An Approachable Roguelike Full of Cats, with Aaron San Filippo


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Aaron San Filippo is currently working on Whisker Squadron, a roguelike-alike riff on the arcadey corridor space-shooter genre (of which there are fewer examples than you might expect, given how large Star Fox looms). Before that, his studio Fippfly put out the similarly low-poly purist flight game Race the Sun, the console reimagining of minimalist overhead racer Absolute Drift, and the similar-yet-wildly-different puzzle games Evergarden and Twelvesmith.

Here Aaron talks not only about Flippfly’s completed and in-progress projects, but also about some of the ones that didn’t work out, including an open-world, physics-heavy romp about a cat flying a helicopter. Why did cats flying space fighter-ships work when a game about a single cat flying a single helicopter didn’t? The answer turns out to answer a lot of additional questions about scope, collaboration, and how and why studios build on their previous work.

You can wishlist Whisker Squadron on Steam.
You find most of Flippfly’s catalog on their website, with the notable exception of Twelvesmith—which you can find on its own site, as well as in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
You can also follow Aaron (and Flippfly) on Twitter.

• For more on the history of roguelikes, and specially the emotional importance of metaprogression (or lack thereof), check our talk with Santiago Zapata.

• For more on character-based metaprogression (and how that can be not merely cosmetic, but also not strictly an escalation in player power), here’s our talk with Don Bellenger.

• And for more about what we mean by “chunks,” and more on the rigors and rewards of level editors, you are hereby cordially invited to dig our talk with Chris King.

• And for more on Whisker Squadron—as well as her other work on Kine, Watch This Space, and OnlyCans: Thirst Date—do give a listen to our talk with Chel Wong.

• I can now confirm that Twelvesmith too is a good time.

“All The People Say (Season 4)” by Carpe Demon.
The main theme, and some boss music, from the Whisker Squadron OST by Chel Wong.

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Logo by Aaron Perry-Zucker, using Icons by by Llisole, Dávid Gladiš, Atif Arshad, Daniel Nochta, Mike Rowe, Jakub Čaja, Raji Purcell and IconsGhost from the Noun Project.

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123 episodes