After the successful release of A Healer Only Lives Twice. We had a little chat with the developer, Pon Pon Games to have a little look behind the game. Check out our interview!
Hi Pon Pon Games, thank you so much for doing this interview with me! To start with, could you introduce yourself to the people reading this?
Pon Pon Games is a one-man dev team, making small-scaled games for PC and consoles. Our latest game “A Healer Only Lives Twice” is currently on sale through Playism and other platforms!
Are you a full-time game developer? Or, are you currently making games while settling on another occupation?
Just a while ago I was working at a company that had no relation to games. Back then, I was making games when I had free time on the weekends and before bed. Currently I have left the company and have devoted my time to making games.
A Healer Lives Twice is a really addicting game that left me wandering through dungeons for a very long time. What gave you the idea for this game?
I had a time where I was addicted to “crafting” in Final Fantasy XIV. This project started because I wanted to make a simple command game with a similar concept that makes you predict a few steps ahead.
The charm of this game is that there are random factors, but you are able to predict the outcome to a certain degree. And even if you are cornered by danger, if you stay calm and choose the correct commands, you are able turn the tables and live another day.
I have always loved playing the healing character, and I was really excited to play a game where the healer was the main character. Why did you choose a healer rather than designing the game around a different class?
I also LOVE playing as a healer! …aaand I think that answers the question. I wanted the player to experience and acknowledge the fun of playing as a healer role.
I also like the tank role and someday I would like to make a game about a tank too.
From the core idea of resource management combined with a number of other ideas, I think that A Healer Only Lives Twice came out as a simple, yet profound Tower Defense type of game. Was this intentional? Or did this become to be as ideas were added to the game?
At the early stages of development, the game was designed as a simple endless runner. But as the game got bigger, so did my greed. From this a number of elements got added in the end.
A continuation on the question above; from the number of ideas that were added, which idea do you think “complete” this game?
A critical feature would be the Torches and the Red Ball. These would be the equivalent to “food” and “stairs” in a rogue-like. By putting healing, the “tactic” against an opportunity of growth and a time limit, a “strategy” is born, making the game much more interesting.
A Healer Only Lives Twice was initially developed for the PlayStation Vita through the PlayStation Mobile. Could you tell us the reason behind the release on PC, and furthermore to the overseas market? Also were there any difficulties you’ve encountered when moving the game from PSM to PC?
I wanted a lot of people to play the game so with that in mind I made it so that the game could be released on a number of platforms including PC. To understand the differences in hardware, I made the PSM version and that made the shift to PC a lot easier than expected.
However, the UI was not made with the mouse controls in mind, and that made it difficult to decide what the mouse could and could not do.
Last year, A Healer Only Lives Twice won an award at BitSummit. Have there been any changes since you have won this?
A number of improvements were done、such as an overall increase in the weight of the game, an additional ending and better playability.
Other additions like the Astrolabe to alter the moon phase and being able to burn items to light up the room allowed the players to actively overcome troubles.
Seeing that you put the game forward to PSM, BitSummit, PLAYISM and additionally to PS4 through Play,Doujin!, It gives me the impression that you’ve been very active among the Japanese Independent Developers. Through this, have you noticed any changes in the Japanese indie gaming industry in the recent years? And do you have anything to say as a developer?
To be honest, I’m not totally sure myself.
Although, I do think that in recent years there has been an increase in the diversity of games that are distributed in comic markets. I think this is because of game creation – like through Unity – became easier to get into.
Do you have a Playism Game that you enjoy?
I like Magic Potion Explorer by ARTIFACTS and how they manage to take the good bits from the novel game genre and RPG cut scenes.
I also like PixelJunk Shooter and how they were able to integrate fluid physics in their game. This game also later gave inspiration and influence to the controls of Galateia (A game I previously made.)
Finally, do you have a message for everyone reading this?
The role of the healer is stimulating and creative.
Please enjoy the comforting fretfulness in “A Healer Only Lives Twice”
Thank you so much Pon Pon Games for doing this interview with us.