We dug on Crowman and Wolfboy[$0.99]when it was released as a premium title late last year, but the invisible hand of the App Store has once again shown itself: developer Wither Studios just released a free version of the game.

The new Crowman & Wolfboy [Free] offers the same stylish, genre-blending platforming action as its premium predecessor, but it's gated by a set of in-app purchases and lightly dusted with more-or-less unobtrusive ads. The first six levels are free, but after that you'll need to pay $0.99 for the next nine, or $1.99 for the rest of the game (which also removes the ads). An Infinite Space mode will run you another $0.99.

Completely buying Crowman & Wolfboy is going to cost $2.99 either way, but the piecemeal version is slightly more flexible: if you're not interested in Infinite Space mode, you can still play all of the core levels and save a buck.

Either way, Wither Studios are only the latest devs to buy into an increasingly common trend: in a lot of cases, paid iOS games aren't making enough money to recoup their development costs. Farseer Games' Krashlander [Free / $1.99] went free last week, and the week before it was Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed [Free]. Just yesterday, we wrote about TreeFortress' decision to make Bardbarian [Free] free, too.

Don't mistake financial uncertainty for a lack of quality, either: we reviewed all of these games pretty highly.

In a post on our forums, TreeFortress' explained that they hope Bardbarian's in-app purchases will pull it into the black; on his own blog, Jeff Weber explains that his goal with the free version of Krashlander is to serve enough ads to increase his daily revenue. These newly freemium-ized games have different strategies, but their goals are always the same.

(Of course, the opposite can happen, too: Rocketcat Games' had to turn Punch Quest into a paid title because the in-app purchases in the free version weren't attracting enough customers.)

In any case, the App Store is now packing a freemium, "lite" version of Crowman & Wolfman. The game was also recently highlighted in PAX East's Indie Showcase, a collection of mobile diamonds in the rough. Maybe a boost on the free charts, PAX-based word of mouth, and this video of developer Doyle Daigle eating a habanero pepper and crying in agony can pull Wither Studios into calmer waters.

  • Anotherkellydown

    If you bought the game before will this effect you?

    • Intendro

      No. I looked at this developer's apps and this is actually a separate app. Good.
      (Some developers have sadly been dumb enough to change their full version app into an IAP for full version app, which of course means that the people who bought the full app don't have the new full version IAP bought!)

  • Himmat Singh

    The dev said this:

    The new version allows you to play the first 6 levels of the game for free! The "Premium" version of Crowman & Wolfboy still exists on the App
    Store as well. We decided to make the "Freemium" version a separate app
    so that none of our fans would get short handed by a switch over.


    So basically the free version is a demo with IAP unlock? How is that considered to be "freemium"?

    • kioshi

      Yeah the title should read Free, not Freemium

      • Himmat Singh

        Except it's not free either.

        Title should read: Stylish Runner-Platformer 'Crowman & Wolfboy' Gets a Demo

  • thelistener

    What I'm getting from this article is that iOS developers are finding the old Shareware model to be effective...

  • Anotherkellydown

    Thank you!

  • darwiniandude

    Hadn't seen this game.
    I really, really appreciate the devs stance by not converting the paid one to IAP. Wish the same had happened with Crazy Hedgy. I hate IAP. 🙂

    So, I just bought the $2.99 version.