Helsinki-based Kapu Toys has released their first title, Kapu Forest on iOS. Kapu Forest is aimed at younger folks aged 1-4+, and they're staying true to their name in the sense that they're trying to be a digital toy box, rather than a collection of games.
The company itself is the brainchild of five international creatives from the wold of digital design, development, and planning. The idea for Kapu Toys arose in 2011 when the founders noticed that their own children had discovered the use of touch-screen devices, and were mimicking their actions. After more research and discovery, they noticed that many smartphone apps didn’t succeed in providing suitable content for kids.
"When we were coming up with the idea for Kapu Forest, we read a few articles in local newspapers where parents were really concerned that kids weren't going to the forest anymore, and kids are such city people nowadays, and it's so foreign to them," says Tuomas Vanamo, partner at Kapu Toys.
So they drew from the forest themes and created a vibrant world of toys designed for the family. "The gameplay focuses on repetition, so the toys are actually very simple," continues Vanamo. "This allows little ones to grasp the gameplay quickly then play again."
"And that's exactly our distinction between toys and games," says Frederique Vermaete, another partner. "It's much more rewarding for children and families if the toys continue on and don't end."
The toys include getting a frog to catch flies, helping a fox eat berries, and helping a woodpecker catch a worm. There's no real gameplay or points behind the app, just a collection of toys that respond to interaction.
"And the best part is the games boost their imagination. They come up with their own stories behind the animals," says Vanamo. To keep the characters and toys alive, many of the characters will be given twitter accounts so they can provide engaging content.
Sometime this fall, Kapu Toys will be releasing a new game, "untitled" Hero Toy for kids. The company tells us it will be much more wider and have much more continuous gameplay elements, but not be set in the Kapu Forest. The art style will remain the same, however, which is probably a great call.
"Tekes isn't funding the Kapu Forest game content, but they are providing money for the research, the company, and getting people to know our brand," says Tommy Incrosnatu. Tekes funds are, however, being used for their upcoming title.
Kapu Toys joined Tekes Tempo before Tekes Skene, the new games-focused program at Tekes, was announced, but they say that Tempo was a good fit for their target market of mobile devices.
"We went through the first meeting and both sides were really keen to go on, and we heard good ideas thrown back and forth," says Incrosnatu. For a team of creative-types, these meetings with Tekes were a good influence on the company. "It made us think, because they gave us questions how we would involve the business and growth. It made us think more about the business side because we were so heavily focused on the production."
Kapu Forest was released today. More information, as well as links to the full and light versions of the toy box can be found on their website.