Seriously has brought together some amazing talent for Best Fiends, part one of a series of games about the adorably fiendish creatures of Minutia as they become heroes and fight the insatiable Slugs of Mount Boom. The game will include music from composer Heitor Pereira ('Despicable Me' and 'Minion Movie'), level designs by Samuli Viikinen (Max Payne and Alan Wake), and character designs by Miguel Fransisco (Angry Birds).
Petri Järvilehto, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Seriously said, “This is a game and a world that I have wanted to build for a long time, and it’s a dream to be working with the incredible talent we have at Seriously to develop Best Fiends together. We are thrilled to be revealing a first look at Best Fiends today and can’t wait to share more ahead of our worldwide release in October.”
Seriously is also launching the Best Fiendswebsite today, which will give us a peek at the game's story, character designs, and will eventually offer animated shorts, original music, making of videos, and stickers for messenger apps in partnership Swyft Media.
Best Fiends will be available in October as a free download with in-app purchases.
Skylanders has always been a bit polarizing among gamers. Some see it as a glorified (and expensive) kids’ toy. Others see it as a somewhat ingenious combination of toys and video games. It’s a bit less of a toss-up with kids, though - kids adore it. And they’re undoubtedly excited about Skylanders Trap Team.
The Skylanders series has been broughttoiOS before, but Trap Team is a first. It isn’t just a port that’s been cut back to fit or a completely different sort of game that uses the license: it’s Skylanders Trap Team. You can swap between characters by switching out figures (including all the characters from previous console-only versions), capture enemies in special Trap Crystals, and otherwise do all that Skylanders-y stuff you’d expect. It’s the same game console players will be experiencing, only on a presumably smaller screen. The touch controls work quite well too, although they aren’t entirely necessary (I’ll explain in a minute).
The portal that’s included with the mobile Trap Team starter set is quite nifty. It uses bluetooth to connect to tablets wirelessly, has a simple but brilliant little notch in the side so that you can prop up your tablet (just about any tablet, no less) while you play, and comes with its own bluetooth controller that easily tucks into the bottom of the portal. Perhaps the most impressive thing about all this is that it’s incredibly easy to pair the portal and the controller with your device. If you’d rather not use the included controller, Trap Team also supports third-party mobile controllers. Or, if you find yourself with a surplus, you can also pair two different controllers and play co-op.
“It just works” has been the mantra for Vicarious Visions as they worked on the hardware for the mobile version, and it’s something they’ve pulled-off extremely well. So long as you have bluetooth enabled on your tablet all you’ll have to do is press and hold a button on the portal and/or controller and they’ll simply connect. Disconnecting them is just as easy of course, and if the controller becomes disconnected at any point during play (either on purpose or because it’s run out of batteries or something) the touch controls will pop up and you can keep playing. And if, for whatever reason, you either don’t have the portal or don’t have access to one you’re still covered. When Trap Team isn’t connected to a portal it’s still possible to play through the game using two special digital-only characters (each with their own levels, stats, and abilities).
Skylanders Trap Team will be available in the App Store as a free download on October 5 for the iPad 3 and 4, iPad Mini Retina, and iPad Air. The Starter Pack (includes the portal, bluetooth controller, unlock for the full game, and two figures) will be available on the same date for $74.99.
Popular heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold has been working on their own dungeon crawler for the last couple of years, and the results are a lot more impressive than most would probably expect. No, seriously, this is actually a thing.
Hail to the King: Deathbat is the brainchild of lead singer, M. Shadows. This is no mere town builder or casual-friendly hack-n-slasher, however; it’s meant to be a throwback to a bygone era, when games didn’t coddle their players and the only way to advance was to get better at playing.
According to M. Shadows it’s been quite the experience to take the game from an idea to an almost ready to release product. The game has gone through several iterations for optimization and tweaking, but it’s finally nearing release and it’s looking pretty neat. The visual’s have a very ‘dark fantasy’ feel, and the music is appropriately moody but also carries just a hint of retro charm.
At first glance it looks similar to other action-adventure games like Diablo, but it’s far more ‘Classic’ than that. Players won’t be leveling-up or upgrading skill trees; instead they’ll be gathering and purchasing brutal weapons and unlocking powerful magic spells. In action it feels more like playing an older Castlevania, really. You’ll be dodging traps, timing your attacks against enemies, learning boss patterns, and all that other good stuff.
Perhaps the most promising thing about Hail to the King: Deathbat is that it’s obviously been a labor of love for M. Shadows. I’ve spoken to card-carrying game developers who weren’t as enthusiastic about their work as he is about this game.
Hail to the King: Deathbat should be coming to the App Store soon for $4.99. Additional in-app purchases are available to unlock members of the band as a sort of “easy” mode, but aren’t necessary to progress. Not unless you’re really bad at video games, anyway.
The original Bioshock is pretty much the greatest video game adaptation of an Ayn Rand novel in existence. It’s also a pretty darn awesome game in its own right. And it’s coming to iOS later this summer.
No joke: Bioshock on iOS is a direct port of the classic first-person adventure/shooter. The whole game - all the areas, enemies, dialogue, memorable moments, hidden cats, etc - has been made to work on the iPhone and iPad. There’s even that odd dip in the right-hand staircase in the lighthouse when you find the bathysphere.
The visuals have been scaled-back a bit, of course. Otherwise there’s no way it would clock in at just under Apple’s maximum download size of 2GB. That’s not to say it looks bad, though. There may not be dynamic shadows or fog effects, and the textures may be a lower resolution, but Rapture still the super-creepy underwater dystopia we’ve all come to know and love.
The port supports MFi and other bluetooth controllers, but also sports a set of touch controls that have been optimized for the experience. Naturally a controller is the more comfortable of the two options when it comes to a game like this, but the touch interface is about as accessible as I could’ve hoped for.
Bioshock doesn’t have a concrete release date or price just yet, but it will be available later this Summer as a premium release with no in-app purchases.
Set for release later this summer is Melissa K and the Heart of Gold, a casual adventure game that's hoping to be a cut above the rest. I was lucky enough to check out a preview build of it to see just what we should expect.
The team behind Melissa K and the Heart of Gold initially worked on mystery game, LA Noire, being responsible for the real-time animation system within it - and it shows. Melissa K and the Heart of Gold is immediately more attractive than many other adventure games of this type. It's the little things that shine through, such as how a small twitch of the iPad in any direction causes the game's screen to move a little, adding a nice sense of fluidity to things.
Such pleasantries continue, ensuring that Melissa K and the Heart of Gold feels a more interactive experience than the usual titles in the genre. Objects can be manipulated by twisting them around, treating them like real 3D objects, and it works well.
Of course, the real meat for such games comes from its puzzles. Melissa K and the Heart of Gold offers plenty of hidden object scenes, but also a number of puzzles. In my short time with it I wasn't overly challenged, but I was interested. The puzzles are clearly laid out and interesting enough. They're reasonably different too, such as one requiring you to move a flower from one side of the screen to the other, without knocking the other items down. Figuring out how to unclasp a gem from a dragon statue was also a highlight, requiring more tactile controls than most.
Melissa K and the Heart of Gold should be out later this summer. It's shaping up to be something that casual adventure gaming fans like myself should be anticipating. We'll have more on it when it's released.
For the first time since its release (which has thankfully been a much shorter window for iPad players than their PC counterparts), Blizzard’s wildly successful Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft CCG is sporting some brand new content: the single player “adventure” mode, Curse of Naxxramas. Based on the World of Warcraft raid dungeon of the same name, Naxxramas is divided up into various themed quarters: the Arachnid, Plague, Military, and Construct Quarters, and ending with the Frostwyrm Lair. Naxxramas’ Arachnid Quarter opened up this week and I brushed back the cobwebs to peek inside.
The three challenges of the Arachnid Quarter come in the forms of the Spider Lord Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and the giant spider Maexxna - sure to give anyone with arachnophobia a severe case of the creepy-crawlies. Each boss has their own special 2 mana “class” power, from summoning minions (Anub’Rekhan), to sending random minions back to a player’s hand (Maexxna), to firing randomly assigned magic damage based on how many cards the player is holding (Faerlina). There are also Heroic versions of the same fights, where the dungeon bosses start off with a massive 45 life to the player’s paltry 30 - while also sporting enhanced versions of their powers. Summoning a 4/4 minion for 2 mana? Yeah, that seems incredibly well-balanced. Good luck!
There are also two Class Challenges, where players are pitted against Naxxramas’ bosses with pre-built class-specific decks. Rogue and Druid are the two classes on offer this time, with the Rogue facing Faerlina while the Druid takes on Maexxna. Other Class Challenges will unlock as the weeks roll on, of course. It would be nice to see these with their own Heroic variants too, but in some cases that could get dangerously close to overkill.
All of the battles in this wing of Naxxramas feel fresh and interesting. The new graphics for the playing area feature fun little interactive elements and there's a ton of new voiceover work, including new lines for plenty of existing Hearthstone cards. In particular, the running commentary between matches from Naxxramas’ resident Lich Lord, Kel’Thuzad, is funny - almost at odds with the presumed tone of the new area. Then again, Hearthstone has never been afraid to be light and goofy. A lot of the new cards on display bank heavily on Battlecry and Deathrattle effects (SO many Deathrattles!). Also, with a number of new Beast subtype cards, Beast-themed Hunter decks have just received a huge boost.
The other wings of Curse of Naxxramas begin opening, one by one, starting next week with the Plague Quarter. Each wing costs $6.99 (with bundles available at a discounted price) or 700 in-game gold - but, sadly, no bundles), so you’d better start farming those daily Quests for gold now. However, keep in mind Quests only advance via Play or Arena mode - time spent in the depths of Naxxramas doesn’t count toward their completion. So what are you waiting for, adventurer? Get back out there and sling some cards!
Gamers from the 1990s should fondly remember Lemmings. Adorable yet dimwitted, they were a little too keen to jump off cliffs meaning it was down to you to figure out how to stop them doing exactly that. It was a fun puzzle game full of different tools to persuade the lemmings not to jump.
Kind of like that but with Meerkats, comes Meerkatz Challenge - a game set for release in a little over a week's time. The game will be immediately familiar to fans of Lemmings and in a very positive kind of way.
This time round, it's the meerkats that have a death wish and there's a different bevy of tools to keep them safe. There's the typical blocker tool but there's also the ability to use a mushroom as a giant trampoline, propelling the other meerkats skyward. A trainer meerkat encourages the others to run at speed, making it possible to get across huge gaps when combined with a mushroom spring. A blower type will keep meerkats in the air, safe from danger.
We got the chance to briefly check out Meerkatz Challenge and it's looking pretty entertaining. It offers the same vibe as Lemmings but with its own bunch of tools to keep things original. Controls are tight and effective with the option to speed things along as and when needed. Simple taps cause you to choose which tool to use and it takes seconds to master. Even in the early stages though, some careful thinking is required to get past the stage. Up to three stars can be gained depending on how successfully you completed the stage and how many meerkats you managed to save in the process.
Graphically, Meerkatz Challenge isn't going to wow audiences but it certainly offers a pleasant charm, ensuring you'll be attached to these cuddly critters.
With 4 different areas to explore and plenty of levels to negotiate, Meerkatz Challenge is shaping up to be pretty interesting.
We'll talk more about it next week, when it's released on July 24.
Being a pretty big fan of Mojang's Minecraft, I was very excited to hear that Minecraft – Pocket Edition (PE) was receiving a large update. The previous version, Minecraft PE 8.0, had seemed a bit claustrophobic to me. The edges of the world were clearly visible and one only had a space about the size of an island on which to play. I found that the lack of trees, paired with the flatness of the space made the oncoming night less scary. Creepers and spiders were visible from far enough off that I could keep a good distance and there were few enough of them that I could fight them without being overwhelmed. The size issue also made finding materials to work with frustrating. I was frequently crippled by a lack of coal. Lightless, bereft of any cooked meat, and unable to cobble together even a pair of leather shoes, I wandered my small island with nothing to do except contemplate its emptiness.
Like a light in the darkness, a town appears.
The Minecraft PE 9.0 Update is a significant upgrade. It is much more in-line with the PC version of Minecraft, with its infinite maps and more densely populated environments. The first time night fell, I was terrifyingly aware of the fact that I was standing in a forest and I could not see further than a few feet; the sound of hissing growing closer and closer. The landscape is certainly more robust. Where I spent an hour looking for coal in the previous release, in 9.0 I had no problem finding a bevy of ores, including newly-added blocks such as: Diorite, Granite, and Andesite. The variety of biomes that are now included also add to the feeling of wondrous exploration that the PC version captures so well, but which the 8.0 PE edition was lacking. I climbed a high hill one morning to find a small village just a short distance from where I was beginning to build a fort for myself. I ran towards the village and was delighted to find villagers. That moment of discovery was exciting, and speaks to the heart of the Minecraft experience.
It is amazing how much the presence of NPCs changes the feel of the game; no longer am I a stranger carving out a life in solitude. Unfortunately you cannot interact with them yet in any meaningful way except to attack; trading with villagers has yet to be implemented. However, to further banish loneliness, wolves can now be tamed; loyally following you through thick and thin.
A side by side comparison of 8.0 & 9.0
I am really happy that Mojang is continuing to make the app more robust. Minecraft – Pocket Edition 9.0 has come a long way from its alpha release back in 2011, and with all the new content that has been added, Minecraft PE is finally living up to its namesake.
iOS is yet to have its cornerstone first-person shooter franchise. While it has a couple of really good ones from Gameloft and a few good ports from older games, we have yet to see a truly deep and original mobile-first FPS franchise. Especially one that takes advantage of the touch screen and doesn't just try to adapt button controls to a screen. In short, iOS needs it's Halo. Industrial Toys might be the people to do it.
Let me clear this up. There is no shortage of first-person shooters on iOS. Gameloft has released some really good ones like NOVA 3 and Modern Combat. We've even seen classics like Doom and Call of Duty ported. But the fault these all have is they were conceived on or derived from controller-based shooters. This invariably leads to problems when playing, no matter how good the controls. Thumbs will always cover important parts of the screen, they will slip from the correct virtual control. And for FPS vets, the most important factor: touch controls are slower as it takes time to look at the virtual buttons.
Ben Cousin's Scattered Entertainment released The Drowning last year, which hoped to be exactly this. Tremendous amounts of thought went into the game and it's original control scheme, yes, and it was developed exclusively for touch screens. But it just didn't take. It was not well received by the press or users. There is still some hope for The Drowning as a franchise, but it seems unlikely at this point.
I'm also not saying that I want Halo on iOS. What I want is an original franchise, conceived for and developed for touch screens and connected devices. One with a deep original storyline, endless multiplayer capabilities, perfect controls for a touch device, and a future. No matter how how close others have come, we just don't have that. Yet.
This is where the team from Industrial Toys comes in. This LA-based company certainly has the chops to make a killer FPS franchise for iOS. The company was founded by Bungie co-founder/co-creator of Halo Alex Seropian and Tim Harris (Denuo, Alley Cat Comics). Their team for this project includes superstars of music, art, and story; including comic artist Mike Choi (Marvel/DC) and author John Scalzi (Old Man’s War, Redshirts). Seems like they have the talent they need and our first look at their upcoming Midnight Star game shows great promise.
The first experience most will have with the game will be through the interactive comic, Midnight Rises. This comic ties in with two-way communication to Midnight Star. The story, set 120 years from now, starts when first contact is made from outer space. The interactive comic will lead the reader through the build up to the launch of the USSM Joplin, the craft fitted to communicate and intercept the source of the signal. Along the way the story will introduce the characters in the game and provide backstory.
The comic app will also provide potential players the ability to pick up items that can be used in the game. And this is just the tip of what make this dual app approach so interesting. The choices made in the story app influence the characters in the game. And progress in the game unlocks new parts of the story in the comic app. It will be interesting to see how such an integrated dual app approach works out.
Midnight Star starts off after something has gone wrong and the crew of the Joplin is fighting an alien force, as the story of what happened unfolds. The game features a new take on touch controls for a first-person shooter that looks quite good, even in the pre-release build I saw. It also features nearly endless multiplayer capabilities both in the form of friend challenges and leaderboard type challenges.
In one of the most original forms of asynchronous multiplayer, a player can create a challenge for other players - either friends or open to all. That challenge can be a speed run, high score, accuracy, or other challenge on a particular level in the game that lasts for a set amount of time. Each player that accepts the challenge enters an amount of in-game currency set by the originator into the pot with the top players in the challenge splitting the winnings.
Melee type combat has been a sticking point for touch games. How to accurately and quickly they make the player react has generally been less than perfect. With Midnight Star, melee will take for form of quick reactionary tapping of on screen symbols. Each symbol will need to be touched a designated number of times in a certain amount of time to ward off the attack.
Progressing will provide new weapons and parts to upgrade current weapons. The game is clearly set up to be a free to play game, but at least in my limited experience with it this doesn't seem to get in the way of the gameplay.
Looking at the screenshots included with this post doesn't really do it justice. Industrial Toys are not ready to release in-game video just yet, but this Unreal built game looks amazing with very smooth gameplay. Here's the previously released teaser trailer.
Is Midnight Star the Halo-like franchise I think iOS so desperately needs? It would be presumptuous to say yes at this point, but I have hope. It will certainly be a huge step in the right direction. The guys at Industrial Toys are very experienced in the area and committed to the idea of bringing a Halo-like experience to touch screens.
Look for Midnight Rises (the interactive story) in the spring, and the game Midnight Star soon after. We'll have more news on Midnight Star as it develops.
Yesterday, Disney announced the official support for mobile platforms for their ambitious open world / sandbox game Infinity. And that includes the iPhone and iPad. Two apps were announced, one a creative video app, the other the mobile version of the sandbox mode from the larger Infinity product.
Disney Infinity: Toy Box App
The Toy Box app is a full blown, console-like experience for the toy box feature of Disney Infinity. In the Toy Box app players can create, download, and play various games within the Infinity world. Think of it as a super Minecraft for the Disney universe. The game is tied to the player's Disney ID to share both owned characters and created worlds with all connected platforms like XBox, PS/3, and Wii U -- and now the iPad.
The Toy Box app will allow players to create virtual worlds, from cities to play fields, even race tracks all with a Disney flair. Players can then take to the Toy Box and play in the virtual worlds with the included characters.
No release date is yet known for the Toy Box app, just that it's coming soon. It will be available free and use any characters or toys purchased or earned in the Infinity universe for consoles. This is one to watch for.
Disney Infinity: Action! App
The second app announced is one that allows the user to film themselves with overlays of Infinity characters Sully, Mr. Incredible, and Jack Sparrow. It's a fun little app that lets players interact with the characters and film them in various short movies. Those movies can then be shared to Facebook, YouTube, or saved to the camera roll. Take a look at the video below for an idea of what can be achieved with the Action app.
While Disney Infinity: Action isn't really tied into the Infinity world, it uses characters from the Infinity world, and it's a fun little free app. The Action app will be available this Thursday on the App Store.
What is it with the water in Finland? Do they pipe in creativity-enhancing drugs along with the fluoride? From the same country that brought us Angry Birds and Clash of Clans comes Supernauts.
Supernauts is an interesting mashup of games, a cross between a building game like Minecraft and an simulation game like Clash of Clans. Supernauts will try to be the next big worldwide obsession when it's released later this year.
Supernauts has three main activities in the game: build resources (blocks to build with), custom build the home space (anything can be made out of blocks), and solve puzzles.
Building resources involves using machines of various kinds to create blocks and refine those blocks into other blocks. Think taking logs and making wood, or roofing blocks. Each block has a relative value in the game and can be sold in a market, or used to custom build within the players space.
Each time a block is placed, status points are awarded that unlock other items in the game and allow more complex things to be built. They also expand the playing field to multiple locations.
The casual goal of Supernauts is to save the world by going on missions to rescue people trapped on Earth when it was flooded. This is done through a series of 50 missions that each require using the core building techniques in the game to harvest blocks, build structures, and get citizens to an escape boat.
There's something about the very casual level of the block building that has me coming back over and over again to build, tear down, re-build, all just have fun. Supernauts has the no-stress gameplay that has made so many free to play games popular, but it also has the fun--something that is missing is so many games these days. So many free to play games I just feel obligated to come back and harvest, plant, rebuild my walls, etc.
Supernauts also has a few social features planned, features I was not able to test, like chatting with other players, sharing resources, and more.
Take a look around Supernauts in the video below. I show off the world I created along with some of the other features of the game.
Supernauts is not without its problems in the current beta version. I saw occasional lock ups and some long stretches where there was nothing to do but create blocks and wait. A few bug fixes and some level adjustment, though, and it should be good. That's what beta testing is for, after all.
In my 30+ hours playing this devilishly addictive game, I'm very impressed. The block building feature adds a new level on top of a tired game mechanic, freshening everything up. I think it might just be the next big thing. It's creative, compelling, and social.
In Canada, the average diet consists only of poutine, the national dish, ham, which they call bacon, and rendered whale blubber. Not only that, but the great white north also seems to get a bunch of iOS games early. Since it’s a smaller country at about 10% of the population of the US, it really does make a good test market. That’s why we like to pop in to the Canadian App Store every once in a while to see what’s new.
Earlier this week I got a chance to talk to Frederic Descamps and Jordan Maynard who came to Zynga through an acquisition of A Bit Lucky. They are showing off their new massively online battle arena (MOBA) game for mobile, Solstice Arena. It's more than the average MOBA game; it's essentially "Speed MOBA."
In a traditional MOBA there is usually some form of farming or grinding such as killing creeps. In this MOBA, the focus is on the fighting and only the fighting. Players earn gold for participating in the matches, capturing chests of gold (checkpoints), and randomly scattered gold on the play field. This gold is then used in an extensive upgrade tree. A mobile-focused feature is the auto-buy feature. If turned on, the best purchases will automatically be made with gained available gold.
The player hero selection works similar to League of Legends where there will always be free heroes to be used. Or, if purchased, the hero can be played at anytime. Leveling up a character stays with that character no matter if purchased or not. Once the hero is purchased or becomes free again, the upgrades will be there.
Take a look at this 9-ish minute match I played where I actually won. It's a good thing it was set on easy.
The main change in Solstice Arena has to do with making it a bit more friendly to mobile platforms. This entails the games being shrunk into what Frederic Descamps describes as speed MOBA: 5-10 minute games that can be played just about anytime there is a free moment. This is accomplished mainly by having fewer goals in a single match, and making the map size considerably smaller. And in the dozen or so rounds I've played, I think it works.
Solstice Arena is available in a few test countries right now, like Canada and should be launching in the US very soon. If you are a fan of League of Legends, or just a strategy game fan, it's one to watch for.
In the conversations I've had with Jason Citron over the past five years, one thing has always been very clear, Jason Citron is a very talented young man. But lately it's like he is a whole new man. Excited, proud, and full of ideas. Could partially be because his newly renamed games company, Hammer & Chisel is showing off an early version of their first game, Fates Forever, a massively online battle arena game (MOBA) for tablets only.
Fates Forever is a MOBA game and yeah, we've heard a lotabout MOBA on iOS in the past few months. For those not familiar with MOBA, see Wikipedia an MOBA. But Fates Forever shows some real promise in ways others we've seen have yet to.
The fact that we are seeing more MOBA on iOS seems logical as for many months it was a genre that was conspicuously missing on iOS. League of Legends has been very popular on the desktop; why can't we have a mobile MOBA?
Jason and his team at Hammer & Chisel are taking a bit of a different angle that what we've seen so far on MOBA for iOS. They are building out a lushly detailed, large scale MOBA game that closely resembles the depth and length of gameplay of League of Legends, but updated for tablet. In my short time with the game I found it, incomplete, yes and that's to be expected, but also amazingly easy to get into and really hard to put down. The unique characters, their voice overs, their special moves, gameplay aspects--all combine for an interesting and promising game.
Some of the interesting changes to the MOBA formula seen in Fates Forever, and remember it's still early, are that minions constantly regenerate when killed, they won't keep running back to the base to heal. The only power ups are to the three special powers each player has, and those reset between matches. Everyone starts out even, every match.
Hammer & Chisel have a lot of work ahead of them to finalize Fates Forever, but the progress so far is amazing. It is certainly one of my most anticipated games. We'll keep you up to date on the progress as it moves toward launch.
In Canada, poutine is the national dish, ham is called bacon, and hockey is the game of gods, eh. Not only that, but the great white north also seems to get a bunch of iOS games early. Since it's a smaller country at about 10% of the population of the US, it really does make a good test market. That's why we like to pop in to the Canadian App Store every once in a while to see what's new.
In this episode of It Came from Canada we take a look at Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar. Ultima is the classic name in RPG and dungeon crawlers. While it's still early, will this installment make fans of the series happy without getting all that yucky EA freemium monetization goo all over it?
Ultima Forever looks much as it did when we took a look at it at GDC earlier this year. The one thing we get to see that we did not see then was how EA plans to monetize this freemium game. Unfortunately EA has taken the route of what amounts to play to win, but just one step removed. In the current version of Ultima Forever you can purchase keys. The type of key you have determines the quality of loot you get when you open up the chests you find in the game. If you use gold keys you get way better look than if you use bronze keys. You can purchase gold keys, yet rarely find them in the game. You will generally find bronze keys which yield low level loot.
That said, the game will likely still be fun, if you choose to play it properly. Take a look at our first quest in the game below.
We'll be sure to have more news on Ultima Forever, when it will launch globally, and a review when that happens.
Ah, Canada. The land where poutine is the national dish, ham is called bacon, and they worship hockey players as gods. They also seem to get many iOS games early. Since it's a smaller country at about 10% of the population of the US, it makes a good test market. Every once in a while we like to pop in to the Canadian App Store and see what's new. This time we take a look at the upcoming movie tie-in game from Kabam, Fast & Furious 6: The Game.
Fast & Furious 6: The Game seems to loosely follow the movie. If familiar with CSR Racing, this game will seem familiar. It's a reaction time game in which players hit buttons to shift the car, hit a button to drift, and hit nitro at just the right time for maximum speed.
FF6 adds a bunch of other race types as well, where CSR racing only has the single drag race type. There's also the usual upgrade system that can be used to increase the performance of a car or change the look. All of that, of course, requires earning in-app currency or purchases.
FF6 also relies on the weak crutch of lazy game design, an energy system. Sounds harsh, but it's a concept that has become an indication of a game more focused on pushing players to pay than it is on pushing entertainment. A player can only race so much without putting the game down and waiting for the energy system to recharge. Of course, a player can also spend money to recharge quickly, so there's that.
It should be noted that this game and all of the games that we feature in this series should be considered pre-release. They are not final, and are in Canada for a reason: to test and balance the gameplay. We will never review an app based on a testing launch such as this.