Smith & Tinker, founded in 2007, was one of the darlings of the new studio startups when it launched its hybrid toy-game Nanovor in 2009. But while it was an ambitious attempt to win over young boys with a cool fighting game, it failed.
But the Seattle-based company was well-capitalized, having raised $29 million, and it was able to regroup. Now the company is launching a new version of Nanovor as an app for the Apple iTunes App Store. It is a collectible-card-style battle game (CCG), where you amass little creatures known as Nanovors that live inside electronic devices.
The game has been re-engineered from the ground up for touch-based mobile devices. Each creature has offensive and defensive attacks. Players can compete against the computer A.I. or battle human opponents online. You earn Nanocash in skirmishes and use that to buy new creatures.
“The sustained interest from the Nanovor fan base has been amazing,” said Joe Lawandus, chief executive of Smith & Tinker. “It was their input that drove game design leveraging the awesome 3D creatures from Nanovor Evolution alongside the strategic play featured in our original PC release. The dialogue with our players, largely via social networks, played a huge role in our development resulting in a new, one-of-a-kind collectible strategy game.”
The initial game has 24 different creatures.
Asked about reviving the franchise, Lawandus said, “Bringing the game back really wasn’t on our radar once we jettisoned the PC versions. But there was a core group of kids that were so persistent in asking us to bring the game back that we took another look. After a cruise through the App Store, we felt that CCG-style games were one of the few underrepresented categories. So we went back to the archives and found a bunch of game assets from Nanovor Evolution, so it helped cut our development cycle down significantly.”
He added, “Our guys here were fired up to bring the game back, so we started dialogue with the fans and created a hybrid game using the 3D assets from Nanovor Evolution combined with more battle strategy from our original release.”