In a late-night post on its Facebook page, Rocketcat Games officially announced that Wayward Souls will hit the iOS App Store on April 24th. This isn’t entirely unsurprising—the game was submitted to Apple earlier this month, after all—but it’s nice to have a firm date after a longer-than-expected development cycle.
Here’s the kicker: Wayward Souls will start off at $4.99 and increase in price by a dollar each time a new content update is released. Rocketcat has struggled with pricing issues before, so it’s great to see them investigating other revenue models.
Another Facebook update details first three planned updates (which would bring the price to $8): a new area to explore, an Endless Mode, and a new character. This pricing plan is designed to reward early adopters who feel burned when they buy a game only to have it drop to $0.99 or free soon after. This plan also keeps in-app purchases out of the game.
But, back to Wayward Souls. It’s a randomized dungeon crawler: you’ll pick from six different characters, forge new equipment, and sling spells in an attempt to survive long enough to cleave through some zombies and goblins. If that sounds familiar, it may be because Wayward Souls uses the same engine and gameplay ideas as Mage Gauntlet, Rocketcat’s breakout action-RPG from 2011. You can call it a spin-off or a spiritual successor, but lead designer Kepa Auwae calls it “how we wanted Mage Gauntlet to be, now designed for extreme replay value."
Wayward Souls has two things going for it, as detailed in Jared’s 20-minute sit down with Auwae during GDC last month (embedded above). For one, it dispenses with virtual buttons (having more than three gets “goofy," Auwae says) and relies on swipes, drags, and flicks on the left and right sides of the screen. For another, the sheer volume of characters, enemies, weapons, skills, and environments should (hopefully) lead to some interesting interactions. Each character’s final ability, for example, gets applied to the five others as well, which should allow people to mix and match enough to find a build and playstyle they like.
(As an aside, Rocketcat has totally nailed that chunky, slightly-fuzzy pixel art look. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something visually distinctive about all of his games that I really like.)
Now that development on Wayward Souls has presumably finished, hopefully Rocketcat can start throwing its weight behind Death Road to Canada, the Kickstarted collaboration with Madgarden Games. It hit a nasty delay earlier this year, but programming pugs that can drive a car is probably a little tricky, so I guess they get a pass.
Again, Wayward Souls launches on April 24th, and if you buy the game during opening weekend, you’ll get a set of in-game hats from Super Quickhook gratis.