Tengami Interview With Nyamyam's Phil Tossell
Last year we got our hands on the upcoming papercraft puzzle game Tengami, created by the team at Nyamyam. Tengami was back on show at the Rezzed PC and indie gaming event in Birmingham this weekend, so we caught up with designer Phil Tossell to talk about the game's progress over the last 12 months.
The obvious question to start with is what have you been up to for the last year?
We've been really busy the last year. Rezzed last year was the first time we'd shown the game publicly. Since then we've had IndieCade, we've showed it at PAX, Tokyo Game Show and apart from that, actually trying to get it finished! This time we've got a second level we're showing off - the Ocean level - so that's about two thirds complete, and then we've got a third level to come after that.
How many levels will there be in total?
We're aiming for three.
The new Ocean level - is that the biggest addition, the biggest change since last year?
The parts we had before are also a lot more refined. The overall level of everything - the interactions and the polish - has come up another notch again. In terms of content, the Ocean is the main new section.
How long do levels take to play through now?
It's interesting, I don't think anyone's made it through the Ocean section. I think it's a little bit difficult, some of the puzzles are a bit tricky! The Forest is quite gentle but the Ocean is a bit brutal, and some of the puzzles we thought would be quite straightforward turned out to be more difficult than we thought. I think maybe an hour at least.
Are you happy with where it is now? Obviously you want to make tough puzzles, but you have to have the pay off where people don't feel cheated.
There's one puzzle we really like, and the idea's sound but it's just a little too difficult. We're really happy though. We've evolved the ideas and what we can do with the mechanics to another level from where we were last year. We've managed to come up with a whole load of new stuff. You actually get on a boat and you navigate in a boat - it gives it a fresh twist.
Have you got a release date or window?
We're aiming for end of August. Whether we hit that or not....I think we might go a little bit beyond. It's going to be out when we're happy with it basically.
Having a game that's original and highly polished is no guarantee of success on the App Store. You've been working on the game for a long time now - does that make you nervous?
It's not orginally what we planned - we didn't plan for it to take three years. But the idea took a long time to find itself. We try not to think about it and just make the best game we can. Obviously we do all the other stuff - we need to talk about it a lot, show it a lot, raise interest and so on. It is worrying, you want to make a viable living. We don't want to be rich, but you want to make a viable living and keep doing what you're doing.
Sony are making the PlayStation 4 very indie-friendly, and touch gameplay is spreading beyond mobiles and tablets. Do you want to work on other platforms or stay as an App Store developer? Does that interest you?
Yeah. We've already committed to doing a Wii U version of the game. Last year we'd already said we would do PC & Mac and a few months ago, we were in talks with Nintendo. They approached us, they'd seen the game somewhere and thought it looked interesting. We were talking to them for a long time and then we decided it could be a good fit for the game. We love our Apple devices and we love iOS though.