Pixowl brings ‘Snake’-inspired Grub to iOS [Interview]


By Brandy Shaul Comment

San Francisco-based Pixowl has launched “Grub,” its newest free-to-play game on iOS devices. Grub is the follow-up to the company’s popular Doodle Grub from 2011, and sees gamers completing gameplay levels inspired by the classic arcade game ‘Snake.’

Using tilt controls, users navigate environments with the titular worm character, collecting apples and killing enemies like hedgehogs and wolves. Each level has a different challenge, from reaching a high score or eating large amounts of fruit to reaching a specific size as Grub grows.

Grub supports Facebook, Twitter and Game Center for a social experience, as well as over 30 achievements to keep players striving for higher scores. Video replays are even available for users to show off their best moments.

We had a chance to talk with Adrien Duermael, lead developer & co-founder of Pixowl, about the development of Grub, and what’s next for the company.

Inside Mobile Apps: As a sequel to the original Doodle Grub, should players have experience with the first game in order to get the most out of Grub?

Adrien Duermael: No prerequisites are required to play at Grub – except the desire to have fun!! The game is designed to be easily accessible by everyone. It is a family-friendly arcade game, in the spirit of the good old Snake game, which was played by all generations. Doodle Grub was originally created in 2010 as one of the first accelerometer-based games on mobile; we designed Grub to make it the best new snake game on mobile in 2014. Call it Snake 2.0 if you like.

Grub offers modern mechanics with an isometric 3D view, maps with enemies larger than the phone screen, very simple tilt device calibration and fast moves! The game concept is easy to understand, but the gameplay is hard to master!

One of the biggest differences from Doodle Grub is that with Grub, we built a new game experience based on levels and a progression on a map that you can compare with your friends.

We kept the recipe of success from Doodle Grub: cute drawings by the comic book author Laurel, and a small yet effective team for fast development and updates.

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IMA: What inspired the game’s use of tilt controls, rather than virtual joysticks or buttons? Are there plans to add an alternative control scheme for users who may not prefer to tilt their devices?

AD: We think one of the original, defining gaming features of mobile devices is the tilt. Pixowl wants to keep innovating on mobile and the features that set it apart from other gaming devices. When players play our game The Sandbox, they are creating pixel worlds by touching the screen. When the player plays Grub they control the hero by tilting the device: those two gaming experiences are unique.

IMA:  How can players spend money in Grub?

AD: Players can spend the virtual coins they accumulate while they play, or buy directly in the shop, to upgrade Grub capabilities for maximum effect. There are 3 Power Ups: Use Spikes to kill the varied Hedgehogs and Wolves; Freeze them with the power of Ice, and use the Magnet to collect Apples and Coins. [Players] can also use them in the upcoming Survival Mode, to play longer or get another try to make a best score.

We are also selling the Grub plush toy [on our website].

We really want to make players enjoy the game and make it a must-have game for any mobile device owner.  Remember when the old snake game was the only game on your phone.

IMA: Can we expect any new content updates for Grub going forward?

AD: We can add new content almost weekly!

One of the first updates will be a new survival mode as well as many fun power-ups to upgrade the capacities of Grub. Players can expect new enemies, new levels with challenging objectives and a new mode to customize their Grub character! Another update will feature a “quick play” mode which provides a “make the best score or try again” type of infinite gameplay.

We are so excited to see the community embrace Grub.  Since launch, Grub has already done more than 1M installs in four days and it’s been a top 10 free game on the App Store in more than 75 countries!  We want to keep our fans entertained as much as possible.

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IMA: What’s next for the team at Pixowl?

AD: We are preparing the second version of The Sandbox, our award-winning game, which received more than 10 million downloads to date across all platforms and has an extremely active community of 500,000 fans on Facebook.

The Sandbox [download] puts players into a virtual sandbox where they can use more than 150 different elements to craft entire virtual worlds. Basic elements like water, soil, sand, glass and more complex items like humans, zombies, robots, dinosaurs, wildlife, animals and much more are used to create varied pixel universes, physics simulators, contraptions, electronic circuits, chiptunes music, stunning pixel art masterpieces, chain reactions and even game levels! To date, more than 750,000 user-created worlds have been shared in the Online Gallery.

The Sandbox 2 and another new title, Garfield: Survival of the Fattest, will both be released in Fall 2014.

IMA: Anything else you’d like to add?

AD: Two gaming industry veterans recently joined our board of advisors – Ed Fries, the cofounder of Xbox and former chief of Microsoft Game Studios, and Randy Breen, the former CEO of SGN. Pixowl, together with these two visionaries, will continue to develop original, character-based games that appeal to wide audiences.