Art as a form of expression can go in many ways as we have seen throughout the course of man, ranging from different eras and forms of creating artwork can be interpreted on how it is presented or from the viewers conception of what is being said. That being applied to video games expands the window even more through the endless uses of the medium to develop virtually anything from something beautiful to the most bizarre of creations.
Some things are better left to experience rather than trying to understand, and that is being said for Paradise Software’s Warp: a top-down multi-world adventure game following the laid ahead story of a “guy with a hat,” as the description for the game reads. During my time at Dreamhack Atlanta, I had the chance to demo the game and speak with the creator of the title, Pizwiz.
The game, as you can already see, is a collection of drawings transferred to create the landscape and characters for Warp. Kicking off the demo, the unnamed protagonist you play drops into the world and is left to discover more of the context surrounding this penciled in environment. Where you stumble upon a static NPC who cannot move from under the tree that he is next positioned, the character asks for you to find his dog, Barkington. Simple enough, right?
Well upon walking away from the first person you talk to is where you then properly take in the uniqueness of the game. Ranging from the diverse cast of enemies you will face, slew of weapons to discover, and hand-drawn landscape is what defines the game. And it is really freaking weird. However, how the game executes this feeling on the player is quite accepting as you try to wrap your mind around the premise the more you play. The distorting sounds of how characters sound alone is so odd yet so intriguing upon listening.
Exploring each corner of the demo would reward you with a different weapon for your collected arsenal from the single spike you wield at the start to the striped cutlass you unlock at the assumed climax of the demo, how you do so is completely seamless with your choice of where to start to ultimately be dictated by the player. The demo illustrates how the game plans to be implemented fully for the full version of Warp.
Discussing the title with Pizwiz, I ask where exactly this project originated from. Reading the history of the game reveals that the title was previously titled “Wrinkle Doodles”, but what exactly drove him to create such a game? The creator explains that this was a project he had on his mind for a long time; initially, the game was planned to be a Wario Ware-like game, but when revisiting the idea was later on adapted to more of an open metroidvania that we associate Warp with now.
Reading more into the development, Pizwiz originally held a Kickstarter for the title which revealed that the game would host different activities, a hub world, and planned to create additional worlds if certain goals were made. I questioned about how the hub world would work, where he explained that there is a total of four to choose from. “The world in the demo you played is one of the four – you don’t have to play that one first in the full game,” Pizwiz elaborates about the different settings. “Well technically you can only go to three worlds at first, the Northern world is last for the end of the game.”
Dissecting his brain a little more, I was curious as to how he came up with some of the sketches we see in both the demo and in parts not offered in the trailer for Warp. He shares that majority of them are all random drawings that he does and if he likes them, then that decides if it goes into the game or not. Adding on, they are just doodles that he creates when he draws, none of the compositions are really spawned from anything, just straight creative drive. However, there is a little input that is measured into Warp.
It is said that Pizwiz’s previous work, Bowler, is connected some way into the project. Even the creator himself would not disclose where exactly the predecessor will inject itself into Warp aside from being related to the story. Keeping your eyes close to the trailer, it is revealed that the 3-dimensional aspect of Bowler does appear to be in the game, but playing the full project is how we discover where exactly it pairs with the upcoming title.
The build I played at Dreamhack was also said to be a newly crafted demo that is different than the one available online. Pizwiz reveals that the build does not add any drastic gameplay changes to the demo, but rather brings genuine sketches to the game rather than simple illustrations that was created on PhotoShop that older versions use. Which in itself is appreciated to give a more wholesome feel that the extra mile was taken to show the developer’s effort for the game.
Later on, I asked about the Kickstarter campaign that was posted for Warp earlier this year as the goal for the game was only met roughly 20% of the proposed $7K that was listed and was later cancelled by the creator as the page reads. Currently, the game is self-published, but Paradise Software has attempted to reach out to potential publishers. Surprisingly enough, I asked about Adult Swim Games possibly being a source of income since the game’s look does match what we see from the mature network, but he already has. Pizwiz tells me that there was one commission done with the company, but was never followed up on after the first exchange.
Delving more into the now-closed Kickstarter for Warp, I was curious if Pizwiz is still committed to creating the extra content highlighted for the listed goals. Some being the addition of worlds centered around different mediums (color, clay), and promises for multiplatform releases. One goal that surely stood to be a leap from reality was a completely reworked game for VR and “Next Gen HD Graphics” if the team receives $1 million in donations. Finalizing my time talking with the creator, he confirms that he still plans to meet that promise if funds reach the set goal.
The current demo for the game proves that there is plenty of potential for a full experience waiting to be unveiled for the masses to experience. And a project as unique as Warp is surely something that we definitely do not have currently on any of the major platforms. If you are interested to test the waters, you can download the demo on the game’s itch.io page here.
Warp is listed to release for PC.