I first came over Backflip Studios’ Julian Farrior back at GDC a few years ago. At the time, his firm’s biggest title was called Paper Toss, and he also had a game in the store called Ragdoll Blaster, a physics puzzler in which you threw dummies out of a cannon. Back then, Farrior chatted at length about how he was using ads in the Paper Toss application to drive sales of his paid titles, and his big plan was to use whatever worked to make his company successful on the App Store.
Cut to two years later, and Backflip is doing great. The company has grown and published quite a few polished titles, including a certified Army of Darkness game and the very well-known and outstanding freemium title DragonVale. Farrior and his company have learned a lot over the past few years, about how to make and sustain interesting games, and they have brought a lot of that knowledge back to bear on their recent return to the Ragdoll Blaster series with part three.
Initial things first, Backflip’s art and polish is likely better than it’s ever been. Ragdoll Blaster 2 did not look bad, but it did not have the quality and “voice” that this title has. This game’s characters are cute and funny, and while you could argue that Backflip has obtained a lot from games like Cut the Rope and even Sony’s LittleBigPlanet, the core Ragdoll Blaster game play is still there. The flow of the game is much enhanced as well — you still roll through a series of levels with their own problems, but the game is super simple and easy to navigate. And there are a whole host of social characteristics, including saving and sharing replays and full Game Center integration.
But all in all, I think this new route is a good call for Backflip and Farrior, and will help this presently solid franchise find an even bigger crowd. Ragdoll Blaster 3 is accessible in the App Store right now for 99 cents. And stay updated, I expect to see Farrior and organization at GDC again this year, so we will find out how this new strategy worked for them then.