sixty second shooter deluxe will be releasing on PlayStation Mobile this week. As we try to do with all PSM content we wanted to let you know a little bit more about the game. So I contacted Jamie Fristrom from Happion Labs so we could do just that.
Q: First off, can you let us know a little bit about Happion Labs.
After my last company, Torpex Games, went under, the smart thing to do would have been to find myself a regular job-job-type-job, maybe back in corporate game development – before Torpex I used to work at Activision|Treyarch. But I found myself making continuing to make indie games instead – because that’s what made me happy, even though I wasn’t sure I’d make a dime off it.
So when I was thinking up a name for this new venture, I thought back to high school when my friends and I used to pretend to believe in ‘happions’ – the subatomic particles responsible for happiness. (They’re present in sunlight, for example, which is why laying out in the sun can improve your mood) And… that’s where the company and the name came from.
Q: For someone that has never heard about sixty second shooter deluxe, how would you describe it?
It’s a dual-stick shooter with a sixty second time limit – and it’s surprising how fun that is.
Q: Were there any games you took inspiration from when making sixty second shooter deluxe?
Well, for the original, Geometry Wars, obviously – probably my favorite dual stick shooter. Maybe less obvious is Bejeweled Blitz – it was playing Bejeweled Blitz that made me realize how fun putting a time limit on your game session can be, and other mechanics I stole from Blitz include the multiplier power-ups and the Death Blossom is my equivalent to Bejeweled Blitz’s Last Hurrah. And, believe it or not, Diablo: although I know a lot of people who play Diablo by clearing out every level before they move on to the next one, I liked to give myself a challenge and descend to where it got challenging-but-not-too-challenging. That’s where the descender portals come from. Finally, when time came to make Deluxe, I had been playing a lot of Super Crate Box, so that inspired permadeath and the unlock system. So I’m not sure there’s an original idea of my own in there, but it’s a pretty unique mash-up.
Q: What has changed since the original game?
Permadeath is huge! In the original game, when you die, you’re penalized a little: you lose a multiplier. Ending your game outright really changed things up – I fell in love with the game all over again.
Another big change is the original game monetizes with in-app purchases – but there are no in-app purchases in Deluxe. You get the whole game up front.
Q: What made you decide to bring the game to PlayStation Mobile?
The opportunity to be one of the first titles on a portal, platform, or store before it got all cluttered. And also because I get to program in C#, which I have a soft spot for.
Q: Can you explain the leveling system in the game?
You collect these green spirals which earn you @: credits towards unlocking stuff. Every 7@ gets you a new unlock, which can be anything from new power-ups to access to harder levels (where new enemies lurk) to built-in powers such as your missiles, chain reaction, and death blossom. It’s my way of introducing the game gradually to people instead of dropping it on them in one big hard-to-digest wad. But it should only take an hour or so to unlock everything, and then you’re playing the game in all its glory.
Q: If you had to give one tip to players, what would it be?
Multipliers, multipliers, multipliers! Both the chain multiplier – which you earn by consecutive hits – and the global multiplier – which you earn by getting the cross-shaped power-ups. That’s the only way to get those over-a-million-point scores.
Q: With PSM still being in beta, do you think you will come back to sixty second shooter deluxe and provide updates as the platform evolves?
Yes – in particular when they add PlayStation Network support – but it’ll also be great to be able to respond to feedback in general. I couldn’t do that back when I was an Xbox developer!
Q: When can everyone check out sixty second shooter deluxe?
It launches October 31st – unfortunately, not everyone will be able to check it out, because PlayStation Mobile hasn’t rolled out to all the territories yet. Someday!
I want to thank Jamie for answering our questions about the game. You can follow him on Twitter for even more info. I played the game a bunch over the weekend and will have some impressions up for you all tomorrow when the game hits the PlayStation store.