This week at GDC we had a chance to sit down with Gamevil to have a look at what's in their pipeline -- and pipeline chock-full of games it is. The Korean studio has been quite busy of late, and this year they expect to release more than twice as many iOS titles as they did last year. Gamevil, who caters to both the featurephone and smartphone markets, has restructured to enhance their focus on the latter. And, while they have so far strongly established themselves as an RPG maker, in 2011 all types of games will be landing in the App Store, as evidenced by the titles they shared with us here at GDC.
The third member of the popular Zenonia RPG series, Zenonia 3 brings notable enhancements along with a new story to play through.
The story goes like this: The world of Zenonia was divided into the Heavenly Realm and the Earth Realm until a war between the Divine Tribe and the Devil Tribe caused the creation of the Midgard Realm. The main character of the original Zenonia, Regret, appears to his son, Chael, the hero of this story. Chael, shortly thereafter while walking in a wood with his fairy friend Runa, disappears into the mysterious Midgard Realm. Your goal, as Chael, is to help the Divine Tribe get back to the Heavenly Realm and return yourself to Earth.
Fans of the earlier versions of the game will appreciate the dramatically improved, razor-sharp Retina graphics and lovely onscreen animation.
Chalk n' Talk
Chalk n' Talk is a multiplayer draw-and-guess game something akin to Charadium, but with the addition of social dating elements. The game allows up to four online players at once to join a room and participate in a game of drawing a scene and trying to guess what it is.
Seeds and flowers are given to players that solve the puzzle, which represent the game's basic currency. By default, the canvas is represented as a chalkboard, but other backdrops can be acquired, both by spending virtual currency as well as via in-app purchase, to mix up the look and the finished drawings can be shared and liked by others. (Some of the existing works I was shown were pretty impressive!)
Players setup Gamevil live profiles that track their progress and allow groups of friends to connect. The profiles contain a self-photo which others can see and, if interested, reach out, send virtual gifts, request a game session, etc. It's a social mechanic that's proven quite popular in the original, Korean version of the game.
Chalk n' Talk will be submitted to the App Store this week and launch in Canada and various countries abroad around the 20th of this month.
The original Skipping Stone was apparently the first "one button" game for mobile phones and was IGN game of the year in 2005. The game is basically a simple timing / rhythm title where you to skip a stone across a scrolling field of water as far as possible by timing your taps to the the leaps of the stone. A tap precisely when the stone hits the water keeps the next leap at the same height, while missed taps result in smaller and smaller leaps until your stone sinks. Along the way, dolphins and such may jump out of the water to give your stone a helping nudge upwards.
Skipping Stone will be submitted to the App Store in late March or early April and will be available for both $.99 and free, with ads. (See gameplay in the video, below.)
A simple, pick-up-and-play title, Mr. Penguin (tentative title) is an entirely tilt-controlled game where your goal is to help a cute little penguin make his way along the vertically scrolling field of snow and floating slabs of ice. On the snow, it's an exercise in dodging obstacles as you slide along through the snow, while on the floating ice you must use delicate timing and tilt skills to bounce your penguin from slab to slab and on the backs of turtles, without falling in -- all while avoiding the sharks.
Game Center and Facebook integration drive your progress along the way. (See a gameplay sample at the end of the video above.)
Soccer Superstars 2011
Gamevil is following up last year's Soccer Superstars with the new Soccer Superstars 2011, an evolved installment of the title featuring a significantly upgraded game engine with much more advanced player AI. The game allows players to select team countries like the original, with the added ability to choose from among a roster of (fictional) club teams. The title is graphically similar to last year's release and maintains its special players and special shots, while bringing with it most of the peripheral features of the Baseball Superstars series.
Soccer Superstars 2011 will be submitted to the App Store in late March or early April.
We've just had the opportunity for a bit of hands-on time with the amazing looking Kami Retro, developed by Paw Print Games. The game is a platform puzzler that combines elements from Jet Set Willy, Rainbow Island, Mario, and Lemmings.
Gameplay involves flick-guiding a series of "Kami's" from start point to end point across colorful 2.5D, blocky retro playscreens. There are five stages with 13 levels each -- 65 screens in all. In addition to fixed platforms, the task at hand involves positioning movable platforms, utilizing upward-blowing fans, and the like. Game Center integration keeps the gameplay competitive.
Ever since we first got word of this one, we've been eagerly awaiting its arrival -- and the wait is almost over. Kami Retro is set to launch on March 10th.