In most casual games you receive an indicator how well your performance has been in a game with the visual feedback of 1 to 3 stars. Think Angry Birds or Candy Crush and when you complete a level your points and star rating pop up together with dancing characters. Now most players will move on to the next level and keep achieving progress in the game rather than achieve 3 stars on all levels. I would definitely be one of them and especially after a particularly hard level I have no intention to go back.
For some time I have been looking for games that actually manage to make going back fun and part of game play. It is something I often get asked about in learning, how can we get people to go back over old material when they have only just passed and moved on. My answer so far has always been, we make it part of the process that only 3 stars unlocks progress.
Recently I downloaded a game called “Gummy drops” by Big Fish games, which has come up with fun gameplay and encourages you to reach full completion in each level. In fact it is preset to earn more coins when you complete a level the 2nd and 3rd time. The 3rd time is called mastery. It makes us of several point and reward systems, the main one being coins, but also bricks, graduation hats and pink diamonds. The overall purpose of the game is to travel around the world, but in order to do so you have to help build the main sights of a particular city. The rewards you earn in the game give you manpower and tools to build your city with. Typically, you can move forward between 5 and 10 levels before building is required. For building you need more resources hence you go back and play the previous levels again.
The clear link between the overall game purpose, makes taking on repeats of levels worthwhile. You can also earn more rewards by helping the locals with odd jobs along the way. The odd jobs all relate to running a city. It has a very light educational benefit in those side quests as well as learning the major buildings in cities that attract visitors and some random facts about them.
From a game design perspective it gives a good example of how you could use game purpose to drive people to complete levels more than once. Also the repeat gives slightly higher targets, so whilst it is a repeat, your skills are also being challenged to deliver better effort.
Where else have you seen games or gamification designs that ask people to complete to higher levels of competence?