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The second entry in our “Pitch us in one Tweet 2014” countdown of the best indie game pitches is My Friend Spooner from Monkube, a puzzle-platformer combined with an interactive graphic novel, drawn in stark black and white for mobile platforms.
The game: My Friend Spooner
Availability: iOS, Windows Phone, Android, possibly PlayStation Vita, likely for around $3 (holiday)
The pitch: @svenvandeperre: My Friend Spooner, Lost Vikings meets Sin City.. …or was it Fear & Loathing…?
Why I picked this: The screen shot Monkube included in its pitch grabbed me. I love puzzles and platforming and the stark black and white graphic novel style, and the reference to Sin City promised that it wasn’t a one-panel fluke. Then there was the killer reference to the Interplay/Blizzard three-hero classic puzzle/platformer The Lost Vikings. Plus, the hint of an adult storyline, and was that a horse … on two legs?
What is it? My Friend Spooner is a puzzle-style platformer. You play as three characters, which are shown in the screenshot above: one ape-like, one horse-like, and one rhino-like. They evolve as the levels progress, and they must work together to solve platforming-style puzzles with no time or death pressure. The rhino guy can move heavy objects out of the way, for example, and the horse guy can help boost the other two to high places.
It’s designed for mobile, and the developers made the art style not only striking, but also functional. Monkube uses no textures, just black 3D meshes to keep files tiny. My Friend Spooner fills each layer (red, green, blue) of PNG (portable network graphics) files with separate black and white images. This allows it to store 117 story screens — about a comic book and a half — plus the game in an app that takes up just 103MB of storage space on your device.
Is it good? Monkube has drawn a gorgeous graphic novel with a compelling plot involving a robbery gone wrong. The score is trippy electronica from Spongemagnet, with a voiceover that had yet to be recorded when I played.
The game could use a dialogue editor here and there, but I laughed out loud at some sections. The comic-style story screens offer a terrific reward for completing the puzzle/platforming sections, which are generally well-composed and pretty, if not too challenging.
I played the game on an iPhone 6, and found the controls to be reasonably smooth. The game uses touch and press and swipe to direct each character where to go with almost no UI — a clean, graceful design clearly made for mobile. Monkube estimates that the story will take most gamers about an hour to work through. At the end, you open up another 22 more-challenging levels of platform play, which the company suggests should take another couple hours at least.
Look for it: Details on availability will be posted on the company’s website.
For more info: http://www.monkube.com/portfolio/my-friend-spooner/
This is the second of 10 selections from our “Pitch us in one Tweet” contest. You can find the rest of our choices by following this tag.
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