Norbert Barichard

Year : 2009 Context : Intern at MadMonkeyStudio




Alphabounce on Nintendo DSi is a project I worked on during my internship at Mad Monkey Studio, as a game developer. I also helped with the game design & wrote most of the text content of the game. The game was developed in collaboration with Motion-Twin, as it was inspired from their web-browser based game, Alphabounce. The game is based on the classic brick-breaking gameplay, enriched by several RPG features. The player incarnates one of 3 characters (each representing a different difficulty level for the game) who are held prisoner by an evil intergalactic mining corporation, the ESCORP. They’re not in prison, though. They have to travel across the universe aboard their spaceship, and secure areas of space for the ESCORP. And they do that by playing brick-breaking levels !


Exploring the universe


Alphabounce_screen1In Alphabounce, the player can travel on a 2D map divided in squares, referenced by (x,y) coordinates. Each square is a new brick-breaking level, and there are millions of randomly generated levels (although for a given set of x,y coordinates, the level will always be the same). In order to move around on the map, the player has to complete levels to gain access to the surrounding squares, so he can explore further in the universe, with the help of his scanner.


But what’s the point ? Well, first of all, the further you go, the tougher the levels get. And there are a large number of items dispatched on the map, which the player can acquire if he completes the level the item is located at. He can then use these items to upgrade his spaceships (the brick-breaking paddle) in various ways : some items are just classic guns or missile launchers, some are new balls with special bonuses, some have original and powerful abilities, etc. And last but not least, there are 26 planets in the universe, each with their own special environmental effects, which the player can explore (by completing the levels of the planet on the map), to gain new spaceships with special powers, and to find parts of a mysterious map supposed to reveal the location of the Earth …





Alphabounce_screen2So, as I just said, there are tons of levels. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean they’re boring. There are over 40 brick types in Alphabounce, 26 upgrades (which fall from destroyed bricks, nothing fancy here), and several monsters and pirate ships which can spawn inside levels. And some have really crazy powers … In a word, there’s a lot going on in an Alphabounce level. You have to deal with bricks and monsters shooting at you, avoid picking the wrong upgrades, and of course, pay attention to your ball(s). How are you supposed to survive in there ? Well, you got to chose wisely which spaceship you want to use and which items you want to fit on it, amongst the stuff you collected by exploring the universe. Do you want a large paddle with 4 balls, or a small but agile one with loads of missiles and lasers ? It’s all up to you.


But anyway, I won’t spill the beans too much. If you want to know more, just get a DSi, and buy the game !


More information on the official website.