Indie Tsushin 2023 June-July issueThis article was featured in our 2023 June-July issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Marudice about working on the topsy-turvy puzzle platformer, Invercity!

English (Translated)

Translated by Renkon

Sunset in Invercity, Urara is walking along a beach towards a mermaid in a pool of water.

(2022) Invercity

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Marudice, the leader of an indie game dev team that is also called Marudice! We are proud of our innovative game design and our ability to see our projects to the finish line! We love participating in game jams!

How did you get started making games?

When I entered university, I picked up a book on the C programming language out of curiosity. I was a big fan of video games, so I thought about making a game of my own and got hooked!

What does your general game-making process look like?

Our planning stage is based on the game planning techniques shared by Unity Dojo. We write down all of our game ideas in a way that is clear and easy to grasp. If there is a good idea among them, we proceed to make a prototype. This process takes several hours.

For the prototype, we create a game sequence to be played for the first time by a small number of people that can be completed within a short time. Game jams and game shows are the best opportunities for this. If there is a good prototype among them, we proceed to turn it into a full release. This period lasts from one week to about one month.

For the full release, we add enough volume and polish to justify purchasing it as a product. This stage often involves additional staff, publishers, and translators. This process is complicated and lengthy, so it's a bit hard to explain. (laughs) This period lasts from six months to two years.

I think the current process is... ideal. (laughs) It is my personal theory that I've updated over the course of making many games, and I've finally been able to put this into practice with our latest title. (laughs)

Title screen of Mitsu Desu Beat Street

(2020) 蜜ですビート・ストリート (Mitsu Desu Beat Street)

Can you tell us about some of your favorite games and genres?

I love action puzzle games, especially the Puyo Puyo series!

Enthusiasts of the genre love how games like Puyo Puyo and Tetris unfold dynamically, and for that reason, we consider Invercity an action puzzle game.

I also love platformers like Mario and Celeste, and crafting games such as Factorio and One Hour One Life. Recently I've been really into Splatoon. (laughs)

We've enjoyed playing your various puzzle games. Can you recommend some other puzzle games you enjoy?

It's quite famous, but I recommend Opus Magnum! For a lesser known game, Digital Upgrade: Decoded is also interesting!

Urara from Invercity approaching a man in a gray suit. Mike the news announcer watches with interest.

Please tell us about Invercity!

Invercity is a puzzle action game where you solve puzzles by doing handstands. When you do a handstand, from your perspective, doesn't it look like you're dangling down from above? In this game, that is exactly what is happening.

The main character, Urara, can do handstands from anywhere, and doing so flips the gravity of everything else. When you press a certain switch, your buddy Mike will flip the news monitor. The game screen itself becomes reversed, and the world is turned upside-down.

It is a puzzle game that uses these gimmicks to clear stages.

The story is set in a city where the "Handstand Falling Phenomenon" causes objects to fall into the sky. Urara, the reporter, and Mike, the news announcer, are reporting on this mystery.

You originally created Invercity for a game jam. Can you tell us what is the appeal of entering in game jams?

For game development beginners, the biggest draw is that they can experience the entire development process in a short period of time: from planning, developing, and completing the game, all the way to having others play it. Outside of game jams, you usually don't get the chance to have many people play your games. (laughs)

For experienced developers, the deadline allows them to try out new ideas in a short period of time, increasing their stock of prototypes, and giving them the chance to reaffirm their status as game developers.

Level select screen of Invercity

What was your greatest influence when making Invercity?

The greatest influence was BoxBoy! Since it is a similar puzzle-platformer, we referenced it heavily when working on challenges to test the player's ability, the level design, and the sequence structure of the game.

The visual design was influenced by Celeste. Since it is also a 2D action game with pixel art, we used things like the stage terrain and lighting as references for our work.

What was the most challenging part of making Invercity?

It was difficult working with so many creators. Prior to Invercity, development was carried out by at most two people, but including things like the translation, this game involved around ten creators.

By putting into words what I wanted to have done and letting experts handle whatever they could do better, we were able to produce a better quality product more quickly than if I had tried to take it all on myself. For example, with the terrain art, we had an external artist create a background image for the stage screen, and that was integrated into the game as an asset by an internal staff member who was familiar with puzzle design and working with Unity.

Urara doing a handstand in a mall filled with shoppers.

When showing off Invercity at events, what kind of reaction did you get from players?

Immediately after playing through the opening of the Invercity demo, we heard comments like, "Wow..." And when they flipped the world, we heard, "Ohhhh!" There were many reactions like this. They were really interested in the puzzle gimmicks at the heart of this game.

And there were also a lot of people who said, "Cute!" when they glanced at the screen!

Can you tell us about any other games you worked on in the past?

We made an action puzzle game called EQUALINE! It is a puzzle game where you connect numbers and mathematical symbols with a single stroke to do mathematics. It's tough and highly competitive, and it's a popular game among speedrunners.

We also released the puzzle adventure Treehouse Riddle for the Switch last year. You can enjoy a wide variety of puzzles and a story set in a mysterious treehouse.

Title screen of EQUALINE


Can you tell us about anything you are currently working on?

We are developing an adventure game called Recolit in collaboration with Image Labo. It is a heartwarming and slightly mysterious story of a boy in a spacesuit exploring a town at night.

And actually, we're also secretly making a VR game. I can't share any details!

Do you have any messages for your players?

We will continue to make interesting games, so please cheer us on!

Overlapping photographs of Urara and other characters from Invercity covering the screen, with the real Urara in the corner looking distressed.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

日本語 Sunset in Invercity, Urara is walking along a beach towards a mermaid in a pool of water.

(2022) さかだちの街










Title screen of Mitsu Desu Beat Street

(2020) 蜜ですビート・ストリート




「マリオ」、「Celeste」のようなプラットフォーマーや、「Factorio」「One Hour One Life」といったクラフトゲームも大好きで、最近は「スプラトゥーン」にハマっています。(笑)


有名なゲームですが、「Opus Magnum」がおすすめです!有名ではないゲームでは、「Digital Upgrade: Decoded」も面白いですよ!

Urara from Invercity approaching a man in a gray suit. Mike the news announcer watches with interest.









Level select screen of Invercity







Urara doing a handstand in a mall filled with shoppers.






その前の「Treehouse Riddle」というパズルアドベンチャーは昨年Switch版がリリースされました。ルールの異なる多くのパズルと、樹上の家の謎を追う物語を楽しめます。

Title screen of EQUALINE



「Recolit」というアドベンチャーゲームをImage Laboと共同で開発しています。宇宙服を着た少年が夜の町を探索する、少し不思議で心暖まるアドベンチャーゲームです。




Overlapping photographs of Urara and other characters from Invercity covering the screen, with the real Urara in the corner looking distressed.


Marudice You can follow Marudice on Twitter @dice_maru. Find more of their games on their homepage.