Locally created mobile game gets high scores

It's flesh-eating action in "GraveStompers: Zombie vs. Zombie," the first game released by the Huntington Beach-based independent video game developer Mad Menace Entertainment.

The game, which was originally available on smartphones and tablets only, has made the leap to television screens through the power of the new indie-game friendly Ouya console.

"The game itself and the [Ouya] processor itself, with the cost point, is incredible," said Mad Menace Entertainment partner Cary Boring. "This is the way games are going to go."

Boring, a 20-year Newport Beach resident, describes GraveStompers as a 3D, third-person shooter that puts a cartoonish spin on zombie horror. It's a mid-level game for players wanting to use more than one finger, as with Angry Birds. The game requires both hands, turning phones and tablets into controls.

Boring started Mad Menace Entertainment with his partner, Matthew Newman, also of Newport Beach. Newman is the artist and creator of the game.

It was the imagery and the hack and slash gameplay elements that drew Boring into developing the mobile game.

"The art is beautiful and something you don't see in mobile games," he said. "Adding in the 3D as well, it becomes 360 degrees of arena space. You're moving the whole time."

GraveStompers was in development for a year and a half, but Boring said, chuckling, "It's always in development on my account. It never stops."

The game has scored positive reviews. It has a four-star rating on the Apple Store, a 4.1 rating on Google Play and a 4.5 rating on Amazon and has been reviewed more than 3,000 times among the three platforms.

"People who download the game like it a lot and rank it really well because it is different," Boring said. "The artwork pushes the pixels on your device, so to speak."

The game is also popular on Ouya discussion boards, according to Eddie Krassenstein, who runs and owns the unofficial Ouya forum.

"From what I've seen, GraveStompers is one of the better games on the Ouya," he said.

Krassenstein said the game is constantly at the top of the forum's polls.

Boring commented on how the Ouya has affected the experience of playing GraveStompers.

"To see our game on a 65-inch screen is amazing," he said.

Boring also commented on how Ouya is changing the video game industry by forcing major console competitors like Microsoft and Sony to change their tune about independent games.

"You have Playstation as well as Xbox coming out a few weeks after the Ouya launch saying they are going to open up their consoles to indie developers," Boring said. "That just tells you that there is a big market out there for independent games."

Krassenstein agreed that Ouya is having an affect on the business.

"Ouya gives a lot of developers a chance to get on consoles," he said. "If you can develop for Android, you can develop for Ouya."

A free-to-play version with advertisements and an ad-free paid version are available on mobile platforms for $1.99. The game is $3.99 on the Ouya.

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