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!
Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 15th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
You can’t keep a Dark Angel down.
The new Dark Angels Chapter Pack for Warhammer 40,000: Carnage from Roadhouse Interactive, has players taking on the role of the Dark Angel Space Marine on his path to reap revenge after being captured, beaten, and left to die in a ruined temple.
The new chapter comes with a lot of exciting additions. Players can equip the Plasma Gun and fight their way through Arena Combat gameplay featured in the new missions. Roadhouse Interactive has also included Wargear Supply Caches in which players can find the most powerful Wargear on Mithra. The supply Caches can be bought using gold or found on missions.
You can buy Warhammer 40,000: Carnage on the app store for $6.99. Once you have it, the Dark Angel Chapter Pack can be unlocked for gold in game.
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.
Hearthstone players will be excited to hear that the next leg of the game will center around the infamous Naxxramas. Curse of Naxxramus will feature 5 wings of the necropolis, with one section opening each week (Arachnid Quarter, Plague Quarter, Military Quarter, Construct Quarter, and Frostwyrm Lair).
To get into the first wing for free, just log on during the launch event coming up next month and begin fighting those undead nasties. The other wings will be 700 gold ($6.99) per wing, or you can purchase them in a bundle for $24.99. The event will include some old fiends from Warcraft: Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and Maexxna. Once you beat them all you can challenge yourself with Heroic Mode and gain access to a new card back for your collection.
So start hoarding your gold in Hearthstone as the Undead approach!
Mojang has dug deep and announced the 0.9.0 update for Minecraft: Pocket Edition. This is their biggest update yet with infinite worlds, abandoned mineshafts, villages, caves, and an insane amount of new blocks and items including Monster Eggs and huge mushroom blocks. Mojang has also added biomes from the PC version including mesas, jungles, swamps, and extreme hills. The biomes will have the new feature generator that makes lakes, vines, and the always exciting monster rooms.
Players will be able to tame wolves and fight new mobs including Slimes, Endermen, Silverfish, and the diabolical Mooshrooms. Alongside a bunch of bug fixes, the interaction button has been revamped so you won’t accidentally sucker-punch your new wolf companion.
Will all these additions and so much more packed into the 0.9.0 update, now is a great time to pick up Minecraft: Pocket Edition. The game is available on the app store for $6.99.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 3rd, 2014 iPad Only App - Designed for iPad
Nomad Games, has just released Version 3.4 of Talisman. The update includes a new game setup screen, new font, Language and text fixes, the ‘View Board’ option, and the Gambler character pack. The Gambler has the special ability to tempt fate by rolling 1 die and add his Craft against another player he lands on. If the gambler’s score is equal to or higher than the other character’s score, he gains 1 fate. Otherwise, he must choose to lose 1 fate or 1 life. He can also discard fate after a die roll to reduce the odds.
Recently Nomad also gave us the Frostmarch expansion pack. It included 4 new characters (Necromancer, Leprechaun, Warlock, and Ogre Chieftain), 84 Adventure Cards, 20 Spells, 24 Warlock Quest cards and new alternative ending rules.
You can face the Ice Queen and her frozen minions for $4.99, and snag the Gambler character pack for $0.99.
Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 4th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
31x Limited’s management simulation game Transport Tycoon has just received an Easter update.
First up, the soundtrack has been remastered by the game’s original composer, John Broomhall; the new music can be selected in the game options. Also, there are new levels with five new scenarios, revamped tutorials, new achievements (some of which are hidden), and bug fixes.
We had an opportunity to look at the game in the fall of last year, and liked it. Transport Tycoon is available on the App Store for $6.99.
Daniel Kaplan, Business Developer for Mojang, announced some pretty big news for Minecraft – Pocket Edition yesterday. The Pocket Edition team has begun to rework the game’s code in order to allow for the generation of worlds that are much larger than those that are currently (and kind of disappointingly) available.
More stuff is planned to roll out along with it of course, including updated inventory and AI systems, and it looks like wolves maybe? There’s no real indication of just how much bigger these new worlds will actually be, however it’s definitely promising news. As of now there’s no specific release date in sight, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on January 29th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Order & Chaos Online has received its 18th update, adding two new dungeons: The Ruins of Vliya Temple and The Fate of Collapse. Along with the new dungeons comes a brand new story arc that will be continued throughout multiple upcoming updates as players hunt down the Archbishop of the Flame Abbey. The update also brings new items and mounts that celebrate the Chinese New year and Valentine’s Day.
Posted by Rob Rich on January 24th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The latest update for Calendars 5 is sporting a number of improvements; many of which specifically involve organizing plans with other people.
The new ‘Smart Input’ as they’re calling it will allow you to simply type in a person’s name, event, and even a location while Calendars 5 does the rest. Want to schedule a meeting with Chuck Finley at a nearby diner? Well just type in “Meet Chuck Finley at Diner” and the app will pull up a list of diners in the area, along with the meeting information. Select the place you want, verify, then send an invite straight to his email address. And for the record, yes. That was totally a Burn Notice reference.
The update also allows users to import ICS files, as well as including a new Notification Center that helps manage all those invites they’re bound to be getting. Existing users can download the new Calendars 5 update right now, and potential new users can purchase the app for $6.99.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 17th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Princess and Dragon expansion has made its way to Carcassonne, adding new strategies with the inclusion of the Dragon, the Princess, the Fairy, and Magic Portals to the game board. The expansion is now available to download through an in-app purchase for $1.99.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 17th, 2013 iPad Only App - Designed for iPad
Pandemic: The Board Game gets a new expansion pack that lets users gain access to six new experts to add to their disease-fighting team. It also adds 8 new event cards that can be used to help users on their quest to save humanity. The On the Brink expansion is now available for $1.99 through in-app purchase.
Infinity Blade III is set to get a new update this Thursday, December 19, bringing a new free expansion for all users to download. Ausar Rising features environments from the original Infinity Blade castle, and lets players obtain the sixth and final infinity weapon. The update also lets users fight a new dragon, play a higher difficulty mode, earn the ability to level up weapons to level 20, and much more.
Remember when Minecraft – Pocket Edition first came out and people were disappointed because it paled so much in comparison to the PC version? Well those differences have been slowly disappearing over the past two years. In fact, this latest update (0.8.0) is purported to be the biggest one yet. And based on what I’m seeing in the notes, I’m inclined to agree!
What do you get when you update Minecraft – Pocket Edition this time? Not much; just mine carts, textures lifted from the PC version, new blocks like carpets and iron bars, more crops, several additions to Creative Mode, improved lighting, an increased view distance, and more. Check below for the update notes. Or, you know, just download it already.
What’s New in Version 0.8.0
- Minecarts, rails, and powered rails!
- The view distance has been massively increased. Check the options menu for more!
- New textures and colours taken directly from the PC version
- New blocks: carpets, more wood types, hay bales, iron bars, and more
- New crops and food types, including beetroot, carrots, potatoes and pumpkins. Now you can cook new soups, pies, and more!
- A bunch of new items for Creative and Survival, including clocks and compasses
- More blocks and items to use in Creative Mode: including jungle wood, ice, bedrock, shears, dyes, and tall grass
- New AI: mobs are now more intelligent and you can even breed your own animals
- A new Creative Mode inventory with tabs
- New functionality and tweaks to existing blocks and items. Bonemeal lets you grow new cool stuff!
- Improved lighting and fog effects
- Loads of bugs fixed, and possibly some added.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 18th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Frozen: Storybook Deluxe is Disney’s latest app based on the upcoming animated film, where users get to travel with Anna as she sets off to find her sister. The app is designed for beginning readers, and features multiple storytelling options like reading alone, recording their voice, and listening to the narration with text. It also lets users flip their device upside-down or right-side-up to hear the Frozen story told by either Anna on one side or Elsa on the other.
Users can also create and build scenes with the ice craft tools, play games, and solve ice puzzles.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 11th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Lunar Silver Star Story Touch has recently been updated to fix a number of bugs revolving around iOS 7. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. The important story here is that there is a significant graphics update set to release for iPhone 5 and 5s. This “major update” is said to be coming soon and will also add iOS 7 controller support. At least we don’t have to worry about the game crashing during lengthy battles while we wait for the new update!