Posts Tagged Gaming
Shiny Happy App Reviews
The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
dEXTRIS is not related to Tetris, so the “tris” part of the name doesn’t make much sense. But it is a game of dexterity that will cause the spewing of a multitude of profanities – in a good way. Players use their two thumbs to navigate two blocks around hazards. Tapping and holding on the left or right moves both blocks that direction, holding both sides splits the two blocks apart, and doing nothing leaves them in the center. This neutral state is mentioned specifically because some of the hazards require being in that neutral state. Some of the challenge comes from the fact that the blocks move quickly, but not instantaneously, and the hazards are diagonal: One must act about a split-second ahead of what’s coming at all times. –Carter Dotson
Spending most of my school-aged years in Northern California as I did, the subject of the mid-1800s California Gold Rush is indelibly etched into my brain. We went on gold panning school field trips to Placerville and hiked the same trails that the miners had a hundred and fifty years prior. When SomaSim’s 1849 went up for review, a glance at the screens filled my heart with hopes for a Gold Rush-themed Sim City. But as any seasoned Forty-Niner can attest, I probably shouldn’t get too excited about every sparkly nugget that catches the light. After all, there’s plenty of fool’s gold in these App Store hills, so it’s best to stay cautious. My assumptions were at least partially correct: 1849 IS a boomtown city simulation. But rather than the open sandbox format of a lot of city builders, 1849 takes a much more focused, scenario-guided path. Players jump from city to city across Central and Northern California during the height of gold fever, helping kickstart a series of small encampments and grow them into prosperous communities. Usually this takes the form of needing to import or export an amount of specific goods from surrounding towns, hitting population milestones, or the like. Upon arriving at the new settlement, players pick from one of three starting package options, which will determine the amount of money and/or free resources the settlers begin with. –Rob Thomas
At its most basic, Gunship X is a lot like Zombie Gunship. In fact, even at its most complicated, Gunship X is a lot like the zombie blasting hit. That’s no bad thing exactly, but enjoyment levels are heavily dependent on how much one enjoys mindless shooting. The idea is incredibly simple. Aliens are rushing at humanity and, most importantly, various landing areas. Humans are trying to flee to safe zones and it’s down to the player, controlling an AC-130 Gunship to protect them. Players don’t directly control the Gunship; instead they are reliant solely on its offensive capabilities. What this means is that the screen offers one large aiming reticule and a place to switch weapons. –Jennifer Allen
Previously a popular PC game, Sumotori Dreams is a pretty quirky title. It’s a form of sumo wrestling simulator, but one that’s far more focused on humor than realism. While in single player it’s a little forgettable, it’s a fun experience when participating with friends and certainly like little else out there. The key to success in Sumotori Dreams is to defeat the opponent. This is done through either pushing them over, forcing them out of the ring, or sometimes simply waiting for them to make a mistake and stumble over. The center of gravity for these characters is a bit wacky, meaning falling over is just as likely as being pushed. This is particularly noticeable when partaking in different arenas that actively encourage such problems, such as one level based on a giant seesaw and another at the top of a flight of stairs. –Jennifer Allen
Metal Slug Defense is a 2D, real time, side-scrolling strategy game based on the popular arcade shooter series. Although not the typical Metal Slug experience, Metal Slug Defense does a pretty great job of translating the charm and spirit of its predecessors into a mobile and more strategic form. In more typical Metal Slug titles, players take control of an individual soldier as they run, gun, and jump their way through 2D levels full of enemy soldiers and creatures. In Metal Slug Defense, players instead take control of a base that is capable of spitting out soldier after soldier, with the ultimate goal being to destroy the enemy base on the other side of the level. –Campbell Bird
I would like to introduce readers to Moo Said Morris, a storybook app for iPad that children and their parents will enjoy. Meet Morris: a young mouse who is a bit of an outsider. While all the other mice at school and in his town make the traditional squeaky noises, Morris makes sounds that are certainly un-mouse-like such as mooing like a cow, quacking like a duck, and even sounding like a car or airplane – much to the dismay of his teacher and to the disappointment of the community who find his unusual noises disconcerting to say the least. That is until his ability to sound like something that he is not comes in handy at the end. I really enjoy this story of Morris, a character that children will be able to relate to. The illustrations are delightful, full of details, and with a hand-drawn quality that I am really drawn to. The moments when Morris speaks are simply delightful, with a speech bubble including the image of an animal such as a horse or donkey making noises and complete with the name of their sounds written out, aiding children who may be new to animal sounds as well. –Amy Solomon
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If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
Jumping on a trampoline, opening windows and stealing TV’s. All while being a little rat – that is what Snatz is all about. But is it any fun? Yes and no. It seems a bit random: rats stealing TV’s for a living, while they’re jumping on a trampoline from house to house and entering them one window at a time. Yes, but that’s excatly what Snatz is all about. In this game, players have to open windows by getting to them via a trampoline. The building the rats visit are very high and will get even higher later on in the game. If the residents see your little rat face one time to often, they will call the police. And when they come, the rats flee the scene of the crimes. This results in a car chase – dropping the stolen tv’s on the police, will stop the chase. –Wesley Akkerman
Running around like a hopped-up hyperactive hare – that’s the best description for this Russian indie game featuring a colorless bunny in a colorless world. In Crazy Pixel Run you control a rectangular, colorless bunny. The little fella is born in a world where everything is grey. He’s main goal in life: bring more color to it. It is platformer style indie game where you have to collect energy to stay alive in a randomly generated and infinite world. The bring color to the world, you need to run around like a crazy pixel-rabbit and collect special glowing things. Every part of the world you touch collecting these things, will brightening up your world. –Wesley Akkerman
Song of Hero is a rhythm RPG, a combination between rhythm games like Guitar Hero, and a role-playing game. The player needs to organize a 4-man battle band that fights against various monsters. The battle consists of several phases, as heroes and the monster take turns attacking and using special abilities – but for player, the task is always the same – just hit all upcoming beats on time, as they reach the end of their lanes. Although the outcome greatly depends on the player’s accuracy, it’s still possible to fail the battle if the monster isn’t beaten by the end of the playing song. The songs are about a minute and a half long, and although I couldn’t name a single performer, each one of the songs was of a good quality. –Tony Kuzmin
And finally, this week Pocket Gamer celebrated the best month in iOS gaming EVER, discussed the controversy surrounding Nintendo’s Tomodachi Life, and took a look at Techland’s Hellraid: The Escape. Plus – get a full walkthrough to Bridge Constructor Medieval and learn how to build the perfect deck in Hearthstone. It’s all right here, right now.
It’s easy to look at mobile and see it as a wasteland for content; particularly with all the casual, free-to-play games, and especially the ones that seem to de-emphasize actual gameplay in favor of stronger monetization. That’s only if you’re not paying attention. Serious, core games – some even free-to-play – had a great year on iOS.
Oceanhorn was hyped for a good reason: it was beautiful and ambitious. That ambition didn’t entirely pay off in my opinion, but for the game to have succeeded financially is a huge step forward for gaming on mobile.
It also felt like the barriers between mobile and PC/console games started to blur a bit. Frozen Synapse, Mode 7′s highly acclaimed PC strategy game, landed on iPad at last. Limbo received an excellent port. Leviathan: Warships brought cross-platform online play – and the best trailer of the year. Space Hulk was not perfect, but it made for an exceptional transition.
But perhaps few did it as spectacularly as XCOM: Enemy Unknown. That game proved that it was possible to take a massive console and PC title – a fantastic modern take on one of the greatest strategy games of all time – and put it on mobile without losing any of the experience. Firaxis also absolutely stuck the landing with Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol and its Pacific Skies followup; original games that went to PC later.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Productivity app Clear is one of the most talked about to-do apps of the last year, and has just released an update that brings features like iCloud storage for to-do lists, easy quotation sharing on Facebook and Twitter, Clear for Mac OS, list pasting abilities, and an API that will let other apps send lists to Clear.
In a more interesting blog post over at TouchArcade, however, it seems as if the developers of Clear have hidden some pretty cool gamification features as well. In addition to the achievements already present in Clear, like unlocking a special theme for completing 100 tasks, there are some extra unlocks that only happen if you have other apps installed.
Now here’s the cool part, the part that reveals Clear’s affinity for games. Today’s update has within it the seeds of three other unlocks. Each one ties into a game: The Heist, Temple Run and Bumpy Road. Those games will need to update before this works (The Heist’s update should come mid-week, and the others are on the way), but once they do we’ll get new themes in Clear for each of those games we have installed.
This is the kind of innovation that made Clear such a huge hit when it released. Well, that and the amazing user interface. Clear is available in the App Store now for $1.99. Check it out if this intrigues you as much as it does us.
This week at 148Apps.com was all about the red, white, and blue as we celebrated the 4th of July. Writer Lisa Caplan contributed to the festivities with her list of Favorite Four apps for Independence Day. She writes, “It’s July 4th, so we hope most Americans are out celebrating and reading this on an iPhone or iPad or between activities. But if you are still looking for apps to help make the day even better, we’ve rounded up four of our favorties that commemorate everything from US History to the traditional BBQ for you here.”
Released: 2009-07-13 :: Category:
Released: 2011-06-22 :: Category: Education
GiggleApps stayed on a vacation theme with its review of Miny Moe Car. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “Miny Moe Car is a charming and fun simulated driving app that toddlers and children in preschool will enjoy. I have always been a fan of this type of toy, both as an arcade game as well as a simple children’s plaything. I remember when my son was just a year old, I bought him the most realistic driver I could find – a toy he still enjoys today. A search on iTunes will find a few applications of this type that mostly show a POV from the driver’s seat of a car or other vehicle. This is also the case for this application which does a really nice job of recreating the driving experience for toddlers.”
Released: 2012-05-10 :: Category: Education
And finally at 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on a new study revealing the iPad as the number one gaming platform. Dotson writes, “Tablets and phones are vastly different devices. This seems obvious, but in reality, they really aren’t: the difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 is basically different sized screens. However, the way that users, especially gamers, use the two devices is still dramatically different, according to PlayFirst, via Pocket Gamer. Tablet users are playing more games than phone users are, and they’re spending more on games.”
That’s the end of this week’s happenings, but there’s always more news, reviews and contests headed your way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of all the goings-on. Until next week, enjoy the fireworks!
Ubisoft, developer of popular Assassin’s Creed series and MotoHeroz, has confirmed that its future games on iOS will store save data in the cloud. This means that players can pick a game on any of their iOS devices and access their game right where they left off.
The first game Ubisoft is planning on implementing this new feature in is Ghost Recon: Commander which will be released sometime soon. At first, I made the assumption that Ubisoft would be using iCloud for it’s save data, but the company will offer its own cloud-based storage system that isn’t exclusively for iOS.
iPad users with an iPhone or iPod touch will be particular happy with this news from Ubisoft. As an iPad gamer myself, I often prefer to play games on my iPad but it isn’t always available. So I play many games on my iPhone because it’s with me more. Now, for Ubisoft games at least, I’ll be able to use both devices interchangeably.
Remember iSwifter and its impressive capabilities in terms of bringing Flash to the iPad? That same cloud-based technology has gone one step further now, with news coming out of GDC, that the firm will now be offering a licensing program for PC-based gaming applications to be streamed to iOS devices.
As co-founder of iSwifter, Rajat Gupta, explains “It is virtually impossible for developers to bring PC games to mobile as quickly as we can through our lowest cost streaming cloud service, and to provide a native-like user experience with automatic enablement of touch gestures,” so this is potentially huge news for iOS device owners. The lofty ambition, according to co-founder and Chairman, Peter Relan, is to “do to applications what Netflix™ did for movies.”
As always, we’ll keep up to date on the latest progress with such a move. While waiting for companies to embrace this concept, why not check out the current iSwifter app?
Released: 2010-09-09 :: Category: Utilities
Device Reviewed With: iPhone 4, iPad 1
User Interface Rating:
Hardware Design Rating:
Bluetooth speakers rock my world. I love being able to run music from my iPhone to a nearby speaker without having to tether it with a cable. While the BT connection does not keep my iPhone charged, the payoff in mobility is worth it.
Logitech’s newest addition to the device genre is by far the best I’ve played with. The sound is amazing for such a small footprint; the lows are deep and rich, the highs successfully bright without becoming too brittle.
The hardware itself is smooth, sleek and rounded. The dip in the middle, where an old school boombox would have held a tape deck, is just right for a hand to grasp it, obviating the need for an extruded handle. The unit feels solid, like it would hold up to some roughness in handling. The plug and line-in jacks are thoughtfully covered with a rubber flap, protecting from dust or mist. In the back of the unit sits a flip out stand, one that folds flat against the boombox for easy travel.
What’s brilliant about a bluetooth speaker system is the ability to play music from any source. I was able to send streams of music to the Logitech device from a Macbook Air, a Mac Mini, an iPhone and an iPad. Pairing is simple and consistent with other bluetooth devices; hold the button for pairing, marked by a big Bluetooth logo, until it flashes blue. Open the preferences on the sound source and choose the Logitech Boombox, already named and ready in the list of devices available.
The only small issues I noticed? The boombox did not wake from sleep when I used my iPhone to start playing again, even when plugged into a wall. It would be nice if, when connected to power, the boombox would wake and connect to the last connected source device. It was only a simple matter of pressing the power button on the Logitech device, though, and the music was restored.
The second issue? Battery life seems a bit short. The length of time the boombox lasts seems limited to one or two albums at a time when not connected to a plug. Enough for a short time out of doors, perhaps, but nothing to rely on for longer periods. The unit does, however, lower the folume and flash a yellow light when the battery life is low–a handy visual feature.
As of now, this is my favorite external speaker for all the Bluetooth capable gadgets around the house. I’ve been using it for gaming, playing music, and watching netflix on my iPad. The Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch got it right with its rich spectrum of sound response, great industrial design curves, and easy pairing of Bluetooth devices.
Those rascals at ThinkGeek are at it again, today unveiling the iCADE 8-Bitty, a physical controller for use with iOS games. The 8-Bitty sports a traditional d-pad, as well as four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and start/select. The 8-Bitty is battery powered and connects to any iOS device wirelessly, and can be used to play any game that supports the iCADE API. Tired of tapping the screen to play Super Mega Worm? Well that won’t be a problem much longer.
ThinkGeek has announced that the 8-Bitty will retail for $24.99 and should go on sale sometime later this year. If you happen to be at Toy Fair you can get a look at the 8-Bitty up close and personal, just don’t try and steal it because I’m pretty sure ThinkGeek deploys at least three snipers at such events. If you are going to attempt a snatch and grab then please remember to run in a serpentine pattern.
Technology is improving in in leaps and bounds. It’s an immensely exciting time to be alive. Just a glance at the growing prevelance of Augmented Reality games aptly demonstrates that. How about a game that relies on augmented sound though? Now, that’s a bit different.
Dimensions looks extremely interesting in that respect. It uses augmented sound to turn the world into a game. Designed to be played in parallel with normal life, the game manipulates and enhances sound nearby changing the things we hear as a matter of course over the day. Players enter and exit different dimensions within the game as they go about their life. Missions can then be completed by collecting artifacts and fighting enemies.
It’s a pretty fascinating concept and with music from Inception composer Hans Zimmer, Dimensions looks all the more compelling.
Dimensions is set for release sometime this month. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on its development. For now, check out the video below that explains a bit more.
Buttonless: Incredible iPhone and iPad Games and the Stories Behind Them is coming out December 21 (and available for pre-order now) to bookstores and online retailers everywhere. It’s a book about iOS games and their stories by Ryan Rigney, a freelance journalist who has covered the video-game industry from every angle for publications and sites including Gamasutra, PC Gamer and GamePro. We managed to talk with him for a bit about the inspirations for the book, among other things. Click through to the post for the interview AND an exclusive chapter from the upcoming book, all about Fruit Ninja.
UPDATE: Edge has just announced via the Newsstand app that the October 2011 issue is now free to download. Head over to the App Store, download the free Edge app, and then download the free back issue today.
Having been a long time subscriber to Edge Magazine, I’m pretty excited to see it be one of the first titles to reach Newsstand.
Available through the app, Edge Magazine promises the same fantastic experience as before. Famous for its intelligent writing and in-depth looks at everything gaming related from reviews to unearthing the latest in the world of game development, Edge Magazine makes for a fascinating read for gaming fans. It’s a mature change of pace from glossier magazines but never fails to intrigue.
The Newsstand edition offers enhanced online content with extra insight, related content and screenshot galleries. Linked to the website, if there’s anything that can add to the reader’s enjoyment on the website, the app lets the user know.
Pricing through Newsstand is pretty respectable with individual issues priced at $4.99, a 3 month subscription available for $12.99, 6 months for $21.99 and a 1 year subscription priced at a very reasonable $39.99.
It’s a veritable bargain, given the quality of the writing and a must buy for fans.
Released: 2011-10-12 :: Category: Lifestyle
We appreciate that sometimes you might want to read about iOS news on other sites as well as this delightful place. Hopefully you look towards other O.A.T.S member sites for the information. Why do I mention this? Because fellow O.A.T.S member TouchGen has released the first full issue of their iPad magazine, TouchGen Magazine.
The magazine sets out to provide the same high quality features and reviews that the TouchGen site conventionally provides, but with a print style gaming magazine feel to it. The first issue contains a preview of Gameloft’s new crime based shooter, 9mm, the making of Order & Chaos as well as reviews of many games such as Final Fantasy III, Bumpy Road and World of Goo. There’s even a nice dose of humor with the top five feature of the best games to play while on the toilet.
Throughout the magazine, there are some great visuals and magazine style nuances and TouchGen Magazine makes for a great read that encourages users to look forward to the next issue.
TouchGen Magazine – Issue 1 is available now for iPad owners and it’s a free download.
Finding an unique idea amongst the huge wealth of apps available in the app store isn’t always an easy task. Sure, the quality is there, but a neat idea that stands out from the crowd with its originality? Now that’s a little harder. This is where Appysnap could well fill the gap.
It’s an app that’s also a game that can earn players points and ultimately win prizes.
The concept is simple enough. Appysnap provides players with missions that they must accomplish as quickly as possible in order to win things. These missions involve taking a photo of a place, theme or an item.
Points are for the most part allocated to those who are fastest but a select few reward players with prizes at random, depending on the city or neighbourhood that they play in. These prizes range from the likes of iPads, Kindles and Amazon vouchers. Ultimately though, much of the fun stems from simply racing to be first to complete a mission. Plus there’s always the points or ‘caps’ which can be exchanged for deals and offers.
Sharing functionality allows players to check their rank and also share it and their activities via Twitter or Facebook.
Appysnap looks to be a pretty cool idea. Being able to play it anywhere and at any time of day is a nice idea and there’s some great potential here for tie-in events too. I’d love to see this kind of thing used at a concert or cinema premiere for example as the prizes could be fantastic.
Users would be wise to keep an eye on it as I’ve got a sneaky suspicion this kind of thing could really go places. For now, it’s still a pretty impressive package considering the fun that can be had and the chance of winning something huge.
Appysnap is available for all iOS devices and is a free download.
Raptr, the social network which allows gamers to share gaming achievements, has announced a new app available for free at the iTunes Store. Features of the free app include:
- Know what your friends are playing across Xbox Live, PS3, PC (Steam, Social Games), and Raptr in real-time
- Automatically add all of your existing Xbox Live, PS3, and Steam friends
- Send and receive Raptr and Xbox Live messages via one unified inbox
- Track your gameplay and achievements on your Raptr.com profile
- Find new friends and invite other friends to use Raptr from your iPhone address book, Twitter, and more
- Enhanced fast app switching support for iOS4, and high resolution avatars
- A section dedicated to Raptr’s official blog that keeps Raptr users constantly in sync with the latest updates, data reports and news
The Raptr service has been available on other platforms and devices for a while now, so it was truly only a matter of time before it made its way onto the iPhone. In all honesty, we’re a bit surprised it took this long for an official app to be launched. Granted, there are some folks who don’t see the appeal of Raptr in any form whatsoever, but there is also a substantial subset of the populace which loves to be plugged in at all times and constantly communicating to friends what they’re playing and what Achievements or Trophies they just unlocked. If you happen to fall into the latter camp then you’re likely very happy to hear about this app and well on your way to clicking on the store link right under this sentence.
Written and Recorded by: Michelle Lopez
A’hoy Matey and welcome to Plunderland, where you control a ship of Pirates bent on plundering all the worlds treasures. To set sail, just tilt your device in the direction you want to travel. The more you tilt the faster you go and of course to stop just straighten up. Your ship comes equipped with cannons to destroy your enemy. When you touch the screen you get a helpful dotted line which shows if your aim is true, simply let go to shoot. Sink the ships to unlock the treasure and tap to collect. Each level has a goal to be reached in order to unlock the next, but you should try and collect as much as you can because you use the money for more powerful upgrades.
One for the game developers now. Since the iPhone’s launch and the App Store’s debut, we’ve seen a slurry of companies take it upon themselves to create a “social” medium or space in which gamers of all ages and skill levels can communicate and interact with each other on a device to device basis. But so far, supposedly due to the limitations of the iPhone SDK, this has been restricted to three methods of gameplay for us here gamers; iPhone to iPhone. iPhone to iPod touch or iPod touch to iPod touch.
Namco, most famous for its worldwide Pac-Man franchise, have announced at GDC yesterday that they have been working on a new, different method. Unite is a cross-platform gaming technology that will allow users to play against gamers using different types of devices and machines and challenge each other in the same game. Acting very much like a social network, Unites aim is to unite gamers the world over, no matter which device they choose to play on.
“For example, an iPhone gamer could play a game against a PC player in Pool Pro Online 3. Unite will have a single login across all platforms supported by the platform. Gamers have a profile fronted by an avatar and a score, boosted by the accumulation of achievements in Unite-powered games.And having a central web site (and soon, an iPhone app) where you can manage your account should also make it an attractive alternative to developers looking for a social solution for their games.”
Ubisoft has today debuted the sequel to their multi-ward winning Assassin’s Creed game franchise, on the iPhone. Assassin’s Creed II Discovery. According to the game’s App Store description, the game carries the series on following Ezio on his travels to Spain as he scales cities, jumps rooftops and tries to rescue his fellow assassins.
But don’t get too excited just yet.
Hitting the store late this morning, the game officially became the first ever App Store gaming title to smash through that $9.99 price barrier, blasting it’s way into that previously rumored ‘Premium‘ price band. Unfortunately, the game was pulled just a few hours after it’s release, and is no longer available on the App Store .. for reasons unknown.
If the price holds up on the game’s return to the store, it could in fact retain that title for itself. Priced at $11.99, Assassin’s Creed II Discovery is reportedly exactly the same as that of the DS version, the main difference in this version however, compared to that of the original Assassin’s Creed II Discovery is more of a side scroller adventure, rather than a fully-blown immersive RPG.
Luckily, Touch Arcade managed to snag a copy of the game before it was pulled from the store. Checkout their in-depth gameplay video of Assassin’s Creed II Discovery in action below.
So, What’s this deal with Ubisoft pulling the game? Where’s the game gone? I hear you ask .. Well, we at 148 reckon the early pulling of the app could likely be due the game being approved by Apple yesterday, but Ubisoft having forgot to change the actual release date of the game on iTunes Connect, have realised later, causing them to panic and pull the app.
If you’re not already aware, this is pretty normal practice for developers of the App Store. When submitting an app a developer like Ubisoft can choose and set a specific date in which an application becomes available to the public. This allows them not only to hype the app before its initial store release, but in turn, also work to specific set deadlines with regards to the marketing surrounding the title. It’s likely this won’t turn out to be one of those purposeful PR stunts, although it’s not completely out of the realms of possibility.
First impressions of Assassin’s Creed II Discovery have been mostly positive from what I’ve seen so far, however some people still believe that a price point of $11.99 could be a little too steep for what they’re actually getting (if that indeed is the game’s final price point).
Be sure to check out the games page for full game descriptions and screenshots.
What do you think? Is an $11.99 price point worthy of such a game?
Having worked 12 years in the gaming industry, working as a software engineer and senior programmer with major gaming outfits such as EA and RockStar Games, Edinburgh-based Kevin Ng has worked on and helped develop a slew of well-known console titles which we will most likely be familiar with or have played at some point in our lives; including the likes of: “Skate” for Xbox 360, “Bully” for PS2 and “Starlancer” for PC and Dreamcast. Leaving that life behind though (for the most part) Kevin is now going solo, becoming an independent developer specifically targeting the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. He was kind enough to give me a quick heads up on his debut iPhone title, and I even scored myself a pre-release promo copy to take a look at .. (Cheers, Kevin!).
Dropping January 11th, Word Crasher is a well-designed, graphically exciting word game. Playing through two modes; Marathon and Flood Panic the aim of the game is to create words from the letter chips that fall from above – but don’t make the mistake of picturing this as your normal every-day word puzzle. Its much more dynamic. Usually with these types of games we see a rigid setup which involves some kind of grid-like area, and you having to draw out or follow a certain path in order to create a word. Word Crasher throws that rule book away, adding it’s own pretty unique twist to it’s gameplay.
The game is set out in a ‘tank-like’ environment. With fairly straight forward gameplay, at the start of each level a number of letter ‘chips’ fall to the ground, and every few seconds or so after that, another letter chip will be added into the mix. Unlike other word puzzles of it’s genre, in Word Crasher you’re able to make a word from any of the letters on screen, regardless of their current position or proximity to others letters on screen. Almost psychedelic in it’s approach, the game has a sort of modern retro feel to it. Tapping letters on the board will see a faint colorful neon-like glow surround them. As you select various letters to create a word, they appear at the bottom of the screen allowing you to see just what you’ve selected and whether it actually does make sense (unlike my attempt – seen right!). The games AI then lets you know if the word exists by lighting up either the ‘tick’ symbol (bottom right), or cross symbol (bottom left).
The game’s “Flood Panic” mode injects even more challenge, introducing a rising water level which creates both a frenzied-type gameplay experience and a race against the clock. Having spent some time with the game, my first impressions are that this is one polished, well-designed and thought out title.
Fully supported by Open Feint, Word Crasher is reportedly set to make it’s debut on January 11th at the introductory price of $0.99 .. returning to $1.99 afterward. Also, while you’re at it, be sure to checkout the game’s official site at wordcrasher.com.
Blacksmith Games are about to debut onto the App Store with their first title for the platform. Submitted just a few days ago, Plushed is a platformer which will literally transport you to a fairytale world. The game takes the player on a dark-humored, Tim Burton-esque adventure roller coaster .. starting off with the story of a girl, who’s most favorite things in the world are her fairytale book, and her cuddly bunny – Plushie. One night while in bed, she notices a snoring noise coming from out of a mouse hole in her wall. Having never noticed it before, she goes to inspect the noise and grabs a piece of cheese from her dinner left overs, to entice whatever was making the noise, to show it’s face.
A few minutes later a mouse wearing a fairy costume appears in front of her, with a jealous-looking smaller mouse standing behind. Without a thought, the mouse grabs the cheese and devours it. As a reward the mouse offers the little girl one wish. Of course the girl wished to be a fairytale princess. Just as the spell was about to be cast though, a skull from the other mouse hits the wand, mis-firing the spell, causing it to hit the fairytale book. In an instant the book swallows up both the girl and plushie, and the adventure .. begins.
In-game, you play as the main character, Plushie the bunny. Guiding him through 9 danger-filled but fun lengthy levels, including; Ancient Ruins, Wild Plains, Mountain Trail, Batcow Stables, Cotton Candy Park, Cursed Wood, Graveyard Swamp, Princess Room and Evil Mouse Lair, you aim to collect as many golden ladybirds within each of these levels, as possible. Through the game you’ll also come across various weird and wonderful support characters, including a pizza eater, which when given pieces of pizza will close its mouth and let you jump on his back to reach those hard to reach places, a kubicorn which is like a unicorn, but square!, and many more. By default only the first level is available, with the game unlocking each subsequent level, after completion of the previous. Completion of a level seems to be deemed as reaching the end-of-level door, as opposed to collecting all the pickups available, and therefore I found myself re-playing the levels to try and beat my previous golden ladybird totals.
The games controls are fairly straightforward. Moving back and forth is controlled by a left and right arrow seen as in the bottom left of the screen, while jumping is performed simply by tapping the screen. You’ll be glad to know though that you can also control by tilt. To do this just select ‘Tilt’ from the ‘Options’ pane. As well as the game’s built-in levels, Plushed also features 3 mini-games, which you can play through. These include: Jackpack Master, Mining Expert and Defender.
Having gotten the chance to test Plushed out over this weekend just gone, I have to say that I have fallen in love with it. In my opinion, a great first debut. Vibrant visuals and polished hand-drawn characters all complete with their own realistic animations, I couldn’t help but not want to play through some of the levels again.
Plushed has already been submitted, and will be hitting the App Store soon. Watch out for this one!
Are you sitting down? .. Okay here it goes. RockStar Games, publishers of probably the most loved multi-platform action title to have ever hit the market, Grand Theft Auto, have today finally made their debut on the App Store. But hold your excitement, for just a second ..
For anyone who isn’t aware (where have you been? .. Mars?), the Grand Theft Auto series is a heart-racing, exhilarating and action-packed gaming experience. Originally created by Scottish game programmer Dave Jones, throughout, the game sees you play the role of various figures of the criminal underworld, all the while having the title take you on a hardcore roller-coaster of action, adventure, driving, occasional role-playing, stealth and racing.
But don’t get too excited. Toni Cipriani, Donald Love and Vincenzo Cilli are nowhere to be seen on Apple’s store of dreams, just yet. In fact, RockStar have debuted without their flagship GTA franchise. Instead, the studio’s debut application is that of the musical variety. Partnering exclusively with multi-platinum producer Timbaland, Beaterator is a beat machine for both iPhone (and iPod touch), with the ability to record and play voice loops. More importantly it sees signature beats from world renowned DJ and producer, Timbaland, land on the platform.
Now, this is exciting and all, but being a graphic designer myself, I can’t help but think RockStar has short changed us iPhone and iPod users a little, with this. For example, if you take a look at the user interface on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) version which was released earlier this year, and then compare it to the App Store version (above), you’ll see that our version is as far from “graphic intensive” as you can probably get. That’s a shame really, considering it’s RockStar, and they’re launching the Beaterator title on a device as big as the iPhone for the first time, you’d kinda think they’d have made some substantial effort, right? To make that all important first impression?
But anyway, really I’m swaying from my original point of this article. Before today, an iPhone touch-based version of Grand Theft Auto seemed unlikely. Not because the type of game was deemed impossible on a device such as the iPhone, heck – we’ve already seen the likes of Payback and Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, both of which replicate GTA.
No, it was the sole fact RockStar wasn’t even on the App Store yet, to facilitate the franchise coming to the platform, which brought the critics to say it would probably never happen.
The BIG news today though is that RockStar Games, the well-known worldwide, adorned publisher of the million-dollar Grand Theft Auto franchise, has finally made it’s way onto the App Store .. and I’ll bet my money that a multi-touch version of Grand Theft Auto won’t be far behind.
We all know Apple’s App Store approval process is less than perfect, and that sometimes their rejection policies seem down right crazy. We’ve seen app’s rejected for multiple reasons, but nothing quite like what happened to IUGO earlier this year. If you cast your mind back to June 29, you might remember Vancouver based development studio IUGO releasing their hilarious, quirky title A.D.D Lite. The idea behind the app was simple; to give the user short bursts of fast-paced, addictive and challenging (slightly risque), crazy, raunchy, fun. For example, tasks you may encounter include the waxing of a man, threading a pencil into a bum-crack, and un-doing a chick’s bra as fast as you can .. Just an regular ordinary day for me, then.
As with any developer, they too thought they’d be in for a smooth ride on the approval train, and unfortunately as we all now know, that wasn’t to be the case. IUGO submitted a ‘Lite’ version of thier A.D.D app, with the intention of submitting a more feature-packed paid version, at a later date. Monitoring the success of A.D.D Lite, shortly after releasing it they submitted the full version of A.D.D to Apple for approval. Now, although the game is raunchy (in parts), and it was meant to be .. they didn’t think that anything in it would break Apple’s App Store policies, because let’s be honest- it didn’t.
With all this in mind, (as you can imagine), IUGO was more than I little stunned when their approval wait time surpassed 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, and then 6 weeks. It was clear that Apple wasn’t going to let this through. With word from Apple simply stating “the game is taking an unusually long time to review and that they apologize.”, they drew their own conclusions and in August of this year IUGOME took the decision to pull ‘A.D.D Lite’ from the App Store in all countries. Their reason being was that the lite version existed only to sell copies of the full version of A.D.D. What’s even more baffling is that IUGO was actually prepared to re-think and change elements of the game at Apple’s request, but never once got word to do so. At this point, they just wanted the game approved and would do anything they could to help it.
After 6 months of the full version of A.D.D being stuck in Apple’s approval process, I can’t blame the guys and girls over at IUGO if they’d completely forgotten about the title. Yesterday though, out of the blue, their painfully long waiting came to an end, announcing via their Twitter stream that the game had indeed now been approved by Apple, and that we should wait for it to appear on the store!
“OMG OMG OMG!! A.D.D. has been approved! No I’m not kidding! Still waiting for it to show up on the App Store! Holy Crap! Six months later!”
A few hours after that, it did. In all it’s glory. Packed with roughly 80 mini-games, and updates coming with more on the way, A.D.D is now available for purchse in the App Store, for $2.99. There’s no lite version however, as mentioned that was pulled earlier this year. Will it return? I hope it does .. But, God help IUGO if they have to wait another 6 months for Apple to re-approve that ..
Grab A.D.D. here (App Store Link)