Factsheet

Developer:
Pine Street Codeworks
Based in Seattle, Washington

Release date:
May 8 2018 (iOS+Steam)
June 2018 (Android+Amazon)

Platforms:
iOS
Android
Kindle Fire
PC/Mac/Linux (Steam)
HATCH

Website:
pinestreetcodeworks.com

Regular Price:

Steam:$9.99
iOS App Store:$4.99
Google Play:Free To Try
Amazon Kindle:Free To Try

Description

Tiny Bubbles is an award-winning organic puzzle game about playing with clusters of realistic soap bubbles in a microscopic aquatic world. Pop bubbles by matching four or more colors and create cascading chain-reactions. Inflate bubbles with colored smoke to strategically reshape the cluster. Break bubble edges to combine neighbors and mix new colors. Save bubble-bound creatures and fend-off greedy Jelly Crabs.

Story Topics

Stu's Grandfather’s Scientific Research

My grandfather had tremendous influence over me as a boy, spending summers with him out in the woods of New England. He would marvel over the structures of leaves, molds, and tiny forest creatures. At dinner he’d go on and on about how fascinating the world was, and had a particular interest in minerals, metals, and soap bubbles. I didn’t know until later that he was a rather well known scientist at M.I.T. Cyril Stanley Smith studied clusters of soap bubbles because of their similar structure to that of molten metals under a microscope. In the 1950’s he published papers on his soap bubble research, becoming a pioneer in this field.

Pressure and Surface-Tension In Perfect Balance

After I worked as a Game Developer for 20 years, I couldn’t shake the thought that there must be a game somewhere in my Grandfather’s bubbles. The strange movement of foams needed to be played with to find out. After months of work developing a molecular dynamics engine, the first puzzle in Tiny Bubbles was born. Bubble clusters form a perfect balance between the air pressure inside each bubble pushing out and the surface-tension pulling the edges together like rubber bands. No more or less than 3 edges can ever meet at a vertex and are always separated by 120 degree angles.

Bubbles are Elementally Human

While foams have these unusual properties, they are ingrained in our daily lives as humans. They cross boundaries of culture, gender, language and race. We see soap bubble foams every single day, whenever we wash our hands. While there have been many games about bubbles, they are but wobbling circles; none have simulated their true nature. People are drawn to their familiar form and strange movement. Playing with them is an immediately satisfying experience.

Accessibility and Color Blindness

My grandfather’s colorblindness was never a disability, in fact it helped him appreciate structures in nature where others did not. When I was 13 years old he sent me some bubbles to color in for a lecture he was giving. He needed my help because of his color blindness. He would have had the same problem playing Tiny Bubbles had I not made a colorblind mode in his honor. While many developers use patterns or icons to make their games accessible, it was important to me to make a colorblind mode that was authentic to the original game. After a lot of testing, we came up with a new color palette that works for all 3 color blindness types and defines new color mixing rules that are easy to remember.

Promoting Mindfulness and Embracing Failure

My “holy grail” of game design is to come up with an original new game mechanic. For example, think about the first time you played Tetris. Tetris is a game with no story, no characters, and very little art direction. And yet, it is this classic puzzle game with no equal because of its surprisingly deep gameplay and continuous arc of skill towards mastery. Today’s world is full of distractions and stress. I don’t think we need more mindless games to escape, but rather games that exercise our minds in a relaxing and mindFUL way. Tiny Bubbles was designed to be free of timers and speedups. It embraces failure, with no penalties to retry a puzzle. As long as a player can learn from their attempt and try again, they can show steady improvement in skill. I believe this is the key to fun in games.

Audio and Music (Written by Kristoffer Larson)

The overall feel of the soundscape was inspired by the art and design inherent in the game. The out-of-focus dreamy backgrounds of each world are echoed in the amorphous sonic texture. The interactive score evolves and immerses the player as they interact with the bubbles. The tone of the soundtrack reinforces the mindful nature of the gameplay to create a comfortable experience, encourage experimentation without fear of doing anything "wrong". While not overly cheery or one-dimensional, it alludes to the moody mystery of our world and the fascinating depths of science that can be found all around us. The sound effects were created from a wide variety of sources and processing, creating a hybrid approach of naturalistic recordings and high-tech synthesis. Some of the most frequently heard sounds, the bubbles popping, use recordings that Stu did with his sons, carrying on the family tradition of inter-generational inspiration.

Features

  • 12 - 15 hours of gameplay
  • Explore 7 worlds with 172 puzzles, each with unique goals and surprising challenges.
  • Arcade Worlds: A curious fish blows bubbles. Pop them before they go out of bounds.
  • Puzzle Worlds: Find brain-bending solutions with a limited number of moves.
  • Infinity Mode: Endless game with played in bursts.
  • Proprietary "Molecular Dynamics Engine" feels like you're playing with real soap bubbles.
  • Reflective glowing light and fluid 60 FPS physics and animations.
  • Relaxing adaptive ambient music by composer Kristoffer Larson.
  • Strategize future moves to create longer chains and combos.
  • Help friendly creatures and avoid jelly crabs.
  • Branching worlds let you choose your own path.
  • Earn power-ups and "wild" bubbles.
  • Hint system helps you if you get stuck.
  • Authentic color blind mode: works without symbols or patterns.
  • 35 achievements add replayability and even more challenges.
  • Supports up to 4 player profiles on a single account.

Awards & Recognition

  • "Winner, Best Quickplay, 14th International Mobile Gaming Awards" GDC, San Francisco, CA, March 20, 2018
  • "Grand Prize Winner, The Label's Indie Showdown" GDC, San Francisco, CA, March 19, 2018
  • "Winner Best Mobile Game, Gamer's Voice Award" SXSW, Austin TX, March 15-17, 2018
  • "Winner, 2017 Google Play Indie Games Festival" San Francisco CA, September 23, 2017
  • "Official Selection, The PAX 10" PAX West, Seattle WA, September 1-4, 2017
  • "Winner, Amazon Game Developer Showdown" Mobile Games Forum, Seattle, October 25, 2017
  • "Winner, 2017 Seattle Indie Game Competition" Power Of Play Conference, Bellevue WA, 26 April 2017
  • "Best Overall Game" Intel Buzz Workshop, Bellevue WA, 26 April 2017
  • "Official Selection, IndieMEGABOOTH" PAX West, Seattle WA, September 3-4, 2017
  • "Official Selection, Made With Unity Showcase" Unite, Austin TX, October 3-5, 2017
  • "Finalist, Best Gameplay" AzPlay, Bilbao Spain, November 29-30, 2017
  • "Finalist, 2017 Intel Level Up" Award Show on August 25, 2017
  • "2nd Place, Pocket Gamer's Big Indie Pitch" GDC, San Francisco, CA, March 21, 2018
  • "Finalist, 2017 Indie Prize" Casual Connect, Seattle WA, August 3, 2017

Videos

Launch Trailer YouTube

Hands On Demo at PAX West 2017 (via Touch Arcade) YouTube


Images

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Selected Articles

  • "One of the most varied and unique puzzle games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing."
    - Jared Nelson, TouchArcade
  • "Tiny Bubbles is an evolutionary step forward for science games as well as mobile games."
    - Dr. Melanie Stegman, biochemist, Science Games Center
  • "Download this: 'Tiny Bubbles' is the brain break you didn't know you needed."
    - Karissa Bell, Mashable
  • "The Story Behind Popular Puzzler Tiny Bubbles"
    - Stephani Hren, SideQuest
  • "Blown away with the level of depth. One of the titles from PAX I'm most excited to play when it finally comes out."
    - Eli Hodapp, Touch Arcade
  • "PAX West: The most exciting and surprising indie games."
    - Tim Ellis, Geek Wire
  • "The Ars 10: Favorite Indie Games From PAX West 2017"
    - Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica
  • "a unique, clever, and challenging puzzle game"
    - Tim Ellis, Geek Wire
  • "a truly enjoyable challenge"
    - Kirstin Swalley, Hardcore Gamer
  • "a vibrant assault on the senses with its beautiful puzzle presentation"
    - Rob Funnell, Touch Arcade
  • "I thought the soap-bubble matching game was wonderfully creative."
    - Dean Takahashi, Venture Beat
  • "I did it. I found my spirit game. I had a serious Candy Crush addiction... This game is better, like way better."
    - Jennifer Spriggs, StratusCore UX Blog
  • "Developer Stu Denman has crafted his own bubble simulation, giving life to something truly unique."
    - Alan Zucconi, Most Anticipated Games

Pictures of Actual People
Go here to find pictures of the team and events. pinestreetcodeworks.com.

Tiny Bubbles YouTube Channel
A variety of videos and clips, both old and new: youtube.com.

Getty Images
Photos of us accepting the award at SXSW Gaming gettyimages.ie.


About Pine Street Codeworks

Boilerplate
Stu Denman has been a game developer for over 20 years, starting as a founder of Surreal Software in 1995. His games explore the wonders of nature with a focus on unique gameplay. Tiny Bubbles could not have been made without the additional contributions of Paulette Denman, James Hutt, Kristoffer Larson, and Nico Prins.

More information
More information on Pine Street Codeworks, our logo & relevant media are available here.



presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks