Tim and I hope to see you this Thursday (May 8) at Play/Interact, an OMSI event in partnership with Oregon Story Board celebrating Oregon creativity. From 1 to 5pm we’ll be showing off our games alongside a bunch of other swell organizations.
In addition to demos of Lotsa Blocks and Ramps, attendees will have a chance to play a very early prototype of a new puzzle game we’ve been working on. This is the first (and perhaps only) time we’ve ever publicly shown a game in this early state!
My younger brother took an interest in video games earlier than his hand-eye coordination would allow him to play. To stave off his inevitable frustration, I would nonchalantly hand him the second controller, sit behind him, and play the game for him as Player 1. He got the satisfaction of thinking he’d mastered the game, while I actually got to play.
I don’t remember if he ever caught on, but soon he was old enough to play games without any such trickery. Still, enough of a skill gap remained that I recall consciously seeking out games that were easy to learn, difficult to master. In hindsight, my concern may have inadvertently shaped our divergent taste in games. While my brother has since “graduated” to contemporary triple-A console titles, I remain preoccupied with playing and making accessible yet addictive games that anyone can pick up and enjoy.
It’s those games (and memories) that helped inspire Lotsa Blocks, Backabit’s second game for iOS. The simplicity of the core mechanic rivals even Ramps: Rotate and stack dozens of different blocks on a teetering platform until you reach the goal line. The execution, however, is far more complex.
The core single-player mode contains 70 levels across seven worlds, each with their own unique setting (we had a lot of fun designing layered backgrounds that would animate well in parallax). There are six additional modes to explore, three of them multiplayer. You unlock them by playing the game, or through a single in-app purchase if you’re feeling impatient. They include:
Adventure – Travel the world stacking blocks to new heights.
(Super Secret Mode) – For those who laugh in the face of danger.
Free Fall – Tilt your device to position plummeting pieces.
Endless – No goals, no rules, just stack to your heart’s content.
Last Block Standing – Compete against your friends or the world in turn-based play.
Versus – Race an online opponent to the goal.
Online Co-Op – A turn-based adventure for you and a friend.
We tried to do justice to the “Lotsa Blocks” title by including variety in more than just the environments and game modes. There are blocks that grow, blocks that explode, blocks that disappear and blocks that fall like a ton of bricks. Each has its own personality and banter to fill your heart with joy, even as your tower teeters on the brink of collapse. There are zany power-ups, extra lives and coins to collect, and a classic soundtrack reminiscent of our favorite Saturday morning cartoons.
All of this nifty stuff works in landscape or portrait orientation on any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with iOS 5 or above, including the new retina display iPad and the iPhone 5. It’s a universal app, which means you can buy it once and play it on all your devices… if you have iCloud set up, it’ll sync your game data, too.
Lotsa Blocks will go on sale in the App Store this Thursday (10/11/12) for only $0.99. We had a blast making the game, and we couldn’t be more excited to show it to the world and hear what you think. You can follow our shiny new @backabitgames handle on Twitter for Lotsa Blocks news, updates and tidbits.
My brother came to visit a few weeks ago, and I asked him to try a nearly complete build of the game. In the hour that followed, he proceeded to annihilate almost all of my high scores. Oh, how the tables have turned…
Now through June 1, you can pick up Ramps for your iPhone or iPad and keep an extra dollar in your pocket, simply Because We May. We’re celebrating the freedom Apple gives us to set our own prices, and we’re not alone. Dozens of indie game makers (including some heroes of ours) are doing the same.
Tim and I hope you take advantage of this awesome sale by purchasing some groovy indie games for iOS, Mac, Steam, Android and more.
The number one question we get from fans of Ramps:
“When are you going to make an iPad version?”
Those of you who follow us on Twitter may have guessed that Tim and I have been tinkering with Ramps for iPad ever since Ramps 1.1 debuted back in April. We’ve taken that time to insure that the iPad experience isn’t a mere port, but a definitive version of the game.
Another question we get asked a lot is whether or not Ramps for iPad will be a separate app, or a universal update. We wrestled with this distinction for quite some time, with both options having pros and cons, but we think you’ll be happy with our decision.