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.
Square Enix’s booth was full of Final Fantasy type stuff this year, but it wasn’t all about the MMO or the Disney crossover series. The RPG giant was also showing off a couple of mobile titles: the greatly-anticipated Final Fantasy Agito, and the “where the heck did this come from?”Final Fantasy VII G-Bike.
Final Fantasy Agito
Final Fantasy Agito is a pretty great-looking title that’s already out in Japan, but now it’s been confirmed for a US release as well.
In Final Fantasy Agito you’ll be able to create your own custom character, take down various enemies for experience (naturally), craft better weapons, and team up with other Agito players to battle massive bosses. Sounds cool, no?
There’s no official date set for a release, but Final Fantasy Agito will be coming to the US App Store for free and feature in-app purchases.
Final Fantasy VII G-Bike
Final Fantasy VII G-Bike was a total, although not unwelcome, surprise. Remember that mini-game from the Gold Saucer that involved riding around on Cloud’s motorcycle while swiping at enemies? Well this is that but ratcheted up to a ridiculous degree.
G-Bike takes the core concept, heaps on a health dose of modern production values, dresses up the visuals significantly, and adds RPG elements like character customization. And it just looks sweet.
No release date has been announced yet, but it will be available as a free download with in-app purchases.
One of the more surprising iOS surprises to come out of E3 last week was the seemingly out of nowhere online action RPG Soul Guardians: Age of Midgard.
I’ve seen my fair share of action RPGs on the App Store before, but Soul Guardians displays a cool mix of colorful style and ridiculously over-the-top attack animations that really stand out. You’ll be able to collect monster cards, which can then be used as upgradeable special attacks. Seriously, there’s a ton of action to shove in your face, and you’ll be able to share it all with your friends or random strangers through online co-op.
Soul Guardians: Age of Midgard should be coming to the App Store within the next couple of weeks for free.
Last week I had a chance to sit down and take a look at a couple of new titles fro Glu coming later this summer: Hercules: The Official Game and Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores. But are either of them worth keeping an eye out for?
I’m thinking yes.
Hercules: The Official Game
Hercules: The Official Game is based on the upcoming film starring Duane “The Rock” Johnson and follows the demigod’s quest to complete his legendary Twelve Labors. It’s a task that appears to boil down to a bunch of one-on-one dueling, similar to titles like Infinity Blade. The game’s environments are meant to be reminiscent of the film (so beware spoilers I guess?), while the gameplay will feature lots of weapons and equipment to collect.
Hercules: The Official Game should be released in late July for free, and will be available shortly before the movie is officially released.
Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores
On the other end of the action spectrum we have Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores. To an extent it’s a lot like Deer Hunter 2014 with dinosaurs, but that’s absolutely a good thing. Deer Hunter was surprisingly great, and being able to enjoy the same style of gameplay in a world of ancient animals and goofy/futuristic weapons (think along the lines of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter) only looks like it’ll make for an even more entertaining formula.
Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores will hopefully be hitting the App Store for free in late July.
Take note: Hitman Sniper is notContract Killer with a glossy shine. I was actually quite surprised to find out it’s more like a high score-chasing puzzle game that just so happens to involve bullets.
Each level (2 locations are planned for release, with more expected at a later date) has a primary target that you’ll need to take out in order to complete – but simply offing your mark right away won’t net you much. To really rack-up a high score and get your name somewhere respectable on the leaderboards you’ll need to build up combos by offing guards that are wandering around the environment. But this is no gallery shooter; you’ll be able to shoot out railings guards are leaning on, create distractions by shooting alarmed cars, and interact with the environment in all sorts of ridiculous ways.
There are also upgradeable weapons, of course, as well as a Rival system that pits you against the player immediately above you on the leaderboards so you’ll have a reasonable score to try and top every time you play. Everyplay support is also included, which means you’ll be able to save your most spectacular setups and combos to show off to all your friends.
Hitman Sniper will be coming out this Fall for free.
The E3 show floor was awash with games, as you’d expect, but there were also a fair number of iOS controllers on display. Three in particular stood out, including a couple of big names as well as a third entry that seemed to come out of nowhere. Curious to know more? Well then read on!
SteelSeries Stratus XL
Imagine a much larger console-style rendition of the Stratus with pressure-sensitive left and right bumpers, a decent heft, comfy fit, a Quick Pair button that makes pairing with an iOS device much easier, and rubber on the analog sticks for a better grip. That’s the Stratus XL.
This new full-sized controller ships with (and uses) two AA batteries and holds a charge for up to 40 hours of start/stop play, and will auto sleep after two minutes of inactivity just in case you forget to shut it off. It also features the same compatibility list as the original Stratus.
The Stratus XL should be available for purchase in September or October of this year. No concrete price has been announced yet, but I’ve been told it will sell for less than the classic model ($79.99).
What makes the Junglecat interesting is the way it’s been designed to act as both an iPhone case and a controller. The control portion actually slides out from the side, turning it into something that’s about the size of most handheld gaming devices. Once you’re finished with it you just slide it back and go back to using your phone as usual. It was designed with to be a more convenient portable solution to iOS gaming controllers, and it definitely shows.
The Junglecat is available in white or black for $99.99.
The PhoneJoy was tucked away in a corner towards the back of the expo hall, but I’m glad I had the chance to check it out because it’s actually pretty neat.
It’s certainly similar to the MOGA Ace Power Gamepad in the way it expands and cradles an iPhone, but make no mistake: this is a totally different beast. When collapsed, the Phonejoy takes up very little room – maybe about the size of a wallet – and can easily fit into a pocket, yet it can expand far enough to house a tablet in portrait orientation. Oh, yeah, it can be used with tablets. It also connects to iOS devices via bluetooth.
There are three packages available for the Phonejoy: Basic for $69.90, which is just the controller and a one year warranty; Advanced for $79.90, which includes the controller and warranty, a soft pouch, and a set of specially-designed adapters that will allow you to plug in headphones (because it covers the iPhone’s jack) and act as a backup power source; and the Pro Gamer for $89.90, which includes all of the above plus a tablet kickstand and travel case.
The announcement that Capcom’s Monster Hunter Freedom Unitewas made just over a week ago, but even so I couldn’t help but be surprised to find it on display at their E3 booth. Even if it was tucked away in a quiet, forgotten corner.
I jumped in after someone left a quest partway through, just to see how it all works. And I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t set the bar for touch controls or anything, but the interface works pretty darn well. Moving is done with a virtual stick on the left side of the screen, swiping the screen moves the camera while tapping resets it behind the character, and a series of virtual buttons and sliders on the right allow you to attack/block/dodge roll with relative ease. It took some getting used to as this control scheme is more in-line with the classic system from the original that relied on attacking with the right analog stick, but overall it worked quite well. making the button for harvesting, climbing, and so on contextual was also a good call.
The verdict is still out until we get the chance to review Monster Hunter Freedom Unite later this summer, but so far it’s looking like a very respectable port of one of Japan’s most popular series.
Rising Generals from Innogames is an empire-builder that’s doing things a little different. Sure it’s got base building and soldier training, raids and defensive scrambles, but the approach to some of these elements are downright refreshing.
First is the way that, unlike some of those games with clashing clans, you’ll only lose a unit if it’s actually destroyed. So if you spend hours building up an awesome army and use them in a battle, you won’t necessarily have to agonize over whether or not you want to actually use everything. Second and most significant is the way in which the wait timers work.
Rather than forcing you to pick an option for resource production (for example) and wait minutes, hours, or days for it to complete, you pick what you want and it completes right away, then it goes on a cooldown. In other words if you want to build a new structure or something, you can build it immediately and then wait for your construction option to recharge before you build again. Time will tell what the iOS gamers think of such a method, but I personally think it’s pretty fantastic.
You’ll be able to decide for yourself when Rising Generals releases later this summer.
GameInsight’s X-Mercs: Invasion and The Running Shadow are both coming along rather nicely. They’re still a ways off, but it was nice to get some hands-on time with the two titles yesterday and I came away mostly impressed.
It’s difficult not to draw comparisons between X-Mercs and a certain other strategy game that involves aliens, and after messing around with the game a bit it’s actually more difficult to avoid it. The game wears its inspiration on its sleeve, there’s no doubt about that. However it does show promise.
Players act as a neutral party in the middle of a war between opposing factions. They’ll be taking on missions for both sides, as well as unlocking more missions and more regions to fight in as they level-up their profile. Multiple soldier classes are available (Sniper, Scout, and Heavy Trooper), tech trees can be researches, all sorts of weapons and armors can be manufactured, and alongside the 200+ missions it will also be possible (and encouraged) to raid other player’s bases.
Of course a few things are different, aside from the color palette. The initial squad of three can be upgraded to four or five, for a price. Wounded soldiers heal in real-time, with cooldown timers and everything. However the most interesting twist is how it’s possible to turn deceased soldiers into cyborgs – complete with a special skill tree and everything. If nothing else, it might lessen the pain of loss.
We’ll be sure to have a full review of X-Mercs: Invasion once it’s available later this summer.
The Running Shadow
The Running Shadow is a very different beast. Rather than being a strategy game, it’s actually a runner (not endless) with some RPG elements and character customization.
What truly struck me about it was the use of special parkour tricks and stealth kills (yes, stealth kills in a runner). Occasionally the main character will encounter special “pads” on the ground that will trigger a timed swiping QTE, which will see him nimbly leap over obstacles and run along walls if performed correctly. And if he manages to get close enough to an enemy that doesn’t see him coming, a similar mini-game will trigger. If nothing else, it’s nice to see a runner doing something a little different.
We’ll also have a full review of The Running Shadow when it releases this summer.
It feels like forever ago when I first had the chance to play MECH (it was called M3CH back then). Despite being pre-alpha, I was actually quite impressed. It’s since been announced that the multiplayer mech combat/shooter has been picked up by Chillingo, and honestly I couldn’t be happier. I really liked what I played over a year ago, and from what I can see it’s only gotten better.
There’s still some work to be done, of course, but the game has come a long way. The interface is a lot cleaner, there seems to be more map variety (and better looking maps), and you’ll have a dozen different giant robots and weapons to choose from when you jump online to shame your friends in online combat with up to eight players.
MECH will be coming to the App Store later this summer.
At E3 yesterday, EA and PopCap announced all-new content coming to the ever-popular tactical gardening game. Fan favorites like the Sun-shroom and Hypno-shroom are making a return, along with a new plant called the Sun Bean that makes any zombie that eats it toss out sun energy when struck. The Dark Ages update also includes a bunch of new medieval zombies like the Knight and a tricky Jester that actually chucks seeds back at your plants.
The Dark Ages update for Plants vs. Zombies 2 will be available later this summer.
Are you going to be in Los Angeles for E3 on June 10th? Do you have a game you’re working on that you’d like to show off to a bunch of industry professionals in a fun environment? Interested in free food and booze? Then come meet us at The Big Indie Pitch!
On Tuesday, June 10th, from 5pm to 8pm, writerly folks from all over the mobile games industry (Pocket Gamer, 148Apps, Cult of Mac, etc) will be getting together to look at indie games, give feedback on indie games, and dole out some very excellent prizes to a select few indie games. It’s all happening at Bottle Rock in LA and, thanks to our sponsors (ZQGame, GREE, Samsung US), tickets to the Big Indie Pitch are totally free. All you have to do is head over to PocketGamer.biz and register.
Just think about it; all that networking and all those eyes on your game, all for free. But if you want in you’ll need to act fast. Registration for the Big Indie Pitch ends May 30th (tomorrow)!
NASCAR Red Line, from Eutechnyx is a light management and reaction game where you manage a racer through a series of races. Combining elements of a sports management game and reaction game like CSR Racing into a new type of racing game. NASCAR Red Line should be available this summer.
Sitting down with Michael Marzola today, President of Run Games, we got to take a quick look at his company’s new arcade football game, Football Heroes. It’s not your typical football game, either, with some Techmo Bowl and League of Legends game mechanics thrown into the chaos.
Check out the video below for a quick look, and stay tuned here for more details and a review when the game goes live once football season starts in the real world.
We got a chance to take a look at off of the 5 story arcs included in the Walking Dead DLC to be released next month, 400 Days. The expansion to season one of The Walking Dead contains the stories of 5 new characters taking place during the first 400 days of the zombie apocalypse. The setting is in and around a truck stop in Georgia near where the events of season one take place.
Though they can be played in any order, the paths of the 5 stories overlap and intermingle in ways that will be both apparent and subtle. Once the story of all five paths is complete, it will tie in to season one and give a good indication of where season two will take us.
The Walking Dead 400 Days will be released to the App Store as a $4.99 IAP in July.
I went to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year for the first time. The event is a sprawling, industry-level spectacle with huge press conferences during the first couple of days and then a ton of booth appointments and special behind-closed-doors meetings for industry insiders and outsiders alike.
Even Microsoft got into the act with SmartGlass, a new initiative that will let users control their Xbox consoles from their iPads, with the potential to interact on a game by game level in the near future. I’m pretty excited about this concept, to be honest.
Similarly, Sony Online Entertainment demoed Planetside 2, a massively multiplayer online first person shooter for the PC, with a killer feature: the iPad app that comes along with it. This app will let users voice chat (!!) in real time (!!!) with other faction members, access maps that are synced with live servers, and see a ton of info about weapons, armor, etc. Pretty darn slick, if you ask me.
And don’t get me started about the brobdingnagian and competing mobile publishing booths placed a small walkway apart from each other on the show floor. Juggernaut Gree had a booth bigger than many small countries, with Korean-based newcomer WeMade Games a tiny Angry Birds slingshot distance away. Ignoring the games for a moment, the two companies vied for attention with bright lights, attractively clad women, and – in Gree’s case – drink coupons for an on-site bar.
All in all, E3 was a blast, and incredibly instructive. Console makers, PC game publishers, and the folks from Japan and Korea have it figured out: iOS gaming is here to stay.
This week, 148Apps was all about Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2012. Take, for instance, Carter Dotson’s report on new Xbox 360 features that may allow iOS integration: “At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, they revealed an interesting new feature that will integrate smartphones and tablets to the Xbox 360. Called SmartGlass, this is designed to operate a second screen during games, movies, and TV shows. This means that hypothetically, a game could display a map on the tablet screen, or even integrate interactive game elements like maps and play-calling in sports games.
Our kids-centric site, GiggleApps, reviewed Give A Day HD, which, as reviewer Amy Solomon states, “is a thoughtful children’s book app that helps create discussions between children and their adults about the world bigger than their families, as this app brings the topic of less fortunate children to the attention of young readers. This app is also available as an app for iPhone as well and is also part of the PlayTales Reader application.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-03-26 :: Category: Books
And finally, 148Apps.biz covered the big news that Google acquired iPad app QuickOffice. Writer Kevin Stout states, “Quickoffice, the mobile document editing software (that particularly handles documents from the Microsoft Office suite well), has been acquired by Google. Announced on Google’s official blog, Google plans to intergrate Quickoffice‘s technology in to their own Apps product suite.”
Our week that was is now did and done. If you’d like to keep up with the latest reviews, news and contests, all you have to do is click the links to follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook. That wasn’t so hard, was it? I didn’t think so. See you next weekend, fellow chupacabras!
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you were in a free fall, with nothing to stop your infinite drop into nothingness? Well in our last game of E3 2011, we got the chance to relive just that experience, except we were blocks, roughly shaped as savannah creatures. That’s right, I said SAVANNAH CREATURES! TransGaming Studios were proud to show off their newest creation, KULA BLOX, and believe me when I say that it is far more fun then you could ever imagine from my lackluster description.
Players are put in control of a rapidly descending beast and burdened with the task of avoiding collisions with creatures that are a larger block size then themselves. Animals that are smaller than you, however, are supposed to become a snack for your ever growing critter. The more of these prey gobbled up, the larger your block becomes, allowing you to stalk even larger creatures.
Adding another level to the complexity, players get to choose their plummeting predatory avatar of choice, each of which has their own unique powers and abilities. At launch there will even be a store available where you can purchase even more powers and upgrades to make your character the “King of the Animal Kingdom.”
Even from the limited time I was able to spend with the KULA BLOX, it was apparent that it will have a widespread appeal amongst the hardcore and casual alike. Where the gameplay will get you hooked, but the leaderboards and built-in trash talking system that integrates with twitter will keep you coming back time and time again. You can expect to see the game hit the App Store sometime in the next couple of months. Until then, however, feast your eyes on these screenshots to satiate your hunger for jungle meat. Enjoy the hunt!
Thanks to the invention of services like the PlayStation Minis, porting games from iOS to consoles has become a fairly common practice. This process has primarily been a one way street until recently, when SEGA announced that they had plans to move their console title Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing to the iOS. Everyone’s favorite hedgehog and his buddies should be invading your iOS device of choice very soon, but that didn’t stop us from taking it out for a spin at E3 2011.
The first thing that stands out about the title is that you won’t be stuck buying separate copies for your iPad and iPod touch. That’s right folks, it is a universal app! All of that said, you don’t need to worry about a lackluster overblown version of the smaller devices on the iPad, because the visuals seem to pop on both. While yes, the visuals are definitely more refined on the iPad, the amount of detail is scaled down to run on all of your other devices admirably well. In fact, SEGA’s representatives were quick to point out that the game will run on any devices that are iOS 4.0 compatible.
Once the green light flashed, we were off to the races using a select number of different characters that are included in the console iterations. The tracks are also a sampling of what is found on the full game, but rest assured that there will likely be DLC expansions to the game that will add more content. Whether these are free or paid for are still up in the air, but regardless, if what I played was any indication, players will want everything you can snag. Oh, and did I mention multiplayer? There will be both local and online multiplayer available at launch that will accommodate for matches between folks on both iPad and iPhone.
Look for Sonic and his high speed com padres to come racing onto the iOS very soon.
For Chillingo’s final trick of E3 2011 they showed of the new puzzle platfomer Blobster. As you can imagine with a name like Blobster you are placed in control of, guess what, A BLOB! Your blob is trying to do its part to protect the environment from an evil corporation bent on polluting everything. I bet you didn’t ever predict playing a game with hippie undertones…
Like any form of mutateable matter, this interesting creature has the ability to traverse right and left using tilt controls, or jump using an intriguing bungie mechanic. The best way that this can be explained it to imagine your blob as a slingshot. After pressing your finger on the screen in its relative position, you can slide your finger backwards and aim potential flight trajectory. Once your finger is lifted off of the screen, the goo is slung in whatever direction selected.
Power ups can be collected throughout the navigation of the game’s four worlds, all of which have a different effect on how the blob interacts with the environment around them. In addition, enemies can also be jumped on, Super Mario Bros. style, in an effort to clear your path. The key to completing each stage is paying close attention to how Blobby (as I like to call him) can have different effects on the world around him.
If nothing else, the enchanting art direction of Blobster should have no trouble winning over audiences everywhere. Its disarming appeal is both lighthearted and fun, while also having a challenging edge that will appeal to the hardcore masses everywhere. Make no mistake, while this is a game for kids, there is more than enough substance to keep adults entranced for hours. Pay close attention, because Blobster is scheduled to fling itself onto the App Store by the end of the month.
Next up in the Chillingo gauntlet of awesomeness was a game that was very obviously catering to the kind of audience that would have appreciated the publisher’s prior smash hit, Cut The Rope. No, Roll In The Hole isn’t a sequel or even really a spiritual successor as much as it is borrowing from a very similar graphical art style and simplistic control scheme. That said, not only is the game aesthetically pleasing, but the easy to grasp controls will surely catapult the game to the top of many’s “must own” list.
Players are placed placed in control of a portly panda that is shaped like a giant beachball. This poor misshapen mammal is not only lost, but is in dire need of sustenance of the ice cream variety. Sure, his doctor may be advising against massive lactose consumption, but the overweight heart wants what the heart wants. In order to snag these frozen snacks and reach the end of each of Roll In The Hole’s seventy two levels, the goal is to guide the gentle giant from left to right, using only a simple touch to the left or right side of the screen.
While navigation may be easy, the different terrains make it more difficult for this panda to move. Ice, sand and grass all have different amounts of drag and effect how quickly your bear rotates and gains momentum. Making matters even crazier, the ridiculously and purposefully ludicrous plot-line will take you anywhere from a desert to outer space!
If you couldn’t tell already, this is the kind of game that is not concerned with being taken too seriously. For that very reason, I can’t help but think that it will be a smashing success. Roll In The Hole has a little bit of something for everyone and come on, how could you not want to download the game when you see how adorable it is? It should be rolling onto the App Store later this July.