Polandball: Can Into Space! Lands On SteamNews
Bucharest, Romania based Alien Pixel’s Countryballs centric independent venture made its debut on Valve’s digital distribution platform earlier today, the 16th of June. Currently priced at a 15% discount from its original $2.99 tag for Windows computers, the single player adventure brings with it all the commotion associated with a crude Rocket ship and its 33 attributes plus 56 items that players must progressively unlock and utilise in an attempt to land on the moon as Poland’s country-ball. This is of course, while up to 25 countries assist or resist efforts in their visually representative, AI programmed spherical personas.
In the few hours since its release, reception towards Polandball: Can Into Space! within the Steam community continues to remain Positive. While it was Greenlit in January and release was officially slated for the month of February this year, full-time job preoccupations and commitments had forced Alien Pixel to push back release to over four months; a delay that doesn’t seem to trouble the team anymore in light of current user feedback. ‘For a small casual game? It’s really wonderful’, elaborates co-founder Sergiu Craitoiu on the game’s positive reception.
‘It’s been almost a year of work filled with its share of up’s and down’s. To be honest we hadn’t estimated that the game would take such a long time to complete; But here we are we extremely happy that we managed to finish the project. Reception has been awesome for the first day of release, with some even writing in personally to say they love the game — but let’s see how the rest of the week goes.’
Born out of the corners of the internet, Countryballs is a series of internet memes and online comics wherein countries — represented as spheres clad in their respective flags and associated attire — engage in the mockery of each other’s stereotypes. A recurring theme of the comics has been to project Polandball — a spherical persona deliberately painted with Poland’s flag upside down — as a technologically underprivileged country that despite its hardest attempts, can never make it to Space (Polandball Cannot Into Space).
Sparked by the idea of expanding on the gag in gaming fashion, the Andrei Jifcovici and Sergiu Craitoiu co-founded team of Alien Pixel commenced development on Polandball: Can Into Space in the summer of 2015. Its premise is simple — as Polandball, players are tasked with making it to the moon in a decrepit rocket amid depleting fuel and assorted obstacles, while a host of other countries either attempt to bring them down or help them on their quests.
Through the collection of money, parts and repeated failure during this course, players are provided with fancier, more efficient upgrades to their crafts that will eventually help them break past earth’s atmospheric confines. Months that ensued saw its art and game-play mechanics evolve under the spotlight of events such as Ubisoft’s Game Jam in the same year, where the game’s build at the time even won itself the laurel of being the Most Polished Game present therein.
Alongside its Steam Greenlight campaign also came an Android and Apple Store release earlier this year, both of which are older, less visually advanced versions of the current PC build; For in the months after being Greenlit, the team took upon community feedback to render Polandball: Can Into Space!‘s Windows counterpart with added features such as an improved user interface, randomised weather effects and numerous other fixes.
As for the future now, the team explain that the game will continue to receive full support and even potential updates as they move towards working on a new IP. ‘Polandball was our first serious game development experience and we do believe its helped put into perspective how we should approach our next project,’ reveals Craitoiu. The new IP in question is alluded to be a puzzle-platformer, the mechanics design of which is expected to begin soon.
Craitoiu also dispels all chances of the revamped UI and weather effects making their way to the game’s mobile versions, stating that they simply aren’t suited for mobile performance. Survival-horror Torch meanwhile, another Alien Pixel IP that was shown off in its alpha form at this year’s East European Comic Con in Romania alongside Polandball, has been put on hold until such time sufficient funds and resources are accumulated by the team.