seabeard_screenshot_1If you're new to the world of iOS gaming (and by new, I mean "not around in early 2009ish") chances are you've never heard of Hand Circus. Well, they were responsible for what was easily among the very best of the early iOS games, Rolando. It was released in late 2008, back in the glory days when ngmoco was still publishing fabulous iPhone games instead of blazing the trails of free to play. It was totally appropriate to describe Rolando as "the Mario of the iPhone" and Hand Circus was wholly responsible for showing us just what is possible when you make an iPhone game instead of merely a game that runs on the iPhone, an important distinction which was nearly non-existent in the early days of the App Store.

Rolando 2 followed later that summer, and Hand Circus took the incredible building blocks of the original and fleshed the game out into a universe, leaving us super hopeful for other things from the studio. Unfortunately, just around the time we were all really excited for a Rolando 3, ngmoco announced that they were switching to free to play, and further Rolando games didn't really fit into their new found business model.

Things sort of went dark from Hand Circus, until now. The UK based studio just announced a new publishing partnership with Backflip Studios, the same guys who linked up with Phobic "Team Phobic" Studios to release the smash hit Dragonvale [Free]. The first game they're releasing this summer is called Seabeard, which puts players in charge of going on an adventure to explore oceans in Wind Waker-looking nautical battles, build a party to crawl through dungeons, and a ton more:

It's hard to tell from the trailer just what the focus of the game is, as it seems like there's an awful lot you're going to be able to do in it. Regardless, I'm all about cel shaded games, and I'm especially all about anything from Hand Circus. We're planning on getting a hands on of the game next week at GDC, so, stay tuned for more details.

  • Anotherkellydown

    Added to my watch list. Have a good feeling about this one. Thanks for the article!

  • bobcorrigan

    This has a very strong Animal Crossing feel to it. That is a Good Thing.

  • FrehleyzComet

    Eli, this has nothing to do with this game, although it does look sweet and I'm now watching it, but you seriously need a home button for the iPhone app. It sucks when I'm 10+ pages into a thread then want to go back and have to wade through all the previous pages.

    • dancj

      Tap the back button quickly three times in a row.

      • xx99

        A single long press works too!

  • Nutrilica

    OceanHorn?

  • bueroaugenbluten

    I'm VERY positiv that this will be AWESOME!

  • Anpro

    There's no flapping in this game, I'm out.

  • Boris Nguetie

    looks very cool!! but still dont know whatt its all about!! if its in the line of oceanhorn i'm 500% in!!

  • Onikage725

    This might sound weird, but it kinda makes me think of Conker's Bad Fur Day. Just in that way in which it didn't focus on one style, but competently switched gameplay genres throughout the experience.

  • wizardhowl

    I loved the Rolando games and have really missed Hand Circus on the App Store! This looks like it could have a lot of depth & looks intriguing enough to be an instabuy for those reasons alone. Can't wait for your hands-on impressions, Eli!

  • ohfish

    It doesn't look like it'll be Rolando level good but I'm still excited.

  • Bliquid

    Wind Waker meets Clash of Clans?

  • nini

    I'm hoping for something with a decent price tag but even if it's a F2P thing, at least let the currency system be fair.

  • 5hift

    Hey this looks cool!

    Another app added to my watchlist.

  • Bool Zero

    Totally interested! Added to watch list!

  • Madison

    No dealbreaking iAP and I'll gladly pay an Oceanhorn price for this.

  • Mestour Zouhair

    GOD why did it have to turn into this )=
    Its all because of apple who let devs make games win iap

  • DeLtAg1An9O

    Ok... A... Well... I would like to... You know... See the combat?

    +

    LOOKS AMAZING

  • vitalicboi

    This game looks so epic. I just hope you can change facial features in game. I hate those red weird noses. So excited to get this!