I'm dreadful at Time Surfer, but I love it. So when I heard the creators of the game — Melbourne-based developers Kumobious — were heading to PAX East, I knew I had to track them down.
Finding Kumobious was difficult. Buried deep in the Indie section of PAX, it's a small miracle I was able to find them at all. Then, when I did find their stand, before the show floor opened, they had abandoned their post!
I wasn't aware of this previously, but Kumobious is actually a two-man team, and they're brothers. They themselves are happy to describe their most recent game, Time Surfer, as a cross between Tiny Wings and Braid. It's a two-button endless runner of sorts with a time-reversing mechanic, and features a level of depth my clumsy thumbs struggle to plumb. If you fall off the map, or die, you can reverse time back to where the mistakes were made, and carry on.
Watching a member of Kumobious play Time Surfer live at PAX was interesting for two reasons. The first reasons was just the different tactics being used. When I play Time Surfer, I reverse time only when I die, but what I discovered was that the mechanic is best used as a means to perfect your run so you don't die in the first place. It's more of a twitch mechanic really, and Team Kumobious did a great job of demonstrating how tiny little constant tweaks enables you to truly crank things up a notch. I learned things today people.
But it was the crazy two button controller Kumobious used to demo Time Surfer that really grabbed my attention.
"That's awesome, who built it?" asked one bystander.
"Who that guy?" He asked, pointing to brother #2, holding the controller and playing.
"No we have another brother back home, he built it."
Time Surfer is a two button touch game for iOS, so it makes sense that a custom made controller built for the game would only have two buttons but, still, it was weird to see one. Considering all the two button games I play on Android, I wonder if such a thing would actually be marketable as a device you could buy in stores or online? People who used it at PAX East all seemed to love it, and it removed that clumsy feeling of using a touch screen. It felt far more precise.
I think it's a pretty cool thing. I would consider buying one for sure.