Daddy Long Legs


Take a long-legged creature on a walk.

Daddy Long Legs is an endless runner-style game, where the challenge is simply to make your spider walk. Its long legs aren’t very good at holding it up and the only control you have is to tap on the screen to make it (try to) take a step.

While it’s sweet, addictive qualities makes it a bit like junk food. There are some nutritious bits of this app that make it as fun and long legged as it is. Here’s what I admire:

The spider is essentially a black square with two lines for legs, brought to life with two little eyes and some clever animation. As the spider takes a faulty step, its legs quiver and its eyes widen. When the fall comes, there is a satisfying splat, bounce, and blink that makes the failure feel real, but also humorous. The emotion encourages us to laugh at and enjoy our failures.

Daddy Long Legs exemplifies the game design principle “easy to learn, hard (or almost impossible) to master.” Playing Daddy Long Legs takes only a few taps to gets started but infinite taps to get the furthest distance. This principle can lead to great satisfaction, but it can also make games addictive and frustrating. Daddy Long Legs ups the satisfaction factor by occasionally sprinkling in “presents” containing unique costumes. Walking a spider decked in bling of your choosing definitely adds to the fun—it’s not just any spider, it’s your spider.

Emotion, failure, challenge, surprise, and personalization are ideas we often explore when making apps for our Digital Toys series. The series, which includes The Robot Factory and The Everything Machine, encourages kids to build, play, and experiment with anything they can imagine. Being able to make something of your own come to life, and to experience failure alongside surprise and humor, is some of the stuff that makes play such an imaginative, deep, and valuable experience.