Frogtoss Game’s tongue-in-cheek survival horror game Zombie Minesweeper has officially launched for Android, approximately 16 months after it launched for iOS.
Zombie Minesweeper is a twist on the classic Minesweeper game. The game is broken up into sprawling levels, the landscape of which is divided up via a Minesweeper grid. Players have to guide a young girl through this map while avoiding both prowling zombies (who will eat her if they get too close) and “suburban landmines” that must be identified and marked. An interesting mechanic in the game was that players could lure zombies across a square with a mine on it, detonating the mine and giving the protagonist some breathing room. At the time of launch, the game was also noteworthy because of how it leverages Twitter to share progress through the campaign.
Frogtoss Games is now run by Mike Labbe, while the Zombie Minesweeper team is composed of Lara Kehler and Graham Jans. These days, Zombie Minesweeper is a side project for both: Kehler now works as an artist and game/UI designer at mobile social developer East Side Games (prior to this, she was on the Triple Town team at SpryFox), while Jans works at Klei Entertainment.
When asked why it took so long to get the game over to Android, the answer is twofold: Kehler tells us that since the game was originally developed in Unity, there wasn’t an option to port the game to Android at the time. When Unity could port to Android, both Kehler and Jans found free time limited between their full-time jobs. However, Kehler tells us getting the game onto that platform was “kind of just another ‘notch’ in the belt. We wanted to say we did it.”
Zombie Minesweeper originally launched for iOS in August 2011 and served as an example of just how tough it is for small developers to succeed in mobile markets. The game was critically hailed, both on mobile and mainstream game sites, but it only managed to break into the top five puzzle games in a few countries overseas like France. In North America, the game remained largely unknown, despite the praise showered on it from press outlets.
When asked why the game never really found much of an audience, Kehler tells us she isn’t sure but it might have something to do with the title’s name. “We often wonder if it was the fact it has the name ‘minesweeper’ in it,” she notes. “For example: We found that on the Steam Submission guidelines page, it suggests not even bothering to submit your “Minesweeper clone” game; they won’t even look at anything with the name ‘Minesweeper’ in it. That would explain the fact they never looked at our submission.”
Still, even though the game hasn’t proven a runaway hit on mobile devices yet, Kehler is happy for the experience she’s gained working on the project. Additionally, she tells us Zombie Minesweeper has provided both her and Jans with some serious credibility among independent game developers.
“Zombie Minesweeper was designed out of the pure fun of the idea and desire to just finish making a game,” she says. “I’d rather be known for making a good game that’s not popular than a bad game that is.”