Hot Five: How to make the perfect screenshots, Zynga embroiled in user review controversy, and how Deus Ex mastered mobile

Last week's top 5 stories

Hot Five: How to make the perfect screenshots, Zynga embroiled in user review controversy, and how Deus Ex mastered mobile

Welcome to's weekly rundown of the stories clocking up the hits, picking up the click-throughs and generally keeping the advertisers happy by serving up page views.

Or, if you'd prefer, the top five stories currently dominating our readers' attention.

Each week, we'll be counting down the biggest news from the previous seven days, giving just a glimpse of the industry's big issues, from five to one.

Monetizer: Puzzle Trooper

Editor-at-large Jon Jordan's latest looking at how games monetise – better known as Monetizer – saw him focus on Kabam's Puzzle Trooper, described by some as the firm's Puzzle & Dragons clone.

Developed by Japanese studio Gumi, his analysis of the first five minutes of gameplay for monetisation techniques suggested all is not well.

“Kabam and Gumi have plenty of work to do if they want to make a success of Puzzle Trooper,” concluded Jordan.

“Most notably, although the game is fairly highly monetized, the main reason to spend cash - getting elite troops via an Awesome Airdrop - doesn't seem to have much impact on your speed of progress through the game.”

Amazon solved the discovery problem long ago, so why haven't Apple and Google noticed?

Reporting from the NY Games Conference – unsurprisingly in New York – our man in the US Matt Diener last week detailed how the topic of app discovery was a hot one at this year's event.

But while developers continue to struggle to get their games spotted on Apple and Google's platform, could they stand to learn something from one of their biggest rivals?

"The real failure of app stores is that they're making discoverability much more difficult for consumers," noted Manifesto Games founder Greg Costikyan at the opening panel at the day.

"Amazon solved this problem years ago," he added, suggesting the online retail giant's personal recommendations based on purchasing history is a very simple approach both the App Store and Google Play should adopt.

Surely, however, if it was that easy, it would have happened by now?

5 simple steps to the perfect app store screenshots

Having previously detailed how to deliver the perfect app description, last week saw George Osborn take on the other element of app store design: screenshots.

"Like a form of virtual packaging, screenshots are the wrapper around your game that can make the difference between a consumer tapping that download button or swiping the screen across to the next app," detailed Osborn.

"With only five shots allowed for each title – and some frankly ferocious visual competition - knowing how to stand out is essential for getting ahead."

You can check out the five points he – and a few experts – settled on here.

Zynga draws suspicion as CastleVille Legends amasses five star reviews

Is someone massaging CastleVille user reviews on the US App Store? Having received a tip off from an anonymous developer, we took a look at the reviews published to date.

Editor Keith Andrew details: "Of the more than 50 user reviews added to CastleVille Legends' for iPhone page on the US App Store today – Thursday 19 September – almost 90 percent give the game a five star rating.

"Of those five star ratings, around 40 percent were made by users who have only ever reviewed Zynga games, or for who Zynga games make up the vast majority of their reviews."

Not exactly damning evidence, but certainly enough to raise interest.

How to follow a revolution: The making of Deus Ex: The Fall

Last week's Deus Ex: The Fall's making of asked an interesting question: if a previously PC only franchise was criticised by many for making a move of console, how could it possibly hope to make a mark on mobile?

"The game was built from the ground up with smartphone and tablet devices in mind - this was always the goal," said James Wright, mobile producer Square Enix Europe.

"We wanted to bring Deus Ex to a wider audience, and smartphone and tablets are a part of us doing that. Eidos Montreal and the Square mobile team in London decided that the way to get the best results bringing Deus Ex to mobile was to build from the ground up."

Not that everything has gone perfectly, however.

"Since launch we've been working on taking our A.I. systems even further," Wright added.

"And have already released an update to make the A.I. smarter, more aware of the player, which means the A.I. doesn't lose the player during combat, thus making much more enjoyable combat situations."