Last November, NaturalMotion Games announced that they would be bringing the beloved block-based party game Jenga to iOS. A game like Jenga [99¢/HD], where you must pull blocks from a wooden tower and place them on the top while avoiding being the first one to topple the tower, was in good hands at NaturalMotion with their extensive expertise in the area of physics technology. We checked out Jenga when it released in December, and despite not having that certain “feel” that you get from physically interacting with the game in real life, Jenga on iOS was about as great as a virtual interpretation of the game could be.
Ever since the announcement of Jenga though, people have been asking in the comments section and in our forums “what about multiplayer?”. It’s a valid question, since Jenga at its heart is a party game to be enjoyed with other people. The game did ship with a multiplayer component in the form of a pass ‘n play mode, and you could compare tower height in real time with your friends’ Game Center scores. Fun efforts in their own right, but not an adequate replacement for a true online multiplayer mode.
Today at the IMGA Judging event in Barcelona, NaturalMotion has announced that they are one-upping their multiplayer game and bringing asynchronous online multiplayer to Jenga through Game Center. I think it goes without saying that asynchronous multiplayer has proven to be well suited for mobile gaming, and the idea fits in perfectly for a game like Jenga. The Android version of the game will be getting this feature as well using OpenFeint, and the developers have stated that it’s a “definite possibility” that they could enable cross-platform play between iOS and Android devices in the future.
Besides this huge announcement, NaturalMotion has also hinted at some special types of blocks being added to Jenga that can greatly affect the physics in the game. Examples could include rare African wood which would be much lighter than normal, or metal blocks which would obviously be much heavier and harder to remove from the tower. It definitely sounds interesting and I look forward to seeing how they will spice up the traditional play of Jenga beyond the included Arcade mode. What’s really exciting though is the announcement of online asynchronous multiplayer through Game Center, which should be hitting roughly in the next couple of weeks.