Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of previewing Crimson Owl Studioâs âCaromble!â, a small indie project that uses a modified Breakout style gameplay, and a steampunk inspired setting. It was a fun little title, and the price it was being offered for wasnât the worst; but things seem to have taken a turn for the worse with Crimson Owl, as announced in an email from Pascal Van Beek and announced on the Steam community page.
âAs with every game on Early Access, there is always a risk that a game may change drastically during development. Some games even get abandoned before their planned release date.â
Instead of abandoning their title though, Crimson Owl has reformatted Caromble to fit a free-to-play model. Caromble will now be free on the steam store, and players lost balls can only be recuperated by buying them from the in-game ball store. They can be bought individually or in packs, and anyone who already purchased Caromble receives a free compensation pack in the form of one hundred free balls.
This may end up being difficult for Crimson Owl however. Players resist normal Free-To-Play mechanics already, and with purchasing balls being the only possible way of replenishing lives, the model is less FTP and more pay-to-play; with payment being necessary once you run out of balls. This style of âPay-per-Ballâ gameplay, as the developers put it, might not be well received by incoming gamers
âThe changes in how games are sold over the last few years and the bursting of the indie game bubble mean that weâre fishing in troubled waters.
Of course, the last thing we want is to abandon a game weâve worked on for so many years. But the truth is, to be able to finish the game and make Caromble! the game weâve always envisioned it to be, some drastic changes are necessary.â
Whether or not âCaromble!â Will abandon this style of pay to play gameplay will remain once it leaves Early Access remains to be seen, but seems unlikely at this juncture. Caromble was a somewhat fun game to play, so itâs sad for me to hear that the studio is struggling enough to demand such drastic changes like Pay per Ball. If it allows Caromble to continue development though, then hopefully these changes will end up being for the better.