I find that the mechanics of the shooter puzzle game are simple enough to be addictive and provide a fun way to waste some time while you’re on the toilet, waiting for the train, or if you’re a girl and alone and outside and don’t want to be accosted by weird guys who feel entitled to your time and attention. I feel like the Lovecraftian element of the game really works–the gothic-esque horror and cosmicism set the game apart from other horror or high fantasy games. I started the process wanting to create a game centred around iZombie’s heroine, Gwen, but despite her interesting character, I decided to go ahead with the main antagonist Xitalu. Starting with the enemy and working backwards really helped in developing my game, from the theme to the mechanics.
What doesn’t work
Stepping away from the actual design and mechanics of the game, I find that my expectations are making this project harder than it has to be for me. I possess very little coding skill and not much more than a plucky perfectionist attitude who thought “yeah, I can totally make a mobile game in less than 12 weeks! Coding? Who needs it?” I downloaded (read: spent far too much money) several programs that were way above my skill and were pretty useless to me and my tutorial skipping ways. As a consequence, my game has been simplified so much that I feel like I may have sacrificed entertainment and substance in order to impress people with my mad Game Designer Girl™ skillz. Then again, Beyond: Two Souls exists, so substance doesn’t always equal a good game.
I came to the conclusion that combining a bubble shooter a la Bubble Witch with an ordinary shooter like Space Invaders makes the game feel too busy. Everyone loves a shooter game, so I’ve decided to stick with my original idea of a Lovecraftian shooter. Trying to create a story in the game also felt too clunky and busy– in my opinion, not every game needs a nuanced story or larger message behind it. Sometimes, we play games just for the sake of playing a game; casual games in particular. Like art for art’s sake, some games are just fun for fun’s sake.
Obtaining the rights to a comic/ TV show such as iZombie is a very difficult and expensive thing to do. While I will continue to research copyright and adaptations, creating a game based off Warner Bros. property isn’t a very viable option. If I were to make such a game, manufacturing and distribution would be delayed and no doubt be subject to Warner Bros. wishes. As such, perhaps a broader Lovecraftian themed game would be more achievable and impose less limitations on the development and distribution of the game– because who doesn’t love shooting oozy omnipresent aliens?