Spencer Nielsen is an easy founder to write about. As an engineer at Apple (06-10) he decided to leave the mothership to build his company Aoren Software. One of his first major releases is a game called Invader Zurp. He’s been involved in a lot of projects since leaving Apple (including the original Startup Grind Chapter with me), but he’s plugged along with Invaders Zurp releasing it in late 2011. This weekend only the game’s price has dropped from $1.99 to free-sauce and it’s available for your downloading pleasure here for just a few short days.
Invader Zurp is best described as Jenga + Bombs + Dynamite + Aliens + Tron + je ne sais quoi. You move through the game taking on wave after wave of blocks and towers that you destroy gaining ammo and more credits to buy upgrades. All along the way you’re bombarded with bomb after bomb. To remain alive you can shoot back and destroy the incoming missiles, or you can take out the weapons source.
In the game you navigate through five different stages with 20 towers in each for a total of 100 towers. The environments are beautifully themed in areas like a lava zone and even a Tron inspired arena. Be advised; this game is not for the faint at heart. You need to learn quickly how to maintain your ammo and keep progressing while not being shot at too consistently.
The particle and 3D effects are inpressive. Equally impressive is that Spencer built the game from scratch mostly by himself. Other than the soundtrack and some of the background designs, what you see in the game was literally a one man army coding month after month. It’s an impressive feat when a development team ships a fun and fully functioning product, it’s at another level when it’s done primarily by one person. Spencer had someone ready to do the front-end menus and designs, but after they fell through he cowboyed up and designed and created them himself.
Spencer is currently supporting the game but he’s also working on his next project called UltraLink which helps content publishers monetize their blog. Make sure to check out Invader Zurp while it’s free in the App Store this weekend. See my gameplay demo with Spencer below.