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SkyVu Pictures releases Battle Bears iPhone app


As a lifelong gamer, I’m very excited about Omaha’s newest contribution to the App Store. SkyVu Pictures, an Omaha-based animation studio, has released their newest project, Battle Bears, in both full and lite versions.

Battle Bears is a 3D action shooter rated 9+ for “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence,” so for you SPN readers who are under the age of nine, you should talk to your parents about it before checking it out. Some might consider that type of content to be a little “graphic.” The game itself features an advanced robotic teddy bear named Oliver, who becomes trapped behind enemy lines and is forced to defend himself against wave after wave of adorable pink teddy bears bent seeing Oliver “hugged to death.”

The concept may seem like a bit of a stretch at first, but writer/director Benjamin Vu says that the game is actually loosely based on a film that Sky Vu is currently producing. It is rare that a  movie tie-in game arrives before the film itself, but the Battle Bears game stands up just fine on its own. New versions of the game will feature more characters and narrative.

Having played the game myself on my iPod Touch, I’ll be the first to say that it’s pretty fun. Vu describes it as “Care Bears meets Black Hawk Down.” I would compare it to Metal Gear Solid Touch, another third-person iPhone/iPod Touch shooter. Battle Bears differs primarily in that enemies appear from over the horizon and periphery and come directly at Oliver, whereas they slide into view like a shooting gallery in Metal Gear Solid Touch.

In general, Battle Bears makes great use of the iPhone’s 3D rendering abilities, especially considering the app’s (limited time) $.99 price tag. This can mostly be attributed to the fact that Vu himself is a seasoned 3D animator who was even involved in the animation of the recent film Coraline, directed by The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick. For more examples of Vu’s work, check out the Skyvu Pictures demo reel 2009.

Personally, I’m thrilled to be able to play a video game produced by an Omaha-based company, whether that be on the iPhone, iPod Touch or any other platform. On second thought, maybe “geeked” would be a better word then “thrilled.” Whichever word is most appropriate, here’s looking forward to plenty more.

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