I was brainstorming a game for mobile, something that has a simple input, but unique satisfying gameplay. Eventually I started thinking about monkeys swinging on branches, and before long, Banana Gorge was taking shape. I wrote out the GDD for it and put it away in my files for when I have more resources to actually make it.
Current Status: Back Burner
I really like the idea, and I think it will be cute and quirky when I get around to it.
Start With The Basics
The goal was to make the input simple yet reactive, the kind of game that people can get into a flow state. I had in my head the idea that the player would tap to trigger an event, and the event I kept circling around was swinging in circles. I thought that if an object were rotating around a center point, that tapping to release the object would send it off in its momentum’s path. This could result in a destructive result, locomotion, or more. When I started imagining a monkey on the branch, the rest of the ideas flowed pretty easily.
Protecting the Bananas
When I decided on monkeys, I started to think about different zany ways to play around with them. The low hanging fruit for an objective was clearly collecting bananas, but then I wondered, what if the bananas were under threat of being stolen, and the monkeys needed to harvest them to ensure their tribe has enough to last. Now I had ideas for resource management, goal setting, and tribal boundaries I could play with.
I also wanted a cute lose condition, so I thought maybe there are monkeys with a basket collecting all the bananas that the monkey swinging through the trees is knocking down. Monkey team work! Then, if the monkey in the tree falls the ground monkeys will try to catch him, but one will always get knocked out. As long as there are at least two monkeys available, one will throw the other back up into the trees to continue the collection. Otherwise the last monkey will return to the tribe with the bundle. This is effectively a lives system. There is the potential for a lot of cute animations an interactions between the monkeys on the ground.
Coming Back For More
By having the goal of the game to stock up banana supplies, it helps to generate replay-ability of individual levels. I imagined a network, a web, of connected tribes all with their own cache of bananas. Paths only become available when a certain tribe has enough bananas, but because bananas are being eaten, the player needs to travel back and forth to keep paths open. The more paths, the slower the stockpile will be eaten.
Banana Gorge 2.0
Once I get the game up and running, I think there are still a lot of untapped ideas that the first draft doesn’t cover.
I think the stockpiles should cascade when they fill up, allowing other neighboring tribes to benefit from a single location thriving. It’s a way to spread more bananas across the land faster. This gives an added layer of strategy to picking which levels to play or replay. Could be a multiplier for chaining between tribes as well.