If the App Store is indeed “the new arcade,” then Retro Dreamer is an aspiring Atari. The two man team from L.A., artist Craig Sharpe and programmer Gavin Bowman have consistently knocked it out of the park with addictive retro-inspired experiences for the new era. Since their latest release Velocispider catapulted them to notability, the indie duo has had many chomping at the bit for more. I’m happy to report you can stop that gnashing and say hello to Duckers.
It started almost two weeks ago, when Bowman took to twitter and casually “realized” in public that ” it’s definitely time for us to announce our new game,” adding that while “it’s always felt too early…it’s [now] getting very close!” Then, he followed up with a link to Retro Dreamer’s blog. A short entry, simply entitled “Duckers! Coming soon from Retro Dreamer,” accompanied by the teaser poster below.
Immediately, members of the twitterverse followed up with congratulations, excitement, praise for the absolutely adorable main character, and speculation as to what type of game it was. Okay, that last part might just have been me. Regardless, the promise of a new retro experience by “the end of May” saw me filling the time with guessing. In the end, I settled on “innovative bubble popper,” given the character’s flight helmet, and seemingly captured flame. Today, however, an official trailer blew that theory out of the water. I should have been looking down the whole time.
Far from an ode to Bubble Bobble, Duckers dives head first into the Dig Dug style of play, sending its too-cute-for-words main character (seriously, look at it!) and turtle amigo down into the ground on a hunt for gems. From what we’ve been shown so far, it looks like players will use their finger to set a course and dash around the earth’s crust collecting gems and diamonds to rack up a high score. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid spikes, tilt to steer through low-grav airborne pockets, and will even get the chance to snag boost powers that send you rocketing downwards.
With Bowman having already confirmed that there will be in-app-payments via twitter, it seems that hearts will be your lifeline to keeping your hard-earned score, with each one spent bringing you closer to a game over. In exchange, I’d imagine you’ll be able to purchase them with gems, and buy more from the store with real gems of your own to store retries up for later. In the spirit of Jetpack Joyride, I’m also hoping we get to see some exciting mid-level powerups to add more depth and excitement to a classic formula.
Then again, this is Retro Dreamer we’re talking about. I wouldn’t be worried.