Freshening up the tired endless runner template is no easy task, but Evileggplant Studios believe their latest title Straw Hat Legacy HD has managed it.
A platforming game with distinct Heian-era influences, it's a title that looks to offer something different in an overcrowded genre.
Wael Ouaijan, CEO at Evileggplant Studios, spoke to us about Straw Hat Legacy HD's stylistic influences, the developer's future plans for the game, and why it isn't just another endless runner.
So, what exactly does Ouaijan believe the game offers that you can't find anywhere else on the App Store?
"Straw Hat Legacy HD is unique in providing players with a free form (non-linear) platform. Looking at other runners on the App Store, we saw that most only include the ability to jump over obstacles or gaps.
"In Straw Hat Legacy HD, we offer people a chance to choose their preferred method of play, whether it be through dodging or jumping over the obstacles to obtain high scores."
Ouaijan also claims that the game is a real test of skill, not luck - and this will keep people playing:
"The game is quite challenging, since we introduced several scenarios that compel players to utilize both dodging and jumping in unison.
"We have also introduced random generation to the paths and objects in the game, providing our players with a high replayability factor, making their top scores based purely on quick analysis and reaction."
The setting and look of the game is unusual and ambitious.
Centring on the game's 16-year-old heroine Yuki as she's trained up by a samurai from a previously fallen empire, the plot and aesthetic of the game clearly have many influences - something Ouaijan is happy to admit:
"We are huge fans of film and anime, so when we were brainstorming about visual styles and environments, we had to look at a lot of references, and a couple of titles really had a powerful impact in the visual direction we took, namely The Animatrix and Samurai Shamploo."
It wasn't just cartoons that helped shape the game's look either, as Ouaijan explains:
"Moreover, as you know, the Heian era is named after the Capital city Keian-Kyo, which is the current city of Kyoto.
"Our lead artist currently resides in that wonderful city, and a lot of inspiration was drawn from the rich history surrounding that city. It was all right there in front of us!"
Ouaijan adds that ensuring such a fast-paced game is easy to control was one of his studio's main challenges when developing the game:
"Straw Hat Legacy HD doesn't limit the player by utilizing on-screen buttons, and instead uses an innovative control scheme of swiping and tapping (or tap and hold) anywhere on the display to control Yuki.
"We managed to resolve this issue by developing micro-managed, time-based constraints which allow the system to interpret whether the player intends to tap or swipe."
The game has found a solid fanbase, and Ouaijan claims that the integration of an online high score table has had a large hand in this:
"We have noticed a nice heated competition going on in the leaderboards amongst our fans battling out who could maintain high scores, even though since the release, I have sadly been surpassed significantly in the high score stakes!"
The in-depth plot isn't just there for show, Ouaijan notes, with future updates for the game detailing more of Yuki's samurai training:
"Eventually, as the story evolves, a lot of content will be introduced to the game. Straw Hat Legacy HD has a bunch of content additions that we broke down into three diverse update types.
"The storyline will be revealed through the episodic updates. A bunch of additional content will be released as content updates, and some diverse gameplay styles will be introduced in the game following the storyline in core updates."
According to Ouaijan, the game may even be coming to other formats:
"We are currently looking into releasing Straw Hat Legacy HD into alternative markets. Some of the possibilities we are looking at are Android, Windows, and Nokia devices."
Straw Hat Legacy HD on iOS is available now, and costs 99c.
Visit Evileggplant Studios's website for a more in-depth explanation of its plot. Check out the trailer for Straw Hat Legacy HD below.