Vancouver’s video game development scene has undergone some contraction in recent years, with larger studios closing up or reducing in size. But the number of people making games in the Lower Mainland hasn’t really changed.
What has changed is the types of games they are making. Instead of big-budget titles, smaller teams are working on games for the ubiquitous mobile devices we all carry around. Here are four recent releases.
When you’re growing a daisy you need to make sure you’re giving it just the right balance of water and sunshine. That’s the idea at the core of the iOS game Sprout Up!, in which you guide the upward growth of happy little Daisy. From Coffee Digital Entertainment, this game seems simple – all you do is alternate feeding Daisy drops of rain and sun that fall from the sky. But as the elements fall more quickly, and at varying angles, and when dangers such as lightning bolts come into the picture, piloting poor Daisy is harder than it may have appeared.
Clever Klei Entertainment took a game it made in 2006 and reimagined it for iOS. Cute, cuddly Eets has a sweet tooth, and it’s up to you to help it get to the cake at the end of each of the 144 levels (trailer here). The trick is to figure out how to place objects to guide Eets safely through the environment, trying to collect all three lollipops along the way. Eets Munchies also includes an editor so you can create your own levels.
Beyond the Dead
The first game from the Vancouver studio opened by Japanese mobile and social publishing giant Gree, this is an intricate game set during a zombie apocalypse. It’s got elements of role-playing, tactical, and resource management games, and all it takes to play is a tap on the screen. Combat is simulated, so the challenge comes from managing your survival. You collect crates and briefcases to gain resources you can use to upgrade and evolve the survivors and to improve your campsite. You can even improve your own survival skills, too. There are daily challenges and rewards to entice you to play regularly, and you can not just battle against other players, but you can create alliances with them, too.
This is an action-strategy game for iOS in which you play the monsters, who are rising up, natch. In each mission, the monsters you control – you start with Horseface and over time can add up to four more to your team – have a series of objectives to complete. Destroy all the cars in the level, for example. You’ll also need to break down meteorites that have landed on the surface to collect shards. These shards are the currency with which you can acquire power ups, boosts, and additional monster characters. Humans try to resist your takeover, of course, and you’ll need to fight them with a combat system that is part turn-based, part gestural. With a striking art style, Nine Tail Studios’ Monsters Rising not only riffs off and mixes the fantasy and fable from a number of cultures, it’s also an homage to the various monsters that have pervaded pop culture.