Mobile App Success Story: How Blackbox Did It

Quick question for all smartphone users and especially for mobile game lovers: What is the most common way to interact with your phone? The general answer is probably: “Touching its screen”. Well, there is a mobile game where you can do everything, but this. You have to find solutions for solving different challenges without touching the screen. Some of you would tell us: “That’s impossible!” The rest of you would say: “That is Blackbox. The game is awesome!”. So, for both groups we will talk today about Blackbox.

Brilliant Idea

For building this game, Ryan McLeod got inspired by apps like Inception, where users take advantage of the sounds around them for creating interesting effects. This way he thought to design something different which proves how well customers know their phones. Blackbox was launched in 2016 for iOS devices and it is a special puzzle game where users have to consider different functions of their phones to solve more than 70 challenges without touching the screen. It seems impossible but with certain hints wisely placed for each level, the game intrigues players and makes them spend hours discovering solutions for different problems. Creating a puzzle game seems difficult but how was to create this type of adventure which gathered more than 77,000 5 – stars ratings and impressed the entire audience?

How Blackbox Did It

In case you want to know how to play it we can’t reveal that. Instead, we will share with you different methods which can help you discover how a mobile app can be fun and frustrating in the same time.

Amazing Design

Blackbox is one of the winners announced by Apple for Design Awards 2017 and there are a lot of reasons for this decision. “Ingenious gameplay”, “clever innovations” and “elegant animations” are just a few attributes for describing the way technology is used for creating amazing experiences. The app’s name is descriptive for the interface which is entirely black except small colored boxes. These elements are the core of the game. Players have to turn on those lights in order to complete the level. Even the grid where you can see your results is unique. A group of boxes represent a different challenge and you can play them whenever you want. If something seems too hard you are advised to take a break and to come back later. A few clever clues will help you when you need them but you should open them only as a last resort.

Image Source: https://developer.apple.com/design/awards/#blackbox

Engaging Referrals

If we look back to our stories this strategy is mentioned everywhere and Blackbox isn’t an exception. Building a referral program is probably one of the most efficient methods for spreading the word about your app in this world dominated by social networks. Blackbox is a very difficult game but the most demanding part is trying to explain it to other people. The only solution is to show them your achievements or to just challenge them with a captivating phrase. With a customized placeholder text, users can enter anything they want to convince their friends to install the game. In this case, Blackbox rewards them with special hints. And these bonuses are vital when gamers are struggling to turn some lights on.

Perfect Presentation

We always emphasize how important is the app store page for the success of your app and now it is a good occasion to show you another example of how to create an amazing presentation which will attract users even more. Go to Apple App Store and observe all the elements which explain the app and increase the mystification in the same time. The app title enhances the idea that you are trapped in a box while the app description encourages you to play it because there are a lot of hints which will help you. Amazing screenshots form a unique image and share users’ thoughts about the game. In the end, reviews are the ones that prove how addictive Blackbox can become. The simplicity is also visible on the official website where an impressive video does a great job telling the story of the app.

Image Source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blackbox-think-outside-the-box/id962969578?mt=8

Easily Accessible

We didn’t discuss the business model so far. Therefore, you should know that every iPhone owner can play the game for free and there are also in – app purchases available if customers want to buy some hints or to unlock different challenges. This technique encourages new users to try it and helps also the app owner to monetize his work. But what makes Blackbox different from the other free to play games? Maybe the pictures shared by its players taken from the top of a mountain while they completed a level or from airplane while they enjoy the game? These special occasions where the game can be played makes it unique and brilliant.

Image Source: https://medium.com/mobile-growth/share-because-you-want-to-c366beeea88c

Bonus Tip: Be A Daredevil Developer

Everything we described so far seems to be the hard work of an entire company formed by CEO, developers, designers, marketers, people who make coffee and the ones who clean the offices. In reality, Ryan McLeod is the only person behind this masterpiece. If you thought that it’s impossible to handle an entire process from creating an app to launching and to marketing it all by yourself then think again. You can observe that every message sent to Blackbox users is signed by its owner, creator, designer, and marketer – Ryan. And if you check his posts on Medium or other articles available on the internet you will see that this was very relaxing after all.

Image Source: https://developer.apple.com/design/awards/

FINAL THOUGHTS

Now, we recommend you to follow the advice given in the app title on the App Store and to think outside the box, when you search for an idea to create a great app, when you develop and design it, and of course when you promote your amazing work. Whenever you feel there is no way out, you would be surprised to discover an extraordinary solution that will solve your problem. As Ryan says: “Good luck!”.

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