Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Stencilsmith’

Review Fix chats with Indie Games Developer Nick Sepi, who discusses his game “Stencilsmith,” detailing the development process to his goals for it. With an awesome story behind it and Sepi’s love of classic games as a foundation, “Stencilsmith” is a game you simply have to check out.

Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this game?

Nick Sepi: My newborn son was having difficulty sleeping through the night in his crib, so I would hold him in my arms all night as that was the only way to ensure he slept. Playing games on my phone was one of the only things I could do for the 6-8 hours he was sleeping so I played a lot of Threes. I played the heck out of it and loved it but eventually got bored of just adding numbers together and wished there was a game with it’s puzzle interface but more varied in it’s objectives and types of cards you could combine. At the same time I had been brainstorming ideas for an RPG you could play solely with one finger and eventually realized marrying the two ideas into one game might be interesting. It just took off from there.

Review Fix: What has development been like?

Sepi: As I mentioned, we had a newborn son and I was learning iOS development whilst creating this game so to be honest with you, it’s all kind of a blur because of everything that was happening at once. We were also selling our home in British Columbia, moved to Ontario and were searching for a new home. When I think back on all of that, I honestly can’t believe how coherent the game ended up being LOL. In the end I spent a lot of extremely late nights working and had it not been for my amazingly supportive and understanding wife, Kate, I would probably still be developing it. Working as a solo dev has a lot of pros because you’re on the same page with yourself on most things but sometimes you wish you had someone else to bounce ideas off of. Kate was that person but when it came to writing the code it was just me, myself and I which put a lot of doubt in my mind about whether or not I’d ever finish it successfully. Luckily everything seems to have worked out.

Review Fix: What games did you play as a kid? How did they influence this one?

Sepi: I think I was born at the absolute perfect time when it comes to the exposure to video games. When I was able to understand how to play them Atari was at the end of it’s run (my first console was the 2600) and the NES seemed to be absolutely everywhere (except my living room initially). I played the hell out of NES games like Super Mario Bros., Duck Tales, Tetris and Dr. Mario. At the height of the SNES’s life my go to games were Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Wario’s Woods, Zelda: A Link to the Past and Breath of Fire, a Squaresoft RPG (I had missed the boat on the Final Fantasy series as a young adult). Most of these games were either puzzlers or games where discovery is key. I think the most fun anyone can have with a game is one that rewards the player for taking what they know and trying something in the game that seems like it should work. When the player is successful, it makes them feel like they discovered some secret that maybe only they know about and it encourages them to experiment further. I tried to capture that feeling in Stencilsmith with all of the different types of combinations of cards you can make.

Review Fix: What do you think is the coolest feature in the game?

Sepi: I think the coolest feature of Stencilsmith is it’s ability to let the player choose if they just want to whet their RPG/Adventure game appetite by frantically swiping or engage in an epic quest in pursuit of reaching level 100 and beyond where every single swipe is a carefully calculated move.

Review Fix: Bottom line, why should someone play this?

Sepi: If you’re burnt out on adding 1’s and 2’s and want a puzzle game that let’s you level up by mining, crafting and battling dragons then Stencilsmith is your jam!

Review Fix: What are your goals for the game?

Sepi: I’ve spent the past several years looking for something I could envision doing for the rest of my life and finally found it. My goal for this game is to continue to refine it to be the most fun and rewarding it can be for anyone who plays it so I can make the next game.

Review Fix: What’s next?

Sepi: I’m currently working on a massive update to Stencilsmith that will add three new game modes with leaderboards, new animations, a refined tutorial and better user experience. At the same time I’ve been testing out some concepts that will hopefully evolve into my next game which, like Stencilsmith, will be developed whilst taking care of a newborn later this year.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13073 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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