Got a leaky pipe? Call a plumber. Your electricity giving you trouble? Time to pay the electrician. But what if you need to fling rocks around hidden dungeons, go fishing, or help an ogre with his chores? Then you, my friend, need a Catapult for Hire.
I was going to describe this game myself, but the Kickstarter does a much better job than I ever could:
“Catapult for Hire is an action-adventure RPG where exploration and puzzle solving are done with your skillful and creative use of catapults.”
If that hasn’t piqued your interest, we are very different people.
If that description has left you a little confused, don’t worry; that’s normal. In short, it’s a game in which you do various things with a catapult. And by various things, I mean literally everything. You move by throwing a teleporter payload to wherever you want to go and fish by flinging your float into the water. Everything is done by catapult. Don’t worry about control; from the looks of the video, you have very precise control over the angle of your launch and always have a good idea of where your payload will fall.
I am a sucker for quirky and inventive indie adventures (see: A Hat in Time, Ozombie), and Catapult for Hire is no different. While you’d think that doing everything via catapult would be very limiting, the game promises a variety of missions, ranging from helping out with chores to exploring complex and puzzling dungeons.
A game so willing to try something new deserves at least a chance in the sun. And Tyrone Henrie, creator of Catapult for Hire, isn’t asking for much to make it happen; he only needs to raise $36,000 to make it happen. As of this writing, he’s making a good pace, but he could definitely use a little extra help. If I haven’t sold you, check out the Kickstarter page and see if it can get you interested.
I got the chance to talk to Tyrone about his game. Check it out below:
So, a 3D adventure game centered around catapulting, huh? How does an idea like that one come about?
At my old job I suddenly got obsessed with making a game. I was thinking about possible games to make constantly. One of those ideas was a catapult game. I thought that a stationary catapult would get boring quickly so I was trying to think of a way to have the catapult in various environments. Eventually I realized that a freelance catapultist was the perfect conceit to allow for catapulting in any situation.
You say that Catapult for Hire is inspired by N64 era games? What games have inspired you and how?
The whole N64 generation and promise of 3D games was magical for me. In my mind, the games on the N64 were going to look more like the 3D games that we have today. We all know that wasn’t the case, but even though the games were blocky it still didn’t dissipate the magic for me when I eventually got my hands on the games.
Two of my favorite games are Shadow of the Colossus and the first Bioshock. I like them for various reasons, but ultimately it comes down to using the video games medium to tell a story in a unique way, and now I’m trying to do the same with a catapult game. I don’t think people will expect that.
Is it difficult to fire the catapult precisely? What efforts have you gone through to make this game accessible to new players?
This has been the bane of the existence of every 3D artillery game. It’s hard to gauge distance with a 2D monitor. This has been my #1 goal to overcome. There is a guide that helps you hit closer targets, but at the same time it doesn’t make launching overly easy, which is important as well. You quickly gain an intuition, and gauging distance is an actual skill you develop. Also, payloads are unlimited, so it’s not punishing when you miss a shot.
It seems like you have a large range of different missions planned for the game; from doing chores for an ogre to exploring expansive dungeons, it seems like it would be hard to transition from one to the next. How will players move from one mission to the next?
There is an overworld map that lets you pick and choose from available missions. Missions unlock as you gain new equipment and the game is mostly non-linear. Story threads are given through the missions and there is an over-arching story that guides the ultimate direction of the game.
How big of a role does humor have in the game?
It’s a huge part of the game. Nothing turns me off more than playing a game with a bunch of throwaway text. Why make me read a sentence about some silly mythology that I don’t care about? At the very least you’ll be rewarded with a few laughs for reading what the characters have to say. Some people have remarked that they’ve had a perma-grin as they played through the game.
What is something about your game or Kickstarter that you don’t think people might realize? Do you have a favorite backer reward you think is particularly great?
I think the hardest part of this game in general has been communicating the huge depth of features this game has. People sometimes think it’s just another catapult game and and those have been played out. This game is doing so much more and getting people to look beyond their current expectations is the biggest challenge I face.
My favorite backer reward is definitely the build-your-own creature/client/catapult levels. It’s been super fun discussing what backers want to make, and I’m very excited about what they’re coming up with, adding even more originality to the game.
Also, [I’ve announced] that I’m partnering with the artist on “The Dream Machine” game for a physical reward for backers at the $149 level and up. He is making little catapults made out of baked clay. They have a ton of detail and have his signature look, and they are looking amazing!
Well, he’s made me more interested in the game, and I didn’t think that was possible. I’ve put my money down, and I think you should, too.