Factsheet

Developer:
Niila Games
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark

Release date:
27 August, 2017

Platforms:
Google Play Store
Apple App Store (Danish soft launch)

Website:
niila.io

Regular Price:
-

Description

GURU GLOO is a small and poetic game about climbing to the edge of the world in search of meaning. As a child Gloo was always told that climbing was a pointless and meaningless endeavour, but now in his later years he has learned that climbing is his passion and so he climbs once again. Embark on a last adventure with Gloo to learn about climbing and what it means to find your own path in life. Together with Gloo you go on a journey that takes you from the confines of a climbing gym out into lustrous mountains and lastly into the endless skies.

History

The inspiration behind GURU GLOO

GURU GLOO borrows from the old and steals from the new. It is inspired by games such as MegaMan 2, Leo’s Fortune, Monument Valley, BADLAND, Shovel Knight and The Stanley Parable. The story and theme is inspired by literature ranging from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Worlds to the Star Trek franchise. GURU GLOO is the first title from Copenhagen-based indie studio Niila Games, a team of ambitious youngsters looking to make their mark in the landscape of games. The purpose behind creating the game is to have people view games as an artform equal to other mediums.

The gameplay design of GURU GLOO

The basis for GURU GLOO started with exploring how climbing can be translated into a mobile game. Instead of going for a realistic translation, we searched for gameplay that would afford the same core themes as climbing. Analysing climbing we found three themes to be central. These were: physical strength, balance and puzzle solving. From these themes, prototypes were created with different levels of abstraction. Through numerous iterations we ended up with the current gameplay, which has a vague resemblance to real life climbing, but none the less has its roots in climbing. One of the early decisions that persisted throughout the design was to keep the grips you see in climbing gyms and use them as central elements in the gameplay. The reasons being that grips created a framework for the level design in which puzzle elements could easily be created. Translating physical strength and balance into gameplay was a challenge. When playing with strength as a theme, we had a hard time letting go of an RPG mindset. This was however not a direction we wanted to go as we were looking for simplicity in the game design. As the gameplay developed, the meaning of the words strength and balance were altered. In the final gameplay you swing around grips utilizing the speed from the swing to make you fly further. Strength is translated into utilizing speed from swinging and balance is translated into timing the release of the grip to make you fly in the right direction. This made the final gameplay an abstraction of real life climbing, with only the visual theme having somewhat resemblance to climbing. It shows how the premise of a game can start in one place and the final game ends up in another place you didn’t know existed.

The story of GURU GLOO

The story of GURU GLOO is an ambiguous tale. It takes inspiration from existentialism and revolves around realising and accepting that there is no universal truth. As such, it is a story about finding your own meaning and not always listening to what your peers and elders dictate. Growing up, heritage and culture will always provide you with values and be normative about what a meaningful existence is - be it education, growing a family or creating a career. Deviating and breaking from the norms can be hard, especially if your actions contradicts the values inherent to your culture. Likewise it can be extremely anxiety-provoking to realise that you are the master of your own life and that meaning is something you have to find. Evidently life is hard for everyone. As kids of the late 90s, we grew up with the common attitude towards video games being that they were a waste of time or even worse induced violence. Thus it took time for us to realise that games were neither stupid nor dangerous. GURU GLOO is that story in another setting. It is a story about realising that you can choose your own path and that meaning is something you create. The game is packed with cultural references that all revolve around the purpose of life and where to find it, about what it means to be human and how we are but a speck of sand in the infinite desert of time. The hope is that some of the people playing GURU GLOO will be curious about the references and seek out the literature that we ourselves have been inspired by. The references also serves as small reminders that we as creators always stand on the shoulders of giants and that art is never created from nothing. There is a phrase that says: “Good art steals, bad art copies”, but the unanswerable question is then when is stealing and when is copying?

The inspiration behind GURU GLOO

GURU GLOO borrows from the old and steals from the new. It is inspired by games such as MegaMan 2, Leo’s Fortune, Monument Valley, BADLAND, Shovel Knight and The Stanley Parable. The story and theme is inspired by literature ranging from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New Worlds to the Star Trek franchise. GURU GLOO is the first title from Copenhagen-based indie studio Niila Games, a team of ambitious youngsters looking to make their mark in the landscape of games. The purpose behind creating the game is to have people view games as an artform equal to other mediums.

The gameplay design of GURU GLOO

The basis for GURU GLOO started with exploring how climbing can be translated into a mobile game. Instead of going for a realistic translation, we searched for gameplay that would afford the same core themes as climbing. Analysing climbing we found three themes to be central. These were: physical strength, balance and puzzle solving. From these themes, prototypes were created with different levels of abstraction. Through numerous iterations we ended up with the current gameplay, which has a vague resemblance to real life climbing, but none the less has its roots in climbing. One of the early decisions that persisted throughout the design was to keep the grips you see in climbing gyms and use them as central elements in the gameplay. The reasons being that grips created a framework for the level design in which puzzle elements could easily be created. Translating physical strength and balance into gameplay was a challenge. When playing with strength as a theme, we had a hard time letting go of an RPG mindset. This was however not a direction we wanted to go as we were looking for simplicity in the game design. As the gameplay developed, the meaning of the words strength and balance were altered. In the final gameplay you swing around grips utilizing the speed from the swing to make you fly further. Strength is translated into utilizing speed from swinging and balance is translated into timing the release of the grip to make you fly in the right direction. This made the final gameplay an abstraction of real life climbing, with only the visual theme having somewhat resemblance to climbing. It shows how the premise of a game can start in one place and the final game ends up in another place you didn’t know existed.

The story of GURU GLOO

The story of GURU GLOO is an ambiguous tale. It takes inspiration from existentialism and revolves around realising and accepting that there is no universal truth. As such, it is a story about finding your own meaning and not always listening to what your peers and elders dictate. Growing up, heritage and culture will always provide you with values and be normative about what a meaningful existence is - be it education, growing a family or creating a career. Deviating and breaking from the norms can be hard, especially if your actions contradicts the values inherent to your culture. Likewise it can be extremely anxiety-provoking to realise that you are the master of your own life and that meaning is something you have to find. Evidently life is hard for everyone. As kids of the late 90s, we grew up with the common attitude towards video games being that they were a waste of time or even worse induced violence. Thus it took time for us to realise that games were neither stupid nor dangerous. GURU GLOO is that story in another setting. It is a story about realising that you can choose your own path and that meaning is something you create. The game is packed with cultural references that all revolve around the purpose of life and where to find it, about what it means to be human and how we are but a speck of sand in the infinite desert of time. The hope is that some of the people playing GURU GLOO will be curious about the references and seek out the literature that we ourselves have been inspired by. The references also serves as small reminders that we as creators always stand on the shoulders of giants and that art is never created from nothing. There is a phrase that says: “Good art steals, bad art copies”, but the unanswerable question is then when is stealing and when is copying?

Features

  • An easy to learn, challenging to master swinging mechanic
  • Soothing electronic music by danish musician Pearlcorder
  • Retro 16-bit pixel art style
  • Physics-based gameplay
  • A poetic story about finding your own meaning in life
  • Three unique environments: a climbing gym, lustrous mountains and the endless sky
  • All handcrafted levels with secret areas and hidden faces
  • Multiple paths and challenges for speedrunning
  • Collectable hearts for the achievers
  • An array of moods for our main characters
  • Cultural references en masse

Videos

Trailer YouTube

Gameplay Video YouTube


Images

download all screenshots & photos as .zip (43MB)
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About Niila Games

Boilerplate
Niila Games is an independent game studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The studio is created by ambitious youngsters looking to make their mark on the world of video games.

More information
More information on Niila Games, our logo & relevant media are available here.


Guru Gloo Credits

Peter
Programmer

Lucas
Artist

Jonathan
Producer

Anton
Game Design

Phillip
Programmer

Andreas
Sound


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