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Introducing Soft Body on PS4, PS Vita

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Introducing Soft Body on PS4, PS Vita
2 Author Replies

Hello! I’m Zeke Virant, the sole developer of Soft Body. It’s coming out later this year for PS4 and PS Vita with cross buy support. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, Soft Body is an action-puzzle game that infuses the twin-stick shooter with a surreal sense of control and style.

Inspired by the simplicity and joy of twin-stick shooters and other arcade games, players take control of two beautiful, gooey snakes at the same time (one with each analog stick). Together, you use the snakes to paint the world, which continually changes around you, while dodging bullets and popping enemies. Both soothing and tense, Soft Body combines the challenge and twitchy fun of quick-restart action games with a smooth, meditative aesthetic.

Today, I’m happy to give you all a glimpse of Soft Body’s two different single-player modes: Soft Mode and Hard Mode.

With Soft Mode, I wanted to create a game that offered a smooth difficulty curve and levels that flowed into each other visually and aurally. I understood that learning to control two characters at the same time is a complicated affair, and so I designed a mode that could facilitate people gradually learning the game’s mechanics and rules.

In Soft Mode, you take control of the Soft Body and the Ghost Body but are not always required to control them at the same time. By default, the Ghost Body is attached to the Soft Body and will follow it around — but separating the two bodies is simple. By pushing the right analog stick from its centered resting position, the Ghost Body detaches from the Soft Body and becomes independent. If the right analog-stick returns to its resting point for one second, the Ghost Body will automatically return to the Soft Body and reattach. That being said, Soft Mode is not “Easy,” but it’s certainly not as tough as Hard Mode.

With Hard Mode, I wanted to take full advantage of the game’s unique, brain-splitting mechanics. I wanted to make something that could push people to master the challenge of controlling two things at the same time — something stoically difficult, unforgiving, but fair and rewarding. Hard Mode gives you control of both bodies at the same time, all the time. If either body is popped by an enemy or a projectile, it’s game over, and you restart from the beginning of the level.

Soft BodySoft Body

Soft Body is an unusual twin-stick game, and I want people to experience the full breadth of its controls. For me, the way it feels to control the two snakes is the most important aspect of the game. My desire to make Soft Body’s movement feel great has driven the game’s development and informs almost every aspect of the design.

From the shape of the bullet patterns, to the sound of painting a wall, Soft Body’s mechanics encourage movement and give personality to the game’s tense and joyful fiction. With Soft Mode and Hard Mode, I’ve worked to create a single-player experience with multiple ways to play and enjoy the game.

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8 Comments

2 Author Replies

  • This looks like a really wild, but interesting puzzle game. Looks like a cool mix of Hohokum, Sound Shapes, and Snake.

    I realize the game is intended for the mind-melting mode of one person controlling both snakes at the same time, but is there any reason not to try playing with local co-op, with both people sharing the same controller? Might be a kinda meditative (and cooperative!) experience that way for some folks :-)

    • Zeke Virant

      Hey paulogy! Thanks for your kind words.

      I am including a co-op mode with the game. I didn’t have the space to go into it with this blog post, but I will be outlining this mode in the near future. It’s not quite as simple as giving the other player a duplicate snake or just control of the Ghost Body. I’m looking forward to sharing more details in the near future.

      The mind-melting idea of the game really comes into play in the Hard Mode. In Soft Mode, you can get by not fully using the 2nd body, but the game really rewards those who can control both at the same time. I don’t know if you’re a Demon Souls or Dark Souls fan, but I like to say that learning both bodies is like learning to dodge and parry and only using one is like using the shield.

  • Looks cool. Reminds me of Sound Shapes.

    • I was thinking more of another game developed by one guy (same as Sound Shapes, BTW) with simplistic graphics and game play based on music: Everyday Shooter.

      Soft Body looks like a solid evolution of Jon Mak’s seaweed-and-hashbrown fueled rookie offering, and I am quite pleased to see it.

      Keep it up Zeke, looking forward to the release!

    • Zeke Virant

      Hey thanks for the comparison!

      Although I am a fan of Jon Mak’s work, I think that Soft Body’s moment-to-moment action is more akin to earlier shmups like Striker’s 1945 II or DoDonPachi (the former far more than the latter) than Everyday Shooter. For one, Soft Body’s movement is much quicker.

  • This game looks great! I’m looking forward to seeing it in the Store!

  • LOVE these types of games. Can’t wait. Looks wonderful!

  • Game looks neat but I can’t help but think of Season 1 of The Americans when Stan gives his monologue about hunting dogs and uses the phrase “soft mouth” about a hundred times.

  • Wow, these games I loved just because there seem to have so much simplicity, but once you delve into for a while you see the complexity in them. Can’t wait to play it. Great work so far!

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