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"Don't be afraid to experiment. Learn from your mistakes": Tornado Bear discuss standing out as an indie

Tornado Bear won the Very Big Indie Pitch in London - we discuss their road to the Big Indie Pitch

The Big Indie Pitch, a regular event run by the makers of PocketGamer.biz, sees indie developers engage in a rapid-fire pitching competition for fame and those sweet promotional packages.

The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers, and industry pundits, each receiving invaluable feedback before the judges pick three winners.

The indie view

The Big Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we take it all over the world. We've sat down with a number of past BIP contestants to offer their views on the event, its attendees, and the games on show.

Tornado Bear as Very Big Indie Pitch Winners
Tornado Bear as Very Big Indie Pitch Winners

Today, we're speaking to Adi Zhavo from Tornado Bear, who created and pitched Kingland, at The Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects London 2024 and walked away as the winner.

Sophia Aubrey Drake: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?

Adi Zhavo: I'm Adi, the CEO and founder of Tornado Bear. Right now, it's mainly just me with a bit of support from a small team of talented folks. We draw a lot of inspiration from idle arcade and merge games, and we're aiming to bring a fresh wave of fun and engaging arcade hybridcasual games to the scene.

Tell us about Kingland, which you pitched at the competition.

Kingland is an idle arcade game with a twist. Players get to build and manage their own kingdom in a casual, fun environment. It's got joystick controller mechanics, a bit of narrative depth, and some combat thrown in for good measure. Oh, and you also get to meet some quirky companions along the way.

“We're aiming to bring a fresh wave of fun and engaging arcade hybridcasual games to the scene.”
Adi Zhavo

What do you think are the most unique and interesting aspects of Kingland that gamers may never have seen before?

What sets Kingland apart is its mix of gameplay elements. You can hop in for quick sessions to manage your kingdom and do some satisfying harvesting or dive deep into dungeons for some monster-battling action. Plus, we've got humour, characters, and narrative to keep things interesting.

Kingland is a hybridcasual idle arcade game. What made you choose to make this type of game, and what do you think you bring that may not have been seen before?

We wanted to capture the simplicity of casual gaming while still offering some depth. Our blend of harvesting, upgrading, fighting, and exploring is something we think players will enjoy.

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How did you come to choose the platforms that you would develop Kingland for?

Mobile was a natural fit due to its widespread usage and suitability for casual gaming.

“Don't be afraid to experiment. Learn from your mistakes, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”
Adi Zhavo

Looking at the studio a little more now. How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer?

We are in the very early stages of setting ourselves up, with Kingland being one of our first titles. But with creativity, resourcefulness, and a whole lot of perseverance, we're determined to make it work.

Are there any tips and advice you would give to an independent developer out there who is just starting out?

Don't be afraid to experiment. Learn from your mistakes, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Build connections early on and you'll be surprised at how much they can help you.

How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the Big Indie Pitch?

Pitching at the Big Indie Pitch was both nerve-wracking and rewarding. The feedback we got was invaluable, and it helped us refine our vision for Kingland.

What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?

The exposure was fantastic and it really validated our efforts. We're hoping to keep building on this momentum in the indie gaming scene.

What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?

We've got big plans for Kingland – more features, more expansion, just more of everything. But right now, we're focused on making the current game the best it can be. And as for future projects, well, let's just say we've got a few ideas up our sleeves. Stay tuned.


Wantto show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you, or even our new Digital pitches.

All our upcoming pitches including how to enter can be found on our upcoming events page on BigIndiePitch.com.

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