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05 November, 2015

PAX Aus Diary: Tiny Titans

The debut title from Terran Studios gets its first hands-on session.

Earlier in the year as part of our Global Game Jam coverage, we spoke about a new indie team named Terran Studios. I was pleased to see them at PAX Aus this year with their first commercial release.

In the corner of the indie pavilion, surrounded by a mob of parents and kids, was a colourful little booth with a roaring cartoon t-rex emblazoned on the side. The game was Tiny Titans, the first release by the fledgling developer.

Tiny Titans is simple and effective: a perfect example of how a developer can avoid getting bogged down trying to do everything and just stick with doing a few things very, very well. A mobile title currently available on Android, Tiny Titans tasks you with destroying a miniature city with your chosen titan by stomping, chomping and causing havoc wherever you go. Havoc is the thing that Tiny Titans does very well, you move your titan by tapping the screen, and the act of moving causes destruction. You stomp on cars, smash buildings and crush police who try to shoot you down. It really does give you a feeling of being a miniature Godzilla, so it's no wonder then that the first titan is a giant lizard.

The objectives are simple; get a high score, get some coins, unlock more monsters and cause more destruction. This is a game to be played in short bursts on the train or in-between meetings at work, a cathartic experience that lets you blow off some steam and unleash your inner beast for a few minutes. Each character has a special ability that augments the way you play, whether that is breathing fire or charging through buildings. These abilities are flashy, satisfying and cause a lot of destruction. To compliment this, the art style is cartoony and over the top - bright colours make the explosions look great and plumes of smoke erupt out of buildings when you crush them.

Terran Studios are relatively new to the indie scene and Tiny Titans is their first official release after the four developers graduated university last year. Lead developer Michael Breen told me how their intention was to make “something simple and easy to play”, that “any kid could pick up and have fun with, and any parent would be happy to download.” This is seen in the lack of in-game transactions or additional payments, the game is free and the only monetisation is in optional ads that can be played with a button after a round, or coins that can be purchased. Neither of these options feel forced on the player and the game is friendly for kids and their parents bank accounts.

The development team has been helped out over the past year with interns from major universities, and they are in talks to take on more students next year. Michael said that the goal was to fill in the knowledge gaps from their uni students, and help them to get their name on a released title to help them find jobs.

The game is currently available on Android in Australia, the UK, NZ and Canada, with iOS and other countries coming after this first wave of release.

Nathanael Peacock


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