Bumpy Road



Bumpy Road


Romantic Arcade

First released:

May 19, 2011

A love story on four wheels!

Spring is here and a couple in their autumn years have decided to go for a ride in their car just like in the old days. Bump the road with a simple touch to safely guide them on their trip and help them collect the memories of their past.

A new and unique control method. Use the touchscreen to modify the ground and push the characters around.

A feel good arcade game with a moving story. Discover the life of a family as you find memories while you play.

Travel as far as you can in Evergreen Ride or beat your best time in Sunday Trip. Then sit back and relax as you enjoy the story in Memory Lane.

Gameplay & Development

The difficult second game? In 2010, while we were still developing Kosmo Spin, we started brainstorming ideas for our second game. Among the ideas about growing trees and playing several games simultaneously, there was a sketch for some type of puzzle game featuring two characters with the names “Auntie Cat” and “Uncle Hat”. None of these ideas really stuck with us, but we liked those characters, and thought they’d be a good fit for another game.

When we had wrapped up Kosmo Spin, we found ourselves without a clear idea about what to make next. Like with Kosmo Spin, we asked ourselves what type of interactions would feel good on an iPhone. Gordon had an idea about indirectly pushing a boat around by controlling waves on an ocean, while Simon had an idea about swiping your finger across the screen to play on a xylophone or piano. It seemed to us like these two separate ideas could somehow be combined. We started thinking about how to create these waves, and decided that dividing the wave up into several segments would make the most sense, if the ocean were to behave like a musical instrument. We soon realised that it wouldn’t look or behave much like water, and that water would be too unreliable for players to interact with; we weren’t interested in creating a physics type game, but rather one with more reliable gameplay, like a platform game. So, the ocean became a road, the boat became a car and the characters from the old sketch found a new home. Instead of relying on an existing physics engine, we decided to create the physics ourselves, as we didn’t want the motions to simulate reality, but rather just feel good. The jump you can make when tapping just below the car, is an example of this type of “fake physics” which aims to feel good, but would feel very different if physics-simulated. 

For some time, we didn’t know whether this game should be level based, or be an endless arcade game, like Kosmo Spin. We came up with something in-between: An endless game that would speed up and scramble level segments depending on the difficulty levels they were assigned, so that each run would feel fresh. Unlike Kosmo Spin, which had all of its enemy patterns configured in a text file, this required us to create an in-game editor, so we could create and iterate levels quickly. 

During Bumpy Road’s development, we had two issues. Firstly, having a game in which you controlled a car without a time trial mode seemed wrong to us. Secondly, we thought that it was sad that one of the characters was only a passenger. We thought the female character felt more like a speed freak, but simply speeding up the endless mode only cluttered the simplicity of the game. The solution became the mode “Sunday Trip”, in which the unnamed female character takes the wheel, and where the aim is to reach the goal as fast as possible by collecting speed-ups. The “old” endless mode was dubbed “Evergreen Ride”.

The title came naturally with the gameplay. In our minds the words “Bumpy Road” was a good parable for life itself, so we started to think of how we could tell a story about love and loss with this relatively simple arcade game. Didn’t those characters actually look like an old couple? Perhaps they could collect memories of their life together? The answer to these questions became “Memory Lane”, a story theatre in which you could view the wordless memories collected in the Evergreen Ride.

We can’t remember exactly when, but at some time we were contacted by someone at Valve, who had seen the game before its release and wondered if we would be interested in releasing it for Steam. We sent them a quickly made PC-version. At this time, it was not easy to get your game on Steam, and in the end Valve decided against it as they deemed the game too small for the platform. About a year later, in 2012, we put in a little more work to the mouse controlled version, and released it on the Mac App Store in April 2012. A Windows version was also released on the (today unfortunately named) PC portal “GamersGate”, where it is has sold less than 20 copies, but is apparently still available.


We wanted Bumpy Road to feel like a storybook Paris. Visually, we were moving away from the collage-inspired look of Kosmo Spin, and instead looked at cartoons from the 1950s and 1960s for inspiration. We were also inspired from the films Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain and Les Triplettes de Belleville.

The backgrounds were the most time consuming to create of all the art assets, as they feature a lot of small, sometimes animated, details. We did take a shortcut when creating the autumn-version of Evergreen Ride. The night and day versions of the city is reversed, and have simply been recolored. To promote the game, we created several wallpapers where the entire background could be seen.


Bumpy Road reviewed really well, and became a small success for us when released. At this time, it was very common to keep on updating mobile games with new content. We didn’t want to alter the existing game by adding new obstacles and level segments to already existing modes. We thought this would be unfair to those who had collected high scores, and so we decided to instead create two new free updates that would contain the new levels, designs and obstacles within new variations of “Sunday Trip” and “Evergreen Ride”. We treated these as individual new releases, with their own trailers and dubbed them “Sunday Trip Deluxe” and “The Autumn Years”.


The music in Bumpy Road was inspired by the soundtrack of Pixar’s film “Up!”, and the SNES game Yoshi’s Island. Simon played on an ukulele, melodica and harmonica and recorded it on built-in a laptop microphone. The samples were edited in Audacity and sequenced in Madtracker.

Jonathan Eng wrote and recorded the song “Bumpy Road” for the launch trailer.

Menu music
Evergreen Ride music (spring)
Sunday Trip music
Evergreen Ride music (autumn)

Game Credits

Art, design, sound & music
Simon Flesser

Programming & design
Magnus “Gordon” Gardebäck

Reviews, Press & Awards

App Store Game of the Week

Mac App Store Game of the Week