Zynga’s latest mobile publishing title is Crash Lab’s Twist Pilot

Zynga today unveiled the newest game in its growing mobile publishing catalog: Crash Lab’s Twist Pilot. We spoke with Crash Lab Managing and Technical Director Steve Ellis and Design Director Martin Wakeley about what players can expect from the game.

Twist Pilot is a time-based physics puzzler designed to be simple enough for casual players to pick up to with enough content to keep hardcore players occupied for quite some time. Players use their device’s touch interface to guide Phil (an anthropomorphic rod) through maze-like levels as quickly as possible, collecting gold rings and avoiding contact with surrounding walls and the many spiders in his way. If Phil touches either, he’ll receive a time penalty that could negatively affect a player’s score at the end of the level. A “Platinum Mode” is also included in the game, allowing players to try and beat developers’ times in order to earn platinum stars for bragging rights.

For Ellis and Wakeley, Twist Pilot offers a major shift in game development. The two are longtime veterans of the industry, with Wakeley working with Ellis after the latter helped found Free Radical Design (probably best known for the TimeSplitters franchise before it was acquired by Crytek in 2009). Both men tell us they’ve always wanted to make the types of games they enjoyed playing. Originally, this meant making action-oriented AAA video games, but now the two enjoy casual games as well. “We found the games we were playing had changed, so we changed what we were doing,” Wakeley explains.

The game comes with 72 levels and the difficulty will quickly ramp up. The game’s trailer shows sections that are choked with spiders, requiring a player to wait for Phil’s body to angle just right before he can be moved past an arachnid without getting hit. Ellis and Wakeley tell us harder levels will also contain additional hazards like fans and magnets to push or pull Phil around. Several of these levels are designed to mirror real world locations or monuments, like the Eiffel Tower or a famous race track in England.

This is the third mobile game to be launched under the Zynga Partners for Mobile Program, following Phosphor Games’ Horn and Atari’s Super Bunny Breakout. As opposed to those two games, though, Twist Pilot doesn’t contain in-app purchases. Instead, Ellis and Wakely tell us the game’s price tag is the only way it’s planned to monetize.

Another key difference between Twist Pilot and other mobile games is that it won’t include Facebook Connect for social features. Instead, players will be able to post their achievements via Twitter and earn achievements in Apple’s Game Center.

Twist Pilot is available on iTunes for $0.99 and will be launching later today for Google Play.

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