Rocketcat goes deeper into the Mage Dungeon with Wayward
Kepa Auwae's Rocketcat Games is one of my favorite iOS developers: Auwae himself is full to the brim with creative ideas about gaming, and all of Rocketcat's releases, from Hook Champ to Mage Gauntlet to Punch Quest, are extremely polished and well-designed. I got to meet with Auwae in person last week at GDC, and he not only showed me what the company is working on next, but got my head spinning with all of the crazy ideas he's thinking about creating in the future.
First up, Wayward is Rocketcat's next title. It's a free-to-play action RPG game, and they're "hoping May" for a release, says Auwae. Mage Gauntlet was a terrific game the company released last year, which featured a young sorceress hacking away through a series of linear dungeons armed with a variety of swords and spells. Wayward is a followup to that game that Auwae was calling "Mage Dungeon" for a long time, because it expands on the Mage Gauntlet gameplay, adding six other different characters to play with, each with their own spells and abilities. One will come with the game for free, and the others will be available via in-app purchase.
Wayward also takes the hand-designed levels from Mage Gauntlet and replaces them with procedurally generated dungeons, which means there will be no end of content to play through. Each character will have their own cutscenes and story, and just like Blizzard's Diablo series, there will be various tilesets to play through in sequence, from a mine to a castle to catacombs and so on. But the dungeons are all put together every time you start up a game, which means that every time you go in, you'll play through a brand-new level.
The gameplay is just as tight as Mage Gauntlet, though there is one big change. Each character can equip two spells at a time, and to use them, you just swipe left or right on the right side of the screen, left for one spell and right for another. This does give you instant access to your spells right away (in Mage Gauntlet, you had to first choose one and then target it), but it can be a little confusing to pick up, especially when you want to fire a fireball left but have to swipe right to cast it.
Talking with Auwae about future plans can be confusing as well: The guy is so full of really good ideas that it's hard to tell what he's just thinking about doing and what he's actually working on putting together. I believe he is actually working on a "daily dungeon" idea for Wayward, where players will be able to jump in and play through a new specific dungeon every day, which will then have a leaderboard to compete on. And there should also be an endless mode, which will just be one long dungeon that you can try to get as far as possible with.
After that, things are less clear. Auwae told me that Wayward is also a testing ground for another couple of games he wants to put together. One would be a more casual puzzle/action game, similar to the Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening title, that would emphasize dungeon exploration rather than the action-based combat. And he also said Wayward is a test for a much larger multiplayer game, where different players would go through a dungeon together, fighting both versus and co-op for XP and loot. That game, Auwae told me, would have up to 40 different classes to play with, and work much like League of Legends does, where each character class has its own abilities, strengths and weaknesses. It's hard to tell just how solid that idea is with Auwae, but the concept certainly sounds interesting.
So Auwae has no shortage of ideas about what to do with Wayward and his other games for sure. In addition to an upcoming iOS release, Auwae is thinking about bringing the game to desktops as well, and maybe even trying to work with Steam on a release there, or taking it through the Greenlight program. The game was definitely a lot of fun to play -- it's similar to Mage Gauntlet, and that's definitely not a bad thing. We'll look for the iOS release later on next month.
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