Playhead – dev interview with Ally Low

I caught up with Ally Low, of Lowtek Games, who has a new Kickstarter for the intriguing puzzle game Playhead. Ally has been busy with several games over the last year including the excellent Flea! and brain-taxing Tapeworm. He has worked in the game industry for nine years and has developed titles for mobile and console in that time. Most of Ally’s games feature gameplay designed to be pick up and play, tearing away complexity for a pure gaming experience.

His new project is another puzzle game that uses a clever time mechanic that he describes as ‘a 2D platformer set inside a media player where you manipulate time to solve puzzles.’ Ally also explains it has been in his head for a while. ‘It’s a game I’ve been wanting to make for years and thought it was finally time to bring it to Kickstarter. I thought someone would have done this idea by now but as far as I can tell they haven’t.’ 

a GIF animation of Playhead gameplay

Playhead is certainly a different type of puzzle game and Ally explains that you will ‘solve puzzles by platforming while manipulating time in a unique but familiar way with an early 2000s flashy art style. We hope to have a few AH HA moments that should make you feel clever. There will be a story told through the comments and some set pieces in the levels. Also, in the comments sections you’ll find some faces you may recognise from Youtube and other social platforms.’

Ally has also confirmed that Playhead will feature ‘around 100 levels, 85 normal levels and 15 harder bonus levels which unlock as you collect glitches.’ He has confirmed that the aim is to get Playhead released by the end of year with a physical release on DVD and USB to add some nostalgia. There is a demo available that showcases the gameplay and some of the story and after playing it I can say it is shaping up nicely.  

Playhead gameplay image jumping across lava

It is not just good news that the game is heading in the right direction, Ally explains there is an interesting backstory that has got it to this point. ‘It feels great to finally see this project coming together. I came up with the idea while at university but always thought it was a big project that had to be done right. After getting money from the UK Games Fund, we got it to a point where I’m happy to take it to Kickstarter with an end in sight.’

‘I’ve been taking the older demo to conventions for years and it always gets a great response, that is after people realise it’s a game and someone’s not just left YouTube on the screen. Many people have said the game is innovative and they haven’t seen the mechanic before which is really what’s kept me going.’ Playhead is currently on Kickstarter and I wish Ally all the best as it’s a great concept.