Feb 27, 2014
GREE held their “Slide into Spring” event recently showing off some of their new and upcoming titles for the press. While they had a selection of titles that certainly fit into their free-to-play oeuvre, they also brought along a team doing some titles that are rather out of the ordinary for GREE.
G-Labs is a team meant to make experimental games from inside GREE’s US headquarters, which takes up the entire length of a street block. This small team makes games under the radar, without much of GREE’s marketing muscle, or even without being published by the mothership, as they publish under their own label.
And their games can be a bit wacky: Legends of Slap is a match-3 puzzler with a combat element: players must outscore their opponents in a best-of-three rounds system, with mechanics that work similarly to Bejeweled. But the game features animated characters that slap each other, and the winner gets to swipe the screen rapidly to slap the loser repeatedly. It’s available now on Google Play as well.
Another game, Flop Fu, which is still in the works, mixes the kind of impossible-to-control characters and dual-stick control scheme of mobile QWOP with an arena fighter. Limb movements that hit the opponent do damage, with headshots doing more damage. It has a lot of the wackiness of its inspirations, but with the new dynamic of it being a fighter. And it features online play. The game’s still in development, but should be out soon.
As well, there’s Coco Pets, a virtual pet simulator that is perhaps the most mainstream game that they’re working on, but it’s still just so different from the bulk of games that GREE traditionally publishes. And given just how goofy all of these games are, they definitely represent something out of the ordinary from the free-to-play giant.
While certainly the potential for future interesting gameplay styles for GREE games exists to come out of this team, it’s still just fascinating because it represents something so different for a free-to-play publisher. F2P games are very heavily refined and planned to be what they are, and here’s a company making a somewhat-crude slapping game and a goofy online fighting game. While the company is massive in terms of stature, revenues, and even just physically, it’s fascinating to see even just a small part of it make things that are just so relatively unrefined.
Of course, GREE is continuing on with the more traditional free-to-play releases as well. War of Nations from Funzio has made its way to Android. This strategy game has players raising armies, and taking over land in a game world, forming alliances to try to defeat other players and become the most powerful tactician in their world. There are a number of game servers for players to join up with and play on. The game is available now on Android.
Rage of the Immortals, also out now, is developed by IUGO (known for Knights and Dragons with GREE), and features a King of Fighters-esque art style and team-based fighting, though all handled automatically. Players can also build up a base, collect resources, and upgrade fighters in a system similar to collectible card games.
Finally, there’s League of Wars, developed by MunkyFun, and not out yet on Android. This strategy game interestingly brings in lane defense gameplay, albeit somewhat simplified: there’s no lanes for players to manually send their units to, they just send in their units strategically with their resources to attack the enemy, with units intelligently attacking the enemy and/or its base. Thus, automation is actually being used for good, rather than to just overly-simplify a game. This is likely a couple months out from Android release.
While certainly GREE has their fair share of expected games from them, it was the unexpected that proved to be some of the most fascinating things they had…