Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with San Francisco startup Sifteo on their cube gaming platform. Instead of relying on a traditional controller or a D-Pad, players interacted by shaking, tilting, pressing, and neighboring the cubes. As a result, the hardware led to some interesting design challenges.
The flagship game was a Zelda-style adventure that featured a princess searching for ingredients to build a magical sandwich and fulfill a universal lunchtime prophesy. Due to the platform's unique inputs, the game eschewed combat in favor of exploration and Sobokan puzzles. The game's colorful graphics, sprawling levels, and epic story made it a hit with kids, even those too young to read the humorous dialogue. In fact, when we showcased the game at Indiecade East 2013, we witnessed many kids return for the second day of the event to continue their playthroughs.
With additional cubes, the player can see more of the map at once. Did I mention that the small LCD screens on top of the cubes were perfect for pixel art?
Here is some of my favorite artwork I created for the game.
The venom-spitting camel spider didn't make it into the game. I sure wish I could keep one as a pet.
A sample level made with the tileset from the starting world.
In-game cutscenes featured these portraits to accompany dialogue text.
Positive response to Sandwich Kingdom prompted the creation of a sequel: Ice Palace. This installment introduced new puzzle elements like ice slides and fierce owlbears.
Sifteo was acquired by 3D Robotics in 2014. The cube platform is defunct.
While working on Bush's Bean Dash at Psyop, I had an idea for another infinite runner based on evolving a creature to overcome hazards. I chose the “Dashing” title before Bean Dash had its, so this wasn't a case of imitation.
At the start of every playthrough, the player egg hatches into a random prehistoric creature. Additional ones can be unlocked by earning achievements or by purchasing them from the in-game store. Skills vary by creature, but all are vulnerable to falling meteors and stampeding woolly mammoths. After the creature's eventual death, the player chooses from a list of perks to augment the next creature for its run, playing on the theme of adaptation.
The game concept didn't get much further than this image, mostly due to Bean Dash's ambitious development cycle.