The Wii U eShop is, as all of the game announcements and emerging release dates make clear, getting close to a flurry of releases that may continue for much of 2014. It's a target store for established developers to some degree, but is also attracting plenty of newcomers to the industry.
One new developer preparing to make its début is BNC Design Studios; we previously spoke to the company's founder Jake Taylor for a perspective on licensed products for Nintendo, as the company has done work with toys and board games in the past. As suggested in that discussion, the studio is also lining up its first game for the Wii U eShop, which we can now reveal to be Gemology.
Utilising the Unity engine, this will be a falling block puzzle game, though with some twists applied. Aside from the main modes there's also DLC planned, with the company aiming to utilise a similar system to Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party — early-adopters will get DLC free, while those that jump in post DLC will pay a higher price.
Below is the initial description that Taylor has provided.
In the first release of Gemology there will be two primary game modes, tentatively referred to as 1 and 2. The first sees pre-made levels arranged of stone with small glistening gems protruding from each side. The player's objective is to remove all of said stones from the room by filling in each row with gems.The catch? The player does not control the gems nor any other object. Gems appear on stage through rocks that periodically 'cave in'. By tapping on the rocks with the GamePad's stylus the rock breaks and the gems appear and fall according to natural laws of physics (plus or minus a few adjustments). Unlike traditional puzzles which rely on rapid thinking and quick movements, Gemology instead favours patience and good timing. Instead of commanding the rocks and gems, the player guides them.
The second mode is more simple and geared towards a more casual experience. The playing field attached with the two pillars is filled about 2/3 of the way up with gems of all different shapes and sizes. These gems are slowly but surely falling into a pool of lava and the more gems that make it in, the higher the lava rises. The objective here is to tap a gem and drag it over to another gem of the same colour, thereby fusing the two. This can be done infinitely but at the risk of allowing more gems into the pool. There is no way to lower the lava and as your score increases so does the gems' speed of descent into the lava. Shoot for a high score and repeat. More gems appear on screen again through rocks that periodically 'cave-in' and can be obtained by again tapping on the rocks and breaking them apart.
There are plans for extensive DLC including an online multiplayer of the latter game mode including a handful of fun attack methods to use on your opponent, a stage builder as well as leaderboards, Mii usage and other fun little details.
Check back soon for an interview that goes into more detail on this game, in which we also gauge Taylor's views on wider issues such as the importance of utilising all that the Wii U and its feature-set have to offer.