The ‘how far can you go’ game – booted into fashion by Canabalt – shows no signs of tumbling to a standstill, with endless runners, fliers, swimmers and eaters sprinting their way to the App Store en masse.
For that reason the budding distance ‘em up needs to find fresh ways to stand out from the marathon crowd, a challenge one man indie dev Ken Amarit has met with a bag full of felt, a needle and a green screen.
His debut game, Voyager, is populated entirely by felted assets, hand-stitched and then brought to spindling life with stop-motion animation.
Felt, for the uninitiated, is made from bits of sheep.
Um. I’ll let Ken explain this: “Needle felting is, basically, you take raw wool, which is processed — cleaned off the sheep and carded for spinning. If you spun it, it would become yarn,” he explains. “But if you needle-felt it, you take little needles and kind of poke at it until it starts to form a shape… so you’re basically sculpting with wool.”
You pilot a wiry spaceship, collecting diamonds and dodging the floating obstacles using the iThing’s accelerometer. Press a finger to the screen and your craft slows temporarily, affording you a little more maneuverability.
The twin aims of the game are to collect as many gems as possible, and to see how many miles you can fly before you make a mistake and explode in a shower of sheep fluff.
It’s a simple game, elevated by its tender, playful aesthetic and aided no end by an old time, lilting soundtrack. The music’s effect cannot be overstated, turning what might otherwise be a stressful game into a relaxing, warm distraction.
Buy Voyager for iOS here.