One of the games we experienced at EGX this year was the charming De Mambo, and we spoke to the game’s developers about the inspiration and what we can expect.
Hello The Dangerous Kitchen, thanks for talking to us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you got into developing games?
So The Dangerous Kitchen started out at University, when we were just finding our way in life. Someone randomly said, “Hey we should start our own games company!” And that’s how we were born!
We all love games—not just playing them (which we do a lot) but the potential they hold. I’m a huge film fan also, so a lot of people always wonder why I didn’t get into film, but the thing is: film is over a hundred years old. Games are relatively new in comparison and thus have a riper potential, so it’s a lot easier to make your mark. We’re not content with just making any old game, we want to make games that only we can.
To actually develop De Mambo, it took years before we actually begun. After University we separated and then tried to work remotely, but it just didn’t cut it. We needed to be together—in the same room—for our combined creativity to spiral out of control and then topple over, trapping us in the rubble that would eventually become the building blocks of De Mambo.
De Mambo certainly looks interesting. Can you explain what it is all about?
De Mambo is an odd thing to explain—I mean yeah it’s classed as an ‘indie game’ and yes it’s Smash Bros inspired, but the way it was conceived and the way it continues to grow is fairly atypical. It’s our first game that is built on our limitations yet embraces them unconditionally.
To just give you the PR answer – De Mambo is a multiplayer single-screen action platformer that uses one button and a D-pad.
What was the inspiration behind the game? What games would you describe it as a mix of?
As I mentioned before, Super Smash Bros hugely inspired De Mambo, as that’s what we set out to deconstruct in the very beginning of the project. Other than Smash, Super Mario Bros on the NES is the other major inspiration, especially in regards to the one button system we designed.
The creation of De Mambo was very spontaneous so it’s hard to pinpoint where things come from, as they just tend to happen.
One could describe De Mambo as ‘Smash Bros’ meets ‘Breakout’ or ‘minimal Smash’.
It certainly has a very party game look and feel, and in a lot of ways is similar in that regard to DiscStorm. Have you seen that at all?
That most definitely comes from the Smash inspiration, but in all seriousness, we want De Mambo to be for everyone and to engage everyone. The Loser Rail is a great example of that as even if you lose, you always have another chance to get back in.
I’ve seen images of Discstorm and I think they were at EGX Rezzed when we were, but we’ve been so busy developing De Mambo, we haven’t had a chance to focus much on the world around us.
Your Kickstarter suggests other ideas not yet implemented, such as online and a single player campaign. Can you explain a little more about these?
Well, we like to describe the single player mode as ‘Zelda 2 meets WarioWare’ and it’s shaping up to something very interesting. We could have just made a typical campaign mode where you battle AI and stuff, but it just didn’t feel like the way to go. We also prototyped some normal 2D adventure levels, but again it just didn’t feel right. What we have planned for single player has been taxing on the brain, but in the end, it will be far more satisfying to the player.
There are some great ideas we’ve amassed for De Mambo’s online mode, but it’s pretty much dependent on if we reach our Kickstarter goal—and more importantly if it feels good. If we make the online mode and it doesn’t play fluently offline, we aren’t afraid to scrap it completely.
When we spoke at EGX you suggested that there will be over 50 multiplayer stages, How do you plan to make them all different to each other?
Since each character in De Mambo is essentially the same, albeit their colour, we want every level to offer something new. Currently we have one level with teleporting pipes and another with bouncing blocks, which help give both levels their own feel.
We’ll continue to create new gameplay mechanics for each level, but if we run out, we can always mix them up, so it’s not hard for us to create an abundance of interesting levels. Additionally, since we designed the levels to be made of blocks, just simply creating different shapes is enough to differentiate the levels.
On top of this we are also planning many new modes that will offer something different to the standard battle format, but will all interact with all our current blocks and obstacles. This means there really isn’t a limit to how many stages we can make!
How much gameplay would you say gamers can experience with De Mambo?
As much as they want! As a company, we love gameplay and so we try our best to be gameplay first. There’s no fluff in De Mambo—that’s something we flat out wanted from the beginning—so all that’s left is gameplay.
Is there anything you can tell us about the game that isn’t already known?
The sound effect for the Colour Select machine, when you lock in a character, is one team member’s little sister. I recorded her voice from a video and made the sound effect out of it—a lot of the sound effects are made like this to be fair.
What made you want to bring the game to the Vita?
The original prototype was made for a keyboard, to almost be a quick game you’d play in class when the teacher wasn’t looking. After we had a few matches, it just sort of felt like the game would be perfect for Vita. The graphics were more low-fi, pretty much NES, so completely suitable for handhelds. The 3DS has Smash and the Vita has PlayStation All Stars, so we thought the Vita needed De Mambo more!
What challenges, if any, have you faced with Vita development?
At present, we haven’t actually developed for any specific console—we’re in the talking stage of this part. Everything we’ve built has been on Unity on Mac/PC so we haven’t actually faced any development issues regarding Vita development.
Do you have a release date in mind with De Mambo? Or a price point?
A release date is a bit amorphous at this point, but we’re aiming for Summer 2016. The price point is a bit difficult to pinpoint, as it’s reliant on our Kickstarter. If we reach our goal and are able to put in as much content as we can, then it would be around £10-15, but if we sadly don’t reach our goal and maybe have to cut down on what we can do, then it would probably be £5-7.
Are there any games that stand out for you on the Vita? What are your favourites?
Yes! Loads! I love visual novels so Zero Escape: Virtues last Reward is possibly my favourite Vita game. The previous Zero Escape (999 on DS), is one of my favourite games ever and immensely inspirational. VLR is superb and I like to think of it as the Terminator 2 of visual novels in how it ups the ante from the previous title so much.
Dangan Ronpa is also another series I love—at first I wasn’t too sure on it, as it felt like a blatant mix of Persona, Phoenix Wrights and Zero Escape, but the second game really solidified the series as amazing to me. As a Suda 51 fanatic, a Masafumi Takada soundtrack is always welcome.
What’s next for The Dangerous Kitchen, and would you want to develop for the Vita again?
Well we are right in the trenches, working on fleshing out De Mambo as best as we can, so those are our present and future plans! After that, we have our first game—it’s been crudely designed with a wealth of art assets and writing already completed—to go back to and make.
If anything though, the simple fact that De Mambo will be on the Vita has really showcased how supportive the Vita community is. You can really see how much they seem to care—which appears to be a lot more than any other fans we’ve come across—so of course we’ll try and support the Vita as much as we can.
We want to thank The Dangerous Kitchen for their time with this interview. If you are reading this before October 8th there is still time to run on their Kickstarter, and they really need your help! If you can spare a few bucks and think that De Mambo looks worth it, why not support them?