Colossorama – Our Indie Pick of The Week

For most fighting games, you’re usually limited to just the normal brawler, fighting with punches, blocking, and a special move, games such as Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, etc all had a great launch into the industry, then games like Nintendo’s Smash Brothers came into the play allowing the player to do more than just brawl out against your favorite Nintendo Characters, items would be spawned into the arena allowing the player to have more of an advantage to fling their opponent out of the arena.

“Colossorama” an indie game in development by WhalesAndGames, brings a twist to fighting games as you are a gladiator facing many opponents who include other gladiators, lions, hawkmen, and more. “Colossorama” has over twenty-eight different weapons to choose from, as well as a feature that lets you set up a custom loadout to use during fights. It has a wide variety of status effects such as poisoning, freezing, invisibility, and regeneration of health.

To add onto the many weapons you can choose to fight with, there are also extra items to grant you more of an advantage to take down your enemies and make you more “OP”.

The controls for the game are fairly easy and manageable to get the grip of in no time, and if you’re more of a controller user then there’s no reason to worry as this game has support for Xbox Controllers as well, and it seems very comfortable to take out your opponents with a controller, instead of smashing your keyboard to bits and pieces.

Aside from gameplay mechanics, the game offers two game modes, in which one is based on the game’s first appearance in Ludum Dare 36. In this mode, you fight a round of thirty-six enemies in an all out brawl for victory. The game also has a share feature that lets you brag about how well you do in-game by using a feature that allows the player to share their scores on Twitter. The best part of all is that this game isn’t limited to just one operating system; it’s available for all!

"Colossorama” seems like a great indie game and really deserves the support that it can get. I’m not much of a fan of fighting games, but I really did enjoy seeing what this game had to offer, and I’m sure you’d like to try it out for yourself! With it offering plenty of features, and that it’s available for all operating systems, I feel this is why it deserves to be labeled as a featured game!

Download Colossorama

In addition to the review, we recently reached out to the developers for an interview, and this is how it went;

[David]: “What inspired this project? How did it start?”

[Whales And Games]: “Back in 2014, we at Whales And Games originally teamed up to develop an RPG Maker game for a contest at the time, and for a period of almost two years afterward, we discussed several ideas and games we wanted to develop with our own code and assets.

However, this second game never got into production. During that two year time period, we learned several new game development skills and techniques and even tried to participate in several game jams but which games never reached the same finished and polished state as our original game.

Ultimately, in Ludum Dare 36 - all the way back in August of last year - we finally set in stone that we’d finish a brand new game and get it published, and that’s how Colossorama 36 (as it was named back when we released it) got off the ground.

As for the actual concept, inspirations came from various sources, especially from the Ludum Dare’s theme - Ancient Technology. We ultimately settled on making a short and fun arcade game with different pick-able weapons which the players could mix-and-match until they found out their best setup to achieve a high score of slain gladiators.”

[David]: “What difficulties were faced during the development of this project?”

[Whales And Games]: “During the development of the game itself, there weren’t many difficulties that we came across besides the usual differences in ideas and situations between the team (cases which the 7-8 timezone difference didn’t help on).

Difficulties were more present when it came to the game’s design, where there were several decisions we could have made earlier in the game’s development, especially in regard to the game’s physics and game loop. There were also several mechanics and balance issues we feel we could have explored better.

We eventually made tweaks to these with patches after the game’s original release, but to this day, we still live with the feeling that these could have performed better with a more well-thought design process.

Another aspect of the game which we could have also considered much earlier during its development was the game’s audio, in which we ended up using royalty free music for the original game jam version. We eventually teamed up with an aspiring music composer, which despite believing he didn’t have a lot of experience, used the best of his skills to help us out and compose some original tracks for the game. ”

[David]: “Are there any features you had planned but were scrapped?”

[Whales And Games]: “One principle of game development that we always take in mind is that a game is never going to be totally finished in the eves of their developers.

Colossorama is one of these cases, and we had a lot of different plans in mind, from more enemies, items, and even different modes, playable characters, and stages that we didn’t get into adding into the game. At some point, we even discussed unlockables to give players a sense of progression.

We eventually added some of these ideas through a post-jam update to the game, but we eventually settled in leaving the project firm on its roots to avoid a clustered experience, and move on into new experiments and projects.”

[David]: “What are your future plans for this project?"

[Whales And Games]: “We’ve been thinking of making a small anniversary update with a few new items and fixes to completely close-off Colossorama’s development, now that it had a recent resurgence in views and downloads, but there’s nothing determined yet.

We’ve also been talking and discussing back and forth about the possibility of doing a full-fledged version of Colossorama in the future, with this version including a facelift of the game’s art and we even had a silly plot planned for it. However, we can’t assure it’s development for the time being, as we keep striving to work on new projects and closing of pending ones.

At the moment, we’re actively trying to push and expand our newly created brand - Whales And Games - which we’ve started publishing our games under back with Petty Puny Planet create during last April’s Ldum Dare. We’re still setting things in stone and figuring out how exactly how we want our team to grow, but at the moment, you can keep up with what we’re working on by following us on our twitter @WhalesAndGames!”

[David]:“Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring Indie Developers?”

[Whales And Games]: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Most people - even professionals - won’t turn down our questions if you ask them. People are much more accessible than you might believe they are, and most are up for helping others, especially aspiring developers and newcomers getting into the game development scene. We’ve personally gotten a lot of design help and feedback on our games by asking other professionals about them.

If you start feeling problems in getting a game done or start feeling creativity blocks, try scoping down and making smaller games. Try participating in a game jam (such as Ludum Dare) for example, as the pressure and limited time-frame will force you to think smaller. This happened to us and Ludum Dare was a great way for us to try something smaller, but do-able, which lead to Colossorama being born.

Meet new people and keep on learning. Spend less time thinking about the ifs and give small steps to achieve small victories. If you’re working with a team (which is something that frequently happens in game jams) value each other’s work, and don’t disappoint yourself so you don’t disappoint others. Learn each other’s weaknesses. Have some fun while working on your games.”

And that’s a wrap! I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jorge M. Carvalho for giving us his team’s time to answer these questions! Very interesting detail behind Colossorama and very inspiring things have been said, so if you’re an aspiring Indie developer or a newcomer to the game scene, I think you’ll enjoy taking their advice and using it towards a game of your own!

David Strickland
Just an average gamer, aspiring to be a game journalist. Also a cat.