Gamious has improved its critical and commercial mobile game hit, iO, for NVIDIA Tegra-powered devices. The abstract puzzle platform game features 150 levels and exclusive DLC for NVIDIA gamers. Players will use size, speed, mass, and momentum to navigate obstacles like gravity, portals, tricycles, and moving objects. Playing with the laws of physics is literally part of the gameplay experience. Roy Vanbijsterveldt, producer of iO, explains what’s in store for NVIDIA gamers in this exclusive interview.
What were your goals heading into this game?
The concept of iO was created during the Global Game Jam back in 2012, where it won the location prize of best game. We picked up the game, expanded the team and together collaborated on the further development. The goal of this, and our other games, is that we aim to create pure, original games that are accessible to a big crowd, while still offering a deeper level of gameplay. IO is a game that works on keyboard, controller and touch devices, so collaborating with NVIDIA is a great match.
What’s the concept in this mobile game world?
IO is an abstract physics platformer. The goal is simple: reach the exit as fast as possible. Achieving this might be tricky. You have to use the ball's shrinking and expanding abilities to influence mass, weight and speed, gain momentum and make your way through the levels as fast as you can. There is no storyline; it's a mechanics-driven game.
Can you talk about the gaming experience and how it utilizes tablets like NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet?
IO's controls are pretty basic: use the left and right (touch) button to roll the ball forward and backward and grow (up) and shrink (down) the ball where needed. The touch controls were designed to match the keyboard’s arrow keys as good as possible, since all levels were designed and tested on PC. I'm proud to say that the touch controls work equally well on a keyboard or with controller input. You can race the same times on all different devices.
What does your game brings new to the genre?
Ninety-nine percent of all platform games out there are about jumping, one way or the other. In iO, you cannot jump. In order to reach certain areas, you have to roll, increase/decrease your size and roll your way to the finish. Put these mechanics in a physics environment, and you'll get all different types of challenges than you would normally expect in a platform game.
What excites you about what you can accomplish in mobile gaming today?
The mobile gaming market is very big and very accessible. Lots of people who weren't used to playing games are now playing games. This makes an enormous crowd available to developers like us.
How do you feel you're pushing things forward with this game?
For us, iO is the game that introduced us to a lot of new platforms, like Ouya back in 2014 and now Nvidia Shield platforms. It gives us access to a bigger crowd and teaches us a lot about the games market. With the game itself, we try to prove that developing unique and pure game concepts can be commercially viable.
How have you worked with NVIDIA on your game?
A few months ago NVIDIA reached out to us after seeing the game in action on the Ouya. With a Steam and iOS release in between, we're now finally ready to release the Google Play/NVIDIA version.
What have they provided in terms of tech that has helped with development?
NVIDIA inspired us to see where we could improve the game visually. iO is a very abstract and “basic” looking game. With their support, we were able to take things to the next level. On Nvidia devices, players can experience a graphically enhanced version of the game that looks a lot more sophisticated and sharper than earlier versions.
How does this impact the gameplay experience across the platforms you’re targeting?
The Google Play/NVIDIA build is the first version of iO with visual enhancements and DLC.
What are your thoughts on the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV device?
The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV device brings high quality games to a powerful streaming device. Android games that can be enjoyed everywhere on a touch device, can now be played sitting on a couch with a controller in your hands. This brings awesome possibilities to both gamers and developers, exploiting controller support, a bigger screen and a lay-back console gaming experience to Android.
How will your game take advantage of this hardware?
Playing iO with dual thumbstick controller support is pretty awesome. Rolling with your left thumbstick and growing/shrinking with the right thumbstick feels very natural. We're very happy that NVIDIA will bring the iO experience to the big screen.