Editor-in-Chief with the 148Apps Network since April 29, 2011
A resident New Yorker who likes to play video games (and board games these days), then tell people about them. Also a fan of the indie development scene. Owns his own Gravity Gun/Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator.
At this point in the month, you or at least a few people you know are probably getting ready to scramble around (or are already scrambling around) for Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s a hectic day of precise oven utilization, but there’s also the whole family and camaraderie thing.
We’ve already put together a handy list of useful apps that should make your Thanksgiving a breeze, but what if you want to unwind while staying in the holiday spirit or practice for the insanity that is to come? Well you’re in luck, because now we’ve got a list of a half-dozen iOS games that evoke all sorts of Thanksgiving feelings – both heartwarming and… well, not so heartwarming. Continue reading Six iOS Games to Get You Ready for Thanksgiving »
It’s All Hallows’ Eve once again. And what better way to enjoy the holiday spirit(s) than to have a good scare – or ten?
Since nobody at 148Apps could come up with an answer to that question we’ve created a list of our top picks for spooky, creepy, scary, and unsettling iOS titles in honor of the ghoulish festival. Hopefully these games won’t be too much for you to handle…
The Walking Dead – Season 1
The Walking Dead isn’t conventionally scary in the “Aargh! What the heck just jumped out at me??” kind of way, but it’s distinctly unnerving. It taps into that instinct to protect those we care about then shows us just how easily the life we once knew can be taken away forever. Forcing you to make tough decisions that are a matter of life and death mean you never get a chance to calm down or relax. Instead, you’re constantly on edge in a world that makes no sense any more. If that’s not deeply scary, I don’t know what is. – Jennifer Allen
Ellie – Help me out… please
Ellie – Help me out… please is a short, but creepy puzzle game that revolves around the player’s interactions with a kidnapped girl through a security camera feed. It definitely has some Saw vibes thanks to its puzzle room nature and voyeuristic perspective.
Remember Puzzle Quest? Just about everybody loved Puzzle Quest, and the team behind the match-3 game that made match-3 games interesting again is back with a sort of spiritual successor to their puzzle/RPG hybrid: Gems of War.
Gems of War has a lot in common with Infinite Interactive’s earlier game. You get to match colored runes to activate spells and skills, you can match skulls to damage your enemies, and there’s decidedly some leveling-up going on behind closed doors (note: the doors aren’t closed – they’re actually wide open). However, things have been streamlined a bit as well.
Regrettably there’s no crafting in Gems of War, but you’ll be able to fight other players in asynchronous battles and can even join a guild with other players. Emphasis has also been placed on your characters this time around, with you being able to create a party using your chosen hero, a weapon, and three other characters to assist you in combat. Different characters (of which there are over 100 planned) require different runes to activate their abilities, and they can be leveled-up using materials taken from selling off the useless ones.
Another nice feature is that both iOS and Android users will be able to play with (or against) each other, and can even access their account across multiple platforms.
Gems of War will be hitting the App Store for free sometime before the holiday season.
Oh no, it’s not that kind of ‘skin.’ I’m talking about the kind of skins you can put on electronic devices to dress them up a bit.
These oversized stickers come with a backing that makes removing air bubbles easier, are custom cut to fit whatever device you order them for, and are available in all sorts of styles. I mean a lot. It’s Redbubble. The site is full of all sorts of interesting artwork, and if you don’t like what you see you can always make your own like I did.
These new skins should be rolling out later this week and will be available for a number of different devices, including the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5s, and 5C as well as the iPad Air, Mini, and Gen 2/3/4.
Do you like Warhammer? Are you looking forward to, or even just curious about, the upcoming Space Wolf mobile game from Herocraft? Then you should head on over to AppSpy because they’re going to be giving away codes for both the game itself and free booster packs as they stream everything on Twitch in a couple of hours. Or, you know, you could hang out here and watch the stream down below. That works, too.
The fun will start at 9am PDT, 12pm EST, 5pm BST. Watch, have fun, maybe get a free prerelease game out of it. What’s not to like?
Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It’s finally happened. Today, Republique has passed the halfway point. Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes is now available.
This latest (and longest) episode has Hope attempting to bring down her captors by exposing the truth, with a little help from the local newspaper’s editor-in-chief. The propagandized government (if you could call it that) controlled newspaper. Seems like a bit of a conundrum.
You can get your hands on Republique for $4.99, and you can download the latest episode for $2.99. You could also spend $11.99 for the season pass for episodes 3-5 if you already have episode 2, or $14.99 for the whole season pass (episodes 2-5).
Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Things are getting weird in Fruit Ninja, and it don’t look good. You ya gonna call?
That’s right, with Halloween even more around the corner than the last time I mentioned it was around the corner, Halfbrick has gone and put Ghostbusters in your Fruit Ninja. Ghostbusters gear for all the characters, special Ghostbusters fruit, a Ghostbusters dojo – they went all-out for the film’s 30th anniversary.
You can grab the Ghostbusters update now for free, and you can download Fruit Ninja for $0.99 (assuming you haven’t already).
Next week, Puzzle & Dragons is getting a little angry. Because, you know, Angry Birds. It’s a… a pun. I thought… never mind.
Anywhosits, starting next week on 10/20 and running through 11/2, Puzzle & Dragons will feature a brand new dungeon inspired by Angry Birds Epic. You’ll be able to recruit the help of familiar Epic characters, as well as some classic birds for those who might have missed the last crossover event, and you’ll of course be fighting some mean old piggies along the way.
You can download Puzzle & Dragons – and even Angry Birds Epic for that matter – off the App Store now for free.
Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
har.mo.ny 2, the mellow puzzler, has just gotten even more mellow.
The game’s latest update introduces Sleep Mode: a new game mode that’s purposely designed to put you to sleep. How? By using colors and music together to help you relax. As you play a sleep timer will count down, and as the timer counts down the music will get softer and the screen will dim almost imperceptibly, with the idea that you’ll be out for the count before the timer hits 0. And once it does hit 0 it will shut itself off.
If you’re already enjoying har.mo.ny 2 you can download the new update now. If you haven’t tried it, and the idea of a game that also functions as a sleep aid sounds appealing, you can download it off the App Store for $1.99.
In a move that surprised nobody, mostly because we all saw it coming, Apple has unveiled their latest iPad: the iPad Air 2. It’s the new thing you need to buy, naturally.
The iPad Air 2 is, of course, even thinner than the original Air – 6.1mm, to be exact. It also uses a special anti-reflective coating to reduce reflections, which Apple claims has never been done in a tablet before. Touch ID will also be available on the new iPad, and it’ll ship with iOS 8.1, but you’re probably more interested in performance and such.
The tablet will use an all-new A8X processor, which (at the moment) will only be available in the iPad Air 2. The result is 40% faster CPU performance, and apps that can run over twice as fast – up to 180X faster than the original iPad. It’s also got a 10-hour battery life, which is decent I suppose.
The iSight Camera has been updated as well, with 8 MP, 1080p HD video, and the ability to take all sort of fancy shots – slow-mo videos, 43 MP panoramas, burst photos, timelapse, and dual microphones. There’s also an improved Facetime camera for the front that allows for improved facial detection and burst selfies (hurray?).
The online features have been improved as well, with faster wifi (up to 866MBps) and faster LTE (20 LTE bands).
The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 64GB, and $699 for 128GB for the wifi models. There’s also going to be a new iPad Mini 3, with a 7.9″ Retina display, a 5MP iSight camera, 1080p HD video recording, the improved FaceTime camera, Touch ID, and the improved wifi (802.11n with MIMO). Both new iPads will be available for preorder starting tomorrow and they’ll ship by the end of next week.
Okay, okay, so it’s not out worldwide yet. But the fact that it’s out over there means it’s only a matter of time before it’s released everywhere else. And it looks like it might be something worth waiting for, besides.
For starters, it’s selling for ¥2,800, which ends up being about $26.00. So this is definitely a premium release. Based on the tiny screen shots it’s also looking good, possibly with a little bit of extra flair thrown in to the battles. And do my eyes deceive me or does it look like parties will contain more than the series’ usual (and measly) two this time?
We’ll know for certain one way or another once Chaos Rings III is inevitably released in the US.
Big Wave Beach Part 1 has come to Plants vs. Zombies 2, bringing 16 new levels along with it. The update also adds new zombies (naturally), more plants, a new bowling mini-game, and tides that go in and out as you play. But it’s not just about the beach. Halloween is also drawing near, so (starting on October 24) you can expect Lawn of the Doom Piñata Parties – complete with thematic costumes. You’ll also be able to get your mitts on the premium Ghost Pepper for a limited time. And if that’s not enough, now you can dress up your plants with the Costume Changer.
You can get Plants vs Zombies 2 for free, and the Big Wave Beach update is available now.
Posted by Rob Rich on October 14th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
These days most network sites (especially those with cartoons like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network) are jam-packed with what could be interpreted as “way too much content.” Games, video clips, quizzes, etc. And now we have Cartoon Network Anything to bring that same glut of content to your iPhone.
Anything is a sort of potluck of bite-sized Cartoon Network goodies. Think of it as a sort of digital activity book. One moment you might be drawing a mustache on one of the Teen Titans, and the next you’ll have a dance-off with Adventure Time’s Banana Guy. Because, you know (I’m sorry in advance), “Anything Goes.”
You can download Cartoon Network Anything right now for free.
I’d like to think that we’re all familiar with N-Fusion Interactive, but for those of you who aren’t, I imagine you’ve at least heard of some of the games they’ve been involved with: Space Noir, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, and Deus Ex: The Fall to name a few. The studio has done some pretty impressive work on iOS over the years, and now they’re getting ready to release the RPG they’ve always wanted to make.
The world of Ember seems like a fascinating one. The game is titles after the world’s most valuable natural resource, which is used for all sorts of things from providing energy to a city to being set in jewelry. What’s more, it has intelligence. The larger the chunk of Ember, the smarter it is, to the point that you might find yourself squaring off against some rather (understandably) hostile giant crystals.
Ember also plays into your story, not just the over-arching story of the world. Throughout the game you’ll acquire Ember shards, which you can then decide to sell off for a tidy profit or set free – much like freeing or harvesting a Little Sister when you stop and think about it. Creepy.
Ember can best be compared to PC classics like Ultima and Baldur’s Gate. It uses a top-down isometric perspective, sure, but the similarities go a bit further than that. The world is also incredibly large, and will never need to load when traveling from one area to another. It has day/night cycles, weather, multiple homes to own, NPCs have their own schedules and behaviors that they keep to, and even the animals interact with each other (i.e. cats chase mice, wolves hunt deer, etc) on their own.
Items are also liberally sprinkled throughout the world (think just about anything Elder Scrolls) and all of them can be picked up. Or dropped, of course. There’s also a crafting system, so you’ll be able to turn ore you’ve mined into a new weapon or mix potions using materials gathered from the woods. And yes, there are readable books.
Combat is in real time, but you can pause the action at any point while you plan your tactics and activate skills. And speaking of skills, they’re tied to your equipment as opposed to being in some sort of tree. The reasoning behind this is simple: to prevent players from getting “stuck” playing a class they decide they don’t like. If you’re 12 hours in (the game touts 30 hours of gameplay, 180 quests, innumerable sidequests, etc) and decide focusing on melee combat isn’t doing it for you, it’ll be easy to start playing around with fireballs and lighting bolts instead. And of course when you put on new gear and equip new weapons they’ll all show up on your character.
There’s no official release date for Ember yet, but it’s coming along nicely and looks to be close to completion based on the build I was shown. Pricing is also still up in the air, but it’s definitely going to be a premium title – no ads, timers, etc. At the moment it’s being designed for the iPad, but I’ve been told there’s a chance we may see a separate iPhone version as well. Either way I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Posted by Rob Rich on October 13th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Imangi Studios has gone and teamed-up with NFLPlayers Inc, and the result is a bit more sports in one of the App Store’s more popular runners.
Throughout the season, many of the NFL’s top players will be added to Temple Run 2 as playable characters. These sports stars will only be available for a limited time (via in-app purchase, of course), but will remain unlocked indefinitely who anyone that purchases them. First to make their way into the Temple Run universe are Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson (pictured).
Temple Run 2 is available on the App Store for free, and you can download the new NFL players for $0.99 each.
Posted by Rob Rich on October 13th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
As Pocket Gamer has pointed out, Electronic Super Joy: Groove City has quietly made its way to iOS. It’s also been pointed out that the crazy dace-happy adventure comes with its own Steam key.
Now I’m all for funky music-centric games, but the inclusion of a Steam key is particularly fascinating and exciting. With more and more games becoming available on both mobile and PC, it makes all kinds of sense to do something like this. More so than to do it the other way around, actually, thanks to Apple’s limit on the number of promotional codes a developer can generate.
I’m thinking (and hoping) that it’s something we’ll be seeing more of in the future, but what do you think? Is this a one-off fluke or could this be a sign of what’s to come for cross-platform games? Could there be a chance we’ll see PSN and Xbox Live codes as pack-ins with mobile games in the future?
You can grab Electronic Super Joy: Groove City off the App Store now for $4.99.
At EA’s annual “Naughty & Nice” event in NYC last week, I was able to check out a few interesting mobile titles. I’ve already mentioned SimCity BuildIt, but there are two more up-and-comers worth talking about: Peggle Blast and Rescue Quest.
Peggle Blast is, you guessed it, more Peggle. Specifically it’s more in-line with Peggle 2 as many of the same folks who worked on the console sequel have had their hands in this new mobile release.
Music that changes up to suit the mood (i.e. when you’re running low on shots, etc) has made the transition from the second game. The “Ode to Joy” segment that comes after you clear the final peg has also been dressed up a bit, and now spits out any balls you may have remaining to create some serious bouncy-madness for some extra points. It’s even possible for this celebration to end up clearing the entire board for you. Some memorable Masters are also returning, along with a few new faces that bring a new powers to the table (board?).
Peggle Blast doesn’t have an official release date yet, but it will be coming to the App Store “very soon” for free.
My initial impression of Rescue Quest was of yet another match-3 tile clearing game, similar to that one about the candy. However, while the point is to match like-shapes and clear tiles, the goal isn’t to clear the whole board.
Instead, you’ll need to clear tiles in order to create a path for your character that stretches from the entrance of the level to the exit. You can double-tap to change the route they take (i.e. guide them through a longer stretch with fewer obstacles, take as straight a line as possible, etc) for a little more control as well. And in later levels, you’ll also have enemies to contend with that you can damage by creating matches in the areas they’re standing.
Rescue Quest is also due out sometime this year, and will be free-to-play.
SimCity BuildIt has been teased here and there, but specific details have been a bit sparse. That is, until now.
We recently had the chance to ask EA Mobile’s Vice President and General Manager, Jason Willig, some questions about the series’ new mobile outing. I was also able to get a live demo at EA’s recent Naughty & Nice event in New York, so I’ve got some serious impressions to share. After the questions, of course.
Pokemon TCG Online marks the first official release of a Pokemon game on iOS, and our initial impressions have been rather positive to boot. No doubt many of you have already begun building your decks and hunting for rare cards – and if it’s indeed cards you’re after, then we have a treat for you.
We’ve gotten our mitts on a special code available only for 148Apps readers, which can be redeemed in-game (across all versions) for a free booster pack – and reading this makes you a 148Apps reader, so hurray for you! This random booster may include cards from a number of recent expansions, such as Black & White – Legendary Treasures, XY, XY – Flashfire, or XY – Furious Fists.
Just input the code 148APPS-PLAYS-POKEMON-TCGO (valid for 1 use per game account) and you’re all set. But don’t dawdle – the code will expire this Friday, October 10.
If you haven’t downloaded Pokemon TCG Online yet, you can grab it off the App Store now for free. Oh, and let us know if you get anything good!
Monsu looks to be a cute and cuddly little runner/platformer from Angry Birds alum Boomlagoon. I was able to get my hands on it for a bit and I can confirm that it is, in fact, cute and cuddly. It’s also got a lot of cards to collect and equip, which is a bit different for the genre. Good different, form what I’ve seen.
In between choosing a card to bring into battle, smashing houses while collecting coins, and generally laying waste to those who would oppose me, I had the chance to speak to Boomlagoon’s CEO, Antti Sten, about the interesting hybrid.
148Apps: Would you say Monsu is a runner/platformer with card collecting elements, or a card collector with platformer/runner elements? Antti Sten (AS): It’s like a platformer, endless runner, with this card-collecting aspect. Basically you get to collect 40 different cards, and you can equip three of them at a time. All of them bring this really cool visual and helping aspect to the game, so you can run with these companions and buddies that make it like a whole different experience depending on what cards you choose.
The core game is the runner, of course. You can play the game without the cards but you can’t play it without the running.
148Apps: What was it like to hybridize two very different genres? Were there any particular challenges? Anything easier than you’d expected? AS: We thought we’d have trouble figuring out what the cards would be, because we wanted each of them to be richer than some power-up. There are some like that but most of them are really game-changing. It went pretty smoothly, really. We had a few challenges with other mechanics, like for example the social mechanics. We currently have leaderboards and you can share with other players, but we’ve been trying to figure out what would be the most convenient features to include.
148Apps: Where did the idea for a runner/card hybrid come from? AS: It’s always hard to say specifically when the game idea was born. At one point we were trying to figure out how to make a different kind of endless runner – we had all kinds of ideas, like what kind of controls could you have, should there be attacking – and at one point we started to wonder “What if it was more like a platformer?”
Of course with platformers you’re thinking about Super Mario Brothers, and one of the key aspects of that game is that you can get these power-ups that really change the way that you play the game; for example, when you get the fire flower you play totally differently than when you get the star. We wanted to create something like that with Monsu‘s cards. And of course we went overboard and now we have around 40 of them.
148Apps: Did you learn anything from the development of Angry Birds or Noble Nutlings that helped with the development of Monsu? AS: Simplistic UI is always something that we want to have – let users get straight to the game, and not have too many screens to handle. And of course there’s the graphical style, which we’ve carried over from previous games.
148Apps: I imagine the climate of the App Store has changed a bit since releasing Angry Birds and even Noble Nutlings. Do you think that may have changed the way you approached Monsu? AS: Yeah, I guess that one of the things that really has changed for us is that now we require much more depth. We wouldn’t want to publish a game with just like one mechanic and X amount of challenges or levels, so there has to be some kind of progression – something to fiddle with. That’s one of the things that’s going to be very different from Noble Nutlings.
148Apps: Have there been any trends or reactions you’ve seen in the App Store lately that have you concerned about how Monsu will be received? AS: The genre itself – really casual, easy to play games – there aren’t many that have been all that successful. If you look in the App Store, the Top Grossing games based on revenue are usually like casino, resource management, and licensed games, which Monsu is not. But Monsu is a fun game, and there’s always been room for these types of games!
Thanks to Antti Sten for his time. Monsu is available to download on the App Store now, for free.
With the release of iOS 8 (finally), Apple has made some noticeable changes on the App Store – bundles, videos, and Testflight integration, to name a few. Many of these additions will make things friendlier for App Store shoppers, but how has it been affecting developers? I asked George Ko (Quantum Sheep), Brandon Pollet (F5 Games), and Nadav B (NAFNA) what they thought of Apple’s changes to the developer submission process, and their answers were rather illuminating.
Surprise! The Rules Have Changed!
With all the changes to the App Store that had been announced back in June when Apple officially revealed iOS 8, it’s not all that shocking to think that there might be a few more boxes to check off when submitting a new app. However, it seems as though there wasn’t a whole lot of forewarning.
According to Pollet, “I didn’t have any real warning about the submission changes. I’m sure the information was out there but I just happened to log into iTunes Connect last week and the entire interface was different.” Nadav had a similar story, and said, “we have been given access to iOS beta 2 as of June 20, yet, as to submission guidelines, I can find no info.”
The iPhone 6 is out tomorrow, and plenty of people are excited about it. So much so that they’re planning to – or already have – traded in their old iPhone to go towards it. The thing about trading in hardware is it’s very important to make sure your personal information isn’t still on there once it leaves your hands. You generally have nothing to worry about when going through reputable businesses, but these days it never hurts to make sure.
At this point I’m relatively certain most of the country is familiar with Destiny. And for those looking to augment their game a bit, Bungie has changed their Bungie Mobile Companion App to Destiny Companion.
Our friends over at AppSpy have put together a pretty great video about the iPhone 6 that touches upon both the potential of the more powerful hardware, and the way in which it may alienate developers. Give it a watch, and let the sound of James Gilmour’s relaxing voice wash over you.
Do you agree with what AppSpy has to say about the 6 and 6 Plus? Are you more optimistic? Think mobile gaming is doomed? Don’t be shy about chiming-in below!
For the unfamiliar, Redbubble is a good place to find great artwork – and then have it slapped on a phone case, T-shirt, pillow, etc. And now it’s a good place to find cases for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
You can preorder your case now, but they won’t start shipping until 9/19 to coincide with the iPhone 6 launch. Still, there’s a rather gigantic assortment to choose from, with prices varying depending on the individual artist’s markup.
And heck, if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for you can always make your own account and upload your own illustrations and images. That’s what I did.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve been uploading my own designs to Redbubble for well over a year now. My portfolio is not the reason I decided to share this news, but I do feel it necessary to let everyone know that I have work posted to the site. – Rob]
One Man Left has unveiled an upcoming Tilt to Live bundle, allowing players to get the series for a discounted price. Entitled the Tilt to Live Tilty-Tilt Boom Boom Bundle, the bundle will include Tilt to Live, Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous, and Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge at a price that’s 44% cheaper than buying all […]