May 14, 2012
Rovio has announced their first big non-Angry Birds game – at least their first after the massive success of that franchise – and it’s something of a familiar title. The game is called Amazing Alex, and it will involve players building Rube Goldberg contraptions in order to complete objectives and collect stars.
Now, some iOS gamers may think that this sounds like a game called Casey’s Contraptions released for the iPad in 2011, especially with the similar-looking blonde-haired protagonist. They would be quite right, because it is the same game. Rovio has decided to license Casey’s Contraptions, keeping the gameplay and general character design, and turning it into Amazing Alex.
So, what does this mean for Android gamers? Well, it means that the highly-regarded game (89% on Metacritic, and was Apple’s pick for iPad game of the week when it released) will be releasing on Android. The redesigned game is still in development, so there’s no real way to know what’s going to be coming with it. Casey’s Contraptions had the ability to create custom puzzles and share them with other users; will that be making a reappearance? Could that possibly be made crossplatform as well? Will the game be paid, or free to play? What will Rovio be adding to the concept beyond the original release? Those are all still mysteries.
The original game for iPad, which had an iPhone update in testing before it never materialized, has been pulled from the App Store; it’s still there in users’ purchase history if they want to redownload it, though. The developer of the game, Snappy Touch’s Noel Llopis (along with Mystery Coconut who provided the art) commented that “Rovio is a perfect gentleman. Not a Zynga at all.” – showing how the independent development community still seems to regard Rovio with respect, despite Zynga’s many indiscretions. Interestingly, neither will have any connection to the development of Amazing Alex and will stay entirely independent. In fact, Noel Llopis has still been discussing prototyping his own projects while all the stories have come out.
This could be an interesting direction for Rovio to go in if it’s the start of their ‘publishing’ direction. Maybe there are other ideas out there, good game concepts that would be hits if they’re given that dose of Rovio magic? Maybe this is Rovio’s plan long-term: help redevelop ideas that didn’t quite pan out. While the world would love to see a true followup to Angry Birds, a new idea from Rovio, this is a good alternative.