Dot Arcade: An Abstract Puzzler by James Montagna


James Montagna is probably best known as the lead developer of Wonder Momo and Adventure Time: Hey Ice King Why’d You Steal our Garbage?!!. Both stand as finely-tuned character driven storylines with a generous dash of black humour sprinkled on for good measure. His tenure at WayForward Games has undoubtedly identified a lot of promise in the idea of either localizing or remaking Japan-exclusive Bandai Namco IPs, which is a heroic achievement in any sense of the term.

His new project, Dot-Arcade, is definitely a huge departure from his two previous titles. It’s a puzzle game with little emphasis on character and narrative, providing what looks to be a pure gameplay experience, and a minimalist design to boot. What’s more, the prototype of the title actually requires unique hardware to use—Montagna’s prototype, an 8×8 LCD cube pictured below serves as the platform. Undoubtedly a return to the analog puzzler, one is indeed forced to question its relevance in today’s gaming world.


While outfits like Destructoid proclaim that this sort of title is a brave new world for James, one only needs to look at his early titles before WayForward to realize this sort of abstraction is right up his alley. His 2012 project, Pop-Pop Battle J! definitely went down a familiar road—and by familiar I mean fantastically unique. The author had the pleasure of viewing the game at IndieCade 2012, and its bulbous controller seems to be making a comeback for the Dot-Arcade prototype, with the addition of a few light-bulbs.


Just in case you’re not looking to invest in additional hardware, Dot-Arcade will be moving from its physical platform to also get a release on the Wii-U, which seems like a great fit for the project. Some more from James on that below, courtesy of Destructoid:

We wanted to find some way we could share the dot games with the rest of the world, and Wii U seemed like the right fit. It was important that the experience emphasize the more intimate GamePad screen, but also beneficial to broadcast gameplay to others in the room on T… and taking it a step further, share scores with friends anywhere through Miiverse!

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Ryan Silva


Writer, Cinematographer, Japanophile and Grand Strategy Addict with just enough charm, wit, and mastery of Latin to masquerade as a man of letters. Twitter handle: @waye_farer