Apple picks Saskatoon tech firm to lead Canada 150 game series

Noodlecake Studio

Noodlecake Studios, a Saskatoon-based mobile game development and publishing company consisting of U of S Computer Science alumni, is expected to be the first Canadian firm featured when Apple Inc. launches a new series on its App Store celebrating the country’s best game makers. Noodlecake plans to celebrate the occasion on Thursday by releasing a new “minimalistic puzzle game” called Invert to coincide with the launch of the series on Apple’s mobile platforms. 

“There are amazing studios across this entire country that are doing some amazing games,” said Ryan Holowaty, Noodlecake’s vice president of business, who has been with the small game company since shortly after it was formed in 2011. “Being first in that list? I’m not even sure if we deserve it, to be honest. But it makes it even more humbling that (Apple) decided to bestow that upon us. It’s a culmination of the work we’ve been doing here.”

Noodlecake is best known for its original success, the iOS game Super Stickman Golf, and its sequels. But the company — which has about a dozen employees, many of whom are University of Saskatchewan graduates — is more than a game developer. Its technology for “porting” games to other mobile operating systems without rewriting reams of code helped launch its publishing arm, which today pushes out games by developers around the world, Holwaty said. For example, Invert — which asks players to align different coloured tiles on a grid by pressing buttons and will be available for download at 12 p.m. Thursday — was developed by Copenhagen-based Glitchnap, he said. 

The firm also recently spun out a software consulting and development business. That company, which is now a separate entity with about 10 employees, is responsible for scheduling software used by health regions in Saskatchewan and B.C. Noodlecake is part of a group of local companies that is developing an international reputation. Holowaty said it’s important that the city’s small but vibrant tech sector is recognized. “Everybody assumes that when you’re in the tech world in Canada you’re in Toronto or Vancouver. So to be able to tell people that, no, we’re actually smack in the middle of that, (shows) that it doesn’t matter. We can still get that type of recognition.”

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