Developer Interview: Ruya – An Award Winning Puzzle Based Relaxation App

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There are different kinds of games that can you can play on your phone, but imagine playing a puzzle game that keeps you relaxed at the same time. Ruya by Miracle Tea Studios is an interesting puzzle game that is both visually and aurally appealing, which will keep you engaged during your long commutes and keep your mind calm after a stressful day. We spoke to the lead developer Bradley Smith, who took us through the phases of Ruya’s development and the motivation behind the overall process.

  1. How did you conceive the idea for Ruya?

Ruya was a combination of two prototypes. Our programmer Tom developed it’s mechanics during his time at University and our artist Brad established the visual style during the Indie Speed Run 3.0 game jam under the themes ‘mantra’ and ‘telepathy’. We freelanced on a project together when we decided to enter the prototype into the Tranzfuser programme back in 2016. It was because of that programme and the people behind UK Games Talent that Ruya exists as it does today.

The game is a metaphor for struggling Mothers and mostly intended for a certain kind of person. The little dream bubbles that appear throughout are from real family observations and the overall tone of the game pulls elements from spiritual teachers like Ram Dass and Alan Watts. We were keen to try and re-imagine the genre by pouring a bit of heart and soul and bring elements that you might not normally see. We asked ourselves what if a game like Monument Valley had a baby with a game like Bejewelled.

2. Can you tell us more about the features in this game?

Ruya features binaural beats, an auditory illusion commonly found within sleep apps. Binaural beats can alter an individual’s state of consciousness and sink them into a state of relaxation. Unlike a lot of puzzle games there’s a heartfelt little illustrative narrative woven in. There’s 64 levels across 8 worlds with a handful of different mechanics sprinkled in and lots of hidden details that will have you smiling.

3. What are the challenges you faced during the game’s development?

Every game component needs to work in harmony with one another. That’s probably the biggest challenge that all designers face, sitting down for hours mocking up designs to then identify which ones to throw out. Embracing that can be tough but the more times you do it the closer you get to toward that thing you’re searching for. Just finishing the game was also a feat in itself.

4. How has the user feedback been so far? Are they happy with the game’s pricing?

Yeah people dig it! The reception far exceeded any expectation we had. A handful of players said it’s unvalued for what it’s priced at which is interesting. The emotional response to the game made all the sacrifice to get it made worthwhile.

5. Which App marketing tools do you use now? How do you track reviews and what do you think about ReviewsCollect?

We rely heavily on word of mouth and just the standard social media for our marketing and we’re not using any tools to track our reviews at this moment in time.

6. Do you have any other Apps lined up for the future?

We do! We’ve been prototyping a bunch of ideas and trying to come up with ways to elicit some interesting emotional responses. There’s a small chance that we’ll be ready to announce something pretty soon, so keep an eye on our Twitter!

7. Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring developers?

Be you.

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