Nordeus is an award-winning independent mobile game developer, with 160 employees based in Belgrade and international offices in London and Dublin. Their mobile game, Top Eleven, is the one of the most successful online sports games ever made, boasting over 140 million registered users.
We teamed up with Nordeus to conduct heuristic reviews and user research on their new game, Spellsouls, to discover opportunities for gameplay improvement.
To address Nordeus' requirements, we proposed conducting a heuristic evaluation. This method allows for the rapid identification of usability issues within a user interface by having experts assess the product against established heuristic principles.
Heuristic reviews offer timely and cost-effective feedback for designers at any stage of the design process. Although this concept has been utilized predominantly in software design for nearly three decades, we adapted it for video game evaluation.
We customized standard heuristics to assess games by examining existing literature and developing our own set tailored to gaming elements. Our heuristics resemble Nielsen's but incorporate considerations specific to gaming.
We focused on identifying areas where gaming elements were either absent or inappropriate, such as: the presence of an engaging background story, the balance between guidance and player independence, and whether the game becomes repetitive over time. If so, we sought to understand the underlying mechanics causing this repetition.
Six usability experts participated in our heuristic review. They played the game for one to two hours, taking individual notes on usability and playability. We then consolidated their feedback, assigned severity rankings to the identified issues, and provided Nordeus with a prioritized list of areas to address in the Spellsouls redesign.
We concluded the project by delivering a comprehensive findings deck. This presentation detailed our process, usability insights, identified issues, prioritization, and recommendations for Nordeus to consider as they continued with Spellsouls' design and development. By applying a modified heuristic review to the gaming experience, we gained valuable qualitative insights that will not only inform future iterations of the Spellsouls mobile game but also guide the development of new gameplay and narratives for Nordeus' upcoming products.