Gamers hoping creation will aid with pet adoptions

A start-up independent gaming company in Huntington Beach is looking to release the next breakout smartphone app while giving a financial and educational boost to the pet adoption community.

Zuul Labs plans to launch “Tall Tails,” its first creation, in July with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

The puzzle-based game, being designed for Apple and Android devices, follows a rescue puppy navigating its way through various fairytales, such as “Hansel and Gretel” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

The company aims to raise $250,000 through Kickstarter to pay for development costs in hopes of getting the game ready by mid-summer. The fundraising campaign launches Monday.

Though the game will be free to download, Zuul Labs is planning to donate revenue it makes from in-game purchases to various dog rescue charities.

“It became the credo of our company, which is to have fun, do good and play mobile,” Zuul Labs co-founder Crash Reed said. “Everything we do is not just steered toward making a great game. Obviously, we want to make a great game, but we want our games to have some impact.”

The creative team, all of whom are Art Institute graduates, has been working steadily on “Tall Tails” since January.

The concept of creating a smartphone game to advocate for pet rescue and adoption stemmed from Marty Cox, founder of It’s A Grind Coffee House.

He wanted to venture into the world of mobile gaming and simultaneously spread the word about pet adoption.

Reed and Cox met in October to develop the concepts of the game and began production in January.

“It’s more of an exposure,” he said. “We’re not turning it into an educational game. It has to be first and foremost a game that people want to play, but we’re subtly exposing people to proper behavior and responsible pet ownership.”

Cox and his wife, Louise Montgomery, have been rescuing pets for 16 years, helping Long Beach nonprofits Animal Match Rescue Team, Fix Long Beach and West Coast Animal Rescue. The couple, who live in Long Beach, have been known to foster 50 to 100 animals a year as they work to find more permanent homes for them.

“She’s got a real knack for placing the right animal with the right home,” Cox said. “It’s impressive to watch her in action.”

Zuul Labs aims to donate at least $1 million to various pet rescue charities during the life of the game.

“We’re going to be [rescuing animals] anyway,” Cox said. “The game is just a great vehicle to hopefully be able to further progress what we do now.”