spartalordsKris Jones of Pocket Monkey Games is a one-man studio who decided to take his passion for game design and technology to start making his first iPhone game back in March. He has since seen early success with his first release Sparta [App Store] (now in the Top 50 Paid apps) which will allow him to continue to work full-time in iPhone gaming.

Jones told us that he first started visiting TouchArcade as a regular visitor, keeping up with latest iPhone gaming news, but later became an active community member to engage with the community and to get direct feedback on the game's direction.

I wanted to take a very active and direct role in communication with the community, primarily through forum discussion in TouchArcade. Unlike in "traditional" business, these active forums allow for instant communication and feedback, which creates better overall games.

Jones generated quite a following as his game progressed.

As a one man studio, however, Jones was realistic about what he could offer in the 1.0 version of the game and laid out a plan for constant free updates with a ramped pricing scheme:

I decided that I wanted to create version of Sparta that rewarded early adopters, rather than create this massive game all at once and charged a higher price for it.

Version 1.0 is a survival hack and slash. The player must survive hordes of of enemies until they eventually die. This version was priced at $.99.

Version 1.5 includes a currency system, a story mode, an assortment of new weapons and levels, coming with a $1.99 price tag.

Version 2.0 (to be priced at $2.99) is even said to include online multiplayer mode. The App Store's easy update system as well as the low pricing structure is allowing small game developers to produce early and iterate their product often. While this can result in a backlash if the 1.0 version is poorly received, the sense of community and direct developer feedback can generate some strong loyalties as we've seen with Bolt Creative's Pocket God.

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Pocket Monkey Games' Sparta game is a side-scrolling hack and slasher with a wonderful art style. The game has drawn some obvious comparisons to Zombieville in gameplay. While early reactions from the community have been generally positive, we believe the gameplay feels a bit incomplete at this early stage -- that's perhaps not surprising, of course. A gameplay video is available.

If you're looking for an inexpensive game that may grow in value over time, this is one to consider investing in.

App Store Link: Sparta, $0.99

  • dannys95

    You may want to clear that up arn. I believe the update is free and then the price of the app will go up to $2.99 . People might get confused when they read that and think the update won't be free.

  • dannys95

    You may want to clear that up arn. I believe the update is free and then the price of the app will go up to $2.99 . People might get confused when they read that and think the update won't be free.

  • Spindler

    That game looks awful. I wouldn't call the art style "wonderful".

    • Tim

      +1 - looks half hearted and lazy if you ask me.

    • rich_952000

      I wouldn't call the art style "wonderful" either, I'd call it "Awesome"! I really like the art I think it gives Sparta a unique, involved feeling. I say: nice job Kris Jones. Thanks also for your continued community participation. Great work and hope the best of success to you. :)

  • Spindler

    That game looks awful. I wouldn't call the art style "wonderful".

    • Tim

      +1 - looks half hearted and lazy if you ask me.

    • rich_952000

      I wouldn't call the art style "wonderful" either, I'd call it "Awesome"! I really like the art I think it gives Sparta a unique, involved feeling. I say: nice job Kris Jones. Thanks also for your continued community participation. Great work and hope the best of success to you. :)

  • Booch138

    The gameplay is actually pretty fun. Its not the best app in the store, but you can tell that a little heart was put into it. +1 for the dev too cause its only one guy. Of course theres bugs and certain issues. But it is fun, and I know the dev will stay dedicated to the cause. Now something does need to get cleared up about the updates though, are they going to be free or not? Because if not thats kind of lame.. and I had no effin idea. I can't support a 2.99 update, im sorry. As much as I thought this game was fun for short bursts of gaming fun, I wouldnt pay much more for it. Sorry, thats just me though. Maybe like a GNARLY effin update could justify .99 cents, but even then, thats still lame.

    • arn

      all updates are free.

      arn

      • dannys95

        I told ya to fix the article............

  • Booch138

    The gameplay is actually pretty fun. Its not the best app in the store, but you can tell that a little heart was put into it. +1 for the dev too cause its only one guy. Of course theres bugs and certain issues. But it is fun, and I know the dev will stay dedicated to the cause. Now something does need to get cleared up about the updates though, are they going to be free or not? Because if not thats kind of lame.. and I had no effin idea. I can't support a 2.99 update, im sorry. As much as I thought this game was fun for short bursts of gaming fun, I wouldnt pay much more for it. Sorry, thats just me though. Maybe like a GNARLY effin update could justify .99 cents, but even then, thats still lame.

    • arn

      all updates are free.

      arn

      • dannys95

        I told ya to fix the article............

  • liveFromPhilly

    Ingame is looks vibrant and lively, very uniquely stylized. The interface itself appears foreign and greekish. Looks pretty good.

  • liveFromPhilly

    Ingame is looks vibrant and lively, very uniquely stylized. The interface itself appears foreign and greekish. Looks pretty good.

  • murphone

    Graphic wise the game looks great, but game play wise it feels slow paced and got boring pretty quick. Hopefully updates will improve it substantially as it needs it.

  • murphone

    Graphic wise the game looks great, but game play wise it feels slow paced and got boring pretty quick. Hopefully updates will improve it substantially as it needs it.

  • Kris Jones

    The bugs that were mentioned were fixed in an update. I understand that some people don't find the game the quality of some of the other apps on the store, but for $.99, it is far superior to some of what is available.

    Also, the updates are free for whoever purchases the game now and we are working hard on version 1.5 to bring you even more value.

  • Kris Jones

    The bugs that were mentioned were fixed in an update. I understand that some people don't find the game the quality of some of the other apps on the store, but for $.99, it is far superior to some of what is available.

    Also, the updates are free for whoever purchases the game now and we are working hard on version 1.5 to bring you even more value.

  • Luis

    This Game is so amazing, I love it and for the price it makes it like ten times better. I am looking forward to the future of this game and this company

  • Luis

    This Game is so amazing, I love it and for the price it makes it like ten times better. I am looking forward to the future of this game and this company

  • Gart

    Yes this game is amazing, cough cough

  • Gart

    Yes this game is amazing, cough cough