Naisu to meet you, to meet you Naisu.
In case you missed the memo, among the many other releases gracing the Nintendo Switch eShop this, NAISU are giving Mokoko a new lease of life as Mokoko X and we recently had the chance to learn everything we could about it. Now that we are heavily armed with the answers and we’re past the point of sharing highlights, it’s time for the full interview, but first, let’s introduce you to Göksan Güner:
Naisu (Nice) to meet you, Göksan:
Miketendo64: Before we dive right into the probing questions, we always like to start things off nice and light. Therefore, would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Göksan Güner: My name is Göksan, since from the elementary school I’ve wanted to make games. That’s why I majored in computer science. After I graduated, I started to work for companies making mobile games. I didn’t like it. I had no money. I thought instead of making a bad FPS, if I make a good jigsaw puzzle game it would be better. I did that while working in a mobile game company, which kickstarted me and I’ve become a full-time indie developer.
Before going full time indie, all the projects I’ve participated in for other companies failed badly by the way. I focused on cheap but good for its price games, always kept close contact with the players.
Doing that eventually made me earn more and I eventually released Mokoko X. I would have earned more if I were to work in some big game company for sure instead of insisting on staying indie. Each time I’ve just earned enough to expand one more step with my games.
Miketendo64: And now to follow-up, what is your role at NAISU and what is the extent of your involvement with Mokoko X?
Göksan Güner: I am the founder of NAISU, I can say that I am a still semi solo developer. I haven’t had the production money to make the games I wanted. The most important thing I did correct was knowing my strength. I have never underestimated or overestimated myself, I’ve made all the games knowing if I were able.
After I had started getting bored with jigsaw puzzle games, I did a small Kickstarter for Mokoko. We were able to collect around €2,000. Although, it may seem a small amount of money, it changed my life. Not because it is a large amount of money, but I’ve seen that some people approve of our work. We released Mokoko with very little production funding.
Then, after I got a permit from consoles for Mokoko, I decided to make Mokoko as I wanted with more economical freedom. So instead of releasing Mokoko immediately to consoles, I decided to make Mokoko X as a remake and then releasing it to consoles. The money I’ve earned from Mokoko, I spent more for Mokoko X as a remake. Because I had always thought Mokoko lacked the quality that it deserved. Mokoko X has around 15 times more production expanses than Mokoko. I can say that it is not a quick cash grab that many remakes or remasters do.
Making a Game like Mokoko X:
Miketendo64: To properly kick things of, can you tell us a bit about Mokoko X? What is it and how does it play?
Göksan Güner: There are many unlucky girls in the game that you help. The whole theme is absurd and in anime theme. Your aim is to conquer the bigger portion of the screen by drawing lines. But you have to avoid enemies while drawing. This is the main game play. But there are also side mechanics affecting that.
Miketendo64: When developing Mokoko X, was there anything from the outset that you wished to accomplish in this title that you couldn’t in the previous instalment?
Göksan Güner: No, I have no remorse with Mokoko X. I have thought about some extra features and even implemented them, but they didn’t fit the game, so I removed the features.
Miketendo64: What prompted Mokoko X’s creation specifically and how long was the game in development?
Göksan Güner: Mokoko took around 9 months, whereas Mokoko X took 18 months, even though it is a remake.
Miketendo64: Due to the sexual themes Mokoko X is said to contain, with Nintendo being the family friendly company we know them to be, have you had to censor the Switch release in any capacity, compared to other versions of the game?
Göksan Güner: We had no problems with it as I designed the game and stories to have adult content as extra content. The adult content is available and free on Steam, but our main focus is not the adult content. We tried to make the game play and stories fun; the adult content was not our main focus.
Miketendo64: Game development is never without its own issues. From ideas that can’t be realized, core gameplay mechanics getting overhauled or budgetary cuts, were there any cut ideas and content that were unable to be properly implemented in Mokoko X?
Göksan Güner: The original Mokoko had some issues, but what bothered me in Mokoko has been fixed in Mokoko X. I am confident that Mokoko X is a well-polished and completed game.
Miketendo64: Is there anything in particular that prompted you to go with a top-down, third person style of gameplay instead of something like first person?
Göksan Güner: No, something other than top-down was a never considered.
Cut Content and a More Colourful Mokoko X:
Miketendo64: How does Mokoko X’s play in terms of gameplay mechanics and are there any Do’s and Don’ts you would advise players to utilize?
Göksan Güner: Be patient, don’t go for big areas in one move. Trap or destroy the minions, because they become too annoying if you don’t get rid of them before at the end of the level.
Miketendo64: In terms of gameplay mechanics and difficulty, just how challenging will players find Mokoko X?
Göksan Güner: I believe easy and medium are OK, but they say hard is really hard and I like it when “hard” is hard like in the older games. In addition to the more ruthless enemy behaviours, we have randomly occurring traps in the hard mode as well.
If you have confidence, I would invite you to play hard mode. For players that like top scores in the online leaderboards, hard is very rewarding.
Miketendo64: Mokoko X is such a colourful and striking game. When designing Mokoko X, how many art styles did you experiment before ending up with the one fully realized in the finished version of the game?
Göksan Güner: We have two artists, and we agreed to make the game as colourful as possible. The original Mokoko seemed too dark for me even though I personally like darker games more. I thought Mokoko X deserved a more colorful theme.
Miketendo64: In terms of content, just how much time is needed for players to experience everything Mokoko X has to offer?
Göksan Güner: It really depends. Because we foregrounded the leaderboard feature (and we know from the experiences of the original game), some players like to compete for the top scores. Some players like the stories, and some players like to spend time with arcade mode. I can say that at least around 3 hours are required to experience the game in its entirety.
Miketendo64: Post-release, will Mokoko X be getting new updates and content at a later date? Be it new modes, such as a 2-player co-op, a competitive mode or something else entirely?
Göksan Güner: We have an arcade mode which unlocks after the story mode. In the arcade mode, you have to finish all the levels without a stop one by one like it used to be in the arcade saloons.
We’ve also implemented a two-player mode, which no one had requested in the original Mokoko, but because I didn’t see the basic implementation to be exciting, I removed it. Detailing some features is a lot harder than trying primitively in your project’s environment.
Miketendo64: Depending on how well Mokoko X is received, is this a game you could easily see yourselves continuing to expand upon, in the form of a sequel, and using the ideas you had to pass on the first time around?
Göksan Güner: No, I have no plans to expand on Mokoko X. There will not be a Mokoko Y or Z.
Joking around with Mokoko X:
Miketendo64: Mokoko X is an interesting title for a game. What prompted you to choose this name over any other possible title you could have chosen and what does Mokoko mean?
Göksan Güner: Mokoko is a one of the most classic Turkish jokes. We are telling the joke of Mokoko part by part after completing each chapter the game has to offer. Actually, we present it without any connection to the characters and their stories, but the game is weird and absurd, so I see no problem with that presentation.
Miketendo64: It is said that Mokoko X took inspiration from arcade games from the 1980s and the 1990s. Are there any games in particular for said inspiration?
Göksan Güner: I am not old enough for Qix, Volfied is the main reason I’ve wanted to make this game. To be honest, I didn’t know Gals Panic, which is the closest to Mokoko X. Well, I knew the old arcade games that some girl becoming more revealing by passing the levels but at first, I’d thought it would be good to make a game with revealing a girl with Volfied mechanics. This moment happened at the very early stages of the game and I eventually learned about Gals Panic. I believe we did a good job of carrying on the genre that has been inactive for many years.
Miketendo64: With such a bizarre contrast of characters, stories, missions and absurd enemies, there are plenty of interesting ideas to go around. Any chance you could give us some insight into the ideas that didn’t make the cut and how you went about choosing the ones you did use?
Göksan Güner: I find insects and sea creatures amusing/alienish, I watch documentaries about them a lot. That’s why there are many levels with them.
Miketendo64: There are a lot of games that seem to feature anime girls in a more risqué setting. That is not quite the case with Mokoko X. Was there any temptation to follow the flow or did you always have a more refined setting?
Göksan Güner: I find myself in between west and east. I love both cultures and their products. That is why my company name is NAISU (nice with stereotypical Japanese accent). I don’t follow the flow.
Dreaming the “N” Possible:
Miketendo64: Since we are a Nintendo site, with the likes of WayForward being allowed to work on the upcoming Advanced Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp and Brace Yourself Games developing 2019’s Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda, if you had the chance to work on ANY Nintendo IP, which one would be your dream come true and, if you were in charge of the entire project, what kind of game would you like to make?
Göksan Güner: I haven’t played them all. My favorite genre is tactics and my favorite Switch game is Fire Emblem: Three Houses. But I like it as it is. If I were in control of Nintendo IP, I would love to make a very dark Mario game in contrast to Nintendo’s family friendly policies.
Miketendo64: Other than Mokoko X, does NAISU have anything else lined up in the pipeline that gamers the world over could hope to enjoy sometime later in 2022 and 2023?
Göksan Güner: We are making a game named Creep, which is a dark game and totally irrelevant with Mokoko X’s themes. It is a more personal game for me than a commonly accepted standard. Out of our work, the best game that affected me is Lisa the Painful RPG after Sanitarium and Planescape: Torment. From newer games, I love Papers Please, Catherine and Inscryption.
Miketendo64: Final question, is there anything you would like to say, or any additional comments you would like to add, for our readers and your fans? The floor is yours.
Göksan Güner: There are very long stories I can tell for the first questions, but I couldn’t. I said I was a semi solo developer, I have to give credits to Ali, Alyssa, Panos and Tuna (in alphabetical order so no one is favoured, hah!) for supporting me for a long time.
Göksan, we are absolutely grateful for your time and wish you a very successful release day. We are also grateful to our readers who took the time to read this piece and learn more about Mokoko X.
About Mokoko X:
About – Mokoko X was inspired from the arcade games from 1980s and 1990s, a popular gaming style back in the time. Mokoko X looks to resurrect the soul of the arcade genre while adding a modern touch. There are 32 levels in Mokoko X; each level has its own unique boss and minions. The main goal is assisting the unlucky girls that need help from the weird bosses. This is sometimes passing a mobile game level, sometimes helping out with the insects in the kitchen.
Gameplay – The main goal is conquering the bigger portion of the screen. While you are in your own area, you are safe from the enemies until your shield depletes. You conquer new areas by drawing out of your area. Drawing, however, deactivates your shield and exposes you to danger. Your shield decreases constantly. If you do not conquer at a certain frequency, your shield will burn out and you will not be safe on your own areas as well. There are 3 difficulties in the game. The difficulty affects enemies, your shield, and the required conquered area percentage for the victory.
- 8 unlucky girls in need of help
- 32 levels with unique bosses and minions
- Absurd stories that will reveal details about the bosses and the girls
- Fully animated, Japanese and English voice overs for all the characters!
- Lovely graphics!
- Traps, towers, crates and bonus effects
- Arcade Mode
- Live high scores displayed for hardcore players
- Nostalgia remastered!
Stories – Have you ever asked these questions to yourself:
- How do you stop a heartless but not soulless emperor?
- Can someone be a gyroscope and a guard dog at the same time?
- Why do those ducks attack us?
- Are there really demonic headphones in the world?
- Why do lizardmen need a plastic toy for summoning their god?
- How do you become a villain after revolting against the ant queen?
- What do scientists want from Albert the wonderful sea creature?
Well, Mokoko X answers all these questions and more!
Here are some missions!:
- Help out Iren with her arachnophobia and fight with the imaginary spider Mr. Fyodorov.
- Protect Issa’s house from getting pillaged by the ghost pirates stuck inside the anchors. They were not the bane of Seven Seas – the crew was killed in their first naval battle.
- Toru wished to be a mosquito to annoy people. A local witch heard him, and transformed him into a mosquito. Now he causes trouble to people every night.
Fight against the weird enemies… and learn about their absurd stories!
The whole family can go on a spacey adventure; with its non-violent gameplay, incredible story, logical puzzles, and easy controls, Dexter and gang are sure to jump off the screen and into your heart.