Gerbils Physics Exclusive Preview (Xbox Live for Windows Phone)
The Windows Phone version of Gerbil Physics was officially unveiled on Wednesday as part of a big batch of upcoming Xbox Live titles. Now WPCentral is pleased to bring you this exclusive preview of Pencel Games’ Gerbil Physics.
Gerbil Physics is a physics puzzler. In each level, players are presented with one or more stacks of gerbils and an allotment of bombs. The goal is to use careful bomb placement in order to knock the gerbils below a yellow line. If a gerbil remains above the line when you run out of bombs, you’ll fail the level and have to try again. Some levels throw addition kinks into the mix, like structures that must not be knocked over.
If Gerbil Physics sounds a lot like Implode!, another Xbox Live physics puzzler, that’s okay; they do share a lot in common. But Pencel’s title has much more personality than its Xbox Live predecessor. To start, an actual story provides Gerbil Physics’ levels with some context. The evil Toad King hates gerbils – especially cute ones. He imprisons countless gerbils in blocks and uses them to build monuments to his own greatness. By demolishing these monuments, players can save the gerbils and restore happiness to the kingdom.
Cute setup, right? That’s what makes Gerbil Physics standout from other physics-based puzzle games: it’s just too darn cute. The game’s art style really instills the gerbils with adorable personality. They’re not just stationary blocks – they blink, fret as bombs go off around them, and smile joyously when knocked free of their structures. Even the win/failure messages at the end of each level shine with charm.
Building a better gerbil
Gerbil Physics started its life as an Xbox 360 indie game before Microsoft picked it up as a mobile Xbox Live title. Pencel also released a Gerbils Physics 2 that spun the series off into platforming territory. The Windows Phone version is based entirely on the first game, but it adds lots of new content to justify the Live upgrade. First, the number of levels has shot up from the 360 version’s 24 to 72, tripling the game’s length. On top of that, the developers added lots of extra animations to the gerbils and commissioned a new title theme from the game’s composer, Kevin MacLeod. Improved physics round out the package.
The folks at Pencel Games like to joke that the idea for Gerbil Physics came when a member of the team received both a chemistry set and some gerbils as a kid. In truth, the inspiration for the gameplay itself resulted from playing with one of the Farseer Physics Engine’s tutorials (involving a grenade and a pyramid). Once they added some Lemmings-like animal protagonists, Gerbil Physics was born.
As for the Windows Phone version, the developers started prototyping it back around the time of the Windows Phone launch. 15 grueling months later, Pencel completed their first Xbox Live game. The core development staff consisted of three individuals, working part-time and sometimes full-time (when finances permitted).
Coming soon to a Windows Phone near you
Gerbil Physics comes to Xbox Live on Wednesday, March 14. It will cost $2.99. Looking a bit farther into the future, the developers plan to add new levels and ringtones via free title updates.