Throwback Thursday: Environment Art

This week's Throwback Thursday takes a look around us at the wonderful world of The Counting Kingdom:

You can see that, from the very beginning, artist Luigi Guatieri had a blocky geometric look in mind for the environment.  We saw this pop up in many places down the road - check out the forest in the world map! (Or the clouds, I think those are my favorite!)

 Early concept art for the world map

Early concept art for the world map

If you add one part blocky shapes, one part lush painterly style, and one part bright bold colors, you'll get the environment art for The Counting Kingdom!

Help the wizard's apprentice save the kingdom- download The Counting Kingdom today for iPad & iPhone!

A look back at the development of The Counting Kingdom

The past year and a half of developing The Counting Kingdom has been an amazing ride!  Now that the game has successfully launched for iPad & iPhone I want to look back on some of the highlights:

Sept 2013: Boston Festival of Indie Games

This is the first time we showed off a demo of the game.  At this point it only had three levels - easy, medium and hard.  Founder Jenna Hoffstein crafted all sorts of wizard goodies, including a basket of (very popular) wizard wands, and the day was spent playing the game with teachers, kids and parents.  Judging from all the smiles on everyone's faces, we knew we were making something special!

March 2014: MassDigi Game Challenge

After a long winter of heads-down development, The Counting Kingdom was entered into the MassDiGi Game Challenge.  Jenna competed against fourty-five other teams to impress a judging panel of industry veterans, and The Counting Kingdom took home the Grand Prize!  Attending journalist Dennis Scimeca had this to say about the game:

"Educational video games often don't feel like video games at all.  They're just not fun enough... But the game "The Counting Kingdom," developed by the Boston-based studio Little Worlds Interactive to teach children basic math skills, smoothly avoids this hurdle on the way to becoming an ideal of what a "serious video game" (in the industry lingo) ought to be.  Its extremely entertaining gameplay doesn't take a back seat to learning, and vice versa."

Spring & Early Summer 2014: Awards and festivals and early access, oh my!

Things kicked into overdrive as Jenna worked to get word out there about the game.  We exhibited at PAX East and the Cambridge Science Festival, and won the Big Indie Pitch Jr. at the Game Developer's Conference.  In June the game officially launched on Steam Early Access, which was an amazing opportunity to get feedback from early players!

Jenna also attended Casual Connect where The Counting Kingdom was nominated to be in the Indie Prize Showcase, and Jenna gave a talk about how to make great educational games.

August 2014: PC & Mac Release on Steam, PAX 10

I think it's fair to say that August was an incredibly exciting month.  The game released for PC & Mac on Steam and the Humble Store to hugely positive reviews. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Little Worlds Interactive's The Counting Kingdom is a relatively rare breed of learning game: It's so successful at being a good game that your kids may not even realize they're learning while playing it.  It's a game that is educational - not just an educational game." - The Examiner

" If you're looking for a math game for your elementary-aged kid, or it you just like number-puzzles, Counting Kingdom is the charming (yet educational) game for you.. I would much rather play The Counting Kingdom than any other game on my iPhone, and I'd still choose it over half the games in my Steam library." - Game Skinny

The end of August also brought with it PAX Prime!  The Counting Kingdom was selected to be in the PAX 10 this year; 50 industry experts selected the ten best indie games in regard to gameplay and overall fun-factor.  Being in the PAX 10 is an incredibly honor to being with, but to make it as an educational kids game was unprecedented.   We gave ourselves a high-five and packed our bags for Seattle to exhibit the game!

This brings us up to the present!  This week hasn't exactly been small potatoes either - releasing the game for iPad and iPhone has been an enormous milestone from the beginning, and we're so glad to be able to get The Counting Kingdom into the hands of more kids, parents and teachers.

It's been an amazing journey, and hopefully just the beginning of many wonderful things! We never would have made it this far without the support of our amazing playtesters, players and supporters, so a big THANK YOU to you!  We hope you'll stick around so we can see what's next together!

Welcome to Wizard Woods

Today we're exploring the third region in The Counting Kingdom - Wizard Woods!

After rescuing all the castles in the Sorcery Sea you'll be back on dry land and squaring off against more challenging groups of monsters.  You'll unlock a new potion to help you handle the greater difficult: the Zero potion!  You can drop this potion onto any monster to instantly change its number to zero.

You'll also encounter a new challenge deep in these woods - the Doubling Tile!  When a monster steps on top of a doubling tile the monster's number is automatically doubled.  This may not be so bad with a 2 monster, but it can get dangerous with the higher number monsters!

As you venture across this region of the kingdom you'll encounter two new monsters - 10 & 11.  You'll need your thinking cap to keep all these monsters away from the castle!

Check back later as we explore the next region in The Counting Kingdom!