Anastasia is lost in a magical mansion where the rooms move in mysterious ways.
Help guide her to safety, but don’t let her fall into nothingness!
Magic Moving Mansion Mania is a mobile action-puzzle platformer where the player rearranges rooms of a house to guide its protagonist to safety. It aims to evoke a sense of wonder and playful whimsicality as Anastasia, a young child, explores a magical indoor world.
Conceptualised and created in four months under the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC), Magic Moving Mansion Mania was made by a team of six students. Programming was done by Kathryn Stinebruner (project lead), Jiacong Xu (programming lead), Andrew Jiang, and Nick Milner, and design by myself (design lead) and Yichen Jia. Game music is by Setuniman from freesound.org and the #GameAudioGDC Bundle from Sonniss.
Boston Festival of Indie Games
It was a privilege to be part of the 2017 Boston Festival of Indie Games, and an even greater one to be awarded the Best Student Game at the festival. Meeting so many other indie game developers and designers was a real inspiration.
Yichen and I worked on character and environment art, UI/UX design, and promotional material.
The environment was colour-coded from the start, with different layers of the mansion being clearly differentiated by colour. This stayed consistent as we added more interactive and decorative elements.
Promotional material included laser-cut keychains and printed brochures.
Our first prototype was a test of gameplay mechanics with cardboard tiles that could be physically moved around. The experience from this playtesting was significant in highlighting the importance of the game’s UI, so players could understand how they were switching tiles. It also highlighted mechanics and interactions that we had to clarify within the team, such as:
- Is the side of the phone screen a wall? (Decision: No)
- Does the character automatically enter every door? (Decision: Yes)
- Should players be able to tap to open or close doors? (Decision: No)
- Can the character survive a fall? (Decision: No)
User testing and feedback were important for us in learning what frustrated players - not understanding how locked tiles worked, for example - and how to improve. As Anastasia continuously walks forward, gameplay is fast-paced, and puzzles are designed to be challenging and fun. This sometimes resulted in players feeling stressed, while, at other times, players felt impatient at having to wait for the character to walk forward when they had already planned out her path. This feedback resulted in the implementation of the speed-up button to increase Anastasia’s walking speed for players who were already comfortable with the game.
Enthusiastic reviews about the final version suggest at least some success in creating a fun puzzle game.
Yo what I just spent a good hour or so playing the game it's addictive
I played this until my phone died yesterday 😛
i just spent forever playing it it's so good!!!
Special thanks to Walker White and Traci Nathans-Kelly for their patient mentorship, and to the Boston Festival of Indie Games for having us. A very big thank you to everyone who played our game, from our earliest playtesters to everyone who stopped by during the GDIAC showcase and at BostonFIG.