit is available on numerous platforms: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

4. Aesthetics

  • The game is fully monochromatic.
  • It uses pixel art and a 2D top-down perspective.

It seems to me that Minit focuses much more on its mechanics (in particular the 60-second countdown timer) than the other elements. The story is there to explain why the timer mechanic exists. The aesthetics are very minimalistic as well, pushing the player to focus more on the innovative concept of the timer, and thus not requiring modern 3D graphics technology.

Lens #6: The Lens of Curiosity

  • Early in the game after picking up the cursed sword, an NPC tells you to “drop by the factory ASAP”. The question that this put into my mind was, “What does the cursed sword have to do with this factory?” Apparently the answer to this question is the main plot of the game, so I had to wait until the end, where it is revealed that the factory produces the cursed swords.
  • Some other questions that popped into my mind have to do with the obscure clues provided to solve some puzzles. There are also some areas that cannot be accessed before obtaining the appropriate items, which often left me wondering what secrets those areas could be hiding.

Lens #7: The Lens of Endogenous Value

  • Every item in Minit has an in-game value. Some of the items are active items, which means you can equip them and use them to interact with objects, such as the Sword and the Watering Can. Other items are passive items, which either directly grant you access to game areas, such as the Lighthouse Key, or give you an ability that you can use to solve puzzles and unlock new areas, such as the Coffee, which allows you to push boxes.
  • There are also coins you can find in the game, which you can use to purchase the Fast Shoes from the Sneaker Hut.
  • You can also collect hearts, which is basically how many times you can get hit by an enemy before you die. You start with only two hearts, so having more hearts makes the gameplay much easier.

Lens #8: The Lens of Problem Solving

  • At its heart, Minit is about solving problems. You solve the problems that the NPCs have, and they give you items or progress the story upon completion. You solve puzzles provided by the environment, in order to obtain an item or reach a particular area. The main plot itself is about solving the problem of having the 60-second curse.
  • Some of the puzzle solutions were not obvious and the areas/clues regarding them were quite obscure. I spent a lot of my time in the game running around the map trying to find some secret passage I missed or an item I can interact with to solve them (which means spamming the ‘X’ key on every object in the game).

Lens #27: The Lens of Time

  • Minit is a rather short game. According to, the game should take around one and a half hours. In reality, it took me much longer (around two and a half hours) because I spent a lot of time trying to find something I missed to progress the game. As I’ve mentioned, some puzzle solutions are quite obscure, and it was quite frustrating to spend so much time being stuck, not knowing what to do next. That being said, I believe that Minit has the optimal length because if it were shorter it would really be too short for a full game, and if it were longer there would have been much more of the “wandering around” overhead in my playthrough.
  • Other than the length of the game, time is a very essential element inside the game itself, given that the main mechanic is a literal timer. While none of these puzzles involves the countdown timer itself, the timer forces you to solve the puzzles in a very limited amount of time. While it is an interesting mechanic, though, it can get annoying at times, especially when you die just before reaching a save point.

Lens #55: The Lens of Visible Progress

  • Progress in Minit can be seen from the number of areas you get access to. At the beginning of the game, it is difficult to get anywhere because you cannot cut down trees or cross through water. The more items you obtain, the more areas you can access, and thus the more progress you make in the game. It is difficult to keep track of the progress this way, though, because there is no in-game map that shows the locked/unlocked areas, and the game only shows you the number of areas you have visited.
  • Another way to measure progress is in terms of the collectibles/items in the game. Not all of them are required to complete the main story, though, but it is a good gauge of progress for completionists (players who want to complete the game 100%).

For me, Minit is a short, simple, yet unique game. While the dying-reviving mechanic can be quite tedious at times, it really makes you appreciate the time that you have. Every second counts in each run, and while dying is not too much of a problem, it does create a one-of-kind experience. If you’re searching for quick light-hearted adventure games, Minit should definitely be on the list.

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby

Promotional video with brief introductions to the various mechanics

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby is a Japanese mobile game developed by the game developer Cygames, Inc. for Android and iOS platforms. The game takes place in an alternate universe where actual real-life horses are replaced by girls known as uma musume (lit. “horse girl”) with horse ears and tails. Within the context of the game, the horse girls are based on real-life Japanese racehorses, and the player takes on the role of their trainer to train them for races that are also based on real-life Japanese horseracing events. Website

Home screen. The player can tap on their horse girl to hear her various voice lines.

The Elemental Tetrad


A turn during a training run showing the 5 options the player can choose. 6th one (top right) is the skill page.

The core mechanic of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby consists of selecting a horse girl you have and entering her into a training “scenario” or run. Each training run lasts for a total of 72 turns. During each turn, the player can choose to train one of their horse girl’s core attributes, participate her in a race, let her rest, go on an outing with her, or send her to the infirmary (only if inflicted with a negative status). Training and racing use up the horse girl’s energy which can be recovered by resting or going on an outing. Training and racing can also reward skills points which can be spent to acquire skills that temporarily boost speed, acceleration, stamina recovery etc. when triggered in the middle of a race.

As for the core attributes, each horse girl has the following:

  • Speed – how fast the horse girl can run in a race, training this gives a small bonus in power
  • Stamina – how long the horse girl can maintain her top speed before slowing down, training this gives a small bonus in guts
  • Power – how fast the horse girl can reach her top speed, training this gives a small bonus in stamina
  • Guts – how fast the horse girl drains her stamina, training this gives a small bonus in power and speed
  • Wisdom – how likely the horse girl will trigger her skills mid-race, training this gives a small bonus in speed
Training scene with speed training selected.

These are barely scratching the surface of the complex system of mechanics that this game has, but they already provide an engaging experience during each training run. Often, I find myself in situations such as debating whether to let my horse girl rest up and forgo a training with incredibly high stats bonus but high failure rate (if her energy is too low the training may fail and inflict a negative status), or to take the risk and possibly gain a huge increase in stats. This is not even going into the support cards and inheritance system, all of which provide different synergies with different horse girls during each run and heavily engages the player as they figure out how to best complete each training run.


The main story arc linearly follows the player as the trainer of Team Sirius, one of the racing teams in Tracen Academy (horse girl training academy based on a real-life Japanese racehorse training centre). On top of the main story, each horse girl has their own unique storyline on how they met the player character, and regular game events also each has their own accompanying storylines. Despite being limited by my N4 Japanese ability, I always find myself engaged by the stories enough to spend the time to slowly go through each scene, trying to understand the dialogue with what little Japanese I know, before plugging them into a translator. With many horse girls yet to be implemented and many more game events to come, the game has way more than enough story content to keep the players engaged for a long time.

Mejiro McQueen tearfully apologises to the trainer and rest of Team Sirius after losing a race, the exact same race her real-life counterpart lost in 1991.

One thing I love about the game story is that apart from the horse girls having designs heavily based on their real-life counterparts, the story also accurately portrays them going through the exact same experiences their real-life counterparts went through. For players who are already followers of Japanese horseracing and its history, this is a nice touch. As for those who didn’t follow Japanese horseracing, well I have to say after starting this game I found myself reading up a lot more about it.


Fully animated 3D race scenes in real-time.

When it comes to aesthetics of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, I can find no better words to describe it other than phenomenal. From the character designs, voice lines and music to the 3D assets used in story scenes and races, everything just seems so passionately crafted on the part of the designers. Character designs are often so well done that non-fans who have years of horse racing experience can correctly guess which horse girl is based on which racehorse. Fully-voiced, 3D animated story scenes make the stories come alive. Race events during training runs are 3D animated and shown in real-time with actual horseracing camera angles. Additionally, after each race the player has the option to view a “winning live”, where the horse girls carry out idol-like performances of specific songs, reflecting the “winning run” in real life that jockeys often do with their horses after winning a race. I believe all these contribute to a fully immersive game experience of playing as the trainer for the horse girls.

Winning live.


The game was developed in Unity for Android and iOS, but a desktop version is also available through the DMMGamePlayer. Accounts can be synced between the mobile and desktop versions, allowing the player to access their game almost anytime and anywhere. Full-body motion capture was also used for the 3D character models, giving them natural and realistic body movements and thus providing an immersive game experience.

The Lenses of Game Design

Lens 1: The Lens of Emotions

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby certainly is a game that plays with the players’ emotions, especially during race events in a training run. As a race progresses, the player gets slowly pushed to the edge of their seat as their horse girl tries to position herself in the race. Depending on how the race unfolds, the player may either feel a sense of relief and achievement as their horse girl overcomes a bad start and breaks through the leaders to cross the finish line first, or a sense of defeat as she runs out of stamina and slows down before the finish, allowing others to take the win.

Lens 38: The Lens of Challenge

The A-rank block. When will I get an S-rank?

The greatest challenge of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby is perhaps to attain the highest possible training rank in the game. After each training run ends, the run is evaluated and given a score based on the horse girl’s final stats, skills acquired and number of races won. From this score, a letter rank is given.

However, due to the unpredictability of each training run, it can be very difficult for a player to break through a certain range of evaluation score. The challenge then lies in trying to improve the synergies between support cards even better for subsequent training runs to increase the chances of breaking their record.

Lens 79: The Lens of Freedom

The player is given plenty of freedom on how to carry out a training run. Depending on how they pick the support cards, they can focus their run on training a horse girl specialising in preferred stats.

The game also includes a special section called the Live Theatre, where unlocked song performances from winning races can be viewed again. Here, the player is free to choose which horse girls in their team to perform the song. With over 60 different horse girls and more to be implemented, the same performance can be viewed multiple times each with a different experience.

Lens 85: The Lens of Avatar

In Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, the player plays as a trainer for the horse girls. The player is free to choose any name for their player character, along with their desired gender. Other than that, the player character has no other defining traits. I believe this can be appealing to many players as the player character can take on any form that the players desire them to be, even projecting their real self into them to make the game experience more immersive. One small detail worth noting is that some of the horse girls address the player character differently depending on the chosen gender, such as calling the player “onee-chan” (Japanese for “sister”) instead of “onii-chan” (Japanese for “brother”) if the player chooses female. This can be a nice departure from other games with the run-of-the-mill “one male surrounded by many females” setting.

Pixel World

Pixel Worlds is a free to play online MMO social sandbox indie game, developed and published by a small indie game studio Kukouri Mobile Entertainment from Finland. The game won the awards of “Best Indie Game Developer ” (Global Mobile Game Awards 2019) and “People’s choice award” (Game Connection Paris 2018). As the indie game studio consist of around 5 ~ 8 people when the game was first developed, it is surprising how a small studio is able to create, publish and manage an MMO when it is a norm now where the majority of the Mobile MMO game on mobile have a separate developer and publisher.

Official Youtube Channel:

Steam Store Page:

Pixel World is a social sandbox game with many different features. These include dungeons, farm, trade, PVP, parkour, jet race, fishing, mining, battle cards, building your world and many more. The content that attracts me the most in this game is the parkour/platformer aspect of the game. It provides me with a sense of nostalgia as a 2d platformer game. There is surprising lots(more than a thousand) of fun and unique parkour world created by players to explore. The following shows a few of the parkour you can enjoy in the game.

Elements Tetrad

  • Mechanics – Pixel world is a 2D side-scrolling, MMO social sandbox game. As a sandbox game, there is numerous amount of different mechanics allowing the user to explore. The following is the core mechanics of the game.
    • User-generated content – User can build their world. Each world has a buildable size of 80 x 57 blocks. The user can build various types of world. The type of world includes parkour, trading, farming, hangout, story, pixel arts, PVP, fishing and clan world.
    • Dynamic worlds – are farmable contents developed by developers. The majority of these contents involve procedurally generated maps. There are 3 procedurally generated dungeons (Netherworld, Mine, Secret Base) and 2 procedurally generated race/platformers (The Black Tower and Jet Race).
    • Farming – The majority of the resource obtainable in the game require farming. Unlike other sandbox games where the player can design their level without any constraint, building worlds in pixel world require the player to obtain the building block by themself.
  • Aesthetics
    • Pixel World is done entirely in 2D, with high-quality pixel art. The following is an interesting video showing how the developer derived the current character art after multiple iterations.
    • As the game is inspired by retro 2d games such as sonic the hedgehog, the music used in the game is relatively retro, giving a classic feel to the game(sample soundtrack).
    • The game provides building blocks, allowing the player to create their world. The following is the screenshot of the world recently created by players, showing the different types of aesthetics the user can create using the given blocks. More world showcased by players here:
  • Technology
    • The game is developed in the Unity engine. It is cross-platform across PC(steams), IOS, and Android. As such, the user interface is designed such that it works both on mobile and PC.
    • As a 2D game, it is battery friendly as a mobile game because of has low system requirements.
  • Story
    • As a sandbox MMO, there is little (some quest) to no storyline. Since the game provides freedom to the user to do whatever they want in the game, the storyline is not important.

Len# 52: The Lens of Economy

There is two forms of currency in the game, Gem(Premium, Untradeable) and Bytes(tradeable). Both currencies are obtainable in-game. As a sandbox MMORPG, the economy in the game is fully controlled by the players. Trading is a huge aspect of the game as that is where the materials required to build a world came from.

One of the key elements that keep the game economy going is seasonal limited-time items. As these items will no longer appear in the future, collecting these rare items become one of the goals of some players. There is 6 seasonal event in the game every year and all these events provide some limited-time item that appears only once.

The developer has been consistently updating the game. There is a minor update every month or two and two major updates every year, providing new content for the player to consume. The regular update kept the economy of the game flowing as new items flooded into the market regularly.

Lens# 37: The Len of Fairness

The lens of fairness is often related to the lens of the economy in a free to play MMORPG. In a free to play MMORPG, it is very often that it is pay to win. Either by having a cash-only weapon or pay/time walled content/bonus. In Pixel World, the only currency that the user can buy is Gems, and Gem is also obtainable inside the game without any daily or weekly cap. This also means that players can obtain all items in the game without paying a single cent, as long as they put in a sufficient amount of effort. This mean player will not feel disadvantage for not paying.

Len# 74: The Lens of Obstacle

Unlike other common sandbox games where the player can design their level without any constraint, building worlds in pixel world require the player to obtain the building block by themself. Furthermore, blocks placed in the world will not be retrievable. The player has to make careful consideration before placing their block, especially the rarer one that is hard to come by. The player will have to go through the effort of collecting different materials required to build a beautiful world. As there is a cost in building a world, the user will spend more time considering what they will be building.

Len# 32: The Lens of Goal

The player can have many different goals in the game. So, what is the goal of a designer who went through the painstaking effort of collecting the blocks and building a beautiful world? Those who spent lots of effort into building a world often aim for the World of the Week (WOTW).

WOTW is a system that exists in many sandbox MMO games, where every week, the developer will select the best world and add it to the WOTW world chart, where the world will be permanently showcased in the game. The developer also makes it easy for the player to participate in the WOTW selection by using Instagram. The user will simply have to take a screenshot of their world post it on Instagram using the tag #PWWOTW. Pixel world currently has over 250 WOTW for new users to explore.

Players who won the world of a week will receive a trophy with their player name engraved on it. Collecting the WOTW trophy become the goal of many players in the game as a form of honour. Some players aim for the WOTW as they will be able to sell their world at a higher price.

The WOTW system is the source of many new high-quality worlds created in the game every week, giving players an endless amount of fun world to explore(as long as players aiming for the WOTW exist).

Len# 98: The Lens of Community

Pixel World is created as a social game, as such, having a good community is crucial to the game success. The game studios had hired a community manager who also works as a game developer. The community manager does a weekly live stream on the game, where players can communicate with the developer themself. During the live stream, there will be Q&A, Give-Away, Update leak, and visiting potential WOTW suggested by the viewer. Having a game developer does live-stream frequency allows players to feel close to the game where they will be able to interact with the developer directly.

As an indie studio, it is hard for them to be responsive to grieving and other in-game abuse. As such, the game studio has decided to choose moderators from the veteran players in-game. (there is a surprising number of them who is willing to help moderate the game free of charge considering one of the requirement is to be at least 16 year old) These moderators span from a different timezone, allowing them to respond to in-game abuse quickly. While it is impossible to catch all the in-game abuse in real-time, the report system in the game is pretty effective as the majority of the reported player (with evidence) ended up getting banned. Repeated offences will end up with a longer ban sentence.

The community in the game is well managed. While the game is not popular, it has maintained a constant player-base throughout its lifespan. This can be seen through the steam chart.


The game has provided me with a sense of nostalgia as I used to play retro 2D platformer. Different from other platformer games, this game revolves around the community. There are new worlds to explore weekly. Loitering around and socializing with other players is also a key aspect. Building of a world is often not done alone but with clans mate or friends you found in the game. One of the surprise factors of the game is its player demographics. There are plenty of players in their late 20s, 30s or 40s who are playing this game out of reminiscing of the retro game they had used to play in the game.


Warframe is a cooperative-focused, third-person shooter online game developed and published by Digital Extremes. A free-to-play game, it has been released on Windows, PlayStation 4, X-box One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S and remains in perpetual beta.

Set in a science fiction setting of a distant future, players play as members of the Tenno race, an ancient race recently awakened from centuries of slumber on Earth, only to find themselves embroiled in the war within the planetary system amongst different factions. Utilizing their powered warframes as well as an arsenal of huge variety of weapons, players are sent on missions and pitted against various enemies in a bid to reunite the scattered colonies throughout the system.

Game’s website Link:

Game demo:

Elemental Tetrad


The game utilizes very immersive graphics that really makes you feel like you are in a different world. With a theme of Sci-fi, there are a lot of futuristic-designed and alien-like game assets (i.e. Infested enemies, warframes, space stations). Warframe makes use of the game’s setting to produce many designs that are highly unusual and unique to the science fictional setting within the game, which makes it memorable for many players.


The main game-play is to complete various types of missions in different areas of the planetary system, with different areas providing different type of maps, monsters and features as well as rewards. Players have the ability to customize their warframes and weapons with varying mods depending on their style of game-play and the details of the mission they wish to undertake. Successful completion of missions lets players can acquire new mods and resources which can then be used to further expand their arsenal and builds for harder content in the game.


There are story-specific missions in the game which players can choose to progress at their own pace. Progress on these story-lines helps players explore the setting and history in the game’s verse, better immersing them as the Tenno they play. Unlike normal missions, story-specific missions have a more immersive design that include different music, unique level-maps and cut-scenes to better draw the player into the story.


The game engine used by Warframe is the Evolution engine, developed by Digital Extremes (DE) to better support their games and newer consoles. Some features of the Evolution engine include modern rendering techniques like PBR (Physically based rendering) and Deferred Rendering.

Lens of Chance (36) & Lens of Reward (46)


A huge part of the game is dependent on one’s luck in acquiring rewards from completing different missions. Better rewards have low drop rates and require some luck on the player’s part to acquire.

  • Different missions have different drop tables of rewards, with each reward have their own drop rate.
  • Higher level missions have a chance to drop higher quality rewards or a higher drop rate for certain rewards.
  • In-game mechanic ‘Relics’ which drop components of higher-end versions of in-game weapons and warframes that cannot be acquired through normal missions but require more resources and luck for specific items.

Lens of Simplicity/Complexity (48)

The game has a lot of basic components that players can utilize, but also a lot of variant and customizable components that they can try if they want to.

  • Each warframe and weapon can be further customized to fit the player’s needs (via forma, mods).
  • Basic mods can help boost basic (i.e. Health) stats .
  • More complex mods (such as rare/vaulted/veiled mods) lets players shape their own build by weighing the pros and cons of the mod’s effect (i.e. Greater increase in range but reduction in damage).
  • Players can construct their own weapon and pets with customs stats, attacks and abilities (i.e. Moa, Zaws).

Lens of Expression (97)

Apart from customization of their equipment for mission purposes, players can also customize the aesthetics of belongings that they own, allowing them to express themselves when they play.

  • Warframes and other equipment’s appearance can be customized to have different skins and/or colored components.
  • Player have their an Orbiter that they are free to decorate and customize the appearance of.
  • Companions can be built/bred to have custom appearance (i.e. Kavat Breeding with DNA template).
  • Player Guilds own a Dojo that can be decorated and customized to have a unique layout of rooms, design and decorations. Best decorated Dojos can be visited be any player in the game.
  • There are instruments (i.e. Shawzin) in-game which players can use to play music in-game to other players.

Lens of Freedom (79)

Besides the freedom provided to the player to customize a lot of elements in the game, the players are also given freedom of choice in the kind of game-play they wish to experience.

  • Basic in-game missions which is the regular game-play experienced by all players such as extermination mission, defence mission, etc.
  • Open World exploration with other activities such as mining, fishing and catching animals.
  • Special game-play (Railjack/Archwings) missions which utilize different game mechanics of combat in space.
  • PvP game-play (i.e. Lunaro) where players can partake in competitive team-based mini-games against other players to achieve various objectives for rewards.


One could say that the Essential Element of Warframe is their chance-based reward system and the creativity of the rewards they provide, but the freedom afforded to players regarding customization of in-game elements play a big role too. Till this day, Warframe is still producing new equipment, mods, warframes and other in-game elements that differ from those currently in the game. Players are not required to get these new items, but if they want to, they can put in the effort for it and then customize it for whatever they desire. The realm of possibilities that Warframe provide is equal to all players new or old, and the possibilities will only increase with the amount of effort players put into the game.

Such equality amongst players and consistency of game dynamics over time was the reason why I enjoy playing Warframe, for even if you leave the game for a time, it feels like you have never left at all when you return to it later.