Indie game maker RocketCat Games has added a price tag to its freemium brawler Punch Quest, in an attempt to make some money from a game that has so far been a financial flop.

Previously, the developer told Pocket Gamer that "almost none" of the half a million gamers who downloaded the free auto-run game had coughed up for the in-app purchases.

"Maybe 0.1 per cent" of players had gone into the shop and bought some of the game's premium currency, Punchos.

A week later, RocketCat introduced an update that made the highest-tier items more expensive, and bumped the price on the mid-tier items by a tad.

Punched in the face

This update "helped for almost a week," designer Kepa Auwae told us today. But after that, profits "sank lower than ever."

"The real problem turns out to be that the coin gain, and the prices of everything, is just way too generous." Basically, you get to play so much of the game for free that there's no real incentive to pay.

To make the game profitable, RocketCat would have had to "raise the prices of everything by about eight times, minimum." Instead, the developer is now charging an upfront fee of 69p / 99c. No changes have been made to the shop or in-app purchase.

Kicked in the teeth

Offering advice to would-be indie game makers, Auwae cautions: "don't make a free game that's too generous. You will make no money." You won't win over free to play haters, either.

If you want to make a free to play game that's actually going to give you some cash, "make sure your game has, bare minimum, a serious grind," the designer says.

We called Punch Quest "funny, addictive, and just plain fun", noting that "auto-runner and beat-'em-up genres were a match made in heaven", in our Gold Award review.