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Playdek CEO Joel Goodman Sheds More Light on Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians

Posted by Rob Rich on January 21st, 2014

Unsung Story, Playdek's upcoming tactical RPG, seems to be moving along quite nicely. The Kickstarter project, which only started last week, is already past the halfway point with 24 days to go. I think it's safe to assume that a fair number of people want to play it, yeah?

Playdek CEO Joel Goodman was gracious enough to answer a few of our burning questions regarding Unsung Story. Specifically questions about the game itself, the Kickstarter project, and the involvement of Yasumi Matsuno.

148Apps: Playdek has one heck of a repertoire filled with a TON of great ports of some classic games. Do you think the mechanics of any of those games, or what you've learned while creating them, may have had an influence on what you've done with Unsung Story?
Joel Goodman (JG): The AI system we have created as well as our asynchronous gameplay mechanics will most definitely have an influence on what we will be able to do for Unsung Story. We also maintain a high quality level for all of our games.

148Apps: A tactical RPG seems like a fairly big change in genre from Playdek's typical work. Was it a challenge to start developing something so different or was it an idea who's time has come?
JG: It was a ripe opportunity that just sort of happened. When the opportunity came, we jumped at it. Plus tactics gaming fits our wheel house.

148Apps: Was Yasumi Matsuno a part of the project from the start or did you have the basic idea for Unsung Story in place first?
JG: Yasumi Matsuno developed the concept entirely from the start. We only asked for a tactics game and he took that request and hit the ground running. It is amazing to see the concepts and ideas he is able to come up with when given creative freedom.

148Apps: Will there be any form of multiplayer mode or is it being designed as an entirely single-player affair? Personally I wouldn't mind the latter in the slightest.
JG: There will be multi-player, but the core experience for the story is single player.

148Apps: It must have been difficult deciding where to place stretch goals for the Kickstarter project. Were there any goals you would shift around if given the opportunity? Any that you wish you could have included in the base game? Are you finding that backers are generally being receptive to them or has there been some pushback?
JG: The response has been incredible, and our backers are giving us tremendous feedback on the rewards and goals. We will be making modifications to those as we go based off of the suggestions we are seeing come in.

148Apps: Regardless of how the Kickstarter campaign goes (I'm guessing very well based on how much it's made so far) Unsung Story will still be coming to mobile, right?
JG: Yes, however we hope to get the game into as many player's hands as possible on their platforms of choice.


We'd like to thank Joel Goodman for answering our questions, and are anxiously looking forward to getting our hands on Unsung Story.

Unsung Story - Yasumi Matsuno Details His Involvement in Playdek's Big Project and the Kickstarter Campaign

Posted by Rob Rich on January 17th, 2014

There's been more than a fair bit of buzz surrounding Playdek's upcoming Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians project. It's a pretty big departure from the developer's usual (and excellent) ports of physical card and board games, a Kickstarter campaign to bring more talent on board and expand onto several other platforms just began a few days ago, and Yasumi Matsuno (Vagrant Story, Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics) is involved. However, the legendary game designer's level of involvement in the project has been somewhat unclear. Up until now, anyway.

Last night Matsuno broke it all down over Twitter in order to clear it all up. He isn't spearheading the development. Rather, his involvement "is limited to the original game proposal, world design, and story." It's not a bad thing in the slightest when you consider that those three elements are pretty much what he's known for in the first place, but he won't be overseeing the project directly.

He does go on to state that, while his involvement with Unsung Story is pretty much finished at this point, a successful Kickstarter campaign could see him jumping right back into it. So if they end up hitting their goals to bring Unsung Story to the Mac, PC, Vita, and 3DS, we'll be seeing a lot more of him.

Octofire 8 Port Turbo Smart Charges Up to Eight Different USB Devices at Once

Posted by Andrew Stevens on January 10th, 2014

Octofire 8 Port Turbo Smart from Skiva Technologies is a USB charger that comes equipped with eight ports to allow users to simultaneously charge eight different devices at once without missing a beat. It comes with safety features to protect against overcharge, over-voltage, overheat, and short circuit, and it's capable of charging smartphones, tablets, GPS, Bluetooth headsets, and any other USB device.

Octofire is wrapping up its Kickstarter campaign where it has blown past its target goal of $20,000 by receiving more than $70,000 from over 1,000 backers.

Republique Episode 1: Exordium Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on December 19th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SNEAKY SNEAKY
Republique was a promising Kickstarter project, and with the launch of the first episode of the finished game it remains just that: a promise.
Read The Full Review »

Kickstarting echoChamber: A New Party Rhythm Game

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 6th, 2013

Approaching things differently from the rest is always good, right? That's what the folks at Little Bit Games are clearly thinking, too. Having previously covered their efforts earlier in the year, my interest was piqued thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign they've recently launched.

EchoChamber is the title hoping to be funded by it. It's described as a rhythm game with a "unique twist." It's a free-to-play local multiplayer title that uses positional audio to get players to follow various cues and perform gestures in time with the music. I took the time to learn more from Cody Lee, co-founder and developer at Little bit Games.


148Apps: How did the idea for echoChamber come about?
Cody Lee (CL): The idea for echoChamber came about after playing the game SpaceTeam with friends. It seemed like such a unique and original idea and utilized your phone for multiplayer in a way that I’d never seen before. It kinda blew my mind and I started to think of other ways we could use mobile devices for multiplayer experiences that you couldn’t get on any other platform. I spent a lot of time picturing people physically standing around with friends, trying to come up with games that required that physical space, and that used the capabilities of modern cell phones.

148Apps: Why the decision to be free to play?
CL: echoChamber is a multiplayer only game, and is more fun the more people you are playing with. It seemed natural for us to release the game as a free download so people can start playing it as easily as possible with their friends without requiring everybody to commit to purchasing it. We’ll be releasing additional tracks as paid DLC for people who want to extend their experience beyond the base tracks.

148Apps: How hard has it been to implement the positional sound effects?
CL: Doing the positional audio itself isn’t too bad. It’s really just a matter of adjusting volume for the different devices to get the desired effect we want. The hardest part has been synching the playback of the track on all of the devices while accounting for network latency. If the sound is out of sync at all, the positional effect is lost, and you get more of an echo. If it’s REALLY out of sync it just sounds like garbage!


148Apps: What other challenges have you faced?
CL: echoChamber started out as more of a Pong-like game where sound would move around and players would have to tap their screens to hit the “ball” away. The problem is it’s hard to know when the ball has reached you. It get’s louder so you know it’s closer, but how loud is the “loudest” and “closest”. That’s why we ended up going the rhythm game route. When there’s a set beat, and the ball moves to the beat, it’s easier to know when the sound will “hit”. We’ve since moved away from the Pong aspect of the game and are focusing more on an overall fun musical experience instead.

148Apps: When do you hope to release echoChamber?
CL: If the Kickstarter goes well, we hope to release some time early next year. If it doesn’t go well... we’re not sure.

The Kickstarter campaign runs until December 27, with a wide selection of backer rewards to cover everyone's budget.

Thanks to Cody for taking the time to answer our questions. We'll be sure to keep an eye on echoChamber's progress.

Forgotten Memories - Alternate Realities Gets a Preview Version of its Third-Person Survival Gameplay

Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 4th, 2013

Forgotten Memories - Alternate Realities is a third-person survival horror game that has players adventuring through dark environments with only a flashlight in hand. The gameplay is based on a fear mechanic consisting of tough fights, few weapons, a weak character, and a scary and dangerous world to explore.

Forgotten Memories will soon release a preview of the game for players to try for free, giving them close to an hour of gameplay. This is being done to help support the Kickstarter campaign once it launches.

Fright Fight Brings Frantic Multiplayer Brawling to iOS

Posted by Jennifer Allen on October 28th, 2013

Ever wanted to play Super Smash Bros. while on the move? Of course! Anyone with sense would want that! While Nintendo haven't quite made the move to mobile just yet (but we can hope, right?), that doesn't stop a similar experience from hopefully coming to iOS soon, courtesy of zGames. That title is Fright Fight, a horror-themed game inspired by Mario's brawling ways.

The zGames team.
As is increasingly common these days, Fright Fight's development is being supported by a Kickstarter campaign which has just launched. As the project page explains, the hope is that Fright Fight will be the first 3D cross-platform mobile fighting game, with the plan being to port it to systems such as OUYA and Nvidia Shield as well as iOS and Android. Free-to-play, many of the pledge rewards relate to the acquisition of in-game coins or the unlocking of characters in order to give early backers an extra edge. It's shaping up to look pretty good so we had a word with Game Designer, Pavel Shtangeev, to learn more.

148Apps: Inspiration has clearly been taken from Super Smash Bros. but what other games have inspired Fright Fight?
Pavel Shtangeev (PS): Devil May Cry series: Additional inspiration for [the] battle mechanics, Diablo series [for the] RPG elements, Pokemon series for some gameplay elements and RPG mechanics, Awesomenauts [for some of the] gameplay elements, world and level design, art style. A lot of other games have minor influence on the game: Marvel vs. Capcom, DOTA, Quake III, etc. The list can go on forever.

148Apps: Has anything non-gaming related inspired it? Such as in terms of the choices of characters available?
PS: A lot of classic horror novels and movies influenced our decisions for worlds to include and characters to add. Still, we added twists to most of them. For example the vampire character is a combination of Carmilla from a classic novel of the same name and a mad variant of Luigi Galvani.

148Apps: How long has Fright Fight taken to develop?
PS: Right now, it's been 9 months in development.

148Apps: What challenges have you faced with making Fright Fight cross-platform?
PS: Unity3D makes things much easier, but certain problems still occur. These problems are mostly related to different form-factors of devices. NVIDIA SHIELD uses hard buttons instead of gestures so we put some tweaks here and there and remade all menus to fit both control schemes. OUYA uses bigger displays and this requires more advanced camera behavior, etc.

148Apps: The trailer suggests there will be RPG elements to Fright Fight. Can you elaborate on these?
PS: The game introduces a lot of classic RPG elements to the fighting formula: stats, skills, perks, etc. Right now, all characters already possess a full set of stats that can be upgraded through the course of the game. Moreover, each character is packed with an individual skill tree that allows customization of his attacks and play style. We have plans to introduce even more RPG elements by adding gear with different skins, items, and accessories and create pets that can aid characters in battle.

Thanks to Pavel for taking the time to answer our questions.

With the game already offering 3 different arenas, 4 different characters, and a fairly strong gesture-based control scheme, Fright Fight is shaping up nicely. Hopefully, by meeting its Kickstarter goal, the game will soon enjoy bot AI, and if the goal is beaten, new characters and arenas. For now, why not check out the teaser trailer and consider supporting the campaign?

Soul Gambler Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lucy Ingram on October 17th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar ::
Funded by a successful Kickstarter, the revamped Soul Gambler tells the legend of Faust through a glorious interactive graphic novel.
Read The Full Review »

Lords of Discord Launches its Kickstarter Campaign for a Turned-Based Strategy Game of Humans vs Demons

Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 9th, 2013

Lords of Discord is a new turn-based strategy game that just began its Kickstarter campaign. It takes place in a fantasy world where Humans and Demons battle it out. There are also the familiar orcs, giant spiders, and other nefarious creatures.

Players can play as humans or demons in two campaigns that feature 12 missions each. There is also a character development system for each race with around 30 units each. Get a glimpse of battle in the trailer below!

Kickstarting Captain Casual: An Epic Sci-Fi Adventure Comedy

Posted by Jennifer Allen on October 3rd, 2013

One of the consistently most positive things about the rise of the App Store is the ability for one-person developers to get somewhere and release their own titles, under their own steam and hard work. Sacrifices might need to be made but it's encouraging to see so many creative spirits work so hard at achieving their dreams.

One such person is John Stricker, developer of Captain Casual, a title that he's declared to be an 'epic science fiction action adventure comedy'. Its Kickstarter campaign has just launched so we had a word with John about how the project came to be.

Captain Casual's developer, John Stricker.

148apps: How did the idea for Captain Casual come about?
John Stricker (JS): I was doing some pretty intensive work as a software consultant, and at the end of the day it would be difficult to take my mind off of the projects I was working on and get some sleep. I found that imagining stories helped me relax as I was trying to sleep. Maybe this was part of me trying to take my own mind off work, but I liked to create characters that were very relaxed, take-it-easy kinds of people and then imagine them being put into situations where they had to play the role of a hero. Captain Casual started with the idea of putting a laid-back person into the role of a starship captain, so instead of someone like Patrick Stewart playing the role of the captain it was someone more like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski.

148apps: Why the name Captain Casual?
JS: Because it's awesome! I mean, why has no one created a game character named this yet? It's also fun to take the word "Casual" and use it for a character name in a mobile game since in the gaming community there's a stereotype of mobile games being too "casual" for "serious" gamers.


148apps: Have any other games or other forms of media influence your idea?
JS: A lot of the backstory for Captain Casual takes cues from Iain M. Bank's fantastic Culture novels, and the comic tone of the game can't help but be influenced by Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books (which I have read countless times). In terms of gaming influences, Bioware's RPGs (e.g. the Baldur's Gate Series, Knights of the Old Republic) have probably influenced me more than any other games. They do such a great job of storytelling, dialog, and gameplay, and while Captain Casual isn't an RPG, I hope to convey something of the same sense of being part of an epic adventure while playing the game. And, of course, Star Trek in all its incarnations is a big influence.


148apps: How big a game will Captain Casual be?
JS: It's going to be bigger than The Beatles! We're talking blockbuster, here. You're probably looking for more of an answer about the game's length though. In terms of game length, Captain Casual is designed to be a relatively short game, with a full playthrough lasting a couple of hours. The main reason for this is that the story in the game unfolds more like a movie where there is a minimum of repetitive action. Every mission is going to have the player doing something that they haven't done before. To add challenge and extend the life of the game, there will also be a hardcore mode where if a player fails a level they have to start the game from the beginning.

148apps: Are there any plans for in-app purchases or will Captain Casual be a one-off payment kind of game?
JS: There are no plans for in-app purchases as I feel that would ruin the tone of the game. Its hard to keep a sense of atmosphere and engagement when you're also periodically asking the player for more money. Also, I don't want the game to be a different experience for different players depending upon how much money they put into the game.


148apps: How hard has it been to juggle your work life and this project?
JS: Since April of this year I've been working full time on Captain Casual. I am fortunate enough to have a time-limited period (my wife and I have agreed on a one-year limit) to do this, but this is why I really need the extra support from Kickstarter as I have no income at this point. I've taken my hobby and made it my work, so in some ways now I feel like I'm working all of the time. Still, it feels great to be able to put so much effort into something I love. Hopefully the Kickstarter will go well and I'll be able to continue working on Captain Casual full time!


Captain Casual's Kickstarter has just under a month to go, with John asking for a fairly low $5,000 to complete the game. With only a $5 pledge needed in order to have some input in terms of what ship models and color schemes to use, as well as a free copy of the game upon release, that's a pretty tempting offer if you ask me. Higher pledges offer more benefits, too, with t-shirts, beta invites, and even custom digital images up for grabs.

The campaign is live now, so do consider contributing. We'll be sure to keep an eye on Captain Casual's progress.

Dark Fantasy Football - Michael Mendheim on Mutant Football League and Kickstarter Concerns

Posted by Rob Rich on October 1st, 2013

For at least the past fifteen years I’ve been bellyaching about the lack of a follow-up to Mutant League Football. The ridiculous (and ridiculously violent) Genesis classic was the perfect football game for someone like myself who enjoys video games but could care less about the NFL. And here we are, twenty years later and it looks like that decade-old dream might come true.

Series creator Michael Mendheim recently began a Kickstarter project to try and fund the spiritual successor to MLF, titled Mutant Football League, and it looks phenomenal. However, the project still needs a fair bit of help. Mr. Mendheim was gracious enough to talk to us about the game, the project, and the future of Mutant Football League.

148Apps: After 20 years it’s great to finally see a successor for Mutant League is in the works. Did the success of other similar Kickstarter projects help to influence your decision to start a fund for Mutant Football League, or was it more of an idea whose time had come sort of thing?
Michael Mendheim (MM): Fans have urged me to do this for some time now and it’s also the 20th Anniversary of the original Mutant League Football, so we felt like the timing might be right. We chose Kickstarter because it seemed like it would be our best shot to get the game funded. We launched a couple weeks ago but right now it looks very difficult for us to succeed. So if anyone out there reading this is a fan of the original game, or just wants to play a really fun and violent game of Football where NFL Players are replaced with wise-cracking mutants and monster all-stars, please back us today.

148Apps: Any chance you’d be able to confirm or deny various teams and races that will be making it into the final build?
MM: Kickstarter backers will actually be helping choose what types of mutants and monsters we have in the game. We know we want to have some kind of undead, heavy metal type of skeleton players. We’ll also have a variety of Monster characters and Humanoid Mutants – think Road Warrior-esque type humans. We also want to include Battle Robots for more of the technology driven races. These will be big bruising robots that are good at football and even better at obliterating the opposition.

We’re also introducing a new character called, Enforcers. Generally, mutants are big, mean, ugly SOB's... so what do you do to keep them in line? You get bigger, meaner, even uglier brutes to monster the bejeesus out of them. And that's exactly what Enforcers are; They don't catch, they don't throw, they really have no talent to speak of... they just go after the opposing team’s stars like a wrecking ball. Eventually these creatures are subdued and taken to the penalty box where they are uhm…eliminated. Each team will be allowed to have up to 3 or 4 different race types on their rosters. It’s too early to talk about teams names yet but we know we’re going to have some fun parodying real team names (example: Pittsburgh Steelers = Blitzburgh Stealers).

148Apps: Kill the ref plays are still going to be in there, right?
MM: Of course, with a few new twists that I’m not going to mention or else I’m going to have to kill you, too.

148Apps: You’ve recently teamed-up with Run Games Development Studio to source their engine for Football Heroes. Aside from the changes that have already been mentioned - making the gameplay more realistic, less casual, and super fun - have there been any other significant tweaks? I really hope you decide to keep the RPG elements.
MM: Run Games provided the game to me, and I spent a lot of time playing and I loved it. I thought it was the perfect stepping stone to create a Mutant League-style game. It’s very easy to play and delivers a lot of fun, but also has layers of depth because of the RPG system that the Run Games integrated into it. We absolutely will be keeping the RPG Elements in the design. We can put these to good use and it will give the game layers of depth for those who want it. More casual gamers can just ignore it and the game will take care of itself underneath the hood. The art direction will look completely different than Football Heroes; Mutant Football League will have a much grittier art style.

By working with Run Games and using their tech as our starting point we will substantially reduce our development risk. Instead of building everything from scratch we can build on top of an existing game, which is already fun and has all the core elements already in place (Dynamic Camera, User Interface, smooth and intuitive controls, consistent frame rates, Online play, AI, Power-ups, RPG Elements, ratings and stats, Audio, Physics and Collisions, etc.).

AppSeed Takes Your Drawn Out Designs and Creates a Functioning Prototype

Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 30th, 2013

AppSeed provides users with the ability to turn their sketches into functioning prototypes. It uses a function called Computer Vision that helps speed up the process of loading a working design. It's currently trying to get Kickstarted with the goal of $30,000. It's nearly halfway there with only 9 days to go (as of this writing), so potential users should check it out if they have any designs laying around.

EverDock is a New Aluminum Docking Station for Your iOS Device, Blasts Past its Kickstarter Goal

Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 30th, 2013

EverDock is a new docking station for your iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4, iPad, and iPad Mini. It's currently in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign but has already been kicked far beyond its goal of $50,000. Sitting currently at $228,445 with 17 days to go (as of this writing), the docking station has clearly reached the hearts (pocketbooks) of backers with its aluminum design and single or dual dock option. Check it out!

Alteil: Horizons Brings Over 2,000 Pieces of Card Art in This Upcoming Card Game

Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 27th, 2013

There is a game that's been in the making for around 10 years now that's finally coming to the App Store. Alteil: Horizons is a card game that takes strategy elements inspired by tactical RPGs. It features over 2,000 pieces of card art from guys who have worked on The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy X. Make sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign for more information and images.

Mipwr Launches Kickstarter Campaign for its Hand-Operated Charger, Battery Pack, and Protective Case

Posted by Andrew Stevens on September 27th, 2013

Mipwr has launched its Kickstarter campaign for its hand-operated charger, backup battery, and protective case for the iPhone 5 and 5S. It's a great idea for anyone who needs to find alternate power for their iPhone. There are 22 days left in the Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $78,000, so make sure to check it out if this is something of interest to you!