The Emlings

A mobile game for kids.

The Emlings is a mobile game created for McDonald’s Australia (in collaboration with Leo Burnett) with main goal of bringing the magic back into their restaurants – in special to 4 to 8 year old kids.

In short, the concept is about these fantasy creatures, the Emlings, that were scared off from the Imagination world by the Nada monsters. The player’s job is to rescue the Emlings from the real world (AR for the rescue!) and teach them how to be imaginative again.

This project challenged me in many ways, from learning about educational games and designing for toddlers to learning about mobile game design. Perhaps the biggest challenge was to translate a rather complex concept into a game flow that couldn’t rely on text or many metaphors.

Also, McDonald’s as a brand has a great social responsibility for standing among controversies in a – rightfully so – critical society. So we worked closely with professionals in the education industry to make sure The Emlings reinforced McDonald’s social responsibility.

The Emlings was very well received by their kids and moms. It also got attention by winning bronze on the London International Awards (LIA) on the branded entertainment category.

Client: McDonald’s Australia / Leo Burnett
Year: 2014
Awards: Bronze on the London International Awards
My role in the project:;

  • User research;
  • UX design:
  • Creative development.
Home screen where the kids could see their collected Emlings. There are more than a million different characters they can collect.
Home screen where the kids could see their collected Emlings. There are more than a million different characters they can collect.
This is the screen where the kids can "train" each Emling in different activities/games. By training them, the Emlings grow and get stronger.
This is the screen where the kids can “train” each Emling in different activities/games. By training them, the Emlings grow and get stronger.
The activites/games are: molding, singing, painting and dancing. Each game has 3 levels, and also a freeplay/sandbox mode.
The activites/games are: molding, singing, painting and dancing. Each game has 3 levels, and also a freeplay/sandbox mode.
This is an Emling from the robot family.
This is an Emling from the robot family.
This is a bird Emling being captured through the AR feature.
This is a bird Emling being captured through the AR feature.
Playtest with kids in Australia.
Playtest with kids in Australia.
Main game-flow
Main game-flow
Some of my sketches of the game
Some of my sketches of the game
Some of the wireframes I created for the game
Some of the wireframes I created for the game

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