Indie Mobile Game Inspired By Old-School Artillery Classics Announces Google Play Debut

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Developed as a collaboration between Richard Grunert and members of HappyChap Media in Bellingham, WA, the game Lunar Invasion was recently launched on Google Play. Lunar Invasion is a two-player game for Android devices that is based on the popular "cannon games" of the early PC gaming scene.

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This project represents eight months of learning and hard work.

The game Lunar Invasion, a modern take on vintage “artillery” or “cannon” games, is now available on Google Play. Lunar Invasion was developed as a collaborative project by recent Western Washington University graduate Richard Grunert along with Chris Palmer and Noel Abbott of HappyChap Media, a creative collective in Bellingham, WA.

In the official launch announcement, the creators write, “We met last winter to discuss the idea of making a game inspired by the turn-based cannon games from the early PC days. Worms, Scorched Earth, and other artillery games were so much fun, and we thought there wasn’t a very good example of turn-based artillery for mobile devices yet. Less than a year later, our game is on the market and we are excited to share it with everyone!”

The story of Lunar Invasion is presented as a comic that can essentially be summarized as, “Aliens from the moon attack planet Earth because they are ticked off at humans for littering.” With a 2D, top-down view of the battlefield, a fully original soundtrack, and a goofy sci-fi personality, the game has a retro vibe despite its innovative approach to mobile gameplay.

Lunar Invasion is designed to be played by two people on a single mobile device, and players are instructed to sit across from one another with the device on a flat surface between them. Each player takes turns firing a cannon back and forth across an obstacle-filled map (the full game includes 30 unique maps) by touching the screen where they want to shoot, with the objective being to destroy your opponent. Most maps are designed to encourage a healthy amount of ricochets, so there is a mix of strategy and chance to each game. It takes six direct hits to vanquish your enemy, although on some maps there are shields and health that can be picked up to prolong one’s life. There are a variety of weapons available, some of which do extra damage, and players may also choose to use their turn to warp to a new location rather than fire at their opponent, in order to gain a positional advantage or escape imminent destruction. With so many different levels and gameplay mechanics, Lunar Invasion--like chess--offers unlimited potential for variability and endless entertainment because every battle is unique.

Lunar Invasion is also ambitious because it was not built using a prefabricated game engine, as many indie projects are in the app-development world. Instead, self-taught software engineer Richard Grunert developed the game from the ground up using pure mathematics. “This project represents eight months of learning and hard work,” he said. “It's not often that Googling trigonometry equations becomes fun, but making this game managed to do that for me.”

The game’s art was created entirely by Chris Palmer, who commented, “From the silly character designs down the the very last sprite, this game has been a crazy adventure in the making. I hope everyone enjoys playing it as much as I've enjoyed helping bring it to life." Lunar Invasion’s soundtrack was composed by Noel Abbott, who also produced the game's sound effects. Abbott and Palmer are members of HappyChap Media, a Bellingham creative collective currently based out of the coworking office The Workspace. All three members of Lunar Invasion’s development team were involved in designing the gameplay mechanics, levels, and story.

Lunar Invasion offers a free version which includes five maps. In the full version of the game, priced at $2.99, there are 30 maps to choose from. Noel Abbott said, “We decided against running in-app purchases or ads for a number of reasons. First of all, we wanted it to be 100% kid safe, because this is a game based on the games that we loved when we were kids. Second, we think the game should stand on its own merit. If you enjoy it as a concept and want to play it with the person next to you on a flight, I think ten cents per map is a pretty good deal.”

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Noel Abbott
HappyChap Media
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