In mid-2011, David Hart approached me with a prototype he had been working on in his spare time. It was fairly simple: you had a Spongebob-like square character in a simple brick maze you could rotate with your finger. Upon each rotation, the character fell to the new “down” direction until it reached the exit.
The prototype had a level editor looked something like this:
One of my first tasks was to design new mechanics to expand upon David’s original idea, sort them by feasability and test them once a rough version of it was implemented. As usual, the amount of stuff that didn’t make it in the game far exceeds the amount of stuff that did, but luckily we managed to iterate quickly and reach a stable number of different mechanics in under a month.
At that point, I got serious on the level design. Our goal was to do a first release of the game containing a hundred levels, which we decided to split into five packs. These packs later became temples once we settled on the theme.
By now the game looked even uglier than when we started, so we decided it was time to get serious about visuals. After some searching, David hired Andreas Inghe, who is awesome. Expanding upon the idea of long forgotten temples, he started doing the assets for the different elements and backgrounds, bringing a new dimension to the gameplay.
By now, it had started looking like this:
If you have played the game, you’ll recognize some elements that later became World 2 a.k.a. The Earth Temple, and some early versions of Gravi (the player’s cube) and the exit portal.
When we started thinking about what the game would sound like, Andreas showed us some ideas he had been working on and we were quite frankly blown away! Here are some samples of the game’s music:
With new assets being added almost daily, it became clear that David’s initial choice of tech was becoming too constraining. Previously based on UIKit, David ported the game to cocos2D which gave us a lot more of elbow room to expand and polish the game to what it looks now.
To say that I’m proud of how it turned out would be an understatement.
Please visit the game’s official site for more information: www.gravimaze.com, or get the game by clicking on the button below.
I’m pleased to report that the game was pretty warmly received by most (if not all) those who reviewed it.
The game currently holds a solid 4.5 star rating on the app store with around 100 reviews. It was also picked up by some specialized sites, garnering generally favorable reviews:
App Store Arcade – “As puzzle games go, GraviMaze achieves almost puzzle perfection as well as being one of the best puzzle experiences that we’ve seen yet from the Apple AppStore.”
iFanzine – “Like any logic puzzler worth its weight in megabytes, GraviMaze stirs in plenty of nuance as the player dives further in.”
Mac Trast – “GraviMaze does a fine job of being simple, yet at the same time, produces a lot of brain challenging levels.”