If you have played with a paper airplane ever in your life, then you’ll feel right at home with Dreamteck’s upcoming release, Lifeslide. This running-style of game puts you in control of a paper airplane as you traverses a polygonal world that slowly changes as you advance further. I was able to share some questions with Mitko Tsaprev, the CEO and Creative Director of the Bulgarian studio, while also getting a hands-on preview of Lifeslide.
Lifeslide is a basic and simple game at heart. You control a paper airplane while you traverse down winding paths, fantasy themed valleys, volcanic biomes, and more. You’ll dodge various obstacles while also picking up tools that will help you in certain situations. Yellow gem-like pick-ups will expand your lifespan which is calculated by a yellow timer below your airplane. Blue gems provide you with currency used to upgrade your paper airplane, further assisting you in your travels.
“The main thought that went through our mind while designing Lifeslide’s flight mechanic was: “It has to be simple, smooth and satisfying”. This was very important for us,” Tsaprev told me via email, “and we had to do a lot of iterations to get it right.”
At first the controls can be very tight and hard to manage. You have the option to control with a mouse or keyboard, and after trying both, I made peace with the keyboard. It didn’t take long for me to fully grasp how the game controlled, but some skill is absolutely needed when navigating the various environments. I quickly learned how to properly control my plane, which featured mechanics consisting of basic laws of aerodynamics. Aiming your plane downward will speed you up, while aiming it up will slow you down but bring you higher. Mixing that with your constantly depleting health-bar, you need to prioritize whether you want upgrades or more time to fly, which sometimes brings you on new paths.
When entering a new area, the worlds blend seamlessly and are enhanced by a pumping soundtrack.
“The soundtrack was inspired by synth pop and alternative rock artists like 30 Seconds to Mars, Owl City and Angels and Airwaves. We worked closely with composer Alexander Kostov to get each piece of music to sound exactly like we imagined it.” Tsaprev shared.
I’ll say, the soundtrack immersed me into the game, and made me feel this flutter in my soul as I raised to new heights, seeing the world below me.
Lifeslide has a story that unfolds naturally as you play, through a sense of emotions rather than walls of texts or voice-overs. A single word will fly through the sky as you enter new biomes, welcoming you to a new stage.
“Lifeslide focuses on the experience – we wanted to let the player experience each stage in their own way without interfering with texts and narration. You can choose to interpret each stage or just fly by experiencing it – it’s up to you.” Tsaprev states
When I asked what elements they have implemented to tell this story, Tsaprev says:
“As you play the story, you will notice how the entire world comes to life bit by bit. Trees get older, animals appear but aside from that, we are also using gameplay elements to mirror the natural progression of life. Power-ups are introduced in a specific order. You get Will in the infancy stage of life which propels you forward – small children have their own will and desires. Later, you get Knowledge which helps you interact with objects in the world. As you go further and further challenges are introduced and choices get tougher. Each level comes with a title. Such titles could be “Breathing, Striving, Understanding, Questioning” and if you want to go into the more philosophical side of things, you can.”
With a game featuring a paper airplane, I had to ask Tsaprev if they folded paper airplanes and threw them around for research purposes.
“This might come as a surprise but we didn’t fold and throw a lot of paper planes. We looked at how different plane models behave but ultimately decided to focus on our artistic direction more than being realistic. Although, for our first ever showcase we attended, we made brochures that had folding instructions and turned into paper planes. It was really cute and by the end of the event paper planes were thrown all around the venue.”
I then asked Tsaprev about challenges they might have faced when building a game like this from the bottom up.
“The team consists of 8 members currently but back in 2016 we were only two university students. Designing the entire experience was one of the biggest challenge since we were aiming for something on the original side so we didn’t have a lot of references we could use in the process of the designing. The second big challenge came when the team expanded thanks to Lifeslide releasing on Apple Arcade. Then we had to learn management as we go and that was not an easy task. We made lots of mistakes and we still do.”
Dreamteck states, “The team’s vision is to spread positivity and happiness while at the same time creating a challenging experience.” I think Lifeslide represents that rather well.
Lifeslide will release on Steam on August 6th and on Apple Arcade on September 19th with a planned release for Nintendo Switch in 2022. Dreamteck states that Lifeslide will include 28 stages in the story mode, 6+ customizable paper planes, full controller support, leaderboards, weekly challenges, and an Endless Mode that will give you customizable and repayable moments. Lifeslide is set to retail for $14.99 USD. Stay tuned to Seasoned Gaming to learn more about Lifeslide in the upcoming months!