As I mentioned in our Backbreaker 2: Vengeance Preview, I recently got a chance to sit down with NaturalMotion CEO and co-founder, Torsten Reil. We talked games, coffee, and how NaturalMotion have created some amazing, geeky stuff.
NaturalMotion Games is the new publishing wing of NaturalMotion. While they have released one game on multiple platforms previously, their main focus was developing and selling physics engines to game developers. These engines have shown up in some games you may have heard of such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Tony Hawk Ride, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. These are not lightweight physics we’re talking about either — not some simple ragdoll stuff. But some high end stuff that allows the models react to and interact with their environment.
NaturalMotion Games was formed after the amazing success of Backbreaker Football, particularly on the iOS platform. They currently have 6 games in development including Backbreaker 2: Vengance mentioned earlier and Jenga. A digital representation, in the geekiest form, of the classic table game.
Jenga takes that classic party game and brings it to your iOS device. And in NaturalMotion style, it’s done so with amazing realism. They worked closely with Leslie Scott, the inventor of the game Jenga, to make sure it was accurate. This isn’t just a simple demo with a stack of blocks, true care has been taken to bring the fun and the intricacies of the game to the iOS platform.
In the game of Jenga, you pick pieces out of a column of blocks and place them on the top of the stack. Picking the right blocks at the right time and deciding where to place them is the key to winning. In this version, you pick a block by tapping on it once — there will then be white (clear to pull out) or red (stuck — hard to pull out) markers on the piece. You then tap and drag the direction you want to pull the piece out — from the side, end, etc. Once the piece is out, you place it on the top of the stack. Easy, right? Well, there’s a lot more to the game than that, but that’s how it’s played.
NaturalMotion have added an Arcade Mode to the game, something that would have been really tough to do in a real-world version. The Arcade Mode is sort of a match-3 Jenga. You get extra points by pulling out blocks of the same color and placing them in full levels at the top of the stack. The more you match, the more points you get.
Care has been taken to bring back the traditional social aspects of Jenga to a traditionally single player device. There’s both pass and play and network play available. And, of course, Game Center integration. They are also working on other possible game play modes to make it even more social.
One thing is for sure, there are some real nerds at NaturalMotion Games, and that’s a really great thing. The attention to detail and the amazing reality of their games just blows me away. Bringing that passion for realism to Jenga, a game we all know and love, is awesome. Look for Jenga in the App Store soon.