One of my favorite games of the past few weeks is indie studio Kiseki Games’ debut title, Suck It Up (out now, free). If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a ridiculously quirky and fun high-score chaser in which you play as an alien who’s been sent to Earth to collect as many animals and plants as possible with his UFO’s tractor beam.
I recently managed to drag myself away from Suck It Up for long enough to bounce a few questions off Resa Liputra, Kiseki Games’ Creative Director, about the game and the studio that made it. It’s a great interview. Check it out…
Thanks so much for joining me for this chat. Can I start by asking you to introduce yourself and talk a little bit about the background of both members of Kiseki Games?
Hi, my name is Resa Liputra and together with my partner, Johan Kristianto, formed Kiseki Games. Prior to Kiseki Games, I worked at Halfbrick Studios for 8 years on titles such as Fish Out of Water, Bears vs. Art, Jetpack Joyride, etc. Johan had been making and releasing iOS games such as Bridge Rider, Dash Up 2 and Flick Color under ATPCreative.
There’s a lovely story behind the meaning of your company name and why you chose it. Would you mind sharing?
The word “kiseki” means miracle in Japanese. We believe our fateful meeting over the internet is a miracle and as a fact as of today, we both actually haven’t met each other face-to-face. We both have a very young family and I think that in itself are miracles of life to be always grateful for.
What’s Kiseki Games’ mission as an indie studio?
At this stage, as a small indie studio we just want to continue to make awesome games hopefully start building a fanbase who enjoys the love, innovation and polish we put in our games.
Suck It Up is such a wonderfully polished and assured debut. How long was the game in development for and where did the idea come from?
Thank you very much. We developed Suck It Up for 6 months total so not an awful long time, but it still was a big investment for just the two of us. The idea itself was one of a few early rough prototypes we developed. We always start from the basic mechanic and that usually starts with brainstorming some verbs. One of the verbs happened to be “to suck” (like a vacuum cleaner). We liked the feel of sucking things on screen with one finger so we ran with it.
Any updates or new features currently in the works for the game?
Right now we’re actually focusing on completing our second title which we’ll be announcing very soon. All I can say is that it’s guaranteed to be as action-y and cute as Suck It Up.
The mischievous (yet adorable) alien characters are one of my favorite things about Suck It Up. I’ve seen you say elsewhere that these guys might appear again in future Kiseki titles?
Based on the warm reception from the fans in regards to the art style and characters from Suck It Up, we’ll probably be seeing more of those characters in other games or at least in a similar style.
Suck It Up has garnered very positive user reviews and received a “New Games We Love” nod from Apple. Are you pleased with how the game is performing so far?
I think we feel super blessed and it’s a “miracle” that Apple noticed our work and gave us the recognition. But to be really cliché here, we’re never happy and feel like we could have done so much more for the game. We hope a lot of the things we learned will shine through in our next title.
What advice would you offer to someone trying to break into games development as an indie?
I think the hardest thing is making the decision to jump in. If you really feel like making games is something you would love to do or even try, just do it. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time being unsure about it. The other advice I can offer is keep your design as simple as possible especially if you’re making your first game. Time and cost budget is guaranteed to at least double during development so make sure you’re harsh about what features to keep and which to throw away. Make sure you keep what is the most unique selling point of your game.
What’s next for Kiseki Games? Any upcoming projects you can tell me about?
We’re working on a slightly more casual game but still pack a lot of punches in terms of tight mechanics and juiciness. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @resaliputra or @kisekigames for more updates. Thank you so much!
And thanks to you for a great interview, Resa!