The good folks at Chillingo invited me to stop by their suite at GDC 2011 last week (which was actually run by EA, thanks to a new deal with EA’s Partners program) to see the company’s upcoming slate of titles on their way to the iPhone and iPod. On the next page you’ll see previews of Blobster, Anomaly: Warzone Earth and Painkiller Purgatory, all due out in the next few months from Chillingo.
Stay tuned — I also got a chance to speak with co-founders Chris Byatte and Joe Wee about their role publishing games for the iPhone and the iPod touch, including, of course, Angry Birds.
Blobster is a game created by Henrik Jönsson that reminded me of Rolando, which will probably be a fond comparison for those of you who gamed during the iPhone’s early days. You control a little blob rolling around the levels by tilting the iPhone from side to side, and you can touch and pull on the screen to launch him up into the air towards each level’s exit. Picking up more blobs in the level allows you to grow bigger and jump higher, and there are a number of other power-ups available with physics-based abilities. For one level, you might have to knock down a tower after first climbing up on top of it, or you might have to jump on a few enemies hanging around.
The game is fun, and the physics brings a nice new angle to the relatively standard platforming. The game will launch with three different worlds consisting of ten levels each, and two more bonus worlds will come later (the interface looks a lot like Cut the Rope, another Chillingo title). Jönsson also said an iPad version will come later with revamped controls for the bigger device, but he wasn’t sure if it would be universal or not. Blobster should be on the App Store by the end of April, and while a price hasn’t been determined yet, Jönsson told me that he was “in favor of cheap.”
This one’s based on the console video game from a few years back, but it’s just a licensed title; it’s not actually made by the same developers. I was kind of disappointed by this one — while it is a pretty respectable adaptation of a first-person shooter on the iPad, there’s nothing that really stands out about the gameplay. Demonic enemies attack you in ornate gothic halls, and … that’s about it. Even if you were a fan of the console game, this one features a completely different hero, and it’s short — only one level to play through (though I was told it would take you a few hours the first time around).
We’ll definitely give it another look when it releases later this year, but with so many quality games out on the App Store already, Painkiller might get a pass.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth
This was probably my favorite of Chillingo’s offerings — I’d seen the Mac version already, although I preferred the game on the iPad. It’s a bit slimmed down and accessible on the iPad. Described as a “reverse tower defense” title, in which you are tasked with guiding a little convoy of vehicles through various mazes of enemy towers, there’s a nice mix of strategy and action. You’ve got to keep your convoy up and running as well as time and place your power-ups (smoke, decoy, a repair zone and air strike) as needed.
There are lots of little tricks to learn as well — at one point, a vehicle in my convoy was badly wounded, so I ended up laying down a repair zone for the trucks to drive through, and once the wounded vehicle was through it, I quickly changed the order around and made it drive through again, grabbing twice the healing. As you play, you earn money for doing damage and destroying towers, so you can upgrade and build your vehicles on the fly as well.
It was really fun, and while the PC/Mac version of the game is bigger and will even have different objectives and different levels to play through, I liked the immediacy of directly interacting with my vehicles on the iPad’s touchscreen.
No price has been announced for Anomaly: Warzone Earth yet, but it’s also due sometime in April of this year.