by Zaid Kriel (Zaid) Posted Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:48:00 AM
Last week, while interviewing Cape Town based game developer Thoopid on my 2Oceans Vibe Radio show, the Snail Boy creators revealed to me their latest gaming project, Tap the Coin. While I got to be the first person outside their studio to play the game, unfortunately they were being rather coy with the public at large. With Tap the Coin now available, Thoopid have given the go ahead to talk more publicly about their latest game.
Space Invaders meet Flappy Bird As the title suggests, Tap the Coin is literally about tapping a coin. The game's purpose is to tap a coin which causes it to bounce slightly into the air and then keep tapping it so that it doesn't fall off the screen, with each tap counting as a point. Each subsequent tap causes the coin's movement to speed up and become more erratic, making it much harder to keep it airbourne as you progress. This give's the game a Space Invaders quality, where your reflexes get tested until breaking point.
From that description it doesn't sound terribly exciting, but like Flappy Bird, another a game that involved tapping an onscreen object to keep it from hitting the ground, it's terribly addictive. It may well be the new Flappy Bird.
Tap the Coin has a frustratingly high level of addictiveness that makes it unputdownable. I found myself so enthralled by this simple little game, that I played an extra song during my show's musical break to get an extra four minutes of game time.
Tap the Coin has a charming old school 8-bit aesthetic, with graphics and audio practically ripped right off of an old NES game cartridge. It's a beautiful thing to behold and their's a purity to it's simplicity of look and design that is hard to resist once you start playing.
As engaging as the game itself may be, the story of its creation is equally fascinating. Let's just say that while Thoopid rose to fame on the shell of Snail Boy, they certainly aren't a studio that works at a snail's pace. I spoke with Thoopid's Social Media and Marketing Manager, Amanda Presley-Knox about the games unique gestation.
Where did the idea of Tap the Coin come from? We haven’t taken a break since the initial launch of our first game Snailboy in 2013. With its quick success we are pushing his adventure to new depths, but after more than a year of slime and snails the team needed a bit of a break. So we decided to change it up a bit and challenge our lead developer to a one-hour gaming challenge. After an hour and fifteen minutes, the concept and mechanic for Tap the Coin was brought to life!
Did the entire project really come together in an hour and 15 minutes? All the code, assets, music everything? When the hour ticked down to its final minutes we had created a basic, shall we say, prototype of Tap the Coin, with the clouds, icons, the game's main mechanic, some basic sound FX and of course a coin. The entire final product you are playing today, with catchy tunes and flashy coins has taken roughly two weeks, development bouncing between Snailboy and Tap the Coin.
At what point did you realise that this could be a legitimate, salable game and not just a fun in-studio experiment? When the one-hour challenge was finished we carried on working on Snailboy, but spent a bit of time each day adjusting a few things here and fine-tuning the UI there. When we had achieved a fairly good level of addictive gameplay we started sharing with some of our friends. We soon realized that they were finding the game to be just as frustratingly addictive as we were. By the time we started challenging each other in the offices trying to top high scores, we recognized we had something.
How long did it take from completion of the game to final Apple approval? As soon as we finalised the game and prepped some basic marketing material, we started the app submission process to the iTunes App Store. In less than a week, Tap the Coin was approved and ready for sale on the App Store. Since initial launch, we have decided to make a few minor tweaks and add some more achievable coins. We are also working to release it on Android, which is taking a bit longer to prepare for. So in total we are expecting about 3 weeks to successfully launch a cross platform game.
It's a simple, yet highly addictive game. Do you reckon there might be that Flappy Bird level of appeal?
We would not launch a game to the world if we didn’t think it had some type of addictive gameplay appeal, but we realize that Flappy Bird level appeal is something a developer can only hope to achieve. We hope people will find Tap the Coin’s own unique charm and have the appeal that you hope to find in any decent game.
What were some of the other ideas that came out of this "1 hour Challenge"? The saying goes that you have to go with your gut instincts, so that’s what our dev did. Tap the Coin was his first suggestion and he ran with it. What’s more simple than a coin, a tap and some good old fashioned pixels!
Are your thinking of doing more of these 1 hour challenges? We haven’t planned on surprising our lead dev with any new one-hour game challenges yet, but these things you just can’t plan. Right now, we intend to put our heads down and move forward with the final decisions for Snailboy’s epic journey onwards, but maybe we will surprise you with some more games we slide onto the app store.
Tap the Coin is available now on Apple iTunes and if you'd like to know more about the game you can check out the website here.
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