Sometimes, it’s quite easy to forget how truly innovative iPhone and iPad apps can be. They can revolutionize concepts that we’ve taken for granted in an earlier guise, something that the folks behind NIKO and the Sword of Light hope to achieve.
Having recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to aid their project, four college friends from London and Toronto hope to change comic books massively, by launching the first fully animated hand-drawn comic book app. They certainly have the pedigree, too. Bobby Chiu and Kei Acedera, from Imaginism Studios, are well known for their work on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Men in Black 3, while Adam Jeffcoat and Jim Bryson, of StudioNX, have worked for companies such as Nickelodeon, CBBC and EA Games.
With a plan to launch NIKO and the Sword of Light this summer, the team told me a little more about exactly how it all came to be and precisely why it’s worth taking this Kickstarter campaign seriously.
“Niko was born from the idea that we wanted to make something different from the types of cartoons and movies that were out there. Something dark and edgy that enabled us to tell a story that would transport our audience…through awe inspiring landscapes full of wondrous characters and monstrous beasts.”, explained Adam Jeffcoat. “We wanted to take the darker feel of graphic novels and combine it with the style of modern animated movies to come up with something that would appeal to both adults and children alike!”
As he explains, the story is set to be a classic battle between “dark versus light” with “one tiny hero against all the odds.” After all, it’s an apt concept given that “[the] real world always seems to be faced with so much darkness every time you turn on the news.” Discussing the team’s addiction to TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Spartacus, Adam pointed out that they “love the idea that our world could have once been a place where magic existed, where dragons roamed and where the forces of dark and light were at constant war with each other.”
Further inspiration stemmed from “modern graphic novels such as Hellboy”, focusing on a “darker and more adult way” of telling a story.
Ambitiously, Adam and the team didn’t want to stick to typical ways of doing comic books or graphic novels: “Right from the start we wanted to to something that hadn’t been done before.” The iPad played a pivotal role given, “this thing bridges the gap between static and animated.” Adam feels such interactivity will add to the experience too, “to create a sense of real tension.”
The combined work of StudioNX and Imaginism Studios is a truly modern way of doing things, given that one half of the team is based in Toronto and the other half is in the UK. With a sound designer in Mexico, and coders located in Australia and the US, Adam extolled the virtues of Skype, email and Dropbox to make it easier to be working so remotely.
Acknowledging the importance of retaining momentum throughout the Kickstarter campaign, Adam also explained the importance of getting marketing just right. Facebook has proved a valuable ally, thanks to the team’s focus on keeping fans informed each step of the way.
While the glimpses of work are fleeting, NIKO and the Sword of Light looks quite special already, thanks to some beautiful artwork within.
The Kickstarter campaign has around three weeks to go and it’s already nearly hit its goal. If you’re interested in participating, check out the campaign page, which offers some pretty cool pledge rewards, as well as learn more via their Facebook page. We’ll be sure to keep up to date with all the latest developments, also.
This week at 148Apps.com, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 were never too far out of our collective consciousness, as evidenced by site founder Jeff Scott’s discussion of changes in the iOS App Store: “Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, ‘This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.’”
Meanwhile, back in the GiggleApps.com cave, reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Superhero Comic Book Maker HD: “Comic Maker allows one to choose from 27 backgrounds, a blank page and a chance to access photos from one’s device to work on. I really enjoy these backdrops, each bold and colorful, as there are wonderful choices to stimulate creative thinking and superhero or monster themes, such as the POV from a spaceship, industrial setting with robots and a conveyer belt, as well as other more natural scenes including a farm, saloon, or desert, which allow these characters to visit Earth. It is worth noting that although the theme here includes monsters, every image included within is utterly family-friendly, as is the included classical music based on classic nursery rhymes that Duck Duck Moose is known for.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-01 :: Category: Games
And staying on the ‘Super’ theme, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson solicited some marketing advice from Supercool Creative: “Social media is often an enigma to developers looking to promote their apps. It’s a tool that can be incredibly powerful for getting more downloads and driving revenue, but just how to succeed with it is a mystery to many. Facebook integration, especially with the App Store, has been anticipated by developers as a way to help their games spread through social media, but these features won’t be doing all the work to make an app gain users through social media usage. However, David Murdico has written an interesting blog post for Supercool Creative entitled “5 Ways to Promote Mobile Apps and Games with Social Media” that covers many ways to best utilize social media to developers’ advantage.”
That’s it for this week, but with fall…um…falling, there’s sure to be a huge amount of new content about to drop before the holidays. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. We’ll make it worth your while! See you next week!
Things are looking pretty grim. A despicable race of alien beings has planted a doomsday device called “The Cosmic Fuse” deep inside the Earth’s core. Rather than wait for a team of semi-washed up actors lead by Hillary Swank to ride a drill train through the center of the Earth we’ve enlisted the help of Verticus, the world’s first (so far as I know) free-falling superhero.
Verticus is a new “endless faller” headed to the App Store courtesy of Moonshark, Controlled Chaos Media (creators of Texting of the Bread), and Stan Lee. Yes, that’s Stan – The Man – Lee. The comic book legend has created a special story and superhero for his first iOS outing, as well as supplying his own voice as the player’s mission commander. Commence geeking out. I was able to have a chat with Moonshark’s CEO, Matt Kozlov, and he filled me in on the whole world-saving affair.
The titular do-gooder must fall his way through the Earth’s atmosphere, past cities and their streets, and beyond its very center in order to reach and diffuse the alien invaders’ bomb. Then he has to make it through to the other side. This isn’t a mere dodge-em-up, however. The fledgling hero will have both offensive and defensive abilities to aid him in his task, as well as a number of upgrades to earn and unlock through multiple playthroughs. So there’s obviously plenty of incentive for multiple replays, what with the upgrades and new suits to earn. It’s also possible (though not necessary) for players to purchase in-game cash to speed up their development if they so desire.
Verticus is slated for a release sometime this fall (we all see what you did there, Moonshark). If you’re too excited to sit idly by and wait for the action to commence, you can also check out the game’s official Facebook page for more details. Oh, and you can enter to win one of a few pieces of official Verticus artwork signed by Stan Lee while you’re there, too. Wait, what?
No doom and gloom for the pygmies this time around. At least, not on a global scale. The Pocket God Comics app is getting an update (or rather just got one by the time this ends up being readable) including the 16th issue and a fairly major tweaking to the store’s interface.
In this latest episode, the girls need to fix their raft with a laser. Sure, that makes perfect sense. The catch is they can only get one by catching a laser shark. Oddly that makes a little more sense. And, of course, mayhem and hilarity shall ensue as the pygmies attempt to bag a very large, toothy, and heavily armed fish. The app itself (pictured above) should also be much more navigable. New issues, featured releases, Top Titles and more will be right up there on the main page for all to see and access. It’s looking pretty slick all things considered.
By the time people start reading this, the update should be live. Assuming there are some folks out there who don’t own the app yet, it’s also available for the incredibly low (and obnoxiously expected) price of $0.99.
Issue 14 of Pocket God Comics is now available on the App Store. Entitled “Para-Abnormal Activity”, it’s the final instalment in the series, before a new story arc begins.
The story in this issue focuses on the two tribes after they crash into a mysterious island while attempting to get home from their previous adventure. The girls are unable to regenerate which is not very convenient given they’ve just landed on a haunted and very spooky island!
For those who have inexplicably missed out on Pocket God Comics before, the comic is based on the very successful game of the same name and consistently features some great artwork.
As always, the comic is priced at $0.99 through an in-app purchase. A taster of the story is available below. For those comic book fans who prefer a physical item, issue 14 will also be available in local comic book shops around the US.
After over 30 years of being a thing, Strawberry Shortcake (yes, that Strawberry Shortcake) is getting her own digital comic book app. From the folks involved in the super-popularPocket God digital comic, no less. And it’s all thanks to Ape Entertainment.
The app itself is free to download and includes a preview of the first issue. After that, the first three currently available issues (The Pineapple Predicament, The Sour Truth and The Berry Scary Storm) can be purchased for $2.99 each. Every issue contains a grand total of three stories, with a sizable 16-pager and two smaller ones. The app also includes a special feature to assist users with locating the closest comic retailer in their area, so that they can get their hands on some physical copies if they so desire.
The continuing fantasy adventures with lots of wholesome values (but sadly, no scratch-n-sniff) are up on the App Store right now. Anyone who harbors fond memories of the colorful bake-happy franchise should certainly take a look at the Strawberry Shortcake Comics Reader.
Dark Horse Digital and Bethesda Softworks have got together to release for iOS devices Fallout: New Vegas – All Roads, the 48 page graphic novel originally available through the Fallout: New Vegas Collector’s Edition.
The graphic novel introduces the seedy world of New Vegas and the characters within. The ideal accompaniment to the console and PC hit of last year, All Roads even contains clues to in-game missions for those able to spot them. It unravels an intriguing tale of loyalty and violence that serves as the ideal prologue to the game’s main storyline.
Artwork features the works of Jean Diaz, Geof Darrow, Peter Doherty, and Wellington Alves with the story written by the game’s creative director: Chris Avellone.
For those who missed out on the Collector’s Edition of the game last year, this is a great read offering some valuable insight.
It’s out now via an in-app purchase within the Dark Horse Comics app. It’s priced at $2.99.
Having spent many years of my life trying to draw, I’ve come to accept that I’m never going to be a comic book illustrator, as much as I’d love to be. Apps like ToonPAINT go some way to repairing my bruised ego, however. It’s an app that allows users to create cartoon images from their own photos.
Once the image is imported, the app converts it to a sketch format and opens up the possibility of coloring in the photo. Using some fancy image processing algorithms and a series of different colors, ToonPAINT opens ordinary photos up to the world of the graphic novel look. It’s all very easy to do but with some pretty cool results.
It’s a neat app and doubles up as a great way to entertain kids who never fail to love coloring pictures in.
ToonPAINT is normally priced at $1.99 but until November 12th, it’s available for free. Enjoy the artistic creations that this app can produce.
Coming soon to the App Store from iSeeToon is Ill-Fated Relationship, a comic book app that centers around the dark romance between two serial killers. It promises an indie art film style more akin to Western graphic novels rather than the typical brash comic book style of other Manga-esque series.
The app contains 20 chapters in all following the complex and film noir style storyline that iSeeToon promises. We’ve got two trailers below that ably demonstrate the kind of experience that comic book fans have to look forward to. The videos and screenshots certainly show off a great looking style that will hopefully provide a pretty mature and dark experience. It’ll certainly make a change from the more Western offerings of the likes of D.C and Marvel.
iSeeToon is set to be released on the App Store later in the month and will be launched at a sale price of $4.99, to increase later on to $8.99.
A new hybrid form of game and comic is set to be released by Square Enix for iOS devices.
Known as Imaginary Range, the app sets out to allow players to flick through comic pages while also playing through a variety of different game sequences. Games look to be mostly mini-game in nature within a full-color comic book and similarly detailed plot.
The project has been overseen by Motomu Toriyama, director of Final Fantasy XIII, with novelist Souki Tsukishima handling the storyline, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series artist Toshiyuki Itahana in charge of the artwork. With pedigree that strong Imaginary Range is looking rather interesting indeed.
The comic/game is set in France during an attack by an evil creature known only as Omega and it’s down to Cid (yes, Final Fantasy fans, another character called Cid) and Ciela to stop this menance.
Once you complete the story, you can then unlock further comic commentary as well as the ability to play the game separately from the comicbook. If gameplay is anything like the visuals then Imaginary Range could well be something special.
Even better, it’s free to download and an universal app so iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch fans alike can enjoy it.
With iOS4 and the iPhone 4 hitting this week, it’s not so surprising that we’ve seen tons of new apps. This week’s Friday Five features a number of big-name efforts, many of which highlight the features of the iPhone 4 and iOS4. Let’s get started!
The productivity-sucking, Facebook-spawned plague has been unleashed upon the App Store masses. Someone say a prayer for us all. The iOS version is supposed to sync with the Facebook version, so if you already have a farm, don’t worry about maintaining two! Just like on Facebook, you “grow” both plants and livestock and earn coins and XP for your troubles. This app also includes in-app purchase options for both coins and premium “Farm Cash.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-06-24 :: Category: Games
I don’t know why Eliminate:GunRange is missing spaces in the title. I can tell you, however, that it’s ngmoco’s brand-new, iPhone 4-exclusive title. A spin-off of the popular Eliminate FPS series, GunRange is designed to take advantage of the iPhone 4′s gyroscope and Retina display. The game drops you into one of three shooting ranges and lets you blast away at targets using any of twelve weapons. Support for the iPhone 3GS and additional content are promised in the future.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-06-22 :: Category: Games
Windows Live Messenger
Despite the whole Apple/Microsoft battle, Microsoft has apparently seen fit to release a messenger client for its Windows Live service. It’s pretty much your typical IM app, with hooks in most major social networks (Flickr, Facebook, Youtube, MySpace, etc). In addition to chatting and sharing photos, you can access your Hotmail email account from within the app.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-06-21 :: Category: Social Networking
NPR is a wonderful, wonderful organization. It’s simply incredible how much they give away, for free. NPR Music follows their long-since-released NPR News app and gives you access to NPR’s musical selections. Listeners can choose from Classical, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and more. Live streams from over 75 public radio stations are available. Folks with new iPhones can take advantage of backgrounding, listening to music even when the app is closed.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-06-23 :: Category: Music
DC makes its iPhone debut with many familiar comics: Batman, Green Lantern, the Justice League, Sandman, and more. The app itself is something like a comic-store, from which you can download individual comics via in-app purchase. Most comics run $1.99 apiece. (A few freebies are available, too.) For viewing comics, there’s either a full-page view or a Guided Reading option; with the DC app, all of your comics are contained in one simple app. Comic lovers should at least download the free app and check out the full selection.