Joggernauts is a local multiplayer cooperative Party Runner. It combines the deceptively simple challenges of Bit.Trip Runner and the multiplayer action of New Super Mario Bros Wii, but with a unique new swapping mechanic. The accessible platformer gameplay and approachable ���derpy� art style lure a wide and diverse audience of game players into potentially friendship-ending chaos both on the TV and on the sofa. Joggernauts is still brand new and very much in-development, but it has already proven itself at public events where it lives up to its goals: to be as challenging as it is addictive, and to be a game that absolutely must be played with friends and in-person.
Joggernauts is about creating an emotional ride with friends. It�۪s a game destined for the living room. The moment of inspiration for Joggernauts came while sitting on a couch with best friends playing Bit.Trip Runner. We were passing the controller trying to beat the levels. Even when it wasn�۪t our turn, we were still playing along by yelling out ���Jump! Slide! Kick!� And then came the questions: ���What about a multiplayer auto-runner? But who gets to be in front?�
Joggernauts is designed to make players cooperate and communicate (often loudly) in order to beat levels. Nobody is ever left behind or left out. Lives are shared, and a four player game never turns into a one or two player game. Everybody must reach the end of the level together. Challenges around level collectibles allow us to engage with more competitive or completionist players, but they are optional so that casual players can still progress through levels.
Intentionally designed levels rather than procedural ���endless� play allows us to work towards that perfect curve of challenge vs. mastery. It also creates a sense of exploration and discovery for the player.
Our character design has often been described as a little ���derpy,� which makes us very happy. We are making the game visually approachable because we know how deceptively difficult the actual gameplay can be.
Embracing the limitations of the autorunner genre has focused our creativity. Our game design approach is to add elements one at a time, and we know we�۪re only scratching the surface of what�۪s possible with this new multiplayer swapping mechanic. We plan to present many new challenges to players in future worlds.
Zach, Tommy, and Robert found each other through the lively IGDA-TC community in Minneapolis. Zach was co-running monthly events for Minnesota game developers to huddle together for warmth while play testing each other�۪s games. Since it is rather difficult to make a multiplayer game as a solo programmer, he was using the community events to get feedback on Joggernauts.
Luckily, Tommy saw potential in Zach�۪s impossibly hard game demo, and brought his art and design skills to the project. Robert had already done spectacular music for another one of Tommy�۪s multiplayer games, so he was the perfect addition to the team for audio.
Joggernauts is still brand new. Much of the development was done literally one donut fueled Friday afternoon at a time until the team recently pulled together like old pros and kicked out a surprisingly polished demo in just a few weeks.