One of the last games I saw in San Francisco, and technically not even at GDC, still might have been one of the most promising. Dutch developer Game Oven Studios demoed a pre-release version of its upcoming iPad multiplayer game, Bam Fu, at the Indigo event at the Dutch Consulate in San Francisco.
Also serious is the competition: players are trying to tap objects on screen in order to make them their color. This is simple enough when it’s just one-on-one, but when up to four people get in on the action, things get frantic and crazy. Tapping a color turns it to another color no matter who taps it, so it’s often the fault of the player whose color comes ahead in the sequence of the victor for everyone else’s defeat. However, accidentally tapping other players’ colors will happen.
The game can get very physical; while the studio’s previous title Fingle was more intimate and cooperative, this is more competitive, and shoving opponents out of the way is encouraged and inevitable. Part of the fun comes from what happens outside of the iPad! This one is still in the works but shows definite promise in this pre-release form. Pretty much the only thing better than this game at the Dutch Consulate? The view outside the 31st floor window:
Football Heroes, Kickstarted a year ago, is coming to fruition. Michael Marzola, one of the game’s developers, showed off an early build of the game with non-final art, but this title already shows promise. It’s inspired by classic arcade football games such as Tecmo Bowl, with a dash of the brutality of NFL Blitz, and World of Warcraft. Wait, what? That’s because the players on a team can be endlessly customized, with skill trees to help make them play better and avoid more tackles. The game has a long way to go still, but expect to play this one during NFL season.
Bravado Waffle has a new game in the works, inspired by old-school tank battlers like Battlezone. zTanks pits players in an arena with both bots and other players via online multiplayer with the objective to be the last tank standing. Players can fire from their tanks, but have a heat meter that fills up over time. They can jump to dodge shots, though. The game is being built in Unity and could at some point boast cross-platform online multiplayer, though the iOS version does not support that yet.
Another game the studio has in early work is called Blobsters, which is designed to be a 2D physics platformer take on a turn-based racing title like Disc Drivin’. This one is still in early alpha form, and plenty of changes are still in store, but the idea alone shows promise. Both this and zTanks should be releasing later this year for iOS.
Madfinger Games has more and more zombies to kill, as they’ve demoed Dead Trigger 2 at GDC 2013. The gameplay is largely similar to the original, where players take on new types of zombies in a variety of new environments, like a sandy city, dank sewer, and a ruined city. The city really shows off the improvements to the graphics that Madfinger appears to be going for as a giant zombie that can be attacked with one of the new fixed turrets can be fought.
With the rumors of an official Apple controller, it’s a good guess that Dead Trigger 2 to support it, as multiple Android controllers are supported by both this and the original Dead Trigger, with the sequel playable on Nvidia’s Project Shield Android device with a gamepad, despite their desire to keep much of the game secret when we met with them. Dead Trigger 2 should be available later this year, and will launch as a free-to-play title.
Celsius Game Studios, headed by Colin Walsh, is hard at work on the space trading simulator Drifter. Last seen at GDC 2012, the game has since seen a Kickstarter for a PC and Mac version that also sees plenty of benefits for the iOS version. There’s more detailed graphics, and a soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky. There’s over 20,000 planets to explore across the game’s vast, vast universe, which can take up to an hour to travel across a star system in real time, though it’s possible to slipstream at five times the speed to a system.
Right now, the game is in beta testing for Kickstarter backers, and the sandbox mode is the focus, though a story mode is definitely in the works. If all goes as planned, a mid-to-late-summer launch is planned. Those looking to play the game on PC or Mac will be glad to know that technically, save games are compatible with each other between the different versions, though Celsius Game Studios – no longer just Colin Walsh – is looking into a cloud save solution.
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.
Big Fish Games previewed their new match three game, Zombies Zombies Zombies, for us today. The mechanic actually works well, here, as you tap same-color zombies in triangle patterns to have your apocalypse survivors blow hem to smithereens. There are a ton of fun power-ups, and playing it was super easy to get into, and very satisfying to play. Look for it to come out this summer.
Josh Boggs of Australian gaming developer, Loveshack, showed us an early build of Framed, a beautifully designed puzzle cum comic-style storytelling game. We played through the first few episodes, moving animated panels around to change the outcome of the story in each level. The studio hopes to build the game out to a feature movie length in the coming months.
We sat down with Thomas Bleyer of Ravensburger, the veteran of board games both analog and digital, for a quick coffee meeting this morning. We took an early look at Las Vegas, a new game from the studio that involves dice and a frenetic pace. Check the VIne video below for a sneak peek, and be ready to check the full game out in a couple of months.
If you’ve played any of the Bloons TD games, you know how frantic–and downright fun–the tower defense with balloons and monkeys game can get. With the upcoming Bloons TD Battles, from the Ninja Kiwi/Digital Goldfish dream team, you’ll get to test your skills against real opponents on the same iPad or over the internet. Get ready, ’cause its gonna get insane.
Matt Fix (Trainyard) and Owen Goss (Finger Tied) have come together to form Milkbag Games. Their first title, Snow Siege, combines tower defense, Tetris-esque block-laying, and collectible card game mechanics in one package.
Everplay Interactive is hard at work on several new titles in the coming months. Their biggest title is Ace of Blades, a spinoff of Spellsword. As well, they have multiple new titles in their “Retro Revival” series including trial platformer Lumber Jacked, and endless action game Bill Killem. Check out Ace of Blades below.
Firaxis is known for its hardcore strategy titles, including Sid Meier’s games, but Haunted Hollow will be friendly for kids and casual audiences. Two players take turns (on the same device or via Game Center) trying to take over a neighborhood by summoning scary monsters to scare the townsfolk. They eventually form angry mobs and will try to burn the conquered houses and monsters. Expect this one in the coming months.