Oh those poor, unfortunate Pygmies. Since January 2009, the original smash hit app, Pocket God, has received 35 updates, bringing shark infested waters, dangerous volcanoes, vicious ice geysers, death inducing ghosts, and ritualistic death to the stoic island Pygmies. Very rarely in their existence have the Pygmies been given an update that didn’t involve the death of the little island natives, but the 35th update gives them something magical to behold.
A double rainbow… all the way across the sky!
The new episode, titles “Double Rainbow All The Way Across The Sky,” gives you the ability to hand draw double rainbows that the pygmies will fawn over. Instead of just using their loving eyes, the pygmies can now talk, saying things like “full on,” “what does this mean!?” and more. Their oogling looks of bewilderment have also been added to the story mode so that fans can add them to their own Pocket God stories.
Also added in the 1.35 update are some menu changes and text labels that have been put in place to help new users navigate through all the different mini-games, islands, and sandbox modes. The game has added so much in the past two years that even some of the original Pocket God players might need a refresher to catch up.
If you haven’t had a chance to pick up this App Store Top 100 mainstay, now would be a great time to jump in. With the newly updated menu system, and the culmination of two years of episode updates, Pocket God really is one of the most content packed games in the App Store. It doesn’t have a story per se, but it will certainly offer up hours of Pygmy destroying entertainment.
Longtime fans of the series will also be happy to hear that the second issue of Pygmy Peril has been released, and that the third edition of the Pocket God comic book will be out in the near future. Enjoy!
Carter speaks to listener Jessi Rathwell about her experiences as a blind iPhone gamer, what it’s like to play audio-only games as a blind gamer, and how other games could improve their experiences for disabled gamers.
Carter talks with Dave “Cazz” of Bolt Creative about the past, present, and future of Pocket God.
Who We Are:
Host: Carter Dotson
Guest: Jessi Rathwell
Guest: Dave Castelnuovo, Bolt Creative (Pocket God)
Up until now, App Store sensation Pocket God has revolved around whatever you (as the de-facto god) did to your poor pygmy subjects. The folks at Bolt Creative, however, decided to bless the pygmies with initiative of their own…and their antics and adventures are the subject of the new Pocket God Comics. Yep, that’s right. A real, honest-to-goodness comic spin-off of the famous pygmy-torture game. Let the mayhem begin.
Pocket God Comics hit the App Store on Tuesday. Your $0.99 purchase includes the first issue; later releases can be obtained through in-app purchase. The app is universal (iPhone + iPod + iPad compatible), with higher-resolution artwork on display for the iPad version. The art looks fantastic, even on a small device, and the pygmies are as entertaining as ever.
But wait! Why should the pygmy conquest be limited to the virtual world? Bolt Creative is trying to push a print comic, too. Of course, stores need to carry the Pocket God comic before you can buy it, so Bolt is staging a contest. Take a look at the blog post for full details, but essentially: print a flyer that asks the comic store to stock Pocket God. Go to comic store. Take a picture of yourself with the flyer. Give flyer to comic store staff, then email picture to Bolt Creative. Pocket God gets exposure; you get a code for a Jet Pack in Ooga Jump as well as an entry in a drawing for a $1000 Apple Gift Certificate.
Pocket God is really a stunning success story—it hasn’t left the Top 50 for over a year—and it’s really neat to see the developers branching out into the “real world.” Hurrah for pygmies!
The Pocket God team over at Bolt Creative has unveiled their latest Pocket God project, Procket God: Journey to Uranus, exclusively for the iPad. Instead of simply porting the original Pocket God game to the big screen, Bolt Creative made an entirely new entity, which will be a “set of mini-games centered around being able to take Pygmies to other worlds.” According to the Pocket Blog, “all the interactivity will focus on the strengths of the iPad, namely the bigger size, the extra screen real estate and multi-touch”.
Dave Castelnuovo, who formed Bolt Creative after being a developer for Sega, among other companies, said in a recent CNN interview that, “It’s a completely new game,” he said. “I don’t really believe in taking an existing title and cranking out an exact same clone of the game on every different console out there. If we have a really hardcore fan that has it on both iPad and iPhone, we want them to have a different experience.”
If Pocket God on the iPad takes off like the iPhone version and sells anywhere near 3 million copies, it will be hard not to consider the pygmies to be the App Store’s Mario or Sonic. Look for Pocket God: Journey to Uranus to launch sometime this fall. And don’t fret, Bolt Creative is still going to fully support the original Pocket God, and have an update called “A Pygmy A Day Keeps the Ape Away” coming very soon.
Doodle God is a unique, bizarrely addictive game in which you combine different stuff to make more stuff: water and air into steam, or humans and blood into vampires. It's weird, funny, and, in short, awesome.
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
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
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, 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).
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-06 :: Category: Games
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!
+ 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!
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.
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!
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
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.
Pocket God’s developers, Bolt Creative, came out with an update again sometime yesterday, staying close to their update a week average. This week was the ability to create a huge tsunami to sink the island. You simply swipe your finger over the ocean a few times (exactly how you would swipe your finger over the clouds to change the weather) and the huge wave comes and wipes out the village. But that isn’t all. This takes you to an underwater area where your Oogs are still living, but holding their breath. In the bottom left corner is a statue of some kind of creature with it’s mouth open and a spear sticking out. This turned out to be a spear gun. If you line up your pygmies right and press the statue, the spear will shoot out, impale the Oog and yank it back into the statues mouth – cool update guys!