Posts Tagged Backflip Studios
Aside from a Pokémon spin-off or two, it doesn’t look like Nintendo will be putting out games on the App Store any time. However, that just leaves room for other companies to try to fill that void. Neither rip-off nor clone, Seabeard instead feels like an homage to several acclaimed titles from the House of Mario. But is that the best thing it has going for it? We set sail for these and other answers in this edition of It Came From Canada!
Although it’s not entirely obvious at first, Seabeard is essentially a town-building game. As a little monarch, players attempt to rebuild their lost island kingdom of Accordia. So, to get the necessary resources and manpower, players travel across an expanding ocean map doing odd jobs for people and recruiting them to the cause. Tasks range from feeding and milking cows, convincing some burly brothers to build new houses, scaring away pesky foxes, pulling out roots, and catching a variety of exotic fish. Players go at their own pace though, finishing jobs when they feel like it. There’s nothing stopping them from just sitting down by the water or trying on some new outfits. While traveling from island to island, players must also play a sailing minigame like avoiding obstacles or shooting down targets with their cannon.
It’s relaxed, low-impact gameplay, and what really ties it all together is the equally mellow presentation. This is where the Nintendo feeling comes into play. The isometric perspective and cheery but not too energetic blocky, 3D, cartoon world recall Animal Crossing, as does the life-sim gameplay. However, with its whole nautical theme and big-eyed, pseudo-cel-shaded characters, there’s a lot of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker in there too. But seeing as those are both beloved games, looking at them for inspiration was probably a smart move.
Seabeard looks to be a pleasant place to drift off into, like sinking your feet into the pool. Players can decide for themselves if they want to dive in when the game fully launches soon.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
NERF Hoops, by Backflip Studios, is a flick it to win it style game. It harkens back to days gone by as a teenager, tossing a NERF ball into the hoop stuck to the back of your door.
Swipe your finger to make a shot and and become the NERF Hoops champion on the leader boards. Just be careful – you will have to adjust for wind, cars, and sometimes even zombies! Players can challenge friends or practice by themselves.
You can pick up NERF Hoops for free on the App Store.
One of the problems with the trend of free-to-play games lately is that many games have been merely facsimiles of great ideas. RPG battling without any actual control over the combat. Build an empire and attack other empires, but without much control of attacking or defending. PlunderNauts does not have this problem: it’s a game about being a space pirate where players actually have a lot of control over the space piracy! Backflip Studios currently is testing the game in Canada, so I put on my pirate hat and sailed to the great northern seas for this edition of It Came From Canada!
Players hop from planet to planet, trying to become the galaxy’s top space pirate by defeating other pirates and plundering their planets for gold and antimatter – the soft and hard currencies, respectively. Antimatter can advance wait timers, refill energy, and buy new starships.
However, the bulk of the actual gameplay is real-time spaceship battling. Players tap and drag to move their spaceship around, which is equipped with multiple turrets. When enemies get in range of the turret, players can select them and attack, with turrets having varying restart times depending on their stats. Players and enemies can summon fighters that not only can attack, but also serve as distractions as the turrets must focus on them instead of the enemy. However, players can only summon their fleets of fighters once per match: other abilities that can be equipped to provide in-game boosts can be used multiple times as they recharge. Combat is a game of positioning: getting out of the way of enemy turrets yet keeping them in range for one’s own turrets is key, and early on the ships are often close, doing their awkward dance with each other.
While antimatter can be earned through completing planets, it feels like many of the battleships will require spending money in order to unlock them; especially as it’s difficult to earn antimatter through grinding like you do for gold. There is an energy system, with 5 bars that refill at 20 minutes per bar. This is kind of a shame as while it does make it so that players are compelled to come back, it doesn’t feel particularly necessary – because, hey, buying items to get better does require grinding. As well, the amount of energy players are given is rather small; I’d prefer longer play sessions even with longer recharge times. But of course, as a soft launched game, this could change at any point.
Still, PlunderNauts has a lot intriguing ideas to it that will be interesting to see as it gets balanced and fully-formed for its final release.
These days it’s super easy to be immediately cynical about freemium games on the App Store. Just the mere mention of energy systems or recharge times can cause players to roll their eyes. Considering Dwarven Den, the new game from Backflip Studios currently in a soft launch phase, is based entirely on these mechanics some might dismiss it out of principle. But the more open-minded will discover a shockingly fair dungeon exploration adventure. Get ready to dive deep in this edition of It Came From Canada!
In Dwarven Den players control a dwarf spelunker making his way through a series of caves. Each cave has a different objective, like find the lost dwarf or mine all of the gold, but efficient exploration is what everything ultimately comes down to. Pathways are blocked off by various types of rocks, and mining through them depletes the player’s energy. Run out of energy and either pay up or quit and wait for the dwarf to recharge. However, each cave is also littered with red gems that restore energy when mined. The tension comes from trying to make progress while keeping energy reserves high.
It would have been so easy for Dwarven Den to keep energy gems artificially scarce to encourage customers to pay. Fortunately, players can get through much of the game with intelligent play alone. By raiding treasure chests for loot, players can forge stronger weapons and armor. Rocks become easier to mine and sometimes even give back energy. By mining blue gems, players can also use a variety of Zelda-style tools like fog-clearing torches and rock-clearing bombs. Bombs are especially effective against energy-draining spider foes.
Using all of these tools in Dwarven Den‘s surprisingly non-linear dungeons makes for a satisfyingly cerebral experience. Each dungeon is basically a big environmental puzzle to solve, and there’s always more than one right answer. It’s not Dark Souls, but the combination of tense challenge and freedom for creative player experimentation works in a similar way. It avoids becoming the tedious loop of repeating an action, waiting, repeating the same action, and waiting again that it could have easily devolved into.
Things can get a little stressful, but that’s offset by Dwarven Dungeon‘s bright, chubby characters and cheery voice samples. The 3D visuals move smooth and fast. Meanwhile, each new item equipped shows up on the player character as a nice touch of customization.
There is the nagging fear though that Dwarven Den‘s freemium elements are so non-aggressive they might be too good to be true. Since the game is still in a soft launch phase, there’s still time for it to decide how money-hungry it wants to be. As it is now though, Dwarven Den rightly chooses to be a great game first and a cash magnet at a distant second.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
DragonVale hatches a new update during its two year anniversary, adding 38 new dragons and a new Light & Dark community event for players to participate in. This update allows players to collectively influence what type of dragons appear in the game next: light or dark.
The update is now live, so get to it!
Quick stats, for the fun of it.
DragonVale has seen 25 million download, 750+ consecutive days in the Top 50 grossing charts, 600 million dragons hatched, and 38 thousand years of collective time spent in the game. Yikes! 4.5 million monthly users currently partake in the dragon hatching fun.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
New additions have been added to DragonVale, including new giant habitats that are available to raise your dragons in. The update also adds the ability to place egg pedestals in the strange tower and allows you to view cleared items that show up as decorations in the market.
Game titles nowadays are often just so ambiguous. Boss Battles from Backflip Studios doesn’t muck around with any kind of ambiguity in its title. This is a shoot ‘em up that is pretty much all about the boss battles. There are eight different bosses to take on, each with different attacks and weak spots. When a boss is defeated, the player nets a bounty of gems for the conquest, which can be spent on ship upgrades such as support weapons. Repeat battles get more challenging, but also more lucrative. Defeat will come to the player often, so thankfully each boss fight begins with a wave of normal enemies that are just there for collecting gems, which go toward upgrades. The game is free to play, supported by ads and in-app purchases of additional gems. This all goes without mentioning that the protagonist is a squirrel with a commanding officer who is a bear. Why? Well, why not?
Released: 2011-09-29 :: Category: Games
Backflilp Studios have been quite prolific on iOS and Android, with a variety of both paid and free releases for both platforms. In fact, Backflip has just announced that they have reached 100 million downloads of their games across all platforms. This is helped in part by their domination of the top charts, like how they currently own 3 of the top 30 free iPad app slots, topped by Strike Knight HD currently at #1. The numbers look to only increase, as Backflip is preparing a “Summer of Free” promotion. The recently-released Strike Knight HD is part of the promotion, and three more titles will be coming out as part of it. Backflip Solitare, releasing in early July, is a take on the classic card game, featuring a focus on stylish graphical effects and the collection of in-game currency for prizes. Boss Battles, launching in August, is a top-down shooter where a bounty hunter with an upgradable ship takes on continual waves of bosses, one after another. Oh, and did I mention that the bounty hunter is a raccoon? This should promise to be a comical and irreverent experience.
However, the last piece of the “Summer of Free” promotion is the newly-released puzzle game Shape Shift. This goal of the game is to match 4 pieces of the same color together. The user can swap any two pieces around on the board; the caveat is that the pieces must be of the same shape. This is where the challenge comes in, as pieces must be recognized for their center shape as well as their color; it’s a similar challenge as to the mental exercise of trying to name a color based on the actual word presented, instead of the actual color of the word. The game features no external time limit pressuring the user; the game only ends if one of the bomb pieces isn’t removed before it detonates in a certain number of turns in the game’s Classic Mode. The Zen Mode allows users to play endlessly, with no bombs or limits affecting play. The games are ad-supported, with the ability to pay $0.99 in the app to remove the ads. The game also comes with Game Center support for leaderboards. Shape Shift comes in both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions, and is available now as a free download. Check out a gallery and trailer for the game below.
This isn’t the end of Backflip’s release plans, as they plan to update Strike Knight with Retina Display support soon, and will release the game on Android. There are other unannounced free games in the pipeline, as well as a paid version of Ragdoll Blaster 3 coming down the pipeline.
Released: 2011-06-07 :: Category: Games
Looking at the screenshots, Shape Shift will look very familiar to many puzzle fans, certainly bring about memories of the Bejewelled series, but no doubt Backflip Studios will use their addictive magic to ensure it’s a classic. Players are set the task of swapping tiles in order to clear the board. To mix things up a bit, players have to eliminate bombs along the way and create huge chains to accrue more points.
Shape Shift might be familiar but it looks set to be addictive nonetheless. Even better, it’s a free download with both iPhone and Ipad varieties available! The only price is that of ad support but players can always pay $0.99 through an in-app purchase to remove these.
Check out the gameplay video and screenshots below for more details.
Released: 2011-06-07 :: Category: Games
Hail to the king, baby! Backflip Studios are bringing the cult Evil Dead franchise’s 3rd installment Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell’s famous protagonist Ash to the App Store with Army of Darkness: Defense. This castle defense game puts you in control of Ash as he tries to defend a medieval castle from the armies of the undead, known as the Deadites.
The game, created in partnership with MGM Studios, and based upon the movie of the same name, features over 150 lines of dialogue from the movie. The camera focuses on Ash as you play, but features otherwise traditional castle defense gameplay, as you have to summon and upgrade troops like peasants, swordsmen, spearmen, archers, and even Arthur to help you protect this castle. Ash can be upgraded to help dispatch the undead using gold you collect or pay for with in-app purchases. Backflip insists that these in-app purchases are purely optional, and just there for users who want a quick boost. You can upgrade your health, damage, chainsaw, broomstick, iron glove, and various spells with the gold you collect. Oh, and you can upgrade your castle with the Necronomicon itself to help protect you from the Deadites, including evil Ash.
The game will release on May 12th, and will cost $0.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch version, and $2.99 for the iPad version. Backflip promises that the game will be perfectly accessible even to those who aren’t familiar with the franchise at all, although there is plenty of fanservice for those who are familiar with the franchise. As Backflip CEO Julian Farrior puts it, “We’re excited to be partnering with MGM on this project and to say that our studio is a fan of the Army of Darkness film would be a gross understatement. This has truly been a labor of love where we have had the joy of working with some of the best movie dialogue and characters out there. Our goal was to create a truly compelling mobile castle defense game and layer it with this rich and whimsical IP that already had a mass following. We think this game will be fun for the AOD fanboy and newbie alike.” Backflip has a tradition of addictive games, with 95 million downloads of their titles across iOS and Android, and this shows promise to be part of that tradition. As well as this game, Backflip is launching several new free games in May and June, and Ragdoll Blaster 3 is currently in development. Check out some screens and a trailer of Army of Darkness: Defense below.