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E3 2015 - Deckbound Brings Ownership, Permanence, and Multi-Game Access to a New CCG System

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 18th, 2015

Imagine a digital card game where you can purchase cards, level them up in a typical collectible card game (or CCG - think Hearthstone or Magic), and then keep the leveled-up cards as your own personal items.

Now imagine that you can take that same card from the collectible card game and use it as an asset in a dungeon crawler, leveling it up there, and then being able to take it back to the original game with the new level and experience points.

RESCUE: Heroes in Action is a strategy simulator that's perfectly suited for mobile [Sponsored]

Posted by Simon Reed on June 18th, 2015

The latest entry in the popular PC RESCUE franchise, Heroes in Action, launches on Thursday on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone and is the first of the bunch to be mobile-only.

RESCUE: Heroes in Action challenges you to take control of a fire department in a big city as you manage a squad of fire fighter's equipment, complete missions, and save lives.

Just like the previous entries in the franchise, Heroes in Action poses a challenge to even the hardened strategy gamer so you'll need to bring your tactical A-game.

We spoke to Mikko Tyni, Creative Director at Fragment Production, about the challenges of adapting the franchise for mobile, what they prefer about the latest entry, and which platform is the most difficult to develop for.

The RESCUE franchise was originally on PC and Mac only. Was it challenging adapting the gameplay to suit mobile?

Tyni: "One of the biggest challenges was how to ensure that the controls would be intuitive and fluid with just one finger.

"Also, early on, we decided to make the levels smaller than in previous entries but still large enough to follow the multiple mission structure. We wanted each mission to still be meaningful but also suitable for shorter playing times on mobile. That took some time to get right.

Are there any elements you prefer about the mobile versions?

Tyni: "While the controls are streamlined for mobile, they worked out very well and actually a greater level of accuracy than in the PC titles.

"Another of my favourite new features is the visual upgrade and the ability to fully customize your firefighters and vehicles."

Is mobile development limited compared to PC?

Tyni: "Mobile as a platform offers many exciting opportunities but it also has limitations.

"Creating a full living city similar to the freeplay mode in the previous RESCUE was impossible due to technical constraints so we had to make the levels smaller and reduce the overall amount of dynamic assets.

"On the plus side, this helped in our other goal of making the missions more action-packed."

Was development comparable on each platform or was one much easier than the other?

Tyni: "Both platforms have their perks on both the game side as well as the development side.

"Mobile projects tend to be shorter and more innovative, while PC projects have fewer limitations."

Is the RESCUE franchise here to stay on mobile now or are PC titles still in your future plans?

Tyni: "We regard the mobile platform as a new foothold for the series but instead of choosing between just mobile or PC, we're going to continue developing for both platforms since each has their positives and different user groups."

Rescue: Heroes in Action is available now from the App Store [download], Google Play [download], and Windows Phone [download].

Why Final Fantasy VII for iOS Might Not be so Great After All

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 17th, 2015

If you’ve bothered to look at my profile on here, first of all, why are you that interested? Second of all, you’ll note that I stated that Final Fantasy VII (and Goldeneye) were ‘life-changing’ for me. Ok, so there’s a certain amount of hyperbole there, but those two games ensured I went from "Hey, games are quite fun when I've got nothing better to do" to "I love everything about them and they’re very important to me." That’s a double-edged sword to one’s productivity levels, but hey, look what I’m doing right now.

As a big mobile gaming fan and a big Final Fantasy VII fan, I should be excited about it coming to iOS, right? Well, not so much.

E3 2015 - We Go Hands-On with Madfinger's Unkilled, Which is Looking Great By the Way

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 17th, 2015

Czech Republic-based Madfinger Games (Dead Trigger 2, Shadowgun) is back with another zombie survival first-person shooter that will have you gunning down the undead with a new, prettier Unity5-build engine that will run on your iOS (or Android) devices. That title is Unkilled, and it’s gorgeous, intense, and super accessible - everything you’d expect from the folks that brought you bleeding-edge shooters Dead Trigger 2 and Shadowgun.

The company aims to have the free-to-play Unkilled out this summer, and I got a chance to play it a bit this week at the Electronic Entertainment Exp (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

E3 2015 - Square Enix Just Announced that Final Fantasy VII is Coming to iOS

Posted by Rob Rich on June 16th, 2015

Amidst all the buzz of the Final Fantasy VII remake announcement (yes, it's really happening!) was another little aside from Square Enix: Final Fantasy VII is also coming to mobile devices.

Practically no details have been given other than the fact that it's coming, but as soon as we learn more we'll be sure to share. In the meantime we can all look forward to carrying Midgard around in our pockets later this year.

E3 2015 - Just Dance 2016 Will Let You Use Your iPhone as the Controller

Posted by Rob Rich on June 16th, 2015

Just Dance is coming back for yet another year in Just Dance 2016 - and this time you'll be able to play using your iPhone, without the need of any weird console camera perhipherals.

E3 2015 - EA Presents Minions Paradise and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

Posted by Rob Rich on June 16th, 2015

E3 is in full swing, and Electronic Arts had a pretty big presentation for it. They even included a couple of mobile announcements.

Bushel makes iOS devices simple for businesses [Sponsored]

Posted by Simon Reed on June 16th, 2015

Bushel is a cloud-based mobile device management app that makes difficult tasks on your iPhone or iPad simpler.

Designed with business in mind, Bushel has some terrific features like a device inventory, that allows you to see your devices capacity, which devices your users are using and what apps they have installed, and the ability to remotely lock or wipe a lost or stolen device.

Bushel also automates a lot of time-consuming tasks, like email configuration, device configuration, or installing apps to multiple devices simultaneously.

Charles Edge, Product Manager at Bushel, believes the simplicity and ease of use of the app is what really sets it apart.

Edge: "Bushel is a simple-to-use cloud-based tool that anyone can leverage to manage the Apple devices in their workplace and allows you to easily set-up and protect all new devices distributed to your team, or those they already have, through an intuitive web portal.

"Bushel’s simplicity gives less tech-savvy people an option to be able to manage devices completely by themselves. Other cloud services require large investment or an IT staff, which are both difficult for a small business to handle.

"Also, with our special focus on Apple products, our company can better allocate our dense knowledge of the Apple ecosystem to ultimately help the end user."

Edge and the development team have watched the app grow and help businesses to flourish and they're satisfied that they've managed to successfully achieve what they set out to do.

Edge: "Since launch, we are most proud at how much our product has helped real customers to manage their business more efficiently. This is what our intention was from day one, and to see it come to fruition is very satisfying."

However, the work doesn't stop here. The team is working hard on polishing the app but are also looking at user feedback to ensure that the most popular requested features make it into the app's pool of features.

Edge: "There is a lot of room for Bushel to improve in the future, but we definitely have to limit ourselves to retain the simplicity that defines Bushel.

"Rather than add more, we are looking to fine-tune Bushel to cater to the specific device management needs of various fields. This will hopefully make the experience more personal, and therefore more intuitive for each business we help."

"One of our newest features is the ability to send apps to a single device, which was highly requested. We also just launched the Bushel Affiliate Program where you’ll earn a percentage of a paying customer's monthly bill that you've referred as long as they are a Bushel customer.

Bushel doesn't currently have Android or Windows Phone support and there are no plans for that at this time, but it hasn't been completely ruled out.

Edge: "We really value our special focus on the Apple ecosystem, as it allows us to understand and utilize it to a deeper level. The presence of Apple in the enterprise is growing rapidly, and we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

"The market is good and it is what people want, so we don’t want to even partially step away from it now. we are ok with limiting our scope to focus on our deep-seeded Apple-based knowledge."

This Week at 148Apps: June 8-12

Posted by Chris Kirby on June 15th, 2015

Jump Into June With 148Apps

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we've been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.


RPG Clicker

There’s been a prevalence of one-tap RPGs, and RPG Clicker is one of the more recent entries. It’s a lot like all the others, albeit with a slightly more involved equipment system, but you’ll still find yourself drawn in against your better judgement.You tap on the screen in order to inflict damage upon your enemies. Keep at it and eventually they die, you gain a bit of experience, and the process repeats all over again. Every now and then, you come across a treasure chest which offers up a handy piece of equipment to boost your abilities. You also earn gold for every kill. This gold can be used to upgrade your abilities, your weapon, spells, and also unlock new areas. --Jennifer Allen


Insight Guides Phrasebook

You’re going to need to pay up to glean the real benefits of Insight Guides Phrasebooks, but that doesn’t make the free app a complete waste of time by any means.Designed to get you set up with the basics for a simple vacation, Insight Guides Phrasebooks isn’t going to help you become fluent in any language but it will help you with how to ask for directions. -Jennifer Allen


Blades of Brim

While I have to admit that games like Blades of Brim seem to be almost as prolific as match-3 puzzlers and Threes! clones, it actually feels like progress rather than more of the same. It might just be the game that gets me back into endless runners (that aren’t Canabalt).Blades of Brim is a third-person (i.e. over-the-shoulder) endless runner that plays much like you’d expect on the surface. Swiping left or right makes the runner move to that lane, while swiping up will jump. What’s different is how all of these moves also incorporate attacks that can be chained together. Plus you can pull of some rather fancy moves, regardless. --Rob Rich


Sago Mini Boats

Continuing the sandbox/playbox style theme that’s worked so well for the Sago Mini games in the past, Sago Mini Boats is sure to be fun for your little ones. It’s a little overly sensitive at times with its controls, but you can pretty much forgive it thanks to some overwhelming cuteness. You control Harvey the dog, as he sets sail for fun and adventure. You can choose the destination, as well as the kind of boat you control. The latter is particularly colorful with plenty of options for variety. You can opt to manipulate a banana boat or a more conventional tugboat. Even a shark or pirate ship can be controlled too. In each case, movement is much the same. You can either hold your finger to the side of the screen or drag the boat around, throwing it into the air if you want. --Jennifer Allen


Radical Rappelling

The first mobile game that ever truly grabbed me was Halfbrick's Jetpack Joyride. Although the endless runner has been done to death, there are just enough things about that game that would draw me back in for "one more run." Radical Rappelling is their latest spin on the genre, and I'm finding myself similarly grabbed by it. With a high level of polish, tons of unlockables, and a unique approach, Radical Rappelling is definitely my new go-to quick game on my phone. When players first boot up Radical Rappelling, they will likely notice two big features that aren't usually present in runners. First, it's played in portrait mode characters are rappelling down a cliff side. Second, the characters don't move automatically but instead jump on their own while players must tap the screen to start sliding down. These differences are pretty fundamental mix-ups to the standard runner and make Radical Rappelling feel fresh from the get go. --Campbell Bird


Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:


AndroidRundown


Neo Smartpen N2

An opportunity to check out the Neo Smartpen N2? Yes, please…It looks sleek, but still retains a professional feel. In a meeting of executive ballpoint pens, the N2 wouldn’t look too out of place. It has a dark finish, is angled but still faintly cylindrical and almost pyramidal; with the cover off, it tapers to the writing end. There is a power button and a color LED towards the “bottom” of the pen, and at the very end portion, there is a micro-USB charging port.--Tre Lawrence


Outside World

Fans of simple puzzles should enjoy Outside World.For those keen on backstory, the one here is simple: the play controls our protagonist, Kyrsten, who is on a quest to find her way home. At the onset, she hooks up with a spirit entity called Jaynie who is willing to help her on this journey.There… the journey begins.--Tre Lawrence


PowerIt Multipurpose Charging Kit

As always, I am a huge fan of measured convergence. I’ve said it before and will say it again: give me a combo device, as long as it does multiple things well.This is especially true of portable battery packs. One stays in the go-bag whenever I am out; but what if that unit can charge multiple batteries, add something useful like a flashlight, and… oh… say… jump a dead car battery?Ah. Maybe the PowerIt Jump Start Kit?--Tre Lawrence

All this, plus news, previews, game guides and even more reviews than we can share here!

How to Create Custom Text Responses for the Apple Watch

Posted by Rob Rich on June 15th, 2015

One of the many surprisingly useful features of the Apple Watch is the way in which we can see, respond to, or ignore text messages without having to use an iPhone. Seeing and ignoring are pretty self-explanatory, but it’s possible to respond in one of three ways: dial-an-emoticon, pick from a list of prefab phrases, or use dictation to respond directly. Problem is, sometimes none of those options is exactly what you’ll need. That’s why it can be handy to have your own custom set of prefab responses ready to go.

The Apple Watch has Officially Made it - Solitaire is Now Available

Posted by Rob Rich on June 15th, 2015
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

As we're all aware, no tiny computer-like device is official until you can play Solitaire on it. So by unwritten law, the Apple Watch is now 100% official.

PGC San Francisco: Very Big Indie Pitch Submission Deadline Extended

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 12th, 2015

Exciting news for developers keen to enter the Very Big Indie Pitch at PGC San Francisco! The deadline for submissions has been extended to midnight GMT on June 15.

In case you’ve missed the details before, the Very Big Indie Pitch is a great opportunity for indie developers currently working on a new mobile, smart watch, VR, or handheld game. It’s the bigger sibling of our sister site, Pocket Gamer’s regular BIP event, which sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled pitching competition for fame (oh, and a promotional prize worth $thousands).

A handy PDF tells you all the relevant info but here are some useful bullet points to help you out.

  • You can pitch games for mobile, smart watch, VR, and handheld
  • You can pitch your game even if you’ve pitched it at a previous BIP
  • We prefer to see unreleased games, though we’re happy to see games that are out too
  • One submission only per developer/team
  • Each successful applicant gets two free PGC San Francisco developer tickets (worth $800) and additional tickets for other team members are discounted
  • Even if your application is not successful, you’ll still get a discount!
  • Deadline for entries is 15th June 2015 (entry details below)

Want to get involved? Then submit your details and game here. (Should you need to, you can register with the PG.biz Business Network in order to enter.)

All submissions will be notified if they are successful in their application to pitch at the event.

Good luck!

Huge developer-only PG Connects San Francisco 2015 Offer Now On

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 12th, 2015

For those developers looking to attend PG Connects San Francisco next month, there’s an impressive discount available for the next five days only.

Developer passes for the 2-day show are just $100 per ticket (usually $300). This includes access to all conference tracks, both expos, the epic after party, and lunch boxes on both days!

Just use code SUMMERDEV when booking to get the discount.

A Developer Showcase Table for the 2 days IS ONLY $350 PER TABLE(usually $900). This includes a meeting table, 4 chairs, power socket, and 2 Developer Passes. The Showcase Table is placed within the I Love Indie Showcase expo hall and offers the following features & benefits:

Showcase your game to the mobile & tablet games industry
Meet potential publishers, partners, and distributors
Meet games industry journalists + bloggers/vloggers and gain on-the-spot feedback for your game(s)
Meet and network with other developers and peers

Just use code SUMMERSHOW when booking to get the discount.

Need even more reason to attend? There will be two days packed with five tracks -

  • East Meets West;
  • Indie Survival Guide;
  • The Future of Mobile Gaming;
  • Acquire, Engage, Monetize;
  • The Superstar Sessions;

Along with 80+ speakers, 100+ sessions, 500+ delegates, and our usual fringe events (which include the I Love Indie Showcase, the Very Big Indie Pitch, and after-show PG Party).

The huge discount is on a first come, first served basis, and only for the next five days. Grab a ticket while you can!

Piloteer is Awkwardly Crashing onto the App Store Later This Month

Posted by Rob Rich on June 12th, 2015

It's been a long time coming - or at least it feels that way because I've been anxiously waiting for it to come out since GDC in March - but Whitaker Trebella's Piloteer finally has a release date.

Say Hello to Real Steel's Two New Fighters and an All-New Game Mode

Posted by Rob Rich on June 12th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The App Store's most popular robot boxing game, Real Steel, has gotten a big new update with a few pretty significant additions.