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Interview: On Battle of Puppets

February 11, 2010 , Posted by App-reciation Reviews at 11:24 PM


For the past few days we've had the pleasure of conversing and getting to know the CEO of Small Wonders, Juan Diego Gallego. One thing led to another, and we were able to do a short interview with him on their debut iPhone app, Battle of Puppets. A tower defense game at heart, this instantly popular title perfectly integrates one-of-a-kind sound, artwork, and gameplay into a very creative puppet theme.


Below are the interview questions and Juan Diego's answers.



Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us! We’ve been wondering about your company name – Small Wonders. How did you come up with this and what significance does it hold for you?


We wanted our name to represent what we do and who we are. We love small, beautiful things that make a grand impression, and our games are the way we express that. Our name is what we aspire to be, and though we have just started down this path, in a future we'd like people to talk about Small Wonders as a company that makes enjoyable and novel games, while creating humor and beauty in their details.



Why did you decide to go into iPhone application development? Have you previously worked in gaming companies?


We love the iPhone. It's one of the best gadgets ever created, so when we started Small Wonders we were sure that the iPhone was the platform for us. To be honest, with so many amazing games available, we were nervous about how the market would receive us, but everyone has been so positive about Battle of Puppets, and we are extremely happy.

This is our first game, and everyone on the team is fresh to the game industry, although we are all game lovers.


We’d love to hear about your initial ideas for an app and how you finally came up with the concept for Battle of Puppets. It’s such a refreshingly creative game and we definitely think it’s one of the best TD games out there at the moment. How was the entire process of brainstorming, developing, and tying up loose ends?


It's been a strange and funny process. We started thinking about what kind of game would be the best for us to create for the iPhone. Given our love of game art, our first thought was that the castle defense genre would allow players to enjoy our game without having their fingers always covering the screen. After that we considered a classic war game set in the Middle Ages, but we weren’t convince that the setting would be unique, so we started to think about theaters and fights between two rival companies. We incorporated the opera concept because we love the genre and we were excited about a “stage” setting and operatic artistic style. Finally, we decided to differentiate the puppet armies based on different cultures related to different operas, hence the Japanese army performing "Madame Butterfly" or Spanish army performing "Carmen".



In a few sentences, can you summarize Battle of Puppets – the graphical style, the gameplay, the experience you wish players to have?


Battle of Puppets has a unique graphical style, full of color and crazy, adorable puppets that make every screen unique (a lot of people ask for t-shirts, wallpapers, etc.). The gameplay is similar to other castle defense games but it has a lot of surprise details, like having the weather affect battles, playful animations, and unlockable ‘professions’ that let players cast magic on the stage. As for the experience we wish players to have, we only hope players enjoy the look and feel of playing BOP and that they want to share it with others. We make games to bring a bit of enjoyment to everyone.



The reception for Battle of Puppets has been overwhelmingly positive; in fact, we’ve yet to hear of a truly negative complaint! How does this make you feel and what steps are you taking to ensure that your app maintains and exceeds this initial success?


The initial reactions are extremely positive, and we feel great about it! We’ve also gotten some wonderful feedback from our players, and we’ve been busy making Battle of Puppets even better by adding new features that we think they’ll love. Going forward, we are excited to continue updating this game to keep it a success.



Are you looking to periodically update Battle of Puppets, or at some point would you consider making a sequel instead? Do you have imminent plans for a new game or app?


We have been listening closely to the feedback we’ve received for Battle of Puppets and we are planning a bunch of updates. We’ve been asked for even more armies, maps, professions, etc. and we’re adding them as soon as we can. In the next few weeks I’m hoping we’ll have an amazing update out that will incorporate a lot of things players have requested.

For now, I can't say if we’ll make a sequel to BOP. We are just getting started with the original and we have a lot of features we want to add before moving on. Though in the future anything is possible, nowadays it's not planned. We are starting work on a new game, however. It is also going to be playful and full of color, but as we are just starting, I can’t share any more details.



This is just the beginning for Small Wonders. How do you envision your team and your careers in the near future – say, 1 to 2 years from now?


To be honest, we go step by step, and although we have great ideas for the future, we are still figuring out what will work best for us in the long term and focusing on making current projects great. Our objective is to have people to associate "Small Wonders" with funny, beautiful and precious games, and we'll be working hard to make that a reality.



Any last words – perhaps a thank you to fans or something to convince iPhone users who have yet to try Battle of Puppets?


Of course I'd like to thank everybody who has bought our game, shared it, or has talked about it. It makes me happy every time I read what people think about BOP and I feel very lucky. The players are the most important part of any game, and they deserve our thanks. I'd also like to encourage everyone to play all games, there are a lot of companies out there with amazing games just waiting to be discovered.



We've previously reviewed Battle of Puppets and gave the game a solid 5/5. Read it here and see why BOP currently tops our list of favorites!

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