The seedy and entertaining world of Gangstar Vegas has just has another infusion of content. A recent update has added seven new alien invasion themed missions, 9 vehicles, 12 weapons, costumes (helloooooo denim shorts!), and jetpacks. Jetpacks!
The update is available now, and you can check out some of the new stuff in video form below. Gangstar Vegas can be found on the App Store for $2.99.
Gameloft has frequently done a good job of re-envisioning distinctly familiar console gaming hits, whether it be Uncharted in the form of Shadow Guardian or World of Warcraft-like Order & Chaos Online. Perhaps the most consistent of these homages has been the Gangstar series with Gangstar West Coast Hustle and more recently Gangstar: Miami Vindication heavily borrowing from the Grand Theft Auto series and being just as enjoyable. So it makes sense to see another Gangstar title coming soon.
Gangstar Rio: City of Saints promises the same addictive Grand Theft Auto style gameplay but with all new weapons, vehicles, storyline and a whole new place to explore. Not much else has been announced but we do have a Gameplay trailer to gaze over. It's looking pretty good and certainly graphically impressive for iOS devices.
Take a look below. We'll be sure to keep track of Gangstar Rio: City of Saints' development.
Among the goings-on at the 9.9.09 Apple event was the release of iTunes 9.0 which included a redesigned App Store. To sum up the changes in one word - "clutter." It seems as if Apple has challenged themselves to fit as many app icons on one page as possible. There are some nice changes, but they are masked by the overall clutter. Top 100's are now top 200's, though looking over the lists now causes eye damage. There is now a top grossing app list, though it is hidden at the bottom of the page and used in conjunction with the top volume list making it confusing for all. Tabs at the top of iTunes are nice though the drop down App Store categories are initially hard to find. One of the new iTunes is the ability to organize iPhone app icons from iTunes. Though it's not perfect, this new feature is infinitely preferable to organizing on the iPhone itself.
Gameloft is really wearing thin on me with their clones. GTA is more of a genre now, so I was ok with Gangstar, but with their COD4 clone (Modern Combat) and Soul Caliber clone (Blades of Fury), I've had enough. These games certainly show off the iPhone as a gaming platform, but there comes a point when I just can't get excited about exact clones of existing games. These aren't rough clones either, they're almost indistinguishable. Gameloft is a talented developer, but in order to start making memorable games, they're going to have to show the creativity involved in creating games like Sway and Gomi, two indie darlings. For now though, all the upcoming Gameloft games are clones, including a Diablo clone, a Mario Kart clone, and a Halo clone.
Exciting upcoming games
In contrast to Gameloft, here are some trailers for some games I'm really excited about. Enjoy!
In addition to clever physics-based gameplay, iBlast Moki boasts 70 levels and a fully featured in-game level editor. Gozilab, the developer, has been notified that the game could not be posted because the price was included in the App description, but this was fixed so hopefully iBlast Moki will be making an appearance on the App Store soon.
Hybrid: Eternal Whisper:
Gamevil, the developer of the famed Zenonia, has submitted their stylish action RPG to the App Store so hopefully we'll be seeing Hybrid soon.
Ravensword: the Fallen King
Crescent Moon games has estimated a submission date of September 30 for their 3D open-world adventure RPG.
Well, you were all horribly wrong, but sf49lu wins the $15 gift card for being the most detailed in his wrong predictions. Congratulations, Chris will email you your winnings as soon as he stops watching football.
Apps of the Week
Sadly, there were no apps good enough to be deemed worthy of this award. Blades of Fury was lacking, Madden was disappointing, and I haven't gotten a chance to play Dexter yet. See you all next week!
Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don't think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.
New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions
Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an "energy pack" using real money. So what's the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn't abuse this, nothing. Here's the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won't win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn't that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.
C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple
After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won't appeal to everyone, but if you're one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it's worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it's apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you're SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!
This week's sign of the apocalypse
Smule's "I Am T-Pain" is the number one paid app in the entire app store. Enough said.
Contest! This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we're holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that's right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.
Apps of the Week
Modern Combat: Sandstorm
Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.
Samurai: Way of the Warrior
Samurai is one of the coolest games I've played on the iPhone. It's a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic - you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or "dojo" mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it's too easy - there's an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.
That's it for this week, tune back in next week for the winner of the contest and some more MMAHQ. Have a great week!
Gameloft's two most recent premium games, Gangstar and Modern Combat: Sandstorm (supposedly due for imminent release) are both priced at $6.99. These are certainly at the highest quality level of the App Store, so normally Gameloft would price these at $9.99. Gameloft has stated, however, that they have priced their games lower because consumers are unwilling to pay $9.99. While Gameloft is probably doing this with their best interests at heart, it could have unintended consequences for developers of AAA titles everywhere. If new Gameloft games are debuting at $6.99, other developers will be pressured to price their premium apps accordingly. While this may be good for the consumer in the short run, it could lead to deflation of app values and discourage premium game production, as you will have to sell a lot more units at $6.99 than at $9.99 to turn the same profit. It seems the guys behind Real Racing, Firemint, are the only ones with enough cojones to steadily price their game at $9.99, and (I think) it's paying off.
Geared takes over number one app spot
To my joy, a game app has finally taken, from Camera Genius (boring), the number one overall paid app spot. Chris found Geared to be a nice little game in his review, and while not to say that it isn't deserving of the number one spot, the App Store still works in mysterious ways to me. This is a game that had no hype, no big name developer or publisher, and that isn't at all the best game on the App Store, even at its price point. Perhaps a well-done lite version is the answer? In any case, congratulations to Bryan Mitchell; good work!
This week's sign of the apocalypse
This week, we know the apocalypse is coming because... there is no app of the week. It seems that since at least March, each week has brought at least one AAA title, but this past week has been something of an oddity. We saw some games that are decently fun (Geared, Ramp Champ, and Alive 4 Ever), but in the end, I decided nothing was App of the Week quality. Rather than besmirch the MMAHQ name with some mediocre apps, I sadly leave this week blank. However, I reserve the right to update this column in the middle of the week if some stellar apps make their way to the app store (Hint - think Sandstorm).
Well folks, that's it for this week. Have a great week, and hopefully app-wise, it will be more interesting than the last.
Apple, you might want to improve your approval process
It seems that news comes out, on a weekly basis, that demonstrates how bad Apple's approval system is, and this week was no different, with two notable stories. First, the Google Voice app. In the FCC letters, Apple claims AT&T has nothing to do with this, but it simply reeks of their interference, though on the technical side, it was rejected because it duplicates an already existing native feature - the phone. Why then, are there so many "Text Free" apps. Apple simply has no consistency. Apple, however, revealed some interesting nuggets of information: about 8500 apps are submitted each week, Apple employs 40 full-time app reviewers, and each app is reviewed by two separate people. Some rough number crunching by Jeff, our head honcho, reveals that the average time a single person spends reviewing an app is 5.6 minutes. This is simply atrocious, and frankly explains a lot. More and more, it is showing that Apple struck gold with the App Store, but was in no way expecting it and has no idea what to do. The next news story is the saga of Spotify, an awesome internet radio app. Apple has done absolutely nothing, and the app is still in limbo after several weeks in review. Obviously, Apple believes Spotify is a great app, so great in fact, that it will hurt iTunes store music downloads. Much like in the case of A.D.D., the answer here is simply more transparency. Come on, Apple, at least let the developers know what is happening so that they might speed the process. And of course, make up your mind! Have the cajones to either approve it or reject rather than leaving it rotting in app purgatory.
Race for the best Kart Racer [caption id="attachment_16068" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Konami\'s Krazy Kart Racing"]
Gameloft seems to be going head to head with other developers lately, and kart racing is the latest iteration of this. Both Konami (Krazy Kart Racing) and Gameloft (Shrek Kart) have Mario Kart style racers due out soon on the App Store. Simply based on screenshots and video alone, I'd say the edge goes to Gameloft. The graphics in Shrek Kart are much nicer (Krazy Kart graphics are somewhat blocky and the karts look like they're hovering due to the lack of a shadow), and the track design looks better for Shrek Kart. From the video, Shrek Kart looks to be a very competent Mario Kart-like game. I typically dislike the gimmicky use of movie characters and the like in games, but Shrek Kart looks like a can't miss.
Free "Knights Onrush" promotional game
In a nice promotional move, the folks over at Moregames have released a free supplement game to their hit "Knights Onrush." Though we thoroughly enjoyed Knights Onrush in our review, the promotional game is nothing like it. It uses the same characters, but rather than a Castle Defense game, it is a side scrolling hack-'n-slash with some nice RPG elements and best of all, a jump button. It's a typical highscore affair, and while the game is glitchy, it is rather enjoyable. The game will likely climb the free app charts and gain some publicity for the main game, and Moregames even hints at the fact that they might give the game a premium paid version. I applaud this great marketing move, which is good for both the developer and cash-strapped iPhone gamers!
This week's sign of the apocalypse
The Mobile Navigator app is steadily hanging in the top 100 paid apps, at a whopping price tag of $69.99. Personally, I'm waiting for a $.99 sale.
Apps of the Week
Gangster: West Coast Hustle
Gameloft has truly achieved a milestone for the iPhone with their immensely impressive GTA-style game. This game features a fully explorable 3D sandbox world with plenty of ways to get your hands dirty. The story missions are entertaining, graphics are rich, and best of all, the controls are fantastic. If Gameloft sticks to a mantra of light on innovation, heavy on quality, while producing games like this at such a bargain price, you won't hear any complaining from me.
If you're like me, then you love showing off cool, unique things that only an iPhone can do. The latest and greatest of these apps is Sonar Ruler. The concept of Sonar Ruler is simply so cool I didn't believe it at first: by using sonar technology, you can simply point your iPhone at a (large) object and just like that, find out how far away it is. Sounds futuristic, right? Best of all, if you use the app correctly, its measurements are actually fairly precise, within an inch usually. No, it's not going to replace a ruler or measuring tape, but it's pretty freaking awesome.
That's it for this week's MMAHQ. I hope everyone is enjoying the column, and have a great week!
What a week in apps. With so many new apps and updates available, I definitely haven't payed enough attention to the apps that are being announced. I feel like I just went to a movie and showed up too late to see the previews. What a waste! To make up for this, I am going to create a Thursday roundup of everything (well maybe not everything) awesome that is coming soon to the app store.
First off is the greatest mystery in the history of the app store. I had a friend send me a link to this site the other day, and I wasn't sure what to say. Is it GTA for the iPhone? Is it... not?
I did a bit of research (I scoured the Touch Arcade forums) and found a few different opinions. One clever person, dpmpolo, went to http://whois.domaintools.com/coming-on-iphone.com, and found that the site is registered to Gameloft. DaveMc99 claims that the game is called Gangstar, while another guy CDubby94 said, "It's called The Cartel. I beta tested it. It's almost ready for submission." I love forums.
Admittedly lost, and a bit anxious, I was forced to contact the internet Oracle, who told me that the trailer is actually for Poker vs. Girls 2. Check out the original here, it's amazing.
With that squared away, my attention turned to Doom Resurrection, an amazing app that we reviewed a day or two ago. After reading the review, I thought, "Wow, that looks awesome. I wonder where the original Doom is?". Fortunately, the gaming gods heard my plea and told me to hop over to idsoftware.com to check out the "iPhone Doom Classic Progress Report".
Basically, the article states that John Carmack, the inventor of the modern FPS and the technical director of id