We’ve been neglecting the Apple Watch version of Dare the Monkey for some time. In fact, we hadn’t exactly been keeping up to date with all things Apple Watch to be perfectly honest. So it came as a bit of a shock when I discovered recently that Apple had removed Force Touch support from Series 6 watches and in fact from any watch running watchOS 7 onwards. This had a serious impact on our game and meant that it was almost unplayable for many.
So why was the new change so bad for Dare on the Apple Watch you might ask? To answer that first I’ll need to explain what Force Touch is. Simply put, Force Touch allows the wearer to press harder on the screen to activate different options. At the very least, every app must provide a context menu that appears when the wearer performs a Force Touch. In Dare the Monkey’s case we provide sound and pause options when the player does this. And in case you’re wondering; no you can’t opt-out and simply disable the Force Touch in your app.
With Force Touch gone, Apple now simulate this feature by simply listening for the user holding their finger on the screen for a certain period of time. In other words, if the player holds their finger on the screen for approximately half a second when playing Dare, the game’s context menu will pop up and obscure the game.
So what’s wrong with that you might ask? Well you see, to jump in Dare the Monkey you have to hold your finger down on the screen. The longer you hold, the higher Dare jumps. However, with Force Touch now gone, any attempt to jump higher results in the game’s context menu appearing. This unfortunately makes it impossible to perform all of the game’s trickier jumps. Essentially the removal of Force Touch rendered Dare the Monkey unplayable on many Apple Watches. This was resulting in negative feedback on the App Store from players.
So we had a sit down and a think. And after some thought we came up with the best (and actually quite obvious) solution. We decided to map Dare’s jumping mechanic to the watch’s Digital Crown – you know, that little wheel on the side of the watch that you can turn with your finger. Now with the changes implemented, a short twist of the crown will see Dare leaping into the air. A quicker turn of the Crown will also cause Dare to leap with a higher initial velocity. Finally, turning the crown for a slightly longer duration will also help carry him farther.
If you’re used to Dare’s previous touch support then it might feel quite alien initially. However stick with it and we think you’ll actually quite like it. In fact, we now find it easier to get higher scores using the Digital Crown. And there’s also no longer the risk of accidentally obscuring the screen with your finger, letting you focus on beating your previous best.
We’re quite happy with how the change has turned out and wish we’d actually made it sooner. If you’re not convinced take a look at the video above where you can see it in action.