Lovely interview about De Mambo and how we work from Push Square.
We're in Famitsu magazine!!
A great interview by Thumbsticks about us and De Mambo! We love the title! Read it here.
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De Mambo is quite simply a game of deception and treachery where you put your life on the line for—oh, sorry, that’s just a description of the life I lead. No De Mambo is a fast paced, single-screen action platformer that is kinda Smash Bros, sorta Breakout and nothing like either of these since it has its own swing.
De Mambo started out as a way for us to channel our Smash Bros hype—the 3DS version was just on the horizon—into something that would make us stop scouring the web, drooling with rattling hands, over any new info or footage. To say we are Smash addicts is an understatement. Influenced by the teachings of the great and immortal Masahiro Sakurai, we set out to alchemically deconstruct Smash Bros and then reconstruct it into something entirely our own. Our mantra was ‘minimal’ as we wanted to cut the fluff, to rid of anything not entirely necessary to the fun core of a game—it also went hand in hand with our huge technical limitations at the time.
A couple of tracks from OST De Mambo:
Everything we’ve done is built on limitations, which is something we’ve embraced wholeheartedly and which led us to our one button design. De Mambo uses a D-Pad/keys for movement and one button for attacks—you charge the button and release at different times to do three different attacks.
Hugely inspired by Super Mario Bros’ jump button—which is incredibly malleable and not a binary on/off light switch—De Mambo’s one attack button gives you a primal way to battle that has you work with timing and muscle memory more than inputting combos like a machine.
The Dangerous Kitchen began a long time ago, in a dank student house that slightly smelt, but caringly sheltered us with it’s stained walls, high ceilings and spider-filled kitchen cabinets.
We were animation students at the time, brazenly dreaming of becoming game developers. As we persisted, it sometimes felt like it might have been the wrong decision, with countless stretches of time filled with us desperately trying to make games, when in reality, we had no idea what we were doing. We tried everything to keep the dream alive; video chatting just didn’t cut it for us and none of our houses had great working conditions. It became apparent that for us to actually make this happen, we would need to find a space for us to all work together. It was looking extremely bleak at this point, with everyone becoming restless and almost ready to quit.
Luckily, thanks to some divine, cosmic-forces, we drunkenly stumbled our way into a Premier Inn lobby—the free electricity, always-perfect room temperature and most importantly, workspace, astounded us. We fell in love. A couple months of concentrated hard work in the inn got us closer to making a game, but then the struggle to find a coder to actually make our games commenced. After a few meetings with some potential candidates, Amit decided it would be best if he learnt how to programme himself—this is all it took for the rest of us to sacrifice him into the code dungeon, where he has been shackled ever since…
After an arduous code-voyage of around seven months, De Mambo was born and all order was restored to the Kitchen… until Playhubs kindly absorbed us into it’s gelatinous mould, where we met so many great contacts, levelled up on the business side of things and had a lot of free coffee. Currently we are back at the Inn, supercharged by Playhubs and ready to carry on our foolhardy journey to take over the world by way of De Mambocide.
We want De Mambo to last, not just for you to play a couple of gaming sessions and then be done with it, but to be one of those timeless games that you can come back to after a couple of years and still enjoy it. All of our favourite games are like this, so we don’t see the point in making a game that doesn’t aspire to be the same. In all honesty, we may not make a game that can live up to the high standards of say, a classic SNES game, but regardless, we have the ambition to do so. For us to actually make this happen, sadly, we need money. We gave up our jobs so that we could work full time on making games, to live our dream.
De Mambo was made on a budget of practically nothing, but to help fund development and event costs like EGX Rezzed, freelance work had to be taken. This ate up precious development time, which when considering we are making no money, time is of the essence. So this is why we are asking for the money, so we can work full-time on De Mambo to make it faster, with more content and of a much better quality—oh and also to pay our Premier Inn rent… a coffee a day!
De Mambo was designed and created as a multiplayer game— which is what it currently is—but we’ve always planned the inclusion of single-player mode. From the beginning we decided that doing the typical ‘battle A.I.’ mode would be boring and doesn’t really fit into our way of doing things. We’d also prototyped a more conventional 2-D platformer style mode that just didn’t seem to work that well. Just plainly transposing the way De Mambo plays into this type of level felt clumsy and not fun, as there was no spark of imagination.
Instead, we’ve designed a single-player mode we think is infinitely more fun that we like to describe as ‘Zelda 2 meets WarioWare’.
The outset looks like a classic, isometric JRPG where you traverse a map until a wonderfully despised random encounter happens. Instead of an actual turn-based battle though, a 2-D, WarioWare-esque De Mambo challenge will occur.
These can range from being a normal battle to a rhythm inspired challenge to a Loser-Rail race challenge—we’re trying to exploit every possibility of gameplay we can squeeze out of the framework built for De Mambo, to show off à la Nintendo Tokyo EAD.
Designing this mode has been really fun so far, with a bucket-load a lot of challenges, secrets and crazy ideas planned to make this mode as complete as possible.
Every challenge you face in single-player can be ‘caught’ and then replayed in Challenge Mode, which includes multiplayer variations of single player challenges.
Since each challenge is a cassette, you can make a mixtape of your favourite challenges and send these to your friends/enemies to either watch them squirm or have fun, it’s up to you.
A multitude of new multiplayer stages that will not only offer more places to battle, more pixel locales to take in, but more ways to play. As each multiplayer stage is a cart, there are no rigid rules in place stopping us from changing up the rules once in a while. Some carts may be the usual Mambo battle, some maybe ‘glitch levels’—imagine a black and white stage or a level that begins with the endgame collapse—and others will offer new ways to play, which leads into…
The core gameplay of De Mambo is inherently simple, but has more function than it lets on—we are heavily influenced by traditional Japanese games design in this regard.
The Wonderful 101 is a great example of Japanese design, where functions don’t just serve one key purpose; one element is rarely just one thing. Wonder blue’s sword is not just a weapon for battle; it’s a lightning rod, a key, a tool to pole vault and more. Design like this allows for games to be interactive in a more toy-like fashion, as who wants a toy that serves only one function?
So what’s the point of all this mumbling? Well having multi-functional design allows us to open up the floodgates and shift De Mambo’s mechanics into new styles of gameplay, such as…
KING OF THE HILL
In this mode, players fight over the centre stage, to inconsiderately morph the thing in the middle—we haven’t actually decided what that is yet—to their own colour. It takes time for it to fully charge and once it does… everyone will be obliterated, so don’t let anyone fully charge it, unless you welcome total obliteration that is.
King of the Hill is definitely more hardcore than the normal mode as it requires a stronger sense of precision, but in turn gives a stronger dose of fun.
This mode is a timed mode, in which every block that you break will become your colour—talk about taking ‘marking your territory’ literally! This mode differs from the rest as you receive instant visual feedback of who is winning, which can help advise you on a change of tactic mid-battle.
Block Battle mode is very versatile as four players fighting over a level filled with blocks has a very different feel to fighting over just one.
MANY MORE MODES
The above two modes are just the ones we’ve prototyped so far, and do not represent all the modes we have in plan… so stay tuned!
ASIA DE MAMBO?!
Thanks to our good friends at Chorus Worldwide, De Mambo has an outlet for release in Asia—we just have to finish it first!
LUCY DOVE: ORGANISATIONAL OVERLORD
DUTIES: DESIGN, WEB, PRODUCING, ANIMATION
Not only is Lucy a designer and animator, she is also tasked with doing all organisational and all business duties—pretty much everything the others don’t want to, which fills her with a inner rage that makes her eye twitch incessantly.
AMIT RAI: CODE WARRIOR
DUTIES: CODE, MUSIC, ANIMATION
The first unsuspecting victim sacrificed in the name of code. Amit was recently released from the code dungeon as we thought it was time he got some fresh air and to stretch his legs.
SHAUN ROOPRA: WRITING WHIPMASTER
DUTIES: WRITING, ART, GAME DESIGN, SOUND EFFECTS
A walking tower of egomania, he pursues a life of whipping the others into odd, malformed shapes for his own sick pleasure.
PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING
DANIEL NEW: LORD OF THE THUMBS
A guy who’s definitely in charge… of helping us with PR. Daniel is the guy who steers us professionally, giving us lots of great advice… whilst simultaneously tempting us to purchase Amiibo’s at every turn.
KEIR SWEENEY: TODD: THE DEMON INTERN OF CODE STREET
Brought in to help bolster our shoddy code, Keir has his work cut out for him, as we’ve locked him into the code dungeon with Amit...
Thank you Vincent for helping us immensely with your powerful lawyering abilities and generally being an awesome guy!
We wish you luck Nisha with your child and want to thank you for all your help at Playhubs!
Our Kickstarter pitch video wouldn't be the same without Anjali and her camera... but mostly her! Thank you!
Risks and challenges
We’re not sure if it’s the right thing to say, but regardless of if we make money from this campaign or not, we will make De Mambo. The money we receive will help us to make De Mambo faster, with more content and of a much better quality.
So much has happened already and yet so much will continue to happen. If we can promise at least one thing, we will work on and finish De Mambo no matter what happens.
The only thing that will stop us is death, but we have taken precautionary measures to ensure that even if we die, our training in the black arts will lead our zombie corpses to rise again and personally hunt down and zombify each and every Kickstarter backer so that they forget this campaign ever took place.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)