Back in the late nineties, an arcade-style game called Gubble migrated from PC and Mac to the original Playstation. It starred a little purple alien who hopped around in a pogo stick-like vehicle and solved puzzles with simple tools like hammer and screwdriver. Several years later, developer Actual Entertainment released the first Gubble on iPhone and iPad.
At Apps World in San Francisco this week we met with Actual president Franz Lanzinger to learn about Gubble’s upcoming trip to iOS. The hammer-loving alien will soon star in Gubble Vacation Rush, a 3D endless running game. With a retro character and unique tool-based gameplay mechanics, Vacation Rush is shaping up to be a runner of a different color. See it in action in our hands-on video!
A change of perspectives
Gubble has been away for a long time, and the new game’s story acknowledges his absence. Our protagonist went into hibernation following his last adventure. Now he’s awake and vacationing on new alien worlds. But they’re not the safest places to visit.
The first Gubble game used a top-down isometric perspective similar to classic arcade games Pac-mania and Crystal Castles. Now that Gubble is on vacation, his new game uses a 3D camera set behind the character’s back – just like other 3D endless runners. Technically Gubble doesn’t run so much as he floats along in his hovercraft.
Gubble Vacation Rush early screenshots
Although Vacation Rush’s controls work similar to other runners (swiping to dodge left and right or jump), the typical coin collection works a bit differently here. Gubble can attach three different tools to his craft: hammer, screwdriver, and wrench. Each of these tools can then be used to collect the appropriate fastener (nail, screw, bolt) for points. The fasteners fly away towards the camera when collected, which looks pretty cool.
Besides collecting nails and such for points, Gubble has to deal with threatening landscapes, enemies, and objects. The ones we saw in our preview included stationary structures that will crash Gubble, force fields that knock his tools away, moving robots, rolling gears, and pits of lava.
Actual Entertainment hopes to publish Gubble Vacation Rush on iOS sometime around May. It will be free to play. In the meantime, check out the original Gubble.
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Paul started writing about games in 2003 with his first strategy guide (Bomberman Land 2) for GameFAQs. He continued writing guides while earning his B.A. in Literature. When Windows Phone launched in late 2010, the Xbox integration lead our hero to jump on board the platform. He joined Windows Phone Central as Games Editor at the beginning of 2011, going on to review over 125 mobile Xbox titles over the years. He now leads Windows Central's Xbox One coverage, personally specializing in developer interviews, indie games, controllers and accessories, and Twitch broadcasts. Paul loves games on all platforms; he goes where the games are. Although very busy with console coverage, he sometimes contributes gaming articles to iMore and Android Central.