Last month Big Mouse Media released Plates, a frantic arcade funfest about squirting sauce onto delicious dishes. Since that time the game has seen a name change, an App Store feature, and a game-changing update so significant that we went back and revised our review. We recently sat down with Big Mouse’s Kyle T. Webster to talk about the changes, sales, and the future of his development team.
Less than a month after launch, you released an update that tweaked a number of features in the game. What prompted the quick revisions?
Because of the competitive nature of this business, a prompt update that addresses player concerns or known bugs is a must if one wishes to stay popular in the App Store. So, once we realized that there was a scoring bug and numerous requests for sound toggling, we jumped on it. We also added the new gameplay mode, ‘Dynamite Dogs,’ to prove that we were committed to providing a well rounded game experience for only 99 cents.
Why the name change from Plates to Hot Plates?
This was a very difficult decision to make, since my development partner and I had spent so many weeks preparing official supporting materials for the game (website, videos, Twitter and Facebook pages, etc.) that made use of the ‘Plates‘ title and logo. But, after some frank discussions, we came to the conclusion that a player was less likely to try the game without actually seeing it in action, so long as the name remained so ‘vanilla.’ In order to retain what little (though significant) brand recognition that had already been established, we added the adjective ‘Hot’ to hopefully make the title a bit more interesting; maybe even enticing.
Before Hot Plates, you were responsible for the Simon-inspired memory game White Lines. How has Hot Plates performed in the App Store compared to White Lines? What do you attribute the difference too?
White Lines was featured on the front page of the App store twice and on the front page of the ‘Games’ category two more times. Because of that, and because of positive reviews, the sales jumped quite suddenly and held for a while at a good number. I think the sales started to slow down simply because I stopped marketing the game and started focusing on developing Hot Plates and two other games (to be released this Spring). Hot Plates has started more slowly but the player reviews have been consistently better than those received for White Lines. This slow swell of approval and buzz may prove to be better in the long run for sales – we shall see! I’m proud to say that both games were featured in the App store within their first week of release and both also made TUAW’s App of the Day.
Version 1.2 of Hot Plates added a new gameplay mode, “Dynamite Dogs.” What can we expect from version 1.3?
Version 1.3 will have retina display optimized graphics, a new speed option for the ‘Classic’ mode of game play that allows more advanced players to jump right in at a decent speed and not bother with the slow early stages of the game, and a brand new gameplay mode called ‘Kitchen Countdown,’ which has actually proven to be the most addictive mode yet! We are very excited to see how players respond to it. We are submitting it for review at the end of September.
What’s Big Mouse Media working on after Hot Plates?
I have three other games in the works with my incredibly talented development partner, and two of them will be ready in the spring. Of those two more urgent games, the first is a shooter with a twist that I cannot disclose for fear of other developers swiping the concept (it’s a pretty fun idea!), and the other is Monster Dash style side-scroller with a humorous angle. The third game we are working on is quite complex and it will be mainly designed for the iPad. It probably won’t be ready until next summer. In addition to the games, we are also working on a social media app with lots of potential for an exciting client in California.
Given the gameplay, it seems pretty clear that you love fast, frantic arcade-style fun. If you could recommend any other game on the App Store that fit this description, what would it be and why?
I really can’t say enough good things about Frenzic, from the Icon Factory – it truly is addictive and the game design is so beautiful. I’m a sucker for really well thought-out interaction design and careful attention paid to detail, and Frenzic has those in spades. It’s more of a puzzle game, I guess, but I love it.