On the art style side, we chose to use pixel style with dark color scheme. The style is not common for iOS apps and inconsistent with the general UI guideline of Apple’s products, but it seemed a natural choice when it comes to a “pixel cross” game. The central idea of this retro-looking style is to completely eliminate anti-aliased images, only use pixelated graphic elements.
We started the development in February, 2010. Our team has 4 part-time developers: Hansen, Frank, Ye and me. Especially, Ye was a big fan of Nintendo’s Picross DS, which became our primary reference and ultimate benchmark from quality respective.
We had a tough discussion about whether we should make it a universal application to run on both iPhone and iPad. And we realized that it would be impracticable to put a medium size board on iPhone screen without zoom-in. The operation would be unnatural. So we decided to give up the iPhone and concentrate on iPad only.
Although all of us are experienced console game developers, neither of us had experience with iOS before. And we could only work part-timely on this project, around 6 hours per week on average. The workload would be overwhelming for us if we built everything from scratch.