For many years, keyboard crusaders and op-ed columnists alike debated with voracity over whether video games could be art. The answer was a resounding “YES!”. As mobile games continue to conquer the world, the question dares to re-emerge in a new form: Can mobile games be art? This time, it only takes one game to prove that they very much can be – Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective.
If you haven’t come across the charming Pierre The Maze Detective books, you’re missing out. Hiro Kamigaki’snostalgia-inducing pages are filled with characters that are colourful in more ways than one. Imagine the busyness of Where’s Wally and the charm of Tintin. In Darjeeling and Pixmain’s mobile game adaptation, players must digitally explore the stunning hand-drawn world with the ultimate objective of halting the plans of the devious Mr. X. Through stunning animations, amazing attention to detail, hilarious dialogue, and charm in abundance, their mobile labyrinth game is a true delight.
One of our writers, Alex Sinclair-Lack sat down with Noam Roubah, founder and interactive producer of Darjeeling to discover the behind-the-scenes scoop on this charming, unique and beautiful title.
Congratulations on making such a beautiful and charming game. There is so much to please the eye in just a single frame. How would you describe the game’s appeal in one sentence alone?
I would say that Labyrinth City is an adventure maze game, full of life, details, characters to speak with, and absurd humor.
The title has been described as a one-of-a-kind revolutionary puzzle. In your own words, what is it that makes the title so unique and groundbreaking?
I think what makes it unique is the combination of and the balance between the art, game mechanics, narration, music, and animation. We tried to find the right balance so players would always be immersed, surprised, and rewarded for what they are doing, and committed to go to the end.
We absolutely love the hand-drawn art style, it fills us with a nostalgia for the graphic novels and comics of our childhood. How did the collaboration come about?
It started when I found the book Pierre The Maze Detective in a bookshop, came home and played with my kids all afternoon! It was really a great time for me and them – they loved the illustrations, the hide and seek aspect of it, and the mazes. The next day, I took the book with me to the office and showed it to everyone saying that this would be a great game. I contacted Hiro at IC4DESIGN right away telling them what a great time I’d had and asked them if they would be ok to let us adapt their work in a game. And they were very excited by the idea.
What were the biggest challenges of transforming a beloved illustrated book into a multi-platform video game?
The first challenge was to find out how to be faithful to the original work, and how to reproduce and amplify what we felt when we first discovered the book. The second real challenge was to bring life to those worlds. We had to find a way to create the sensation that everything is moving, that all the characters are living their lives, and that the player can have an impact on the environment.
Which aspects of Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective are you most proud of?
There are some aspects that I really love: the music is amazing, the dialogue is full of references and very funny, some of the animations are crazy, but none of it works in isolation. What I’m the proudest of is what the team managed to accomplish, combining all the aspects of the game to create an alchemy, and I think players will feel this. We really had some fun making this game, and I think you can tell.
It is a game littered with mysteries and enigmas, do you have any advice for players searching for secrets and Easter Eggs?
Don’t hesitate to talk to characters several times, open every single door, and check every stash. But the real mystery lies at the end!
You must have a lot on your plate for the time being, but do you have any plans for what’s next following the mobile release?
We do have a lot of ideas for Pierre: there could be a lot of new mazes to solve with a new villain, stronger than Mr X. There’s also a desire on our side to explore and develop the maze challenges with a multiplayer approach. For now, we are just going to take some time to enjoy the different releases and then we’ll see where it leads us.
Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective is currently available on PC. It will become available on Nintendo Switch on July 15th with a mobile launch expected in Q3 2021. We’ll be sure to follow it every step of the way, so ensure you don’t get lost in the labyrinth of the internet by bookmarking us now.
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