Big Head Games talks ZooZooGo! and PlayStation Mobile
UK developer Big Head Games is no stranger to the PlayStation Network. They’re the talented team behind 2008’s puzzler Elefunk and 2012’s International Snooker. Big Head Games’ latest title is ZooZooGo!, a new twist on the classic match 3 puzzle games.
PS3 Attitude had the chance to talk with Dave Vout, Director at Big Head Games, where he gives us the rundown on ZooZooGo! and what it’s like developing for PlayStation Mobile.
[PS3 Attitude] How would you pitch ZooZooGo! to someone who has never heard of it?
[Dave Vout] A super cute take on Match 3, Mahjong and Sliding block puzzles, all wrapped up in a zoo theme collecting animals. It’s got an Alien in there as well. That’s the elevator pitch, the over a coffee pitch I’d add that you play Treasure Hunt (Macth3) to collect coins and treasure, and release animals into your zoo collection. You then use the treasures to unlock the other modes. TH has a lovely feel to it, sliding whole rows instead of swapping two tiles and when things get tough you have helpers such as ‘show next best move’. Between each of the six themes there is a bonus round cracking open eggs to find the Eagle and avoiding the King Cobra.
[PS3A] There are hundreds, possibly thousands of match 3 type games around. How does ZooZooGo! stand out from the crowd?
[DV] You slide whole rows and columns and they wrap so that adds a nice dynamic, you often find yourself creating multiple matches and huge bonuses. There’s also a Chameleon who matches with any animal and gives you treasure, the more of one type of treasure you collect the more chance of another type until eventually you find the gold elephant head.
Also there’s helpers that you can activate such as stop the snap back when you don’t match and add time to the clock and show next best move, there’s more and these all become useful in different themes, each theme having some additional gameplay, for example in the desert rocks block you and in the Ice Cap you can find a bonus Wholly Mammoth buried in the ice.
And let’s not forget it also has a Mahjong mode and a sliding block puzzle mode!
[PS3A] The art style is very cute. Why did you go down that route?
[DV] I wanted to make something with egg shaped characters as I could see them rolling around and to that end this is the first part of a much bigger story, ZooZooWorlds will take the characters and the worlds much further…it’ll all make sense in the end!
[PS3A] ZooZooGo! is said to be the first of a series with a ZooZooGo! Worlds likely to come out in late 2013. Do you have a clearly marked roadmap sketched out for where you want to go or are you taking it one game at a time?
[DV] Yes indeed, I want to start on ZooZooWorlds early next year, it’ll be something of a world builder/resource management game where the world you build dictates the animals you get ‘delivered’ (they are dropped in in crates from a weekly plane), this will be stage 1, then stage 2 will be multiplayer MMO style linking these worlds up and sharing/co-op with people…we’ll need to raise some money to do that properly!
We’re also going to bring the game to iOS and Android next month.
[PS3A] How many people worked on the game?
[DV] Four constantly and then other people dipped in and out, plus we commissioned things like music and SFX from an outsourcer.
[PS3A] Has developing for PS Mobile been a pain free experience?
[DV] Yes, very much, my hope now is it remains so and doesn’t fragment too much like the old j2me phone days which Apple are starting to do with the variations in device resolutions and processing power.
[PS3A] Sony recently announced that full PSN integration for PlayStation Mobile is on the way, which will include features such as online leaderboards and Trophies. What other features would you like to see come?
[DV] Multiplayer would be cool, if it was as easy as using GameCentre on iOS that would be great, I would love to do an online competitive match 3 mode.
[PS3A] Finally, do you have any tips for mastering ZooZooGo!?
[DV] Use the helpers, they really get you out of a tight spot, for example add 25 seconds is invaluable, but not always, sometimes it’s better to let the clock run out and start again. Show next move when there’s lots of eggs is really useful. Also I saw a few people mention in-app purchases and had a little grumble about them, I want to point out you do not need to buy anything you can play this game and get enough coins and treasure to complete it just by playing Treasure Hunt, but if things get tough we do give you the option to buy your way out of it.
Once again, we’d like to thank Dave Vout and the rest of the team at Big Head Games for taking the time to talk to us. ZooZooGo! is available now on PlayStation Mobile and be sure to look out for its sequel, ZooZooGo! Worlds, later in 2013.