Developer: Martin Magni
Price: Free to download
IAP: $1/£1 monthly for Premium
There’s always a faint suspicion surrounding games that ask you to make your own fun. Like they’re just covering for the fact that they’re not actually much fun in and of themselves.
Just us? It doesn’t really matter, because Fancade is a whole heap of fun any way you approach it.
To call Fancade a game would be inaccurate. It’s a platform, filled with dozens of different games alongside the tools to make and share countless more.
Crucially, developer Martin Magni has led by example, assembling a fully-fledged campaign that runs through a number of examples of what the Fancade toolset can achieve.
Many of these are playful approximations of pre-existing games. There’s one that plays like a stripped-back Donut County, one that’s like Blocky Roads, and one that resembles Magni’s own Mekorama.
There are even more mini-games that stand as a generic take on a familiar genre. So, there’s a passable mini golf game, an auto-runner, and a couple of variations on the line drawing puzzler, for example.
Crucially, almost all of these games are fun diversions in their own right. A couple of them are so well executed, with proper tactile physics and tight mechanics, you’ll come back to them way more often than you would many stand-alone titles.
As we’ve mentioned, all of these home-made games are sprinkled liberally across a simply structured campaign. You earn stars through each run, enabling your little bot avatar to scoot to the next island-full of challenges.
If you stick with the free tier, you’ll need to wait to access some of these games. But a monthly or yearly payment will take away the restrictions, as well as the ads.
The presence of this pre-built campaign mode will be essential to Fancade’s wider success, we feel. Most people (this writer included) are lazy, and want developers to do all the designing and building for them.
Even then, you’ll still be able to pick up on and benefit from Fancade’s burgeoning DIY community. Head into the Arcade section and you’ll find a curated selection of featured and popular games made by Fancade’s more diligent users.
As ever with such homespun efforts, a large proportion of these are hardly what you’d call accomplished. But there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be found in simply sampling what’s out there, and there are many diamonds in the rough from enterprising creative types
Even from the perspective of someone who doesn’t much care for game-building, those tools seem solid and intuitive. It’s a small matter to have a basic idea and throw together a quick prototype level. You’ll need to explore the Fancade website and YouTube channels if you want to delve deeper, but that’s all part of the community-led charm.
Everything seems to be in place for Fancade to grow and maintain its own pocket mini-game-making community. But even if you don’t get your creative kicks from making games yourself, there’s still a whole lot here to recommend.