Novy News | Spring 2015 | Vol 2 No 1 | Novy Unlimited

Novy Unlimited (site)
Welcome to the fifth edition of Novy News!

This is the newest update from your groovy friends at Novy. As always, this newsletter allows us to . . . 
  • provide more background on who we are and what we do (and why you're reading this)
  • brag (ad nauseam) about recent projects from our clients 
  • let you in on a few game industry secrets
  • share some brutally honest advice
  • update you on what's been going on over here during the past few months -- and give you a preview (or just a whiff!) of what's on the horizon
This issue features: Novy team news, new clients and projects, commentary pieces -- and blog post from most of our team members!

[Note: If your email program does not display images or clips/truncates message content, don't miss out! Click on "display images below" at the beginning of this message or "view entire message" at the very bottom. If you're still not getting the full Novy News experience, request a link to the entire newsletter

Hope you enjoy the news!

- Jeannie Novak & Luis Levy (Co-Conspirators)
. . . and the Novy team
Novy Unlimited
Still Growing . . .
Novy has continued to grow! (What's beyond "supernova"?) We've also made quite a number of updates to our main web site -- including client pages and blog posts. As always, we include links when appropriate -- so check them out! (Our Spring 2015 home page image features a historic mural on the Venice Beach boardwalk by Marioe.)

We now have four distinct service divisions: PR, Marketing, Consulting/QA and Creative Services/Production. Contact us if you want to browse through our new service menus :)

Our YouTube channel has been updated with playlists featuring client videos -- along with a cool channel video created by Novy Production Coordinator, Alan Katana. Our Novy Unlimited and Novy PR Tumblr blogs have also been transformed by Alan so that they're image-focused: The Novy Unlimited Tumblr blog contains photos of team members at recent conferences and events such as GDC and SXSW. The Novy PR Tumblr blog contains sample images from all the games we've launched or updated.

We also have some brand new additions to our growing team:

* Jay Egger (Account Coordinator): Jay has been wanting to work in the game industry since he was a kid, and his dreams have finally come true! With a background in social media, influencer and media relations, writing, and strategy, he loves to have a taste of it all. Jay received a degree in public relations from the University of Texas. He can’t decide whether his favorite game is Metal Gear Solid 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker or Civilization V.

Jake Scherzer (Community Management Coordinator)Jake is a jack of all trades from a sleepy little town in East Texas whose love of games has always been a constant in his life (first console: a secondhand Atari 2600). He has worked as a ranch hand, carpenter, bookseller, farmer, office manager, apprentice mechanic, and practically everything else under the sun. His main passions lie with gaming, writing, film, and comedy (performing and writing) -- with plans to hone his craftsmanship at each, write a novel, and eventually own his own woodworking shop. Jake worked at Riot Games, ZEFR and UCLA while he was in the Los Angeles area. He currently resides in San Francisco.

We're pleased to welcome Jay and Jake to our team -- joining Drew Utterback (Technology Coordinator), Cat Wendt (Marketing Coordinator), Grace Lim (PR Coordinator), Aaron Goldman (QA Coordinator), Blane Humphries (Media Coordinator), and Alan Katana (Production Coordinator).

Jessey Nettey will be officially joining the Novy team in mid-May, but we wanted to announce his arrival ahead of time. Jessey is a "go getter" with a background in journalism and social media, and we're excited about bringing him on board. 

We'd also like to acknowledge the efforts of Emmy Jonassen (Indie Game Girl), Pete Markiewicz (Plyojump),
Nate Yungkans (Heroic Dreams). and Adam Godoi (Adam Godoi Graphic Design).

And some great news about some of our team members:
* Cat Wendt received the MVP Award from the 
IGDA! (More details in the "Team Trenches" section below.)

* Blane Humphries officially became the Vice Chair of IGDA Atlanta in December!
* Drew Utterback co-founded EDM Identity, a community focusing on rave culture, fashion and music; their FB page has received almost 3,500 likes so far! Our own Cat Wendt helped design the site and logo :)
For more info on our team, see the Meet the Team section on our site!
The Spatials

Space Tourism at Its Finest

One of the obvious success stories of 2015 so far has been the Steam launch of The Spatials, a quirky and charming space station management (and space tourist attraction) simulation inspired by Futurama and RollerCoaster Tycoon. Players are responsible for keeping their space stations running smoothly -- which includes satisfying their visitors' "cravings." When we first heard about The Spatials, we were not only impressed with the game itself -- but with the trailer, which features a clever voiceover narration that channels Zapp Brannigan, Carl Sagan and William Shatner all at once! 

A labor of love from brothers Carlos and Max Carrasco of Barcelona, Spain who call themselves Weird and Wry, The Spatials reached position #22 on Steam and received 100,000 visitors within 24 hours of launch. The game was featured in Rock Paper Shotgun, IndieRoot, MOAR Geek and -- and earned a 9 out of 10 from The Paranoid Gamer and a solid "A" from Technology Tell.

Read more about Weird and Wry and The Spatials (PC/Mac) 
Cards and Castles

Emerging from the Doorway to Madness, the Ancient Hero Returns
Our 2015 started off with the announcement of "The Doorway to Madness" and "The Ancient Hero Returns" updates for Cards and Castles. The popular collectible card game features a unique cartoon-like art style, humorous characters and clever flavor text. One of the coolest things is that the developer, Matt Siegel of Bit Mass, cranks out content like wildfire -- keeping players on their toes.

After we started working with Bit Mass, we discovered that Novy team members Grace Lim and Aaron Goldman were already addicted to the game and had even told some of their friends about it! Cards and Castles is a truly polished, well-crafted, and original take on the CCG genre -- and we're thrilled to have helped it gain even more notoriety.


Cards and Castles has been featured in Apple’s App Store several times. The “Doorway to Madness” update was named one of the “Best App Updates” in 20 different countries, including the US and China -- and the game had 1,000% growth in downloads within a week of the update. The Bit Mass team was also a success  at PAX South, where they showed off the game and had a "meet and greet" with their fans. 

"The Ancient Hero Returns" update was featured in MMO Huts, Android Rundown, and MGB Game Spotlight -- and it received a score of 5 out of 5 from Mac Sources.

Read more about Bit Mass and Cards and Castles (iOS/Android) here.


A New Way to "Indie"

Just when you thought we'd exhausted ways to help grow the indie music scene, along comes SongArc -- an innovative music game boasting a neon-like aesthetic. Not only does SongArc allow players to interact with music in their libraries, but it also gives indie musicians new opportunities to get heard. Players can use the "Sheet Creator" to produce their own artistic interpretations and share them with others. While listening to their favorite tracks (or discovering new ones), players interact with the rhythm, instruments and textures using their fingers and thumbs on their touchscreens of choice :)

In addition to attracting indies from all over the world, SongArc also has a "Featured Artist" program for those artists who have already gained some stature to help bring even more of their repertoire into the public eye. Current featured artists include Chris Clemence of LA-based alt rock band, RapScallions, and Wendy Starland (singer-songwriter and producer who was named VH1's "Best Emerging Artist" and discovered and developed Lady Gaga).

SongArc was created by a team in Hungary led by András Velvárt, and it has garnered quite a bit of attention from the press -- receiving scores of 5 out of 5 from Gaming Cypher and 4 out of 5 from Mac Sources . . . along with coverage in Social Times, MobileTweaks, Mac|Life, Android Community and Pocket Gamer

Read more about SongArc (Windows Phone/iOS/Android) here.
Warhammer: Arcane Magic
Wanted: Bloodthirster on the Loose in Norway!
The coolest thing in Norway since troll sightings (yes - we're Trollhunter fans) is Turbo Tape Games -- one of the newest studios to create a game in the Warhammer universe. The Exalted Bloodthirster and other memorable Warhammer Fantasy characters will have their day in Bergen, Norway. In a recent interview with GameReactor, Fredrik Sundt Breien mentioned that he wanted to work in the game industry but couldn't find any development studios in his hometown of Bergen, Norway. But that didn't discourage him. Fredrik went ahead and started his own studio, Turbo Tape Games! Since then, Bergen has become the place in Norway for game development -- with studios cropping up all over the place.

Turbo Tape Games recently announced the upcoming release of Warhammer: Arcane Magic. Novy is quite excited about the project, especially since this marks the first publicly announced title that Novy and Emmy Jonassen (Indie Game Girl)
 are working on together!
Novy is also excited about managing a social sharing campaign along with upcoming community management and user engagement activities through TTG's social media profiles and pages. 

We also recently had a blast working with Nate Yungkans and Novy's Alan Katana on the creation of a retro web animation intro leading to the TTG site that pays homage to a C64 fast loader, which is the inspiration for the Turbo Tape Games name. Thanks also to Novy's Cat Wendt and Aaron Goldman on their help with some TTG logo tweaks :)

The news of Warhammer: Arcane Magic's upcoming release was featured in Pocket Gamer, Slide to Play, Gaming Cypher, Pocket Tactics and Gamezebo. We can't wait for the launch!
Read more about Turbo Tape Games and Warhammer: Arcane Magic (iOS) 

Play in Your Own Space Sandbox

Another successful space-themed game that launched on Steam this year was VoidExpanse -- a "deep" space MMO with intricate detail and sharp graphics. One of the coolest features of this game is the sandbox element, which allows players to roam free in space and also create their own experiences. The multiplayer mode contains fully persistent worlds -- where each server is transformed into a mini MMO. As the VoidExpanse story goes, you're a young adventurer who is called upon to unite the galaxy under one banner to thwart an alien invasion -- but first, you must align yourself with one of three warring factions (Order, Freedom, or Fanatics) and complete quests in order to increase your power and strengthen your chosen faction.
Developed by Singapore's AtomicTorch Studio, VoidExpanse has received a lot of media atte
ntion from Space Game Junkie,  Indie Game Mag, Giant Bomb, and IndieRoot

Read more about AtomicTorch and VoidExpanse (PC/Mac/Linux) here.
Agent Awesome

Taking Out "E.V.I.L." 

What do you get when you mix a 007-style "agent" with a need to flatten a corporate pyramid -- and throw in a few koalas along the way? Agent Awesome -- an irreverent, offbeat, inverted tower defense game with a hilarious take on the work environment that also spoofs pop culture (with an emphasis on all that is James Bond). As a disgruntled former employee, your goal is to take out middle management by planning all the right moves -- strategizing your "invasion" ahead of time. Along the way, you are met with evil scientists, "even more evil" henchmen, laser sharks . . . and did we mention koalas?

Solo developer Humberto Cervera launched a Steam Greenlight campaign that immediately took off. In his own words, the chart looked like "a rocket ship achieving escape velocity"! Agent Awesome was featured in several Let's Plays (including Supremo Pete and Smash Gaming) and in IGNGamers in Beta, ResetMX, and Generacion Pixel.

Read more about Chaos Industries and Agent Awesome (PC/Mac) here.
Breach TD

Closer to the Void

In our Winter newsletter, we introduced you to Space Rhino Games' Breach TD -- based on the popular StarCraft II mod, Squadron TD (and designed by Tyler Johnson, who developed Squad TD). We mentioned some great news related to tax incentives in Puerto Rico and the launch of our sharing campaign. Since then, Space Rhino Games released a limited Beta of Breach TD to fans and the public on a first come, first served basis. To celebrate the Beta release, we helped SRG run an Xbox One giveaway! The lucky winner, Carlos Morales -- and his son (who just so happens to be a budding game developer) -- were also able to visit the SRG studio. The game will be launched soon. We can't wait!

The Breach TD limited Beta release was featured in Game Fanatics, Pocket Tactics, Gaming Cypher, and Gizorama.

Read more about Space Rhino Games and Breach TD (iOS) 

Say More!

We're excited to announce a cool update for Weaver, a visual messaging app that moves communication into a whole new plane of existence. Featuring illustrated cards depicting characters, places and expressions, Weaver allows users to send messages back and forth without the need for a wall of text that might be fraught with misinterpretations. For those of us who feel that Google Hangouts and Facebook stickers can be limiting, this is definitely a better and more robust solution. And it's on the Apple Watch

Weaver Labs was founded by Michael Agustin, who was recently interviewed by CNET after being one of the first in line for an Apple Watch in San Francisco, and Tech.Co featured Weaver in a recent Apple Watch roundup.

Read more about Weaver 

Kingdom Siege

Defend Like an Egyptian
One of the more unique mobile games we've seen in a while is Kingdom Siege -- an Egyptian-themed tactical game with cartoon-style graphics and an engaging mix of distinct gameplay mechanics. Turning the mobile wargame on its head, Kingdom Siege invites you to go beyond raiding -- conquering and occupying cities to expand your border. You can manage and defend your own city-state in a number of ways -- including research, training, building and upgrading. You also get to hang out in the Royal Tomb and challenge mythical creatures :)

Kingdom Siege received a score of 4 out of 5 from Mac Sources and has been covered in Gaming Cypher, MPOGD, and Social Times

Read more about Netherfire Entertainment and Kingdom Siege (iOS/Android) here.
Sky Wings

Earn Your Wings!

Sky Wings is a project that's particularly close to our hearts. We began working with Woweez on Sky Wings when the concept was in its infancy. We took part in the concept development phase, conducted ongoing playthroughs, provided asset direction and mockups . . . and even provided some social media marketing leading up to launch. Our involvement has been a true group effort -- with testing by Aaron Goldman and Grace Lim, creative services by Cat Wendt, animated GIFs by Alan Katana, and social media drafts by Jake Scherzer. (By the way, Alan couldn't stop playing the game after creating the GIFs. Another loyal fan is born!) This colorful, charming and fun game has an awesome interface, and a true sense of style -- and its randomized level design ensures that it never gets boring :)

Developed by the Woweez of the UAE, Sky Wings received a score of 4 out of 5 from Mac Sources and an 8 out of 10 from Android Rundown. The game was also covered in Social Times, Gamer's Intuition, and Region 2.

Read more about Woweez and Sky Wings (iOS/Android) 

Dreamslide Plus

Dreams in Flight
Solo Brazilian developer Guilherme Alves has created some beautiful dreams in Dreamslide Plus -- a game that takes players on a whimsical ride through a dream world. Dreamslide Plus features Little John -- who must remain in the air so he can continue dreaming. The game is surprisingly challenging and "sticky." Staying airborne is tricky, but you don't want to wake Little John from an awesome dream!


Dreamed up by Brazil's Guilherme Alves of Gaffa Games, Dreamslide Plus has been covered in Touch Arcade, Gaming Cypher, VR World, Social Times, Indie Game News and Pocket Meta.

Read more about Gaffa Games and Dreamslide Plus (iOS) here.
Incredible Circus Remix

The Perfect Landing

Another Brazilian client, INDT, launched Incredible Circus Remix -- an exciting circus-themed platformer where Pierre (a human cannonball) must traverse levels and face everything from hungry lions to fire eaters and knife throwers. The game features a ton of engaging, physics-driven gameplay and is sure to keep you entertained for hours on end.

Developed by Brazil's INDT, Incredible Circus Remix has received 4 out of 5 stars in Mac Sources and has been covered in Android & Me, Windows Central, Social Times, Android Community and Droid Gamers

Read more about INDT and Incredible Circus Remix (iOS/Android) here.
GamesIndustry International
Novy Clients Talk Nintendo
Mobile developers recently shared their views on Nintendo's entry into the mobile market in 
GamesIndustry International. Several Novy clients and friends were featured, including:
(A portion of Nancy's quote, "Nintendo will be another titan in the mobile game industry," was chosen by James to be the title of the piece!)

Thanks to everyone who was able to contribute :)
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!

Potato Dog Heaven

Daylight Studios has come up with one of the most unique PC games we've ever laid eyes on: Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!: The entire game features potatosmiths (blacksmiths who are shaped like . . . potatoes!) with the goal of creating weapons for RPG heroes (or parodies thereof -- such as Laura Craft and Claude). It's sort of like Game Dev Story . . . but with potato people (and the endearing potato dog).

When the team planned to head over to GDC this March with a large potato dog in tow, we suggested that they also create mini versions of the dog (potato pups) as giveaways. Needless to say, the pups were a big success. Just do a search for #holypotatoes -- and you'll get the idea. (Read blog posts from our team to find out more about our potato dog adventures at GDC. See below for more info!)

Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! (HPAWS for short), was greenlit on Steam in a week and has been covered in Gaming Cypher, Gamers Hell, Destructoid, Blues News, Geek Culture, GameTrailers, MCV,, GameRevolution, Indie Game Magazine, and GameCrate.

Read more about Daylight Studios and 
Holy Potatoes: A Weapon Shop (PC/Mac) 

Bloody Disgusting Party

What do you get when you mix Bomberman, MOBA and some incredibly twisted characters? This is what Bloober Team's BRAWL is all about: spending valuable time with your closest friends while dropping digital bombs right next to their feet. Is there anything better than that?

Bloober Team was visited by a few press representatives from Destructoid and PlayStation LifeStyle, who got to hang out in Poland with the team. Bloober then got on a plane and came out to the States -- visiting Nick Robertson (Polygon) and Miranda Sanchez (IGN) in San Francisco, and then hanging out with Richard Bailey, Jr. (The Koalition), Charlie Hawkins (Altered Confusion), and a whole slew of people at Battle & Brew in Atlanta. Novy's own Blane Humphries was the perfect host during the Atlanta trip. (See below for more details!)

BRAWL received a score of 8 out of 10 in PlayStation LifeStyle and has been featured in Gamer Assault Weekly, Power Leveled, Push Square, GameTrailers, Digital Spy, Eurogamer, Giant Bomb, GameDot, Vandal, Gamer's Hell, and IGN.

Read more about Bloober Team and BRAWL (PS4) here.
Novy Blog
Tales from the Team Trenches: GDC, SXSW & More!
Whew -- what a wild ride we've had so far in 2015! GDC was particularly special this year -- with a total of seven Novy team members attending! Grace, Aaron and Blane had never been to GDC before (let alone San Francisco) -- and they were invaluable to us at the Daylight Studios booth. We couldn't done it without them! GDC "veterans" by comparison -- Drew and Cat -- ended up having their own unique experiences: Drew got to help keep the GDC wheels turning by being a Conference Associate, and Cat was able to get some well-deserved appreciation (e.g., receiving the MVP Award from the IGDA) for her efforts in bringing IGDA and Intel together for the Global Diversity & Inclusion initiative and leading the WIG SIG. See the Novy blog for reflections on GDC 2015 from the Novy team.

Novy's Jay Egger attended SXSW in Austin and met with a few Novy clients during the show. Finally, Blane Humphries recently hosted Bloober Team during their Atlanta visit -- taking them to interview appointments, meals, shopping (!) . . . and organizing a real "party" at Battle & Brew. 

Drew Utterback has also posted the fifth and final installment of his series on 
how to build your own game marketing plan. Part 5 focuses on forecasting and refinement.

Check out the 
Novy blog for these and other tasty treats!
What's Next? We've got some exciting social media and community management campaigns; console, PC, and mobile launches; Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter announcements; and some new services on the horizon. Brace yourself for more juicy news from Novy. Enjoy the spring season . . . and we'll see you again in a few months :)
Novy Unlimited, Inc. and its divisions (including Novy PR) is a product of jeannie NOvak and luis leVY, its co-conspirators. Launched in 2011, Novy PR is the first marketing and public relations firm to focus on indie games. Novy News is written by Jeannie Novak and edited by Jeannie Novak and Luis Levy. Thanks for reading :)

Oh -- and in case you missed it: Our Winter 2014 issue (featuring Celtic Heroes, Agent, Run!, Highlands, Help Me Jack, The House on Usher, Blob Climber, Necklace of Skulls, A-Maze-In, Bunnies' Empire, Governor of Poker 3, Breach TD, Vimala, I Love Pasta, Momentum, Ascent: The Space Game, and Archmage Rises) is available for your perusal!
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