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Exclusive Details: Bplus' 3DS Projects

7th July 2011; By Billy and Patrick

Bplus logo
Those who paid attention to Nintendo's downloadable games platforms since the launch of WiiWare will probably recognize the name "Bplus". They're the Austrian team behind Plättchen: Twist 'n' Paint, Niki Rock 'n' Ball and Bit Boy!!, all of which received mixed reviews across the web, although we didn't think they were as bad as some made out.

    They also had another game in the works for Wii, which we exclusively revealed to be Vektor Tank 3D+. Since then, this has gone on to exist as a 3DS retail title still in development, but little has been heard on that front in a little while. And with good reason, too, since Bplus recently revealed to us that they are working on not just Vektor Tank, but THREE other games as well.

    The games, which include a new outing for Niki, a restart of his WiiWare adventure, and a new puzzler, are all set for release on the 3DS download service, with a new poll appearing on the developer's forums asking readers which title they're interested in the most. However, with very little information about the titles currently available across the net, Patrick asked Bplus main man Bernd Geiblinger a little bit more about the games, the results of which - complete with screenshots - are below!

PUZZLEBOX: Copycat Cubes

An example of how the top screen works in PUZZLEBOX: Copycat Cubes
In this completely new IP, the player must use both screens of the 3DS to recreate a three dimensional building. Layer-by-layer construction information is shown on the top screen, with the creation process taking place on the bottom. As the user fills in the cubes on each layer, the final design begins to form, with further difficulty options giving users further challenges involving colour-replication and time restrictions. Puzzles range from designs that span across a 5x5 surface to a 21x21 grid.

    In "creativity" mode, you're given the option to define your own grid and colours, designing your own sculpture as you wish, with a fully interactive multi-layer interface. Once your sculpture is complete, you must successfully recreate it yourself, with your time being recorded as the limit for your creation.

Example of a finished sculpture in PUZZLEBOX: Copycat Cubes
Of course, this would be no fun without the option to let others challenge your score and beat your design! That's why a fully integrated sharing system is also on offer, with the ability to save QR codes representative of your design to an SD card, ready for sharing via email, forums and your own website. 

    To play against other user's creations, you simply have to scan the code in with your 3DS, where the new challenge awaits. Bernd also tells us that Bplus plan on providing new, special sculpture QR codes across their own website and in the form of online and print advertisements.

    The game also features a full 3D animated story featuring the "lovely director" and sketches that take place within his Museum of Cubes. The screenshots here are from a concept version of the game, and by the time the final version comes around, completed sculptures will also be viewable in the interactive museum (which you can walk around yourself), and the cubes themselves will also incorporate Bplus' friendly Plättchen design.

Niki Dream

Niki's Dream
Niki Dream is another of the 3 titles in development by Bplus. Since the whole thing is set as a dream, you’ll see some fantastical stuff! Now, everyone who’s played Niki - Rock 'n' Ball on Wii knows how threatening the monsters look. Niki as a Ball is very scared of them and that has a great effect in his dreams too. Enemies are bigger and uglier than in real life but because it is just a dream Niki cannot die. Instead, he just loses his circled 'human' shape for a few seconds. After he is hit, his head, hands and circled feet fall down and roll around until Niki collects them together and stands up again. 

    The game's focus is definitely is set on timing, fast paced reactions and puzzles, because you have to find out how the levels in Niki's dream world really work to get to the finish and wake up the next morning! 

    The game's surreal art style changes its colour with every level. It is all about changing - by defeating enemies you might get ZeLeLi Dream Icons to update Niki's abilities. You might start within a small area and by getting advanced jumping-power you are able to reach higher platforms. The next update will make Niki faster so he might jump across a bigger abyss - so with this, the gameplay experience changes all the time. With every Night and every new Dream, Niki begins without any upgrades. He is able to fight, but over time will power up to get shooting power, and is even able to fly within his dream world before he wakes up. 

The circles are not that static as they seem to be on these early screenshots. Defeating an enemy might also have effect on the architecture of the levels. A wall might lose some circles and opens up a door, an abyss might close, platforms might grow, buildings might shrink, and so on. Shooting specific objects might temporarily let a plant build out of circles grow so Niki can reach higher parts, or a way may open up depth-wise so that Niki can also run into another direction. 

    Niki Dream is a prequel to Niki Rock Ball. Niki dreams about the ZeLeLi icons, so he will hunt for them and find the ZeLeLi Amulet that you might remember. The art style isn't completed yet because Bplus wants to hear what players want! Be sure to make suggestions on their forums!

Niki Rock Ball

Many will likely remember Niki from previous WiiWare title Niki Rock 'n' Ball, and this 3DS game functions as a reboot of the original. For those who don't know, the game was a platformer wherein the player had to control and bounce a ball around a two dimensional level, defeating enemies to unlock the portal to the next world. The character Niki could also make the innovative change from a ball into a solid rock, which is harder to move, but far more destructive.

In 3D, the game stands out, allowing more room for creative design in both the background and foreground
Bernd explained to us that they originally planned on having a second, more expansive version of the original Niki game complete with 4-way multiplayer, larger worlds, and a wider variety of monsters on WiiWare. This idea later morphed into what is now known as simply "Niki Rock Ball", the third newly announced 3DS Bplus title.

    Why the platform change? "The depth of the Nintendo 3DS' 3D screen gives us the possibility to make great, detailed and complex art in the back-and foreground without confusing the player", Bernd explained. With the 3D slider up and ready, platforms can be seen to have a real connection to the world as they grow from the ground, or hang from the ceiling.

    What's more, the 3D also allows for more in-depth gameplay, with Monster's sneaking around in the background before coming forwards to interrogate Niki, and sections of wall that burst out from the background, potentially crushing Niki if he doesn't find safe spots throughout his route. Adding to the list of gameplay additions, such moving walls also offer a further level of interactivity by having weak spots which can be crushed through whilst in the form of Niki Rock.

    The emphasis on 3D depth also comes into great effect with various other gameplay features, such as passing bubbles that float by, occasionally containing a spike which can harm Niki Ball when popped. The added dimension depth here helps define whether the bubbles are merely passing by, or passing through your territory.

    In addition to these features, there are lots of new collectables, moves and attacks, which when used together can help conquer this (Niki) Rock hard, exciting puzzle platformer! And don't forget the four-way multiplayer mode - which supports download play mode for those of your friends without access to the game!

So that's it for this round-up, be sure to check out future coverage of these games on Wiiloveit.com! Also don't hesitate to check out the Bplus forums where you can find out more about the titles and give your own thoughts and suggestions on the upcoming games, direct to the developer! http://forums.bplus.at

3DS Browser Site - Also make sure you check out the special 3DS page on Bplus' website, which includes 3D .mpo screenshots viewable via the 3DS browser! http://Bplus.at/games.htm

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