Platformers are one of the foundations upon which the gaming industry has been built. Hundreds of titles have taken inspiration from games such as the original Super Mario Bros and Sonic The Hedgehog. Many of you reading this may have first encountered the industry through games where the only moves were run and jump, two basic instructions which opened up huge amounts of potential and possibility.
Rico – A Tale Of Two Brothers is a title on Android devices that has taken inspiration from the classic platformers, and the gameplay mechanics they created. Rico is a retro 2D platformer built for the modern gamer, with touch screen controls that work well, level design that offers challenges and boss battles which give a sense of satisfaction when completed. I spoke to the game’s developer, Maximilian Csuk, about the title.[drop]TSA: First of all tell us about yourself and how you got in to games development.
MC: I’ve had the pleasure to grow up with video games and – like many others – spent countless hours playing Super Mario and Donkey Kong on my Super Nintendo. The older I got, the more interested I became in making my own games.
As far as I can remember, it all started when I tried to create games out of Lego blocks for my friends to play. At that time, I didn’t even own a computer yet.
It didn’t take long before I got into making digital games though. I tried out programmes like Klick’n’play and GameMaker but I realized very quickly that I had to learn programming to bring my own ideas to life.
Fast-forward to now, I am working on my master’s degree in computer science and I’m still creating games in my free time. And I still get out my trusty Super Nintendo from time to time and play Super Mario World (without taking the star road!).
TSA: ‘Rico – A Tale Of Two Brothers’ seems to take a lot of inspiration from classic 2D platformers. Were there any games in particular that inspired you during development?
MC: Rico – A Tale Of Two Brothers’ is my take at a classical platformer. I took elements I liked from various existing games and merged them with my own ideas into something that I would have loved to play when I was a kid (and now, of course). There are quite a few games I took inspiration from: Super Mario of course, Castlevania, the Donkey Kong series, Super Metroid, … and many more!
TSA: Was there anything in particular that sparked the idea for the title & story?
MC: I didn’t want to go with the theme of love, as I think it’s overdone and often times an easy cop-out for creating purpose for the main character and the player. But I still needed to generate a goal for the player to strive for. I thought about various situations and settings. In the end, I settled for the struggle between two brothers because it’s classical and many people can relate to that.
I didn’t want the game to be overly story-focused, though. Players should be able to enjoy the game without knowing the story.
TSA: The game’s music has a retro style but sounds modern as well. Did you create the music yourself, and why did you decide on the tone that you did?
MC: The main music theme, which you’ll hear almost throughout the whole game, is a track from an incredibly talented artist going by the name of Bunnymajs. His music has such a great retro mood, but still (and I’m baffled myself how he accomplishes that) sounds so fresh and new! When I first heard his songs, I knew they were the perfect fit for Rico. I also listen to his creations when I’m working on the game to get myself in the right mood.
TSA: Now Rico has been released what kind of post release support will you be providing?[drop2]MC: While the game is released, I’m actively working on new levels, enemies, traps and boss battles. Android’s easy update system makes it possible for me to “release early – release often”. I plan to design and release about 4 new levels every week or so, to keep existing players interested and offer more overall playing time to new players.
And of course I’ll fix any issues and bugs, should they come up in the future.
TSA: Will ‘ Rico – A Tale Of Two Brothers’ make the jump to iOS devices in future?
MC: As much as I’d love to say yes to this question, I can’t. While I have done some iOS development in the past, it would take many months of my free time to get as proficient as I am with Android right now. I wouldn’t be able to create anything noteworthy in this time, so I don’t see a port to iOS coming in the foreseeable future.
But I do plan to release the game for Windows, Mac and Linux soon!
We’d like to thank Max for taking the time to answer our questions about his game. ‘Rico – A Tale of Two Brothers’ is now available on the Play Store. There’s a Lite version which lets you experience the first few levels for free. The full game is available for 79p.