Justin Bender is from Prince Albert, lived in Regina for 10 years, but now calls Moose Jaw home.

He owns and operates a recording studio in town, Divergence Sounds, performs with a number of bands, and now has his very own mobile game available for free on the Apple and Google Play store.

Justin Bender

The game is called 'Xero Hour', and he explains the premise.

"The game itself is kind of a little 8-bit style throwback to the NES days from when I was a kid. It looks and feels like that era but it plays like a modern mobile game and it's completely designed around using a simple one-tap-touch. The main character crash lands on a planet, and that's kind of the backstory."

The game is completely free, and while there are a few in-app purchases you can make, Bender says that wasn't a priority at all while developing it. Bender says since its release, he's been surprised by the reception it's received.

"During the first week of release, it hit #2 Trending Adventure Games on the Google Play store actually. It was short-lived but the fact that enough people jumped on it right away quickly that it jumped up a chart was really cool. I didn't know what to expect at all because I've released a lot of music in my life but definitely never a video game, although I've always wanted to."

Bender says the game's name is based on music by his progressive metal band 'Third Ion' which is made up of members all across Canada. The in-game music has a very retro-sound as well but is actually 8-bit versions of his band's music.

All in all, the game took Bender about two and a half years to put together, and he says its look and design were influenced by his favourite childhood games such as Mega-Man, Metroid, and Mario. He did most of the artistic work for the project, however, he did contract an artist to redo some of the key points of the game.

While nothing is in the works yet, he says he does have an idea for his next game but doesn't want to get too ahead of himself just yet.