Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Great Little War Game You Should All Be Playing

Have you ever sat there and whittled away hours upon hours playing a game?  We've done that numerous times on phones, tablets, consoles -- you name it.  There's tons of games out there: puzzle, action, RPG, FPS, but the one we always try (and usually fail at) are those strategy games.  In turn, this usually has us backing out at the thought of it.  That all changed with this Great Little War Game.

As we said just earlier, we aren't huge fans of strategy games because of the lack of skill we can produce for them.  No matter how many times we try again and again, it usually ends in a broken.... something.  This is not the case for Great Little War Game, though, and we can thank the great devlopers at Rubicon Development for this.

We decided it was time to pull out the trusty Samsung Galaxy Tab and bring up Great Little War Game.  We'll admit that we were wary of heading into this game, knowing what seemed to be certain death.  Thanks to the great level design, we worked our way to the top and learned a whole bunch of great tips and strategies!

The level designs start out rather small and the difficulty level progressed as we did.  This makes the game a much more enjoyable experience.  It keeps the challenge there while making us feel super accomplished.  After all, we don't want to talk about games and absolutely suck at one, right?

The gameplay is smooth, but the the graphics are even smoother.  It totally reminds me of playing with little army men, tanks, and helicopters as a kid. The perfectly glossy look of the tanks and army men makes you really think back to your childhood (or, if you are a child, it will stick in your mind.)

After playing a number of rounds, we had some questions that we shot Paul Johnson, Rubicon's Managing Director, and he was more than happy to answer them:

Home computers were just starting to catch on when I first caught the bug. My parents bought me a Sinclair Spectrum in the early 80’s and that’s all she wrote – I’ve been a programming nerd ever since!

Do you feel the surge in touchscreen, portable gaming is here to stay?
Absolutely. The Vita and 3DS are perhaps the hardest core examples, but the sheer weight of numbers amongst cell phones and tablets means this market is never going away. Well,  at least not until we start plugging games directly into a usb socket at the base of our necks!

How about hardcore gamers?  Are iOS and Android games for casual, hardcore, or can they cater to both?
I tend to duck these kinds of questions, as everyone seems to have a different definition of the terms. I think the bottom line is that the market is big enough to support anything that’s executed well and is designed to run with tap and swipe style controls from the get go.
If you consider where most mobile gaming happens though, you do need to be able to play meaningfully whilst sat on a train/plane/bus/tube, so more casual or slower gameplay will usually find a bigger audience.

Great Little War Game is definitely a game that caters to both sides.  With such smooth gameplay and cool 3D graphics, how long did you work on GLWG?
I think there were about 18 man months invested here, across a team of 3 programmers, one artist and one level designer. We are all grey haired industry veterans though, so we’ve got our production pipelines well and truly nailed. After many initial design meetings we were able to sit down, plan it through and then just crank out the code.
What can we expect from the upcoming PS Vita and PC versions? Anything new?
We are actually well into a sequel right now and it’s already chock full of great stuff. The Vita version will be straight to the sequel so that will largely share the feature set with the new iOS and Android versions coming out some time early next year. There’s a ton of stuff done already and a ton more planned. Some headline features being:
  • Asynchronous online multiplayer
  • Fog of war
  • New units, new structures, new terrain
  • A 50 mission campaign, all on bigger maps with more going on.
  • Much, much more

I’ve never been good ad turn-based strategy games for some reason, but I have played (and utterly failed at) them for some time now. What are your favorite strategy games in the realm of GLWG?
I think there’s really only one and I’m sure you can guess what it is - Advance Wars will always be the daddy. GLWG has often been compared to this classic and usually in a favourable light, so this is the ultimate complement for us.
In other genres of TBS I quite like the 4X conquer the galaxy type games. Master of Orion II is my favourite in that genre and one day Rubicon are going to do something along those lines if it kills me.
Do you have anything exciting coming up on the horizon?
The sequel to GLWG you now know about, that’s our main big thing for next year.
The other thing we’re pumped about is our forthcoming dice game, Yachty Deluxe.  (http://www.rubicondev.com/yachty/)
It’s essentially “yahtzee™ with friends” and is about as full a dice game as you’d want. Asynchronous online multiplayer, Pass & Play multiplayer, vs AI play, several rule variants for patience games, achievements, leaderboards, full 3D physics dice, etc. etc.
We’re going into Beta with that in a few weeks and it will be free with unobtrusive adverts. (There will also be an in-app option to remove the adverts)

We really liked getting inside Paul's brain and inside Rubicon's Great Little War Game.  Oh, and Yachty Deluxe has us really excited, too!  We think it will be the next Words With Friends if we look at how Great Little War Game turned out!

You can find Rubicon Development and their Great Little War Game at their website, Facebook, Twitter, and on iOS and Android.

Have you ever played Great Little War Game?  If not, what's your favorite strategy game?