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Spirit Lords Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on April 20th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PUZZLE & DIABLO
This free-to-play dungeon crawler has a fun art style, a remarkable attention-to-detail, and borrows mechanics from "gacha-style" titles.
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Interview With the Team Behind Spirit Lords, Kabam's New ARPG.

Posted by Jessica Fisher on April 12th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PUZZLE & DIABLO :: Read Review »

Kabam has released their newest action RPG,Spirit Lords. It is a massive four-person multiplayer game with a battle system that has you summoning Spirit allies to come to your aid. You get a lot of options for customization of your character as well as enjoying hundreds of combat abilities, thousands of pieces of gear, and tons of spirits to collect and upgrade.


I had the chance to chat with Daniel Erickson, Senior Director of Design and Michael Dashow, Art Director, about this exciting new game.

148Apps: Hi Daniel! Thanks for taking some time to chat with 148Apps about your game. Spirit Lords looks absolutely huge! What first drew your to the idea of making such a massive ARPG?

Daniel Erickson: I've always loved doing massive RPGs and I've always loved action RPGs. Getting to combine the two on a platform that I truly believe is the future of where RPGs are going was too good a chance to pass up. Mobile enables us to do more content without the backbreaking graphic budget concerns of consoles and reach more people than any other platform.

148Apps: What was the most challenging part of bringing Spirit Lords to life?

The mobile platform is a huge opportunity but also has its own set of challenges. Creating action-packed combat that is driven entirely through gesture controls was a massive undertaking but the results made all the investment of time and resources worth it.

148Apps: You worked as Design and Creative lead on Star Wars: The Old Republic and part of the team for Dragon Age: Origins. Are there any things you learned working on those games that you have integrated into Spirit Lords?

Daniel Erickson: Working on expansive RPGs taught me the joys of creating an epic story for players to uncover and leading design on an MMO taught me how important it is to have a direct channel to your players. There were, however, countless things on both games I would have loved to explore that were impossible due to the complexity of the platforms and the huge budgets involved with every task. On Spirit Lords, we've been able to talk the grand scale and scope of epic console RPGs and MMOs and attempt to recreate that feel on the mobile platform while still having room to experiment.

148Apps: What is your favorite part of Spirit Lords?

Daniel Erickson: The Spirit and combat system. Every Spirit is its own character but also has its own magic ability you can equip and then use in the fantastic gesture-based combat system that Jay Ambrosini, our lead designer, created. So my Spirit sets tend to be a mix of characters I love for their design, ones I love for the ability they provide, and ones that are just great raw power.

148Apps: Michael, thanks for talking with us. I took a look through Kabam's artbook for the game and the design is gorgeous! What originally drew you to the project?

Michael Dashow: Thank you! Spirit Lords's Executive Producer Phil Shenk and I worked together at Blizzard, and we brought the game Diablo II to life together. When Kabam decided that they wanted to create a fantastic action RPG in that style, Phil was the first person they tapped and I joined shortly after. We - and the entire team - were really excited for the opportunity to make an action RPG that played really smoothly on mobile devices, that felt like it was made for that platform and took advantage of the touch-screen controls to be really fun to play.

148Apps:The characters are a great middle ground between realistic and chibi. How did you decide on the design style for Spirit Lords?

Michael Dashow: We set out to make a game that would appeal to a wide variety of players. Easy controls with a lot of gameplay depth were core elements of the game design, and the visual style supported that goal as well. We all agreed from the start that we wanted a look that was a nice balance between casual and core. We knew what the camera angle would be for the gameplay from the start, so I aimed for characters with large, exaggerated proportions that would read really clearly from that perspective. We went through a lot of character iteration to get just the right proportions that looked great both when running around levels and when you viewed them in your Inventory screen and in cut-scenes. In the end, we all really loved the proportions that combined some cartoony exaggeration but still looked tough and able to dish out some punishment to the monsters in the game. And for the monsters themselves, we had a lot more freedom to come up with some really fun, exaggerated designs that all had a lot of personality.

148Apps:Some of the spirits and creatures are adorable like the Grubbins and some are really badass like the fire elemental. Which is your favorite?

Michael Dashow: There are a lot of them that I love - asking me to name a favorite is like asking someone which of their 400 children they love best! But if I had to pick one, it would be Titanic Lord Wampafu Immortal Mountain, a giant warrior Urshin with a big name and an even bigger spiked golden hammer. It's funny you should ask because just a few days ago, I put the same question to the entire Spirit Lords development team and asked them what their favorites were. The long list included Wanpafu, the Grubbins, the Ramm spirit Beneficent SkyShield Marche, the Master of Chains, the Master of the Shield, the Buja, the Prismatic Cephalopop, the Gorgant, and Faragul of the Frozen Heart (the final evolution of Highland Assassin, the first spirit that you get in the game.)

Thanks for the kind notes about the art of Spirit Lords. Glad you like it, and enjoy the game!

Thank you so much to Daniel and Michael. The game looks like a fantastic time. You can pick up your own copy of Spirit Lords on the App Store for free and join the fun.

Fast & Furious: Legacy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 31st, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FAST
Speedy thrills await, for the patient.
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Fast & Furious: Legacy's Creative Director Opens Up on the New Licensed Racer

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 29th, 2015

The Fast and the Furious is an action film series full of fast cars, hard-ass characters, and illegal shenanigans that first came out in 2001. The upcoming film, Furious 7, continues the storyline of the third film - The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Kabam has done a lot of movie tie-in games like The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth, Marvel Contest of Champions, and even Fast and the Furious 6, so it was no surprise to find out that they've developedFast & Furious: Legacy, which proposes to cover all of the F&F movies so far.

Cuz Parry, Creative Director for Fast & Furious: Legacy,took some time to talk with 148Apps about the upcoming game.

Kabam and Universal Debut Fast & Furious: Legacy for iOS

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 16th, 2015

To get you revved up for the upcoming film featuring Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, Kabam and Universal are bringing the heart-thumping action of the Fast & Furious movies to iOS in Fast & Furious: Legacy.

The storyline spans the entire length of all 7 movies and brings you your favorite characters such as Letty, Hobbs, Carter Verone, and Arturo Braga. It's going to be a high octane adventure across several locales for the films; including Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Miami, and Los Angeles.

Fast & Furious: Legacy is racing to the App Store on March 26.

Kabam and Undead Labs release new Moonrise dev diary video for PAX South

Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 28th, 2015

MOONRISE is a new MMO RPG coming soon from Kabam and Undead Labs. While they enjoyed PAX South, the development companies decided to let us into the world of MOONRISE with a developer diary. In the video you get to meet the Undead Labs development team, including Jeff Strain, the founder of the studio. This is Undead Labs's first mobile game and so far the visuals look pretty nice. The story of the game has you saving magical creatures from an infection of darkness when the sun eclipses the moon. You'll be collecting these creatures and battling them as you explore the world.

Check out MOONRISE in the video below.

The Hunger Games: Panem Rising Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Nadia Oxford on January 21st, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LEAVES YOU HUNGRY FOR MORE
The Hunger Games: Panem Rising features lovely card artwork that should resonate with Hunger Games fans, though the game itself is nothing special.
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Marvel Contest of Champions Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Thomas on January 9th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SUPERPOWERED SLUGFEST
While the gameplay may be repetitive and a bit on the shallow side, Marvel Contest of Champions looks darn good while doing so!
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Piledrive the Collector's Plans in Marvel Contest of Champions - Available Now

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 16th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SUPERPOWERED SLUGFEST :: Read Review »

Kabam and Marvel Entertainment have officially released Marvel Contest of Champions, a Super Hero fighting game that encompasses a huge amount of the Marvel Universe. Marvel Comics writer Sam Humphries (writer of The Legendary Star-Lord) has written an exciting story pitting your team of heroes against those of the villainous Collector.

The Collector has been capturing famous heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe, and it's up to you to free and recruit them for your own team. The game comes with 25 unlockable characters to start with. Each has their own unique traits, abilities, and special moves that can be upgraded and create synergy bonuses giving you plenty of ways to strategize. You'll also be able to play through the single player campaign or face off against your friends in multiplayer.

You can download Marvel Contest of Champions for free right now.

It Came From Canada - Moonrise

Posted by Jordan Minor on December 9th, 2014

I think by now we all know that when pocket-sized elemental creatures with awesome powers are afoot, there’s really no other choice than to try and collect all of them. And in case that last sentence wasn’t clear enough, yes, Moonrise is a lot like Pokémon. But it does put its own spin on monster battling, and we find out just how original it is in this edition of It Came From Canada!

When a peaceful race of creatures known as the Solari is corrupted into bestial Lunari through “Moonrise,” it’s up to the player to tame and purify them. But Moonrise's world isn’t all dark and foreboding. The game opens with the player graduating into a Warden, and it feels like a friendly martial arts exam. Still, the mood is oddly dour for such a kid-friendly genre, and part of that is due to the aesthetic. Instead of the expressive and cutesy anime characters one might expect, people look weirdly old and realistic, wearing contemporary clothing while exploring ancient ruins. The monsters themselves are more stylized, which is a given considering names like Snaptrap and Buzzle, but they also have a strange, earthy edge that tips over into almost frightening. But style aside, when it comes to visuals, what the game should focus on before launch is fixing its erratic frame rate and overall sluggish feel.

Players can take on quests and visit side towns, but monster battles are where it’s really at. In the wild, players encounter savage Lunari and can either defeat them outright or trap and train them with their limited Warden keys. Elemental match-ups follow the typical rock-paper-scissors formula where water beats fire, fire beats grass, and so on. Players can also challenge rival Wardens. Once the fighting starts, players launch their attacks in real-time. However, different attacks have different recharge periods, so players must juggle between different skills to keep up the offensive. They can use two Solari at a time and swap between them at will. Players can even use lengthy but powerful attacks of their own to give their team an extra push. It’s hard to say if this system is any better than a standard turn-based one, but at least it is different.

History has shown that the only things people “gotta catch” all of are these monster battling games themselves. Players will get their chance to snag Moonrise when the game launches worldwide soon.

Kabam Introduces a Special Rewards Program for Select Titles

Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 3rd, 2014

Kabam, makers of Wartune and Kingdoms of Camelot, has introduced a rewards system for playing participating games.

When you play every day you can earn 5 points, and for each consecutive 7 day streak you get 50 points. You can also buy points at a rate of 10 points for every $1 you spend, and these points can be traded in for in-game currency.

The Kabam Rewards badge will show up in any participating game. The program is only available on iOS 6.0 and above though, so you might have to update in order to join.

Creature Academy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Nadia Oxford on December 1st, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: COLLECTABLE CREATURES
Creature Academy is cute, but its gameplay might be too simplistic to appeal to RPG fans.
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It Came From Canada: Creature Academy

Posted by Jordan Minor on November 7th, 2014

Creature Academy doesn’t have time for your slow-paced, grandparents’ RPGs. In the span of a few minutes, it has players slicing down monsters, toppling a boss, improving their party, and repeating the whole cycle all over again. But while role-playing this quickly may work during a bus ride, does it sacrifice depth in the process? Find out in this edition of It Came From Canada!

Structurally, Creature Academy is a fairly rote action-RPG. With their three-person party, players venture out into various environments, like meadows or volcanoes, looking for monsters to slay. They’ll encounter everything from Hackits, little burlap sack creatures that recall Dragon Quest’s iconic Slimes, to towering goblins and mushrooms that serve as the bosses of each area. Players can then customize their party between skirmishes by giving them better weapons and gear along with limited-use boosters like extra speed or strength. However, while party leaders will typically be heroic human characters, players can also recruit fallen foes to their squad like the trident-wielding, amphibious Fischenchips. Furthermore, players can evolve and combine captured monsters to create even more powerful allies. Beyond the main campaign, players can also test out their team in a wave-based survival mode.

But what stands out so much about Creature Academy is how it takes those standard tropes and plays them at what feels like double speed, after a painfully, and ironically, slow initial install. The game is divided into dozens of separate levels and, at least initially, players will just cruise through them crushing monsters in seconds. This isn’t to say that the game is mindless. It’s good to know when to use a ranged weapon vs. a sword or when to swap out a weak character because one death equals game over. But the game just moves so freaking fast that everything kind of becomes a blur, especially once screen-clearing special attacks and overpowered online helpers enter the fray. It’s not bad, just chaotic, and at least the graphics keep up.

Hyperactivity isn’t historically a hallmark of RPGs, but maybe that will give Creature Academy its own identity. Players can see if this whirlwind of level grinding and monster battling is right for them when the game fully launches soon.

Kings of the Realm Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on September 12th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: STANDARD BASE BUILDING
Kings of the Realm offers some handy tweaks, but it's still the familiar format of base building and alliance forming.
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Undead Labs Unveil Moonrise, a Multiplayer Monster Collection RPG

Posted by Ellis Spice on August 5th, 2014

State of Decay developers Undead Labs, along with Kabam, have announced Moonrise:  a "multiplayer creature-collection RPG" partly inspired by Monster Hunter, Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering, and Hearthstone. The game will feature real-time strategic combat, full character and creature customization, and real-time online play.

In Moonrise, an event called the Moonrise corrupts peaceful creatures, known as Solari, into savage creatures known as Lunari, who will attack towns and cites until the effect of the Moonrise fades. Recently, Moonrises had been rare and the corruption period short, but the cycle is beginning to become more intense.

This is where you, the player, come in. You'll play the role of an adventurer on their path to becoming a master Warden: journeying the land and discovering ancient ruins as you chase down Lunari and attempt to cleanse them of the corruption of the Moonrise. Along the way, you'll recruit newly cleansed Solari and challenge fellow Wardens for pride and rewards.

No release period or pricing has been for Moonrise as of yet, but a beta build of the game is set to be playable at PAX Prime later this month, with more details also set to be announced at that time.