Create a game for iOS devices in the then popular runner genre.
An original product standing out from its competitors, recognized by Apple specialists, as well as by the Western press and players.
The main character of the game is a bird, as we wanted to create a feeling of flying, not falling down (and no, Angry Birds have nothing to do with it). At first, we wanted to play around with a story of an owlet falling out of the nest and having to turn away from the tree branches falling down forever; however, the questionable concept of “an endlessly tall tree” and its overall lack of elevation made us rethink this option. As a result, it was decided to go ahead with a carefree flight of the character in a fairy-tale world made up of islands floating in the air.
The game mechanics of the first prototype was simple – the character kept flying down with the ever growing speed and the player controlled the character with the accelerometer trying to avoid obstacles on the way. We also decided to experiment with bonuses scattered along the level: one of them granted temporary immunity while others slowed down the fall or let destroy an obstacle.
During the tests we noted that players enjoyed destroying obstacles most of all and that is when we realized that we found the feature, which the game should be built around.
We decided to make our character feistier, and several iterations later we knew that our bird was destined to become a superhero.
Having gone through a large number of options, we finally came up with the concept that transformed into the character’s final image in the released version of the game. Making our character more “hairy”, adding the feather animation and changing its reflection’s perspective we managed to achieve more plausible and life-like effect of the character’s speedy flight, at the same time making it feistier.
Once the option to destroy obstacles with a power consuming dash was introduced, the perception of the game was totally changed. This seemingly plain gameplay element drastically changed the player’s goals: now he/she needed not only simply avoid the obstacles, but destroy as many of them as possible, while monitoring the power consumption and keeping up the balance between avoiding and attacking.
During an unscheduled brainstorming session, an idea was worded that if the character is a superhero, it definitely needs a super villain to fight with. An image of the main villain was created shortly after and different “boss fights” were added on to the game, where the villain used various devices trying to knock the character out.
We wanted to focus on the original gameplay elements and implement a project that would stand out as much as possible. Therefore we made a decision to swap the “endless” game format for an “adventure” divided into levels with a checkpoint system, a plot and new gameplay elements throughout the game.
The game was broken down into 5 levels, each representing its own historical period (the plot of the game was centered on time travels). On each level the player had a chance to use a new type of weapon to destroy enemies and obstacles. Each weapon brought with it new game tactics and ways to complete a level letting the player choose how he/she wanted to play.
The final version of the game was stuffed with diverse content.
The development was nearing completion and it was time to choose the final project title (OWL was used as a working title all this time, although the character was far from looking like an owl now).
A long list of title options was compiled and we finally came up with Swift Revenge. It managed to accurately describe the speedy and feisty nature of the game and also included a double pun – Swift is the name of the character and a type of birds, hence you could understand the title as the revenge of Swift, the character, or as swift, i.e. rapid, revenge or the revenge of a swift, the bird. The title did reflect the essence of the game offering several meanings in two simple words, just like the simple game mechanics offered dozens of various details.
The game was ready for release by the end of the summer. All promotion materials, from banners and press releases to trailers, were ready.
The result exceeded all our expectations. Not only was the game mentioned in the ‘New & Noteworthy’ section in major countries (including the US), but we also received a large banner located on the AppStore main page (with as few as 2-3 projects out of thousands of apps receiving this honor weekly).
Russian and foreign reviews followed. The global leading iOS games info portal TouchArcade gave Swift Revenge 4 out of 5, which is an extremely good result considering that TouchArcade reviewers’ average is 3/5.
The game was downloaded by thousands within the first week with the majority of feedbacks in appstore giving it the highest rating. This was the best award for the work done and marked the end of the project that exceeded our wildest expectations. Despite the fact that the runner genre started declining by the time Swift Revenge was released, we managed to prove that a quality product would still be recognized and valued by the audience.
The game was recommended on the main page of the US appstore in the most prestigious position and received a warm welcome from leading sites focused on mobile games.
A trailer showing the strongest game features was made within two weeks.