Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Miko Adventures Puffball creator Khaled Shaban Ali who tells us know why you should play it.

Miko Adventures Puffball tells the story of an epic adventure that merges unique puzzles with challenging platforming and lots of dangers to deal with.

In the world of Puffball you play as Miko, a raccoon who lost his way while wandering through the forest, Miko discovers a portal and upon touching it he finds himself in a world full of dangers. 

Miko Adventures Puffball is full of vibrant colors, beautiful scenery, challenging platforming, tons of secrets to discover, and many types of enemies and unique massive levels to get lost into.

Old School Gamer Magazine: How was this game born?

Khaled Shaban Ali: The story begins in 2017 when I wanted to get into game development and create a game that combines things for almost everyone, whether it’s challenging gameplay and platforming, an emotional simple story, levels that feels like a whole new world waiting for the player to explore, smooth and tight controls, detailed and unique art style and many more aspects, I wanted to give the players freedom in how they want to experience this challenging adventure.

Miko was born when I played Hollow knight for the first time, at that moment I decided to create a game that has that feeling of being lost and at the same time the feeling of going on an adventure that feels endless but at the same time makes you feel that you’re so close to your goal, I named him “Miko” because it just felt perfect for him and then it bacame “Miko Adventures Puffball” in late 2019

Old School Gamer Magazine: What is your role in the game?

Ali: You play as Miko, a raccoon who lost his way while wandering through the forest, he discovers a portal and upon touching it he finds himself in a world full of dangers. Miko is transported into another dimension and your goal is to help him find a way back home but it wont be an easy journey at all.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What has development been like?

Ali: The best word to describe it “it has been a rollercoaster of emotions”.

Working alone for over 2 years on a project can really make you feel you’re wasting your time or not doing what you’re supposed to do in life, sometimes I get into some bad depression or I feel so terrible inside when I think to myself “Will people play my game when it comes out? Are they going to like it?” or when more than 100 publisher I send the game to rejected my game after saying they really like and enjoy it.

These moments can really destroy you, but let me tell you this… Every Time I go down, I always find myself getting back up again to continue working on the game, some months were just so hard to get through, programming everything alone and putting everything together, drawing giant levels that are so diverse from each other and so detailed… it’s been really tough sometimes, but I always get back.

But other times when I solve a bug or an issue in the game, it’s the best feeling ever and every time it happened, it was for me a step in the right direction, and it gives me that spark to keep going forward.

Also I’m a “perfectionist” so aiming for perfection in the game and not having any bugs can take such a long time and huge effort, testing the game for hundreds maybe thousands of times to get to that point of polish the game is currently at was so unbelievably difficult, my main goal from all of this was to give players a complete and almost a perfect game on release, I want players to feel they are there, and I can’t risk breaking the immersion by rushing the game or not fixing most of the bugs.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes this game special?

Ali: 1- The colorful cute art style with the challenging and unforgiving gameplay.
2- A cute story that goes really deep (A story about being lost all the time, always feeling close yet so far away).
3- Unique puzzles.
4- Very diverse and unique worlds to explore, each level will feel so different from the rest, the game will always feel fresh.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What games influenced this one the most?

Ali: Games with a cute look and a challenging gameplay like:

1- Hollow knight (this was the game that started it all)
2- Ori and the blind forest
3- Ori and the will of the wisps
4- Rayman series
5- Yoku’s Island Express

Old School Gamer Magazine: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

Ali: For sure, wild moments like when I discovered a bug that’s been sitting there so hidden after more than 18 months into development, it was a crazy feeling when I discovered it but thank god it got fixed and everything is perfect at the moment.

As for fun stories, I wouldn’t say fun but every time I solve an issue in the game it was like the best feeling ever, that was real fun for me.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What were the major lessons learned?

Ali: Commitment, patience and never giving up on something that you love doing.
Not only I learned new things about game development but I learned new things about my self.

Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

Yes 100% but the only thing I don’t think is important is to copy those mechanics as they are but I believe that you can copy and then improve that mechanic and make your own version of it, to make something new from it, to make it shine again as it was back then.

Old School Gamer Magazine: The marketplace is crowded. How do you think you stand out?

Ali: You know I always ask my self this question and I get to this answer “The art style”
Miko Adventures Puffball has a very unique art style and look from many other games.
Also the challenging gameplay with the cute look.

Here is a quote from a steam curator who tried a secret demo of the game:

“The artwork is really nice, I love it! Based on that, I initially thought that the game is aimed at casual players. Oh boy, I was really wrong with that! It’s way different”

Old School Gamer Magazine: How have your previous experiences in industry helped this game?

Ali: In early 2019 I released an early version of Miko Adventures Puffball called “Miko’s Adventures” it was on itch .io but it’s inaccessible at the moment.

It was the start of everything, lots of youtubers played it and from here the game started getting noticed more and more with time, and lots of people really feel in love with Miko so I decided to create the full game and make them something really special.

Old School Gamer Magazine: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?

Ali: I’ll be the happiest person alive when I see people playing Miko Adventures Puffball on youtube and twitch when it comes out, this will mean the world to me.

Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next? 

Ali: It’ll be the sequel to the epic story of Miko, I have plans to make something so unique and so different, but it’ll take a lot of effort and a lot of patience, I’m planning to expand the story a lot more with an even bigger world to get lost into, the story of Miko is just starting… I have a lot more to give to players.

Old School Gamer Magazine: Anything else you’d like to add?

Ali: Here are some quotes from people who played Miko Adventures Puffball early:

“The game ran really smooth. Very well designed game, honestly.”

“Good work on the controls. I often have issues with the controls when playing platformers, most of the times the controls are not great in various amounts, but Miko is one of the few games I can’t complain about.”

“The game is really cool, nice atmosphere, lovely assets and sweet music”

“Really love the world you have created here, cool art style and Miko is super cute!”

“The main character is adorable, love every second of this!”

Patrick Hickey Jr. Patrick Hickey Jr. (324 Posts)

Patrick Hickey, Jr., is the founder and editor-in-chief of ReviewFix.com and a lecturer of English and journalism at Kingsborough Community College, in Brooklyn, New York. Over the past decade, his video game coverage has been featured in national ad campaigns by top publishers the likes of Nintendo, Deep Silver, Disney and EA Sports. His book series, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Game Developers," from McFarland and Company, has earned praise from Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Daily News and MSG Networks. He is also a former editor at NBC and National Video Games Writer at the late-Examiner.com