English startup Starship has launched its Playworld Superheroes app that encourages kids to create their own game worlds.
Targeted at kids ages 5 and up, it is the first in a series of mobile adventures from Liverpool-based Starship, which was started by Martin Kenwright, the founder of Evolution Studios and creator of the acclaimed Motorstorm console racing game series.
In the game, kids can create their own crafts using a tablet’s touchscreen. They can use it to cut out a superhero mask and then assemble a full uniform. Then they can fly around in the world in an Iron Man-style power armor. You can pretty much craft anything. To enable that, Kenright’s team built an awesome 3D game engine that can generate animations on a tablet at 60 frames per second, or as fast as the speediest console games. They started with the Unity 3D game engine but modified it with a lot of custom code. Once you’ve created the superhero, you can take on the role and save the world from dastardly aliens.
The Playworld name is the brand for a series of action-adventure games fused together by themes of crafting and creativity. Eco-friendly messages are cloaked in the crafting.
“Playworld is like the secret doorway into a child’s imagination,” said Kenwright in a statement. “A child has the ability to transform the most mundane item into fantastical objects of great importance, and we really tried to mimic the way that children play with Playworld. Where an adult might only see a cardboard box, a child sees endless possibility, anything from a rocket to a superhero suit. In Playworld, imagination is the greatest superpower, you truly get to become the hero of your own creations.”
Starship believes that kids are an overlooked market on smart devices. The app costs £3, €4, and $4. It has no in-app purchases, as that is part of Starship’s plan to earn the trust of parents. The app runs on the iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Air, and iPad Air 2.
Kenwright founded Starship in 2013. It has a team of 20 people who have collectively worked on 69 games. Other apps in the making include a cooking title and a memory game.