To most developers, making a mobile game is about working out how to create fun in small bursts. After all, goes the conventional wisdom, smartphone gaming is all about getting a quick fix while waiting for the bus or hiding in a toilet.

Subtlabs is an innovative new studio hoping to turn this conventional wisdom on its head with Save Blaza, the world’s first “endurance game” on mobile.

Blaza, the creature you’re saving, is a dog from outer space. Unfortunately for Blaza, an object collides with his ship while he’s cruising among the stars and he winds up crash landing on the troubled blue-green planet we call home.

As the game’s title suggests, it’s your job to save Blaza. You do this by guiding him back to his native planet in a rocket, using a handily jettisoned trail of snacks to help you navigate. There are ten stages in all, and by the end of the game you’ll have solved the mystery of how Blaza’s ship came to be damaged, and why.

This isn’t an outstandingly surprising setup for an casual game on the face of it, but the gameplay is like nothing you’ve played in years. Rather than testing your skill, it tests your endurance.

Subtlabs has created a formula to explain its thinking: Game satisfaction = (Time x Focus) + Reward. In other words, the longer it takes to finish a level, and the better the reward for doing it, the more satisfied you’ll be.

So every stage in Save Blaza requires time and focus, and you need to concentrate throughout if you want to hold onto your points.

It’s a novel approach to game design, inspired by a childhood bet the game’s developer made with his brother. That means Save Blaza is a passion project literally decades in the making.

And you can grab it right now on the App Store.

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