12
Feb
11

Horn came out on Android back in 2012, and it was a pretty big deal at the time. Phosphor Games Studio had previously seen success with Dark Meadow, and it was clear the studio could do great things. Unlike Dark Meadow, Horn was published by Zynga instead of the developer. The title made a splash when it was released, but the 1-star reviews piled up as updates failed to materialize. Phosphor Games now has control of Horn back in Google Play, but what went wrong?

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According to the developers, they decided to seek a publishing partner for Horn to get wider exposure. Zynga seemed like a good fit with its huge network of users. However, many customers were under the misapprehension that Zynga was somehow involved in the development and design of the game – Phosphor might have underestimated the animosity some people in the community feel toward Zynga. As if that wasn't enough of an issue, Zynga's marketing of the game didn't have the desired results among its fans. The result was, apparently, a game that languished without updates and collected angry reviews like the NSA collects your emails. The update could have been published by Zynga, but Phosphor felt it wouldn't do much good until it had the game back under its control.

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Phosphor originally thought it wouldn't be able to get the game listing transferred back to its own developer account. As an alternative, a second listing would be made, and users could transfer their saved games to a new installation. Of course, that meant buying it again or making the new game free. Phosphor Games actually posted the new version, but pulled it down once Zynga figured out it could transfer the game and give Phosphor full control to update as it saw fit. This arrangement worked out well for everyone – Zynga could cancel any future marketing efforts for a game that wasn't doing it any good, and Phosphor Games gets to push updates and support its players directly.

2014-02-12 15_58_39-Horn™ - Android Apps on Google Play

If you check out Horn in Google Play now, it has been updated to fix crashes and properly support Tegra 4. This is the first update it has gotten in quite a long time, but the early reviews from users are positive (and somewhat pointed when it comes to Zynga). The only downside is that Phosphor Games is now hobbled by a 2.7-star average rating. Phosphor Games tells us it has plans to add more content and support new devices, so maybe it's time to give this title another look.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://androidandme.com/ Taylor Wimberly

    Where is the epic tale?

    • tocsin

      Hahahahha just thinking the same thing

    • nooch

      Expected Lord of the Rings, received 4 paragraphs.

      • Ysel1948

        мʏ вυɖɖʏ'ѕ ѕт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ք-мօтн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ мαĸ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ѕ $85 ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʋ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀʏ нօυʀ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ƈօмքυт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ. ѕн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ нαѕ в­­­­­­e­­­­­­­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴ ғιʀ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɖ ғօʀ т­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴ мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн н­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ քαʏƈн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ƈĸ աαѕ $20з84 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ƈօмքυт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ ғօʀ α ғ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ա нօυʀѕ. ­­­­­­e­­­­­­хքʟαɴαтιօɴ SaveJury&#46com

    • Himmat Singh

      Just what I was thinking lol. Thought they'd interview the devs and share some juicy bits with us. And of course expected more than 4 paragraphs :)

    • Harsha

      I infact did not read the article immediately on seeing the post title, because I thought it would be a long post and will take time to read. When I finally made my time to read it, I was sad and betrayed that it was just a minute long.

      • magnafunk

        The most epic thing about this article is how much I agree with this post

    • dmcomp

      I think the epicness is to have nothing epic at all..

  • kgptzac

    Wow. Didn't know Zynga would go so low to delay updates that fix critical issues...

  • David Thoren

    The game may be fun, engaging, and multi-star worthy, but this article earns zero stars for its misleading headline attached to an article that fails to deliver.

  • gk1984

    Phosphor: "Can we have our game back? We want to take care of it."
    Zynga: "Ok, here you go."
    EPIC

    • CerealFTW

      Spares them the effort of updating it, i mean claiming to bring future updates

  • Outrager

    I was hoping they would go into why Zynga didn't let them push updates.

  • DarrenR

    Zynga doesnt give a shit about their customers. They refuse to fix problems but instead push updates for junk you need to pay for to play their stupid games.

  • Régis Knechtel

    "Phosphor Games tells us it has plans to add more content and support new devices".
    I really hope so, since I've always wanted to play it, but never had a Tegra device :/

    • flosserelli

      It is optimized for Tegra but that is not necessarily a requirement. Depends on your device. If you see an "Install" button, you are golden.

      • Régis Knechtel

        No install button for me :~~

  • Jalok Xlem

    I bought this game for 25 cents at the time when Google was doing that 25 cent app deal thingy back then! It has been awhile since I've played it. Time for a redownload! :D

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      You just made me regret my decision to refund that 25 cents, when this game did not start on my device back then. Was that a year ago? Two years?

  • tehboogieman

    The idea that people wouldn't like the game because it was associated with zynga is 100% on point for me. I have skipped past this game multiple times because, even though it has good reviews, I pretty much avoided anything zynga. I guess its time to check it out.

  • Alex James Simon

    Finally never was able to complete the game do to a bug in one of the later levels, glad Phosphor games got it back. Can't wait to play it, downloading now :D

  • Jaime

    Not compatible with my device :(
    I suppose is the Exynos chip fault, dammit

  • DrM

    My picture has drawn your attention didn't it? :P

  • http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008SRISGU#reader_B008SRISGU Adam Howell

    I got this game ages ago. I did wonder why it scored so bad. Barely any issues on my tablet, though not compatible with my phone. I think I got stuck in a wall once, deep into the game.

    Was certainly a cut above your average phone game. Would probably work well ported to consoles if they did a good job with the controls.