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GDC 2015 - The Sandbox 2 is Coming, and Now it has Textures! And Some Other Stuff, too

Posted by Rob Rich on March 3rd, 2015

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.

GDC 2015 - Project Highrise is an Interesting Idea from SomaSim

Posted by Rob Rich on March 3rd, 2015

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.

GDC 2015 - the Stylish and Minimalist Puzzler Mini Metro is Coming to iOS

Posted by Rob Rich on March 3rd, 2015

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.

GDC 2015 - Does Not Commute is Definitely a Game You Should Keep an Eye on

Posted by Rob Rich on March 2nd, 2015

We were teased about Mediocre Games' (Smash Hit, Sprinkle Islands) upcoming and untitled project back in January, but now we've got more details to share - along with a name.

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 Unveil Real Steel Champions

Posted by Ellis Spice on February 27th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: ANOTHER CYBERNETIC HIT :: Read Review »

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 is Ready to Help Bring Brutally Hard Tiltagon to iOS This March

Posted by Ellis Spice on February 20th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIP TO BE A HEXAGON :: Read Review »

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.

Hands-On With Cut the Rope Developer ZeptoLab's King of Thieves

Posted by Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015

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.

Dungeon Hunter 5 Has Been Announced By Gameloft and is Set to Release Later This Year

Posted by Ellis Spice on January 20th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: ALWAYS ON :: Read Review »

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.

Surreal Ball Programmer Socioball is Set to Arrive on iOS Next Week

Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 8th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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.

NHL Target Smash is Set to Skate onto the App Store This Thursday

Posted by Ellis Spice on January 7th, 2015

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.

Transformers: Battle Tactics will be Coming to the App Store in 2015

Posted by Rob Rich on December 10th, 2014

Today DeNA and Hasbro have announced a new, upcoming Transformers title, Transformers: Battle Tactics.

Okay, but what is Battle 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).

It Came From Canada - Moonrise

Posted by Jordan Minor on December 9th, 2014

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 Announces Their Second Title - Rival Kingdoms: Age of Ruin

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 8th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

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 Ruin here, 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.

Tiny Thief's Developers Are Working on a Spiritual Sequel Called "Love You to Bits"

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 3rd, 2014

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.

Real-Time Multiplayer Match-3 RPG Crusaders Quest Set to Launch Next Month

Posted by Ellis Spice on November 20th, 2014

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.