MonsterBag is a 2D puzzle adventure game recently released on PlayStation Vita.  Featuring tons of fluid animation and a unique stealth centric take on the adventure genre, it definitely stands out in a crowd.

We sat down with IguanaBee to talk about the game and their experiences as a small indie studio from Chile.

Nathan: Could you give a brief rundown of MonsterBag for those unfamiliar?

IguanaBee: MonsterBag is a puzzle platformer game with an action bent. It is about a little blue monster called V and his journey to get back to his friend Nia, passing through places filled with people. You’ll have to help V sneak past people who freak out if they see you, paying attention to their particular behaviors and where they’re looking. Thankfully V has telekinetic skills that help find solutions to various obstacles.

N: What were the major influences when developing MonsterBag? (art, sense of humor, gameplay mechanics etc)

IB: The game itself didn’t have a direct source of inspiration, but was born out of an idea during a team brainstorming session. The development process was influenced by a variety of our inspirations, such as the art and animation drawing from 90’s cartoons, the gameplay and level design drawing from Machinarium, Puzzle Agent and Portal, and the story drawing influence from Ico, The Last of Us, and Closure.

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N: MonsterBag is launching as a PlayStation Vita exclusive. Given IguanaBee’s previous titles existing on PC or mobile, were there any particular factors that led to the decision to release the game on Vita?

IB: Everyone at IguanaBee have always wanted to make console games, since we all grew up with them and they influence our projects significantly. After cutting our teeth on mobile and PC, we set our sights on making something for PlayStation systems. Vita seemed like the most natural fit for us in terms of the software being used to develop our game and the interface being something we’re familiar with.

N: Your game is launching available as a PS Plus Instant Games Collection title. How have your experiences been working with Sony in that department? (in terms of promotion and support)

IB: Absolutely wonderful. We ran into several roadblocks during the process of getting MonsterBag made, and since we started working with Sony, things have been a lot smoother. They’ve given us a lot of freedom to make the game we believe in, and have helped us get MonsterBag out there to the gaming community. The only criticism they gave us in the process were constructive ones and little things that have to do with releasing the game in other regions (things we may not have thought of).

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N: IguanaBee has had an interesting resumé of partnerships with various entities and organizations (working with Wacom on Mr.Deadline for example). Was experimenting with how and where to release a game a goal from the outset at Iguana Bee or was it a reaction to results of releasing games solo?

IB: It came about naturally from our want to produce amazing games anywhere we can, and that meant exploring all options available. We’ve had wonderful experiences working with other companies on these projects, and we learned a lot and have honed our abilities in the process.

N:Looking at MonsterBag (and indeed all IguanaBee’s projects), the game has an incredible amount of fluid animation that gives it a ton of charm and personality (which makes sense due to your team’s background in animation). Do the artists work closely with the programmers and designers to influence the direction of the game design, or is it a case of everyone pitching in their specific talents and it coming together as individual parts of the whole?

IB: Our team is very tightly knit, and we worked closely together throughout the design process. MonsterBag’s structure is rooted in animation, as the way you move about and solve problems depends on observing the behaviors of places and things, so we all played a vital role in making everything look vibrant and alive as well as work mechanically.

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N: Being a Chilean independent developer, are there any particular obstacles you feel you must combat to get a project financed/distributed/noticed? Is there a healthy and supportive development scene there?

IB: Our biggest struggles are in visibility and funding. Chile has a games industry, but a large portion of it is in mobile and middle work for larger companies. There is an indie scene here, but it’s a bit scattered. We do have developer organizations and clubs that help bring us together, so the community is unifying and growing. We also were thankful in getting a bit of help in the funding department from the Chilean government via grants.

N: Is there any particular element of MonsterBag you hope players respond to?

IB: We just hope people love MonsterBag as much as we do. We’ve put all our heart into the story and gameplay so we hope people have a great time with it. We want to make people smile, shed a tear, and maybe have a few “pull your hair out” moments.

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MonsterBag is now available on PS Vita for $9.99 or free for PlayStation Plus subscribers