Wooga launching Bubble Island on iOS

Game developer Wooga is launching its popular bubble shooter Bubble Island on iOS today.

Bubble Island on iOS will use Facebook Connect to provide players with cross-platform play. The game’s been in development for a while, on and off, with the first attempt at a mobile version being worked on over a year ago, but Wooga CEO Jens Begemann tells us that build “wasn’t up to our ambition of fun.” Instead, the developer spent time working on Diamond Dash’s mobile version and then came back to Bubble Island with newfound experience.

We got to spend some time with the game on both the iPad and the iPhone 5, which provide totally different play experiences. The iPad version of the game is presented in landscape perspective, while the iPhone version works in the portrait layout. Begemann tells us the game has different levels for iPhone and iPad, and the iPhone 5’s larger screen size will also allow users to see even more of the game board than on the iPad.

While it might be tempting to compare Bubble Island’s mobile version with that of King.com’s Bubble Witch Saga, the play mechanics are actually pretty different. Bubble Witch Saga has manual aiming and requires two hands to play, (one to aim, one to fire), Bubble Island’s controls let players tap on the screen and fire a bubble at the area they tapped.

“We wanted this to be a game you could play with one hand,” Begemann explains. “This should be a game that’s really snackable while you’re waiting for your Starbucks coffee or you just got it and are holding it in the other hand.”

The move follows this summer’s news that Wooga plans to bring Diamond Dash to Android and Monster World for iOS. When asked about the status of those projects, Begemann tells us the games are still planned to launch soon but are being polished because Wooga wants to make sure they’re fun experiences.

Bubble Island on iOS is the continuation of Wooga’s pivot to mobile platforms while still developing social games. We’ve recently heard that iOS versions of games monetize three times better than they do on Facebook, and Begemann tells us Wooga’s seen similar numbers in territories where Facebook has a similar audience size to the number of mobile users.

“Making this transition to mobile isn’t trivial,” he says. “Usually, when a platform shift like this happens, the developers don’t traditionally make the shift. We wanted to make sure we were the exception to the rule. Therefore our focus has been on how to make the best possible mobile game. So we’re limiting the number of devices we’re on… now that we know it’s working, we’re investing heavily into Android.”

Bubble Island should be available on iTunes sometime today. Begemann tells us there’s an Android version also in development, but can’t tell us when that version will launch yet.

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