Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas Out Today on PS Vita

21 12
Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness, and Bananas Out Today on PS Vita

Jungle Rumble is banging its way onto PS Vita… today! A ray of Rhythm-Puzzle sunshine beaming straight from the heart of the jungle, by curious route through the snowed in headquarters of Disco Pixel in blizzard-beseiged Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Jungle Rumble is a game where the player drums on the screen to control a tribe of monkeys. A rival tribe invades to steal bananas. The player drums on monkeys and drums on trees to swing those monkeys through those trees. The player drums on coconuts and drums on invaders to throw those coconuts. It’s a Rhythm-Puzzle game.

Making Jungle Rumble happen has involved a lot of late nights by glowing screens, a lot of paying attention while new people playtested, and a lot of rethinking the assumptions of rhythm games. It has come a long way since a frigid night where I pitched the idea to Luigi Guatieri, who did the art.

Jungle Rumble

We started off trying to make monkeys as simple and iconic as we could. We experimented with what makes a face look like a monkey. Is it the ears? The hair surrounding everything? The wide mouth? We had long talks about the essence of “monkeyness”. It must have sounded very funny to other companies in our office engaged in more serious business! We ended up with a teddy bear sort of monkey.

On the off chance it’s not totally obvious, I’m a huge fan of the look Rolito gave to Patapon. I’m a huge fan of the Paul Frank logo. This first attempt was cuddly and had a low fi charm. But it wasn’t iconic. It didn’t zing. And the outlined limbs looked bad when shrunk down enough to fit lots of them on screen.

Jungle Rumble

So we threw out the outlines. We amped up the fuzzy. We pondered the essence of monkeyness. We progressed to something simple that seemed to work in a game mockup.

Jungle Rumble

What worked was the silhouette. But the fuzziness looked awful when the character was small. So we simplified — we brainstormed removing the fuzz but kept the general silhouette. Now that looked pretty nifty. We could make variations for different tribes or enemy types that were instantly distinguishible.

Jungle Rumble

But what about where they lived? What should the jungle look like? We experimented with bright retro pixely. We experimented with super scary. We experimented with weirdly colorful.

Jungle Rumble

Being a jungle, bright sunshiny colors were key. Places monkeys can move to need to be clearly visible. We liked broad outlines and bold shapes. So we mocked up some screens. We grew to detest putting tufts of leaves in a grid—it wasn’t organic like a jungle would be.

Jungle Rumble

That tree is huge! But it’s too big for the screen. Hmm… Maybe the camera could move during the game to allow for large swaths of jungle? That way there could be massive trees to climb

Jungle RumbleJungle Rumble

This direction seemed to work. We made parts of the jungle full of misty waterfalls, which you could then approach.

Jungle RumbleJungle Rumble

We made dank, dark regions to stumble upon and explore.

Jungle RumbleJungle Rumble

We were in awe of the jungle. We hope everyone likes it!

Jungle Rumble

Comments are closed.

21 Comments

12 Author Replies

  • Looks like a fun rhythm game. Congratulations and have a great launch guys!

  • I love how colorful it is. You definitely have me interested. I’m glad more touch screen BASED games are making it to Vita again.

    • Thanks, Kid_Loser. It’s kind of natural for a rhythm game to involve tapping on a screen. I do it on my car dashboard while listening to the radio all the time!

  • Does this have new features?

    • Yes. There are new levels. New side quests that explore the more advanced mechanics. New medals to earn. We have a new feature of skipping through a stage to a specific level to help completionists with gold medalling everything. We also have playtested a ton, and revamped the tutorial for new players who haven’t played before.

  • Will this be at PAX East? Would love to see more of it there!

    • Yes! We are showing at a number of things. Indie Games Live, Indies Need Booze, and a few others. Check our site or twitter and we’ll keep them updated.

  • LOVE the art in this game. Is it compatible with the Playstation TV?

    • Because it’s a rhythm game played by drumming on the screen, doing this on a TV would be tough. You thought Wiimotes through TVs were bad…

  • Seems like a perfect game for Vita. Congrats! Hope you have an awesome launch.

  • Played this at PAX a few years ago and asked about Vita support, so happy to see it happen!

    Music is pretty critical to the gameplay, can you talk about audio quality? codec/bitrate of the assets, etc?

    You could kinda drum in mid-air with Move controllers… an “air” drumming game on PS3/4 with Move controllers is something I’m really surprised no one has done. (PixelJunk 4am, which is not a typical rhythm game, aside.)

    • It’s all CD quality audio–44.1khz stereo. We manage to do that by constructing all the background tracks in real time. That’s also what enables the game to adjust the music in response to the player.

      Jungle Rumble is built in Unity. Under the hood it stores samples as wav files. So they’re uncompressed. The reason we don’t compress them is that the inaudible dynamics get stripped out of compressed sounds, so when we mix them together the composition would sound different. The game sounds seriously awesome on high end headphones.

      Drumming with move controllers would be problematic. First of all there would be no (easy) way to specify what is being drummed on. Second of all there would be input lag because it takes time to recognize the player has snapped the move controller. For a percussive rhythm game, instant response is critical. Even lagging a single frame at 60fps is 16 milliseconds. A brain is a signal processing machine and things sound off with a gap of just 3 milliseconds. To have an accelerometer detect a hit playing air drums I imagine would take 50~100 milliseconds. That would feel really bad.

      (ps. I’m just guessing these numbers. If you have any research on this please send it over!)

  • awessome art direction, illustrations… good job!
    I’ll try it! =)

  • You had me at Patapon. This looks like a fun game, perfect for Vita.
    Since Patapon and Loco Roco were some of my wife’s favorite games for PSP, this might be the perfect surprise gift for her.
    Nice work!

  • Disco Pixel…
    Sorry guys, but I need to get this off my chest. The Vita’s audience is not made all out of kids and stupid people.
    We’re grown up mobile gamers who, for some reason, decided to stick with this bloody company that only keeps throwing indie garbage on their own handheld. If you release this game on ps3 or ps4, I GUARANTEE you no one will be talking about it for the next two days. Your game -or its relevance- will disappear in about 1/50 of the time it took to be developed.
    The Vita may be called ‘the home for indies’ but BEFORE that, it was labeled ‘the Next-gen Portable for console-like game experience on the go’.
    I don’t know whether you guys were promised a huge profit or whatever BS andrew house’s ‘Vita’ team promised you but I think this game’s got better chances on the PC platform. My little cousin had his Vita, but after watching sony ripping its features off (Youtube, near, etc) he’s passing his Vita on to someone else. You can’t blame him but you can blame sony for this. Even the kids don’t want it anymore, they’re going back to the PC. Forget about sony.
    So sony, take this little thank-you note from all your Vita users: A BIG F OFF.

  • Disco Pixel…
    Sorry guys, but I need to get this off my chest. The Vita’s audience is not made all out of kids only.
    We’re grown up mobile gamers who, for some reason, decided to stick with this company that only keeps throwing indie garbage on their own handheld. If you release this game on ps3 or ps4, I GUARANTEE you no one will be talking about it for the next two days. Your game -or its relevance- will disappear in about 1/50 of the time it took to be developed.
    The Vita may be called ‘the home for indies’ but BEFORE that, it was labeled ‘the Next-gen Portable for console-like games experience on the go’.
    I don’t know whether you guys were promised a huge profit or whatever BS andrew house’s ‘Vita’ team promised you but I think this game’s got better chances on the PC platform. My little cousin had his Vita, but after watching sony ripping its features off (Youtube, near, etc) he’s passing his Vita on to someone else. You can’t blame him but you can blame sony for this. Even the kids don’t want it anymore, they’re going back to the PC. Forget about sony.
    So sony, take this little thank-you note from all your Vita users: A BIG F to the UCK OFF.

    • I dunno man. I like the Vita. A lot. I think a portable console with a multicore CPU, real graphics hardware, and thumbsticks is a cool thing.

      I’m sorry your cousin didn’t like it. If you don’t like my game, that’s cool. There are other games.

  • Congrats! for making a nice game for the vita:)

  • I saw this on the PSN store and had absolutely no idea what it is, cos there is no screenshot and no trailer on the product’s page on the store. Someone ought to go fix that cos this post is not going to be here on the first blog page and no one is going to know about the game even if they see it in the store.

  • @ RoD_GX

    This isn’t the right place to get that off your chest. Obviously.

    Your feigned frustration is really just a poorly veiled attack on this specific developer… simply because they’re an “indie” and you have some strange fixation on indie developers for some unknown reason, though, most likely it’s jealousy from the realization that they’ve made their own mark on the world whilst you forever remain unable to bring your own dreams to fruition.

    Don’t play it off as if you’re merely frustrated with Sony’s business directives. You’re fooling absolutely nobody. If you really cared about what you’re crying about, you’d send a message to the top, where it belongs. Proof is always in the pudding.

  • The only thing I’ve ever found in pudding is…more pudding.

    …but Bill Cosby told me Jell-O made the best pudding.

    Not sure what any of this has to do with video games, though.

  • I’m actually excited to see what indies can do. I have had more fun playing independent games over the last few years over the triple a games with some notable exceptions. The fact that independent game developers are willing to take wild risks on game is refreshing. I for one played this game on IOS and enjoyed it. I hear that there are a load of improvements in the Vita version and that the developer has an evil master plan as well. So I for one will happily plop down the money for this game. Congratulations to the developer for the hard work it probably took to get them there.

  • I’m obsessed with the trailer, but it doesn’t live up to the game itself. Slooow start. Cute monkeys, concept, but not as fun as patapon, for example, where the game keeps getting huge and huge.

  • Jungle Rumble is the voice of a generation and rhythm of a nation. Download this game immediately even if you don’t like monkeys, music and/or bananas. #JungleRumble (aka @dum_ditty_dum on #Tiwtter) captures the beat and zeitgeist of the post aglet-movement successfully in ways that cannot be fully described and/or attributed to to disco music.

    If you own a PSVita, the choice is simple: Get Jungle Rumble today!

  • This game looks super fun! I hadn’t heard of it before, but I love music/rhythm games. It’s great to see more games using the Vita’s features. I can’t afford it right now, but this is definitely going on my to-buy list. :) Thanks for the design insights too!

  • Nice ideation layout. You managed to capture the monkeyness! The rhythm takes a little getting used to, but once you get going, it’s very addictive and you’ll find yourself bobbing to the beats. Highly recommended if you’re a fan of rhythm games, great artwork or just flinging things at monkeys!

  • Thanks, Myke44. There definitely is a learning curve. I’m sort of old-school, and don’t think games always need to treat players like children. Part of the fun is exploring mechanics and discovering how they work.

Please enter your date of birth.