A game about roaming crystal clear seas in a pirate ship, blasting apart large numbers of foes with a huge and varied arsenal? What could possibly go wrong?
The developer of Sink 'Em All!, Nitro Games, is hoping not much at all.
In this game, you guide a ship from an overhead perspective, and you are tasked with defending islands and treasure by utilising a range of cannon balls, missiles, and other strange weaponary.
Brendon Neuwerth, COO at Nitro Games, spoke to us about how Sink 'Em All! isn't just a mindless blaster, the inspirations for the game's design, and what future plans there are for the title.Pocket Gamer: How have you made sure the core gameplay doesn't get repetitive?
Brandon Neuwerth: Through level design and a sense of progression. This is further supported by the special weapons that bring in a degree of strategy, and what tools should you use against which enemies.
So, it's less about varied levels - although the game has several different themes - and more about managing your time in the level and what is important.
Finally, there is the score-chasing element that is tied into Apple's Game Center.
What does Sink 'Em All! offer that no other title on the App Store can?
Well, there aren't that many sea dog (naval) shooters on the App Store - even if there are a lot of games that offer special weapons and humour.
So, for us it was about how we would present these attributes differently. Take, for example, the humour: we use our special weapons and their attributes to put a smile on the player's face.
The game's homing rockets, fart bomb mines (which consist of all the putrid filth that a pirate crew can 'produce' while sailing), human catapults, and vortex mines ultimately all engender different reactions when used by the player.
It's important to have quick reactions to survive in Sink 'Em All! - how have you made sure that the touchscreen controls are up to the task?
Yes, it is heavily dependent on players' reactions, and therefore we spent a lot time testing and tuning to get the responsiveness up to the level it needs to be.
Overall, we feel that the multi-touch support for steering and shooting works well.
How much of a challenge was it to make sure each weapon in the game felt different to use?
Obviously, getting the effect to be different was relatively easy, but the challenge was making them feel different. To pull this off, we tied different outcomes to different enemies.
One example is the homing rocket, which is effective against the Kraken. The Harpoon, meanwhile, is more effective against other bosses.
Were you inspired by any other games when designing Sink 'Em All!?
Yes, Sink 'Em All! draws a lot of personality from Pirates of Black Cove and (to some degree) Woody Two-Legs: Attack of the Zombie Pirates - both previous titles of ours.
Do you have anything planned in terms of updates for the game? If so, can you give us any details?
Yes. This week, in fact, we will be releasing a big update - or should I say, a new free chapter - with six levels called Sweet & Sour (Oriental), two new purchasable special weapons, and some bosses.
Have you any plans to bring the game to other formats?
This is a well-timed question, for we can reveal that Sink 'Em All! is sailing onto Android.