Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 5th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Heroes of Dragon Age has arrived on the App Store, bringing free-to-play strategic combat to your favorite iOS device. It features over 100 heroes to collect; which includes dragons, golems, and more as each hero has their own abilities that can be upgraded. Players can go on quests to fight against large bosses and can even take on other players from around the world.
EA Mobile has decided to revive the famous Bullfrog Dungeon Keeper intellectual property for a new free-to-play mobile game. It’s currently testing in Canada, so we hopped on a moose to bring you another episode of It Came From Canada with hands-on video below!
Dungeon Keeper is a two-fold game: one, there’s the dungeon keeping. This involves getting imps to mine for materials and build traps to help keep out invaders. Imps can help expand the dungeon, though certain spots take more time to open up. Of course, these waits can be skipped with gems. The other half of the game is raising units to go in and raid other dungeons, trying to survive the traps that the opposing Keeper has laid down in order to get their stuff. It’s a raid or get raided world.
Thus, in this modern incarnation, the game plays somewhat like a tower defense title: setting up a tricky dungeon with enough traps to keep invaders from getting much in the way of material is important, but so is amassing that army of creatures to go and get more gold and materials from opponents. There’s both campaign missions versus computerized opponents, and more interestingly, dungeons of other players to go raid.
The game does have a sense of humor to it, even to the free-to-play aspects: the demon guiding players jokes about how gems may be controversial. At least it’s somewhat self-aware for a game that would require a $99.99 in-app purchase to pay for three months of the game’s premium service. Of course, that could change before the game’s international launch. There’s also stat boosts and raid protections available to buy to help make surviving this tricky dungeon world a bit easier.
The game seems to be in a fairly polished state at the moment, and EA’s soft launches usually last less than a month, so there’s a good chance that you’ll have a fairly well-formed dungeon by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Can’t wait till the international launch? Check out our hands-on video below.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 2nd, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ghosts have made their way to Springfield in the latest Halloween themed update for The Simpsons: Tapped Out. This brings even more spooky things to the town, which includes ghosts and gremlins, new characters like Count Burns, new buildings, rides, and decorations, and new quests that feature the ghosts or spirits past. If the Simpsons is your thing, make sure to check out its scary new update!
Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 5th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Porsches are such beautiful cars, and now we can all enjoy seven generations of the Porsche 911 in the latest Real Racing 3 update. This includes the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 (1972), the 911 GT2 (2003), and the brand new 911 RSR. The update also comes with a new Porsche-themed series to race in that’s all about the 50 years of the 911 Series.
Check out the beautiful Porsche-filled trailer below! I love Porsches!
EA Sports is bringing FIFA 14 to iOS for free this fall. It’s going to be packed, too. Over 600 teams from 30 leagues, online multiplayer, and an all new set of touch controls. It’ll also feature the popular “FIFA Ultimate Team” (FUT) mode, which will let players pick their own play style, manage their own team, and compete to earn coins in order to improve everything. And if that isn’t enough, EA SPORTS Football Club Match Day will add an extra layer of realism to your games by adding in-game stories pulled straight from the real world such as injuries and suspensions.
Three premium game modes (Manager Mode, Tournament Mode, and Kickoff Mode) are also available for any players looking to “upgrade their game.” Sounds cool, right? Well FIFA 14 will be coming to the App Store for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch this fall. Presumably around the time its console big brother releases in late September, but it’s just a guess so don’t quote me on that!
Posted by Rob Rich on August 27th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It seems like just last week our own Carter Dotson was sharing exclusive Madden NFL 25 gameplay footage. Wait a minute, it was just last week! And now the wait is over!
EA Sports has just released Madden NFL 25, titled after the series’ 25-year anniversary, onto the App Store. Players will be able to build their own NFL teams via a card-collection system, play through multiple game modes (Exhibition, Head-2-Head, Solo Challenges, and an offensive shootout mode), and make use of an improved set of touch controls.
And since it’s free, there’s really no reason not to check it out, right? So go on, celebrate 25 years of Madden the right way: with a game of FOOTBALL!
Posted by Andrew Stevens on August 21st, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Real Racing 3 has received a new update that adds even more cars to the game, including muscle cars from Dodge and Shelby. The update also includes a new series of events to go along with the theme of classic muscle cars.
There are a few enhancements to note as well, such as faster and more accurate skill adjustment for better competition and improved cameras that provide an even better sense of speed.
Check out these classic beauts in the trailer below!
Touch Arcade reports that Madden NFL 25 is now available in the Canadian App Store, which hopefully means that it will launch everywhere else very soon. The game will use all-new touch controls to juke, spin, and power through while running the ball down the field. It also features Solo Challenge seasons and Head-2-Head shootouts against friends.
Who’s anxious to select their favorite team and give this free-to-play version of Madden NFL 25 a try?
EA announced that Dungeon Keeper, a reboot of the classic strategy game, is currently in development and set to release on iOS this winter. Pocket Gamer reports that the game will feature a mix of strategy, building, and tower defense in a free-to-play structure. You will be able to set traps, build tunnels, and have evil little minions do whatever it is you ask of them, along with invading other players’ dungeons to claim victory.
EA today announced that Peggle 2 is coming “exclusively first” to the Xbox One. To borrow a phrase from the great Mandy Patinkin in Princess Bride “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Exclusive means exclusive: only one. But Peggle 2 will not be exclusive to the Xbox One. It will come to other platforms, and we can rest assured that it will come to iOS at some point.
In this instance, Microsoft has made so many mistakes with the Xbox One that they are struggling to get attention back. So they pay EA a bunch of money to make Peggle 2 and other games “exclusive” to the Xbox One – for a short period of time. Maybe even as little as a month. Microsoft thinks they look awesome, then we get Peggle 2 a few weeks later on the only platform that really matters, iOS. The Xbox One sells way fewer consoles than Microsoft expected, and mobile finally starts to get the attention it deserves. Wow, I think I just saw into the future.
I’ll keep going and guess that it will be announced for iOS in January and be released right after that. And it will be free to play – that is almost a guarantee at this point.
So, um, Peggle 2, yeah. From the short demo shown at Gamescom in Germany, it looks like the original Peggle with more sparkles. Just more levels, and something called “Peggle Masters.” Masters are characters in the game that have their own power-ups and abilities. Also included are multiplayer modes. We’ll let you know more once the Microsoft exclusivity runs out. Here are a couple screen grabs of Peggle 2 from the EA press conference.
EA has announced that Heroes of Dragon Age is in development, bringing gamers a squad-based Dragon Age experience with engaging quests on iOS this Fall. Players will be able to create a party of heroes and monsters to use in a fast-paced combative environment. By achieving victories, players will be able to level up their characters and will also be able to earn rewards and move their way up the leaderboard.
Touch Arcade reports that EA is making more money through its workings in the App Store than it is through any other service, including its own Origin service.
EA pointed out that The Simpson: Tapped Out, Real Racing 3, and The Sims FreePlay are all bringing in buckets of cash, all three of which are free-to-play titles. The Simpsons: Tapped Out actually had its biggest quarter yet while Real Racing 3 continues to average around 2 million active users a day.
EA is one of the most prolific first party publishers on the App Store with hundreds of games for iOS available. While it has seen its share of problems and growing pains, it has successfully launched everything on iOS, including high-priced premium franchise games and top grossing free to play games. Let’s talk with Nick Rish, VP of Mobile Publishing, about how the App Store changed EA.
148Apps: How has the App Store changed the way EA does business?
Nick Rish, VP of Mobile Publishing, EA: Developing for the App Store was not as big of a transition as one would think, since EA was an early adopter of mobile gaming development. In 2004, before most were considering the mobile app revolution, EA established a mobile team to develop games with access to EA veterans and IP. Then we made a very smart acquisition of JAMDAT mobile which solidified us in the #1 position on mobile and multiplied our mobile development experience in house. When the iPhone launched in June of ‘07, we were making games for feature phones and Apple’s click wheel iPod. When we first saw the iPhone, we immediately saw it as a game changer and as an incredible challenge. Although we knew how to build for shorter development cycles, the interruptible gameplay sessions, quick load times and limited screen space posed a lot of new challenges that we needed to prepare for. Discoverability for instance. On the carrier feature phone decks, you sat alongside a thousand unbranded games and let your brands do their work. On the App Store, the number of games quickly became tens of thousands of games, so we had to adapt marketing practices to become more similar to the online world where the market is crowded. We needed effective keywords, as well as icons and titles that told a story in a small amount of space. We also were presented with new development challenges such as touchscreen, accelerometer, landscape & portrait view, etc. This meant sharing best practices with multiple teams became critical.
148Apps: If you have one single success within EA you’d like to highlight from the past five years on the App Store, what would it be?
Nick Rish: If I’m picking one success, I think it would be the limits we pushed with Real Racing 3 for the iPhone 5. We work closely with Apple to create the most innovative experiences for their devices, and no other company has the mobile scale that EA does to release quality content on such a short timeline for new devices. We could have followed the market and made a freemium drag race game or an arcade-like experience, but the Firemonkeys really wanted to push the limits of the a true racing experience with Apple’s new device. The authenticity of the cars, the lighting effects, the detail of the tracks and the stunning racing environments make me incredibly proud to work at EA. This is the type of game that when done right, sits itself above the competition.
148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence EA five years ago, what would you say?
Nick Rish: I would say to embrace free, live services as they are our future. Build expertise internally for those models within Studio and Publishing. We were running a premium house five years ago focused on shipping a game and moving on to the next one. Now a game needs consistent updating to keep users engaged. The shift is evident when you look at games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out which has been on the App Store leaderboards since its launch 40 weeks ago has had 20 updates since then. It’s like we were in the music business releasing individual tracks and now we’re putting out television shows that may go on for many seasons. It’s really important to create new stories, characters and episodes that our players will enjoy. When I looked at the App Store Sunday morning, 9 of the top 10 grossing games were all updated within the last 30 days.
148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of EA, that has surprised you most?
Nick Rish: The technology of these devices has improved greatly, yet most games have not felt the need to press the limits of these innovations. Five years ago if you showed me the tech specs of the current Apple devices, I would have predicted big, one time download games dominating the charts. Franchises like Need for Speed or Battlefield. It’s been quite the opposite where well-polished, lighter strategy games are dominating the charts. Gamers on this platform are willing to forgive a lack of deep storylines, realistic characters and epic battles in place of great text, cute characters and engaging mini-battles. Think Clash of Clans or Plants vs. Zombies. In fact, we’ve yet to see an FPS emerge that can stay in the Top 25 Grossing for any significant period of time. It will get interesting when we start to see billion dollar franchises engage their years of experience and resources towards making lighter strategy games that are optimized for richer graphics, deeper stories and epic battles.
148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?
Nick Rish: Yes and I’d like to also give you Wednesday’s Powerball numbers… I believe the environment will be still be full of rich content. Probably less Publishers, but still a lot of games. It will support different types of devices, because Apple never stops innovating and EA will continue to be there in full force. We are committed to Apple and its users and will rise to any challenge that’s placed in front of us.
To celebrate 5 Years of the App Store, we’re giving away 5 of EA’s most popular paid games (Ed: See the full list on our sale round-up page.) The giveaway starts today and runs for a limited time.
Chillingo is likely the largest third party publisher on the App Store. With over 10 years of experience publishing mobile games and hundreds of games in the App Store, they have pretty much seen it all. Chillingo was acquired by EA in 2010 but has been pretty much left to their own since then. We take a few moments to talk with Ed Rumley, COO of Chillingo about the App Store and the past five years.
148Apps: How has the App Store changed Chillingo?
Ed Rumley, COO of Chillingo: Well, when Chillingo started out we were dealing with a hugely fragmented marketplace. If people think they know fragmentation now, they should have tried publishing games back in the Java/Pocket PC days. The App Store changed everything. It created a single marketplace where it was easy to get your game to consumers. Our focus shifted to almost 100% iOS shortly after the advent of the App Store and stayed that way until pretty much a year ago.
148Apps: Chillingo has published some of the biggest games on the App Store. Huge success with games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Was the massive level of success of these games a surprise to you?
Mr. Rumley: We’ve always had a pretty good eye for something special, and we work with the best indie developers in the world. Obviously you can never tell if something is going to live up to the success you want for it but I think in almost every case over the past few years, whether it was Cut the Rope, Catapult King etc we’ve been quietly confident that we were onto something.
148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence the path of Chillingo five years ago, what would you say?
Mr. Rumley: I think if we were told what the App Store would be like between then and now we probably wouldn’t have believed it! I’m not sure we would have changed an awful lot, to be honest. We’ve always been good at spotting the rising trends in the mobile industry and what’s on the horizon. We did that effectively with the advent of the $.99 price point and we’ve always kept a close eye on the App Store, changing our business when and where appropriate. Since then, various free to play business models have emerged and you can see we’ve been embracing that—but on our own terms. Pixel People is a great example of a freemium title that people loved to play. It has the level of quality we have a reputation for, and was praised widely for putting the fun before the business model.
148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of apps published by Chillingo, that has surprised you most?
Mr. Rumley:I still can’t believe games like Real Racing 3 and Infinity Blade 2 are running on tablets and phones. The visuals, size and scope of games like these are console-quality, yet they all have the sort of gameplay that makes them totally unique as mobile titles. At the other end we are consistently blown away by what the indie developers is are capable of; games like Tiny Wings being made by just one person is amazing and I’ve lost a lot of time on games like Clear Vision and Stickman Base Jumper.
148Apps: Any predictions on what the App Store will be like five years from now?
Mr. Rumley:Different, that’s for certain. Judging by what has happened over the last past five years I would be mad to predict anything specific but will say that the quality of the games is only going to get better and the talent of the indie developer will never fail to surprise us!
Posted by Andrew Stevens on June 13th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Summertime is upon us and so is a hot new update for The Simpsons: Tapped Out. New buildings, characters, quests, and waterfront properties are now available in this summery update.
Players will also notice that the land has been expanded, with over 30 new plots of land, including areas that are next to the water for great waterfront properties. As for the characters, seaside entertainers have made their way to Springfield, including Sea Captain and Handsome Pete. Players can check out Sea Captain’s quest to find his place on dry land or out at sea.
In the sequel to PopCap’s hit lane-based defense game, Plants vs Zombies 2 takes players through three different times and places, including Ancient Egypt, The Wild West, and the Pirate Seas, bringing a whole host of new mechanics to the game, including Plant Food power ups and special destructive power buttons.
You’ll also see a whole new way of seeing your progression in the game with the big over world map, themed per time and world. THe game is looking great, and we got to play through a couple of levels of time-traveling fun.
We were able to sit with the folks behind the upcoming mobile reboot of Ultima Online today, learning more about the game and its planned release date (July, if all goes as planned). The game already soft-launched in Canada, and we hear tell that the producer on the game is playing in-game as well, so tell her hi from us when you see her.
The team has been hard at work balancing the game, making group joining a lot easier, and making sure the in-app purchases aren’t too egregious. Check out a quick video below to see the lay of the land.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on May 30th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Real Racing 3, in the latest update, speeds onto the challenging Dubai Autodrome. The new Dubai track has 6 different layouts with day and twilight racing for you to navigate. There are also new vehicles available as Lexus has brought its Lexus IS-F and Lexus LFA to the game, while Dodge adds the Dodge Charger RT and Dodge Charger SRT8.
Now, go dominate the new track, and check out the 50 new events while you’re at it!
In Canada, poutine is the national dish, ham is called bacon, and hockey is the game of gods, eh. Not only that, but the great white north also seems to get a bunch of iOS games early. Since it’s a smaller country at about 10% of the population of the US, it really does make a good test market. That’s why we like to pop in to the Canadian App Store every once in a while to see what’s new.
In this episode of It Came from Canada we take a look at Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar. Ultima is the classic name in RPG and dungeon crawlers. While it’s still early, will this installment make fans of the series happy without getting all that yucky EA freemium monetization goo all over it?
Ultima Forever looks much as it did when we took a look at it at GDC earlier this year. The one thing we get to see that we did not see then was how EA plans to monetize this freemium game. Unfortunately EA has taken the route of what amounts to play to win, but just one step removed. In the current version of Ultima Forever you can purchase keys. The type of key you have determines the quality of loot you get when you open up the chests you find in the game. If you use gold keys you get way better look than if you use bronze keys. You can purchase gold keys, yet rarely find them in the game. You will generally find bronze keys which yield low level loot.
That said, the game will likely still be fun, if you choose to play it properly. Take a look at our first quest in the game below.
We’ll be sure to have more news on Ultima Forever, when it will launch globally, and a review when that happens.
Pocket Gamer reports that the Real Racing 3 will receive its second content update soon, The Dubai Update. According to the Real Racing Facebook page, the update will feature twilight racing at the Dubai Autodrome, along with new cars and events. Check out the short trailer below to get a quick glance at what’s soon to come.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on May 17th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The Simpsons: Tapped Out has been updated with new locations and a familiar face, says Pocket Gamer. Agnes Skinner is now available in the game with a quest that revolves around her and her son, Seymour. She is also tasked with winning at bingo and taunting the elderly. Also, with the update, is an increased level cap of 29, new buildings, and more.
Electronic Arts and The Walt Disney Company announces an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that allows EA to develop and publish Star Wars video games. EA will develop and publish Star Wars titles for core gamers on all interactive platforms while Disney keeps the right to develop new titles on mobile, social, and online games.
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
Posted by Andrew Stevens on April 11th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The latest update for The Simpsons: Tapped Out lets snakes loose in Springfield, leaving it to the player to eliminate them all. By giving these snakes a beating, players can win up to ten exclusive-content prizes that are available for a limited-time only. New buildings, characters and quests are also available, including Ninja Homer and Miss Springfield. Doh!
Posted by Andrew Stevens on April 11th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It’s time to grab the Camero ZL1 or Cobalt SS because the Real Racing 3 Chevrolet Update is live in the App Store. A new event type, Hunter mode, is also available, allowing players to pursue and overtake the hunted car within a single lap. There are also over 100 new events to partake in as well.
A new Real Racing 3 update, named The Chevrolet Update, will be available soon. It will include the Chevrolet Cobalt SS and Camara ZL1. EA is also introducing a new Hunter mode, Cloud Save functionality and over 100 events to the game, along with additional features and tweaks. Stay tuned over at the Real Racing Facebook page for more details as they surface.
EA showed off several of their new titles at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco today at GDC 2013, one of which being their Blitz take on Tetris. Appropriately named Tetris Blitz, this has two-minute sessions of the classic tetromino-dropping gameplay. The smart brick placement controls from the controversial revamp of Tetris have been refined, with easy manual placement options as well. Powerups can be bought, with special weekly powerups also available. The game is planned for this spring for iOS as a free-to-play title.
Set some twenty years after the events of Ultima 4, Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar is a completely redesigned, fully realized MMO for your iOS device. Our time with the game at GDC this year showed an amazingly faithful full-on MMO on the iPad, something we haven’t seen to this day. The game should release in the next few months, and we’ll be keeping our beady little eye on it until then.
Since it’s been something of a non-stop Real Racing 3 party here at 148Apps we wanted to draw things to a close with a bit of style. Which is why we’re going to capitalize on all the spirit of Time Shifted competition and challenge you, our readers, to a race. Specifically the Pure Stock Challenge, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Nissan Silvia (S15) Showcase Cup race pictured above. I think I’ve typed that out correctly. Why this event? Because it requires one of the first cars new players will have access to and doesn’t allow for any other; providing as even and easily accessible a playing field as we could find.
All you have to do is drive your heart out. Snap a screen shot (hit the Power and Home buttons on your iOS device at the same time) of your best time and post it in the comments below along with your Game Center username. We’ll pick random winners from all of the entries and post the results here on Monday (3/4) afternoon.
The prizes? We’ll give away three $10 iTunes gift cards to spend how you see fit. Although in the spirit of the contest we’d suggest something like, oh, maybe the Race Car Booster Pack that includes 65 gold and a 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X?
Update: We’ll contact our three winners via email. Thanks for playing and look for more Real Racing 3 contests coming up soon.
Now that Real Racing 3 is out, we are going to give you some tips to get the best times and have the most fun with Real Racing 3. All of that with an eye toward how you can minimize any real money investment in the game.
Real Racing is the most beautiful racer on any mobile platform, and it’s free, so there is no reason not to try it. I’ve played Real Racing 3 for around 30 hours total now, let me give some tips on how to get the farthest possible in the shortest amount of time and without paying a thing.
Manual brakes = faster times. The main tip I can give is one that I still haven’t mastered completely myself, turn the braking assist to low or even better off. Of the three assists in the game it makes the most difference in your racing times/speed. When the computer does all of the braking for you, it does so very conservatively. If you can at least turn braking to low, it will greatly decrease your times. One thing to remember, you can change this in-race, at any time. Hit the pause button and you can then get to the settings in the lower left of the screen. (See more dirty tricks below)
Get inside, quickly! You start in last place in every single race. Seems unfair, but get used to it. You can usually jump up at least half way up the standings in the first couple turns with smart maneuvering. The key here is to not follow the car in front of you. If you do that you can only go as fast as they are going, and the car in front of them, etc. Pick your own path, preferably on the inside of the turn, and zoom past the other cars as they all line up and then slow down when the car in front of them does. It’s best to not follow another car at any other time if at all possible, you get no advantage from drafting and will be more likely that you will need to slow down to avoid hitting the car you are following.
Build your stable of cars, smartly. You will need a single car that is one of the 3-4 for each circuit to race in that circuit. But you will need all of the cars in the circuit to complete it 100% as there will be races that require each car in the circuit. You should also note that most cars you purchase will be able to race in more than one circuit — just check out the list on the main page to see the circuits you have access to.
Rubicon have kept their ears open and made a number of changes to Combat Monsters based on the feedback received from fans. The new update provides users with a revamped user interface, a new skeleton monster, asynchronous multiplayer, and new matchmaking that keeps the multiplayer battles fair with no need to pay to win.