When DreamWorks turned the classic cartoon 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' into an animated feature, they were faced with the challenge of re-engaging fans of the original show and capturing the imaginations of the next generation at the same time. They asked us to tackle this marketing conundrum and drive anticipation around the film's release.
The popularity of casual mobile games continues to skyrocket among both children and adults. We aimed to capitalize on this trend by creating a fun interactive experience that introduces the characters and locations in the film. We had to select a type of gameplay that would be easy enough for beginners to pick up quickly, but challenging enough to hook more experienced gamers.
We built a classic side scrolling game that sent users back through history to ancient civilizations via Mr. Peabody's high-tech WABAC machine. The side scroller format appealed to adult gamer's nostalgia for old school games and cartoons, while the modern graphics stayed true to the dimensional look and feel of the movie.
A fun storyline also helped to show off characters' personalities and drive the gameplay forward. We meticulously designed and developed the game's story arc over each level to mirror the pacing of the animated feature. Our partner, Flux Animation Studio in New Zealand, designed Sherman's running and jumping sequences in various historical costumes. We designed the gameplay, menus, environments, and obstacles the user encountered along the way. Our team also created story vignettes between the levels that introduced the humor of the film and took the player along with Sherman through space and time to collect everything Mr. Peabody required for his latest fantastic project-dinner!
The game mechanics needed to be straightforward but addictive. We achieved this by pairing simple 'tap-to-jump' functionality with the steady introduction of increasingly challenging obstacles. Timing in the game was key. Randomly generated courses also kept players on their toes and boosted replay value. Knowing that our audience would be using a wide range of devices, we designed the game with a responsive layout. The gameplay itself was free of dialogue or copy, but vignettes between levels were localized for international release.
Race Against Time' proved to be addictive for a wide range of players across several different countries. DreamWorks and fans alike were delighted with the marriage of challenging gameplay and iconic characters in a mobile format.