Developer Kris Jones started out his iOS game design career at a company called Thunder Game Works, which made a popular early App Store game called Trenches before the company connected up with EA as a publisher. These days, Jones runs his own studio of twelve people called Everplay Interactive, and they've created some really great games for iOS, including Spell Sword (one of my favorites), Free 2 Die, and the simple but devious 1001 Attempts.
Jones met up with me at GDC last week to chat about what he's working on now, and he and Everplay have a full plate of different titles incoming. Ace of Blades is probably the highest profile release he's working on: It's a Spell Sword followup that turns the original arena-based survival game into a full action adventure title. Ace of Blades has you exploring a 2D platforming world, fighting new enemies and facing down puzzles, as you collect a number (probably four, says Jones, but that may change) of blades with different magical abilities.
Ace of Blades looks very impressive -- Jones admits that he and his team did "bite off a lot," as obviously a full action platformer game takes much more content than Spell Sword's more focused arena levels. But the title does look excellent, and it should answer a lot of the requests fans have sent Everplay about being able to explore the world that Spell Sword hinted at. Ace of Blades is due out sometime later this year, probably around May or June, according to Jones.
Before that, Everplay has another game called Lumber Jacked, arriving later on this week. Lumber Jacked is a more hardcore speedrun platformer, similar to (though even a little tougher than) the excellent games Mikey Shorts or League of Evil. You play a lumberjack (obviously) who can punch and jump his way through a series of levels, aiming for the fastest time possible. We'll have a closer look at Lumber Jacked when it arrives this week.
And finally, Jones showed me one more game Everplay is working on, called (at least tentatively) Bill Killem. The name is obviously a joke on Duke Nukem, and the game is somewhat similar to Duke's early 2D adventures, with one major difference: It's endless. With the world ending in the background Canabalt-style, Bill Killem runs along a 2D foreground, jumping gaps and shooting enemies as quickly as he can.
There's an explosion chasing Bill the whole time, but grabbing collectible items in the environment will keep that explosion back and allow you to keep playing (similar to crossing through checkpoints in older racing games). This title is relatively early in development, still -- we'll probably see it out sometime after Ace of Blades, says Jones. It seems like fun, and Jones says it might be free-to-play as well. Most of Everplay's titles are releasing at a premium price of 99 cents, so Bill Killem (if that's what it's called) might be an interesting experiment.
All three of these games look like solid titles. We'll look forward to seeing all of these games and anything else Everplay is putting together for the rest of 2013.