Tell me more about what game fans can expect from Pet Alien on the Nintendo DS?
The fans of the famous TV series can jump into the role of each of the five Pet Aliens for the first time ever on the Nintendo DS. Each Pet Alien has its unique abilities but they need to work together to be successful. The player can also enjoy challenging and funny minigames - one for each of the five Pet Aliens.
What were the key reasons for making the game puzzle based and not platform based?
Often a jump'n'run game is created for a kids license. For Pet Alien we wanted to go a different route. We wanted to create something where the kids need to use their brain but still have fun while playing. Also the five characters of a completely different species were a perfect launch pad for a puzzle game.
Out of the five aliens, which was the easiest and hardest to design for and why?
In the case of Gumper's we knew very early that his special ability will be his strength. He can easily smash many things to pave his way through the levels where the other Pet Aliens would get stuck. On the other hand he moves a little bit slower than his buddies.
To design Scruffy's special ability was a little bit more difficult but not really hard at all. After many different approaches we came to the conclusion that his long tongue will be his super power. He can use it to collect items or press buttons which are out range for the other Pet Aliens. Because of his small size he can also squeeze himself through narrow holes.
The hardest thing in general was to balance all those abilities of the characters so that they are all equal in terms of usability.
Pet Alien is a lot more enjoyable and challenging than other DS titles, was it important to produce a game that was aimed for everyone not just for kids?
When we watched the first episodes of Pet Alien we found out that they were not only aimed to young kids - we all enjoyed their special kind of craziness. Therefore we decided to develop a game, which can be enjoyed by young kids as well as grown-ups.
Were there any ideas you wanted to include but could not?
Luckily we could include all of our initial ideas but we had to alter some of them to make them fit on Nintendo DS.
As a games designer, what's the most rewarding part about designing a DS title?
Our Nintendo DS toolset is very advanced. We had a basic working prototype of the game in just a few days. That helped us to test quickly our ideas and the gameplay very early in the development process.
What is your advice for any fans wanting to become a games designer?
Get some freeware game making tools from the internet. Those will do for the beginning. Start your career with a really small project and finish it in time. Don't start with something too complex as you may never finish it and therefore lose your interest.
Can you tell us anything about your next project?
One of our current projects is a Wii Ware title. Beside that we are making the final touches on 'Strawberry Shortcake - The Four Seasons Cake' for the Nintendo DS. 'Nanostray 2' is also completed and just needs a release slot.