Skip to main content
May 22, 2015

Appily ever after: Meet the husband and wife team who created a gaming hit

Great apps are often the product of great teamwork. So, what happens when that team are husband and wife?

Well, for Jyri and Piia Kilpeläinen based in Kotka in Finland, the answer is great things. Jyri is a software engineer who has a day job as a web developer while Piia is a construction engineer currently at home on child-care leave with their 4 and 2-year-old daughters (and two dogs).  They’ve been making mobile games in their spare time for almost 3 years and have so far released 5 mobile games ranging from a unique match-3, Mystic Marbles, to a tilt-controlled arcade game, Tiltagon. Tiltagon, which has just been released on Windows Phone, has already gained rave reviews on other platforms, so we hooked up with the developers to find out how they did it.

tiltagonHow did you wind up working together?

By hooking up at a local bar 15 years ago, 🙂 Actually, when we met, Piia wasn’t as interested in games as I was. I’ve loved video games since my childhood in the 80s. Sure, we did play some games together when we were dating but in general it’s me who has been the family’s gamer. Although Piia was pretty addicted to Candy Crush Saga at one point.

The first game we worked on together was Mystic Marbles which we released in January 2014. The game got actually started in September 2012 when I was working in a small game company. After the company was shut down, I became unemployed and decided to focus on the game while searching for a new job at the same time. During the time, Piia was on maternity leave so she was able to help with the game graphics and design in general. That’s how things basically got started.

What’s it like working together as spouses?

It’s actually really easy and straightforward. We throw around ideas together and when we think we could have something, we start prototyping with Unity3D. It’s an awesome game engine because you can make something playable really quickly. If we are pleased with the prototype, we start building a game around it.


We have been together for over 15 years so we know each other really well. We are really like-minded so it’s very rare to see us fighting or having an argument. We simply don’t want to spend our energy on such. Family is very important for both of us and that can be seen in everything we do. Our daughters also like to playtest our games so I guess you could call us a game developer family.

How do you divide the work? Who does what when it comes to creating games?

Because of his background, I take care of everything related to programming, user interfaces, and other technical stuff. Piia is more involved in game design and testing as well as some of the graphics.

What was the inspiration behind Tiltagon and why do you recommend it?

The main inspiration is Super Hexagon which is this hard twitch-style game made by Terry Cavanagh. We wanted to make something similar but add our own spin to it. That’s when we came up with the idea of replacing the touch controls with tilt controls. Because our time is pretty limited, we wanted to keep the graphics minimalistic, so we ended up using simple 3D shapes and vivid colors to give the game that pretty unique look.


The game is for everyone who loves a challenging game that they can pick up almost anywhere, be it on a bus stop or at home. Tiltagon can be played in both portrait and landscape modes so you can play it with one hand as well. We are also really pleased how the tilt controls turned out. The game’s iOS and Android versions are published by Noodlecake Games and they helped us a lot in getting the controls to feel just right.Tiltagon is also free and supports both Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 so there is absolutely no reason to not go and download it right now 😉

What do you like most about developing for Windows Phone?

Visual Studio is really handy from a programmer’s point of view. It’s fast and easy to use but still packed with all the necessary things in one package. Unity and Microsoft have also done a really good job in making the game developers’ lives as easy as possible with great plugins, support and developer programs.

So, there you have it. A fascinating insight into how a husband and wife team make gaming magic.  If you have any questions forPiia or Jyri be sure to pop them in the comments below. In the meantime, while download Tiltagon so you can see what all the fuss is about.