The reskinning game has changed.
In fact, it looks like a lot of developers have stopped making apps altogether.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- 1000 new apps appear in the App Store every day.
- Some old monetization tactics (e.g. interstitial ads at startup) and app business models (e.g., quantity over quality) aren’t viable anymore.
- Beautiful design is KING.
- Apple may reject unattractive reskins.
- Trends and tastes have changed.
What does this mean for app developers who are still in the game?
Well, for starters, I’d say it means don’t spend hundreds of dev hours and thousands of dollars until you’ve validated a market. It’s better to first publish a simple app to gain traction. You can iterate later, adding features and increasing the app’s value.
One company that has a solid track record of creating popular games is Ketchapp. They create inexpensive games like Amazing Thief and spend most of their money on marketing.
Creating an Amazing Thief Clone
Last year, I spent thousands developing the sophisticated game engine behind Viva Match Battle. This year, I’m going to keep it simple.
Amazing Thief has over 16,000 ratings and reviews, so that will give you an idea how popular the game is. Simliar to Flappy Bird, it looks deceptively easy. The character, a stick man, runs across a horizontal platform. When he comes to a cliff, you must tap twice to make him flip up or down onto the next platform. Simple, right?
Timing is everything, and that’s where the skill in this game factors in. You never know which platform is coming next, so you have to make split second decisions when flipping the thief up or down, once or twice, in rapid succession or with a slight lag.
I liked the game so much I decided to clone it and create Flip Flip Fox: same gameplay, cuter character, brighter colors, universal game, 64-bit compatible. You can check out the game here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flip-flip-fox/id952470252?mt=8.
Introducing Flip Flip Fox
I set out to create an app template—an Amazing Thief clone—that would offer a rewarding yet basic iOS tutorial for beginners and a simple, inexpensive reskin option for experienced developers.
Check out the screenshot of the Images.xcassets folder below. Flip Flip Fox has only 6 different design assets: app icon, launch screen, 3 vector images for the character, and 1 image for the “tap to flip” instructions.
The endless tap-flip gameplay can obviously work well with a variety of themes and characters: ninja & martial arts, sports, fantasy (dragons and elves), zoo and barnyard animals, simple geometric shapes, 8-bit retro, and superheroes.
What about development hours required to reskin the game?
If you leave the gameplay mechanics untouched, you can easily reskin this game in less than 5 hours.
You could make one reskin in the morning and another in the afternoon.
Here are some more specifics:
- iOS 8 compatible
- iPhone 6/6+ compatible
- 64-bit compatible
- Universal code for iPhone, iPod & iPad
- Only 6 total design assets needed
- Only 3 total character vector files needed
- iAd banner ads
- Playhaven/Upsight interstitial ads (with Return to Home placement)
- Remove Ads in-app purchase
- Restore Purchase text button
- Endless gameplay
- Game Over screen
- Share score to Facebook, Twitter
- Game Center Leaderboards
- Rate the game feature