Minigore Hands-On

Chillingo just informed us of another feature that will be in the second update to Minigore: radar. As one might expect, this will show the playfield and where enemies are in relation to yourself. This is definitely a useful feature and one that we are happy to hear will be implemented.

Also, the game, along with Touch KO (an upcoming 3D boxing game), has been submitted to the App Store and is currently awaiting approval.

Minigore is out right now, and we have some new information about which co-op characters you’ll see in a future update.

Minigore AND Enviro-Bear 2010? That’s right! It was just announced on Minigore’s blog that in a crossover, the enviro-bear will be driving right into the co-op mode of Minigore when it comes out in an update. Yes, he still seems to only have one hand.

We followed up with Timo Vihola on this addition. “It all started when I saw the words ‘Bear driving simulation’ in some news story,” Vihola told us. “I clicked the link and found myself watching a crazy youtube video of bear driving a car and eating fish with the spare hand and who knows what. I thought a violent and uncompromising bear like that would make for an awesome addition to Minigore! Next thing we did was contact Enviro-Bear’s creator Justin Smith and he said go for it. We literally RAN for it!”

Co-op characters also serve as a great opportunity for Mountain Sheep to add some extended personality into the game. “Overall we want some extra personality in the multiplayer character roster and using characters from other games gives us exactly that,” he told us. “At first Enviro-Bear will be equipped with basic weapons but the next step is to add unique powers for it. Can you imagine transforming into a brown car of destruction after picking up the three clovers?” Vihola followed up to this question with “Yes, we can.”

Vihola also tells us that they are in talks with a few other large companies to incorporate more co-op characters into the game. Here is a clue to another he gave us: “One other video game celebrity that makes an appearance is very colorful and has long thin hands. Can you guess who it is?” Want to take a shot at who this may be? Put your guess in this story’s comments.

Also, from the looks of the picture is seems that Minigore will be using some kind of reskinned OpenFeint client. We wrote about Aurora Feint’s Private Label service when Puzzle Quest and OpenFeint teamed up. However, there is still no confirmation that this uses the Private Label service.

We recently got our hands on a preview build of Minigore, an upcoming dual-stick survival shooter from Chillingo and Mountain Sheep. From what we saw, the game is coming along nicely, with what may just be the right formula for success.

The first thing that stands out is the art style. You play as the block-headed John Gore, who fights off equally block-shaped enemies called the Furry. Everything is rendered in a grassy 2D environment, full of 3D objects such as rocks, brush and trees. These don’t act as obstacles in the sense that you can walk through them, but they do cover up your vision, making for hairy encounters with Furries.

The Furries come in all shapes and sizes. There is the tiny Minifurry, Furry, Giant Furry and a faster-than-light Firefurry. John’s gun shoots laser-like bullets at them, which divide larger Furries into Minifurries so they can be killed. To say the least, these enemies are formidable foes.

The game includes three distinct weapons. You start off using a machine gun with unlimited ammo. Furries can drop crates that hold either exploding booby traps or shotguns, which give you a little extra kick but have limited ammo.

However, there is also another way to plow through the Furries, quite literally. If you collect three of the four-leaf clovers dropped by Furries, you turn into a flaming beast that squishes Furries of all sizes like ants. Add in some sweet banjo music, and you have got yourself one hardcore package. Now it just needs more cowbell.

Instead of using the classic health bar to show how much life Mr. Gore has left, this is shown instead through his physical state. For example, at the start of the game he is fully intact with his hat on, but as the Furries get to him, he gradually gets bloodier until he dies. Yes, the game is full of gore (pun intended).

Some other features of Minigore that we did not get a chance to try out were online scoring provided by OpenFeint, and expert mode, which will allow those hunting for high scores to jump into the heat of things quicker. iPod library access will be supported, and an in-game messaging system will be implemented that will allow you to challenge other players to beat your score, just like ngmoco’s Plus+ network. There is also apparently voice acting for John Gore as well.

But all this is just ‘episode one’. After speaking with Timo Vihola, create director of the project, we got a first look at what is coming in the second episode and beyond.

Episode two will include ‘more of everything,’ Vihola said. For example, Mr. Gore will speak more, health will be shown in three stages (currently there are only two) with the additional one being Gore with a headband on, and levels will include a fence to show the boundaries. Vihola also hinted at a new gameplay mechanic: ‘The mysterious transforming mushroom makes its appearance in the second episode…’

Beyond this second update, which is already in the works, there will be a wide range of other features (many of which can be previewed in the trailer of the game). First and foremost, there will be co-op where one player is John Gore and another is his 9-year-old daughter. New snow and desert areas are scheduled, each with a special costume for Gore such as a fur cap and cowboy hat.

As far as enemies go, there a whole slew of them. These include King Furry, Wormwolf, Old Man Tackle, Lumberjacks, Cossacks and Green Grunts. Vihola said each enemy will be unique in the way they play, and we are curious to see how they come out. As expected, you will need new ways of crushing these enemies, so there will be new weapons, including the sheep cannon, dual-wielding machine guns and an assault helicopter.

Now, you may ask when the feature of most interest to you is coming. What if we told you it was all in your hands? Vihola said they are going to let the users vote on what feature they want to see. There will be a poll after each episode, and the most popular of them will get implemented in the next update. They already did something like this with the game’s tagline, ‘Tiny Creatures, Giant Adventure.’

We also asked Vihola how Minigore will tie into Hardgore, the tower defense-style sequel. While he could not tell us too much at this point, he said there is a larger backstory that will be revealed at a later point and that both games would feature John Gore as the protagonist. It will also be a much larger game, which will be reflected in the price. One of the things Vihola said that really grabbed our attention was that ‘the genre is not literally ‘Tower defense’ and I think ‘Village defense’ might be a more fitting description. Oh, and it has Santa and penguins!’

If all of these features come through, Minigore will not be so tiny after all. The first episode has been completed with a likely price of $0.99.

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