Tucked away in the Artist’s Alley of SUPER! BitCon was a table full of computer monitors and paper beaks (if it sounds odd, don’t worry, the beaks were there for a good reason). Manning this station was Lucas Ellis, the lead programmer/artist behind Beakiez, a bubble-popper that his development company, opGames, hopes will breathe new life into the genre. Alongside him was Phillip Record, the director of marketing. With opGames’s own engine (opEngine) running the show, and some physics twists behind a classic gameplay mechanic, Beakiez is the next level of a familiar standard.
Those familiar with Puzzle Bobble, a 1994 release by Taito in 1994, will see some aspects of Beakiez that they recognize, but so will fans of popular mobile game Angry Birds. opGames felt that the bubble-popping game hadn’t been given a true reboot or facelift in 20 years, so they combined the beloved bubble-popping with a physics engine similar to that of Angry Birds to create a system of play that allows for fun tricks without creating an insurmountable challenge. Players help to free the Beakies trapped in bubbles by using Mealie the chameleon to aim bubbles of specific colors toward groups. When bubbles of the same color are popped, the trapped birds (and fruity power-ups) are released, and the player earns points.
The unique physics come into play in a very noticeable way once the bubbles begin disappearing: The bubbles left over in the playing field will begin to fall, rotate, and even drift together to form new shapes. Depending on the level, players may be able to manipulate the still-moving bubble groups to maximize their efforts and aiming, or they can let bubbles fall that won’t be of any good use. There are currently 2 zones with over 100 levels (with more to come) for fans of both puzzles and bubble-poppers, with an immediate reward system that has the potential to create a new addiction for casual gamers.
And what about those beaks on the table? They were for a photo contest, in which visitors could wear the beak, post the photo on social media, and use the tag #beakgame for a chance to win a $50 gift card.
Beakiez is currently on Steam Greenlight, where you can vote to bring it forth for mass consumption. It will soon be available on Desura, as well. Visit their website to sign up for updates on the game’s release, or “like” their Facebook for more screenshots and information straight from the developers.
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