If there’s one piece of advice I could give Indie Dev’s, as a game journalist, it’s love your game. There is nothing more infectious or heart-warmingly wonderful as seeing someone beam over their creation, or ramble about what they have put together and why they did it. We see this in many Indie Developers, and it’s quite honestly one of the reasons we started IndieHangover: It’s fun to write about people that are excited about their work, and it makes the stories surrounding the game all the more entertaining to tell.
Nik Mihaylov did just this to me when introducing the game Rinikulous Studios, of which he is one half, have been working on and recently released; Lonely Sun. I was struck by just how honest, genuine and passionate Nik came across as when talking about the game he’d clearly put a ton of himself into. His press release was personal, philosophical and longer than any PR person would ever suggest a press release aught to be, but it worked, and I was intrigued.
Luckily, I had the chance soon after to talk to Nik about Lonely Sun, how he sees it as a metaphor for life, his choice to make it harder than most developers might, and how he came into the world of indie development:
Our thanks to Nik for taking the time to talk with us and provide us some insight into Lonely Sun.
As stated in the interview, a lot of people will be driven away from Lonely Sun for one reason: the lack of checkpoints. While I think more than a few Dark Souls fans may actually take this as a challenge, it’s a choice that could impact Lonely Sun‘s audience. But it’s also a choice that I utterly respect. There’s a narrative, or perhaps philosophical reason for there to be an absence of check points in Lonely Sun and I believe that’s what makes bearable to me. The game is HARD, so it’s a choice that has a real impact on the player’s experience.
While there is very little room for error in Lonely Sun, it controls very well. Each levels new sense of gravity and unique obstacles to contend with will take a few failures to get the hang of, but this never feels cheap, just a new hurdle to overcome with experimentation .While at time’s I felt frustrated, I also felt an enormous sense of accomplishment upon finishing a section. There’s a very fine balance between making a game so difficult you spend a large portion of your gameplay trying desperately to get that one jump/section you can’t get, and making a game punishing. Lonely Sun is hard, but it doesn’t seem unfair, and that’s an incredibly important thing. (Note: This is coming from a massive fan of the Dark Souls series, so this opinion can be taken with some small amount of salt)
Lonely Sun is also gorgeous. The low poly style works incredibly well, providing a unifying style to the different levels, while the color pallet does a fantastic job making each one feel individual. The menus are slick, and there’s very little UI to get in the way of enjoying the journey and the process of pulling together these five planets.
Lonely Sun is incredibly well crafted, with visuals, mechanics and audio all being polished and incredibly well woven together, particularly for a game in the over-saturated mobile marketplace. While the five levels are unified by a cohesive style, they each offer something different, and keep the game feeling fresh. Additionally, the difficulty of Lonely Sun serves to make a point, and the entire game is about the journey and the struggle towards completion. It’s a fantastic experience that you won’t need to play more than once, as it’s bound to stick with you.
Lonely Sun is available on the iOS App Store for $1.99.
We publish a new Indie Dev Interview every week, so make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when it goes live. You an also check out our older Indie Dev Interviews, and please, comment, like and share!