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Italian Indies Santa Ragione Announce Abstract Runner ‘Fotonica’ for iOS

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If you’re going to create an endless verbing game—running, cave flying, punching—you may as well do it with as much hard-edged Italian style as you can muster. Enter Fotonica, a stark first-person runner from Santa Ragione.

Whereas, say, Temple Run 2 is about turning left and right, Fotonica is about jumping, timing, and efficiency. It’s got a sharp, duotoned look and sparse vector art that combine to give you a sense of speed, and the way the camera wobbles as you jump lends weight and muscle. You can even see those line-drawn arms pumping at the periphery of the screen.

Fotonica offers two different playstyles: there are three endless areas, as well as seven more discrete levels. Endless runners don’t need much explanation any more, but developer Pietro Righi Riva—one half of the Santa Ragione duo—explains that the other levels will have a more “old-school, arcade" sensibility in his introductory thread in our forums. These are, presumably, levels that you’ll need to learn and practice before moving on, seeing more and more of Fotonica‘s abstract, geometric world each time you master a new chasm or navigate a different set of ledges and transparent platforms.

As demonstrated in this .gif, your runner automatically runs until you lift your finger off the screen, which sends him careening off into the wild black yonder. It seems simple enough until the constant acceleration overwhelms your reflexes. Oh, and both modes support local split-screen multiplayer—hello iPad version!

Santa Ragione didn’t burst so much as float weightlessly onto the scene last year with MirrorMoon EP, a vibrant, low-poly space exploration game. Fotonica is actually a little bit older—it’s been available online in any number of forms since at least 2011, as far as I can tell—but it’s the team’s debut on iOS.

If they’re interested in porting their back catalogue to iOS, Riva and his co-developer Nicolò Tedeschi have a substantial pool to choose from. I personally like Street Song, a rhythm game set in the desert that typifies the pair’s sparse, angular visual style.

Their multiplayer shmup-puzzle game Pipnis seems interesting too, and Myth of Medusa is an ambient first-person adventure game. There’s even a board game, curiosity-piquing-ly titled Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space. All of this is to say that Santa Ragione aren’t exactly green.

The iOS version of Fotonica has been revamped since its initial PC release, Riva explains, and includes new content and extra modes and options. Part of that work is going into a new, Greenlit version of the game for Steam, too. For posterity, you can still buy the original game (which comes with a Steam key) or play an online browser demo.

Fotonica doesn’t currently have a release date, but the Santa Ragione are “adding some finishing touches (menus, translations, minor level tweaks) and aiming for a release really soon," writes Riva. The game won’t have advertiesments or in-app purchases either, he adds.

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