Tiny Troopers arrived on the scene to a storm of critical (and consumer) acclaim and it sits today with a metacritic score of 82. It’s no surprise either, considering the plethora of elements Tiny Troopers got just right; its humor, its homage to classic games, its incredible level design, its controls – the list goes on. We spoke to Kim Soares, CEO of Kukouri Mobile Entertainment, on the influence behind the game, the process behind putting it together, and where the troopers are heading int he future. Enjoy.
Tiny Troopers definitely has that old-school feel to it despite it’s modern controls, were you heavily influenced by retro games?
Kim Soares, Kukouri Mobile Entertainment Definitely. The most apparent influence is Sensible Software’s Cannon Fodder but also games like Commando and Who Dares Wins were an inspiration to us. We think that many C64 and Amiga games were truly great and we wanted to bring that to mobile devices and for current gamer generation.
The humor in the game is great, did you set out to make a funny game or did that just sort of ‘happen’?
Soares We wanted Tiny Troopers to have a sense of humor even though the subject of the game is not light. It wouldn’t be as fun a game if it took itself and its subject matter too seriously. Then again, combining humor and depicting something as serious as war the way it’s done in Tiny Troopers makes it in a way more serious than “real” war, at times. Several reviewers noted this actually, like Sean Koch from iFanzine who said that Tiny Troopers is “one of the most artfully disturbing representations of war I’ve seen in my years as a gamer”. We think that’s pretty good accomplishment for a game with cartoony little soldiers.
I remember getting my hands on the game at a really early stage, how do you feel the game has progressed since you started working with Chillingo?
Soares We got some great feedback, especially from our producer Tom Kinniburgh. It’s always good to have people looking at your game with fresh eyes and then to bounce around ideas. We went through different ideas on design and mechanics and the end result is definitely better than it would have been otherwise. Besides game design related matters, we also got good consulting on business side of things.
What are you most proud of in Tiny Troopers?
Soares That would be the fact that Tiny Troopers is in many respects more like PC or console game than mobile game as far as scope and production values go. We didn’t want to make a small game that people would download, try for a minute and then forget. Mobile games are the fastest growing segment of our industry and we think it’s an understatement to regard them as some kind of disposable Play&Forget products. One user review in the App Store summed it up well: “It feels like a proper game, not just another app”.
The critical reception for Tiny Troopers was amazing. 4/4 on Slide To Play, 9/10 on AppGamer, 4/5 on TouchGen. Were you surprised?
Soares Do we sound too pompous if we answer no? Haha.
Seriously, although you always lose some ability to judge your own game critically after spending as long developing it as we did, we have enough experience to know when a game is good. We were certain we had a good game in our hands from very early on. One proofs of that was that we signed a publishing deal with Chillingo, who are known for quality titles. We also adopted the approach of “the game is ready when it’s ready”. Originally we planned releasing in January, then March and finally we released in June. All the extra time was used to add content and polish. We wanted to make an even better game all the way through production.
What are the plans for the future of Tiny Troopers?
Soares Well, like most wars, it will not be over soon! We already have the zombie-mode update ready and that will be out really soon. In it you control the specialists from the base game as they try to fight back endless hordes of the undead. There’s even undead chickens. We know that players shoot them in the game so it’s only fair that the chickens will now get their revenge!
There’s also free lite version launching soon. Fans have already asked for drivable vehicles, napalm, fixed weapons and what not so we’ve got plenty to be working on. This is by no means going to be the only Tiny Troopers game. We’re itching to make one set elsewhere, so fans should keep their eyes open.