Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Friday, December 17, 2010

Explosionade Postmortem

Explosionade, released October 7 for Xbox LIVE Indie Games, was experimental for Mommy's Best Games in a lot of ways, not the least of which was "just how quickly can we make a great game".
The game's portly main character, Terry Atticus

Development started on August 26th, and the original (internal) launch date of September 25 was set to get an initial sales surge on the books for third quarter of 2010. We missed that goal, didn't make as much money in third quarter as needed, but managed to stay in business full-time through painful but artful money shifting. The good news is the game turned out better!

Explosionade gameplay, invading the Horronym's temple.

What Went Right
1. Focused vision
In a theme throughout the What Went Right section, design direction on Explosionade was like a laser-knife cutting through butter, under a microscope, conducted by Cyberdyne. That is to say, while the actual game ideas may have fluctuated between brilliant and dim, there was no lolly-gagging during actual development.

Various level designs trying to create as much variety as possible.
I picked the design by mashing together several other designs of mine. I had plenty of ideas waiting around, it was a matter of picking something I knew could be fun, but also something doable, and within a small scope. Everything about the design was created to be reusable but still enjoyable and feel original.

The core idea of "invading tiny alien bases" drove everything from the design of intricate paths the player could take to the mocking laugh animation the soliders had when they managed to damage the player mech. If something did not fit this concept, it was cut. Immediately. Each piece had a purpose and we had no time for exploring frivolities. (Trust me, I like late-night, exploratory coding frivolities as much as the next developer, this just wasn't the time.)

Horronym soldier mocking the damaged player mech.
2. Rapid Languages
XNA was used to write the game and DarkBASIC was used to create the level editor. Both languages are well suited for extremely fast prototyping. Richard Rosenthal, our current intern, knows DarkBASIC like some mystical coding wizard, and while I have no working knowledge of the language or IDE, it seemed to produce quixotic code yet tangible and quality final results.

My original idea was to create 'in-code' levels just like I did for Shoot 1UP, but since there was massive amounts more level collision in Explosionade it just made more sense to create a level editor. Fortunately Richard already had experience creating graphical editors before and was able to whip up something in DarkBASIC in literally a weekend.

I've written before about the amazing results one can derive from XNA for both Xbox 360 and PC. It bears repeating that all the robust, well-designed code libraries supported again made it possible to deliver a sweet-playing and -looking game to the home console with very little fuss.

Explosionade's Editor written in DarkBASIC.

3. Pre-existing Engine
Starting and finishing a game is tough even for those who've done it many times, but starting a game completely from scratch is truly a Herculean task that often needs not happen. Shoot 1UP was built on an XNA game starter kit, and Explosionade was built upon Shoot 1UP.

New sprite animation techniques and coding voodoo were further honed for Explosionade which made for massive amounts of polish and detail in a super-short amount of time. From collision, to player handling, to sprite libraries, having an entire game already built accelerated development as much as I could hope for. Special care was taken to make the gameplay feel very different in every way, but things that worked such as gameplay speed adjustments for players, and button remapping were kept.

The peer-to-peer leaderboards in Explosionade were the fruit of Spyn Doctor Games (Johannes Hubert) and his near drag and drop library gave us an effective leg up here as well.
Early mech and player concepts. At one point the character was going to be human with a jetpack.
4. Incorporating Feedback
Explosionade was in XNA AppHub's playtest forums for several weeks before release and it benefited greatly from a wide swath of player feedback. It was difficult actually incorporating the feedback even though some things didn't always interest me.

It's always a challenge trying to balance responsive gameplay and character 'feel' in a mech game. The original walk animation of the mech was very jerky and heavy feeling. During the earliest playtest of the mech walk animation, while I liked the style, many testers hated it, one even went so far as explain it wasn't how a real mech would move.

The final speed of the mech still turns some people off, but I had to strike a balance somewhere as I didn't want the half-ton machine able to jump around like a normal human. I tried to mitigate moving slower with the ability to 'shield jump' which turned out to be one of the highlight mechanics of the game!
Getting closer to the final mech design.

5. Forced Delay
Explosionade was targeted to release on September 25th. I had everything in-line for that date, but when an edge-case crash bug was found I pulled the game from peer review immediately.

This in turn added another 8 days to development, in which time we added a new story ending (there's 2 endings total), a true final boss, a power-up (the Meganade Cascade), and the shield soldier type. Obviously this beefed the game up significantly. Even with a 'small' game extra time really helps.


What Went Wrong
1. Not Enough Variety
When you're trying to finish a game in a month, one of the first things that can go is variety. While we did manage two different soldier types (the shield Horronyms can bounce your lasers and are more aggressive), overall, people wanted more enemies and more levels. This was simply a matter of time, and not being able to fit in lots of variations or new types into the game. It was a calculated move to try to finish a whole game quickly. Many reviews and gamers weren't bothered as much by it but probably just as many were turned off by the lack of environmental variety.
Sketches for the SnakeBat, Horronym soldier faces, and the power core (the level exit).
2. Split Controls
There have been very few console, run-jump-and-shoot dual stick shooters (our own Weapon of Choice comes to mind as does Gastronaut's Small Arms). With Metal Slug and Cybernator firmly on my mind as some of Explosionade's influences, I wanted to cater to the older, arcade crowd. Originally move and look was on the left stick and shoot was on the X button.

But the more gamers playtested, the more they wanted a Right Stick fire option. I added this but now the jump dilemma surfaced. Where does jump go when you have a dual stick shooter? I had several complaints for Weapon of Choice putting jump on the Left Trigger though that still seems the obvious choice for me. In the end, Explosionade defaulted to jump to the A button as an experiment, and the game provided full button remappability.

Plenty of people still complained about jump on the face buttons, but then were happy with the remapping abilities. I think next time I'll try duplicating jump on the trigger and face buttons.

Explosionade gamplay, zoomed in view of the later, electrified levels.

3. Low Difficulty and Slow Interest Ramp
I wanted to make sure as many people as possible beat Explosionade. That worked out pretty well as a lot of them enjoyed the funny story, and played through to the end. But many also complained that the game was too easy, even on 'Serious' difficulty.

I also believe while the conversion rate is good from trials to sales (27%), it could definitely be higher still. I think some of this has to do with the difficulty ramp in the trial. If a few of the first 10 levels could convey a very chaotic feel, rather than ramping up so smoothly through all the enemy types it would have reached the hardcore audience more effectively. Try to get as much variety from the later levels into your trial experience--don't assume people will look at screenshots.
Very early screenshot of Explosionade back when it was called "Take the Base". Check out the pink Shoot 1UP enemy fighter!

4. Subtle Expectations
The design of Explosionade, letting you play full-screen or zoomed in, and in large-but-still-single-screen-challenge-rooms is not exactly standard. Balancing the look of the game, and gamers expectations was difficult as many expected it to play in a longer-level side-scroller fashion probably more like Contra or Cybernator. I had good number of gamers seem lukewarm because the game was not a 'proper' side-scroller (though it scrolls when you zoom in).

It's difficult to address but unavoidable that gamers' expectations will color their impressions even if they end up actually enjoying your game.
The game's psuedo-antagonist, Colonel Bouche
5. Marketing Ramp Too Short
The gaming press is busy. And they have lead times for articles. And I think there's an inherit tolerance of "how popular is your game versus how often can we stand to talk about it". I see that as no fault of the press, it's just something to keep in mind.

By September 20th, I had something attractive enough to show the press, yet I ended up launching only a few weeks later. Three weeks is a terrible way for an Indie Game to build hype. If at all possible, give yourself at least 2 months--though 3 months is probably optimal (or more of course).

As it stood, a lot of sites covered the announcement, some covered the dashboard issues, but not as many covered the actual launch. I think this is a mix of being busy, some disinterest, and also "already covered a small game too recently". It's very important to 'plan and date' your stories for the press with your game coverage. Keep their schedules, and big game launches in mind.
Explosionade box art

When Life Gives You Explosions...
Overall Explosionade came out waaaaaaaaaay better than I expected. That's probably a mix of the art style jiving well, my intern Richard kicking complete butt with an awesome editor, AJ writing a very funny story, and some lucky design inspiration like the shield jump. Though the difficulty is low I still enjoy the 'experience' you get when playing through on a single sitting. I consider Atticus and Colonel Bouche great characters, the mech fun to play, and I plan to expand on the Explosionade universe soon!

Game Data
Project: Explosionade
Developer and Publisher: Mommy's Best Games
Platform: Xbox LIVE Indie Games
Release Date: October 7, 2010

Full time developers: 1
Interns (part-time): 1
Contractors: 3

Development Time: 38 days

Hardware: AMD 2.2GHz, 1GB RAM; retail Xbox 360; 19" flat screen monitor; ancient, giant SDTV, 12" HD TV, Super NES, Sega Genesis

Software: XNA, Dark BASIC, Visual Studio Express Edition, Photoshop CS2, GoldWave

Resources: www.soundsnap.com, create.msdn.com/en-US/

Best late night quote: “Can we take out the one that rapes you all around the edges?” (Referring to a roly bug that rolls around the level edge, and eventually tracks you down.)

For any unanswered questions, just fire away in the comments or email me directly!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

EGM: What is Indie?

Electronic Gaming Monthly number 242.0, for December 2010 has a feature article investigating what does it mean to be an independent game developer. They've interviewed yours truly for the story! I think this is the first time Mommy's Best Games has been featured in EGM!

While it's been through hard times, EGM has always had a special place in my heart. I started reading the first issues back in middle and high school. I can still remember trying to get the Simon Belmont code to work in T.M.N.T. 2 which turned out to be their first April Fools prank. Obviously I'm really excited to see MBG in their feature!



Those interviewed were ourselves, Brandon Boyer (current IGF chair), Supergiant (upcoming Bastion), and Twisted Pixel ('Splosion Man, Comic Jumper).

The feature starts on page 40, here's a legend colored text for who said what:
Mommy's Best Games: blue
Brandon Boyer: green
Supergiant: reddish purple
Twisted Pixel: orange

Click to enlarge!


Capybara and Gaijin Games were also mentioned in the article, with a nice pic of Capy's Critter Crunch shown on page 2.

Congrats to all the developers featured--I'm looking forward to Bastion, Supergiant
We always appreciate magazine coverage, and it's nice to see indie game exposure in such a prominent place in a print magazine (with an XBLIG mention!). While it wasn't an extremely in-depth article, the conclusion was interesting, that regardless of big corporations trying to co-opt the word "indie", independent developers are all very different and will continue making games regardless. It reminds me of 'alternative music' from the 1990's and how it's slowly blended into mainstream.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ExplosionadEditor Preview

Making Explosionade and designing all those intricate little rooms to house intelligent and nasty aliens was a lot of fun. It's garnered a lot of praise and we're really proud of it. We used an in-house editor written in Dark Basic to build Explosionade levels.


Early view of the public ExplosionadEditor with a level jam-packed with dangers.
Because it was used internally there were lots of little quirks we let go by. But what if we let everyone use the level editor? Wouldn't that be cool to see what kinds of crazy designs that could be created?
To that end, the ExplosionadEditor has been getting more polish and more features to make it suitable for mass usage. 

Here we see the visual picking tool, which lets you find any gameplay object with ease.
Of course the question on the tip of your tongue may be: Why would I use an ExplosionadEditor if I can only play Explosionade on my 360? That looks like a PC editor, with a mouse--not something I can use on my Xbox 360.

That's true.. it's not for the 360.. if only there were a version of Explosionade coming to the PC soon. If only... then maybe it would include a built-in editor, and the game would let you play custom levels or even custom campaigns... if only. (We should have a formal announcement soon! :)


Check out the video showing a room idea going from sketch, to design, to play!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

8 Bit Horse is One Year Old!

Our 2D-only sister-site 8 Bit Horse has officially and successfully been around for over a year! 8 Bit Horse is the premiere place for learning about 2D games both from the past, present, and FUTURE. We're very proud that it's gained a loyal audience and with AJ's continued dedication and determination, 8 Bit Horse will continue strong through its second year!

Follow 8 Bit Horse on Twitter to find out when new articles launch about 2D games.

The following is a reprint of AJ's 1-Year Anniversary post on 8 Bit Horse itself.
(Background: AJ Johnson is the writer for dialog and story in Mommy's Best Games, and writes most of the articles on 8 Bit Horse.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reviewsionade

Explosionade is out now on Xbox Live Indie Games and has garnered dozens of excellent reviews, check out some of the highlights!


Eurogamer review: 8 out of 10

"For 80 points, Explosionade is an absolute steal."

1UP.com review: "FreeLoader" pick
"The game, a cross between Metal Slug and Blaster Master's overworld levels, has rightly been obsessed over in blogs and forums."

Kotaku review: "Xbox Live Indie Clip"
"You too can have this much fun running around a mutant-infested warehouse with an extremely powerful prototype mech..."

images

Game Critics review: 8.5 out of 10
"I'm confident that anyone investing the asking price of one dollar will find that it's one of the wisest choices they've ever made."

Digital Hippos review: 4.4 out of 5
"Slick graphics, easy to get into, co-op play, funny dialogue."

Twin Galaxies review: 8 out of 10
"Bosses are humongous in comparison to the rest of the enemies and take entire arsenals to bring down."



Co-optimus review: 4 out of 5
"Oh, did I mention that you look like a character from Tim and Eric Awesome Show?"



Broke My Controller review:
Xbox LIVE Indie Game of the Month
"The attention to detail is first rate, not just because of the exceptional hand-drawn graphics, but because of the amazing variety. "

images

RunDLC review: 4 out of 5
"Explosionade is a rare Indie game that is so good, it probably should’ve been a full Xbox Live release."

Blog 'Em Up review:
In Swedish
Google Translate says "When life hands you explosions. Make explosions!"


Dealspwn review:
Xbox Live Indie Game Of The Week: Drink Your Explosionade!
"If you crave big guns, huge explosions and twisted alien enemies, you need look no further than Mommy’s Best Games. "

Console Arcade review:
"The graphics and sprites are all wonderfully hand drawn, and there’s a great level of feedback when you shoot enemies which makes killing them satisfying."

DIY Gamer review:
"Even the smallest enemy soldier has a lot of personality thanks to the little details in his armor and animations as he runs for cover from an explosion."

XBLA Fans review: "Buy It!"
"You can tell just by watching the game play out that each animation was carefully created, and shown lots of love."

1UP or Poison review: "Good" rating
"Your character feels like he's taken all these powers that would have stood on their own in any other 2D game and combined them to make one badass mech."

Gay Gamer review: "Yay!" rating
"Making defensive tools just as fun as offensive ones seems to be a common trait for Mommy's Best Games."

Veteran Gamers podcast:
Listen for tons of explosion sound effects everytime they say the name! (about 55 minutes in)
http://o35s.podbean.com/2010/10/14/the-veteran-gamers-episode-40-chinnys-hair-is-soft-and-shiny/

Signed In podcast:
10 minutes in, "Hilarity and craziness goes from there", http://www.signedinpodcast.com/?p=417

GamerGeddon review: "Geddon it!" rating
"Great graphics and sounds, and the gameplay is good fun."

images

SuperGhost review: Indie Spotlight
"MBG packed a lot of game into this package..."

Armless Octopus review:
"With forty levels chock full of creatures that need killing, it’s a fantastic value at a buck."


Giant review on Mecha Damashii!


Mecha Damashii review:
8 out of 10

"I heard a rumour (which I started) that Mommy’s Best Games is able to provide these quality sprites by eating live scorpions they find outside exclusively and passing those savings onto you, the consumer."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Explosionade Out Now!

Explosionade is now on sale on Xbox LIVE Indie Games for only 80 MS Points!
Check out the free demo here: US Marketplace link



It's just like lemonade, but with EXPLOSIONS.

Trailer:


 All your friends are storming the Horronym Fortress but Colonel Bouche left you to guard the supply depot. Disregarding orders you open the depot to find a gigantic, prototype mech!

New Screenshots!
(Rar file with new screenshots: http://www.mommysbestgames.com/Explosionade/Explosionade_first_released_screens.rar
Folder of all screens and box art: http://www.mommysbestgames.com/Explosionade )

Skull-shaking action in 2-player coop!



The Horn Stormers are not happy to see you.



Choose your own adventure as you can go different ways in lots of rooms!



The orange Clingers like to put you between a rock and a hard place.

Break up the Horronym's infernal rites!


Bosses grow to ridiculous proportions!

Features:

  • INFILTRATE subterranean strongholds manned by cunning bipedal aliens and their mind-blasting hellions!
  • Recharging MegaNades, and an earth-shaking machine gun rip DESTRUCTIBLE environments to hand-drawn bits!
  • Dozens of CHALLENGE-ROOM style gameplay with a zoom function that let's in you close or zooms out to see all the action!
  • 2-PLAYER COOP so you can share the alien-stomping, grenade tossing joy!
  • ONLINE High Scores to show off your skills!
  • Hand-drawn, silky-smooth effect animations just like Mom used to make! (If your mom was SNK)
---
Read about the Xbox Dashboard drama resolution here.

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Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is a boutique game developer founded in 2007. We strive to deliver games that push the edges of the medium through gameplay, art, and pie. Our first game, Weapon of Choice, is an award-winning, side-scrolling, action game now available on Xbox Live Indie Games. And our second game, is an award-winning shoot'em up with a twist, Shoot 1UP, also available on Xbox Live Indie Games.

Mommy's Best Games is currently developing Grapple Buggy, promoting Explosionade and Shoot 1UP for Windows Phone 7, and working on other secret projects to titillate your fancy.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Top Downloads is Broken; Delaying Explosionade

    UPDATE: 
    Explosionade is out now for only 80 MS Points! Check out the free trial!
    Microsoft has fixed the dashboard at least for the moment and Top Downloads is working (as of October 6th, 2010). Unfortunately in the past, after the list is fixed, it often breaks again in a few months, without warning. Microsoft has offered no public explanation to developers or any assurance they've fixed it with any more certainty this time.
    .

    Original article:
    Great news--Explosionade is finished and ready for you to play! The bad news--I'm not going to release it till the Xbox Marketplace is less broken. Sorry, but I want the best launch possible, and when the Top Downloads list isn't up to date, it's a crappy time to release a game to Xbox Live Indie Games. (Gamers, jump to the end for when it will release; Developers--read on)
    .
    What's Top Downloads?
    On the Xbox 360's Dashboard, there are many digital marketplaces from which you can download games. If you go to the Indie Games section you'll see several game lists including New Arrivals and Top Downloads. New Arrivals shows the most recent 20 Xbox Live Indie Games uploaded to the service. As the name implies, Top Downloads shows the 20 games that are currently downloaded most. Think of Top Downloads as "Most Popular".
     
    The Top Downloads list is powered by the sales and trial data compiled by Microsoft from the day prior. So for instance, if today is October 3rd, typically sales data would be available for October 2nd some time in the afternoon. Top Downloads always should reflect gamers choices the day before. That way, if a new game enters the New Arrivals list, then by the next day, if it has lots of gamers checking it out, it will also be in the Top Downloads list.

    There are currently over 1,300 games available on the XBL Indie Games channel. Several games are released each day. Often times a game will only spend a few days in the New Arrivals list. If it hasn't garnered enough attention, it will slip off that visual list, and buried in the "Browse All" list where only the most determined gamers will seek it out.


    .


    Why Aren't You Releasing Explosionade Yet?
    If we released Explosionade today, but the Top Downloads list is not updating properly we will miss a huge chance for more sales.We love making games as a full time business. If we have a bad launch for Explosionade, it will greatly hurt our potential to carry on.
    Basically the way the NewArrivals/Top Downloads system works is more adventurous gamers sift through all the releases that enter the New Arrivals list. Some of these games get downloaded by more gamers than others. If a game gets downloaded enough, it will show up in the Top Downloads list. From having data from Weapon of Choice, Shoot 1UP, and from talking to other XBLIG developers it's apparent having a game in the Top Downloads list can get you many more trials than slipping off all easy-to-find lists.


    When Top Downloads is stuck, it's true some games are high in the list and get more downloads then. But eventually gamers will recognize the list is stuck (when sometimes data doesn't update for over a week) and gamers begin to ignore the channel more as it's obvious something's broken. Even though some games initially benefit from the list being stuck, eventually all games suffer from lower traffic.
     .

    How Do You Know the Top Downloads List Is Broken?
    One way is to simply check the Top Downloads list itself on the Xbox each day and see if the Top 20 are identical. That's pretty tedious to do, so if you are an XBLIG developer with a released game, you can simply check your sales data for any of your games and see if it reports data from the day prior. For instance, it's 11pm EST on October 3rd, but sales data for both Weapon of Choice and Shoot 1UP is only up to date till October 1st. The sales data drives the Top Downloads list. If sales data is late, the list is not updating. If you don't have any games released you can follow Mommy's Best Games on twitter or others, or check the XNA forums.
    .

    Also, I publicly share sales data for Shoot 1UP from which I hope other developers can glean some marketing strategies and understand the XBLIG marketplace better. I also try to mark every time sales data is late in the Shoot 1UP spreadsheet (over to the right of the date).
    To the right, you can see days data was late, or partial, which translates to a broken Top Downloads list.
    What late data means in concrete terms is any games released on October 2nd are getting less potential representation. The following games were released on the 2nd:
    Any interest gamers showed for these game is lost until the list updates again.
    If we had released Explosionade yesterday, it would be missing potential time in the Top Downloads list and potential sales.
    .

    So When Are You Releasing Explosionade?
    Sales data has been spotty since September 28th, which means the Top Downloads list has been spotty in terms of reflecting gamers interests. In months past, the Top Downloads list has stayed stuck for days, sometimes over a week.
    I really want to release Explosionade, as I publicly announced we could release by October 4th (Monday). It was ready in time for review earlier this weekend, but I've been waiting till Top Downloads is functioning properly.

    Explosionade in all it's alien-stomping glory.

    I'm hoping the list will start updating again properly by Monday evening. If it is, I'll put Explosionade into review, and if the game passes review, it will probably be available Thursday morning, October 7th. 
    .
     




    Above all, I really love the freedom the Xbox Live Indie Games channel affords developers to make console games. It's a fantastic marketplace that has really come into it's own with stand out titles like I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1, Miner Dig Deep, Breath of Death VII, Protect Me Knight, SoulCaster, Inferno, Decimation X, and many more. I love developing games for the XBLIG when the system works and I want the service to continue. But if Top Downloads keeps getting stuck it's going to eventually impact developers and gamers and the channel will suffer.
     .
    ----
    UPDATE:
    The story was covered here on eurogamer.net. Here and around the web, some questions were presented I thought I'd explain with the original article.
     

    "Why don't you just release it after the dashboard is working?"
    Currently to submit a game to XBLIG it has to enter peer review. This system has worked very well as over 1,300 games have been submitted with a very low percentage of crashes. But to pass through the review it takes several days. At any given point the dashboard could break--even right when it's out of your hands and shows up freshly on the list. There's no developer control here, it's all up to Microsoft to fix the the broken dashboard.
    .
    "Who's to say you'll be in the top list?" 
    I'm not saying Explosionade will automatically be in the Top Downloads, it's more that the possibility of getting into that list is basically removed completely for our game and anyone else releasing a game when the dashboard is broken. The system breaks down for new releases' potential when Top Downloads is stuck.

    "But it only happens every month or two, what's the big deal?"
    Any breaking is too often. A digital distribution system lives dies by it's useability and the reflection of current traffic. Look at any good website or marketplace from CNN to YouTube to Gamespot. There is always a section of 'most popular' which needs real-time data to survive and where most people go first. If this most popular section is broken, sites and markets lose traffic. As I mentioned earlier, once the game is released the developer has no control over it. If the list is broken, they will lose traffic and possible sales.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Explosionade

    Explosionade. It's just like lemonade, but with EXPLOSIONS.
    Our new game will be coming to Xbox Live Indie Games by Monday, October 4th!*
    Explosionade is out now!




     All your friends are storming the Horronym Fortress but Colonel Bouche left you to guard the supply depot. Disregarding orders you open the depot to find a gigantic, prototype mech!


    Trailer:


    Features:
    • INFILTRATE subterranean strongholds manned by cunning bipedal aliens and their mind-blasting hellions!
    • Recharging MegaNades, and an earth-shaking machine gun rip DESTRUCTIBLE environments to hand-drawn bits!
    • Dozens of CHALLENGE-ROOM style gameplay with a zoom function that let's in you close or zooms out to see all the action!
    • 2-PLAYER COOP so you can share the alien-stomping, grenade tossing joy!
    • ONLINE High Scores to show off your skills!
    • Hand-drawn, silky-smooth effect animations just like Mom used to make! (If your mom was SNK)


    The prototype, codename GRenaDOS

    Here's downloadable screenshots here.


    And here they are in visual form below:
    Death from above!

    Blasting off disgusting tentacles

    Engaging the shield while being swarmed by Horn Stormers

    The Horronym soldiers look up...

    ...think about running away...

    ...but are too late, as they're turned to grape jelly (tasty!)

    Turrets making for a tight situation.

    A Bezerker eyeing you as a meal.

    The Bezerker action zoomed out.

    This thing's going down!

    Explosionade should be out by Monday, October 4th on XBLIG!

    * Due to the review system for XBLIG games which don't allow for games to pass review, then enter a holding period, we simply have to submit the game for review. If it passes the game is suddenly released, if not, it has to wait a week, then we try again. We'd love to have it reviewed and finished, but the current system doesn't allow for this, so instead we're really certain it will be out this coming weekend (but anything can happen).

    UPDATE: 
    • Yes, the game was originally due out Saturday, September 25th, but in a Orwellian reconstruction, I've edited the dates above to reflect the new release target of October 4th. How evil of me! But the evil is mitigated evil because I'm leaving you this note to know I changed it. So you'll know we *weren't* always at war with Eurasia
    • What was wrong? 
      • There was an edge-case crash discovered during the awesomely effective community driven QA on the XNA peer review system. Yes, it really works!
    • Why didn't I catch the crash before? 
      • Because sometimes things slip through. I'm sorry. But it's true. Ask your Dad to explain it some time.
    • What's changing in the mean time? 
      • We're rebalancing the gameplay to be even tighter, and are fixing up little niggling menu and rendering issues we blew off before. 
      • 13.7% MOAR Explosions are being added as well.

     ---
    (But where's Grapple Buggy? Read more here. Sales of Explosionade will help fund Grapple Buggy's development!)
     ---
    Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is a boutique game developer founded in 2007. We strive to deliver games that push the edges of the medium through gameplay, art, and pie. Our first game, Weapon of Choice, is an award-winning, side-scrolling, action game now available on Xbox Live Indie Games. And our second, award-winning game Shoot 1UP is also available on Xbox Live Indie Games.

    Mommy's Best Games is currently developing Grapple Buggy, promoting Explosionade and Shoot 1UP for Windows Phone 7, and working on other secret projects to titillate your fancy.