The Sandbox has been doing pretty well for itself since it first released almost… holy cow it’s almost been three years. Well anyway, in those three years Pixowl’s ‘powder’ game has been updated to a ridiculous degree – even going so far as to receive controllable characters and new elements that let players design their own games within the game.
And now they’re going “back to basics” with The Sandbox 2.
The new sandbox is similar to the original in many respects, but now sports a few noticeable changes. Shadows and lighting are a bit more detailed, the physics have been improved, and the various elements now have honest-to-goodness textures to ogle. Some environmental effects have also been included, such as glowing lava and a slight distortion to objects that are underwater. In addition to all of that, it will display multiple layers (i.e. foreground, background, etc) so that your creations won’t always have to stack up on top of each other. If nothing else it’s great to be able to drop a person into a world full of trees and actually see them walk in front of the trees rather than over them.
The Sandbox 2 should be out by the end of the year. Although if that seems like too long a wait, you could always head over to the official website to try your hand at the open beta.
You might know SomaSim best from their gold rush sim, 1849. Well, the developer is taking things to new heights (I apologize for nothing) with Project Highrise. It’s still in the extremely early stages – as in concept sketches and not much else – but it sounds like it could be quite neat.
Project Highrise is a game about, well, managing a highrise building. You’ll be taking care of businesses and residences, balancing your tenants’ needs and comfort, and even taking a look at individual characters’ feelings on various subjects (a-la games like RollerCoaster Tycoon). If that sounds a lot like SimTower, that’s probably because the Maxis classic was a big inspiration.
Of course there’s still a long road ahead for Project Highrise‘s development, and all sorts of stuff could be changed, added, or removed along the way. Still, the idea of it seems very interesting. We’ll definitely be keeping you posted as we learn more.
As a native New Yorker – and by extension, a person who’s quite familiar with subway systems – I found the concept of Mini Metro to be instantly appealing. Of course it’s only available on Steam. Or at least, it was.
Dinosaur Polo Club has been hard at work bringing the stylish, minimal, and exceedingly clever Mini Metro to iOS. The basic idea is that you have to run a metro subway system by creating train lines that reach different stops, and ferrying riders around before they get too cranky after waiting an age and a half to get to their destination. Easier said than done, obviously.
The build I was able to get our hands on is still in the early stages but it already plays quite well on a touch screen. Dragging new lines around or editing existing ones is pretty fluid, and adding new trains and train cars is quite easy. Keeping everybody happy by balancing your subway lines, not so much.
Mini Metro will be coming to iOS (definitely on the iPad and potentially on the iPhone as well) sometime in Q4 later this year. Keep your eyes peeled for this one. Seriously, they pretty much had to wrestle the iPad away from me after the demo.
Does Not Commute (Ha!) is a mind-bending puzzle of a game that tasks you with guiding various vehicles to specific destinations on each of its initial eight levels. Which, at its core, is simply a matter of tapping the left or right sides of the screen to steer. It gets a lot more complicated than that, though.
Every time you successfully see a car (or boat on later levels) to the exit, you jump back in time and take control of a different vehicle that you’ll need to see to a different exit. The catch is that everyone you previously controlled will be following the paths you’ve set them on at the same time – creating some rather hectic moments as you try to avoid crashing into these new obstacles.
We’ll definitely have a review for Does Not Commute when it should be releasing in mid-April, but until then you can check out some of the madcap action in the video below.
Reliance Games and Dreamworks have announced that a third game in the Real Steel series of mobile fighting games, Real Steel Champions, will be making its way to iOS this March.
Based off of the Real Steel movie, this new entry in the series will feature ten new arenas, a new Tournament mode, and for the first time in the series will allow players to create their own custom robot. Custom robots are crafted from a combination of parts, including those from fan favorites Atom, Noisy Boy, and Midas, as well as boxing moves, which players can customize in order to destroy each opponent strategically and swiftly.
Real Steel Champions is set to fight its way into the App Store this March.
Noodlecake has announced that they’ve partnered with Finnish indie husband and wife duo Jyri and Piia Kilpelainen in order to help bring their ‘difficult but addictive’ twitch high score game Tiltagon to the App Store.
Dubbed “the Super Hexagon of tilt games,” the high score chaser will come with two modes (Hard and Hard+), with the goal being to keep your ball on the platform and collect cubes while ensuring that you don’t plunge to your doom.
Tiltagon is expected to lean its way into the App Store sometime in March.
Marking quite a departure from ZeptoLab’s past successes, namely the Cut The Rope series, King of Thieves is shaping up to be quite promising. Due for release in February, we were lucky enough to have some time with a preview build to see exactly what it’s all about.
Focused on multiplayer, King of Thieves is best described as part tower defense, part platformer. Your mission is to break into dungeons and steal the opposition’s treasure chest. This requires a certain amount of finesse when it comes to your platforming skills. Controls are fairly simple here, with a series of taps and double-taps being pivotal. You automatically run, with a change of direction only possible when you bounce away from a wall. At first it seems a little awkward, but it turns out to be reasonably effective.
As you’d expect, levels steadily get trickier the further you progress, with up to three stars for the taking depending on how well you perform. There’s a PvP side to things too, with you able to tackle other players’ dungeons as well as needing to protect your own. The latter is where things turn more tower defense-like, with it being possible to place turrets and spikes around your dungeon in order to ward off attack. To save your creation, you have to be able to complete it twice to prove it’s possible. Something that may end up testing your own skills as well as other players’ abilities.
So far, King of Thieves is shaping up to be an interesting mixture of puzzle style elements and platforming that’s sure to test your reflexes. My only concern is whether or not it will be able to keep everyone hooked for an extended period of time. There’s the race to be top of the leaderboard and to have the most intricate dungeon, but it’s hard to say just yet whether or not that will keep people hooked for a long time to come.
We’ll be able to see how things unfold once the game goes live worldwide. For now, it’s certainly an interesting combination of genres.
King of Thieves is set for release in February. Of course, we’ll let you know when.
Gameloft has just unveiled Dungeon Hunter 5, a new addition to their mobile hack ‘n’ slash franchise. Playing as a ‘common-guy’ bounty hunter following on from the events of Dungeon Hunter 4, the game is set to feature improved graphics, new animations ‘built from the ground up’, and all new weapons and effects.
Players will also be the owners of their own dungeon ‘hideouts’ in the new multiplayer mode, where they’ll aim to defend their loot whilst stealing from others. Each hideout is designed by the player, with the ultimate goal of an attacker being to defeat the owner of the hideout at the end and claim some of their loot as their own. This loot can then be used in the new weapon fusing system, which allows players to combine and level-up their weaponry.
Dungeon Hunter 5 is set to slash its way onto the App Store later this year. Players can pre-register for the game now, which gives them the opportunity to work toward exclusive launch day items including concept art and a minion to help protect their loot.
Yellow monkey Studios, the crew behind HUEBRIX and Finger Footie, is bringing a new gaming adventure to iOS called Socioball.
It looks like a sort of cross between one of those step-by-step programming games and something akin to golf. If golf involved getting a ball to some sort of teleporter pad, that is. Okay so it’s a bit odd, but it does look pretty interesting.
Socioball is scheduled to drop on the App Store next week on January 15.
Concrete Studios has announced that NHL Target Smash, an officially licensed NHL target shooting game, will be making its way to iOS this week.
Playing for any one of the 30 NHL teams, players take their own created hockey legend through multiple seasons of match-ups against the opposition while aiming to shoot well and score high in order to make their way to the play-offs and achieve the ultimate goal of winning the coveted Stanley Cup. Along the way, players are also able to unlock a virtual arsenal of custom equipment including ‘The Reaper’ and the ‘Frost Edge’.
NHL Target Smash is set to arrive on the ice App Store this Thursday.
Today DeNA and Hasbro have announced a new, upcoming Transformers title, Transformers: Battle Tactics.
Okay, but what isBattle Tactics?
Well, according to the announcement info it’s going to be a turn-based tactical game with a single-player campaign as well as player-versus-player combat. A whole lot of series favorites will be available to add to your team, from obvious choices like Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Bumblebee, to characters who haven’t been featured in Michael Bay movies, like Wheeljack, Thundercracker, and Arcee. Each bot has their own strengths and abilities, and these can change depending on whether they’re in robot or vehicle mode.
Transformers: Battle Tactics will be released sometime next year as a free download, but if you want to tease yourself a bit you can register on the official website to earn some extra goodies like wallpapers and Recruit Tokens (which I assume have some sort of in-game value).
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.
Space Ape Games, makers of Samurai Siege, has announced that they are launching their second title Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruin in early 2015.
Rival Kingdoms is a high fantasy mobile RTS with multiplayer combat, guilds, and a story written by award-winning game writer Rhianna Pratchett. You’ll take on the role of the elite ‘Guardian’ army’s newest recruit. Will you be able to defend the planet Estara against the forces of the Ruin?
You can pre-register for Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruinhere, which will give you access to character backstories, a teaser trailer, and a bit of in-game gold to help get you started on ce the game officially releases.
Alike Studio and pati.io Games has announced that they are working on Love You to Bits.
The game is a beautiful looking sci-fi adventure, where you’re tasked with guiding a guy in a jaunty hat around the universe looking for pieces of his robot girlfriend. You’ll need to explore distant alien worlds, solve puzzles, and find hidden objects. Will you be able to find all of the pieces to restore your lost love?
Keep your heart open and your bags packed for adventure as Love You to Bits is slated to be released in the Spring of 2015.
TOAST has announced that their real-time action-RPG match-3 game Crusaders Quest will release on iOS on December 4. The 8-bit stylized title features elements from the action, RPG, and matching genres, with players able to select from six classes and recruit from a pool of over 200 unique heroes.
If players so wish, they can also pre-register for the game. Players who do so will get special characters, items, and in-game currency upon launch, with more prizes being given out depending on the number of people who pre-register.
Crusaders Quest is set to match march its way into the App Store on December 4.
Ironhide Game Studio has unveiled that the latest entry in their popular tower defense series Kingdom Rush, entitled Kingdom Rush: Origins, will launch on iOS next week. Alongside this announcement, you can take a look at a hands-on video from our partners in crime over at AppSpy (below).
Kingdom Rush: Origins is set to launch onto the App Store next Thursday, 11/20.
Posted by Tre Lawrence on November 5th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Dragon Season is getting a huge update this month. The update will be bringing “re-balanced gameplay” and much more.
Dragon Season Update Features!
BOOSTS – let you start the game with a competitive advantage! These include:
* SUPER FIREBALL – with a SUPER FIREBALL you can finally destroy stone obstacles!
* HEADSTART – want to skip right into the action? Use a HEAD START!
* SHIELD – start your game right with a SHIELD!
FLIP THE CONTROLS – now you can select which side of the screen to shoot fireballs and which side to control Nook!
ENHANCED MISSIONS – these now give more XP and are better balanced!
BRAND NEW LEVELS – the levels have been given a complete overhaul putting you into the action faster, offering a greater challenge and giving you more coins!
ACHIEVEMENTS – 25 brand new achievements that will keep you coming back for more!
IMPROVED LEADERBOARDS – Game Center leaderboards let you challenge your friends!
DAILY BONUS – rebalanced to be more generous with the Coins!
We had an opportunity to review Dragon Season a year ago. The game is available for free (with in-app purchasing) on the App Store, and the update should go live on November 12th, 2014.
To help us all with the wait, the developer has released a new trailer. The trailer further explains the gameplay mechanics, as well as the new risk system the developer hopes will set this title apart from other collectible card games.
The trailer is below and the game is scheduled to drop early in 2015.
The Incidentdeveloper Big Bucket has announced that its next game, Space Age, will be releasing this week on the App Store.
Space Age is described as a ‘cosmic adventure’ set in the futuristic world of 1976. Following a band of intergalactic explorers who land on Kepler-16, a seemingly uninhabited planet, it’s soon discovered that something is very familiar and strange about this planet.
You”ll be able to welcome Space Age into your world pretty soon, with the game set to come out for iOS on November 6th.
UPDATE: Due to the review process taking longer than expected, Space Age is now set to launch on November 13th.
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.
Today’s Apple event talked about a lot of stuff we already knew and showcased their desperate need to hire some comedy writers, but eventually they got around to talking about the new iPads and their software (once they were done faffing about with Stephen Colbert, that is).
Two pieces of software singled out for the spotlight: a new iOS version of the OS X photo editor Pixelmator, and updates to the Replay Video Editor app.
Image taken from the Mac version of Pixelmator
Pixelmator (otherwise known as ‘Photoshop For Broke Folks’) was shown off with a live demo where the team crafted a logo screen in real-time. A herd of oryx were erased from a sea of rippling sand dunes quickly and with relative ease, leaving the shape and texture of the desert behind them intact. Showing off the muscle of the iPad Air 2’s beefy new A8 processor, everything went quickly and smoothly as they repositioned image elements and blended the text logo with the background using Pixelmator’s suite of tools.
Next up was Replay from Stupeflix. Replay, which is already available, allows for the creation of movies from video clips and photos on your device, but the developers showed off just how well it and its new updates will run on Apple’s upcoming hardware. Movies rendered with seemingly no lag time at all – supposedly 4 times faster on the A8 chip versus the old A7. And thanks to Metal, the whole affair runs 20 times faster versus relying on the CPU alone. Some neat volumetric lighting work was shown, where lighting interacted with the text titles, including real-time color changing on the fly.
Pixelmator is making its App Store debut later this month. Replay is already available for free, but
the new updates they showcased will be coming by the end of October as well.
A new trailer has arrived for One Man Left‘s Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge, an obstacle course-based entry in the Tilt to Live franchise.
Using the tilt controls familiar to the series, the game will feature three challenging gauntlets full of traps and enemies for players to fall afoul of, with three difficulty modes allowing them to pick the length of their health bar. And if players manage to make their way through the gauntlets, the Dot King awaits.
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is set to release on iOS later this month.
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.
Jagex, the developers behind Transformers: Universe and the long-running RuneScape, have unveiled at RuneFest that they are working on Chronicle: RuneScape Legends (working title), which is a collectible card game set in the world of Gielinor. The game is set to launch in 2015 and will allow players to craft their own miniature RPGs against enemies, including classic boss monsters from the MMORPG, and take on other players in PvP.
James Sweatman, lead designer of Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, commented on the game at its announcement event:
“We’ve been quietly developing Chronicle: RuneScape Legends since the start of the year to ensure that it’s not only a fun and compelling player experience, but one still very much interwoven into the rich lore of RuneScape. We’re looking forward to sharing more information on the game over the coming months, especially in regards to Chronicle’s debut on tablet and mobile!
As previously mentioned, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends is set to launch sometime next year.
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.
Rocket Rainbow and Team17 Digital have announced that their ‘ewe-nique’ puzzle game, Hay Ewe, will be making its way onto iOS later this week. Featured within the ranks of Rocket Rainbow are a number of ex-PopCap staff who worked on Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies, and Peggle.
Centering on the adventures of natural-born leader Matilda the Sheep, who has the task of rounding up mischievous lambs, players will find sixty levels to play, leaderboards to compete on, and an in-game level editor that will allow them to create and share their own levels.
Hay Ewewool will make its way onto the App Store this week for $4.99.
Eventbrite has today announced a new app for ticket organization for events: Eventbrite Neon, which is set to replace their At The Door and Entry Manager apps.
This new app allows event organizers and venue operators to act as their own box office, with the app able to monitor ticket sales and trends in real time, accept payments and issue tickets on the spot, and scan attendees tickets at the event itself. Furthermore, potential problems such as ticket reissues, cancellations, and refunds can also be dealt with from within the app.
The Eventbrite Neon app is available on the App Store now, for free.
Be vewy, vewy qwiet. I’m hunting wunners featuwing wabbits, and luckily, it’s duck season wunner season. Zynga has unveiledLooney Tunes Dash!: a runner featuring Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Road Runner, and more.
Following on from fan feedback, the developers have aimed to give players a game that has a sense of progression – meaning that, unlike many runners, levels do have a completion point. By completing levels, players can unlock new characters and landscapes iconic to fans of the animation classics.
Looney Tunes Dash! is set to release in select countries (and Tazmania?) this week in Acme’s Apple’s App Store. For those asking “What’s up Doc?”, more details are set to be announced in the coming months. Hopefully in the form of a note attached to a falling anvil.
I am eager to let readers know about Oceanhouse Media’s annual app sale in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday from Wednesday, February 25 through Monday, March 9. During this time, five of their best-selling Seuss stories will be on sale for $0.99 each, and there will be discounts for other classic Dr. Seuss titles as […]