SixMinute, an independent development studio founded in the heart of Dublin by former members of none other than PopCap Games, have brought wheel-screeching, arcade-style racing back into the world and onto our screens with their new rubber burning title, “FRZ: Free Racing Zero”.
Over the years we have seen an endless stream of racing games battle against each other – all attempting to top the last, trying to recreate that first rush of excitement felt by stepping towards the garishly bright lights and pixelated screens within the local video arcades.
SixMinute’ have managed to do just that. Their newest release, Free Racing Zero, lets its users fondly look back upon the much loved days of the 80s – a time where the likes of Donkey Kong, Super Mario and Pac Man reigned supreme as hundreds of hours were spent pumping pennies into their bellies.
Although there is no dispute that this mobile game is undoubtedly a racer, FRZ isn’t a recycled repeat of one of the much loved traditional racing games. Free Racing Zero respectfully salutes its predecessors and then rockets its players into the centre of an action packed comic book adventure. Drivers dodge obstacles, slide through oil and drift round hellish corners to battle against rival monstrosities and become heroes of the speedway.
This seamless twist of traditional and modern day gaming has created a F2P that can be loved by all. It is wildly fun and fiercely competitive. Every play leaves you wanting just that little bit longer to hone your car with personalised skins and upgrades that will help you speed past your enemies with style. You can use your prize winnings to improve your speed, tune your engine, or even transform yourself into a rubber wrecking shark. The almost limitless ability to customise your car means you are not just controlling a lump of metal with wheels, you are creating a character with a personality – a champion with superhuman powers that will leave your competitors sat on the track spitting out exhaust dust.
On top of a single player career mode that has you speeding through increasingly difficult tracks and drifting to the top, Free Racing Zero’s multiplayer mode allows you to conquer both your friends and the rest of the world with local and global leaderboards. With the help of GameSparks, SixMinute have pushed their extensive leaderboard system to the limit, going so much further than just listing a bunch of names and numbers. The names come to life, jumping out of the list and into a ghost-car to become your rival, challenging you to a race to the finish line.
SixMinute spent a long time trying to painstakingly figure out the most effective way of building a backend, eventually deciding to turbocharge their game with GameSparks. Here is what Séadna had to say about their experiences building FRZ: Free Racing Zero:
“Over the period of 3 years, we went from building our own backend (tons of late nights, and all too many stresses), to no backend for a little while (this was less stress, but restricted us too much in game features for our games), to trying to fit game services into non-game specific backend services (we weren’t handling the servers ourselves, which was less work and stress, but again felt like a “round peg in a square hole” situation).
Finally, we got to GameSparks, it’s been a joy to work with them, they’ve provided an excellent game backend, and been one of the best companies we’ve ever dealt with in terms of support and documentation for their product too. From enabling a “preview” area of your services so you can test new features, to the number of service integrations they have out of the box, to their brilliant Cloud Code feature, the GameSparks platform is incredibly comprehensive for what you want in a game backend.”
SixMinute have used GameSparks to effortlessly piece together the server-side components of their game and then manage them as a service post launch. This has allowed SixMinute to devote their time and attention to constructing FRZ; tuning it to perfection until they had created a wheel screeching title that has left many competitors sat in stalls.