Following on from the success of “Spongebob Squarepants: Bedtime in Bikini Bottom”, Nick wanted “Game Shakers” to be the next property to be given the mini-game treatment, including the established mechanisms of having a cross-game power-up system and “break-out” games that could be marketed and played as stand-alone experiences.
Creatively this was en entirely open brief so we could come at this as if it were a clean sheet of paper, which is always fun!
We enjoyed having the opportunity to come up with something from scratch but we needed to make sure we used a creative narrative that fitted with the Game Shaker’s brand values and could tie together 4 very different games based around 4 of the show’s core characters. So obviously we opted for “radioactive penguins are hell bent on destroying the city”!
Regardless of the plot, we wanted to make sure this follow-up set of mini-games kept up the level of quality and gameplay variety that we’d previously established. This includes maintaining high performance (targeting 60fps) even on older devices such as the original iPad mini, whilst increasing game complexity,
One of the issues we had building this game was due to a lack of assets from the show being made available. This would mean generating a lot of artwork ourselves as well as working with a very limited selection of character images and then making this work within the brand and with the types gameplay we wanted to implement.
All four of these games were fully physics-engine based, which allows for a lot of interesting emergent gameplay. The downside is the number of calculations that are needed every frame and the load this puts on older devices. We would have to be clever in our game design and sharp in our optimisation to get this running smoothly on the weaker devices.
In keeping with the Game Shaker’s irreverent and idiosyncratic brand, we built our game around the premise of 4 game-building friends, working as a team to fight an invading force of radioactive alien penguins from destroying New York! Only they could save the day as the penguins were invisible to most and could only be fought in virtual reality!
This creative concept allowed us to be quite playful with the gameplay and build 4 completely different games. From the gravity-manipulating ‘eggy-dread ‘to stopping time on a jet-pack powered blast through the subway of ‘light-speed jumper’ there was something for everyone, and yet again, something new, which we believe is a key reason for continued success.
Like “SpongeBob SquarePants: Bedtime in Bikini Bottom” before it, this game also uses two types of power-up. One that is earned and used in-game and another even more powerful power-up that works across all 4 games, irrespective of where you earned it. The first type helps Nick present the games one at a time as stand alone-offerings, while the second helps bind the games together, allowing players even more spectacular in-game effects (and better scores!) if they play them all at once.
We also added cool Web-GL powered special effects (for devices that could handle them without slowing down gameplay) to provide an extra layer of visual polish where possible: see the time-warp ripple as you stop time in “Lightspeed Jumper”, and watch the screen warp in the heatwave given off as the penguins expire in “Hoverball”.
Overall we’re proud to provide another great set of mini-games for Nick’s audience and to give Game Shakers fans a chance to get closer to their favourite characters on their computer or their mobile device, right in the browser.
We had a relatively tight turnaround for these mini games considering the amount of work needed and Peg rose to the challenge and exceeded our expectations. Live Action games are always tricky but the concept Peg came up with works brilliantly, and the games are a fantastic addition to our site. Peg always communicate well through every step of production so we always know what stage they’re at and they even added some extra Web GL effects which take the games to a whole new level visually. Peg always go above and beyond and are a pleasure to work with!