Animation Throwdown's Stamina Meter Needs a Change If the Game Wants to Last

How the stamina meter doesn’t work -- and how it can be fixed.

Animation Throwdown is a fun mobile game with funny dialogue, easy-to-learn rules and a card combination system that offers near-limitless possibilities. While there are some good guides on combos and defense strategies, nothing can help you once the game’s stamina meter ticks down to zero.

And in case you're wondering, the stamina meter works like this: You are limited to 10 “energy points” each for the Adventure and Arena modes. For every match you play, you lose energy, regardless of whether you won or lost. The silver and gold levels in Adventure mode -- higher rated levels that give better rewards -- take more energy to start.

This is the thing: Once you’ve run out of energy, you can’t purchase rounds, so you essentially can’t play the game.

There are a few ways of getting energy back for Adventure mode, at least -- although it's rather a slog to do so:

  1. You can win energy refill items from battle, which restore 5 energy each
  2. You can pay money to increase the stamina meter from 10 to 25, or
  3. You can wait for ten minutes to get one measly little energy back.

It’s worse for Arena energy; you’ll be waiting around for an hour and a half to recharge one point.

This wouldn’t be so troublesome if there were certain rounds you could play without spending stamina, but everything needs it. The way it’s set up makes playing incredibly difficult if you're not willing to pay for a meter boost or better cards.

Solutions -- Or How Can We Solve This Problem? 

There are ways the developers could include a stamina meter that's not predicated on buying items. What would help the issue? An exchange system where a set number of Giggitywatts can be turned into energy. There’s already a system in the game where cards can be recycled into Giggitywatts, so this wouldn’t be a stretch for the devs.

Another way to go about fixing the stamina problem is to add a feature where watching certain advertisements gives the player an energy point or two. You wouldn’t be able to farm for energy points, of course, but it could still work to give players just enough to continue playing.

Of course, this waiting mechanic is inherent to many mobile, free-to-play games and even some MMOs, for example. But one game truly hit the nail on the head when it comes to keeping their players engaged, while also implementing an energy-replenish/waiting-style mechanic -- without having players spend too much money to do so. 

Case in Point: 

There are some good ways of incorporating stamina energy into games. It's a useful mechanic if it limits how far competitive players can advance, making it so newcomers to a game won't get demolished by players who have been grinding for a few hours and have reached insanely high levels.

If you're going to include stamina in your game and it doesn't provide this specific limitation, make sure it's optional. WoW does this well by giving players the option to rest for additional experience. Developing a system where players can wait for a rare card, rather than having to grind the actual game, seems like a better way -- on that Animation Throwdown could go.

Even Majora's Mask has a limiting system. Players only get a set amount of time to get things done before they have to reset all their hard work (but they do get to choose when and if they want to go back and wait to do it all over again). There's a big difference between giving the option to wait for bonuses and forcing players to wait for the main game.

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One thing’s certain: the stamina system for Animation Throwdown is frustrating at best in its current build. If you are really into the game, you're going to either A.) pay money to get energy or B.) wait a long, long, long, long time for it to replenish.

It’s a weird barrier that has some potential, sure -- especially in the Arena -- but the way it’s currently implemented severely limits your playtime and the battles you can play.

What do you think? Is the stamina meter a big issue or was there another mechanic just as frustrating? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Published Dec. 11th 2016

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