As someone who frequently looks for new local multiplayer games to play with friends, I'm always excited to hear that a new title is coming out. Typically, we end up getting very similar titles such as brawlers, shooters, and arena combat games where you end up having to battle against your friends in what turns out to be quite like something you've played before. BrambleLash piqued my interest as a result of its interesting tether mechanic, which aims to bring players closer together and encourage communication and teamwork, which is something I feel is often lacking in co-operative titles.

After getting in touch with ByteSprite, the small studio behind BrambleLash, I was eager to learn more about where the concept of the game originated, as well as hearing the story behind the creation of the tether mechanic. This brief interview answers the above questions and provides some very interesting information regarding the design process behind the game.

Where did the concept for this game come from? Were there any specific influences?

"In the game jam that the core idea for BrambleLash was spawned, we were creating what was in many ways a 3 player clone of Geometry Wars with a few minor tweaks. During development we started tossing around the idea of creating a similar top down twin stick shooter that focused more heavily on the co-operative aspect and required players to actually interact. We've always been very into local multiplayer and playing games in a social setting, and thought that something more heavily focused on co-operation would be a nice entry point for friends that were less competitive than us. The idea of physically binding players with a tether jumped out as a good way to encourage co-operation and communication, and strangely was partially inspired by the way in which the AT-ATs were tripped over in the Star Wars hoth battle scene."

The tether mechanic seems rather interesting. How was this mechanic created? Was there always a tether, or was it something added later in dev?

"The tether mechanic was the cornerstone around which everything else was built in BrambleLash; the game's prototype name was actually "Tether". Before it had any graphics, the game consisted of 2 cubes with a cylinder stretching between them, which was used to destroy a series of moving spheres. The mechanic was created in such a way as to foster communication between players; real world social interaction in games is something we love and wanted to see more of. Communication is driven by two main tactics; offense, which involves players moving away from each other to expand their tether and hit an enemy; and defense, where players have to move closer and contract their tether in order to avoid attacks that would destroy it."

Was there any particular inspiration for your art style?

"We had the gameplay running long before we considered art direction. This gave us a good focus point to base our aesthetic around; the tethering mechanic. We explored a vast range of themes from fighters shooting streams of energy at one another to monsters intertwining their tongues. Something we wanted to maintain from these ideas was the quirkiness however many of them felt exclusionist. One idea was having an aperture that opened and closed to release the tether. This led to the idea of using a blooming flower in a fairy garden world. Anthropomorphic plants let you get away with a lot without it becoming body horror, so having playable characters whose heads opened and linked their thorny stamen was the next logical step."


BrambleLash has me excited. Not only because of the fact that its local multiplayer, but for the simple fate that ByteSprite are trying to do something new. I always encourage experimentation when it comes to indie games, as these are the companies that have the freedom to be as creative as they can possibly be. Without the restrictions of a publisher, it's always exciting to see what new ideas will be conceived.

If you're interesting in having a closer look at BrambleLash, visit their page on Steam Greenlight and consider leaving a vote and some feedback.