Publishing other developer's games is a new concept for Two Tribes. We have made ports before, but then purely as a developer. Actually taking over publishing duties makes you think about a product in a different way.
We do not believe in simply porting a game, it has to make sense on the target platform. The iPhone, where the game is ported from, already has a touch screen, so that feature is taken care of. The double screen setup and traditional game controls on the DSi were, however, really good candidates for improving the experience. But first let’s talk about the additions we made to the core game concept.
Hold and Next
Frenzic is one of those games where the player has to balance risk and reward. Safe players will simply place pie pieces wherever they see an empty spot, but that won’t get them any high-scores or power-ups. The more you try to fill circles with a single color, and get power-ups and score bonuses, the bigger the chance is you’ll get a piece that does not fit anywhere. After a couple of these, you’re out of lives and it is game over.
When I first started playing Frenzic, that kind of frustrated me personally. I like being in control, and really dislike when my fortune is decided by pure luck. Fortunately for me, we’ve implemented Next Piece and Hold functionality. The former shows you what the next piece will be, while the latter allows you to hold on to a piece or swap it with the one you’ve been given. Adding these features allows for improved depth, without complicating things too much.
We’ve placed the high-score table on the top screen. This allowed us to show players in real time where they stand in comparison to other players or the game’s built in score targets. Quickly glancing the top screen when you’re close to scoring your new high-score is best reserved for when you set off that nuke power-up though, as the game can get really frantic.
Frenzic on iPhone makes good use of the touch screen, allowing players to quickly select the destination points for the pie pieces. We decided to allow players to use the traditional controls in combination with the touch screen. The result is a really flexible system, where you can choose to fire off power-ups or place pieced on hold with the buttons, while using the stylus to move the pie pieces to their proper places.
We are very pleased with how Frenzic has turned out on DSi, let us know if you agree with us after the game is released this Friday in Europe and Monday the 29th in the US!