Q&tAy: TwinSky Games' Adventure Time: Time Tangle

Adventure Time: Time Tangle is the newest game featuring infinite running and infinite punching things in the face (and butt). In this interview, Game Designer Tim Winsky and 3D artist Buddy Powell of TwinSky Games reveal how they punched inspiration and development woes in the face (and butt).


How would you describe Adventure Time: Time Tangle?

Time Tangle is a high-energy action game where players control Finn as he rushes through various locations throughout the Land of Ooo while punching everything in the face.

You should get a good idea of the game's features by taking a look at one of our internal development tickets.

Q&tAy: TwinSky Games' Adventure Time: Time Tangle

Oh, and it doesn't have any in-app purchases.

From what sources did you draw inspiration during development?

In many ways Time Tangle is a spiritual successor of the last TwinSky Games release called Indiana Stone: The Brave and the Boulder. The purpose of that game was to challenge modern "runner" conventions by putting the player in the role of a boulder chasing down a greedy archaeologist, with its core mechanics heavily inspired by classic arcade and console games (such as Space Harrier or — on a more obscure note — a PS1 game called Pepsiman).

With Time Tangle, we wanted to stick true to those values and deliver a game that held up on its own as a classic feeling, fun experience. We're both big fans of Adventure Time, and as far as characters, environments, and magical items are concerned, the show has tons of great stuff to draw from. (We're very thankful for the fantastically organized Adventure Time fan wiki!) Mechanically, this game takes on several different forms, from the "Chase" quests that are reminiscent of Indiana Stone to big epic "Showdown" quests that draw inspiration from Punch-Out.

Q&tAy: TwinSky Games' Adventure Time: Time Tangle

What sort of difficulties have you faced during development?

I guess you could say that development was a bit "tangly" at times. Whenever a game is made, the result is almost always different from the original concept, and in our case this was especially true.

Originally, the scope of this game was quite a bit smaller. It involved almost no story and many randomized quests. The quests were going to be completely randomized to the point where Finn might be rescuing an apple from LSP who would be given the role of the boss for that round. We found that the more procedural the quests were, the more stale the experience became because we couldn't focus on making each character, item, and scenario feel deservedly gratifying.

Finding the right balance between absolutely random and hand authored was a big challenge. We ended up spending a lot more time on the quality of each quest, character, and boss instead of the quantity. It was sad but cutting out the plethora of characters and environments we originally intended to include in the game was for the better. Now the game works much better as a complete package with an overarching map screen and story cutscenes and all that jazz.

Q&tAy: TwinSky Games' Adventure Time: Time Tangle

Were there any specific "Aha!" moments that set the game in a new direction?

One early example of this was an idea we call "punch juggling." We break up the action with big enemies that cause Finn to automatically jump up and start air juggling them in slow motion as long as the player can line up his attacks. The Matrix-style slow motion combined with the dramatic over-the-shoulder camera that shakes on collision and the cheering crowd that cuts in when everything is pulled off successfully all adds up to make this feel awesome.

What aspects of the game did you want to implement but had to leave out?

As mentioned above, there's not quite the huge smorgasbord of content that we originally planned for such as extra boss battles, friend characters, and environments. However, it's not out of the question to add extra stuff post-release if enough people enjoy it. With that being said, it's worth mentioning there were some characters from the show that we really wanted to add but are canonically deceased. *Looks up at a portrait of Abe with a single tear streaming down his cheek*

Q&tAy: TwinSky Games' Adventure Time: Time Tangle

Tell us what the back of the box for Adventure Time: Time Tangle would say.

"Video games don't get more real than this! Discover the ultimate fantasy world in this compelling epic adventure! An enchanted realm known as Ooo has been thrown into chaos by an evil Time Totem. Gumball Guardians, wild goats and more infest the once peaceful land, awaiting new battles and conquests.

You are a hero born to the sword. Your mission is to restore Ooo to its former glory by using your wits, your sword, and few magic items you uncover in your travels. Do you have the brains and the brawn necessary to defeat the unspeakable horrors, or will you fall and be trapped in this tangle of time forever!

- First 3D polygon Adventure Time game for any next generation mobile system!

- Digitized main character for the ultimate in realism!

- Computer graphics and 3D backgrounds created on high tech workstations!

- Unique 'Create Quest' function — Explore a new world every time you play!

- Use magic potions, rings and weapons in your heroic quest to save Ooo!

- Over 40 billion possible quests awaiting your exploration!"


Adventure Time: Time Tangle is out for iOS and Android on August 7, 2014.

@marshnaylor