Kim recently had the opportunity to chat to Tim Burrell-Saward from Sensible Object about their project Fabulous Beasts. That’s one Christmas present sorted for her stepson already.
|Release date:||November 2016|
|PEGI rating:||Not listed|
With the GEEK festival taking a break this year, a couple who curated sessions for the event in previous years decided to keep the flag flying with an offshoot ‘tapas selection of family fun’. Bits & Bytes took place inside Dreamland’s ballroom in Margate, Kent on Saturday and attendees of all ages had the opportunity to talk to experienced cosplayers, try out some retro classics and speak to the developers of newer titles. You can take a look at our photo gallery of the day here.
Among the developers was Product Designer Tim Burrell-Saward from Sensible Object with their project Fabulous Beasts, there to drum up support for the current Kickstarter campaign. We’d seen the game at last year’s Rezzed event and unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to try it out due to the number of attendees queuing up at the stand, but this time we had our chance. Tim told us that a respectable score for a first try was around 150 points – but Phil and I smashed that and hit 1,384 to become the highest scorers of the day.
This is a game that combines elements of tabletop dexterity and digital strategy into a new kind of connected play. One to four players step into the role of gods and goddesses, taking turns to build a physical balancing tower of animals in front of them. Each piece stacked affects the world displayed on a connected iOS or Android device; and each beast shown evolves into wonderful new creatures as special Cross and Migration pieces are played. You’ll need careful planning to achieve the highest score, both to build a strong tower and to receive the most points.
Fabulous Beasts started when Game Designer Alex Fleetwood had an idea for a title that linked the balance of nature with the balance of objects. He’d previously worked with Game Designer George Buckenham, Artist Lyall McCarthy and Tim at Hide&Seek; and with the help of Play Sandbox they started working on a prototype with the Engineering department at Bath University. Engineer Chris Shaw then began helping with hardware and the team have spent the past year taking their project to festivals and evolving its design.
I have to admit that I don’t usually like toys-to-life but there’s something endearing about this game. Maybe it’s the fact that the physical pieces are shaped in the form of gorgeous abstract animals; and perhaps it’s because they’re not just ‘collectables’ or a form or paywall, but an integral part of the title itself. My stepson Ethan was a little hesitant when first trying it out for himself but after his first go he was engrossed; and five attempts later and we had to drag him away from the stand to let another attendee in.
When we met Tim at Bits & Bytes he told us that the Kickstarter campaign had just £3,000 left to go to reach the £150,000 target. That’s now changed however: at the time of writing, Sensible Object have managed to secure £154,078 from over 2,000 backers. If they can increase this number to 2,200 the team will make the Bestiary, which players can use to track all of the beasts they’ve discovered and accept challenges to build bizarre towers to uncover the rest.
The campaign ends at 22:00 on Thursday, 25 February 2016 so there’s still time to support the project. In fact, I’m thinking of doing this myself as the ‘Core Edition’ tier would make an excellent Christmas present for Ethan – perfect timing then that the developer is aiming to deliver the finished product to backers in November 2016. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch up with the guys at Sensible Object at the Rezzed event in April and find out how they’re progressing.