RetroEpic's A Day in the Woods wins Spil Games' $50,000 Unsung Heroes competition

Re-engagement initiative a success

RetroEpic's A Day in the Woods wins Spil Games' $50,000 Unsung Heroes competition

Given the difficulties for small developers to get their games noticed, Spil Games' $50,000 Unsung Heroes initiative was always going to be popular.

A publisher of casual games, Spil's plan was to get developers of already released mobile games to apply to a competition that would gain the winning games more attention, as well as advice and professional help, including $50,000 of cross-promotion, to improve their global distribution and monetisation.

However, even Spil was pleasantly surprised, not only to receive over 300 game submissions but also of the high standards of the entries.

Hard choice

"So many of the games were truly awesome," said Tung Nguyen-Khac, CEO of Spil Games and chair of the board of judges.

"It was incredibly tough deciding which should win. But in the end we stuck with our main criterion: which of these games most deserves the chance of a larger audience?

"And the answer was A Day in the Woods."

Developed by RetroEpic Software in Cape Town, South Africa, the paid game is a stunning tile-based puzzle game that's based around the Red Riding Hood children's story.

The publishing contract will see A Day in the Woods localised and re-engineered in terms of monetisation and live operations for key global audiences including China and Brazil.

Doubling up

However, there wasn't just one winner.

Puzzler Toy Rescue Story from Irish/UK developer Sugra Games was declared the runner up and it will also get a publishing deal with Spil.

"The Unsung Heroes competition generated so much interest and it is amazing to see how much energy game developers put into their games," added Tung.

"I wish all the entrants the best of luck. It is awesome that we will publish two games and I believe we have helped many more developers along the way.

"I expect we'll hear much more from the Unsung Heroes competition participants as they develop their games and launch new products."

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.