If you go to a casino, you might make a lot of money. If you run a casino, you’re guaranteed to make a lot of money. The choice seems pretty obvious. So while waiting for your shady real estate deals to move forward, get prepared with Tiny Tower Vegas, the latest follow-up to the smash hit sim Tiny Tower. We become mini casino moguls in this latest edition of It Came From Canada!
Tiny Tower Vegas will feel instantly familiar to fans of the original. Players build their gambling empire floor by floor while keeping customers happy and business flowing. New floors need new employees, and players can choose between who the best person for the job is and who is the most affordable. Customize the tower by putting pyramids or Greek statues on the roof, changing interior décor, and even sprucing up the elevator design. Players can also upgrade the elevator’s speed since they’ll be operating it by hand quite often to get guests where they want to go. And it’s all presented in the same great, low-key pixel art style.
But of course, the Las Vegas setting comes with its own demands – even if this seems based on new, classy, family friendly Vegas instead of old, seedy, good Vegas. While some new floors will be the occasional taco bar in need of restocking, the gambling is where the real action lives. Players can try their luck on slot machines and earn extra cash alongside customer revenue. Once the hot streak ends, would-be pit bosses can check up on how their “bitizen” guests are doing by reading the “BitBook” social network, or just sit back and watch the fireworks – the only things brighter than the massive glowing signs.
Current Tiny Tower players shouldn’t expect Tiny Tower Vegas to completely reinvent the wheel after its soft launch phase. It’s got some new ideas, so it’s not just a reskin, but it’s so close to the original it’s more spin-off or expansion pack than sequel. But you can decide for yourself once it fully launches.
The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
The great strategy of Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol returns with Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies. It’s set during World War II; where players have the choice to play as the US Navy, US Army, Imperial Japanese Navy, and Imperial Japanese Army. It certainly has a familiar presentation for those who played the original, but it’s also more polished and enhanced. The mission set-up is different as players are given one mission instead of a choice between three. I also find the visuals to be more polished and likable, but that’s probably because I love the old warbirds. –Andrew Stevens
Rayman Fiesta Run is the sequel to Rayman Jungle Run, Ubisoft’s mobile version of their Rayman revival series, taking the form of a level-based auto-runner. Rayman Fiesta Run really only serves as an iteration on the previous one, but more of the familiar excellent gameplay and an improved level structure make this a better game. Players control the jumps and punches of Rayman, who can’t stop running for reasons both justified and unjustified depending on the level, trying to collect Lums and just get to the end of each level in however many pieces is optimal for Rayman because he has invisible limbs. Levels, which take on many forms from horizontal platforming to back-and-forth ascents – with the occasional wall-running and jumping, too – are challenging due to the timing needed to succeed and survive the various hazards. –Carter Dotson
Tiny Death Star is one of those ideas that’s absolutely brilliant: take Tiny Tower and put it in the Star Wars universe, having players build a Death Star instead of a non-descript tower. Oh, and the bitizens are all Star Wars characters. If that sounds appealing, then go download Tiny Death Star. It really isn’t too much different from the original Tiny Tower, the game where players earn money by stocking floors of a tower that sell different items, building new stores and residential floors for new people to move in to. Managing where bitizens work is important because they’re more efficient at certain floor types. This whole process continues until one’s tower is as high as players want it to be. It’s just all decked out with Star Wars characters and themes this time. –Carter Dotson
Let’s get this reviewing cliche out of the way: Hipster CEO is an acquired taste. It sounds like an excuse to basically say “Some will like it, some will hate it,” but it’s remarkably true in the case of this game. Unlike so many other titles on the App Store, Hipster CEO doesn’t mollycoddle its players. There’s a gameplay guide rather than a comprehensive tutorial, but even that isn’t as useful as simply giving the game a shot and gradually figuring things out. It’ll be rewarding, but it will take patience for those who want to succeed. Occasional moments of being crash-prone can irritate, too. –Jennifer Allen
Bigger, better, stronger. That sums up Sorcery! 2, the sequel to the rather great Sorcery!. Feeling substantially weightier than its predecessor, much like the book it’s based on, Sorcery! 2 is a veritable bargain even despite its premium price tag. It’s been promised that there are over 300,000 words to it with more than 10,000 choices. I have no reason to doubt such a claim as there are plenty of hours of content here. Continuing from its predecessor, it’s not essential to have a save file at the ready but I’d recommend it, purely to carry on the storyline. Players explore Khare: the Cityport of Traps, and it’s a huge city indeed, as they attempt to move forward in their quest, potentially overthrow the city port’s council, and more. I’m grateful that Sorcery! 2 has such an extensive backtracking feature as there really is a lot that can be done here. –Jennifer Allen
ProCam 2 is the kind of photography app that should, theoretically, mean that no other photography app is really needed. While some might find themselves keen to stick to an app they’re more used to, or with a slightly different look, ProCam 2 covers all the bases meaning that there really isn’t a need to do so. I’m assuming the developers wrote up a list of requirements for a good quality photography app, then kept working until every single one had been included. I’m struggling to think of anything that could have been missed. –Jennifer Allen
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If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
Dot.Stop.Run is a pretty eye-catching runner, but how does it play? Players control Dot, an enigmatic female as she runs along a landscape littered with hazards, such as pits, falling blocks and moving platforms. Using well timed jumps, the player must guide Dot through each level. Dot.Stop.Run has the bare vestiges of a story. Dot has escaped from the unseen system and now runs through an endless binary domain that changes constantly to recapture her. Only by making her way safely through the binary domain can the true power of Dot be unleashed. This story doesn’t really make an appearance in game, but at least it sets the tone for the trippy gameplay to follow. –Allan Curtis
There has to be some science behind the way certain games force you to stop playing and instead ‘come back later’. I’ll happily admit I’m no expert in the economics of designing free-to-play games, but I always thought turning people away was a dangerous idea. They just might not come back. It’s with this in mind that we talk about Lost Chapters HD. It’s a game all about exploration of an island, completing tasks to unlock new buildings and discovering treasure along the way. –Matt Parker
Cats. Lovable bundles of fur or feline freeloaders? How you feel about cats will determine how you want to look at this game. LIKE CATS: Wake the Cat is a puzzle game where you gently roll a ball of yarn towards a sleeping kitty so that you may wake them from their peaceful slumber and play with them. HATE CATS: Wake the Cat is a puzzle game where you launch a ball of yarn (maybe with a rock in the middle of it) so that you stir the cat from its unearned slumber. Maybe to then throw the cat out of the house. I don’t know. –Matt Parker
For Jon-Paul Dumont and the team at Disney Mobile, the creation of Star Wars: Tiny Death Star was a balancing act. On one side, there was NimbleBit and their hit game, but also their aesthetic of gameplay and of how they approach free-to-play that forms the spirit of their games. On the other side, LucasArts is very protective of Star Wars, and even with Disney owning the brand now they work diligently to make sure that anything Star Wars fits in with the brand.
Getting to work with NimbleBit for Disney’s internal mobile studio was a dream come true, and Dumont had been in touch about working with them but he couldn’t find a partnership that would work out until Disney bought Star Wars. And how did Tiny Death Star come about? Well, Dumont says “Somebody just sort of blurted out, ‘What about Tiny Death Star?’ and lightbulbs sort of went off and it sort of wrote itself from there on out.”
Once the idea was formed, making a game that would feel true to NimbleBit was key. “The team sat down with the guys at NimbleBit and learned from them, what were the fans of Tiny Tower really excited about? What did they love? What were things that they felt like could be improvements?”
“One of the things that we really loved about Tiny Tower was the delightful randomness of the game, and how you never quite know what the next floor is going to be… who the next character is going to be who gets into your elevator. So we wanted to add to that by taking all these fun, iconic villains and heroes and species of Star Wars and giving you a reason to want to see all of them.”
“Even though we built this internally at Disney, this should feel 100% like a Nimblebit game. David and Ian [Marsh] were involved in the game and they reviewed builds often, and helped us stay within what is really important to them as game makers. The great thing is that we were starting from something like Tiny Tower that was very successful and I think really innovative in the market at the time, so we didn’t really feel the need to reinvent their formula. So in the same way that we were really reverential to Star Wars, I’d say we were really reverential to Nimblebit.”
And making the game fit in with the Star Wars brand was important for them and for LucasArts. “The team started working then with LucasArts to figure out, how do we adapt that fun, humorous, 8-bit style that NimbleBit has over to Star Wars? It was the first at least recent 8-bit game for LucasArts, there was a lot of work and back and forth to make sure that our versions of the characters really worked but still had that tongue-in-cheek style.”
“[LucasArts] are really rigorous, and it makes sense given that Star Wars is a property that has lasted so long, and that they have plans to keep it going for decades to come. They are just making sure that the characters fit and that things are logical within the universe. They’re also making sure that they are making the right creative decisions for the future. They have a kind of legacy to protect. And so when they look at an 8-bit Stormtrooper, they’re trying to figure out not just how does it work for this game, but what does 8-bit mean in Star Wars for next year, 5 years, and 10 years in the future?”
This even came down to making the game make at least some sense narratively. Dumont says “We needed to know even if it’s goofy or silly, like our premise is intentionally, it was important to have that central focus of knowing why is an Ewok on the Death Star? Why is Lando Calrissian around your cantina? So, that gave us a grounding element. It was also really important to the guys at Lucas. They really are the guardians of this legacy of Star Wars. So no matter how silly or goofy the game is, they want to make sure everything fits together. And there are things that we followed along that were important to them. For instance, our game is set roughly in the classical era of Star Wars, which means that characters who died in the prequels are not going to show up in this game. Even for something as cute as this, there are really important sort of structural rules that are important to us and LucasArts.”
“I would not call this game canon, they’re not basing movies on it or anything like that, but having something that fits and makes sense is actually really important to us and we feel like it is important to our audience of Star Wars fans who take things, even goofy things seriously. It is really fun to play around in a version of Star Wars that doesn’t take itself that seriously, so it allows us to have a lot of the fun and lots of fun humor and gags.”
And with Tiny Death Star out now worldwide, players can judge for themselves if Dumont and Disney Mobile found their own balance of the Force between the inspirations from NimbleBit and Star Wars. Thanks to Jon-Paul Dumont for his time.
Posted November 7th, 2013 by Carter Dotson Our Rating: :: FULLY ARMED AND OPERATIONAL
Tiny Death Star is Tiny Tower but all decked out with Star Wars. The Star Wars parts are great, but those who got their fill of Tiny Tower already might not find much else new here to get hooked to again.
NimbleBit and Disney have teamed up to make Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, a Star Wars take on Tiny Tower. Right now, the game is in testing in Australia (you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy) but we were able to sneak past their defenses and get a shot at the exhaust port in this edition of It Came From Australia!
Now, the game at its heart is essentially Tiny Tower but with Star Wars, and that’s a-okay. The game’s formula hasn’t been changed: players build residential levels for new bitizens to live in, and businesses for them to work at. Each bitizen has certain stats for certain job types that makes them more effective at their job, allowing players to earn more credits. One of the key gameplay additions are new Imeperial levels that help to advance the story by collecting Imperial Officers. Otherwise not much has changed, which isn’t a bad thing: there’s the two-currency system, but Galactic Bux can still be earned through VIPs and by completing certain objectives like putting a bitizen in their dream job.
The Star Wars theme is well apparent. Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader have been brought to pixelly life as bitizens, and all the other recognizable Stormtroopers, Rebel soldiers, and much of the non-human life from the series make appearances. The music is all based off of the classic John Williams music but in a light, jazzy theme. That almost justifies the game’s existence alone. The whole game is light-hearted fan service for Star Wars fans who get to build levels of the Death Star after recognizable places and themes – the developers have clearly had fun trying to cram reference after reference into the game. The whole thing is just whimsical.
There’s no telling if the Tiny Death Star will ever be blown up by a plucky orphan from Tatooine, though. The game’s likely to come out soon: it works offline so it’s quite likely that this is just a monetization test, or to see if certain elements play well with a real-world audience. So soon the game should be fully armed and operational for the whole world. Until then, watch our video below.
Disney today announced Star Wars: Tiny Death Star for release very soon. It’s a version of Tiny Tower based in the Star Wars universe. It’s about time Disney started putting out Star Wars games! Though I don’t think this is the first one I would have thought of. What do you think, is this a good first release for Disney and Star Wars?
The Empire needs your help! In collaboration with LucasArts and Tiny Tower creators NimbleBit, Disney Mobile introduces Star Wars™: Tiny Death Star™, a new game for mobile devices. Live life on the dark side and join Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader on a mission to attract Galactic bitizens, run intergalactic businesses, and build an all-new Death Star. Construct unique Star Wars themed locations to attract iconic characters and species to your space station in this 8-bit style game. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star will soon be available worldwide.
NimbleBit is following up Pocket Planes with perhaps the next-best transportation option: trains. Yes, Pocket Trains is now a real thing coming very soon, and fans of NimbleBit’s simulation games should be at home here with a refreshed take on the Pocket Planes formula when it releases on September 26th.
This is another simulation game, very similar to Pocket Planes in that players must tote cargo around the world. But instead of flying around, they travel along rail lines. Players start on one continent and must earn money by delivering cargo to various destinations, building new rail lines to more cities, trying to become the head honcho among the world’s railroad tycoons. Oh, and there’s a giant underwater rail that goes from Europe to the United States in the Nimbleverse, apparently.
The game has become somewhat simplified versus Pocket Planes in two key ways: one, because trains only travel on rails, the trains can only travel on paths, and only the rails that they have claimed, so a particularly-colored track can only travel on those colored tracks. It makes managing where everything needs to go much simpler. Secondly, there’s no negative costs incurred through travel anymore, though trains do break down and need repairing with coins or parts from time to time.
New train acquisition has been changed as well, with new parts collected through crates that need to be opened by spending bux. The crates contain random parts, with rarer special crates providing rarer parts. This is the kind of system that some developers could make incredibly IAP-driven, but bux and crates appear commonly enough while playing that they actually feel like a part of the game rather than just a monetization tool.
The bitizens don’t play as much of a role in Pocket Trains: they’re mostly just set dressing, and there’s no customization of the conductors, yet. Still, they provide a flavor that makes the game feel quite familiar. As well, there’s plenty of goofy-looking cargo: why not transport giant platforms of balloons or a giant cola bottle?
But overall, it will be interesting to see how well the simplified take on Pocket Planes goes over: it does feel a bit less stressful while still having some strategy in how rail lines should be laid out. The world will see when the game releases on September 26th.
Love trains? Well, an exciting and must-see new trailer has released for the upcoming iOS game, Pocket Trains. It features the sexiest sounding horn you’ll ever hear. Well, I guess I can’t say that for sure, but the guy in the video sure got excited about it! Check out the special trailer below!
Ian Marsh and his brother David are the founders of NimbleBit, creators of such iOS game classics as the 2011 Game of the Year Tiny Tower, Pocket Frogs, Pocket Planes, and a true App Store classic, Scoops. NimbleBit games have been downloaded over 70 million times with an amazing 5 million in-app purchases.
NimbleBit has been heralded as a great developer of “non-annoying” free to play games, games that make their players want to buy upgrades instead of annoying them into purchases. Many game developers should take note.
148Apps: How has the App Store changed your professional life?
Ian Marsh, NimbleBit: The App Store has had quite an impact on my professional life, allowing me to quit my day job and run our own independent studio with my brother Dave. Back in 2008 I coded up a quick little puzzle game called Hanoi to learn iPhone development. Soon after the App Store launched I was approved as a developer and I threw it up on the App Store in the hopes a few people would download it. After a few days it ended up at #1 free, and after quickly releasing a “plus” version for 99c the App Store began paying more than my day job. I gave my two weeks noticed and never looked back, probably the best professional decision I’ve ever made!
148Apps: If you have one single success within the App Store you’d like to highlight, what would it be?
Ian Marsh: Our shining star has definitely been Tiny Tower. It won iPhone Game of the Year from Apple in 2011 and has had more success than all our other games put together (and there have been a lot of them). It is commonly held as an example of “ethical” free to play game design, and even brought the spotlight of the industry on NimbleBit after it was cloned by Zynga. Having been our most successful brand we’re hoping to continue to expand the Bitizen world moving forward and should have some exciting announcements later this year!
148Apps: What about one thing you have done that you think should have taken off, but never did?
Ian Marsh: One of the most fun things we’ve ever done on an iPad was the Battle mini-game in Dizzypad HD, our first iPad title. It is this great local multiplayer game where two people each control a frog that jumps from spinning lily pad to spinning lily pad, trying to eat the other frog. It actually ends up being a really intense twitch game that would have us screaming in the office for hours. Unfortunately it was launched soon after the first iPad and was hidden away behind an in-app purchase so it didn’t have that wide of an audience. I’d love to resurrect it at some point, maybe for a different platform though, (would work great with controllers)!
148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence your path five years ago, what would you say?
Ian Marsh: If I could go back in time and talk to our past selves I think I would advise us to stop most new development after we had the success of Tiny Tower and really double down on building it into as big of a brand as we could. I think having recognizable brands and IP are going to be even more important going forward and I don’t think we’ll be creating any new ones that have the kind of appeal Tiny Tower does (I hope I’m wrong though)! I’d also try to convince ourselves to have switched to Unity3D development a few years before we did as self-publishing our previous games on Android would have been very valuable.
148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of apps you are associated with, that has surprised you most?
Ian Marsh: In the past year or two I’ve been surprised at the range of success small indies have had, we’ve watched Imangi’s Temple Run come out of nowhere and take over the world while other indie’s release quality games that fall completely flat. I don’t think you’re guaranteed any kind of success on the App Store these days, even with an incredible app.
148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?
Ian Marsh: Given how much has changed in the last five years that seems like a hard thing to predict, but I expect the basics will remain the same. I don’t see Apple restricting access to the App Store but I do expect there will be a number of new platforms we’ll be developing for 5 years from now. I think each new platform will be another type of gold-rush but this time you’ll have to compete with some very seasoned and skilled developers. I certainly don’t expect things to get any less exciting in the next five years!
Thanks to Ian Marsh for his time. You can check out all of NimbleBit’s games on the App Store.
Players will be able to manage their airline from the comfort of their Mac, and pickup right where they left off on their iOS device when they’re on the go! The Mac version also introduces an exclusive plane model, the “X10 Mapple Pro” obtainable only on the Mac version.
In celebration of Pocket Planes coming to the Mac, as well as its recent arrival on Android, we’ve released the first in a series of “Pocket Planes Shorts.” A collaboration with LoadingReadyRun, “Pocket Planes Shorts” as well as upcoming “Tiny Tower Shorts” will showcase the lighter side of living in the bitizen universe!
Dream Heights, the new freemium game from Zynga that looks an awful lot like Tiny Tower, has officially been launched on the US App Store. And, proving that gamers have long and vengeful memories, the title has promptly been slammed with a whole mess of One Star reviews. Choice morsels include “Blatant copy of Tiny Tower mechanics /w a Zynga art dept. skin. But I have to say, the way Zynga innovated with regards to being stingy with in app currency is nothing short of ground breaking,” and “Wow, not a Tiny Tower ripoff. Not at all. Completely different in every way.” As of right now the game has received 311 One Star ratings, but that number has been largely overwhelmed by the 1263 Five Star ratings it’s also seen.
Zynga has been accused of shady business practices in the past, but this time around the community seems to be taking particular offense. Part of the controversy stems from the fact that Zynga attempted to buy outTiny Tower developer Nimblebit at one point, but was refused. Thus, many are taking the launch of Dream Heights as a slap in the face to the smaller company. Still, it seems the rage has all but abated, and it appears Zynga may weather the fury of the Internet and come away largely unscathed. The game is currently averaging a Four Star overall review score, and the average iOS social gamer is probably largely unaware of the controversy. We’ll wait a bit and see if there’s any long-term effects, but for now it seems that Zynga’s future (and stock price) remains mostly unaffected.
You know, we call it pixel art, but isn’t all art displayed on a digital display pixel art?
On This Episode:
Carter speaks to Ben Hopkins of Kode80 about his new retro-inspired platformer, 1-Bit Ninja. They discuss the inspirations behind the game, and the 3D aspects of the game.
Carter speaks to Ian Marsh of NimbleBit about his company’s new freemium game, Tiny Tower. They discuss what went into the game’s freemium elements, and NimbleBit’s philosophies about freemium games and trying to get people to pay for content in their games.
Bonnie is away this weekend, so I thought I’d jump in and present the weekly favorite five. We’ve got a mixed bag this week with everything from a triple-A game to a personal medical app.
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Another week, another blockbuster game comes to the iPhone and iPod Touch, this time from Gameloft. This week we have the iPhone port of Splinter Cell: Conviction. This game has a lot of the splashy effects of the console version including the text projected on the scenery that everyone is so impressed with, the mark and shoot, etc. And of course there is all of the stealthy goodness. Grab it now, but don’t let anyone see you.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-05-27 :: Category: Games
Get ‘yer future of magazine publishing here. Fresh off the tubes. Wired magazine showed off their idea of the future of magazine publishing would be a few months ago and now they have delivered it. All 500 MB of it. There are embedded movies, connected links, and interactive illustrations. But at $4.99, it’s crazy expensive. Digital should never be much more than print – and this is 6x the usual $10/year subscription cost of Wired. They need to do something about that, but the app itself is pretty great – I could get used to reading magazines like this. But, only if they are comparable in price.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-05-26 :: Category: News
Cubed Rally Racer
We got word about Cubed Rally Racer last week and we were impressed with the video. It looked like a fun casual racer. Well it has now been approved and it’s as fun as we’d hoped. You race your boxy race car around various courses avoiding traps, hitting jumps, and collecting red gas cans. Check this one out.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-05-25 :: Category: Games
iPad loving hypochondriacs rejoice! WebMD has released a great iPad app providing lots of the functionality of their website, butmade it portable. The app includes features like symptom checker, drug database and pill identifier, and basic first aid information. A great app to have available at your fingertips.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-05-25 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
This mystery game was created as a project by students at Tufts University. The game has no, and needs no explanation except swipe or tap the sides to move between rooms. The game is a mystery and you have to solve it. Discover what happened at the facility. A bit spooky, very dark and mysterious, grab this game before they start to charge for it!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-05-17 :: Category: Games
And since I can, I think I will throw in another app. A bonus to make up for the fact that you have to put up with me while Bonnie is away.
Omium from Nimblebit is innovative in a few ways. For one, two players share the same screen, one defending and one attacking. While one player is directing the attack ships, another player is trying to stay alive by shooting them or avoiding them. While the game itself looks simple, the ideas behind and the possibilities for the future are not. It’s a very fun, well made two player game for the iPad.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted February 25th, 2010 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: FUN
Continuing Nimblebit's strong track record, Dizzypad is a one-tap platformer. Described by many as "Koi Pond meets Doodle Jump", this game requires a huge amount of timing and skill as you make that all important leap from floating lily pad to floating lily pad.
This weekend, in a protest against supposedly 3400 emails complaining about the $2.99 price of their app Alchemize, Schiau Studios raised the price to $39.99 for the weekend. Yes, it’s a hilarious protest against whiners who complain about spending a few bucks, but Schiau is not entirely in the right. Alchemize was originally priced at $9.99 and then quickly lowered until it was only $.99 for a short time. I can’t blame people for waiting for another sale. If Schiau truly wanted to protest App Store pricing, they would have come up with a fair price, stuck to it, and never changed it amid protests. By acknowledging the whiners, Schiau has granted them some legitimacy.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-08-22 :: Category: Games
Sometimes it’s good to take a look at our beloved App Store’s rival, the PSP Mini store. The store has launched and two of its biggest name games have already made an appearance on the iPhone (and for cheaper): Hero of Sparta and Fieldrunners. In addition, Chillingo and Mountain Sheep’s Minigore is on the way. What do all of these games have in common? In my estimation, they’re three of the most overrated games on the App Store. Hero of Sparta had good visuals for its time, but the dull one-button hack and slash affair has so many pre-rendered cinematic animations it’s like watching a movie. Fieldrunners has a great art style and was admittedly one of the first open-path TD’s on the App Store, but there’s only a few enemy types and tower types, and it lacks the depth of the genre luminaries such as Sentinel 2 and Defender Chronicles. Minigore has nice aesthetics as well, but it’s an average two-stick survival shooter with little depth, easily outclassed by games such as Alive 4 Ever. Sony, wake me up when you manage to get some good games.
Nimblebit’s Freebie Friday
This Friday, Nimblebit lowered all their apps to free in celebration of their newly launched site App Classics! Even if you missed the deal, the apps are still worth buying; Nimblebit is the best in the business at creating fun, short, and addictive games such as Scoops and Textropolis. This move was interesting from a marketing standpoint, and certainly created buzz. In fact, Ian Marsh reported via Twitter that Saturday’s sales were double normal and more than made up for Friday’s losses.
This week’s upcoming app that looks frickin’ awesome!
This is the inaugural issue of this feature where I’ll be showing off some upcoming games that look awesome (though I’ve been doing it unofficially for quite some time). This week, we have Jet Car Stunts, an awesome-looking racing game in the vein of Track Mania. The game is due to be submitted within the next week. Enjoy!
This week’s sign of the apocalypse
A few weeks ago, Chris used this space to talk about how happy he was that Glu’s awful Family Guy cash-in was doing poorly in the App Store. Well, times have changed, and apparently Stewie is enough to make a poor game reach #9 on Top Grossing Apps.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-23 :: Category: Games
App of the Week
Soosiz is without question the best platformer yet on the App Store. The game uses gravity-centered gameplay, like that of Gomi, but much more fast-paced, to turn a good platform adventure into something extraordinary. The level design is excellent, and the difficulty curve is just right. Controls are great as well. There’s only a left arrow, a right arrow, and a jump button, but they are all perfectly responsive and work brilliantly in unison, making you almost forget you’re playing on a touch screen.. The graphics are cartoony and playful, and the only big flaw of the game is the sometimes overly-childish music. Other than that though, Soosiz is a magnificent achievement is App Store platforming, and it’s one of the most fun games I’ve played in a while, coming highly recommended.
Today I got the heads up on a new app-centric site which Nimblebit‘s Ian Marsh has debuted. It’s called App Classics, and it’s been dubbed “The iTunes App Store’s Missing Hall of Fame”. As I understand it, it’s set to become the collection of App Store cream of the crop.
The site itself is set out in a suave ‘book-case’ fashion, similar to the interface of Classics for iPhone. Using App Classics you can search any of the App Store’s 20 individual app categories, returning the most popular applications for each of those categories based on sales and user ratings. Ian explained that each app is then given an award of either a gold, silver, or bronze medal depending on how established of a “classic” they are calculated to be by the site.
In Ian’s words:
“App Classics searches the App Store to calculate the all-time most popular high quality apps available on iTunes for iPhone and iPod Touch. Behind the scenes, iTunes rating information is crunched, sifted, and percolated in a secret formula to find and grade the truly classic apps.”
Clicking an individual app icon from the front page provides a short insight into what each app looks like by providing a few screenshots, as well as displaying extracts of recent reviews, a short write up of the app’s purpose, a video review and (of course) that all important ranking. Throughout the site you can also share each of your findings with the world, either via Facebook or Twitter.
An interesting project I’m sure you’ll agree. One I’m sure I’ll be using and following. You can follow Ian (@Eeen) or App Classics on Twitter at @AppClassics for the latest.
Sky Burger is a new and improved version of Scoops—but in my opinion, that's not saying much. The game isn't difficult enough to be fun or challenging, and assembling burgers is more of a chore than a diversion.