Zynga’s latest publishing partner is Elite Beat Agents developer iNis, which is getting ready to launch its new mobile title Eden to Green on Zynga’s network.
The game’s story takes place on a world inhabited by sentient plants who find their planet under siege by a group of alien machines. After devastating the planet, the machines begin to get beaten back by a group of plants focused on restoring nature around the world.
iNis is best known in the U.S. for its rhythm game for the Nintendo DS handheld device, Elite Beat Agents, which released in 2006. The developer has worked on other music games since, and even made a couple of forays to smartphones in partnership with Square Enix, with Demon’s Score and Symphonica. But with Zynga’s powerful cross-promotion tools behind it, Eden to Green is likely to make iNis more visible than it’s been in years.
iNis co-founder and CCO Keiichi Yano showed us the game during the 2013 Game Developers Conference, which features some impressive 3D graphics powered by the Unreal Engine, but comes in at a total download of less than 50MB.
Players engage in what Yano calls “tower offense” gameplay. Essentially, they have to balance tower defense mechanics by fending off attacking machines with plants while also advancing the flora across each level’s map in order to remove the machine threat. Combat is turn-based, with players using a certain number of action points each turn.
Each time a plant is placed, it expands the green territory on the map (which is the only area plants can sit). As a result, it usually takes at least a few turns to complete a level, and there are score bonuses available for doing so quickly.
What’s interesting about Eden to Green is that it combines card-battling (and possibly kompu gacha) mechanics with Plants vs. Zombies-like gameplay. Players unlock new plant types by picking random pieces of fruit from a variety of trees. The Fruit Tree can be picked for gold (the game’s soft currency), resulting in a variety of common plants. After this, hard currency gems can be spent on either the Silver or Gold Trees for rarer plant types.
When asked if the game was using kompu gacha monetization techniques (which were highly lucrative but made illegal in Japan last year), Yano didn’t fully answer our question, though he did note that such mechanics aren’t illegal here in the U.S.
Eden to Green will enable users to link to Facebook and invite their friends to the game, and friends can loan each other plants to use in battles. According to Yano, “You might be able to see plants you’ve never seen before, which might prompt you to try and use it the next time.”
Eden to Green is currently available to download for free in Canada from the Apple App Store and Google Play with a global launch coming soon.