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Quick Preview: Supernauts, a Minecraft/Clash of Clans Mashup and the Next Big Thing

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 29th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: NEARLY SUPER BY NATURE :: Read Review »

What is it with the water in Finland? Do they pipe in creativity-enhancing drugs along with the fluoride? From the same country that brought us Angry Birds and Clash of Clans comes Supernauts.

Supernauts is an interesting mashup of games, a cross between a building game like Minecraft and an simulation game like Clash of Clans. Supernauts will try to be the next big worldwide obsession when it's released later this year.

Supernauts has three main activities in the game: build resources (blocks to build with), custom build the home space (anything can be made out of blocks), and solve puzzles.

Building resources involves using machines of various kinds to create blocks and refine those blocks into other blocks. Think taking logs and making wood, or roofing blocks. Each block has a relative value in the game and can be sold in a market, or used to custom build within the players space.

Each time a block is placed, status points are awarded that unlock other items in the game and allow more complex things to be built. They also expand the playing field to multiple locations.

The casual goal of Supernauts is to save the world by going on missions to rescue people trapped on Earth when it was flooded. This is done through a series of 50 missions that each require using the core building techniques in the game to harvest blocks, build structures, and get citizens to an escape boat.

There's something about the very casual level of the block building that has me coming back over and over again to build, tear down, re-build, all just have fun. Supernauts has the no-stress gameplay that has made so many free to play games popular, but it also has the fun--something that is missing is so many games these days. So many free to play games I just feel obligated to come back and harvest, plant, rebuild my walls, etc.

Supernauts also has a few social features planned, features I was not able to test, like chatting with other players, sharing resources, and more.

Take a look around Supernauts in the video below. I show off the world I created along with some of the other features of the game.

Supernauts is not without its problems in the current beta version. I saw occasional lock ups and some long stretches where there was nothing to do but create blocks and wait. A few bug fixes and some level adjustment, though, and it should be good. That's what beta testing is for, after all.

In my 30+ hours playing this devilishly addictive game, I'm very impressed. The block building feature adds a new level on top of a tired game mechanic, freshening everything up. I think it might just be the next big thing. It's creative, compelling, and social.

Supernauts is available right now in New Zealand and a few other countries for testing purposes. It should be available worldwide very soon.

Polar Bear Farms Putting All Apps on Sale, Proceeds to Benefit Earthquake Relief

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on February 22nd, 2012

A year ago today a massive earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, leaving 185 dead and the lives of thousands in shambles. The country's second-largest city was horrifically damaged, and to this day aftershocks and unstable buildings have caused large sections of the city to be rendered completely uninhabitable and unsafe. It is a major tragedy, and one which has sadly been too quickly forgotten by the international community.

But out of this darkness comes a light, as at least one publisher is taking action to support those affected by the earthquake. Polar Bear Farm founder Layton Duncan has penned a heartfelt letter on the company blog stating that all Polar Bear Farm apps are going on sale for today only, with 100 percent of the proceeds devoted to earthquake relief. The money will be funneled into a charitable trust with the sole purpose of restoring and rebuilding downtown Christchurch so that the city's inhabitants can have their city back.

For those unfamiliar with Polar Bear Farms, they make a variety of neat utilitarian apps like Showtime, Face Match, Convert, and many more. For a full list of the company's apps just pop them up in iTunes and have a look.

If you're looking to pick up a few new apps this week and also want to do a little social good then this is your chance. Also, please spread the word to friends and loved ones so we can help the people of New Zealand and show them that even a year later they're still on our minds. I mean, the apps are already on sale AND all the money is going to charity, what more reason can you possibly need to contribute?

New Zealand App Developers Join Together to Support Earthquake Victims #appappeal

Posted by Jeff Scott on February 26th, 2011

In case you haven't heard due to all of the other news, a devastating earthquake hit Christchurch in New Zealand earlier this week. While the full toll of the quake will not be known for some time, it isn't going to be good news. To help the victims and with the relief effort, developers have joined together to donate all of their proceeds for the week to the New Zealand Red Cross. If you are looking to pick up a few new apps, now would be a doubly great time to do so as the proceeds will go for a great cause.

Head on over now to the Christchurch Quake Appapeal and grab a new app or three, for a good cause.