Monday, October 19, 2020

Gnome More War Switch Preview: The World

Gnome More War takes place in the fantasy continent of Skyra. It features 6 maps scattered across the central part of the continent. After Freija and co. had successfully driven away the gnomes from the farm, the group would soon learn that the gnome plague is actually happening all over the continent. Even a supposedly relaxing weekend at the beach would turn into a battle because the gnomes would attack the fishing village. At Scarlet's behest, it would then become Freija's mission to rid these towns of the gnome nuisance. If you remember I've pointed out in my previous article that it was Scarlet's mission to get revenge on these gnomes for destroying her hometown of Hymnia, and with Freija and her friend's help her determination just grew stronger.

Continent of Skyra

Part of the game description for Gnome More War on the Nintendo e-shop will read like this:

It was a fine day in the farm, and Freija was just chatting with her friend Filipo about the upcoming harvest when out of nowhere, a gnome passed by and stole from their barn! Will they let it slide? Not on their watch.

The quote above perfectly described the opening scene of the game. The scene will then end with Freija and Filipo chasing the red gnome who was running away with the stolen chicken. What follows is the gameplay itself, with the player shooting down gnomes in a place that can be only be assumed as part of Freija's family farm.

Freija's Farm is the first map the player can visit. This is also the easiest map and is meant to introduce the play to the mechanics of the game. It has a maximum of 10 waves, with a boss battle on the 10th wave. After beating wave 10 the player will be taken back to wave 1 with the difficulty ramped up. If you had played the mobile version, you would know that maps in Gnome More War are designed to be played infinitely in order to register the highest score, but each loop increases the difficulty of the game. I kept this for the Switch version, but this is entirely optional-- a cutscene will play upon beating the last wave, giving the player a feeling of completion and encourages moving on to the next map.

The enemies that the player will encounter in this map includes the basic Green gnome, the projectile throwing Blue gnome, and the Engineer gnome, among others.

Freija's Farm

Map progression requires map badges. Each map rewards the player a number of map badges when beaten. Conversely each map requires a certain number of map badges, plus some coins, to be unlocked. Since Freija's Farm is the default map, the player gets to play it at no cost, while it rewards the player with one map badge.

Map badges are awarded only once per map, making farming impossible. Once players have acquired badges from finishing a map they are encouraged to move on and unlock any map that cost as much or below the player's map badge count.

After completing Freija's Farm and earning a badge, the only logical progression for the player is to unlock Irolan Village, which costs 1 badge to be unlocked.

Irolan is a village situated at the western side of the continent. It's quite famous for its ale, and serves a central hub for adventurers as the village is surrounded by various dungeons that are said to contain hidden treasure.

Irolan expands upon the mechanics introduced in Freija's Farm. It has a maximum of 20 waves with 2 boss battles. The obstacles in this map are harder to destroy, but some can have strategic advantages depending on how the player use them. The map also introduces the player to multiple defend points as there are now two barns to defend. Overall I still consider this to be an easy map.

Irolan Village

Irolan Village map shares boss encounters with Freija's Farm, but the boss becomes increasingly stronger in each encounter. The boss can finally be beaten for real on the 20th wave of the map, which will in turn reward the player with a special cart skin. The map also rewards players with 2 map badges upon completion.

The next map that can be unlocked is the fishing village of So'leil, which costs 2 badges.

After battling wave after wave of gnomes the gang was looking forward to a weekend of relaxation along the beaches of So'leil. Little do they know that they'd once again be called upon to help the people defend their homes from yet another horde of gnomes.

So'leil is located on the eastern shores of the continent, and as you may have guessed, is famous as a fishing village and as a vacation place. There was once a rumor of strange sightings of beautiful mermaids along the local caves.

So'leil is kind of a unique map, as it's the only map with interactive background elements. The mechanics introduced in the first two maps involve interaction with either enemies or pre-placed boxes meant to block the player's line of fire. In So'leil there are these mermaids that pop in and out at random and will blow medium sized bubbles that can deflect the player's projectiles. This map also introduces players to the poisoned status ailment. Watch out for those mantiray spits!

So'leil Village

The map also upped the ante on the defend mechanic, as it features 4 barns to defend. Players will have to be on their toes at all times and be agile as they scroll up and down the screen frantically. The map has 30 waves in total and has its own boss encounter.

Beating the So'leil map in addition to the previous ones will net players a total of 5 map badges. They now have the option to pick which map to unlock next. The options include two locations on the desert region of Eggo.

The Desert Hideout map is a desert oasis used by travelers as a pit stop before they venture the vast deserts of Eggo. Aside from sand and scavenger gnomes this region is also home to territorial insects called Waspis. The map more or less built upon the mechanics already introduced in the previous maps. What it focused on is increasing the difficulty by introducing new enemy types that has new ways to hurt the player. This map has 30 waves in total.

Eggo City is also located in the same region and shares a lot of features as Desert Hideout. This is actually meant to be played after Desert Hideout due to the fact that the ending cutscene of the previous map points to Eggo City. This map has 20 waves, and shares the same boss encounter as the previously mentioned Desert Hideout map. After finally beating the boss on the 20th wave a new cart skin will be rewarded to the player.

The two maps will introduce players to the blindess status ailment. It is quite a nasty handicap as it halves the player's rate of fire. Make sure to equip a Cure power up!

Desert Hideout Boss Encounter

Eggo City

And finally we have arrived at Skyra Port. As of the game's Switch release, this is the last map, and the toughest one! I designed Gnome More War to be progressively difficult and unforgiving, so best prepare yourself. If at this point you have racked up on revive gems then you have nothing to worry about.

Skyra Port is a city port located on the eastern side of the continent, a few ways north of So'leil. Being a rich city it's no stranger to pirates and looters, but the people of Skyra have never seen pirates riding on flying machines before. Nothing could prepare them for the relentlessness of the gnome pirates from the eastern seas. By now our heroes have become famous for their accomplishments in beating gnomes across the continent and this time they have been summoned by the mayor of Skyra Port to help drive away the invaders.

The map has a total of 50 waves, an dis currently the longest of all maps. Expect to die here especially on the later waves, so stack up on revive gems early on. This map has the difficulty curve at the peak with more enemies on the screen, exacerbated by the low spawn rate of power ups. You'd be hard pressed to play this map without equipping a full range of upgrades and the right set of power ups.

Skyra Port

This map also features its own boss battles, which players will be encountering 5 times. Just as with other bosses, once defeated the player will be rewarded with a special cart skin.

Finishing the map will reward players with 3 map badges. What are these badges for if this is the last map, you ask? Who knows...

Gnome More War will release on the Nintendo Switch on October 26. Discounted pre-orders are available on October 19!

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Gnome More War Switch Preview: Characters Spotlight

In my previous article I announced the release of Gnome More War for the Nintendo Switch. I also talked briefly about the features I added to the game that sets it apart from its mobile counterpart that was released a year prior. One of the features I touched upon was the addition of a multiplayer mode. For today's article we will go a little deeper into that, and I will introduce the new characters of the game.

I don't think I've ever introduced the original characters though, so why don't we start with them?

The main protagonist of the game is named Freija Ylden Moonault. A high-spirited teenage girl who lives a simple farm life. Freija is a cheerful and adventurous person, but is not known to take things lying down. It's what drove this war in the first place-- she will not have any of the gnomes' nonsense!

As a combatant, Freija is pretty adept with sword fighting and magecraft. For this war however, she prefers the great staff. Aside from firing the normal magic missiles, the staff can sometimes conjure arcane missiles that does twice the damage. Freija is designed to be an all-rounder and is recommended for beginners.

Freija does not tolerate stealing their chickens.

Aiding Freija in her quest to stop these gnomes are her goblin companions. At a very young age, Freija's parents disappeared, leaving her at the care of the seven goblins. For the better part of her life, these goblins stood as her guardians, friends, brothers and sisters. In the game, these goblins are not playable characters; instead they serve as the support system of the game, from tutorials, to upgrades, to actual in-game player support.

Athos is like a younger brother to Freija, but don't let his stature fool you; he's a rather talented chemist. Aside from occasionally popping up to give the starting player some tips and guide, he's responsible for dropping the power-ups and all the upgrades related to the spawn rate of the power-ups. 

Filipo stands as Freija's closest friend and acts as somewhat of a bodyguard-- much to Freija's dismay. He's always on Freija's tail, keeping her out of harms way, which is a little hard to do considering Freija's rather adventurous nature. In the game he's one of the guys who operate the machine that the player controls. He's also responsible for the power-up capacity upgrades.

Kiki is one of the 3 goblins who offers actual player support. The player can unlock her via upgrade cards. After being unlocked, she will appear in the game at certain locations depending on the map where she will snipe away at incoming gnomes with her bow and arrow. She can be further upgraded to use a fire arrow.

Kookai is another on of the 3 goblins that offers in-game support after being unlocked. She's normally unlocked as a reward after beating a certain number of waves in a particular map. When unlocked she will stand at the roof of any one of the barns and drop caltrops on the ground. Any gnome that runs into these traps will be damaged. She can be upgraded to drop bear traps instead.

The final goblin that offers in-game support and is also the most expensive one is Monom. When unlocked he will bring out a catapult that can eliminate multiple enemies with its boulder projectile. He can be upgraded to launch flaming boulders for more damage.

Monom stands as the father of the group, and is the father of Kookai.

Mosha is the mother of the group, and is the actual mother of Kookai. She's in charge of barn upgrades, such as increasing its capacity and replenishing its supplies.

And finally there's Rethos. A natural born engineer, he's responsible for all the contraptions that Freija and the team depend on in order to rally against the gnomes and their own sets of machineries. In the game he's the other guy operating the pulley machine. He's also responsible for upgrades related to the cart's armor.

The goblins are helping Freija. Mosha and Athos are not in the screen.

And now let me introduce the new playable characters!

The first additional playable character I added was Nih Ichi. He's a friend of Freija from one of her adventures and has agreed to help her drive away the gnomes. Nih is also an engineer, and prefers a blunderbuss as his weapon. The bluderbuss offers some advantages to Freija's wand, as the former has a chance to fire a projectile that splits into three, scattering and covering a larger area. The projectile themselves are slower though.

He's from Lucero, the region north of the continent. He's not knowledgeable of any magecraft whatsoever. He has a magnetic personality, especially to women, which he is fully aware of. He likes to joke around, and prefers to se the lighter side of things. He has a laid back attitude, but an absolute genius when it comes to technology.

Nih Ichi in action.

The third playable character is Scarlet Hymnia. Her origin is a bit of a mystery, as she claims to be from a faraway land called Hymnia. Her homeland had also been ravaged by gnomes and she's also in a quest to rid of them, but is having a hard time waging war with the gnomes all by herself. As fate would have it she would meet the gang where she found the strength to continue fighting.

Scarlet uses a magical sword that can shoot beams. Every once in a while her magic sword would fire a red beam that pierces through all objects. Because of the size of the beam, she requires more precision than the other characters and is designed for advanced players.

Scarlet in action.

Fun fact: I had not originally planned for the character Scarlet. It was my daughter who designed and named her. I guess she drew Scarlet in her likeness. She then insisted that I add her as a playable character. She didn't stop there though. Beyond the character design she also makes some suggestions on the game mechanics. We've got a future game developer here!

And there you have it, the main characters of the game. In the future I plan to add more playable characters for the players to enjoy. As a parting note, take a look at some character sprites:

Gnome More War will be available on the Nintendo Switch e-shop on October 26. Pre-orders will be available on October 19.

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Monday, October 12, 2020

Something BIG Is About To Happen

About a year ago I bought a Nintendo Switch at the request of my daughter. While I'm more of a PC gamer, I don't mind playing on consoles even if just for the exclusives. My history with consoles started with the Nintendo Family Computer (NES for you guys in the west), and I owned at least one console from each generation since then.

The Switch is a brilliant console; you can play it on the big screen and you can bring it with you when you go outside. The joy-cons are also an interesting concept. While it has its shortcomings, the fact that you get basically 2 controllers in one purchase is very favorable to consumers. Each Switch is a multiplayer console from the get-go.

The Switch e-shop catalog is very diverse. Triple A's, indies, obvious mobile ports, games for kids and adults alike. The system has been welcoming to both hardcore and casual games and seems to blur the lines between mobile and console gaming.

So why am I talking about the Switch all of a sudden? Well it's because Gnome More War is coming to the Switch console!

I have Keybol Games to thank for this, for graciously accepting my proposal to have the game ported to the Switch so that they can publish it. Making a game for consoles has been one of my lifelong dreams.

Porting a game from mobile to the Switch isn't unheard of. After all, I've seen dozens of games on the e-shop that I could have sworn were games for iPads and Android tablets. I felt encouraged by the fact that those types of games made it through and are accepted as console games. However, I wanted to do more than just adding joy-con support for the game. I went back to the drawing table and laid out the features that I think would make the game less of a mobile port to more like a game that would be at home for the switch. The first feature I thought of was adding multiplayer.

Character Select Menu

Every Switch comes with a pair of joy-cons that you can either use paired or separately. I wanted to take advantage of this and it just so happens that the control mappings for the game fits a sideways joy-con perfectly. The next thing I had to do was come up with a couple of new characters, with more possibly added in the future. After a few weeks of coding, I have implemented a co-op mode that is not possible in the mobile version. Of course, it would take a few weeks more to polish it up. After all, simply adding another player doesn't end with plopping another sprite on the screen.

Co-op Mode

The next feature I wanted to add was basically more content. A game that will be sold at a price should feel significantly different (in a good way) than a game that is free to download. I wanted more maps, more enemy types, and to overhaul existing maps. I've always thought of adding some sort of platforms and obstacles and various means to force the player to keep moving.

I don't want to make a very long post, so if you don't mind I will stretch this out across multiple articles. I will talk about the other notable differences between the mobile version and the Switch version in my upcoming blog posts!

For now, let me just treat you with a few screenshots:

Switch Version

Mobile Version

Nintendo Switch Trailer

Gnome More war will be available for the Nintendo Switch on October 26. Pre-orders will be available on October 19. Until then please enjoy these articles I will be posting as some sort of preview.

Haven't heard of the game? Well, you wouldn't be the first! You can download the mobile version of the game for free. Just head over to the Play Store

-- LJ

To contact the author, just send your e-mail to

Gnome More War Switch Preview: The World

Gnome More War takes place in the fantasy continent of Skyra. It features 6 maps scattered across the central part of the continent. After F...