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Hands-On With Melissa K and the Heart of Gold

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014

Set for release later this summer is Melissa K and the Heart of Gold, a casual adventure game that's hoping to be a cut above the rest. I was lucky enough to check out a preview build of it to see just what we should expect.

The team behind Melissa K and the Heart of Gold initially worked on mystery game, LA Noire, being responsible for the real-time animation system within it - and it shows. Melissa K and the Heart of Gold is immediately more attractive than many other adventure games of this type. It's the little things that shine through, such as how a small twitch of the iPad in any direction causes the game's screen to move a little, adding a nice sense of fluidity to things.

Such pleasantries continue, ensuring that Melissa K and the Heart of Gold feels a more interactive experience than the usual titles in the genre. Objects can be manipulated by twisting them around, treating them like real 3D objects, and it works well.

Of course, the real meat for such games comes from its puzzles. Melissa K and the Heart of Gold offers plenty of hidden object scenes, but also a number of puzzles. In my short time with it I wasn't overly challenged, but I was interested. The puzzles are clearly laid out and interesting enough. They're reasonably different too, such as one requiring you to move a flower from one side of the screen to the other, without knocking the other items down. Figuring out how to unclasp a gem from a dragon statue was also a highlight, requiring more tactile controls than most.

Melissa K and the Heart of Gold should be out later this summer. It's shaping up to be something that casual adventure gaming fans like myself should be anticipating. We'll have more on it when it's released.

Ex-Angry Birds Developers Release Monsu Teaser Trailer

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014

Finnish developer Boomlagoon has released a teaser trailer of their forthcoming side-scrolling action platformer, Monsu.

Looking like a pretty cute auto-runner, Monsu has another trick up its sleeve, courtesy of the many cards that you can collect as you play.

Coming from some of the minds behind Angry Birds, there will be dozens of customizable characters to get to know, with the hope that Monsu is more character-driven than most running platformers.

A series of online tournaments besides the rich single-player world should ensure there's plenty of fun to be had when Monsu arrives on the App Store later this summer.

Check out the trailer below to see just what to expect very soon!

Light in the Dark - Shining a Light On Puzzle Gaming This September

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014

Coming soon to the App Store is Light in the Dark, a physics and color-blending puzzle game that boasts a cool gaming pedigree. The resumes of team behind it cite such great series as X-Com, BioShock, and Fallout - meaning that hopefully Light in the Dark will be something rather special.

The game will have you leading a cartoon species called totems on a rescue mission to find their babies who have become lost in a maze of old tombs. Mummies and other creatures will get in your way as well as some good old-fashioned puzzles.

Set for release in September, Light in the Dark will be priced at $1.99. Check out the trailer in the meantime for a taster of what to expect.

March with Pridefest, a New LGBT-Themed Game Coming Soon

Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 18th, 2014

Atari announced today their development of Pridefest a social-sim game for tablets and mobile devices. This is the first LGBT-themed game from Atari. With Pridefest, players can build their own personalized pride parade and march it through a city of their choosing.

Players can customize their own parade floats with festival supplies and other bonuses they receive by completing quests. They can unlock new parade and festival supplies, or receive other bonuses. Pridefest also allows players to chat with friends, visit each other’s city and create avatars.

Todd Shallbetter, Chief Operating Officer, Atari Inc. said, “We are excited to be developing Atari’s first LGBT-themed game that will give players of all backgrounds the chance to play a fun and unique game that represents a passionate cause. We will continue offering a variety of games that are inclusive for all Atari fans and Pridefest is another example of how we are doing that.”

You can sign up for updates about Pridefest on their website PridefestGame.com

Hands-On with the Adorable Meerkatz Challenge

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 15th, 2014

Gamers from the 1990s should fondly remember Lemmings. Adorable yet dimwitted, they were a little too keen to jump off cliffs meaning it was down to you to figure out how to stop them doing exactly that. It was a fun puzzle game full of different tools to persuade the lemmings not to jump.

Kind of like that but with Meerkats, comes Meerkatz Challenge - a game set for release in a little over a week's time. The game will be immediately familiar to fans of Lemmings and in a very positive kind of way.


This time round, it's the meerkats that have a death wish and there's a different bevy of tools to keep them safe. There's the typical blocker tool but there's also the ability to use a mushroom as a giant trampoline, propelling the other meerkats skyward. A trainer meerkat encourages the others to run at speed, making it possible to get across huge gaps when combined with a mushroom spring. A blower type will keep meerkats in the air, safe from danger.

We got the chance to briefly check out Meerkatz Challenge and it's looking pretty entertaining. It offers the same vibe as Lemmings but with its own bunch of tools to keep things original. Controls are tight and effective with the option to speed things along as and when needed. Simple taps cause you to choose which tool to use and it takes seconds to master. Even in the early stages though, some careful thinking is required to get past the stage. Up to three stars can be gained depending on how successfully you completed the stage and how many meerkats you managed to save in the process.


Graphically, Meerkatz Challenge isn't going to wow audiences but it certainly offers a pleasant charm, ensuring you'll be attached to these cuddly critters.

With 4 different areas to explore and plenty of levels to negotiate, Meerkatz Challenge is shaping up to be pretty interesting.

We'll talk more about it next week, when it's released on July 24.

Overkill 3 Head(shot)s to iOS Soon - Check Out the New Launch Trailer While You Wait

Posted by Blake Grundman on July 10th, 2014

We hope you're all ready for a firefight, because the Overkill franchise is coming back for a third dose of action this summer. Craneball Studios' new teaser trailer for the upcoming Overkill 3 features more of the futuristic shooting that fans have come to expect from the series, only this time in third-person.

Though details are scant as of yet, you can definitely spot appearances from drones, gun emplacements, and the remnants of toppling skyscrapers in the footage. So essentially it looks like business as usual, right? 

Start stockpiling your ammo now, because this is the kind of conflict that players won't want to miss.

FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Will Bring Some Really Wacky Flying to the App Store Soon

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 8th, 2014

Set for release soon comes FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines. The game will have you flying with vehicles inspired by player creations from its Blackberry-based predecessor, FlyCraft.

Looking distinctly wacky in nature, the game is set to infuriate and entertain in equal measure as players use these crafts to negotiate various obstacles across each level. Expect to be challenged if the trailer is anything to go by.

For now we'll leave you with the teaser trailer, but expect more coverage on FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines once the game has been released.

Adorable Meerkatz Challenge set to Entertain and Entrance Later this Summer

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 3rd, 2014

Later this month you'll be able to enjoy the pleasures of Meerkatz Challenge, a puzzle platformer that seems rather reminiscent of the classic puzzle game, Lemmings.

Players must help guide a mob of meerkats as they attempt to travel the world in search of peace and tranquility. Digging, jumping, climbing, and many more activities will be involved when it comes to keeping the cute animals safe.

Set for release July 24, we'll be sure to keep you in the loop regarding its development.

In the meantime, check out the cute gameplay trailer below.

Sky Tourist Blitz Trip Set to Land July 10

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 1st, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BLAST OFF! :: Read Review »

Puzzle/platformer Sky Tourist will soon be joined by a sequel, aptly named Sky Tourist Blitz Trip.

Set for release on July 10, the new excursion for Petey Pendant has him flying around the east side of Plumia, across 60 new levels that aim to be even better the first game's.

Each level has been designed with a mobile format in mind so they will be smaller and thus more ideally suited for shorter sessions. Never fear though, there's sure to be some tricky physics and time-based puzzles to challenge you.

Sky Tourist: Blitz Trip is set for release July 10. We'll keep you in the loop about that. In the meantime, enjoy the teaser screenshot below.

This is Why Modern Combat 5: Blackout Will be the Prettiest Modern Combat

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 30th, 2014

New details have been revealed about Modern Combat 5: Blackout's graphical prowess.

The game is set to use a feature rarely seen on mobile titles. It's called Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (or SSAO for short) and is a rendering technique that results in more realistic shadows. What that means for us is that the game looks better and particularly impressive for an iOS title!

Check out the GIF below that highlights just what to expect.

The game is also set to include many other graphical enhancements such as:

• Eye adaptation & Bloom - exposure adjusts in a more realistic manner when moving between light and dark areas
• Soft particles – improved interactions of particles with surrounding geometry
• Underwater distort and caustics – reproduces realistic water effects
• Real-time character shadows – characters cast shadows on geometry in real time
• Heat-haze – air distortion due to muzzle heating after shooting
• Depth of Field – cinematic effect that makes the background appear out of focus so that certain characters or objects in the foreground step more into focus

Modern Combat 5: Blackout is set for release later this Summer.

Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery Episode 2 Announced By Lucid Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 17th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Last week, Lucid Games announced that episode 2 of charming puzzle adventure game, Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery, is set for release this July. While scant details have yet to be revealed about the latest installment, a teaser trailer has been released.

For those who have yet to try out the delightful adventure game, Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Prologue is now available for free, allowing players the opportunity to experience the complete first day of Jacob Jones's stay at Camp Eagle Feather.

Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Prologue is available now on the App Store for free. We'll let you know when Episode 2 is released.

New Action-Adventure Game from Fairplay Media to be Based on MacGyver Television Series

Posted by Stephen Hall on March 28th, 2014

A new game based on the hit action-adventure TV series MacGyver is in the works at Fairplay Media, and it's supposedly going to take many characteristics from the well-known secret agent. Fairplay Media has been in talks with the show's creator, Lee Zlotoff, and announced today that they've finally come up with a plan to bring the famed character to the mobile games space.

Not much information has been released about the game yet, but the company has posted some related artwork and says the game will simply be called "MacGyver." Also, proceeds from the game's art will be going to the MacGyver Foundation, according to Fairplay's blog post. The game is due to be officially announced with more details in the coming weeks.

The Moaning Words: Lovecraftian Influenced Interactive Fiction Coming Soon To iOS

Posted by Jennifer Allen on September 4th, 2013

Everyone loves interactive fiction, right? Ok, I might be a little biased due to my huge love of the genre, but I'm certainly not alone there. Plenty of people love the dark world created by H.P. Lovecraft, too, and his work has proved a fantastic inspiration for many great games and other forms of media. One such title that's set to capture this spirit is The Moaning Words: a game currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign and looking rather promising.

The game is written by Science Fiction author, Alan Dean Foster, and follows a dark investigation across 18 episodes set to be released daily. Players will be able to shape their own adventure through the choices they make. Uniquely, the app will also offer a form of social adventuring with the ability to share one's story with others as well as invite friends to unlock new content.

Continuing with an original twist on the interactive fiction idea, a card game of sorts will also feature alongside numerous riddles and conundrums. Plus, there's set to be even more options thanks to the free writing tool that will allow users to create their own story! Not bad, eh?

We talked to co-founder and designer, Manea Castet, to learn more about this ambitious project.

148apps: Did any other books, games, or films influence The Moaning Words, besides H.P Lovecraft?
Manea Castet (MC): The design of The Moaning Words was influenced by the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books and popular video games Heavy Rain, Baldur’s Gate, and the Dragon Age series. In fact, our interactive fiction is built around different video games mechanisms. These mechanisms were specifically taken into consideration when writing the alternative [choices] and when designing how players interact with the story.

The first influence of our story is H.P Lovecraft’s body of work. Our app is designed to be a tribute to this well-known author. We believe it will please veteran readers of the “Lovecraftian” stories. It will also be a very good start for people who discover the Cthulhu Mythos for the first time. The story, written by Alan Dean Foster, is contemporary and its events will take place in many countries around the globe.

148apps: Some of the Kickstarter pledge rewards involve gaining a pack of gold to use in game, how will these help in game? Are they crucial to progression?
MC: In The Moaning Words, gold is the virtual currency. It can be obtained for free through card games for example. Users will not necessarily have to purchase gold to progress. Every time a user wins a card game, he or she will gain gold.

When people purchase our “Curious” Pack on Kickstarter, we will provide a ‘huge pack of gold’ to start with. Players will then experience the game with more freedom at the beginning. However, anyone can experience the whole story and progress through the 18 episodes without having to purchase anything with actual money. As in many free to play games, the players will have access to premium optional content if [they] decide to purchase it.

148apps: Will it be vital to recruit friends in order to progress, or will it be possible to see everything the game has to offer without?
MC: Although recruiting friends will never be vital in order to progress in the game, we think this feature is a lot of fun. Friends will help you shape the story in a different and meaningful way. They have the ability to transform your own adventure. They can also give you information about what happened in their story. You can experience the whole story without inviting any friends.

148apps: How open-ended is the story? How many different endings will it offer?
MC: The story has 6 different main endings arcs. However, each arc can and will be modified by the player’s decisions. Each one will be drastically modified by previous choices and by the final decisions. Different characters in the story can disappear or become insane for example. The changes can affect the environment on different scale, grand or small.

148apps: How simple will it be to create your own story?
MC: At any time in the app, players can access our writing tool for free. They can either use it directly in the mobile app or on their computer. It is a simpler version of the tool we use. We want it to be as complete as possible. Users will be able to write their fiction, add choices, grant mental sanity points and implement card games in just a few clicks.

No development skills are required to create an interactive fiction; the writer will only need to have a clear idea of the kind of interactive fiction he or she wants to write. Writers can publish their stories directly through the app and will be rewarded if the story is well reviewed by other users.

The Moaning Words sounds like it's shaping up to be quite an interesting twist on an increasingly popular genre. Keen to be a part of it? Take a look at their Kickstarter campaign for the pledge rewards available.

We'll be sure to keep an eye on its development. It's currently set for release later this year.

VS. Racing 2 Hands-On Preview

Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 21st, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: VROOM :: Read Review »

The sequel to popular top down arcade racer VS. Racing is set for release soon and we got our hands on a preview build to see exactly what to expect in the full release.

VS. Racing 2 looks set to build on the success of its predecessor rather than revolutionize the genre but that's nothing to complain about given how much fun the title is.

The top down racer has always lent itself to short bursts of fun and VS. Racing 2 is no different. A series of 36 different tracks ensures there's plenty to do with it only ever taking a few minutes to complete a track. Controlling the car is conducted through a virtual steering wheel on the side of the screen. There's an option to change this to tilt based controls but there's really no need. The virtual steering wheel does a fine job of offering responsive controls that can be relatively easily mastered. Although, one tip worth pointing out, stick to using your thumb to steer rather than another finger. It's geared towards thumb steering and it's much more intuitive that way.

VS. Racing 2's focus is very much on speed and fun here with impressive drifts achievable in hardly any time at all. Action gets pretty challenging in later stages but consistently enjoyable. A series of upgradeables and new cars to buy ensure the learning curve is pretty smooth and satisfying.

The real stand out feature here, however, is the Race A Friend mode. It's this that I suspect will keep players coming back for more. Supplementing the local multiplayer, players can challenge friends from any location, providing they have their email address. Players take it in turns to beat their opponent's fastest time. A ghost car demonstrates where the competition lays at all times, providing some memorable thrills and spills. It's great fun to play and I can see this being the ideal mode to dive into throughout the day. The preview build I checked out didn't include Game Center integration but that's set to be included in the full release, so I'm hopeful that this will boost multiplayer play dramatically.

VS. Racing 2 is shaping up to be a highly enjoyable top down racer. Its arcade spirit won't beguile more serious racing fans but everyone else should be excited. The asynchronous multiplayer should cement its popularity all the more.

VS. Racing 2 is set for release in the near future. We'll be sure to let you know when it hits the App Store.

Tasty Casual Gaming Fun Coming Soon From Sugar Kid

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 6th, 2012

I'm a sucker for all things cute and sweet - things that Sugar Kid looks set to have oodles of.

Set for release later this summer, Sugar Kid will provide players with more than 90 levels of tasty fun. Players control Sugar Kid as he must defeat the evil Mr Lemon while avoiding the perilous threat of a water machine, always a risky place to be for a sugar cube.

Support is offered through the ability to draw bridges to guide Sugar to safety, while using an array of items and power ups along the way.

It looks set to be typically zany stuff but hopefully with a hefty dose of fun thrown in for good measure. Sugar Kid will offer multiple game modes with a Survival mode included, as well as an ominous Deadly Missions mode.

Check out the screenshots and trailer below for a guide of what to expect. We'll be sure to keep you up to date on Sugar Kid's progress. It's set for release for all iOS platforms.