PlayStation Mobile Developer Interview: Loot The Land
Match 3 games are standard for puzzle games, but they are also quite popular in the mobile space. Playerthree is bringing their twist on the old Match 3 formula to PSM with Loot The Land. I had a chance to ask Luigi Fumero, Development Director, over a Playerthree some questions about PSM as a platform and Loot The Land. Enjoy.
Q: So what made you choose PSM for your next project?
At Playerthree we like to develop games for loads of platforms and when Sony announced PSM we were very curious to try it. I believe it will replace Minis as the platform of choice to get games on Sony consoles easily. Not only it runs on PSVita, which is very cool, but It also gives us access to the many mobile users that love the PlayStation brand.
Q: You released Nom Nation earlier this year on Minis. How was working on PSM different than working on a Minis title?
PSM is very different from Minis for various reasons. First of all it is an accessible platform anyone can use (paying a very small fee). There is no need to be a Sony certified developer or to buy a dev kit. With a consumer PSVita anyone can become a console developer. To develop for Minis we had to use a dev kit and go thorugh the usual Sony processes, which while simplified for Minis they were still more complicated than PSM. I am very curious to see what will come out for PSM, I just hope it does not get over crowded with mediocre games. Also key will be the support Sony will give to the platform. I hope it does not end up like XNA did on Xbox360.
One other difference is that to develop for PSM you use C# and the SDK is so simple you can get something up and running in less than an hour. PSM is also allowing for more interesting things like in app-purchases while Minis was very “closed”.
Q: What can you tell us about Loot The Land?
We have been developing a native PS Vita title for almost a year now, Chronovolt, and in the meantime we were keen to get something out quickly on the platform. We had a working prototype of Loot The Land running on another platform and we decided to port it to PSM. It was a very quick and painless process. We also had a lot of support form our friends at Sony, so a big thanks goes to them.
The game is a novel take on the classic match-3 games, but it has been designed to work through the touch screen only. The player has to swipe his finger over objects of the same type linking them. The more he links the more he destroys and the faster he will finish the level. Depending on how fast he was he will be awarded a different type of medal, gold being the hardest one to get.
Q: I noticed at the bottom of the main puzzle screen there is a small army marching towards the right? What do the different waypoints do? I noticed a Spider in one screen.
At the bottom of the screen the player can see his viking army fighting against the villagers or soldiers trying to defend their village or castle.
If the player is not fast enough his army is going to lose as it is pushed back to the beach.
By linking many vikings in the puzzle area the player will send them to battle and he will see his army progressing to the right of the screen towards the village or castle. On the way to the right the army will encounter special events, those icons you saw like the spider one. These events make life harder for the player. One example is the drunken army event. Vikings, being Vikings, will get drunk once in a while and the player will have to tackle the problem. Some events require the player to tap furiously on the screen or shake the device, others will just be visual impairment.
Q: I also see there are mana and coins. What are each used for?
Before starting a level the player can equip up to two rune stones. These will allow him to cast spells like The Hammer of Odin to destroy a row of objects or Bloodlust to increase the morale of his troop of Vikings. Casting spells cost mana. The player needs to collect enough mana to cast a spell. Mana can either be collected in game by linking mana cauldrons or it can be bought in the shop before starting a level. This is where having money comes in handy
Q: Are there a maximum or minimum number of items you can connect at once?
The minimum is 3, its roots are in the match-3 puzzle genre after all. There is no maximum. The more items of the same type the player link the more points he gets, it’s exponential.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about loot the land?
If you are looking for a quick puzzle arcade fix on your journey to work on your PSVita I warmly recommend the game and I challenge you to get gold medals on all the levels. Let us know what you think of the game on twitter @playerthreeuk.
Thanks everyone for reading this and Chris for the interview. A special thanks goes to the wonderful team at Playerthree.
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Thanks to Luigi for telling us all about PlayStation Mobile and Loot the Land! Be sure to check out our PSM hub of more news, interviews and impressions.