News Article

KnapNok Games and Nifflas Collaborating on Wii U eShop Exclusive, "Affordable Space Adventure"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"Hopefully we can show that the Wii U is great"

Enthusiastic download gamers making the most of the Wii U eShop will most likely have heard of both KnapNok Games and Nifflas. The former is the studio behind quirky party game Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party, which used the GamePad as the primary display and recreated humorous activities with Wii Remotes. Nifflas is the man behind Knytt Underground; the adventure game arrived late last year and was published by Ripstone.

When we spoke to Nifflas last year, he told us that he was a fan of the GamePad and its dual-screen potential, and that he was working with KnapNok Games on a project "really exploring what you can do on the device". That's now emerged in the form of Affordable Space Adventures; with funding from the Danish Film Institute, it seems to be blending Nifflas' eye for mysterious, captivating environments and KnapNok's eagerness to experiment and utilise the Wii U and its unique capabilities.

Speaking to Gamasutra, Nifflas explained how the user interface on the GamePad — used in real time and seemingly similar to ideas such as those in ZombiU — will be vital to the action on the TV, while explaining how the dual screen setup can accommodate single player and local co-op.

It'll be important to pay a lot of attention to the UI. You also get lots of information from it about dangers. There will be some shortcuts, but the aim isn't to not have to look at the UI. We aim to design puzzles that can be executed elegantly by only changing the ship's configuration at safe locations with no time pressure. In occasions where actions need to be made while flying, the player should never have to jump between two different sub-menus.

...Luckily, things seem to balance itself in a pretty neat way here. It plays nicely in single player, but it will be quite difficult as the player will both have to keep track of the ship's systems while flying the ship. In local multiplayer, puzzles will potentially be a bit easier to solve since you are two people who can talk about them, but to execute those solutions both players needs to be coordinated and agree what to do and how, which instead results in a different sort of difficulty. The way we can make sure both work is as always to do lots of playtesting and iterate!

The choice to release exclusively on Wii U also goes beyond the multi-platform approaches of most download developers, but both KnapNok Games and Nifflas are prioritising having the correct hardware over hard-nosed business decisions. Lau Korsgaard and Dajana Dimovska of KnapNok said the following.

Korsgaard: I think we have seen very few games, also from Nintendo themselves, that actually uses the GamePad in a meaningful way. Hopefully we can show that the Wii U is great, and it can give you experiences you can't get anywhere else as long as developers dare to design something exclusive for the hardware.

I don't mind multiplatform releases; for some games it makes sense. Nevertheless, as long as we try to make our games work on all platforms we will limit ourself to a subset of the possible interactions and mechanics. It is a special feeling playing a game designed specifically for the hardware, such as Frobisher Says for PS Vita or GoldenEye for Nintendo 64. These are games that are defined by the hardware, but at the same time games that define the hardware. We, the players, treasure these games because they reassure us why we have invested in this particular piece of machinery.

Dimovska: We like to challenge the traditional way of designing games. Technology and interfaces evolve, and game design should eveolve with them. New platforms and interfaces give an opportunity to think and design novel games, and we love that approach to design. Wii U is one of these platforms; the combination of motion controllers, secondary screen, touch screen, camera, thumb sticks and buttons gives so many opportunities for new and creative designs.

We never design a game and then just try to somehow fit it to a platform. We take each platform serious, and we try to design a game that really tries to embrace the advantages of the platform itself. We had that approach when designing Spin the Bottle, and we are doing the same when designing the Spaceship game.

Porting Spin the Bottle to another platform is not a straight forward procedure, all the minigames will have to be redesigned and new [ones] will have to be designed. The same is the case with Affordable Space Adventures: porting to a different platform than Wii U will require redesigning the game interface and potentially some of the mechanics.

Korsgaard: ...[If] we wanted to earn money I guess we shouldn't be in games. It is really hard to make any sensible business rationales in this market. Yes, there are not that many Wii U consoles out there, but does it matter if there are 5 or 10 million units sold when we just need to sell some 10-20-30 thousand copies to be happy? As long as we keep our cost low, I think it is much more important to work on a platform that excites us than to work on the stuff that everybody else is doing.

You can see the reveal trailer and a host of screenshots below. Check them out and let us know what you think; are you looking forward this title's arrival later this year?

Thanks to Razzle for the tip.

[via gamasutra.com]

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User Comments (57)

Tsurii897

#1

Tsurii897 said:

hmm...this looks actually really interesting.
I'll have to see a bit more (and how much it'll cost lel), but I think I will try to play it at some point (can't tell if I will have enought time/money to get it, when it releaeses yet)

Sean_Aaron

#3

Sean_Aaron said:

Awesome. Spin the Bottle is great fun, but I've not checked out Knytt Underground yet - I might have to correct that!

This is what I like to see, though: people who regard games as a creative act and not just a means to an end. I'm looking forward to more on this game; nice to know it's coming this year!

ACK

#4

ACK said:

This. This is good. Instantly among my most anticipated eShop releases. Cannot wait to see more.

Dinosaurs

#5

Dinosaurs said:

Looks very interesting. That's like future eShop indie game #12 now on my radar

FritzFrapp

#6

FritzFrapp said:

That last quote from Lau Korsgaard is beautiful. It should be made into a plaque and hung on the wall of every developer and publisher.

Holy smoke this game excites me. It will be very interesting to see what they do with the GamePad. And they'd be hard pushed to make a more attractive trailer for me. Has all the hallmarks of a classic in the making. Nice humour and absolutely dripping in atmosphere. Brilliant.

Shworange

#8

Shworange said:

Looks cool. At first I didn't realize "Affordable Space Adventure" was the name of the game. I thought they just meant it was a budget title. Lol.

Kroisos

#9

Kroisos said:

The combination of the trailer and the devs' attitude has me very excited. Of course studios are businesses that need to make money, but it's refreshing when smaller ones take the view that they need to pay themselves and fund the next game, but don't need to try to squeeze out all the profit they can. We get better games when the only factors involved in the design are game-related.

MrWalkieTalkie

#10

MrWalkieTalkie said:

Say what you will about Wii U's 3rd party support, but 1 thing that's absolutely true, is that the Wii U & Nintendo have absolutely captured the love and attention of indie's from all over!

In just these past 3 days alone we got Hush, forma.8, Sword & Soldiers II, Aqua Moto Racing Utopia, and Affordable Space Adventures confirmed for Wii U.

sinalefa

#12

sinalefa said:

So simple yet so beautiful. We need committed, ambitious developers, not greedy ones with bloated budget games that force them to sell millions of copies to break even. And devs willing to join forces to make something great instead of trying to torpedo each other because they have very similar, competing games.

I guess I should pick up Knytt now that is on sale to show a little support. I already have Spin the Bottle.

AdanVC

#14

AdanVC said:

"Hopefully we can show that the Wii U is great" <<< This guys knows what's up!, haha. No but seriously this is so cool, the game is looking awesome and the gameplay is shaping to be really fun as well. Indie guys once again proving that if you want to make and outstanding game, you can be able to achive it on any console as long as you stay passionate and creative while creating it. Day one purchase from me :)

ICHIkatakuri

#19

ICHIkatakuri said:

Looking forward to this game it looks like it has a lot of potential! and nice to see some people speak sense about the wii u user base in relation to business models too.

LittleIrves

#20

LittleIrves said:

THIS is the attitude that more devs need to have. Make something 'cause it excites you. If you do that, your work will reflect your enthusiasm, and the money will come. More of this please!

PvtOttobot

#22

PvtOttobot said:

Looking good! This is definitely a more creative game, if you compare it to the slew of Knytt underground, Night Sky and Forma.8 style platsplorers. I'm getting board of the moody 2D 'action' and puzzles, but this looks like a very fresh approach. Plus it's a humourous game done by Knap nok :D What more can you ask for!

Action51

#23

Action51 said:

This looks REALLY promising. I love games with atmosphere and exploration.

My "wish list" would be to include hidden areas with collectible "relics" or some kind of collectible set. Maybe that's already in the game?

Wow, the trailer looks great and I'm glad to see publishers who understand that the Wii U is a great piece of hardware with almost limitless customizable input options.

Csaw

#24

Csaw said:

The game looks really nice and I'm glad they are focusing on heavy gamepad integration. So long as it reviews well its a definite buy from me.

andrea987

#25

andrea987 said:

It does look nice. Still waiting for something deep and engagjng as Elite Frontier...

element187

#27

element187 said:

excellent. It has piqued my interest... So I'm guessing this is kinda like Metroid but you are inside a spaceship at all times, exploring deep desolate space.

Razzle

#31

Razzle said:

Bring it on, I absolutely loved Knytt Underground and these guys seem to really want to make something cool with the dual screen of the WiiU. This could be a real gem exclusive.

Dpishere

#33

Dpishere said:

Knowing it is made by the creator of Knytt, Knytt stories, and Knytt Underground definitely puts this game on my radar.

JarredBuzzo

#34

JarredBuzzo said:

I can't believe they're developing a game for the Wii U console, these guys need to get it together! :p

OGGamer

#35

OGGamer said:

Yet another indie release I want . It's definitely time for a hard drive .

Metal_Slugger

#36

Metal_Slugger said:

This looks neat. If they added shooting to it just for special accounts it would be even neater. I am still interested regardless.

Kolzig

#37

Kolzig said:

That looks just awesome. I own all of Nifflas' games on PC and just last week made my first dual purchase since I already had Knytt Underground on PC, but I just felt the need to buy it also on Wii U.

This will be exciting times when Affordable Space Adventure gets released. There's just that something special magic in all Nicklas Nygren games.

Nifflas has always had an eye on Nintendo platforms, he also wanted to make a Wiiware version of NightSky, but the darn space limit of Wiiware 50mb stopped that. He did however release the magnificient little game on 3DS eShop later so all that development didn't go to waste.

On homebrew front, his old Knytt Stories has also been ported to DS, and it works great. :-)

letsplay

#38

letsplay said:

intriguing. Will there be upgrades? Hopefully not repeating the same zones to find stuff.

aaronsullivan

#42

aaronsullivan said:

Well hopefully it doesn't have a needlessly earned Mature rating-- I'm leering at you, Knytt Underground.

In all seriousness, this game looks like it was made for me and my family. Wonder if it will be stage-based or more like Metroid. Looks fun. I can just see the player frantically interacting with the GamePad while the ship drifts towards it's doom. :)

I'm a part-time indie game developer and I love his attitude. I just want to make a living at it, too. It's not easy though.

Dpullam

#43

Dpullam said:

I am always interested in playing Nifflas's games and this one is no exception. It looks like it could be a blast, and as an added bonus it might just make clever use of the gamepad. Call me intrigued.

sinalefa

#44

sinalefa said:

@Kolzig

Thank you for reminding me of Nightsky. One of those games I always want to try, and always forget about it for some reason.

luke88

#45

luke88 said:

Wow, this is the first I've heard of this. Looks absolutely immense, can't wait to play it. Anything Nifflas is involved with is a dead cert as far as I'm concerned, anyone that's yet to try Knytt underground or Nightsky should definitely do so!

BKNoah

#46

BKNoah said:

Looks great! This defintley looks like a game some of my friends would dig.

FineLerv

#47

FineLerv said:

Playing Knytt right now... so far, so good! Spin the Bottle is a great game for drunken adults. Glad it finally came to Australia!

JustinH

#48

JustinH said:

It kills me that I'll have to wait months and months for this. I want it right now!

MrGuinea

#50

MrGuinea said:

Really interested. I love that they're actually doing something with the second screen instead of just offering off screen play. More companies need to do this, because this is where the potential of the Wii U is unlocked.

JohninMotion

#51

JohninMotion said:

Definitely will buy and not only because the robot at the end sounded like a Dalek.

Love these devs and I love to support the indie scene not only because it's virtually the only thing on the Wii U but because of their attitudes towards game creation. Seriously, every developer should read what these guys have said and then take notes. It's about the love of development, challenging yourself and the system, and working on projects that excite you. The money will follow.

BertoFlyingFox

#53

BertoFlyingFox said:

This looks awesome. So far indies have been bringing some cool looking stuff to WiiU. Cant wait to play this one.

RADencker

#54

RADencker said:

This looks very, very interesting. And kudos to these guys for not putting the mighty $$$ before innovation.

I love the fact that in this clip, when they "start" the spaceship....it sounds like a car starting...LOL

And their "state of the art software" produces nothing but ERROR! They have my attention with this title. Plus, it has to do with space exploration. That's always fun!

capitalism

#56

capitalism said:

Definitely on my radar now. I love the atmosphere and space games in general so this is right up my alley.

Ninocom65

#57

Ninocom65 said:

This is part of the future of the Game Pad.
Game developing Companies should take note.
Small steps turn into great Strides,
Fantastic concept.
CANT WAIT!

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