Interview with Monstera Games, A Rising Indie Game StudioFeb 22, 2022 | 1 Votes
Can you tell us more about Monstera Games? From being a small spark of an idea to becoming a thriving reality, how did it all start?
Monstera Games is owned by its parent company PiKoYa, a marketing technology company that focuses on the games vertical. For many years, we have been promoting all types of games for our clients, so we’ve gathered a lot of knowledge on what makes a game work well. Additionally, we own and operate a range of websites where our users can play games online for free.
We also had a very good experience developing an indie game called Icy Run as a small project - it even won the best indie game in Israel in the year it was developed! So, we knew that we have what it takes to make good games.
With all that knowledge in mind, it was clear to us that the next logical business step would be to develop a game studio, where we can let our imagination run wild.
Not to mention, having a game studio was a long-cherished dream for the company’s founder, so that is also an important factor for kickstarting the studio.
“Monstera” is a very unique name. What is the story behind the name?
There is indeed a very interesting story behind the name.
The spouse of one of the company’s co-founders bought a very rare plant called Variegated Monstera.
When we read about the plant, we realized that its properties are exactly what we want our game studio to have - it can come in different sizes and shapes; it can have fruits that may be tasty or bitter; it has rare variations; and sometimes, it can be very huge!
After we had the name in mind, we noticed that it also includes the word “Monster” in it, so we decided to add a cute little monster to the brand as well.
Ah, that explains the leaf-like brand logo! A quick shoutout to the Monstera Team as well! How many people are there on the team? Being a tightly-knitted team, are there any notable moments to share?
Our team consists of 9 members that include a particularly flourishing combination of art designers, game developers, and project managers, as well as 3 interns who entered PiKoYa's internship program, all geared together to create games from concept, through research, design, QA, and production, up to launch.
Growing agilely, we focus on producing fun and enjoyable games spread across various genres. Our team members bring a unique light and perspective to the table with one shared goal that is to create fun, interactable games!
One of our great moments of pride was the first launch of the app - Uncle Hank’s Hidden Objects when our efforts over the months resulted in an awesome game that is now available to thousands of users.
What drove the Monstera Team to create mostly H5/browser games? Will you be bringing more of your games to the mobile platform?
At PiKoYa, we have a good number of websites where players can play great HTML5 games, such as www.PlayMarket.com, or www.EZJO.com.
Since we already had the audience for the players, it made sense to us that we should start with HTML5 games.
Having said that, we definitely want to also work on more mobile game apps, so be sure to stay tuned!
The games you publish mainly belong to the casual genre, which is relatively crowded. With this in mind, what makes your games stand out from the rest?
We try to make our games stand out by strongly emphasizing the user experience - the graphics are amazing, the music fits very well into the game, and the gameplay is very entertaining. We also choose themes that we know our audience will love.
We can’t deny the effect casual games have on the gaming industry. People who would not exactly call themselves “gamers” play them. What are some of the challenges in creating experiences catering to these players, and how did you overcome them?
The main challenge is the competition. As mentioned, there is a large selection of casual games in the market, so we try to overcome it by tweaking the design of the games. The goal is to have a design that looks amazing, along with a great playing experience, and ads that are as less intrusive as possible.
What are some of the pain points you face during game development? I’m sure there’s more to it than simply hunting down bugs.
Well, hunting bugs is genuinely a great challenge :) We strive to give our players as perfect an experience as we can, so in order to achieve this, we have to examine our games inside out to reach the most extreme situations possible, and to make sure that even then, things run smoothly.
In the production process, we find ourselves neglecting assets that sometimes took days to create. Other times, we have to recreate game assets from scratch because what we imagined feels completely different in reality.
We put a lot of effort into researching and producing unique, unusual designs alongside great sounds, new mechanics, and fun animations that all come together to provide an exceptional gaming experience for our players.
What are some of the studio’s future plans, and can you share a preview of some of the games to come?
We have some very exciting plans for the future - we are teaming up with Google, to be part of a beta product called AFP. This will allow us to easily enable other website owners to embed our games in their sites so that their players can also enjoy playing our games. In other words, Monstera Games will become a platform!
We have a lot more games planned as well. After all, we want to tap into niches we didn’t create many games for yet, such as sports games and platformers. There’s also a “bigger” game with a theme around nature conservation that’s currently in development - shhh! This is a surprise!
All in all, there’s definitely much more to expect!