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Play as a rampaging zombie in Lonely Few's debut iOS title, Brainsss


Rod Green is a zealous, proud, card-carrying undeadist, and he's prepared to fight -- to the death -- for the equal rights of zombies across this nation's shopping malls, busy streets and suburban neighborhoods.

Green asserts that zombies are simply "misunderstood" and humans are "big bullies," said with much the same bravado as a big-cat trainer with his back to an open tiger cage. Unlike certain tiger trainers, however, Green may have a point, and he's set out to prove it with Brainsss, the first title from his two-person independent development studio, Lonely Few.

Green, previously of BioWare, and his partner, Yeong-Hao Han of former Pandemic Studios fame, have been working on Brainsss for two years and plan for it to launch on iOS devices in late March, Green tells Joystiq in an exclusive interview.

Brainsss isn't a typical zombie game. Keeping with Green's social beliefs, in Brainsss you play as the undead, trying to "persuade" humans to become zombies as well. Zombies do maul humans, "in the cutest way possible, of course," Green says, and they then become part of the players' undead army. The more humans your zombie converts, the more professional people you can persuade to join the undead cause, including police officers, hazmat workers, soldiers, fire fighters and the like.

Green calls Brainsss an RTS for the touch platform, and compares it to Pikmin's adaptation for the Wii and the original Syndicate's "persuadatron" mechanic.

Gallery: Brainsss | 5 Photos

"The biggest thing I can say is that Brainsss is not a casual game," Green says. "It's not a score-based leaderboards game that's so prevalent on the iTunes store. It's also not a freemium-based game like Farmville or any of the social games. The design is much closer to hardcore games from the 16-bit era. There's a progression of levels, as well as replayability for the levels."

Of course Brainsss faces more discrimination beyond that of humanism. Some may say the casual-gaming market is clogged with the guts of zombie titles, and while Green says he agrees, Brainsss offers something different.

"The zombie genre has been done to death, no pun intended [Eds. note: Pun intended]. We started working on this game two years ago, and came up with the idea a year prior to that. Back then, there weren't quite as many zombie titles out on the market," Green recalls.

"Despite all this, we feel we're bringing something new to the table. The gameplay hasn't really been seen on iOS devices, the zombies have a cute style to them, not your typical grotesque zombies, and you play as the zombies instead of hunting them down. Our hope is for Brainsss to not been seen as just 'another zombie game.'"

The zombies in Brainsss are adorable, if that can be considered a compliment in the undead world, and Green says the cartoonish, roly-poly style evolved from Yeong-Hao's disenchantment with realistic design and, of course, Play-Doh figures.

Brainsss is shooting for a launch window near the end of March and will include 20 levels for $2.99. Every week after its launch, Lonely Few will release new, free levels, totaling to at least 50, all for just the initial game price. If that goes well, Lonely Few will introduce paid DLC as well.

"Brainsss for us has been in development for nearly two years and it's been a true labor love for the both of us," Green said. "In all honesty, Yeong-Hao and myself just hope people enjoy the game as much as we do. We both are very passionate game developers and would love it if we could continue to do this. So in that sense, any commercial success is really just to help us make more games like this!"

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