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Topple 2, the ngmoco:) Classic is Coming Back!

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 6th, 2013

We recently ran into Barry Dorf, Senior Director of Third Party for DeNA, previously ngmoco:). Dorf mentioned that we just might be surprised what we saw in the App Store this week. And surprised we are indeed. The ngmoco:) classic iOS game Topple 2 is getting re-released!

You may or may not remember ngmoco:), so a little history first. ngmoco:) was the first game development studio set up purely for iOS game development. Heavily funded by the iFund, and founded by industry veteran Neil Young, ngmoco:) was a studio created before its time. Unfortunately, its games were critical successes, but relative sales failures. This was when the market was considerably smaller and focused only on paid games. ngmoco:) tried to make the switch to free to play games with Rolando 2--the first game to take advantage of in-app purchases on iOS. But that was not enough to make the ngmoco:) model a success. In came DeNA from Japan, looking for a US foothold. ngmoco:) was the perfect fit and was absorbed into the company. Initially ngmoco:)/DeNA US released a few games that did well, but not amazing. These were great games, now pulled from the App Store like GodFinger, We Rule, etc. Those have all been archived. Recently the majority of the games released by DeNA in the US have been English versions of games popular in Japan. Rage of Bahamut is an example of an extremely successful import. In my opinion, these are less interesting games, but obviously money makers.

Topple 2 is the now-classic block stacking game first released by ngmoco:) way back in what could be considered the golden age of iOS gaming. All of the early games from ngmoco:) were interesting, designed well, unique, and all sported a very touch-centric control scheme. But these early games are, if nothing else, a huge part of the short history of gaming on iOS. So it's great to think for a moment that those classics may be updated and re-released for modern iOS devices and playable by the now 400+ million iOS gamers. An iPad version of Star Defense or Rolando would also be amazing.

We spoke with Barry Dorf about the updated classics.

148Apps: So, Topple 2 is coming back?! That's fantastic. What lead to it being revived from the archive?

Barry Dorf: At DeNA we always strive to delight consumers. We saw an opportunity to bring back Topple 2 from the archives and provide fans a fun gameplay experience while also introducing new players to the game.

148Apps: ngmoco:) has some fantastic games in the portfolio. Some of the first big iOS games from 2009-10. I would even argue that the ngmoco:) games were ahead of their time and that could be why they didn't make amazing amounts of money. We'd love to see more of them come back, updated for the new screen sizes and for the iPad. Any chance we'll see Star Defense, Rolando, Dropship or any of the other classics too?

Barry: How come you didn't mention MazeFinger and Dr. Awesome? :)

But seriously...

DeNA's portfolio of games is pretty amazing. We're going to wait and see how Topple 2 does before we consider reviving more titles. We encourage everyone to download Topple 2 and give us a reason to revisit bringing back other games.

So there you have it, the classics may live on. Hopefully we will all enjoy this updated game from the early days of iOS gaming. Let us know--do you think it was a game before its time, or does it seem dated now? What other ngmoco:) classics would you like to see come back?

Take a look at this video of the original Topple 2 trailer. We'll let you know when Topple 2 hits the App Store; it could be as early as today.

Friday Five: June 18th, 2010

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on June 18th, 2010

It's Friday! Hurray! Of course, for me it's summer vacation and Fridays aren't quite as exciting. But, we've still got our traditional sampling of delightful new releases from the past week, so that's something. Big names like ngmoco and Illusion Labs make an appearance this week, as well as a few more mainstream companies like ESPN. Enjoy!

Godfinger from ngmoco allows you to build up a little world of cartoony followers and exert your godly powers on them. In Godfinger, you can be a kind, caring deity—performing Wonders and helping your civilization prosper—or a wicked demagogue, leaving a path of destruction in your wake. You can control sun, rain, lightning, floods, and fire. As you play Godfinger, your actions shape the terrain and your populace's opinion. It's almost ngmoco's answer to Pocket God. Go on, give it a try and test out your godly abilities...Godfinger, like many of ngmoco's newer games, is free.

Geometry Wars: Touch
Geometry Wars was already a classic Xbox game, but it made its iPad debut back in March. Now, it's a universal app, meaning that iPhone and iPod owners can get in on the action! Geometry Wars is a simplistic arcade shooter with basic, geometric graphics and a strong retro theme. It also was one of the first major games to make good use of the dual-stick shooter system that's so popular on the App Store today. The iPhone/iPad version also includes a brand-new mode, Titan, in which you gradually break giant foes apart into swarms of smaller pieces.

ESPN Pinball
In honor of the World Cup, ESPN has a released a pinball app with some football-themed tables (ahem, soccer for us Americans). There's also a Basketball table. The new pinball app is full of flashy graphics and boasts pass-and-play multiplayer, global and local leaderboards, and voice-overs from ESPN Sports Center host Jay Harris. It's a marriage of a TV network, sports, and pinball...if that sounds a little strange, well, it is, but the game looks like some solid pinball fun nevertheless.

Onion News Network
Where would we be without the Onion? In case you haven't heard of this magnificent publication, the Onion is a completely satirical news network with both an online and a print publication. (Yes, that's right: you can get a real Onion newspaper.) Their stories are funny, witty, snide, and clever; you'd be crazy not to enjoy browsing them. The Onion's new app gives you mobile access to the entire Onion archives, including both textual stories and videos. There's not much more to say: it's a typical newspaper app. The only difference is that the Onion is anything but a serious, esteemed publication. It's here to make you grin, and, perhaps, think.

Foosball HD
Illusion Labs has long expressed an interest in touchscreen gaming on larger screens (think back to their tabletop demo of Touchgrind) and now they've released an impressive iPad-only title: Foosbal HD. Foosball HD takes full advantage of the iPad's large screen, transforming it into a top-down view of a foosball table designed perfectly for "local multiplayer": both you and your friend just play foosball! You can also play against the computer, of course, but multiplayer is the real draw. Foosball seems like a natural fit for the iPad, and it's great to see Illusion Labs putting the iPad to good use. Sorry, iPhone users; this one isn't for us.


By Arron Hirst on March 15th, 2010
So new that, as of writing, GodFinger is only available on iTunes Canada. The game takes the initial idea of Bolt Creative's Pocket God, and multiples it - by 1000.
Read The Full Review »