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Interview - Two Tribes (Rubiks Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH)

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Rubiks Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH

WiiWare | Two Tribes Games / The Game Factory | 1-2 Players | Online Leaderboards | Out Now
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22nd November 2009; By Billy White

Two Tribes games are a group of well experienced developers from the Netherlands who have created several top games over the years on both Nintendo platforms and mobile devices, ranging from the Worms series to cult hit Toki Tori. Now, they are working on a new series of WiiWare games entitled "Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy", focusing on puzzle aspects based around the coloured blocks in a Rubik's cube. We decided to find out more on their first game in the series (entitled "RUSH"), as well as delve into some more Two Tribes related info, such as their outlook on Toki Tori's future, and the DSiWare service.

Hi! Let's start by asking a bit about yourself and your role at Two Tribes.
I'm one of the founders of Two Tribes and currently the creative director. On RUSH I've taken up the duties of lead designer.

What were some of the inspirations behind your new title Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy?
The main inspiration has literally been the Rubik's Cube itself. We made sure we applied the rules that make the original Cube so compelling to the new game. RUSH is a very different experience, but borrows things like forward planning and a required insight into 3D objects from the Cube.

Could you briefly explain the objective of the game, and how this is achieved?
The goal for players is to guide streams of rolling cubes from their start point to their exit points. They need to make sure the cubes don't fall off of the fully 3D levels or bump into each other.
Players can achieve this by placing signs on the levels that influence the paths of the Cubes. We've got a wide range of signs that allow players to change the speed of the cubes, send them in a different direction, split them up, or conveyor belt them to another location.

Why did you decide to incorporate the Rubiks theme? Was this your original idea, or did you start out with an idea for a puzzler and then chose to merge it with the Rubiks franchise during the development process?
The game concept was developed after we were approached by The Game Factory about the Rubik's license. As I mentioned before, we took things from the original Cube and incorporated it into the new concept.

How many games do you have planned for this series, and how would you say they vary from each instalment?
It has not yet been decided how many games will be made for the series. We've got enough ideas to keep us going for a while. What I can tell you is that they will all be deep puzzle experiences.

What's the main focus that you're striving for with the first game, "Rush"?
Apart from offering a unique and polished game experience, we've put a lot of effort into creating a great look and feel for the game world. We wanted to establish a unique look that people would recognize instantly when they would see a new entry in the series.

Your previous WiiWare title Toki Tori had some fantastic music by Sonic Picnic. Can we expect similar catchy tunes in these games? What do you think in regards to the audio aspects of the game as a whole?
This time the music has been created in-house, and it is a lot more relaxed than Toki Tori. The whole look and feel of the game is more abstract and stylish, when compared to the bright look and feel of Toki Tori.
    It is also a game where you can sit back and try to solve the levels without even touching the controller. So the music and the sound effects take more of a back seat to the visuals this time.

How did you choose the final graphical style for Rush? Did you encounter any difficulties with camera viewpoints along the way, and if so, how did you work around these?
We went through a couple of revisions before we settled on the current look. There is actually a lot going on behind the scenes to create this look, including pre-rendered ambient occlusion and real-time shadows. We're planning a blog entry about the technical side of RUSH, so keep an eye out on our site for that.
    As for the camera, we settled on a cam-on-a-stick approach with a distance that is variable per level. This keeps it simple for players to influence and makes it easy to play with only the Wii Remote.

Have you chosen to include any online aspects in the series, such as online play, Pay & Play DLC or WiiConnect24?

We support online leaderboards through Nintendo WiFi connection. So you can compare the scores earned in the Rubik's Cube portion of the game to other players worldwide. It also opens up the possibilities for us to have tournaments, so keep an eye out for that after the game launches.

What have you done to lengthen the game's overall lifespan?
We have over 70 RUSH levels, with five unlockable when you complete the normal ones. We also have the classic Rubik's Cube gameplay in four sizes, with multiplayer modes and a really cool pattern matching mode. There is even a tutorial on how to solve the bloody Cube ;)

The first of these games hasn't arrived on the Wii Shop Channel just yet, but how long do you think gamers will have to wait between instalments?
That has not been determined yet. But don't expect one each month, because we want to make sure they are only released when they have reached the proper quality levels.

Can you tell us anything about the sales of Rubik's World, your previous retail titles for Wii and DS?

Not really, since for those products we were only the developers. For RUSH we are co-publishing it with The Game Factory, so we'll have insight into sales data this time.

Now that you've had some time to see WiiWare grow, have you learned anything from what other developers are doing?
We have learned a lot of lessons with Toki Tori, and we've built RUSH to overcome the obstacles Toki Tori faced. It will be interesting to see how it performs when it is released!

What are your thoughts on some of the entries that were submitted for the Toki Tori promotion contest earlier this year? Were you pleased with the results?
YES! There were some extremely cool entries, with the Toki Tori Rap (opens in new window) as the obvious winner.
It was the first time we did something like that and we had a lot of fun watching the entries. So expect more contests in the future!

We know you've been asked this many times, but do you think we'll see more Toki Tori in the near future?
I'll let you in on a little secret; almost every time we release a product, there is a Toki Tori to be found inside. It may be subtle at times, but he is usually featured in the game somewhere.
    As for a real answer to your question: we are always looking at doing things with Toki Tori. But it's too soon to give any information, as things usually turn out differently than you expect.

You've already brought the game to the App Store (with the help of Chillingo): would you say that a DSiWare version would be plausible in the near future? Have you considered going into DSiWare development with other ideas?
    DSiWare is definitely on our mind, and to be honest we've already got a Toki Tori up and running on DS. It's far from being finished, but looks pretty good so far.

That sounds both intriguing, and somewhat promising also! Anyway, thank you for your time, but before we finish, do you have anything you'd like to say to our readers?
Let us know what you think of RUSH and our other games. We are suckers for feedback, both good and bad, so let it rip!

Thanks very much to Two Tribes for their support with this Q&A feature, and we look forwards to both RUSH and your other future offerings on WiiWare and possibly DSiWare!

Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH
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