Testing Tuesday: The Vortex Alexa Skill



New Episode of Testing Tuesday by @Florian and me.

This time we’re testing The Vortex by Doppio Games:

Very interesting game!
Topics we discussed:

  • The role of a narrator in interactive stories
  • The character design of the robots
  • Potential opportunities and risks of “open-ended” games

What do you think?

Testing Tuesday: Voice app candidates

I just found out the ‘The Vortex’ was featured in a recent Alexadev blog post:
The Vortex, an Alexa Game Skill from Doppio, Delivers a Double Shot of Customer Engagement with In-Skill Purchasing

Among the interesting facts in this post, two stood out to me:

  1. The team of Doppio (a charmingly coffee-inspired name! :coffee:) apparently consists of two games industry veterans Jeferson Valadares and Chris Barnes. Like with Dave Grossman of Earplay, I am delighted about the influx of such talent into the voice space! On the one hand, it indicates that gaming professionals see potential business models in voice games, and on the other hand this absolutely raises the bar for the quality of voice games!
  2. ISP seems to have a central role in the game, although Jan and I didn’t get there. I’m really curious about the ISP mechanism now… I could imagine two different approaches. One is that the story has more chapters, similar to Jurassic Word Revealed, and you need to purchase one or more entitlements to access them. The other option is that the energy jello that we were introduced to allows the user to stay alive longer or do more interesting things, and is offered as a consumable.

I guess I’ll try out the Skill in some more depth and then share my field report here. :man_astronaut:

If you have entered deeper into the Vortex experience and can share your thoughts and observations? What did you like and dislike about the Skill? Looking forward to the discussion!


:wave: Chris from Doppio here! Thanks for playing The Vortex, we loved listening to the discussion you guys had about it.

Two points–
1 - on ISP, we take the second approach you mentioned. If you play through a bit more from where you stopped, you’ll eventually hit on some tasks that take a few hours of real-world time to complete. You can either choose to come back later when those are done, or pay some multi-gel to accelerate through them instantly. All of the game’s content can be played 100% for free, though; we really wanted to avoid any hard pay walls anywhere in the game experience.

2 - the game’s UI is actually built on APL, and has a fully-optimized experience for Echo Spot, Show and TV, so it should look great if you fire it up on a supported TV-attached device!

Happy to answer any other questions here, too!


Hi @Doppio_Chris, brilliant, thanks for joining into the discussion! :star_struck:

This is a really sweet solution you implemented there - It’s quite familiar from browser and mobile games, but I haven’t seen much of it in voice (one other example I can think of is ‘Word Mine’, which we tested in another episode), probably because inventories and resources don’t come naturally in voice games: They require users to remember more things and developers to implement more virtual interface (like, “How many tokens do I have?”).
What I like about your approach is that it’s a win-win for you: Either you get direct revenue from users who speed up the waiting times by making in-Skill purchases, or you build retention by training your engaged users to check back in regularly (thereby probably increasing your chances of earning developer rewards).

Looking forward to testing more and getting deeper into the game! :sunny:


It’s a somewhat similar approach to what I’ve tried to implement in Angel Investor. In Angel Investor you get 5 pitches which are replenishes every six hours. Besides waiting, you can get new pitches for a small purchase, or buy larger purchases which decrease your waiting times and can give you added bonuses. Still everything is free, yet users can play through more of the content faster if they wish to pay extra.

I really like this approach as it can cater to all types of players being free at first and starting to generate revenue from those players who come back for more. I’ve tried Vortex as well and it does a great job of implementing this type of payment model.

One thing I’ve struggled with however is how to keep the game from feeling too repetitive. I think that may just come down to me needing more quality content. I feel like that’s one of the great appeals of The Vortex, the content is really engaging and funny and keeps you wanting more.


I agree!

And this reminds me that we should definitely have more discussions about monetization in this forum. Would love to get a few experienced people together to discuss strategies :money_with_wings: