Outside of playing the phone version of Halo: Spartan Assault and grabbing an exclusive first look at N.O.V.A. 3, we had a tough time finding Windows Phone games and news at E3 this year. Blame Microsoft’s focus on the Xbox One and the console folks’ general disinterest in promoting Windows Phone or Windows 8 for that. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t turn over every stone in our search for more phone goodness…
As it happens, just after the Microsoft Media Briefing, Sam and I met up with an indie Windows Phone developer from China named Hua “Rex” Chen. Rex showed off his new puzzle platformer for Windows Phone 7 and 8 called Eyez. We snagged some hands-on footage and an interview over lunch, and then headed off to the EA Press Conference minutes later. Eyez has just launched - more details and our exclusive video after the break!
Behind the eyez
The story behind Eyez is almost as interesting as the game itself. You can hear all about it in the video, but I’ll provide a quick rundown here. Basically, Rex was a student at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. To complete his Master of Fine Arts, Rex developed Eyez as a Windows Phone 7 title. He chose Windows Phone 7 because of the ease of working with XNA and his excitement for Microsoft’s mobile platform.
The game has gone through several iterations since its inception in 2009. At one point it would have been an overhead view game instead of a platformer. But the core mechanic has always involved playing with the boundaries of the screen in unique ways. The end result is a puzzle platformer with a few similarities to Portal, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise since Portal’s designer Kim Swift served as one of Rex’s thesis advisers at school.
Activating Blue Eye Mode allows Mint to get past walls by walking through the edges of the screen.
Eyez features some lovely hand-drawn artwork and colorful backgrounds with multiple layers of parallax. Visually, it recalls the 16-bit Valis games and perhaps some Amiga platformers. The protagonist Mint would really benefit from more frames of animation, but otherwise the game really stands out with its distinctly Asian character designs.
Mint finds herself trapped in a strange and dying world. To uncover what has happened to her and make her escape, she’ll need to take advantage of her new color-based powers. In the first of two worlds she’ll learn to use the “Blue Eye” ability, activated by double tapping the screen. This freezes the scrolling of the screen and makes it so that when Mint exits one side of the screen, she’ll come out the other side. Think Pac-Man’s tunnels or the portals from Portal.
Red Eye mode lets Mint wall jump, among other things.
Complete the first Chapter’s 10 levels to reach the second Chapter and gain the Red Eye ability. This allows Mint to walk along the boundaries of the screen, even without a platform to stand on. She can also wall jump off of the temporary borders Red Eye creates. Players will need both abilities to progress through Chapter 2’s 12 stages. Just swipe down to toggle between Red and Blue Eyes. The controls work great for the most part, though I’d greatly prefer a virtual jump button to the current, slower method of jumping: swiping up.
Open your eyez
Eyez is a relatively short game at launch, but the developer promises to add a new chapter through a free update in the future. Each level has several hidden teardrops to find, adding some replay value. You’ll have to get all the drops to earn a three-star rating. Players who enjoy platformers, puzzles, or just want to play something different should give Eyez a look. And it does have a free trial!
Eyez – Windows Phone 7 or 8 – 32 MB - $1.99 – Store Link
Update: Here is one more video to show how the game works.
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Let me see... Isnt available here in Brazil. :(
Please Hua “Rex” Chen, publish your game in here.
Can't you just change your region to the US and download anything that is available?
Is this in your phone or the live account? I've never been able to do this changing any phone settings
Hi this is Rex. I have tried to get a DJCTQ rating certificate, but then I realized that the website doesn't support English... and I can't read Portuguese... =(
You can use the PEGI or ESRB certificate instead the DJCTQ and upload them in place of the DJCTQ.
I can help with the process.
Thanks very much for your help! I just added in the DJCTQ rating info using the ESRB certificate. The update should be live within the next few days.
Your reaction time was pretty quick, nice job! :D
Platformers. Seems interesting, but I need something along the line like Giana Sisters. Already beat Sonic CD, so...
On a side note, those fast-paced platformers like Super Meat Boy... can't tolerate those. Having QR on a touchscreen is hard enough.
I'll watch the video later, but this looks awesome. I wish it were a WP Xbox title, but I may have to pick this one up anyway (because it looks great and to support Rex's efforts).
Looks like a really cool concept for a game. Will definitely try it out.
Cool, on blue eye mode the ability is look like Yukari Yakumo(Touhou). But this one take it to another level.
Just in regards to the youtube clip - The intro and outro volumes are out of whack with the volume of the rest of the vid. I had to turn my volume down during the intro, turn it way up to hear what he was saying for the bulk of the movie, then I was practically defeaned when the outro played!
Sorry about that. I'm going to permanently reduce the volume on my intro and outro clips before I do another video.
Looks cool. Will support the dev and buy this game
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