PlayStation Mobile Developer Interview: Penguin Party Circus World
Around a month ago we posted about the first piece of DLC that’s coming to Penguin Party and we got the chance to ask the developer (XMPT Games) a little about the game as well as the upcoming DLC which should be out later today.
Q: For those that might have missed out when the game first released, what can you tell us about Penguin Party?
Penguin Party is a puzzle game in which you place different types of arrows in order to guide your penguins around obstacles and towards a goal. Inspired by Chu-Chu Rocket, it is simple to learn, but it quickly becomes challenging; particularly when you are trying to get all of the pick-ups too. The game is free to download on Playstation Mobile and is our debut as a studio. We have also just released our first map pack for the game, which is the first in a line of updates. It is set in the circus.
Q: What has the response from the fans been like?
Penguin Party was our first proper release as a studio, so we had no fans at the start and literally no idea what to expect. Since release, we’ve had several people get in touch with us directly. It’s always great to hear from those that have played our game, whether that be via email, Facebook, Twitter, or our website. So if you are a fan, or want to give us some advice on the next release, please do contact us. We are still getting a solid amount of downloads every day, and we were very proud when we hit the 20,000 downloads milestone; particularly given the current niche scale of PSM. On the whole, the game has been very well received by critics too. Furthermore, we have tried to make several improvements to the game in the latest update, based on suggestions from people that we’ve received directly, found on forums, or seen on website articles.
Q: What made you want to make the first pack free?
Persuading people to play a game on PSM is tough, because you can’t give away free copies. For us, our main aim with Penguin Party was to establish a fan base. We weren’t really looking to make a large amount of money from it. It seemed like putting something out there for free would be a great way to show people that we could make a solid game, in the hope that they would follow us for the next game that we release. Plus, we enjoy making games, and we really just want as many people to play and enjoy them as possible.
Q: What can you tell us about the circus DLC pack?
It was important to us that the next pack feel as manic as possible, so the new objects and arrows are designed to make the game feel lively and a little zany. The idea was to have penguins flying all over the place. The pack will bring 10 free circus levels, 45 regular circus puzzles, and 10 super difficult circus levels. We are also including 10 super difficult puzzles for the original Birthday Party pack. In addition, we have also produced brand new graphics, music, and sound; we hope that this will make the new maps feel thematically distinct from the original game.
Q: What kind of new arrows/objects can we expect?
The trampette arrow is the first new item we’ve added. Players get a chance to have a go with it in the free circus levels, without purchasing the full map pack. Whenever a penguin walks over it, they will continue walking in the same direction, but will bounce over what ever tile is in front of them. This means that you can do things like bouncing penguins over rocks, or bouncing them over other arrows to avoid using them. You can even use them to send balls (which have replaced ice cubes for this pack) over obstacles. However, if a penguin follows after the ball and lands on it, they will pop it.
The second object is a circus cannon. Penguins that enter it will be fired across the map to a large target. Upon landing, they then continue walking in the direction that they entered the cannon from. Essentially, this allow players to teleport their penguins around the map, ignoring any obstacles that might be in the way.
The third object is “Punchy the clown”. He’s a wooden clown head with a boxing glove in his mouth. If a penguin walks one square in front of Punchy, it will be punched across the map. It will continue to slide until it hits a wall, the edge of the map, or a ball. Penguins will even ignore any arrows along the way. Once a penguin hits an obstacle, it will continue walking in the direction that it was going prior to being punched. This allows us to make puzzles in which players must push a ball in to the correct place on the board, so as to allow a penguin to be punched in to.
Q: Will there be another costume for the penguin?
Although there aren’t any permanent costumes for your penguins in this one, they do put on a little set of goggles and a helmet whilst being fired from the cannon. It’s probably worth mentioning that we’ll be reducing the price of the top hat and monacle when the map pack releases. We wanted to make sure that the price of the map pack wasn’t too high, but at the same time, we also wanted to ensure that the costume was cheaper. We haven’t really got any plans at present to add more penguin costumes, as the first one was mainly there as a way to allow us to put the game up on the store for free. However, if enough people want costumes, we would be more than happy to oblige. So please let us know what you would like to see, and we’ll do our best to get it in to the game!
Q: What is the 100% club?
Some of the feedback we received indicated that people would like some incentive for collecting all of the pick-ups on all of the levels. The 100% club was our way to reward players for that. From now on, every new map pack will have a node in the 100% club. We’ve even added a set of 100% club levels for the original birthday pack, which are free for everyone. In order to unlock that node, players must 100% every level in the corresponding map pack. The 100% club is reserved for our most difficult puzzles. These are often ones that are so difficult, that we left them out of the original release. So if you’ve unlocked the 100% club, you can expect a really fiendish set of challenges. We won’t be pulling any punches in those ones!
Q: Do you have any plans for further DLC packs?
The number of DLC packs that we make will depend pretty heavily on how many downloads we get for each. If we get a good amount, then we’ll continue to update Penguin Party. If not, then we will focus our efforts on producing other, new games for PSM. That being said, we are already hard at work on a second map pack, which we are aiming to release later this year. We aren’t quite ready to disclose the details for this one just yet, but once we are, you can rest assured that PSNStores will be the first to know.
We hope you enjoyed our interview and I want to thank XMPT Games for taking the time to answer our questions. The circus pack for Penguin Party should be out later today. I’ll post some impressions once I get a chance to check out the new levels and we’ll definitely talk about it on the next podcast.