Here’s a fun little game that's coming to iOS and Android sometime this year, called Relics of Gods. Based on characters from a board/card game from China, this upcoming mobile game is an interesting mix of MOBA-style heroes and turn-based battle mechanics, so it will be interesting to see what kind of traction developer Seasun will get on it here in the west.
The quick demo I got of Dawn of Titans at Los Angeles’ Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on Wednesday showed me a massive battle that my presenter (CEO of Natural Motion, Torsten Reil) controlled with swipes and taps on the iPad. When he brought in the titular Titan to smash its way through the gathering enemy forces, it reminded me quite a bit of the recent Game of Thrones episode where the giant Wildling wades into battle, smashing foes out of the way with powerful swipes of a massive club. How fun is that going to be? So fun, that’s how fun.
Game developers Maureen Coffey-Edri, Cara Florence, and Nicole Young are here at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year to let people know about their new mobile game, Creeping with the Crudashians.
It’s a free-to-play match-three with in-app purchases that let you literally buy fame (the in-game currency).
“But,” co-founder Nicole Young reminded me, “you can’t buy talent!”
Creeping with the Crudashians is mostly a whip-smart parody that takes on fame, fashion, and the reality-show successes of the Kardashian clan. But it’s also a game that shows every other female entrepreneur out there that it is, in fact, possible to be successful in a male-dominated industry like gaming.
The all-female team met via Think Ideally, a mentorship and incubation company that Florence and Young co-founded to help women make their way in industries like this one. Coffey-Edri joined the team as they all formed 3 Queens Media, the development company that just made Creeping with the Crudashians.
“If I didn’t have this support system,” said Coffey-Edri, “I would have crashed and burned.” All three developers agreed that the power of networking is what makes them successful in the gaming industry, one that serves half the population but has seriously low representation in the development community.
The team put this entire concept together in less than a year, including development, marketing, and the extremely engaging expo booth here at E3. All three women were there, handing out free invites to download the game (due in July), as well as working a photo booth where attendees could get their picture taken with a stand up cut-out of the game’s heroine, Miss Crudashian. You could also grab a tank top, T-shirt, or tote bag and get it rubber stamped with the game’s logo. Utter parody of the crud we all buy, and we line up in droves at E3 for.
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.
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.
As nice as it was to see such a strong representation of mobile games and devices at E3 this year, it also means more work when trying to figure out which were the most noteworthy. Seriously, there was a lot of great stuff on display and picking just a few to highlight wasn’t easy. With that said, here are our notables from E3 2014 in no particular order.
I stumbled upon the Phonejoy completely by accident, but I’m very glad I did. It’s nice and compact, well-made, and easily attaches to iOS devices of any size and in any orientation. Unfortunately the version that’s available now isn’t MFi, but one is in the works - and you can be sure that once we find out about a release date we’ll be sharing that info with you. Until then, the current Phonejoy model will still work just fine with other games that still support third party controllers like the iCade.
Final Fantasy VII G-Bike
Square Enix has apparently been developing an iOS game based entirely around that Golden Saucer mini-game from Final Fantasy VII without bothering to tell anyone about it. For shame, Square Enix. But while Final Fantasy VII G-Bike seemed to pop-up out of nowhere, it’s definitely looking like a badass runner/driver/whatever you want to call it. Would that other 3D runners had this game’s sense of style and production values!
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
I’m a Monster Hunter nerd, sure, but the reason Freedom Unite has made the list is because it genuinely impressed me. It looks like a fantastic port, plays very well, and even manages to add a couple of elements that the original PSP release was missing - namely legitimate online play and a lock-on feature. As someone who’s already sunk hundreds of hours into the original Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, I simply can’t wait to get my hands on this one when it officially comes stateside.
I’ve yet to get my hands on the final version of the Gamevice, but the “beta” version I was able to play around with last week was definitely cool. It’s uses are sadly limited to only the iPad Mini, but the combination of controller and iOS device make for a great handheld gaming setup. And because the Gamevice is essentially in two separate pieces that attach on either side of the Mini, it should also be pretty easy to tote around. Just in case.
Between Hitman Go [GET LINK] and now Hitman Sniper, Square Enix Montreal is definitely a developer worth keeping an eye on. What could have been something as basic as a first-person shooting gallery with a Hitman theme is actually a very clever (and unorthodox) approach to something sort of like a puzzle game. It isn’t just fun to play around with the various interactive elements in each level, either. The constant competition with other players who are close to your rank on the leaderboards also acts as a great incentive to keep aiming (*rimhot*) for the high score.
Just Dance Now
I don’t dance, and there’s about a 99% chance I’ll never play Just Dance Now when it comes out, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by what I saw at Ubisoft’s booth last week. The game is being developed with accessibility as its main focus, which is something I wish more developers took the time to consider. And not only is it being made to work with older iOS devices, it’s also supposed to take it easy on your bandwidth. So it’ll run on your old clunker and won’t double your phone bill if you end up playing over 3G/4G. Seriously, big thumbs-up to Ubisoft for this one.
I can’t name names, I can’t mention developers, and there’s a good chance I can’t talk about genre. But if I’m obscure enough I don’t see the harm in saying that this thing I played that I can’t go into detail about was actually a whole lot of fun and probably the biggest surprise for me personally at the show. I know that’s not much to go on but it’ll all make sense in time. Suffice it to say, when a developer really cares and knows what they’re doing just about anything can be a hit.
[Please note that the game in-question has nothing to do with Futurama. I just like Futurama and needed an image.]
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting mighty tired of all these awful movie sequels and “reboots.” Well, thanks to Bandai Namco’s upcoming Cinemagic, we can finally fight fire with fire! Or, well, we can at least fight bad movies with awesomely bad movies.
Cinemagic is a match-3 puzzle game in which you’ll need to collect various movie-like elements (reels, tickets, etc), which are themselves used to activate special movie cards. These cards will determine things like the actors in your own movie, major plot points, and so on. Once you’ve run out of moves you’ll be treated to a unique synopsis and movie poster for your creation - and if you’re lucky you’ll also have beaten that other movie at the box office and raked in some serious profits.
You’ll be able to get your hands on Cinemagic for free this November.
I only found out about the Wikipad recently, but when I did my first thought was “Wow it would be great if this were also available for iOS devices.” And it is! Well, sort of.
Gamevice is a specially-designed control pad that attaches to the iPad Mini, effectively turning it into something like a handheld gaming device. I had the opportunity to play around with it at E3 last week (I’d have said something sooner but I was sworn to secrecy) and I was genuinely impressed. Even though the model I was using wasn’t the finalized product it still worked quite well, and tearing across the highway in San Andreas was as responsive as it could be - seeing as I was using a truck at the time, anyway.
Wikipad is planning to release two versions of the Gamevice around during the holiday season later this year: one that can act as a battery back-up for the Mini, and one that uses its own power source. Both will be available in white.
Snail Games’ booth was filled with top hats and goggles last week, but nestled among all the steampunk were a few titles planned for iOS. It was a pretty decent spread, too. One action RPG, one puzzle game, and one strategy game. Personally I was most interested in the action RPG, but I’m kind of a sucker for those things.
Taichi Panda is that action RPG, naturally. The game features three playable characters (warrior, rogue, monk - guess which one’s the panda?), loot drops, plenty of fighting, skill trees, and pretty much everything else you’d expect from the genre. The levels seem big enough to satisfy, but are also small enough to gel with a mobile gamer’s play schedule. In other words they’re a good fit for a commute.
There’s no word on when Taichi Panda will be released yet, but it will be free with in-app purchases.
Heroes of Gaia
Then there’s the turn-based strategy game, Heroes of Gaia. This one is all about tactics and managing your armies. You’ll have to choose between one of four distinct races as you explore the world and try to gather resources. You’ll also be squaring off against anyone else who might be looking for those same resources. Armies are customizable and upgradeable, naturally.
Heroes of Gaia also has no release date yet, but will also be free with in-app purchases.
Puzzle Heroes Saga
Finally there’s Puzzle Heroes Saga: a sort of match-3 puzzle game where you match soldiers to send off to battle rather than clearing gems. Every successful match will activate a given unit’s special ability, which will include various attack patterns and effects. What’s interesting is that the enemy will attack constantly, regardless of how long it takes you to make your move. So you not only need to match, you need to match fast.
Puzzle Heroes Saga is TBA, but it will be free with in-app purchases.
Pixowl has been working tirelessly for quite some time now, what with all the monthly updates to The Sandbox along with several other projects. It doesn’t look like they plan on slowing down anytime soon, either.
Last week, in addition to the news of the Farmer's update, it was also revealed that The Sandbox is rapidly approaching 2.0 status. This milestone (which should be ready within the next three to four months) will include updated features such as an all new interface, reworked campaigns, and will be in HD just like its PC counterpart. This means it’s going to look better, and give you a bigger place to play in.
The Sandbox EDU was also on display, which will be a premium paid version of the freemium classic that’s been specifically tweaked to function as an educational tool. The plan is for parents, educators, and kids to use it as a way to study things like physics, electricity, hot/cold, and so on. All of the elements will be open from the start, and will be restricted to those that actually have some educational value (i.e. no zombies). The Sandbox EDU should be available in the App Store a little before “back to school” time.
Finally there’s Garfield: Survival of the Fattest, which is due out in September. This one’s sort of like Greedy Grub [GET LINK] but with Garfield characters. You’ll get to complete missions for characters from the comic series, build stuff, collect resources, and even take part in three different mini-games. All in the name of getting the giant orange cat to lose weight. Or rather, to help the giant orange cat avoid losing weight.
Want to earn points by flailing around in front of your friends but don’t have one of those fancy new home consoles or their video peripherals? Well you’re in luck! Ubisoft has announced Just Dance Now for the iPhone.
Just Dance Now uses the accelerometer to track your movements and judge the accuracy of your ability (or lack thereof) to dance. No big screen TV or AAA console required. You will need an internet connection, however. You’ll also need access to a web browser on a nearby computer. But once you get all of that set up you simply have to log in to the “room” created in the web browser and get your various grooves on. In fact, there’s no player limit. Provided there are enough devices and there’s enough bandwidth to go around, you could have games with dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of other players. It’s been designed to go easy on your bandwidth, too. Only a tiny bit of data is required to play, so even if you’re without wifi you can still join in on the fun and not break the bank.
Just Dance Now will be available on the App Store “soon” for free.
Gameloft has been busy (isn’t Gameloft always busy, though?) lately. Several upcoming titles were on display at the popular iOS developer’s booth last week, including the Totally 80s endless racer Asphalt Overdrive (a spin-off of the popular racing series), “web-runner” Spider-Man Unlimited, and puzzle RPG Dungeon Gems. Not a bad spread, really.
Dungeon Gems is all about building up a formidable fighting force, then clearing colored gems to activate their abilities and clear out dungeons full of enemies. Characters can be collected and upgraded, and tend to conform to one of five different elements (fire, earth, water, light, and dark).
What’s interesting about Dungeon Gems, aside from the fact that it looks pretty darn impressive when compared to similar titles on iOS, is that you don’t actually have to match gems to fight enemies. Simply tapping on a single gem will trigger an attack, and you may connect multiple colors in one go - so long as you have enough Action Points (special points that refill as you defeat enemies) available.
Dungeon Gems will be available on the App Store later this month.
Ol’ web-head is also going to be putting in an appearance once Spider-Man Unlimited is released.
This self-proclaimed “web-runner” pits Spidey against The Sinister Six. Actually, it pits dozens of Spidey’s against dozens of villains from a bunch of different dimensions. Each of the 20+ Spider-Men will sport their own look and slightly different stats/abilities, and can be collected and fused CCG-style.
Spider-Man Unlimited isn’t due out until later this summer, but it’s definitely looking pretty good. And the supply of characters from alternate universes means we can expect lots of other characters to eventually pop-up.
Finally, there’s Asphalt Overdrive: a sort of spin-off of the Asphalt series that in no way is an official sequel so put down those torches and pitchforks!
Asphalt Overdrive is a lane-based endless racer that tasks you with going as far and as fast as you can while trying to outrun the police and avoid crashing into anything heavier than your own (licensed) car. It’s also super-80s, with lots of neon and bright colors, eerily familiar vehicles (Kit?), and a distinct Outrun sort of feel.
Asphalt Overdrive will be releasing later this summer.
Over in Los Angeles last week, SEGA announced Sonic Jump Fever - a new competitive multiplayer take on Sonic Jump. Much like the previous incarnation the game will feature jumping gameplay, with the aim of the player being to progress as high as possible via vertical platforming. A bunch of Sonic characters will be available to play as, each with their own unique abilities to go alongside the power-ups scattered along the levels and countless rings to collect.
At the beginning of every round players will be shown the scores of their friends that they'll be trying to beat. Players won't be able to rest easy on their high scores however, as leaderboards will be reset twice a week.
Sonic Jump Fever will be free to download when it launches later this Summer.
When I first saw that teaser trailer for 11bit Studios' This War of Mine, I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it. Now that I've had a little hands-on time with the game (it was the PC version as the iOS build isn't showable yet, but I've been told it's pretty much 1-to-1) I have a much better idea of what to expect - and it wasn't this.
I don't mean that in a bad way, though. Far from it, in fact. From what I've seen and played, This War of Mine is a bit more like a micromanaging sim during the day - in which you'll be issuing commands for searching for supplies and crafting items to the unfortunate souls forced to hole-up in a dilapidated building - and a kind of 2D stealth game at night - in which you'll want to carefully sneak through (hopefully) abandoned buildings as your chosen survivor scavenges for supplies. It's very, very bleak. It's also very, very interesting. There's no shortage of tough calls to make when it comes to divvying up supplies, especially once you start to gather more and more survivors.
This War Of Mine will be out later this year. No price has been announced yet, but it definitely has the look and feel of a premium release.