Posts Tagged ngmoco

Picture 5With the announcement last week that Apple would allow In-App Purchasing (IAP) for free apps, we wondered what will really change in the App Store. Obviously right now this is a theoretical exercise as, so far, very little has changed. We’ve seen a couple apps that were previously paid switch to free, and at least one high profile app released as free with IAP.

We talked to a few users and a few developers to get their take on what this could mean for the future of the iPhone App Store.

This new app type, free but with In-App Purchasing has quickly been nicknamed free+. There are some really great things about it, and some really bad things about it. Let’s break this down into what’s good and what’s bad for developers and consumers.

Good for Developers

There are lots of really good things to like about this decision for developers and they are almost uniformly happy with the decision. We asked Kyu Lee of Gamevil for his thoughts, “In-app purchasing for free apps is a huge step for Apple, and it really shows how much they are willing to adjust to the developers/publishers needs. Apple was first to adopt in-app purchases, and now first to adopt in-app purchases for free games. We strongly believe the next steps would be introducing microtransactions that are lower than 99c or the ability to use an intermediate currency within the game. We believe that Apple should provide as many options available to the developer/publisher as possible as long as it enhances the customer’s experience, and we’re very excited about what the tracks they’ve been following so far.”

For some types of apps it makes the developers job a lot easier and potentially more profitable. Then there’s the added bonus of making piracy much harder with apps that include in-app purchasing.

More Income Options

With in-app purchasing there are many more income possibilities for developers. Not only can they sell expansions to their app from within the app, but they can also sell subscriptions, upgrades, and virtual goods (think MMO apps). Doing in-app purchasing allows for the impulse buy. For example, the recently detailed Eliminate from ngmoco:) will feature a certain amount of time you can play per day while advancing your stats. If you are really getting into the game and you run out of time you are pretty likely to drop a buck and buy more time. Maybe just once, maybe a few times. Depends on how compelling the app is. Think of this as the candy racks at the grocery store checkout. You are standing there looking at it, a certain number of people will decide to buy.

In addition to more options, income opportunity is spread out for a much longer time. The way it is now most apps that make it to the top 100 do so quickly, then fall off quickly. This little spike represents a very high percentage of their sales. Sales after that are usually tied to an upgrade, press, or other such promotion. IAP allows for longer term income opportunities for developers as they can add content to the app and charge for it over a longer period of time. In addition, you can continue to get money from the dedicated users more than just once like most current apps.

Continue reading Thoughts on In-App-Purchasing For Free Apps »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store.

Apple now allows in-app purchases in free apps

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard that Apple is now allowing in-app purchases in free apps. Yes, this creates many possibilities including the extinction of lite versions and new app store charts, but I think that none of these possibilities will come to fruition, for one simple reason: DLC simply won’t be widely implemented. One reason, and the reason I think developers have been loathe to implement DLC so far, is the public perception of DLC. The average app consumer is wary – perhaps rightfully so – of DLC, and automatically assumes DLC is there to rip off the customer. I think developers will even be aware of this when making free apps with DLC, as the fear of being nickeled and dimed could lead poor public perception, starting with bad iTunes reviews, which will be open to anyone who clicks the “Get App” button. In addition, I think consumers simply purchase less through in-app purchasing. Once you already have an app, that app can become boring quickly in this ADD app store, so instead of purchasing more content for that app, you are likely to impulsively buy a completely different and new one.

Rock Band released

Last night, EA mobile’s Rock Band was released onto the App Store. Sure, it’s got that EA polish, but is it really worth 10 times more than Tap Tap Revenge 3, its $.99 competitor. Early indication may be no. While Rock Band features four different instruments, they are all similarly tap-based. The gameplay is fairly unchallenging but fun, and the background graphics are very repetitive and there are no special backgrounds for songs as in TTR3. In addition, the game comes with an anemic set list of only 20 songs, compared to over 100 free songs for TTR3. DLC packs for Rock Band are scarce so far and come packaged as two songs for $.99, the same as TTR3. I think the Rock Band game itself is better than TTR3, just not ten times better.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-19 :: Category: Games

Free ngmoco:) games!

Largely as a promotion for their Plus+ network, ngmoco:) has made three of their older games free. These are the full versions of the games, now including the excellend Plus+, and they’re all worth checking out:

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-17 :: Category: Games

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-07 :: Category: Games

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-01 :: Category: Games

This week’s upcoming app that looks freakin’ sweet:

There are a few good turn based strategy games on the iPhone, but the Battle for Wesnoth could just blow them all away. Here are a few features:

Over 200 unit types in six major factions, all with distinctive abilities, weapons and spells
Experienced units gain powerful new abilities as they advance.
Bring your battle-hardened troops with you as you fight through campaigns
Hundreds of campaign scenarios available, easily download user-made content
Day/night cycles, fog of war, racial traits
Cross-platform multiplayer


The Battle for Wesnoth has not been submitted, but you can download a free PC/Mac/Linux demo here.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse:

Ngmoco:) has recently been tweeting about, and advertising in their games, Epic Pet Wars, another dumb code-sharing text-based MMO. I thought you had high standards ngmoco:)…

App of the Week

Shrek Kart

Last week, I disappointedly reviewed Cocoto Kart Online, which simply wasn’t up to snuff. Happily, Gameloft’s Shrek Kart has provided a great karting experience. While the controls could still use some additional tuning, they aren’t nearly as awful as those found in Cocoto. Though there is no online multiplayer, the single player mode has enough content. The graphics are unbelievably crisp, the track design is good, and the Shrek license is actually used pretty well. At $4.99, it’s the best Mario Kart-esque game on the App Store.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-10-12 :: Category: Games

Ngmoco will take advantage of Apple’s reversal in decision on allowing DLC in free apps, and they will probably be among the first to do so.

First, In conjunction with Apple’s announcement, Ngmoco announced that they will be making their upcoming FPS Eliminate free. The main draw of Eliminate is the thorough online component, with 4-player death match over Wifi or 3G. In the game, you have a certain amount of “energy.” While you are energized, playing online earns you credits, which improve your online ranking and can be used to buy upgrades and armor. However, your energy runs out after a few online matches, and while you can still play online while de-energized, you won’t earn credits. You can simply wait a certain amount of time (this has not been announced yet, but think somewhere from 1-2 hours), after which your energy will be refilled, or if you’re really cutthroat, you can purchase more energy using DLC. This is the only as yet confirmed use of DLC in the game; upgrades and armor will still be bought exclusively using game credits, though extra maps may be available for purchase.

Overall, this looks to be a brilliant move on ngmoco:)’s part. I would be shocked if the game does not quickly climb the App Store charts and reach #1 on the top free games list. This popularity will ensure a huge online community, and there will likely rarely be a waiting time for a match. The downside, of course, is the stress on ngmoco:)’s servers, but with their infrastructure, I imagine they’ll be able to handle it. Within the online community, there will almost certainly be an ultra-competitive subsection who will frequently purchase more energy, and this is how ngmoco:) plans to make money.

For more information on Eliminate, see our preview. The game was submitted to Apple about a week ago, and this new development will not affect its release.

In addition, ngmoco has just released a free version of the incredible Rolando 2. This free version includes chapter 1 of the saga, and essentially serves as a lite version of the game with the full version built in. After finishing chapter 1, you can purchase additional chapters for $.99, with the exception of the last two chapters, which come bundled together for $1.99. Strangely, the total price of all the DLC is $4.98, making it cheaper than the standalone version of Rolando 2 which retails at $5.99. With Apple’s former restrictions lifted, these “hybrid” lite versions could become commonplace.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-10-15 :: Category: Games :: Action

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-02 :: Category: Games

We got invited, by ngmoco:) in to their San Francisco offices to take a look at the nearly final versions of Eliminate and Touch Pets: Dogs. While we were there we got to talk to CEO Neil Young a little bit about the Plus+ Network progress, what it takes to host a multiplayer game, and a little bit about what ngmoco:) has in the pipes for the rest of 2009.

Plus+ Network, ngmoco:)’s entry into the now very crowded social gaming networks for the iPhone field has had a rather slow start. Except for signing one high profile third party company, Freeverse, and the ngmoco:) titles, there are only 3 third party games that are part of Plus+. Well, that’s about to change. Neil Young commented that there will be over 50 Plus+ enabled games by end of year. They’ve been getting a great response from developers wanting to integrate with the system or switch from other networks to Plus+.

It’s been a quiet summer for ngmoco:) releases. Except for the amazing release Rolando 2, we haven’t heard much from them. That too will change. They have a total of 6-7 games that will be out by the end of the year. This includes Eliminate and Touch Pets: Dogs and 4-5 others we don’t know about yet. I don’t expect sequels to be part of that though and am hoping for some new and exciting games.
Continue reading Upcoming From ngmoco:), Eliminate and Touch Pets: Dogs »

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store

App Alluvion

This week’s only news story also has the sign of the apocalypse and the apps of the week built in – handy, eh? Over a 24 hour period, 453 new games were released! What happened Apple, did someone finally wake up? This is a great disservice to developers, as it’s exceedingly hard for an app to get noticed when so many other good games are released on the same day. Sure, developers can set release dates, but if they do, their app is placed on the latest releases section in iTunes according to approval date not publication date, therefore burying it beneath the first page and limiting valuable exposure. Please fix this, Apple! Anyway, enough ranting, here are some of the most notable releases this week. We’ll try to have reviews for as many as we can in due time, but until then, here’s a quick rundown:

Hybrid: Eternal Whisper

Gamevil’s action-RPG follow-up to Zenonia certainly has great aesthetics and a nice online component, but for me so far, the story has been too intrusive and the gameplay mediocre. At $5.99, you may want to wait for our review. Upon playing more, the gameplay has proven more fun and the story’s role is minimized. Recommended!

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Unify

Zach Gage’s first iPhone game is a very stylish Tetris variant with OpenFeint integration. Instead of blocks falling from from the top, the fall into the middle from both the left and the right, where you have to manipulate them using multi-touch controls. Match four or more of the same color to clear blocks. The game starts out slow with only black and white, but quickly becomes challenging with the addition of more colors and faster scrolling. From my time with the game, I can say it’s one of the more fun puzzle games on the App Store.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Aera

This beautiful flight sim had our editor Chris in a frenzy before its release. From initial impressions, it seems the game delivers on the hype, but if you don’t want to shell out the $2.99 now, Chris will have a review up very soon.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Aves
Aves contains some truly magnificent animations and entrancing binaural audio, but with its simplistic gameplay, it plays more like a tech demo. Still, if you want to see some really cool technology, it’s worth the $.99 price of admission, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Ghost LLC’s future projects.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Above and Beyond Air Combat

Young developer Josh Rosen’s followup to SciFly is a totally different beast. It’s still an arcade plane flying game, but it shines with OpenFeint integration, a huge level of customization, open-world gameplay, and shiny graphics. In any normal week, this would easily earn the app of the week award.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Robocalypse – Mobile Mayhem

Robocalypse is a humorous and strong entry into the RTS genre, which is relatively weak on the App Store. Featuring a lengthy campaign and full online multiplayer, Robocalypse is a safe bet for RTS fans.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Alley Gator

Alley Gator is Glu’s entry into the quick $.99 games category with accelerometer-based gameplay.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-19 :: Category: Games :: Family

Champion Archer

From the guys who made Sparta comes a port of an addictive online flash game.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Against the Fire!

Meridian’s followup to their smash hit Alive 4 Ever is a similar survival shooter but with theme of a fireman putting out water monsters.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Dungeon Hunter (pulled from the App Store)

Otherwise known as Gameloft’s Diablo clone, Dungeon Hunter was said to be very impressive, but was unfortunately pulled due to a bug in the game. The game should be available for download again soon.

Castle Warriors

Castle Warriors is another nice addition to the RTS genre on the App Store. The gameplay is similar to Galcon and the graphics are very nice overall.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Super Shock Football

After App Store giants Gameloft and EA turned out full football sims, you would expect Chillingo, publisher extraordinaire to follow up with one of their own, right? Instead, developer Steamroller studios has produced a light-hearted throw back to vintage vibrating football games that is ultimately more suited to the iPhone than either Madden or NFL 2010.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Underground

This Chillingo “shmup” is very stylish but adds little to the genre gameplay-wise.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-16 :: Category: Games

Scarecrow

Scarecrow is Ezone’s take on Doodle Jump and also the latest 3rd party game to incorporate ngmoco’s plus+ network.

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-19 :: Category: Games

Apps of the Week

iBlast Moki

iBlast Moki is the best puzzle game on the iPhone, period. This physics-based puzzle game contains challenging gameplay. The goal is to, using bombs and eventually other elements like balloons, get all of the mokis to the exit of the level. It sounds simple, but some of the levels are head-scratchingly devious. There is almost unlimited replay value with over 70 levels, Plus+ integration, and a full-featured level editor/sharer.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-18 :: Category: Games

Meteor Blitz

By the same token, Meteor Blitz is the best top-down space shooter for the iPhone, surpassing even the famed Isotope. The dual-stick control scheme is incredibly fast and responsive, the graphics are simply stunning, and the gameplay is livened up by the inclusion of RPG elements and many different weapons. The game also features superlative pause and auto-save functions.

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-15 :: Category: Games

Wow, so many great games, and I’m sure I’m missing a few. Of course, I won’t expect any good game releases for the next month couple with reports of month-long approval times.

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store

GTA: Chinatown Wars coming to the iPhone

Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don’t think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.

New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions

Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an “energy pack” using real money. So what’s the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn’t abuse this, nothing. Here’s the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won’t win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn’t that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.

C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple

After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it’s worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it’s apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you’re SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-05 :: Category: Games

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

Smule’s “I Am T-Pain” is the number one paid app in the entire app store. Enough said.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-04 :: Category: Music

Contest!
This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we’re holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that’s right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.

Apps of the Week

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-02 :: Category: Games

Samurai: Way of the Warrior

Samurai is one of the coolest games I’ve played on the iPhone. It’s a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic – you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or “dojo” mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it’s too easy – there’s an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.


$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-01 :: Category: Games

That’s it for this week, tune back in next week for the winner of the contest and some more MMAHQ. Have a great week!

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store.

Retro Invasion

Retro games are appearing in the App Store in droves! Pac-Man Remix, Q*Bert Deluxe, and of course, the incredible Space Invaders Infinity Gene. All of these are updated in some way from the classic games. Q*Bert has updated graphics, Pac-Man Remix has updated graphics (though they are still not too hot on the iPhone) along with power-ups that sometimes feel gimmicky, and Space Invaders is a complete re-imagining of the classic game. Of these, the only game that really captivates me is SIIG. In my opinion, retro games are retro for a reason – frankly, they’re boring and outdated. However, the concepts are still good, and if they’re updated for modern gamers, they can turn out like SIIG. To go with these retro games, there are plenty more on the way: Snood, a classic match-3 shooting game, TAITO’s Bust-a-Move, and most importantly, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Pac-Man CE, for XBLA, is, along with SIIG, one of the best re-imaginings of a retro game I have ever played and, if the controls are changed from Remix, should translate fantastically for the iPhone.

Pac-Man CE, a great re-imagining of the classic game

Pac-Man CE, a great re-imagining of the classic game

Gameloft coming on strong (maybe)

Along with NFL 2010, Gameloft has an upcoming FPS, Sandstorm, and a GTA knockoff, Gang$tar in the works. These games are particularly of note because it seems as if Gameloft is attempting to directly compete with other developers. NFL 2010 was notably released before EA’s upcoming Madden 2010, and at a lower expected price point – $7.99 compared to $9.99. Sandstorm seems to be in line for direct competition with ngmoco’s upcoming FPS (as yet unnamed). Gang$tar looks to have a huge advantage on current App Store GTA-a-likes with a fully roam-able 3D world. If I was a betting man (ok, I am a betting man), though, I would count on the other two games losing out. If there’s two things Gameloft games have in common, with the notable exception of Castle of Magic, it’s lackluster, on-screen controls, and uninspired gameplay. Gameloft seems to put all of the genre “requirements” in their games, without doing anything truly unique to make the game their own. They seem stubborn about their controls as well, always opting for mediocre on-screen d-pads or joysticks, rather than attempting any innovation for the iPhone. NFL 2010 is a solid football game with licensing, and I’m sure Sandstorm will be a decent FPS. However, neither if these titles, probably, will be great.

Get out of my games, stupid pygmy

Get out of my games, stupid pygmy

Games requiring 3.0 software

I wanted to briefly address a common complaint springing up various places: games requiring 3.0 software or higher. Developers are excited to utilize 3.0 features and making their apps 2.2.1 compatible takes a lot of time, resources, and extra testing. Look, I know that the update is $10 for iPod touchers (whoops, that sounds weird), but that’s really not a lot for a major software upgrade, and if these stubborn users don’t update soon, they’re going to find themselves left out in the cold for some of the App Store’s best apps and games.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

First Doodle Jump, now Harbor Master; the Pocket God pygmies are invading other games! It was bad enough that I had to look at those stupid pygmies while playing Pocket God, thinking I would eventually like it. But no, that wasn’t enough, now they have to ruin games that I actually play! I really want to kill a pygmy, and in a way so that they can’t be magically dropped from the sky a few seconds later.

Apps of the Week

Gomi

Gomi, an app of the week!

Gomi, an app of the week!

Last week, I previewed Kevin Calderone’s new game Gomi, mentioning the staggering amount of content. Now, the app is out, and not only is it huge, but all that content is actually worth playing! In Gomi, you clean up the world by eating pollution and the like while spitting (?) out trees and flowers. You have to eat smaller things to build your appetite, eventually building up to shopping malls and the like. The regular levels are great, the boss battles are challenging and clever, and the game is seemingly endless with 140+ levels, eight mini games, achievements, and online scoreboards. At the low price of $1.99, Gomi is a unique game and a highly recommended bargain. Expect a full review soon (sorry, I’m on vacation).

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-06 :: Category: Games

BargainBin

BargainBin is an app that allows you track other apps; creating wish lists with target prices and viewing the newest apps, updates, and price drops. BargainBin recently was updated with two major improvements: a nice UI update and a killer feature: push notifications. Now, whenever an app you’re tracking reaches your desired price, you’ll instantly receive a push notification without ever having to open the app. Finding the App Store’s best deals has never been easier!

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-26 :: Category: Productivity

Well, that’s it for this week, and I’m still loving writing this column! Apparently, I messed up the links for the previous articles, so commenting was impossible. This has been fixed, so hopefully this week my begging for feedback/comments will succeed!

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store.

Minigore Released into the Wild

Minigore = Mini content

Minigore = Mini content

Minigore, a dual-stick survival shooter, has finally been released onto the App Store after weeks of intense hype and anticipation. So what was all the hype about? Honestly, I don’t know. Compared with its survival shooter kin, iDracula (App Info), Minigore is as shallow as a puddle. It has one map, two weapons, four enemy types, and two health points. It definitely has a unique art style going for it, but beyond that, not too much. There seems to be some sort of story, and while it is never even touched on, there will apparently be Pocket God-style episodic updates. I’m sorry, but I don’t like this approach unless it’s done with a complete game. Minigore is clearly not a complete game, and I’m tired of getting incomplete games with promises of updates that aren’t always fulfilled. There seems to be a bit of a logjam cycle going on with apps nowadays – developers won’t add to their apps unless they do well in the App Store, but consumers don’t want to pay for an incomplete app. But hey, it worked for Pocket God (App Info); it went from being a boring, mindless, stupid time waster to a… boring, mindless, stupid time waster. But seriously, Minigore is not a bad game, just an average one that without a bevy of substantial updates is undeserving of the immense hype that preceding it.
FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-30 :: Category: Games

Freeverse joins ngmoco’s Plus+ network

As I touched on last week, there is an emerging social game network competition on the App Store. And, as I loosely predicted (thank you, thank you), ngmoco’s Plus+ network has taken the lead. Freeverse, who may not be my favorite developer but is certainly among the most popular and has a large volume of games, has announced that they will be implementing the Plus+ network in their upcoming action space trader Warpgate, their incredibly popular Flick Fishing (App Info), and presumably more upcoming games. Having two of the premiere App Store developers certainly bolsters Plus+, and could induce a chain reaction of developers braking for Plus+. At this point, OpenFeint may be implemented in more games, but that catalog is very scattered, not all of those games are exactly quality controlled, and some apps were clearly not made for OpenFeint (have you ever tried to go into a Pocket God chat room?). I’m definitely putting my money on Plus+ for now.

From the developer of Trace – Gomi submitted

Bovine Dragon has finally submitted their new game, Gomi, to the App Store. Gomi appears to be a platforming game in which you, as a Gomi, replace the pollution in the world with trees and other natural things. The artwork is certainly unique, and the gameplay looks good, but perhaps the most impressive thing about Gomi is the staggering amount of content. Gomi will have over 140 stages, each lasting several minutes, spread across 8 worlds, with a boss battle for each world that unlocks a new ability. There are also 8 unique mini-games, hundreds of achievements, hundreds of playable Gomis, a complete soundtrack of 17 songs, and online scoreboards for everything. Wow, talk about a complete game! The developer estimates that playing through each stage once, without trying to unlock any achievements
or playing any mini-games, will take over 12 hours. The price for a game of this size? Reportedly just $1.99 upon release. This looks to be an incredible value and if the production values and unique gameplay of Trace (App Info) were any indication, Gomi should be an incredible game.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

Locating sex offenders will be rendered pointless when the ENTIRE WORLD IS DESTROYED!

Locating sex offenders will be rendered pointless when the ENTIRE WORLD IS DESTROYED!

Offender Locator (App Info), an app that locates nearby sex offenders, is currently sitting at #4 overall in the App Store. First of all, are people really that paranoid? And second, if you do find an offender in your area, what are you going to do? Move away? Complain to your neighborhood police patrol? Set up barricades? No, you are just going to be more worried than you were before.

App of the week

So normally, I would list more than one app of the week, but this week, there is basically only one app deserving of the honor, only one game I have been playing all week:

Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Undeniably sweet

Undeniably sweet

I have to admit, after seeing SIIG appear on the App Store, I was skeptical. After all, how fun can a remake of Space Invaders be? It might be fun, but for $4.99? I figured they just slapped some neon backgrounds on the old tried and true gameplay. Well, after reading the 148apps review, I decided to buy the game, and, happily, I was utterly, completely, and unequivocally wrong. TAITO brings a shining example of how to remake retro games for the App Store. The graphics are fantastic, the action is frantic and heart-pounding, the music is techno bliss, and the controls are perfect. The evolution concept and implementation is fantastic, with unlockables aplenty. And on top of all of this, there is the ridiculously awesome ability to generate completely original levels based on your iPod music. I really need some good songs for this mode, so if anyone has any suggestions, post away! This isn’t just a great App Store shooter, this is a great shooter period. Probably in my top three iPhone games ever, and at $4.99, if you’ve ever enjoyed a shooter, you owe it to yourself to buy this game.
$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-07-28 :: Category: Games

Wow, they actually let me write a second Monday Morning App HQ. Hopefully everyone is enjoying the column, and feel free to post feedback.

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store.

Removal of EDGE from the App Store

Hey Tim, why don't you actually make something?

Hey Tim, why don't you actually make something?

EDGE, a simply fantastic game, has been removed yet again from the App Store, due to a trademark dispute with Tim Langdell. For those who don’t know, Langdell is a leech who hasn’t made a game in over 15 years, instead making his living by suing any game with “edge” in the name. Good thing there’s the IGDA, or international game developers association, whose mission is to “advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community” (from www.igda.org/about). Oh, wait, Tim Langdell is actually on the board of directors at IGDA! So yes, Langdell has attempted to trademark a commonly used word, and has succeeded largely in part to the fact that developers can’t afford to fight costly legal battles and simply want to reach a settlement. Mobigame, EDGE’s developer, hasn’t given in yet, so kudos to them. Langdell may have bitten off a bit more than he can chew, however, as he is attempting to sue EA over their Mirror’s Edge game. One can only hope that EA will cut Langdell down to size and clear the way for future edges.

Apple considering reorganizing App Store

Eight of the top ten games are $.99

Eight of the top ten games are $.99

In their quarterly report last Tuesday, Apple said, regarding the App Store structure: “We’re always looking for ways to categorize apps differently and we have some ideas. We do it by type of apps and top selling apps, and we realize there is opportunity for further improvement and we are working on that. As for price, it’s up to the developers to choose where to set the price. I would think as the installed base grows, it makes sense to have lower prices but that’s totally up to the developer.”

Part of the problem with the App Store is that top lists are organized by volume rather than revenue. This encourages “bargain bin” pricing, as obviously it is much easier to sell a large volume at a lower price. Since the top lists are organized in such a way that apps that make it there tend to stay there, they are all-important. It is very tough to make a profit selling a game at $.99, so this in turn encourages short development cycles with small budgets. Big IP’s like DOOM will always sell at a higher price, but indy developers with AAA ideas may never see their ideas come to fruition due to over-inflated consumer expectations. If Apple decided to have a list by revenue, this would go a long way to curing the woes of the App Store, but it wouldn’t completely fix it. Besides the top lists, the next best marketing tool for a developer is word of mouth, so regardless of price, it can be difficult for an app to gain traction. Apple’s featuring method is arbitrary at best, and their review system is severely flawed, as only those who either hate or love an app review it, meaning an app’s rating is basically dependent on its ratio of five star reviews to one star reviews. Perhaps both requiring users to “earn a reputation” in order to have their rating count and eliminating the rating prompt after deleting an app could go a long way to solve this. On top of this, however, there is currently no list for top-rated games, and Apple could and should implement this easily with a minimum number of ratings benchmark.

Social gaming network competition

The iPhone now has three notable high score networks: OpenFeint, ngmoco’s Plus+ network, and Chillingo’s recently announced Crystal. Ultimately, one will become the network for the iPhone. This will shape up largely like the Blu-Ray/HDDVD wars of old; consumers will not want to have their favorite games fragmented over three different networks, so war will be waged as developers choose which network to implement. I see Plus+ winning, as OpenFeint is largely about superfluous features over interface and usability (I don’t want to chat with people in the middle of my game) and has no large developer backing it, and Crystal has yet to be started. Earlier is always better, and as third-parties start using Plus+ before Crystal is even in any of Chillingo’s games, Plus+ will get a huge head start. Developers will always want to use whoever is “winning.”

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

This is what happens when Apple features Eviro-Bear for two straight weeks

This is what happens when Apple features Eviro-Bear for two straight weeks

Enviro-Bear 2010 (App Info) has now been featured in some context for two consecutive weeks by Apple. Talk about a platform showcase.

Apps of the week

Because productivity is overrated, I chose two games as the apps of the week:

Star Hogs

After my immense disappointment with Worms, I was comforted by the brilliance that is IUGO’s Star Hogs. Star Hogs doesn’t try to be a Worms clone; instead, it brings many new well-implemented twists to the genre like ship/weapon customization and the unique energy system. The online component is fantastic, though there is a notable lack of online players (yet another reason why everyone needs to buy the game). Star Hogs might not have the visual appeal and charm of Worms, but it does just about everything else right, and therefore earns a spot as an app of the week.

$3.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-06 :: Category: Games

Triazzle

Remember those maddeningly difficult wooden triangle puzzles? Well, that’s what Triazzle for the iPhone is, but in this case, it’s even better than the original. Back in the day, you would have to shell out $15 for one of those bad boy’s, but on the App Store you can buy an unlimited number of Triazzle puzzles for just $2.99. Yep, that’s right: infinite puzzles. This, along with exceptional graphics that “come to life” as you solve a puzzle, a great help system, and soothing music, makes Triazzle an app of the week.

Now even better on the iPhone

Now even better on the iPhone

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-07-17 :: Category: Games

So that’s it, the first Monday Morning App HQ. Hopefully I won’t receive too much hate mail.

ROLANDO 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Rolando 2 manages to surpass even its legendary predecessor with more exciting graphics and an added element of pizzaz that was lacking in the first. $9.99 is a small price to pay for a game of this caliber.

Read The Full Review »

rolandoliveYesterday we reported on a plan by ngmoco:) to remove Rolando from the iTunes App Store once Rolando 2 had been released. Today, I spoke today with Clive Downie, VP of Marketing from ngmoco:) and we’ve got some good news for Rolando fans.

After reading our article and others relating to the proposed plan to pull Rolando from the iTunes App Store and the response from consumers, ngmoco:) have decided to rescind the plan to remove Rolando. Rolondo will remain on the iTunes App Store and Topple, the original, will be coming back as well.

To understand why this all happened and why the plan was hatched in the first place, it’s important to understand the climate that publishers on the iTunes App Store are currently working in.

The App Store is a whole new environment in which to run a software business. Apple has full reigns over what’s allowed and how you can operate. That’s great for Apple, their app store, and their devices. But it’s non-standard in the software world and not so great for publishers. It’s particularly difficult considering that Apple does not publish full guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed and has even been known to change it’s mind without telling anyone.

Then there is the sheer volume of new apps launched every day in the app store. Currently the app store is averaging over 300 new apps in the store every single day. That’s more new titles per day than most platforms see in a year. Just a staggering number.

At this point, the app store is less than a year old and has had over 57,000 apps approved. Some of the standard practices of marketing software just don’t apply to a volatile and chaotic market such as this. Trying new things, finding what works amid the chaos is the key. That’s what ngmoco:) is doing.

For ngmoco:) the question was become how do they best launch a sequel in the iTunes App Store. There’s very little history on how to do that. One method they wanted to test was to remove the prequel to see what impact that would have on the launch of Rolando 2. What happens if you launch an episodic title into the app store without the predecessor there. It was learning they thought was worth doing.

That was the plan, until they started hearing from consumers. Consumers didn’t like the idea of it. It can be a big concern to a user who has purchased a copy protected digital file when they discover they may not be able to download it again if something happens to their copy. Since all that was really purchased was a bunch of bits, if it’s no longer available, it can seem to the consumer like you’ve lost your purchase.

What the consumers said was the they didn’t care about the test, they want their Rolando and Topple to remain safe. That’s what ngmoco:) have decided to do.

So due to the consumer feedback, Rolando will stay in the store and we will see Topple return soon as well. Since Apple provides no way for customers of the apps, people who have already paid for the app, to get it any other way than for the app to be live in the store, this is what’s required.

I think we can call that a lesson learned. But maybe not the lesson they were looking for.

Mr. Downie made it clear that ngmoco:) will continue to test the market, figure out ways to best navigate the turbulent seas of the app store. In addition, they will continue to innovate, as they remain laser focused on developing the best games for the iPhone OS platform.

As a closing thought, Mr. Downie wanted to remind us all that after the dust has settled over this Rolando issue to remember that Rolando 2 is coming out really soon and it looks fantastic. He’s right about that — we got a chance to see it recently in it’s nearly complete form. It’s looking very impressive.

When we asked if the release date was still July 1st, his response was “let’s hope so.”

rolandoripWhen the release date of Rolando 2 was announced, ngmoco:) also indicated that Rolando, the original, was going to be pulled from the app store when the sequel goes live. It’s an odd move, very smart, and yet wrong at the same time.

I recently asked Neil Young, CEO of ngmoco:), why the original Topple was no longer in the App Store, his comment was “We pulled it, trying something.” Short response and at the time I didn’t think much of it. I assumed they were planning on trying some new marketing technique with it. Turns out they were testing a fundamental business idea in preparation for the Rolando 2 release. Something new, something that really may change the way we think of games in the app store. Apps aren’t forever anymore.

According to our App Store database, Rolando was released originally on December 8, 2008. That effectively puts the lifespan of the original Rolando at 7 months. Is that really all the life Rolando has left in it? I doubt it. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be pulled from the app store when Rolando 2 is released.

While Rolando is their product and they have the absolute right to do with it what they choose, pulling it just doesn’t feel right. Something about the spirit seems wrong. They aren’t doing anything odd with the price to rise up the charts and increase the price to ride the higher exposure as many high profile developers have been doing lately. But they are sacrificing a product and it’s customers for increased expose for the next episode. Maybe I’m just being too sentimental, but I want to see the game stick around.

Back to the original test that ngmoco:) did, removing Topple from the app store. I’m not sure that it relates directly, removing Topple, a free app, to see what it does to sales of Topple 2 at $0.99. But there is something obvious to it. By removing Topple, they see if that increases sales of Topple 2, the more recent game.

By removing Rolando when the sequel comes out, they don’t lose any sales to the original, cheaper version. When users search for Rolando, they will get just 1 result, and 1 price. That makes sense as a certain percentage people would probably choose the cheaper one, and it removes any confusion of their marketing message for the new game.

picture-7

What doesn’t make sense is why remove one of the best games on the App Store? Rolando may not have been a runaway commercial success, but it is a great game, very well reviewed, and still has some life in it. You know, what about the long tail? What about all those articles that point to Rolando on the app store. They won’t point to Rolando 2 automatically — you’ll just get the error on the app store that the app is not available.

This decision is also bad for people who have purchased the original Rolando. The app store is a digital delivery system. The only way to get Rolando is to download it from iTunes either on the desktop or on the device. If you don’t have a backup, and you lose it, you’ll never get it back if it’s no longer in the store. In addition, there have been weekly updates for a while from Rolando, building up to the release of Rolando 2. If you haven’t updated in a while, and you wait until July 1, you’ll never see those updates.

And what about the people that try Rolando 2 and want more? They know it’s a sequel, why can’t they get the original. Perhaps the original Rolando levels will be available as in-app purchases in Rolando 2.

It seems as though ngmoco:) is willing to live with a little bit of bad customer experience to try to increase the sales of a new game. Not a great thing, but considering the constraints of the App Store and the very limited ways that developers can operate, it might be the best decision. If nothing else, you have to hand it to them for trying something different and thinking about how to best build a business in the maddening chaos known as the iTunes App Store. It will be interesting to see if other publishers follow suit and do the same. Let’s hope not.

I hope we’ll see Rolando and Topple back in the store, re-released as classic versions maybe, at some point in the future. For now, I think I’ll make sure I have the latest version, do a back-up, and play a little Classic Rolando while I wait for Rolando 2.

Related Apps

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-12-18 :: Category: Games

$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-03-12 :: Category: Games

ngmoco:) announced yesterday it’s plus+ network — a community gaming platform similar in function to the XBox Live network or the Playstation Network, but for the iPhone.

The plus+ network lets you create an identity that you will eventually be able to use across all ngmoco:) games and games from other developers that integrate with the system. This identity lets you track your achievements, compare to friends, send and receive challenges, etc. Much like XBL or PSN, you are given a score across all games that is derived from achievements in those games.

The challenges system takes advantage of the push notification services of the new iPhone OS 3.0 which sends the notice of a new challenge directly to the phone.

Here’s a quick look at what it looks like in the just updated Star Defense, version 1.2 for iPhone OS 3.0.

plusplus2

When you first launch the new Star Defense, you’ll see a new logo in the upper right, the plus+ logo. Click the logo and you will be prompted to login or join the network. If you click join it will walk you through the usual steps to create an account — gamer tag, password, email, etc.

plusplus4

From there you can add friends, check your achievements in the games registered, read news on all of the games, etc.

More functionality will come once you add a few friends and start sending challenges back and forth.

So far, the plus+ network looks promising. I can’t wait to see more games added. Feel free to add me as a friend, let’s see how this thing works. I’m jeff148apps on the plus+ network.

On the second night of it’s 2009 World Wide Developer Conference, Apple announced the winners of the this years Apple Design Awards. The winners are split amongst the Mac and iPhone applications submitted by their developers for the competition. Winning applications are considered to be the pinnacle of design and user experience and recognize technical excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement. This year’s iPhone application winners along with their award descriptions are:

iPhone Developer Showcase

MLB.com At Bat 2009 version 1.0.1 from MLB.com (app info)

MLB At Bat 2009 is an innovative, highly connected app that sets a great standard for all other iPhone sports apps to follow.

At Bat 2009 is the fastest, most detailed way to follow baseball on an iPhone or iPod touch. Users can listen live to every regular and postseason game with no blackout restrictions, see real-time scores, play highlights, and stream audio of all games At Bat 2009 uses MediaPlayer for in-game video highlights, AudioToolbox for streaming audio, QuartzCore, CoreGraphics, UIKit, and Core Animation to optimize the user experience, SQLite for data caching and tracking video view history, and SystemConfiguration for reach-ability.

Postage version 1.0.1 from Rogue Sheep (app info)

Postage sets a new standard for attractiveness and ease of use in an iPhone app.

With Postage you create and send beautiful, personalized digital postcards using the built-in camera and Photo Library. Core Animation provides smooth transitions and eye-catching effects while Quartz provides high quality graphics, effects, and text display. With 3G/Edge/Wi-Fi networking, you have connectivity virtually everywhere. And you can easily select recipients of your Postage postcards with Address Book integration.

Topple 2 version 1.1 from ngmoco:) (app info)

Topple 2 is an ideal model for excellent iPhone game and game sequel design, technology adoption, performance, connectedness, and localization.

Topple 2 combines the features of multitouch and the accelerometer to create a game about stacking blocks and keeping them from toppling over. Local WiFi multiplayer mode enables game play between two players, and a challenge mode where recorded sessions can be sent to others players via email, twitter or facebook. Localized for English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish, Topple 2 uses multiple iPhone SDK technologies including UIKit, OpenGL ES, Bonjour, CFNetwork, Multi-Touch, Accelerometer, Email, and Twitter and Facebook integration.
Continue reading Apple Announces iPhone Winners of the Apple Design Awards »

rolando2-postcard-week2

The Rolando 2 website continues to reveal more information about the game as we get closer and closer to the launch of the title (Considering the game hasn’t been released yet or given an official release date, it’s safe to assume that each day that passes is at least one day closer to the launch of the game.) Since we last had a chance to take a look at ngmoco’s Rolando 2 website, five of the locked Rolando’s down bottom have been revealed and as of today a teaser trailer for the game has gone live (You can watch the trailer below!)

Continue reading Rolando 2 Teaser Trailer »

More information regarding Rolando 2 will begin trickling out as we approach the summer launch date, according to the brand new website that just launched today.

rolando2-postcard


Continue reading Rolando 2 Website Launches, Game Slated For Summer Release »

If it’s one thing that GDC taught me it’s that the iPhone has a long way to go as a game console. It’s still a tiny little player in the whole gigantic video games world. But in the nine months since the app store launch, it has made some great strides.

For one thing, the iPhone totally dominated the Independent Games Festival Mobile awards. Not only did they will all the categories, they had most of the nominations as well. The iPhone is now, as far as most are concerned, the best mobile phone platform to develop on. As one developer put it, finally a mobile platform that doesn’t suck.

This past week we did get many clues about what 2009 will bring for iPhone games. First, this will be the year the big boys go full force after the iPhone market. EA, Chillingo, Glu, and others have announced some huge portfolios of games coming out this year.

We will also see an explosion in backend community systems, think XBox Live for your iPhone, and probably some consolidation of those services as well. Consumers aren’t best served by having multiple community systems, everyone knows that, but who will win out as the best? With GameSpy announcing they are bringing over their backend that already powers many console and desktop titles, they will likely start out in the lead. Then ngmoco announced they were opening up their platform to third party developers, another strong contender, but no release date announced. Then you have the underdogs such as OpenFeint, ByteClub, and a new contender, Agon. Then there’s also the Facebook Connect for iPhone that many systems are using. It’s not purely a gaming system, but many have adapted it. A force for sure, with Facebook having over 160 million users.

We also were fortunate to meet with some really cool developers and get a sneak peak at some of the great games coming out in the not too distant future.

Real Racing from Firemint
Release Date: Late April, 2009 at an unknown price
Without a doubt, the best we saw was Real Racing from Firemint. Real Racing is a racing game just short of a racing sim. It’s ultra-realistic and features some amazing community and asynchronous multiplayer modes. You even have the ability to publish hot laps to YouTube, automatically. The controls by default work great and are very responsive. This is one to watch for. Firemint are being close to the chest with the price on this one, but it will be released late April.

Real Racing from FiremintReal Racing from FiremintReal Racing from Firemint

Touch Pets from ngmoco
Release Date: unknown
I’ll have to admit I was originally nonplussed on Touch Pets. But after spending some time with it I can see what the excitement it about it. For one this, this game is deep. There’s lots to do, lots of things to collect, there are missions to go on, there are achievements, tons of stuff. But above all, this game has a social aspect that could set it apart from all of the other virtual pet type games. This all ads up to a game that will be very enormously engrossing to many people, maybe even me.
Touch Pets from ngmocoTouch Pets from ngmocoTouch Pets from ngmoco

Star Defense from ngmoco
Release Date: pretty soon at an unknown price
Tower Defense games are filling up the app store quickly. And many are really good. Star Defense takes a slightly different direction and adds 3D to the standard game. So instead of playing tower defense on a flat landscape, you play it on a 3D world. One of the more interesting parts of this is that, in one level, you are playing on a cube instead of a sphere. This basically divides up each level into 6 parts as you have to place defense on each of the sides since the weapons don’t seem to work around the corners of the cube. The game itself seems really well done and stable, and should be released soon. We’ll give it more playtime when it comes out and get a full review.

Star Defense from ngmocoStar Defense from ngmocoStar Defense from ngmoco

Star Trader: Moon Madness from HermitWorks
Release Date: very soon at $0.99
This game is an expanded version of the DopeWars genre that I’m sure everyone is familiar with. But it’s set in outerspace and uses the Quake engine to provide a 3D world where you can walk around and barter. The controls are a modified 2 location virtual touch pad as we’ve seen on other games and works well for movement and changing the angle you are viewing the world. The developers are releasing this at $0.99 and will be raising the price as they add features such as multiplayer in the future.

Space Trader: Moon MadnessSpace Trader: Moon MadnessSpace Trader: Moon Madness

All in all a fantastic GDC. Had to great opportunity to speak with some amazing people. We’ll try to get full reviews of these games up as soon as they are available.

Topple 2

Topple 2

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Ngmoco:) strikes again from their vault of creativity - Topple 2 is here! Read on to find out if they managed to outdo the insanely popular original, or whether it crashed like a pile of poorly stacked blocks in our hands-on review.

Read The Full Review »
WordFu

WordFu

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
WordFu is the latest offering from ngmoco, the makers of Rolando and Topple. It's a dice-based, kung fu-themed word game that requires you to assemble words from the letters you roll. The addicting and surprisingly deep gameplay make WordFu one of the best word games that we've seen in a while.

Read The Full Review »

ngmoco Announce Topple Too and WordFu

Today, ngmoco announced their next two games, Topple Too, an update to the popular and currently free Topple, and WordFu, the worlds first kung-fu word / dice game.

Topple Too, is believed to be a revision of ngmoco’s second game, Topple. We looked at Topple a while ago and found it a great game, we gave it 5 stars. We are trying to get more info from ngmoco on what they have in store for this second edition. Topple is currently free and I highly suggest you grab it if you haven’t already. Best free game out there.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-10-17 :: Category: Games

The second game announced today, WordFu, is a dice/word game was first shown at MacWorld last week. WordFu looks to be a very fun, and comical multiplayer word game using dice with letters instead of pips. Think MotionX Poker Quest for words with a lot of Bruce Lee thrown in. Though ngmoco says that it does not contain MotionX technology, it’s a good example of the dice rolling technology.

The goal is to discover as many words as possible, in the time limit, from the dice rolled on the screen. The multiplayer pits you against another player on the wifi network who is looking at the same dice. The real fun part of this game though are the strange and wonderful kung-fu sounds that the game generates when you find words.

These two games are expected to arrive in the App Store within a month.

Rolando

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
One of the most hotly anticipated games for the iPhone, and likely the last big release of the year is finally here. Rolando the rolling ball platform game has finally hit the App Store virtual shelves. It's about time.

Read The Full Review »

ngmoco has confirmed that Rolando will be released this Thursday of this week, on December 18th. To celebrate the week of the release of Rolando they have put all of their previously released games on sale. They have reduced the prices by $1 across the board.

Hit the jump for details and links.

Continue reading ngmoco Announces Rolando Release Date – Celebrates With Massive Game Sale »

Topple

Topple

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Topple could be the best game released yet for the iPhone

Read The Full Review »
MazeFinger

MazeFinger

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
The first release from ng:moco is a great free reaction game

Read The Full Review »

The first two heavily anticipated releases from ngmoco have popped up in the App Store:

Finger Maze (FREE) – iTunes Link

Topple ($0.99) – iTunes Link

And after a quick look at both we can see they are both winners. ngmoco, you may have heard, is an indie developer founded by Neil Young previously with EA. They have also recently taken over the distribution rights for Rolando, a game that also looks very promising.

In the short history of the iPhone, there have been few companies that have produced as much anticipation for their applications as ngmoco. Now that they have delivered their first two games, we’ll see if they can live up to that anticipation. We’ll have full reviews for you this weekend..

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