Last week’s Apps World was an event dedicated to mobile games and apps - and the craft of making them. Apps World culminated with the Big Indie Pitch, a contest in which game developers pitched their games to members of the press. I look forward to telling you all about my experience with the Pitch very soon.
In the meantime, let’s look at one of the two games that won the Big Indie Pitch. New York-based developer Odin’s Hammer bought their social interaction/photo game Revel to the show. Revel is a unique photo scavenger hunt game in which players take pictures of things in their environment and try to outdo their peers. Revel could be the next big thing in mobile games, and it’s available right now on iOS.
Mobile videogames tend to be solitary experiences. Yeah, sometimes they have online multiplayer. But if you’re at a party or a bar and you’re playing a game on your phone, then you’re probably ignoring the other people around you. Games usually aren’t a good fit for mainstream social environments. The team at Odin’s Hammer wanted to change that by creating a game that encourages players to talk to other people. New people, not just the ones you already know.
In Revel, up to eight players can join the same game. The online matchmaking component automatically detects whether a game is going on around you and makes that game easy to join. Once everybody is together, each person gets a 5 x 5 game board made up of little icons. Each of these is an item to scavenge in the environment around you.
Once you find an item, snap a picture and that space on the board becomes yours. Other players can vote on the accuracy of your photo, so you can’t just take pictures of the wrong things. Get give pictures in a row and you win, not unlike playing Bingo.
Revel offers a wide variety of themed boards for players to choose from. If you’re at a bar, you’ll want to choose the bar theme. More themes: nightclubs, girl’s night out, sporting events, etc. They even had a theme set up for Apps World. Some of the pictures that players had to take included other developers’ booths and a Windows Phone user.
The cool thing about Revel’s design is that it encourages you to interact with other people in your environment. If your photo objective is a blond woman, then you’re going to have to ask one to take her picture. And even shy members of a game can enjoy seeing the pictures that everyone else takes.
Revel aims to be ubiquitous by appearing on every mobile platform under the sun. It’s out on iOS right now, but it will be moving to Android next, followed by Windows Phone. All three versions will support cross-platform multiplayer, so anybody with a smartphone will be able to join in.
In order for a multiplayer game to be omnipresent, it also needs to be free. Revel is a free to play game, monetized by a combination of sponsorships and in-app purchases. Companies can sponsor whole themes or individual tiles within a theme. That could be a great way to get your company’s booth noticed at events like Apps World, for instance. Players can also choose to buy chips. Those chips can then be spent on items to mix up your opponents’ boards, reshuffle your own, and other helpful effects.
Revel is a game that non-gamers can enjoy. If you have people to play it with (or want to meet new people), give it a try and see why my fellow Big Indie Pitch judges came away so highly impressed.