MiniSquadron Interview – PSN 2011 Preview

MiniSquadron is already a very popular app for iOS and Android, and now it’s coming our way in the form of a PlayStation mini. The game places you in control of a plane which you fly around in a 2D place, while avoiding enemies and returning fire in and attempt to survive through 8 different levels. There are over 50 planes to unlock as you progress, with a variety of enemies to battle, such as UFOs, Devil planes, and ducks, as well as numerous weapons to fire upon them. All this is accompanied by a classical music soundtrack with the likes of Mozart and Beethoven to round out the simple elegance of this fun mini game.

PlayStation LifeStyle chatted to Jakub Mikyska, co-founder of Grip Games, to learn more about the game, the differences between the minis platform and iOS, and flying pandas.

Hi, could you start by introducing yourself, and telling us about Grip Games and MiniSquadron?

Hi. My name is Jakub and I am a co-founder of Grip Games. We are developer and publisher of PSP and PlayStation 3 games, located in Prague, Czech Republic.

We have already released two games on the PlayStation Store, 5-in-1 Arcade Hits and Blimp: The Flying Adventures in 2010 and the plan is to release a lot more games in 2011 and MiniSquadron will be the first one of them. We work with several iPhone game developers and are bringing their games to the PlayStation Store. And we also make some games of our own 😉

MiniSquadron is a frantic shooter game. You will take control of an airplane and will have to fight through many waves of incoming enemy aircrafts. To help you with this uneasy task, your arsenal includes cannons, rockets, airstrikes, mega-lasers and basically everything you have ever dreamed of being able to use to cripple your virtual enemies.

What about the PlayStation platform made you decide to bring MiniSquadron to it?

MiniSquadron is a perfect game for the PlayStation platform. It is the kind of game that you will understand in five seconds, but it may take you five weeks to fully finish it.

There’s a lot of action, humor, great graphics and most of all, phenomenal gameplay. It will please the casual players as well as hardcore players.

How does the development cost of the minis platform compare to the iOS?

The development costs are of course a lot higher. On iPhone, you get your $99 developer license and you are good to go. On the other hand, while developing a PSP/ PS3 game, $99 doesn’t even cover the cost of having the DevKits transported from Sony to us 😉 There are cost of localizing the game, getting the necessary ratings from ESRB and PEGI and many other things.

This is the reason why everyone is developing iOS games and not PlayStation games, as only the very best games can make it to the PlayStation Store and be successful there.

Is it challenging to translate the touch screen game play to the PSP/PS3 control scheme?

Not really. MiniSquadron is using virtual joystick on touchscreen based platforms, like the iPhone. PSP and PS3 have real joysticks, so the game controls exactly the same, but it is much more comfortable and precise than it has ever been on the iPhone. Gameplay wise, the PlayStation version is the best version of MiniSquadron.

The iOS and Android versions of the game featured 1 on 1 multiplayer. Are there plans to include this in the upcoming PSP version?

Because of the functionality limitations for minis games, the multiplayer cannot be implemented. No minis game is allowed to use any kind of connectivity.

But there are still many hours of gameplay in the game and over fifty planes to unlock and use, so the players do not have to worry about the game growing old too soon.

Besides the multiplayer, are there any other notable changes to the game?

No, except for the multiplayer, the game is exactly the same game that is considered to be one of the greatest iPhone games ever made. The crazy airplanes, eight different worlds, humor, classical soundtrack… it is all in there. And thanks to the ability to control the game using a real joystick, it actually plays a lot better.

This game saw great sales on the phone platforms, do you expect the same level of success from the PSP/PS3?

Yes, I believe that the PlayStation players will love MiniSquadron. There’s a lot of shooting, alien aircrafts, humor, and tons of stuff to unlock. It has everything. And it definitely won’t be overpriced like most of the other minis are.

The use of classical music is a rather unique choice for such a game, why did you decide to use it?

Nothing about MiniSquadron is what you would expect. You can pilot over fifty airplanes, from jet-fighters to a flying panda, you can shoot lasers that cover one third of the screen and you will be shooting at everything that flies, including UFOs and rocket turtles… If you think about it, the use of classical music is one of the very few things that actually seem quite normal in MiniSquadron 😉 And listening to classical music, while blasting enemy airplanes to pieces, definitely has a lot of charm to it.

Are there any plans to release the game on any other platforms?

Except for iOS and very soon PSP and PS3, the game is also available for Palm and Android.