Akka Arrh dev explains how he improved upon the original arcade game

From "interesting but a bit meh" to “interesting and fun”

18 February 2023
by quence 0

Akka Arrh was just an obscure, unreleased arcade prototype from from the 80s until developer Jeff Minter came along to adapt it into a new version for modern audiences. Rather than simply porting the original game, Minter felt he needed to enhance what was there in order to make the project worthwhile.

Speaking to PlayStation Blog, Minter elaborated on some of what he added:

I changed more stuff from the original design than I would if I’d been working with a more well known classic. I had to make it go from “interesting but a bit meh” to “interesting and fun,” which took me longer than I expected.

I wanted to introduce a chain-scoring mechanic where nailing successive enemies would increment a bonus multiplier, and for that I wanted something that’d operate over a period of time rather than instantly. So created distance field “shock waves” on the surfaces that expand over time, so once you shoot an enemy, the impact creates a shock wave that spreads to other enemies. These chain reactions are really pleasing when you pull them off. Each level has its own shapes and patterns, and if you learn how to work with them you can set off a mass extinction of sound and color.

I wanted the enemies to have a more visible mission than just “go downstairs and do damage for a bit and then run away,” so I made up some “energy pods” that they have to steal. You lose the game by losing all the pods. Some enemies go down there, snatch the pods and come upstairs with them to drag them away; you can intercept them and retrieve the pods. Later on there are enemies which will just go downstairs and sit there eating pods unless you intervene. There are others that can yoink up pods via traction beams without going downstairs at all.

[Jeff Minter, PlayStation Blog]

Some classic games still hold up after decades, while others need a little extra love. It sounds like Akka Arrh got the love it needed to thrive amongst modern game releases.

Click here to read the full interview for more insight into the game’s development. Akka Arrh will release on Switch February 21, 2023.

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