It is hard to deny that Bejeweled has become the choice addiction for iOS gamers in a pinch. When it comes to gem matching, the game is pretty much unparalleled, unless you count the hoards of other imitators on the marketplace. But once again Popcap took a look at the competition and decided to raise their already exceedingly high bar of perfection.
Folks who have already purchased Bejeweled will be treated to a brand new update, adding in the shocking Lightning Mode that has been available in the console version of the game for quite some time. The new gameplay mode plays very similarly to Bejeweled Blitz, with the ability to extend the round beyond a single minute through matching other like time boosting stones.
For those wanting to see what all of the excitement is about, the game is available for only $0.99 and $3.99 from the App Store. Check out the new feature and let us know if it is worth the price of admission in the comments below.
Need for Speed Most Wanted for iOS shows promise of being a great racing game. While EA wouldn’t comment beyond it was developed by EA Australia, I think we can assume that it is running on the Real Racing core. No wonder it’s so fantastic. All the clues were there — including the dangling bumper. The acquisition of Firemint was a damn smart one for EA.
There are no reported features or release date, though I think we can assume it will be around the October timeframe of the console version. The game will have the Autolog feature from the console version, but EA wouldn’t comment on if it would be connect with the console version. It’s assumed that they will both run under Origin – so we can hope there will be some sort of interaction.
Did we mention it’s early in development? We won’t even show you the screen shots they gave us as they were clearly renders and not actual game screens. Touch Arcade did get some video of the game in action – take a look below.
I love race games, and the Need For Speed franchise is one of my favorites. Throw in the best in mobile Real Racing engine and I’ll be tracking this one closely.
Create and customize a wildlife reserve. Manage various park minutiae. Upgrade facilities and inhabitants in order to bring in the big bucks. It sounds fairly typical of a good number of freemium park sims, but Fantasy Safari twists it up a bit. By adding fantasy creatures, naturally.
Dragons, frozen wolves, phoenixes and more. It’s a bit of a departure from the usual fare, to say the least. Now, thanks to EA Mobile, we can all try our hand at running our own zoo full of non-existent animals. 40 different non-existent animals, at that. 40 non-existent animals that can learn new abilities (i.e. fire breathing) as savvy players futz with their enclosures.
Anyone looking to try their hand at managing a theme park/zoo with a bit more… “flavor” can do so right now. Fantasy Safari is already on the App Store and, like most (read: all) free-to-play titles it doesn’t require any money to get started.
Granted, there are far more Sims titles available for the PC, but the App Store has certainly seen it’s fair share. It may need a few dozen more releases in order to catch up, but Electronic Arts is definitely doing their part to give the series wings on iOS devices. Their fourth attempt at miniaturizing the drug addiction-like voyeur/god simulator has resulted in a hand-held rendition of The Sims Medieval.
In this newest installment of what will inevitably boil-down to a game of interior decoration murder (we all eventually try to kill them, there’s no shame in admitting it), things have gotten decidedly more fantasy RPG-like. This is primarily because of the inclusion of quests and a legitimate medieval setting, but those aren’t the only reasons. There are new avatar options such as a dungeon keeper or vampire, the ability to create a guild and get help with various quests from sim-friends. There’s even the inclusion of a first for the entire Sims series: combat. That’s right, players can finally collect and use weapons in duels with other sims. And, of course, there’s the always-present home customization.
The Sims Medieval is available right now for $4.99. It’s time to get busy with the questing.
The critter-launching, match three (or more) semi-classic Snood has been something of a mainstay on PC as well as a number of portable devices for some time now. People really like to match colors and clear shapes, I suppose. Just in case there are any folks out there who have avoided this game due to a lack of funds, it’s worth noting that Electronic Arts has decided to release a free version. So no more excuses, really.
Now anyone with an iOS device and a soft spot for flinging critters at other critters of the same hue and watching them cease to exist can try out the oddly-named classic for absolutely zero cost. This isn’t a handful of levels, either. Snood Free contains over one hundred puzzles and five different difficulty settings; much more content than an average “Lite” version. Some concessions had to be made in order to give players some reason to possibly want to buy it (note: it’s a dollar), including ads and the inability to play any multi-player games, but the overall single-player experience doesn’t suffer for it.
Match-three (or more) junkies don’t have any more excuses. They, and anyone else who’s interested, can grab Snood Free on the App Store right now for… well, for free.
When it comes to big publishers embracing iOS, it would be hard to argue that EA is not among the top of that heap. Many of their biggest franchises including the likes of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and most recently, Dead Space, have not only been released on the platform, but have in some circumstances raised the bar for other development studios. This wide acceptance and general acclaim has not stopped the team over at EA Mobile from trying to continuously win over the constant adoration of their fanbase.
In an effort to continue in the general lovefest, EA is announcing this week’s exclusive Deal of the Day promotion. The official skinny from their PR team is as follows:
In a effort to give back to our community we have launch [sic] a new Deal of The Day promo that will deeply discount games or even make them free. The Deals will last all week with Saturday the 26th being the last day. The promo will include both iPhone & iPad codes over the 6 days, each day being a different mix-up of genre & style of game.
On Friday morning we put up a vote globally for users to choose which game they wanted a deal on for Day #1 & now that game has kicked off our Deal of The Day today!
This promo is worldwide and users from every corner of the globe can benefit from the on Sale and Free games.
Today the sale kicked off by dropping the price on Mirror’s Edge for all devices to a mere ninety-nine cents. So what could be coming next? Your guess is as good as mine, but if the image on EA Mobile’s Facebook page is to believed, we may be seeing a discount on more than one title come Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Do you have any games that you would like to see get discounted? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Chillingo, a division of Electronic Arts most recognized for its creation of Angry Birds, which sits almost always as the #1 paid application in App Stores across the world, announced today that Cut the Rope will receive a special update for Valentine’s Day, February 14.
“The new Cut the Rope 1.2 update marks the annual celebration of love and affection with adorable Om Nom as cupid in a special Valentine’s Box filled with 25 gorgeous levels. A romantic and fun, “split-candy” gameplay is also introduced to challenge players as they strive to slice the right ropes to feed the insatiable green creature. Brand new artwork and a distinctive Valentine’s icon make Cut the Rope the perfect gift for your special someone” reads the official release.
“This 1.2 update is our gift to you this Valentine’s Day for being the greatest fans out there; we hope players love the new box, levels and features just as much as we enjoyed creating it,” states Efim Voinov, CTO of Zeptolab. “Thank you for the continued support, we are already working closely with Chillingo to enhance the game and think fans will be extremely delighted!”
Such holiday updates are becoming more and more popular, even within Cut the Rope’s own development. In December of last year, 148Apps reviewer Brad Hilderbrand announced the Christmas update of the popular application, which to date has now sold more than six million copies. Conservatively, that means Cut the Rope has generated over $4 million in revenue (after Apple’s 30% commission), not taking into account the price difference between the iPad and iPhone version of the immensely popular game. It stood as the sixth most popular paid-for iPhone game in 2010.
When 148Apps reviewed the game last year, writer Carter Dotson awarded it 4 stars. “Cut the Rope is ingenious, following a similar formula to Angry Birds – charming graphics, simple gameplay that gets complexity steadily layered on top of it in a way that feels natural, almost without even feeling like it’s getting more difficult” he writes. “That is just brilliant game design, and with more levels promised, Cut the Rope has an exciting future, but is still great with even just the core game content.”
Available for $0.99 on iPhone and $1.99 for iPad, a free lite version is also available to download, allowing you to try-before-you-buy. A sneak peak video of the update is available below:
Angry Birds developer Chillingo may cease to be an indie darling in the near future, as EA has bought the company. Reports put an the deal at $20 million cash, but the future of all the studio’s properties are still up in the air.
Chillingo was already a hot commodity after Angry Birds, but the massive success of the recently released Cut the Rope has truly turned the UK developer into a den of rock stars. While companies like Activision, Gameloft and even Intel were vying for the studio, EA was able to close the deal.
“By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple Platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world’s leading wireless entertainment publisher,” EA’s Holly Rockwood said in a statement.
It sounds like EA wants to keep Chillingo in the mobile space, but we can’t help but wonder if the studio will be asked to dabble in consoles and handhelds as well. EA has dabbled with physics games by publishing Boom Blox on the Wii, but the series has stalled and perhaps the company is looking for a new franchise to bring to non-Apple audiences. There’s also the distinct possibility EA could request a totally new IP from Chillingo, one which could be backed with a big budget and marketed across all platforms.
Where things may get tricky is in regards to ownership rights of games published under the Chillingo banner. Rovio created Angry Birds, while ZeptoLab made Cut the Rope, and, at least according to Rovio, the development studios still own those properties. A Rovio spokesperson says his company “controls the Angry Birds brand and any future products,” so at least that franchise may remain apart from this deal.
At any rate, let us be among the first to congratulate Chillingo and wish them the best of luck under the new ownership. They’ve already proven what talented, dedicated people can do when they put their minds to it so they deserve all the success and wealth they’ve earned. Well done guys, keep up the good work.
RISK is an epic, sprawling strategy game with a diehard following. But while this app delivers the core of what makes Risk fun, it's also lacking in important areas. No global multiplayer, house rules, or extra maps make this port one of dubious value.
EA, being the large gaming corporation that they are, have released their upcoming summer and fall lineup… and it’s huge.
Madden NFL 11 – iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch – Fall – Everyone’s favorite NFL game is back this year, but with a few cool features that will make the game even more intuitive on a touch device. The new “Gameflow” feature is the one that I’m most excited about, as it gives players the ability to spend “less time in the playbook and more time on the field”.
“Coaches don’t go into a game with their full playbook like you do in our game. When it’s 2nd down and 3 yards to go, they don’t thumb through a 3-ring binder with 350 plays in it. They find tendencies before the game and build a game plan to exploit the other team’s weaknesses. This means they call plays based on the situation.”
To make the game quicker, and more realistic in the process, “Gameflow” has the “coach” pick the play based on the situation you are in and then radio it to you, letting you see the play on the field like you normally would. If an audible needs to be called, there is now the ability to draw hot routes anywhere, letting you devise whatever route you would like, on the fly.
Check out our hands-on article here for a more detailed look.
Reckless Racing – iPhone, iPad – Summer – Remember the amazing looking tp-down racing game, Deliverance, that never came out? It turns out that it was bought by EA, and has been renamed Reckless Racing. Reckless Racing “mixes old-school top-down racing game play with state of the art graphics and engaging multiplayer features.” EA seems to be touting its online features more than anything else, promising “fully stocked internet multiplayer mode, on-line leaderboards and the ability to trade ghost races with other players from all over the world”. If the game plays half as good as it looks, you’ll see me playing Reckless Racing non stop when it launches later this summer.
For a more in depth look, check out our recent hands-on article.
NCAA Football – iPhone – Now – NCAA Football is EA’s first app designed specifically for the iPhone 4. While it doesn’t have all the new bells and whistles that Madden will have, it does have over 55 of the most well known colleges so you can support the team that you love… and it does look pretty.
Sim City Deluxe – iPhone, iPod Touch – Summer – EA seems to have addressed all the glitches in their first attempt at Sim City, and have made an app that is much more playable. All of the menus have been redesigned, and the glitch that has buildings disappear when you zoom out should be gone. Also added are the famed Sim City disasters, which could possibly bring over the Pocket God set that have sites on tormenting even more souls. There is also a rumor about an iPad version in the works, but nothing has been announced… so don’t get your hopes up.
The Sims 3 Ambitions – iPhone, iPod Touch – Summer – There aren’t many details about this one floating around, but it does seem to be the iPhone counterpart to the PC expansion pack with the same name. According to EA, in “Sims 3 Ambitions, players decide whether their Sim will be the brave town hero or cause loads of mischief among their neighbors. Their future is entirely in the player’s hands!”
Sims 3 Ambitions will add many often requested features to the Sims on the iPhone. New large features like careers, babies, and building new structures make this a pretty huge new version.
Yahtzee – iPad – Summer – Everyone’s favorite dice rolling game is coming this summer, and it will surely be prettier than the thing that you have to unpack out of the box.
Risk – iPhone, iPod Touch – Summer – I’m not sure what took EA so long to come out with Risk, but this announcement will surely make many people happy. I liked Lux DLX alright, and think that Strategery is a great Risk alternative, but there’s nothing like the real thing. As long as EA gets the AI right, this one will be a winner.
R-Type – iPhone, iPod Touch – Summer – Just like you remembered it, R-Type is keeping “100 percent true to the original game allowing fans to get back to the ‘80s video-arcade experience in the palm of their hands.” As I wrote in an earlier preview article, the original R-Type is “the most frustratingly difficult game outside of playing a Don Bluth game in the arcade”. There is a distinct possibility that my iPhone will end up thrown across the room.
Be sure to check after the jump for some more great screenshots.
EA put a bunch of their apps on sale at $0.99 yesterday. That sale seems to have paid off. It has rocketed a bunch of their games up the chart, giving them 9 of the top 10 places in the all paid apps chart. But what makes it more important for them is that they have 7 of the top 10 spots in the Top Grossing chart.
This sale by EA could have made some major financial implications for them. It comes at a good time, many of their games are yearly franchises and they could soon be replaced by newer versions. But $0.99 for many of these games is a steal.
We’re expecting to get more details on the game next week, but for now, EA have released a few screen shots from their upcoming NCAA Football game for the iPhone. Looks a lot like Madden for the iPhone, so we hope it’s as good. We’ll let you know when we get more info on release date and features.
Steve Robert, producer of Electronic Art’s Skate It, released May 10, 2010, is a former pro-skater who helmed the development and creation of the game’s port to the iPhone. I sat down for a phone interview with Steve and spoke at length about the game and its subsequent port from the Nintendo DS to the iPhone. Steve provided us with much insight on the game’s development and how it came to fruition on the iPhone.
Jason (148apps) – First of all, thanks for putting time aside from your busy schedule to talk with me. I’m stoked to be speaking with you. For people who aren’t familiar with you, what’s your background and how did you get involved in skating?
Steve Robert (EA) – Well, I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA, which is a coastal town in Southern, CA and, probably as early as 6th grade I got immersed in the culture of skateboarding. It was a very popular hobby in my neighborhood and I had a bunch of good friends who were all into skateboarding. We kept pushing each other to learn and get better and then it sort of evolved as some of my friends, like Jason Lee, who’s a good friend of mine, went on to become a famous actor, was the first of us to go on and get sponsored and turn pro. I skated with him all the time and he got me sponsored by the same company he was. From then on, I started entering amateur contests and then we shot a video in 1989 called Rubbish Heap and everything just unfolded from there. I was attracted to the culture and it was fun learning tricks and being competitive with my friends and progressing in the sport.
Jason (148apps) – It’s easy to hit a plateau if you don’t have people around you who you can learn from.
Steve Robert (EA) – Yeah, absolutely. I think being surrounded by people like Jason Lee, Ed Templeton, Mark Gonzalez and the older, big pros, they all came from Huntington Beach and we would all gather at night at Huntington Beach High School or these schools you see in all the videos, while others were out partying, we would be spending our nights skating at the schools together and you just kind of get obsessed with it. It was everything I did until I graduated high school, it’s all I really cared about. Skating was just kind of a sub-culture because it wasn’t as mainstream back then, as it is now.
Jason (148apps) – How did you come to get involved in developing Skate It?
Steve Robert (EA) – Well, I’ve been working in video games since 1997. I slowly got out of skateboarding and went to college. When I graduated from college, I got my first job at Interplay in 1997. I found it interesting because the culture was very similar to skating in many ways. It’s obviously less physically active, but the people were the same.
The big game publishers such as Electronic Arts and Gameloft have a reputation, deserved or not, of rarely updating their titles. EA’s Madden NFL 10 definitely doesn’t fall into this category, as it just received its fourth update since being released in September. As far as updates go, this is a good one, and it has a particularly timely addition. You’ll see what I mean…
First off, a Hard mode been added for those who’ve mastered the game. The difficulty can be toggled between Normal or Hard via the Options screen.
Another addition is the ability to save a multi-player game. If you’re bluetooth session with a friend gets interrupted, you can save and resume at a later point.
The final addition is the ability to download a special Playoff Mode, FREE of charge. This mode features the 12 teams that are currently battling it out in the 2009 NFL playoffs, and can be installed via the in-game Madden Store. You can select one of the 12 teams, and then play your way through the playoffs from the official Wild Card match-ups to the Super-Bowl.
Playoff Mode also conveniently gives you the ability to simulate up to a selected week of the playoffs. We decided to put Madden 10 to the test, Jimmy the Greek style, by simulating this weekend’s games. The screenshot below shows the predicted winners…
So, what do you think? Will Philip Rivers get out-dueled by the inexperienced Mark Sanchez? Will the Ravens defense come up short against the well-rested Colts? Will Brett Favre deny the Cowboys their first road playoff win since 1993? And will Kurt Warner stave off retirement for one more week? Or is Madden 10 just full of you-know-what…
As we round the bend and head to lucky day 13 of our countdown to Christmas, we have updates on the deals today. The Appvent Calendar free game is a huge one, iBlast Moki. Will looked at it back in September and gave it 5/5!
iBlast Moki for FREE
iBlast Moki is a fantastic puzzle game where you use physics based devices to blast, lift, and squeeze the on screen characters to their goal. It’s a load of fun made even better with Plus+ integration.
At little quote from our review of iBlast Moki:
iBlast Moki contains a nice clean 2D aesthetic that can best be described as more vibrant Rolando 1. The backgrounds are psychedelic, the Mokis cute, and the graphical style overall lends charm to the game. The music is ridiculously catchy albeit a tad repetitive, and the sound effects are good.
iBlast Moki is the best physics game for the iPhone, and at $1.99, it would be criminal to pass up one the best games of the year.
And it was a great deal at $1.99 — now it’s free. But just for one day, grab it quickly!
Snood for $0.99
Will also reviewed Snood from Electronic Arts. And unfortunately the review wasn’t nearly as good:
Rather than “addictive, stylish, and fun,” the normal words that pop into my head when thinking of Snood, the words I think of when considering EA’s abysmal port of the classic game are “baffling, inexplicable, and aggravating.” EA has simply made so many bad decisions in the making of this port that make you wonder if they ever even played their own game.
But for $0.99, if you like the original desktop game, it’s an easy buy to make up your own mind on this one.