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First look: New IUGO iPad games


The video you see here was in my inbox this morning and I really liked what what I saw. IUGO, a long time player in the mobile entertainment arena, is in the process of releasing four new games for the iPad platform.

What made these games stand out for me was how well they leveraged the iPad hardware realities for both cooperative and competitive game play. Several of these games highlight multi-handed multi-player interaction on the same device. That's a feature that's specific to the iPad. The iPhone's size doesn't allow that kind of two player interaction, except through online game play with virtual opponents. What IUGO's games are doing is expanding play from an iPhone-style one user at a time paradigm into a two-users-at-once iPad experience.

Read on for an exclusive discussion with IUGO Mobile Entertainment.

Sarah Thomson, Director of Business at IUGO Mobile Entertainment explained, "We knew that the iPad was going to be a great opportunity. We took [some of our older titles] and added some cool user features -- things you could not do on the iPhone. Along with updating the graphics for the iPad we were able to create these game playing modes that really lent itself to that device. The advantage here is that you can have two people playing on one device. It's a great opportunity to exploit the iPad's features."

In the Cliffed XL game, IUGO updated their existing 2-D scrolling race game, which already offered online player support for racing against up to 4 other players. They added a split screen "Versus" mode introducing head to head racing on the same device. Two people could simply race against each other.

ESCAPE: Norm's World XL added cooperative game play as well as competitive action. IUGO allowed users to work together to solve puzzles in "Coop mode" and then challenge each other to eliminate more on-screen tokens (called "stones") in "Versus mode".

Other iPad specific enhancements include complete art upgrades for each of the four titles. "Graphics is something we focused on quite heavily," Thomson told me. "On Zombie Attack and Cliffed, we really put a lot of effort in pumping those up for the iPad. Both Implode and Escape have simpler graphics, but we gave those a bit more of a 3D tweak in the iPad release."

IUGO also introduced a iPad-only new level editor for Implode XL. Users can post custom Implode levels to the IUGO cloud and other users can download them. "Implode is our biggest hit so far," Thomson added.

She explained that the iPad's larger format and multi-touch capabilities presented more opportunities for the designers to enhance game play. Many of the iPhone's challenges, which derive from its smaller form factor, were removed. "It's very challenging to design for the small screen, especially when looking at elements like the user interface. With the iPad, you could be a lot more elaborate and this gave the designers the freedom they needed."

"The iPad opened up new ways for us," Thomson concluded, "In terms of how we could design a game. That's an area we will be exploring further."

Implode XL, Cliffed XL, Zombie Attack Second Wave XL, and Escape Norm's World XL are now available on the App Store. The first three titles retail for $1.99 each. Escape is free.

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