Mystery Ball is the first release from Red Nova Labs Games and is one of the first iOS games to be compatible with Apple's new iCloud, allowing users to sync the game between multiple devices. The game is the creation of one developer, David Howe. Howe created the game concept and art, wrote the story, and designed and coded it all himself, a rarity in game development.
Mystery Ball has been featured in the Lawrence Journal-World and a number of gamer websites, including GameRanx.com, One More Level and GamersMint.com, which named Mystery Ball one of the top five upcoming iOS games.
“The hype we have received has been reassuring,”
Mystery Ball is an adventure/strategy game. The game is built around saving a neurotic ball named FRED, who is part of a professor’s mysterious experiment. FRED is controlled by swiping the ball with your finger, unlike most ball-rolling games that feature a tilt-control mechanism.
“Tilt control became in vogue four or five years ago when the Wii launched, because it was something we’ve never been able to do before then,” Howe said. “There were all these games that came out in the last three years that were all gimmicky, that hinge on that one thing, which was really cool. Now that we’ve gotten used to that, it’s actually kind of frustrating. I just want to move the ball. So I designed this game going back to our roots. You get in there and drag, and it feels natural.”
Mystery Ball includes 30 unique 3D levels. FRED must navigate each world and battle enemies, obstacles and his fears. The player helps FRED beat each level by strategically placing doodads, tools that enable FRED to jump, control his environment and trap enemies.
“What separates Mystery Ball from its ball-rolling competition is the puzzle-strategy aspect,” Howe said. “Most ball-rollers are very much action-oriented. It’s all about getting from point A to point B and there really isn’t anything in your way except for enemies and obstacles. I wanted to make this game so players have to think about it first.”
The final product of Mystery Ball had a significant tester-influence. Howe had 80 testers and many of the changes he made throughout the beta came from tester suggestions. For example, the game has 30-plus Game Center achievements that award clever gameplay and a time trial mode that allows players to test how quickly they can beat levels compared to other players.
“I didn’t get any trivial feedback; I got a lot of conceptualized feedback,” Howe said. “I was really impressed.”
Mystery Ball will be on sale Friday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 6 for 99 cents on App Store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. On Nov. 7, the game will return to its regular price of $2.99.
“I think that the $2.99 price point really is a good value,” Howe said, “but I really wanted to break down any barriers I could on launch week and reward early adopters – especially the younger group, those who don’t have jobs yet that are under age 16 – I wanted that audience to have an opportunity to get the game for 99 cents.”
About David Howe
David Howe has been building games since age 10, attended DigiPen and worked at Handheld Games as a designer and coder. He is the Product Architect for the Game divsion at Red Nova Labs. Howe is the creator of Curator Defense and Mystery Ball, the first release from Red Nova Labs’ Games Division. Red Nova Labs is a web technology and marketing think-tank located in Westwood, Kan. Find out latest Mystery Ball news at the Mystery Ball website.
About Red Nova Labs
Red Nova Labs was founded and self-funded in 2009 as a web development and marketing agency as well as a technology think-tank, creating original, cutting-edge systems for web and mobile. On the service side, the company supports interface design, backend programming and online marketing. On the product side Red Nova Labs invents, builds and launches its own web-based platforms for various applications and vertical markets. To support both business models, its growing team of development engineers conceives resourceful code generators which add practical ease to complex programming—