All Posts By Jordan Minor
It’s the 10th anniversary of the modern classic teen comedy Mean Girls, and what better way to reach out to young fans of the film than on the mobile devices they are constantly staring it. After proving just how fabulous they could be with their RuPaul mobile games, So Much Drama Studios is now preparing to launch a new tower defense Mean Girls game. We spoke with Jeff Meador, head of the studio, about surviving the high school jungle on the go.
148Apps: How did the studio first get involved with making a Mean Girls game? Were there fans on staff that wanted to do it? Did it seem like a good fit for the studio after the RuPaul games?
Jeff Meador (JM): We were thrilled at the opportunity to work on a Mean Girls game. Who wouldn’t be? It’s such an amazing movie. When the possibility came up, we buckled down and made sure we had a really strong concept for the game so that we could do the project.
Working on the RuPaul games definitely worked in our favor for this. We had worked with licensed content and licensed talent before, and Paramount saw how we took the spirit of that show and really made it shine in Dragopolis. They were excited to see how we could do the same for Mean Girls.
148Apps: The game celebrates the 10th anniversary of the movie. Did the studio work with anyone from the movie while making the game?
JM: We worked very closely with Paramount throughout the process, and they’ve been great partners. They handled all of the communications with the talent that appears in the game.
The characters in Mean Girls are so iconic and well-loved. We wanted to make sure that when we were using them, we were staying true to their personalities. One of the hardest parts of creating the game was ensuring the dialog and scenarios were on-point. In the end, we think we’ve been able to capture the spirit of the movie in this game. It’s fun, it’s funny, and, to quote Gretchen, “so fetch!”
148Apps: Of all the genres to choose from, why did the team decide to make a tower defense game based on Mean Girls?
JM: We did a lot of internal brainstorming on different ways that we could use Mean Girls in a game. The movie set us up for a great jumping off point with its final lines of dialog: “And if any freshman tried to disturb that peace… Well, let’s just say we knew how to take care of it.”
We started by looking at a lot of the different characters in the game. We knew up front that we had access to a lot of the likenesses, so we wanted to make sure that these people were front and center. We kept coming back to Janis’ map of North Shore High School and really wanted to bring all of the Cliques into play. The game that we came up with really lets us show each Clique’s personality. We brought in characters like Cady and Regina who, in our original design, gave a fairly passive bonus to the Cliques. However, in early play testing we discovered that we could really use those characters more, so now you need to move folks like Gretchen around the play field to answer questions about the movie and deliver a bonus to the Cliques. It’s a really fun layer that we’ve created on top of a more traditional game style.
148Apps: Many people probably don’t think a movie like Mean Girls and a video games go well together. Why should fans of the movie check out the game?
JM: Oh my God, Karen, you can’t just ask people why they should check out the game!
But seriously, this is a game that’s made by some huge Mean Girls fans. The game has a lot of memorable lines and moments that pop up, but with an added twist. Being able to recognize things like Regina’s mom’s dog or Karen’s Halloween costume gives you a small boost in the game. We’ve spent a lot of time crafting different aspects of the game to really reflect the Mean Girls spirit.
Mean Girls: The Game will be launching soon. Thanks again to Jeff Meador for his time.
Are you wondering whether or not it’s worth getting this invested in a plane construction sim in the fist place? Check out our SimplePlanes review!
Building planes in real life is complicated, so it only makes sense that constructing your own flying machines in SimplePlanes is complicated, too. The game does a lot to explain its depth to would-be engineers, but it can still get a little overwhelming. So are here are some simple tips for building better simple planes.
Easily the most daunting aspect of creating your first airplane is just figuring out all the vocabulary words. So here’s a little cheat sheet to help you keep them all straight.
Continue reading SimplePlanes – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Conquer your Fear of Flying »
It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for some arbitrary internet awards! In this wrap-up episode of Who Wore it Best? we present our winners for the best, worst, and flat-out weirdest cloned games that graced the App Store in 2014.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may still be a few months away, but very soon players will be able to get a new taste of the acclaimed Polish RPG on their mobile devices with The Witcher Battle Arena. While it trades open-world exploration for compact multiplayer brawls, we see how much of that old Witcher charm remains in this edition of It Came From Canada!
The Witcher Battle Arena definitely has a lot of MOBA elements, but its changes are significant enough to keep it from fitting squarely into that genre. Players choose from a handful of characters from Witcher lore, like lumbering trolls or agile archers, each with their own skills to master like giant arrows or fire storms. From there they team up with two other players to fight another team of three, whether it’s online humans or bots, to the death.
But instead of using typical MOBA ideas like creeps or lanes or turrets or crystals, here battles boil down to direct confrontations and capturing outposts. To whittle their opponents’ health to zero, players kill their foes as well as maintain control over the three outposts as long as possible. Conquering a neutral outpost takes just a few moments, but once they are all quickly snapped up, players must last long enough to completely steal control points for their team. This back and forth makes up much of the game. Although the limited arenas are compact to the point of claustrophobic, teams must still make sure not to spread themselves too thin as they try to take enemy territory while simultaneously protecting the base. The variety of skills and shop upgrades add to the tactics, and just one well-executed surge can move a match from a stalemate to a decisive victory in minutes. It’s about being in the thick of constant carnage instead of sneakily circumventing it looking for the last kill. Compared to most MOBAs, it’s less detached.
It also looks pretty good considering its unenviable position of being compared to a gorgeous AAA console cousin. The smaller maps allow for more details and the grim fantasy aesthetic of The Witcher shines through. It may not surpass Vainglory’s visuals, which are a graphical showcase for iOS MOBAs and iOS games (period), but it’s impressive nonetheless.
Just as The Witcher refuses to be like all other RPGs, The Witcher Battle Arena rejects rigid MOBA conventions. We’ll see how well that pays off when the game fully launches soon.
Over their long history, Square Enix has become synonymous with big, epic, blockbuster Japanese RPGs. But while mobile may be a great place for ports of classics like Chrono Trigger, when crafting a new game the company has to make something a little more modest than Final Fantasy XII 3. Heavenstrike Rivals is that new game, and we see how well it lives up to its pedigree in this edition of It Came From Canada!
While the game was made in collaboration with English studio Mediatonic, it’s hard not to notice the Final Fantasy style all over it. From the exciting but ultimately nonsensical name, to the plot involving brave youths rescuing a quaint and vaguely European world from a rising darkness, it’s pretty obvious where this game comes from. Fortunately it also has production values that rival its AAA cousins. The illustrated artwork is luscious and detailed, battle animations for the chibi characters are a delight, and the jaunty music sets the mood for adventure.
And players will need to be in the mood because Heavenstrike Rivals‘ strategic gameplay will demand a lot of their time, even if it is broken up into chunks via energy meters. Using units they’ve gathered, players face off against opponents on a board game-like grid. The goal is to have their army reach the end and begin attacking the other player directly. However, this requires fighting through the enemy units coming after them. It’s a straightforward idea, and the compact arena limits more extravagant strategies, but the game does offer depth through its unit variety.
Players gain access to more of their forces over the course of the round, and knowing all their quirks is where the fun begins. From the fighters’ increasing strength, to the scouts’ multiple hits, to the defenders’ shields, to the gunners’ range, effectively combining these abilities is the key to an effective squad. Plus it’s just satisfying to watch an enemy fall for your carefully planned trap. Outside of battle players can improve their squad even more by leveling-up stats, modifying magic users, and recruiting special vanguards to lead the assault.
A few years ago, Square Enix released a little strategy game for DSiWare called Dragon Quest Wars that entertained in a way similar to Heavenstrike Rivals. We’ll see if the larger App Store audience will be as receptive when the new game launches worldwide soon.
We recently got our hands on Heavenstrike Rivals, an intriguing upcoming strategy game from Square Enix and Mediatonic that’s currently in a soft launch phase. To learn more about the game and the East/West collaboration that created it, we spoke with Masanori Ichikawa, a game producer at Square Enix, and Paul Croft, Director of Games at Mediatonic.
148Apps: First, could you give a brief overview of Heavenstrike Rivals?
Masanori Ichikawa (MI): Heavenstrike Rivals was created as a joint effort between Square Enix and Mediatonic, a studio in England. It’s a brand new tactical RPG. One of the game’s key features is the real-time PvP multiplayer.
148Apps: You described the game as a tactical RPG with PvP combat. What does that mean exactly? What would you compare it to?
MI: It means that you can battle in real-time, like if you were playing chess, over the internet with other players.
Paul Croft (PC): I would compare it to many multiplayer games you might find on PC. We have multiple types of leagues and tournaments, similar in structure to those in Starcraft 2 or League of Legends. Players can compete directly with others across the world for the top places and earn promotions into new divisions if they perform well.
Continue reading Heavenstrike Rivals – An Interview with the Makers of Square Enix’s Latest Strategy RPG »
I think by now we all know that when pocket-sized elemental creatures with awesome powers are afoot, there’s really no other choice than to try and collect all of them. And in case that last sentence wasn’t clear enough, yes, Moonrise is a lot like Pokémon. But it does put its own spin on monster battling, and we find out just how original it is in this edition of It Came From Canada!
When a peaceful race of creatures known as the Solari is corrupted into bestial Lunari through “Moonrise,” it’s up to the player to tame and purify them. But Moonrise‘s world isn’t all dark and foreboding. The game opens with the player graduating into a Warden, and it feels like a friendly martial arts exam. Still, the mood is oddly dour for such a kid-friendly genre, and part of that is due to the aesthetic. Instead of the expressive and cutesy anime characters one might expect, people look weirdly old and realistic, wearing contemporary clothing while exploring ancient ruins. The monsters themselves are more stylized, which is a given considering names like Snaptrap and Buzzle, but they also have a strange, earthy edge that tips over into almost frightening. But style aside, when it comes to visuals, what the game should focus on before launch is fixing its erratic frame rate and overall sluggish feel.
Players can take on quests and visit side towns, but monster battles are where it’s really at. In the wild, players encounter savage Lunari and can either defeat them outright or trap and train them with their limited Warden keys. Elemental match-ups follow the typical rock-paper-scissors formula where water beats fire, fire beats grass, and so on. Players can also challenge rival Wardens. Once the fighting starts, players launch their attacks in real-time. However, different attacks have different recharge periods, so players must juggle between different skills to keep up the offensive. They can use two Solari at a time and swap between them at will. Players can even use lengthy but powerful attacks of their own to give their team an extra push. It’s hard to say if this system is any better than a standard turn-based one, but at least it is different.
History has shown that the only things people “gotta catch” all of are these monster battling games themselves. Players will get their chance to snag Moonrise when the game launches worldwide soon.