Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We believe they deserve a wider audience with the Joystiq Indie Pitch: This week, iOS title Finger Puppet Frenzy gives your kids something to do, which gives you the free time to do your own things. Like mix a martini. Or two.

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What's your game called and what's it about?

Our first release is a kids' game, Finger Puppet Frenzy, where you tap puppets in a whack-a-mole style and you can find rare puppets who help you increase your score and stay alive. Surprisingly enough it seems to require a significant level of concentration – this is not the kind of game you can daydream while you play.

Does Finger Puppet Frenzy appeal to hardcore gamers, or are you not interested in tapping that market with this title?

No, Finger Puppet Frenzy is not targeted to the hardcore gamer market. It is specifically designed for the "I Seldom Play Games" market. The simplicity of the game appeals to the young and will likely just frustrate hardcore gamers who often require a more complicated level of gameplay.

Who's behind Finger Puppet Frenzy?

Finger Puppet Frenzy was developed by NeonBlue, a two-man team from Perth. Luke Wale and Evan Dela-Grammaticas are the main developers. Square Egg Games is the publisher and are providing assistance with the promotion and marketing of the game.

What is your relationship with ineedhits.com? How do you remain indie when you're not, at surface value, independent?

NeonBlue Pty Ltd consists of two developers that work nights on developing games. We both have commercial development day jobs. Square Egg Games is a new company launched by the founders of ineedhits. They are acting as the publisher of Finger Puppet Frenzy and have done a great job in helping us promote. They've offered some great suggestions towards the game development, but the concept and gameplay decisions are ultimately ours to make.

What inspired you to make Finger Puppet Frenzy?

The same thing that inspires most people to make games - We wanted to flex our creative muscles. Games are a fantastic medium for creativity and a natural path for us as we were already developers. Finger Puppet Frenzy is our first foray into iOS game development. It was a small first step to see if we enjoyed making games and wanted to make a future in it. We loved the experience (good and bad) and our intention is to now release more games, using what we have learnt with Finger Puppet Frenzy. We both have full-time jobs, wives and children. Developing a game has taken a lot out of us, but the experience has been very rewarding.

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What's the coolest aspect of Finger Puppet Frenzy?

We really liked the discoverable special and rare puppets. They add a new dimension to a simplistic game and help keep us big kids entertained while playing. A lot of kids really like the Free Mode where puppets just keep coming out and you can never lose - it keeps them happy.

Why develop independently, rather than work for an established company?

We live in Perth, a small city in the middle of the desert. We have more chance of becoming celebrated astronauts than working for an established gaming company. In addition to that, we don't want to make "Hollywood blockbuster" games. We like the idea of taking our indie vision and turning that into reality, even if sometimes we might miss the mark.

Do you see yourself as part of a larger indie movement?

Most certainly. As time ticks on, I get the sense that gamers are starting to get frustrated by the big-name releases. They seem to be the same engines, same story lines, same scenery but with a different name. What happened to the cool 80s and 90s games where creativity and storyline ruled the gaming experience? Our aim is to try to bring some of that spice back into the mix, but we are still new to making games so we decided to start a little smaller and are working our way up to it.

ImageSell Finger Puppet Frenzy in one sentence:

Bright and colourful whack-a-mole-style game with infectious laughter designed to keep the kids entertained for hours.

What's next?

We have already taken what we have learnt from Finger Puppet Frenzy and have begun working on our next release. It's a maths-based puzzle game. It might be a little more challenging trying to make maths fun, but we think we can pull it off.



Finger Puppet Frenzy is available now for iOS, both in free and paid versions. Moms, give yourself a gift today and plop your kids down with this game, then go out for Margaritas. You deserve it.

If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.