Gaming on tablets and mobile devices has long been associated with light, casual experiences. Saccharine puzzle games and bite-sized physics-based platformers tend to be what come to mind when the word mobile is mentioned. Sydney-based studio The Giant Machine hopes to change that.
The Australian team which consists of designer Dimitri Kanis, programmer Christian Le Gall and business developer Philip Kanis is among the first to have a game published on the Windows 8 platform. When Microsoft recently launched its newest operating system, The Giant Machine's Last Gun was one of the first titles revealed. It's a game that's compatible with and optimized for all Windows 8 devices — it runs on PC, tablets and, in the coming days, it'll make its debut on Windows phones. The studio is hoping its top-down deathmatch game will fill a gap in the market for more hardcore experiences on mobile and tablets.
"It's such a cliché, but we did make the game we wanted to play," says Dimitri Kanis, the game designer, artist and sound engineer of Last Gun. "I'm a big FPS player whose's played lots of Quake and I've also played lots of fighting games, and I wanted a game where I could have a similar experience on a mobile device because I don't have the time these days to sit down and play Battlefield or games like that."
"It runs on DirectX 10. It's not just some crappy port."
Last Gun was born from two core ideas. The first is that hardcore gamers who enjoy PC and console games will begin (if they haven't already) using more and more tablet devices, and when they do they, like Kanis, will want to play games that cater to their skillset and interests. Kanis' reasoning is just because someone is using a mobile device does not necessarily mean they want to play casual mobile games. The second is many early adopters of mobile and social games have since moved on from from what they used to play and are looking for more challenging experiences. This is where Kanis thinks Last Gun will shine.
Last Gun is an arcade-inspired top-down action shooter that allows players to play on their own or experience local multiplayer with others on the one device. It's compatible across all Windows 8 devices, which means one player can use a tablet's touch screen while another can playing using an Xbox controller or a keyboard and mouse. Each player chooses a character, gears up with pulse rifles, plasma guns and rocket launchers, and is thrown into one of ten arenas where's it's then a battle to the death.
The game is fast-paced, can end as quickly as it begins and it is both polished and robust.
"It's basically a PC game," Kanis says. "It runs on DirectX 10. It's not just some crappy port. We chose to spend the extra time to make it kick-ass because some people may never play it on a touch device. They may only play it on their desktop as an arcade game during work, so we wanted it to be as polished as possible on all devices."
Last Gun is out now on Windows 8 PC, Windows Phone and tablet devices for $3.49 with a free trial version.