Danfo Racer is the latest project from Maliyo Games. A racing game inspired by Danfo which is a public bus and popular form of transport in Nigeria. The early access version of the game has great ambient sounds that in many ways resemble those I am used to in Kenya accompanied by some afro-beats that transport you to the streets of Lagos.

The bright colours that are also evident in the game’s trailer awake your senses and mirror the brightness that is Lagos city. I had a chance to ask Hugo Obi the CEO of Maliyo Games some questions about the game and he had the following to share.

What inspired the name Danfo Racer?

I wanted to create an authentic racing game inspired by my environment. I don’t know if you’re aware, but the Danfo bus is a living icon in Nigeria. It symbolizes much of what Lagos represents and features heavily in music videos from famous Nigerian artists and in popular artwork. We wanted to extend the reach of the Danfo bus into a classic racing game and bring it to the 21st century. 

What is the story behind the game?

We played around with a lot of narratives about the hustle and bustle of a busy city, but this hasn’t really been applied to the game. For now, it’s just a classic twisty circuit with multiple challenges for the player to get a feel of speed and control. The game is still in beta and we’re looking forward to future updates 

Who are the team behind Danfo Racer and what is their expertise?

We work with mostly beginner game developers as the industry isn’t fully developed. Most of the team have zero experience building a racing game and we learnt so much with the first version of Danfo Racer. The hope is that we can further develop the game and in doing so, we can build the expertise to enable us to build more racing games in the future. 

How has the team’s experience been while developing the game?

It has been a really fun and exciting experience building Danfo Racer. We had to make millions of decisions from the art style to the design, to the mechanics, to the racing lines, to the environmental theme and to the level progression systems. It’s a whole lot for an inexperienced team, but they took it in their stride. This is what game development is all about making design decisions that impact gameplay experience. We’re not done yet 🙂

What has been the greatest challenge in the development of Danfo Racer?

The biggest challenge we faced early on was designing a track that was fun to race in and developing an understanding of what makes a racing circuit fun. This took us back to how famous race tracks were designed and how you combine corners and straights to create a fun experience. Next was our progression system to create enough incentives for the player.  

How long has the game been in development and when do you hope to be completely done?

We started the process of development in March 2021 and released the public alpha in December 2021. We hope to continue developing the game into 2022 and plan to complete the game before the end of the year. The final game will have 4 different gameplay scenes and multiple gameplay challenges including a story mode.  

To conclude Hugo said. “We wanted to create an authentic feel of the city of Lagos. The ambient sound you hear at the start was actually recorded by us on the streets of Lagos. We hope to add more live ambient sounds and original soundtracks before the game is completed.” 

The early access version of Danfo Racer can be experienced here.