Ask gamers familiar with the name 'Crytek' what comes to mind when they think of the indie developer, and 'cute', 'cuddly', or 'casual' probably won't be among the first words spilling out of their mouths.
Having made its name with award-winning shooters such as Far Cry and Crysis, Crytek holds a special place in many fans' hearts as one of the go-to developers for hardcore gaming experiences.
Recently, however, Crytek revealed another string to its bow, with the launch of the studio's Fibble - Flick 'n' Roll on iOS marking its first foray into the mobile market.
This physics-based puzzler casts you as a colourful extraterrestrial who has crash-landed on earth. He has to navigate his way around the rooms of a suburban home in a bid to blast himself back into space.
Kristoffer Waardahl, studio manager at Crytek Budapest, spoke to us about the game's controls, visuals, and future plans for the title.
A natural step
First impressions could leave you thinking that the bright and whimsical world of Fibble represents a huge departure from Crytek's traditional gaming output, but Waardahl says that making this game was a perfectly natural step.
"So many people are playing games on mobile devices now, and we're no different - we love mobile gaming," Waardahl admits.
"Ultimately, as a developer, we want to be creative, explore new ideas, and surprise players. That's something we've always tried to do, and Fibble just represents the latest step in that process."
One thing that won't surprise anyone who knows Crytek is how good Fibble looks. Working with a version of its own CryEngine technology, the developer continues its tradition of pushing hardware to its limits with its latest title. As Waardahl points out, however, the game is more than just a pretty face.
"A lot of people have been quick to comment on how striking the game is visually, and it was important for us to match the expectations people have of us as a developer," he says.
"More than that, though, we always want our games to stand out from the crowd gameplay-wise, as well, and we've worked hard to make an action-puzzler that feels fresh, innovative, and continues to offer new challenges through regular updates."
And on the subject of challenges, Waardahl praises the team he led in Budapest for its ability to adapt to the task of developing for a new platform.
"We didn't have too many difficulties, to be honest, and if we hit a point where we got stuck, we would brainstorm and quickly come up with a solution," he says.
"Sometimes, it helps to just speak things through, let others try things out, or even get an outsider's view. Generally, though, it was smooth sailing and everyone got to grips with the process really well."
An experience for everyone
In terms of the game mechanics themselves, you guide the titular orange alien from the start to the end of each maze-like level, overcoming increasingly tricky obstacles with the help of 'little green friends' that you're reunited with along the way.
Fibble's pals can help you jump higher, roll faster, and generally dodge danger, as you strive to bag achievements and high scores. It's an experience Waardahl thinks everyone can enjoy.
"I think the touchscreen controls really add to the game's accessibility, and moving Fibble around feels natural - right down to the way you can tilt your mobile device to get him rolling again if he comes to a standstill," he says.
"The game also possesses a difficulty curve that eases people in, though there are achievements in there, too, for more experienced players. The fact that you can share your high scores adds a competitive edge for those who want that extra challenge. There's something for everyone."
With Fibble continuing to garner praise from reviewers and gamers across the iOS universe, Waardahl envisages a bright future for the title and is excited about plans to build on its successful start.
"We can't give away specific details just yet, but we'll be adding some great new content to the game in the near future," he reveals.
"Fibble is an exciting new character for us and one we look forward to developing - from the upcoming Android version to regular game updates and more. Fibble is here to stay!"
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