Supernauts lets you save the world with creativity

Helsinki-based studio Grand Cru is bringing a 3D world-building game to iOS devices that will let players build new worlds like in Minecraft, save humanity through puzzle-solving and run their own civilization in space.

Supernauts — Grand Cru's first game, which is currently weeks from entering beta — is set in a universe where earth has flooded. The player, taking on the role of a superhero, must build a new inhabitable place for humans, while also rescuing them from the flood waters. The game is broken down into two components: the missions, which take players to more than 80 locations around earth to save people, and the building of a new home.

Speaking to Polygon, Grand Cru CEO Markus Pasula said the developers drew inspiration from games that allow people to be creative, like Minecraft, LittleBigPlanet and Lego bricks. It also merged it with the style and humor from things the developers like, such as Futurama, Pixar films, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and even Spinal Tap (the game has a "rock-maker" that can have its dial turned up to 11).

"When we founded the studio, we wanted to make games for creative people."

"When we founded the studio, we wanted to make games for creative people," Pasula said. "So we looked at the games that allow people to do that and thought of how we could bring it to mobile."

The developers demoed Supernauts to Polygon this week, and the inspirations they drew from were clear. In the building phase, which is where players can unleash their creativity, there was a strong Minecraft influence. Players can use machines like the clay-maker, rock-maker, brick-maker and wood-maker to generate resources to build anything they can think of. The land itself, which is floating in space, can be dug into and sculpted. The materials available to players are very diverse — players can even generate fabric and metallic surfaces to build non-natural structures and objects. In one level we saw, the player had constructed a red and fuzzy heart-shaped bed. In another, a floor made from disco balls.

Using finger gestures, players can zoom in and out of their world and turn it to view it from different angles. The land itself could also be expanded.

During the mission phase, our superhero was sent to San Francisco where he had to save the city's inhabitants and bring them back to his island in space. Here, the missions had a Lemmings-like feel to them, with players moving objects around the environment and clearing physics-based puzzles to gain access to the people.

Pasula told Polygon that when players bring earthlings to their world, the people start paying taxes and contribute to the in-game economy, so there is an additional resource management layer to the game.

Supernauts' beta will launch in the coming week in select territories.

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