I don’t typically pay attention to smart phone games because I’m too cheap to pay for any of them (I’m probably one of the few people on this planet who hasn’t played Angry Birds or Candy Crush), but after reading an article on the recently released Republique, I’m pretty interested. Republique is another example of a successful Indie game getting Kickstarted. It’s been co-developed by a Camoflaj & Logan. Camoflaj is a new studio founded on the life savings of Ryan Payton while Logan worked on the Skyrim TV spot. Republique is Camoflaj’s first game & was brought about by the desire to make a quality mobile game on par with major consoles.
In Republique, you play as (presumably) yourself. You get a call on your phone from a woman named Hope who’s been held her whole life in a facility in an unnamed totalitarian state. Hope needs your help to escape, & you help by hacking into security cameras & other technology around the facility using the touchscreen interface on your phone.
The game is built as a stealth game. You have to be Hope’s eyes & help lead her around guards. However, she does occasionally have access to defensive weapons like pepper spray or a taser. The feel of the game is heavily inspired by 1984. According to Mr. Payton, the development had several goals in mind when working on Republique:
- Design a high-quality game for touchscreen devices
- Create a game with intense action that doesn’t focus on killing
- Create a believable, non-sexualized female lead
- Explore heavy topics such as censorship, voyeurism, control & paranoia
- Push mobile graphics
- Create a real bond between player & character
While this is Camoflaj’s first project, they’ve got some industry skill helping them. The team has members who have worked on the F.E.A.R. & Metal Gear series. It also has David Hayter (Solid Snake) & Jennifer Hale (female Commander Shepard) providing the voices for two of the key supporting characters.
I find the idea of this game really interesting because it’s pretty close to an idea for a game I’ve had before. The thought came about after hearing a lot of people complain about how in most games you’re getting orders from people who are off in a different room from you, sitting safely while you have to defend yourself while they push buttons & open doors. But what if someone built a game around you being the person pushing buttons & opening doors? Where the main character’s life depends on you in an indirect way. That could be pretty tense as you’re rushing to get them to safety without actually being able to control them. There was a game back on the PS2 called Lifeline that had a similar premise, except instead of a touchscreen you had to use voice recognition, & in that case it was more about issuing verbal commands for the character to follow. Of course, voice recognition being what it was back then, it was a very flawed system. But hopefully by using the touchscreen, Republique will work better.
The game is currently being released in episodic format, with Episode 1 out of 5 having been released on iOS on December 19. They’re also planning to release it on PC & Mac systems some time in 2014. No date has been given yet, but based on their original timeline, it’ll probably be around March of next year. I imagine changing to core interactive system from touch-based on mouse-based takes a bit of time.
I’ve only seen one review of the game for iOS so far which praised the game’s smooth touch controls & meta-aspects while criticizing the slow pace of the story so far. But it is just the first episode.
Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until it’s released on the PC before I can give it a test drive. The only Apple device I own is an IPad — I’m a Droid girl. But I have high hopes for this game & will be keeping an eye out for the PC release date. If you’re interested in purchasing it yourself, it’s only $5 on the Apple store.