Ladders! is an early 80s inspired arcade game for mobile phones that values risk, flow, and growth.
Players face an endless gauntlet of ladders that are not challenges simply thrown at them to overcome. Instead, facing any one challenge in Ladders! is a choice that carries risk. Jumping on a dangerous type of ladder may give the player the opportunity to pick up a coin for bonus points or give the player a better position to make the next choice. On the other hand, making a dangerous move could be an action of last resort or further complicate future choices.
As long as players make choices quickly enough, they will avoid stopping the Ladderman’s movement. As long as the Ladderman does not stop, he climbs ladders faster and the player accumulates points faster. At high speeds, it becomes a choice to not stop and risk making a quick, poor choice. The speed is the greatest contributor to the sense of flow of the game, the sense of mastery in the player.
The challenges in Ladders! are not easy. Or, at least, they do not seem easy on first encounter. On their first run, most players struggle to survive for ten seconds. However, by their tenth run, most have overcome that first hurdle and now face new barriers. Ultimately, I want Ladders! to be an experience that requires a development of skill which drives players to set goals, not only to best others, but to best themselves.