IOS game Lost Toys doesn't come out until the fall, but already it's found success at Casual Connect in San Francisco, taking home the 2013 award for Most Promising Game. Lost Toys has players twist pieces of jumbled toys, in a limited number of moves, to reform their original designs – a ballerina, a bear, a train and other childhood staples.
Developer Danielle Swank of Barking Mouse Studio describes Lost Toys as "a 3D puzzle game for introverts," but it's doing well in the public eye. Swank and the studio's other half, Jim Fleming, collected their award on stage last week.
"It was pretty overwhelming and was compounded by the fact that it's really the first time we've shown the game in public, or really to anyone outside of our small circle of friends (our Facebook page has about 20 likes, and I know all of them personally)," Swank tells me. "Last year I told my family that I was quitting my comfortable, safe engineering job to make a video game, and several of them thought I was making a really bad life decision."
The game has a touching, haunting tone that players at Casual Connect seemed to ... well, connect with.
"The whole conference gave us a boost, not just the award," Swank says. "Watching people play the game is super encouraging. We came away with a ton of notes and ideas to make it even better .... Instead of taking it easy, like we said we would, we were super excited to start working on all of the new stuff right away. Jim and I ended up spending all this past weekend holed up and working. It makes us both happy though, so I'm not actually sure what else we'd be doing with our time."
Lost Toys is due out this fall for iOS devices, with plans for Android and Blackberry versions – and probably more platforms, Swank says – later on.