I am posting my report to Six to Start regarding their Workout game, Superhero Workout. This game, for the most part, is accessible--By that, I mean after you get past the initial screen, most menus and the like are accessible.
The tutorial is also accessible because Six to Start added what I refer herein this report audio "next up" cues to the tutorial, but these go away when starting the main story.
This is what people need to do to successfully advicate for accessibility, in my opinion. Six to Start personally told me via support that they wouldn't recommend it. They said that because right now I honestly wouldn't recommend that either. But, on iOS, there are some games that when you open them, there is simply nothing. Cannot interact with the game at all. Those games it is safe to say cannot be made accessible--a notable exception is Freeq.
However, the fact is that a large portion of the game can be interacted with using VoiceOver. Is it enough to play it, however? No, because there needs to be audio cues other than VoiceOver, in my opinion, to make this game more playable than it is, followed by text or verbal descriptions of the exercises. So, knowing that I'd have issues going into this game, I decided to email Six to Start about my first impressions and feelings. Folks, if we want developers on any platform to take us seriously, gaming or otherwise, we need to start doing this kind of thing. Sure, I spent $2 knowing full well there would be issues. Back when Zombies! Run first came out, that game was very inaccessible, and now it is 100 percent accessible with even more accessibility improvements coming in Zombies! Run 4. The same process happened with King of Dragon Pass.
So that was a rant and some food for thought if people want to take accessibility seriously, we have to chip away at it, hard.
Here's my report to Six to Start.
Despite your previous emails about Superhero Workout accessibility, I decided to give it a shot. I am a gamer who plays games on console that are not 100 percent accessible, but we call them playable because by some kind of alternative method or methods, we are able to win and get through the game, with patience.
With VoiceOver, I'd still recommend fixing the initial startup screen when one starts the game, explaining in a few screens how to play and how the iOS camera tracks movement. VoiceOver users have to keep turning off VOiceOver, randomly tap around for the continue button for each screen of that until the main menu comes up, where there then comes a reasonable amount of accessibility there in that menu and the submenus in that menu.
So I started the tutorial. The tutorial notes that some exercises are based on how many reps and others have a set count. Does the tutorial go on regardless of whether you do them right or not? With the Squats, I was fine and the tutorial moved on without issue and went to pushups, if I recall.
So then it introduced jabs, so I just acted more or less like I was punching in front of me towards the phone, and that didn't work too well. That was the first time I had to press the "Skip" button.
The last one I had to press Skip as well because I wasn't sure how I was supposed to do the Side to Side shuffle.
So, with only two segments skipped in the tutorial I decided I'd check out mission one to hear the story if nothing else. Gone are the "next up" audio prompts in favor of on-screen displaying them, and some of those read with VoiceOver, some didn't. Most didn't, but the ones that did, I was still confused. "Next up, High Knees". Well, that could be a number of things, and me just flexing my knees up and down probably wasn't it, I guess I have to hold one knee up for a few seconds--probably an on-screen indicator, followed by the same thing with the other knee. I've never heard the term Burpee before, so when it said "Next up, Burpees", I had no clue what that was.
With obdominal Crunches I guess I did those okay because I didn't have to press Skip. Eventually, after skipping most of the workout because I couldn't figure it out, the game just randomly crashed and I think I was almost done.
I figured I'd send feedback to you not because I expect an accessible version soon--though that'd just be fantastic, but I'd like for Six to Start as a company to do something in the realm of Zombies Run AKA audio-focused game with a completely new story and characters for workouts that doesn't need workout equipment. Part of the appeal to trying this out is because I have some friends who really can't play Zombies: Run! effectively because they don't have any machines or anything. This would be a way to do some crunches, some pushups and other workouts like that and all you need is your device and your body. Also, I'm not going to lie, what I played of mission one has me interested in this story. Though, I'm curious. When the app does a three beep count twice, I'm guessing that the first one is a warmup wait to get ready, and the second three count beep means that the camera is tracking performance?
Anyway, I hope this helps. To make an accessible version of this game would take a considerable amount of time and effort, something that I'd sure help out with if Six to Start would be willing to. Either textual or audio descriptions of the excersises would be a requirement, and the audio "Next up" prompts would be helpful because VoiceOver does not always read them. Most times it only read the next one if I skipped the previous one.
But, with the accessibility bugs aside, the main difficulty I have with the game now even in it's current form is one, trying to figure out if the camera is actually tracking me correctly, and two, I'm just not sure how we as VoiceOver users could learn these workouts. I could go online and research some of this stuff, but if I follow instructions online the game may not take them because the game, it appears, wants you to do stuff in a certain way.
Well, you did warn me that these issues may come up, but I figured I'd give a detailed report on my findings, as it were.