Heads You Lose, Then Get Back Again: FranknJohn

Chained melody

Sadly spawn-protection duties meant I was only able to attend the first day of Rezzed, and thus got to play only a fraction of the delights therein, but I’ll try to mention most I did manage to get my filthy little hands on before they all pass out of my stupid brain.

FranknJohn is a sort of merry mash of The Binding Of Isaac, Fez and Kirby, using the twin stick concept to enable the clobbering stuff with his endearingly telescopic head while wandering off in another direction, as well as doing his level best not to tumble off into the vertiginous cube-world depths below. It’s early days yet, but Irish devs bitSmith Games told me that one thing they’re hoping to do is really play with the idea of FranknJohn swapping out his weird science noggin for other heads with different abilities (hence the Kirby comparison).

The randomised levels, the Fez-like distant environments and most especially the freedom to make my head spasm wildly all over the place as I moved sold it to me, though the build I played was really just the move’n’batter rudiments. Have a look at that below:

As the name might suggest, you play as a sort of Frankenstein’s Monster character gone wrong. Or gone right, depending on whose point of view you look at it from. There is co-op, there is procedural generation and there is even choice and consequence, apparently.

That’s due in the first chunk of next year, though I rather suspect we’ll be seeing a little more of it before then, especially if they get the whole swappable heads thing going. Find out more about what they’ve got planned over at their indieDB page.


  1. sketch says:

    So it’s like a 3D Dynamite Headdy?
    That could be interesting. For anyone that hasn’t played it, dynamite headdy on the mega drive is a hell of a game.

    • owenllharris says:

      A few people at Rezzed told us about this.
      I am going to have to check it out. Thanks.

  2. owenllharris says:

    Hey there!
    One if the developers here. If you guys have any questions ask away and we’ll try our best to answer.

    On another note. Wow! We’re on RPS, my favourite gaming site. I can’t believe it. :D

    • tobecooper says:

      Any comicbook influences? The character face looks a bit like something Tezuka would draw, and the detachable head reminds me of Mingola’s The Amazing Screw-on Head.

      • firewatersun says:

        Artist here; Thanks for the Tezuka comparison!! I did read alot of manga as a child, so I imagine some of those influences show through. The main inspirations for the character at the moment are Pixar’s concept art for UP and Spelunky.

        The Amazing Screw On Head looks like a great potential source of inspiration – Thank you for the link!

  3. HolyShitMatt says:

    Not feeling the music, I hope it’s placeholder. I’m also having a hard time discerning a theme here. It seems like there’s this interesting mechanic based on a Franken-thing, but I’m not sure how lava, traps and floating platforms fit. Still, there’s potential, especially with polish.

    • Daeltaja says:

      Heya, Paul here from bitSmith. The above footage was taken after 1 month of development, so there is quite a lot of placeholder/missing art (including the music). We’re up to the 2 month mark now! Our aim has been to put together a vertical slice for Rezzed, which was awesome and provided us with a wealth of great feedback.

      We are dev blogging as we progress on link to bitSmithGames.com if you guys would like to follow along.

  4. Stonecrow says:

    Lost my head over this at Rezzed. Though to be frank didn’t get to play it, now I’m sad quite a bit, smithed a great looking game!

    • firewatersun says:

      Please let your name be John so we can complete the cycle… :P