Posted by Stephen Hall on March 28th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The well-reviewed sequel to one of the most well-reviewed mobile games of all time has received a huge content update, packing 24 new levels, 8 new plants, and 10 new zombies for even more lawn-fighting fun. This update to Plants vs. Zombies 2 transports players to the “Far-Future World,” where your lawn isn’t actually a lawn; apparently grass doesn’t exist in the future. And apparently our lawn mowers will look like classic cars.
The new levels in this update are themed to look like a futuristic world, while the update’s new plants have science-fiction names (like Laser Bean, Infi-Nut, and Star-Fruit) and feature science-fiction zombie-fighting capabilities. The new zombies are equally as futuristic, and that makes them just that much more terrifying. Also included in this update is the Zen Garden from the first game, which allows you to power up your plants.
You can get Plants vs. Zombies 2 on the App Store for free.
Posted by Rob Rich on January 24th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Bejeweled Blitz has been around on the App Store for a while now, and in that time players have apparently been making numerous requests for Vaulted Gems. This feature, which was exclusive to the Facebook version for quite some time, will make rare and powerful gems available to really mix things up during a game. In addition, a new rare gems called the Ice Burrrst will also be attainable. Players will also no doubt be happy to know that this update also includes a new Items tab, which will allow them to browse and manage their grants, shares, and gem gifts more easily.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 12th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been updated with a new layout and navigation setup that makes the three worlds more linear. They’ve eliminated the key gates and star gates which should allow players to make their way through the game more quickly. The update also includes new “Gargantuar” levels to each world where players face zombies from the original Plants vs. Zombies, and there is now a new turbo setting that doubles the gameplay speed while playing.
PopCap Games partook in Operation Supply Drop’s end of the year 8-Bit Salute fundraiser by donating a large amount of game codes and swag for the military gaming charity, reaching over $100,000. Its donation consisted of 100 codes that unlocked every game PopCap has ever made, which is well over 60, including games like Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled. All of the donations gathered for 8-Bit Salute are being sent to soldiers currently deployed in combat zones, as well as those who are recovering in military hospitals.
EA today announced that Peggle 2 is coming “exclusively first” to the Xbox One. To borrow a phrase from the great Mandy Patinkin in Princess Bride “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Exclusive means exclusive: only one. But Peggle 2 will not be exclusive to the Xbox One. It will come to other platforms, and we can rest assured that it will come to iOS at some point.
In this instance, Microsoft has made so many mistakes with the Xbox One that they are struggling to get attention back. So they pay EA a bunch of money to make Peggle 2 and other games “exclusive” to the Xbox One – for a short period of time. Maybe even as little as a month. Microsoft thinks they look awesome, then we get Peggle 2 a few weeks later on the only platform that really matters, iOS. The Xbox One sells way fewer consoles than Microsoft expected, and mobile finally starts to get the attention it deserves. Wow, I think I just saw into the future.
I’ll keep going and guess that it will be announced for iOS in January and be released right after that. And it will be free to play – that is almost a guarantee at this point.
So, um, Peggle 2, yeah. From the short demo shown at Gamescom in Germany, it looks like the original Peggle with more sparkles. Just more levels, and something called “Peggle Masters.” Masters are characters in the game that have their own power-ups and abilities. Also included are multiplayer modes. We’ll let you know more once the Microsoft exclusivity runs out. Here are a couple screen grabs of Peggle 2 from the EA press conference.
In an age where developers are micro-transacting their consumers beyond belief, it is refreshing to hear of the occasional development team willing to take a stand against it. In the most recent example, the financial relief comes from the good folks over PopCap Games. Their most substantial iOS offering to date, Plants vs. Zombies 2, made the unexpected move to free-to-play – much to the chagrin of their audience. Oddly enough, that shift may have actually been the best thing to happen to cash-strapped gamers in recent memory. So how can studios go against the monetization grain and still manage to sustain a profit? A simple change of perspective can go a long way.
Traditionally in-app purchases within free games were viewed under the microscope of paying a cost in order to either continue playing, or unlock an item that will make an unbeatable adversary more manageable. Essentially it boils down to being a pay-to-win structure. In either scenario there is a wide spread negative connotation associated with purchases, drowning in a bubbling cauldron of frustration and anger. When the main motivation behind opening a wallet is to make something that is undesirable cease happening, it feels more like being held hostage than acquiring something beneficial. It might even be fair to say that this is likely the reason that so many folks look down their nose at free-to-play titles.
While working on Plants vs. Zombies 2, the team over at PopCap hit on the discovery that purchases could actually be driven by positivity instead. For example: certain special crops are made available exclusively for purchase with cash through the in-game store. These seeds may be overpowered for a short period, and slightly flashier in terms of presentation, but over time the items that are unlocked simply by continuing to progress through the campaign will end up being just as useful, if not more so. Also, players have the chance to pay to unlock new worlds if they are uninterested in playing through the additional stage permutations in order to clear obstacles the “good old fashioned way.”
The main differentiation is that these acquisitions are completely unnecessary in order to move through the game. In reality they act as more a shortcut for those that don’t have the fortitude of the multitude. Under most circumstances there are only positive underlying motivations associated these purchases; primarily consisting of the desire to play more of a game that they already love, which most will gladly do with a smile. After all, people are far more willing to part with their precious greenbacks when they feel like there’s a tangible reward on the other side of a transaction.
PopCap, along with a select handful of other developers, may have finally cracked the nut that the industry has been trying to shell for years. Here’s to hoping that more will pay close attention and make efforts to follow suit. Who knew that future of mobile gaming could be forever transformed, all thanks to a slight shift of perspective?
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.
Game development is a fickle business. One day a studio is the talk of the industry and the next it’s scrambling to save face. Rarely is a team able to attain success and remain a darling of both the press and gamers alike. PopCap is one of the exceptions to the rule that somehow manage to impress, no matter what the obstacle. Their newest offering, Plants vs. Zombies 2, could put all of their hard-earned credibility on the chopping block by opting to implement a free-to-play monetization structure. Does the freemium model suit the franchise, or is this an unnecessary stir of the pot? –Blake Grundman
A new app has landed that is simple yet amazing. Notograph is essentially a way to take notes with photographs. It allows users to capture photos of things that they need to remember, and it stores them in a separate location so users don’t fill up their Camera Roll or Photo Stream with pictures that get in the way of their memories. Every time Notograph is opened, it takes users straight to the live camera. It’s designed for quick captures so there’s no messing around with features that aren’t needed. Just tap on the big yellow button to capture. Next to the capture button, users can turn the flash on or off, alternate between the front and back cameras, and view a list of captured pictures. –Angela LaFollette
There are a lot of good TV shows out there nowadays to keep track of. Sure, there are a lot of terrible TV to keep track of too, and TeeVee 2 doesn’t discriminate. It just wants to serve as a quick way to track TV shows and see when they’re coming on next. Just search for a show in a widely-available database, and it will be added to the list left under three categories: “upcoming” for shows that have scheduled upcoming episodes, “announced” for shows that are still airing but don’t have future episodes scheduled yet, and the “dead” section serves as a painful reminder that America rejected the witty antics of Happy Endings. America, for shame. –Carter Dotson
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and Play HD is a unique and fun coloring book app that helps children explore 2D and 3D animation. An iPhone version of this app is also available. This application consists of the classic Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse who star in three separate areas of this app, each including various objects which can be painted. When this app opens up for the first time, children will notice three rooms from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – starkly white and without color yet nicely decorated with many props and other objects that one would expect from fully furnished rooms as well as an outdoor scene. These areas – the living room, kitchen, and garden – each include many details that one would expect; be it easy chair or shelf, counter or cupboard, trees and flowers – all in need of some creative color. One can even add personal touches to Mickey and Minnie as well – a nice feature that I really enjoy. –Amy Solomon
Taking plenty of inspiration from last year’s social gaming phenomenon, Draw Something, ScribbleMix is a fun re-imagining of the popular format with just enough to make it seem different. This time round, players must draw an entire phrase rather than one word. It makes a significant difference, too, both in terms of challenge and in terms of entertainment value. Rather than simply drawing a cheerleader, one might have to draw a cheerleader dancing in the sea for instance. As the Disney name is strongly attached here, there are Disney themed moments, too, such as my favorite: Iron Man bouncing in a desert. Plenty of categories are available so it’s convenient to be able to use some of the in-app currency to either re-spin for another shot, or choose a different category. –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:
Sometimes you’ll come across a game that deserves and needs to be looked at differently. To give After the Gods a score out of ten would be missing the point and would stop discussion before it even began. Why is this? Because, quite simply, After the Gods isn’t a particularly good game. It consists of a fairly basic premise that’s easy to achieve. You have to tap on different statues to activate them and then move your camera around to call upon the selected God’s power. Rain, wind and the power over light are all combined to complete a couple of different objectives. For to get flowers to grow, you need it to be raining and sunny. After a couple of these ‘objectives’, the game’s over. 6 out of ten. –Matt Parker
I wanted to start this review by saying how Gurk was an old-school RPG from the olden days, but quick Googling turned up the fact that there was no such thing, and my memory is playing tricks on me. Well, how about that. It’s actually quite a modern-day RPG that was simply made to look like it’s a clone of an old-school game. Still, it doesn’t mean that the game is in any way bad. Conversely, it’s one of the most absorbing role-playing games on the mobiles, and it manages to be like that with only a handful of pixels and colors to spare. In Gurk III, three heroes, a mage, a warrior, and an archer, have to travel across lands and dungeons, eradicating all enemies that are all too eager to munch on their squishy human faces. They are represented by a single icon on the global map, but when encountering an enemy, the map will zoom up on them, and they will fight the enemies in a turn-based battle mode. As in all the other RPGs, there are tons of items to find, and tons of gold to collect. –Tony Kuzmin
There’s a problem with QbQbQb, and so many other puzzle games, from a reviewer’s perspective: they are impossible to describe. They look fine and simple, when I play them, but when I have to put them on paper – it was easier to describe my feelings to a girl I liked in fifth grade, and get a lifetime of shame, than to explain this stuff. Although QbQbQb is difficult to understand from the screenshots, or my ramblings, it’s actually very simple to play. That said, it’s not easy – and it’s a great combination. Simple to learn, impossible to master. The challenge comes from the twisted way the game looks. It’s a Tetris-esque match-something arcade, but instead of giving a traditional flat surface to throw the incoming bricks on, QbQbQb opts for a circular one. To put it simply: there are various shapes, falling onto a planet from all angles, and the player needs to rotate the planet around its axis, to put them in the required places on top of it. The planet only rotates by 30-degree angles, so there are 12 possible positions the pieces are coming from, and can be placed on, which makes it a bit more manageable. But still difficult to wrap the head around, in the heat of the action. –Tony Kuzmin
It’s almost here, again. Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time is set to launch tomorrow, August 15th, after originally being planned for a July 18th release. Mac Rumors reports that PopCap delayed the game to provide improvements and tweaks to its in-app purchase system. I guess that’s what happens when you go the freemium route!
Prepare yourself for all the defensive action tomorrow, and keep an eye out for our review in the morning!
In the sequel to PopCap’s hit lane-based defense game, Plants vs Zombies 2 takes players through three different times and places, including Ancient Egypt, The Wild West, and the Pirate Seas, bringing a whole host of new mechanics to the game, including Plant Food power ups and special destructive power buttons.
You’ll also see a whole new way of seeing your progression in the game with the big over world map, themed per time and world. THe game is looking great, and we got to play through a couple of levels of time-traveling fun.
It’s been announced that Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time will launch this July, though still no decision on what exact day. Pocket Gamer also mentions, while there isn’t a lot of detail, that Plants vs Zombies 2 will feature a “bevy of new features, settings, and situations” for gamers to experience.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on April 19th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
PopCap Games has released Bookworm Heroes, a free-to-play word game that lets players go head-to-head against Facebook friends or random opponents. Players take turns building words with letter tiles and can use bonuses and scoring boosts to increase their chances of winning.
“We’re ecstatic to introduce the next chapter of Bookworm to iOS users in a new adaptation that brings multiplayer and social gameplay to what’s previously been a solitary player experience,” said Scott Willoughby, Bookworm franchise director at PopCap Games. “Bookworm Heroes adds a new level of fun and challenge among friends, plus a ton of extras that we believe make this the best Bookworm iteration yet.”
Solitaire Blitz was a pretty big hit on Facebook when it debuted there last year. That game is now coming to iOS and is currently live in the Canadian App Store.
Here’s an video of the game being played on the iPad. We play through a couple hands and it is enjoyable though not as good as the similarly-playing Fairway Solitaire from Big Fish Games in the current version.
Solitaire Blitz seems to be set up to be as a free to play game and it’ll be interesting to see how aggressive the monitization of Solitaire Blitz will be. As of now, you can play 5 times for free with one more free game coming every ten minutes.
It should be launched globally soon. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s live.
PopCap’s popular game, Plants vs Zombies, has Trading Cards, and they’re on sale now for a limited time. You can buy them in 4-packs with seven cards in each pack, or the whole shebang with the full retail box, containing all 50 base cards and 10 special cards that include things like stickers and temporary tattoos. The full box also comes with either a signature card or a special sketch card from artist Rich Werner.
The sale ends this Friday, November 30th, so if this interests you, head over to the PopCap store now!
I profess I tend to spend a decent amount of time playing virtual solitaire these days, mostly thanks to some ridiculously early commutes. So it’s a game I’m quite familiar with, although I haven’t come anywhere close to mastering it. Why is this significant? Because Popcap is bringing their popular Facebook adaptation, Solitaire Blitz to iOS and I’m expecting to have a grand old time with it.
The rules of Solitaire Blitz are both familiar and totally new. Players still have to empty their cards into piles by following a particular sequence, but suits and linear progression don’t matter anymore. A King can be tossed on a Queen, to be followed by another Queen, then a Jack. Or it could go 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, Ace. But while this might sound like the challenge has been sucked out of the classic solo card game, the fact of the matter is it still makes for an intense game. Mostly thanks to the never pausing 60-second time limit and slots (up to four) for placing cards that have to be unlocked.
It makes for some rather frantic card shuffling as you attempt to spot anything and everything that can get tossed on a pile, attempt to plan ahead to avoid getting stuck, and search out any cards featuring a key icon that will unlock those essential extra card slots. All of this while the clock keeps ticking down. No specifics have been given regarding price yet but we can all look forward to one of the most intense games of solitaire ever this November.
Solitaire Blitz has taken Facebook by storm with vintage Popcap charm and now it’s shuffling its way onto iOS.
After sampling it at Gamescom, I came to a simple conclusion: It’s portable Solitaire Blitz with the ease of touch, and that makes for a dangerously brilliant concoction.
Players are tasked with clearing their screen of cards by putting them into three separate piles, two of which need to be unlocked during play. Power-ups help players along the way and silver is uncovered as their screen starts to empty, adding to their overall points at the end of each hand.
The translation is spot-on. All power-ups are in place including the time boost and bomb. The squeaking worm still shuffles awkwardly when players are about to run out of time. Most importantly, the core gameplay remains as engaging as ever.
It’s simple, fast-paced fun, and a perfect fit for iOS. Solitaire Blitz launches this fall.
Plants vs Zombies: Talking Zombatar
To get us ready for next year’s brain-chomping sequel, Popcap bring us the more light-hearted Talking Zombatar.
The idea is to kit your Zombie out in the most imaginative way possible, be it cool, crazy or flat-out creepy. Beach shorts and shades for the hot weather? Why not. Menacing faces and mutilated bodies? Ripe for a reaping. Over-sized wigs and glittery suits for a night of karaoke? Time to tune up the vocals. Talking Zombatar allows for such stupidity, and even lets players have their favourite phrases repeated in Zombish.
While I only saw a limited range of costumes, I was assured by Popcap that there will be rewards for checking on the app daily and purchasable items that can be paid for with in-game or real currency. Talking Zombatar will be totally free, presenting a new direction for the gaming giant, but this was a lot more fun than I was expecting. It’s out this fall!
Posted by Jeff Scott on September 6th, 2012 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Popcap have released an update to Plants vs. Zombies on the iPhone and iPad. It comes as the closest we’ve seen to DLC on iOS, via an in-app purchase for the Last Stand Game Pack. Interesting. Here’s the change log:
Make Your Stand
The Last Stand Game Pack (100,000 coins for in-app purchase of $.99) features 5 new levels, plus Last Stand Endless mode that provides an exciting new variant of the game’s classic Endless mode.
Unlock 3 new achievements: Hammer Time, Still Standing and The Stuff of Legends, which bring the game’s total achievements to 48 for iPad and 47 for iPhone.
As Smart as a Bag of Hammers
Pick up a new Mallet Pack to help whack zombies in Survival and Last Stand Endless modes. Check out Crazy Dave’s Shop for more details.
Full Retina Display Support for iPad
Enjoy sharp, crisp graphics that enhance the playing experience for iPad.
It is hard to deny that Bejeweled has become the choice addiction for iOS gamers in a pinch. When it comes to gem matching, the game is pretty much unparalleled, unless you count the hoards of other imitators on the marketplace. But once again Popcap took a look at the competition and decided to raise their already exceedingly high bar of perfection.
Folks who have already purchased Bejeweled will be treated to a brand new update, adding in the shocking Lightning Mode that has been available in the console version of the game for quite some time. The new gameplay mode plays very similarly to Bejeweled Blitz, with the ability to extend the round beyond a single minute through matching other like time boosting stones.
For those wanting to see what all of the excitement is about, the game is available for only $0.99 and $3.99 from the App Store. Check out the new feature and let us know if it is worth the price of admission in the comments below.
PopCap is staging a charity event on Tuesday, June 26th to help benefit charity: water, and to set a Guinness World Record. Two women, Kathleen Henkel playing at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York City and Laura Rich playing at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, will try to play the game for 24 or more hours of Solitaire Blitz to set the record for Longest Videogames Marathon Playing a Card Game. They can take breaks while playing, but the rules are very strict about how long their breaks can be.
PopCap is pledging $5,000 for each player, and individuals can pledge money for each hour that the two women play on the Solitaire Blitz Facebook page. Their attempts to set the record can be viewed live on the internet starting at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EDT), or in person at each location, where PopCap will be handing out free goodies, and taking donations for charity: water.
Bejewled Blitz, PopCap’s incredibly popular timed variant of the classic match-three game Bejewled made its way from Facebook into the App Store late last year. The game broke iOS ground, being the first universal iteration of the archetypal puzzle and is integrated into the new Bejewled and Bejewled HD, which are similar to the PC/Mac game Bejewled 3. Now PopCap has given the iOS version a Facebook-style makeover that allows gamers to play without Facebook friends or linking their accounts.
This new “universal” mode in version 1.2 now has Game Center integration with worldwide leader boards. More importantly to fans, the iOS version now also has all the Facebook special perks like daily spins, rare gems, the ability to get multiple bonuses, and stats for as long as you keep playing. There will even be weekly tournaments against PopCap’s iconic characters as well as lots of in-app purchases in place of Facebook credits.
The Bejewled franchise has sold more than 50 million units so far, and this iOS fermium version should only help with what must already be an impressive bottom line.
It’s been a long time coming. At least, it probably seems like a long time to all those disgruntled iOS users. Anyway, at long last, Plants vs. Zombies has gotten a major update that includes a number of features that many have been missing (i.e. taking issue with their absence). Read on for the nitty-gritty.
More mini-games are being added to the already robust list, including the Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist. Anyone unfamiliar with these mini-titles should know that they’re all interesting and fun in their own ways. Especially Beghouled Twist, with its hybrid of classic zombie-on-plant carnage and match-three puzzles. Of course, Portal Combat is interesting, too. The addition of reality-bending gateways that let plants fire across multiple rows (careful that the zombies don’t use them to get closer!) make for some cool overkill moments.
A new puzzle game has also been included in addition to I, Zombie (which itself has received an Endless Mode). Vase Breaker is now a particular favorite of mine as it takes the random “card” distribution used in many other extra modes and hides it underneath a grid of unmarked vases. Some may contain plants, some may contain zombies. Players have to play conservatively and smart if they’re going to have any chance of making it to the end. And yes dear iPad users, at long last the Zen Garden has also been included. Raising oddball plants like our PC counterparts is finally, blessedly, an option.
It’s not all mini-games, however. Popcap has also included support for several languages (Spanish, French, etc), as well as some new items in Crazy Dave’s shop and the expected Game Center achievements. Take note: some of the extra stuff such as bonus I, Zombie levels and the like are gated behind purchases via in-game coins. These coins are earned fairly regularly through simply playing the various modes so it’s not a big problem, but players should know that they won’t be able to jump right in to all the new stuff immediately. Worst case scenario; they get to sample the first level of a given mode or game type, then spend a few rounds of doing whatever to earn enough cash to unlock more stages.
Once this update goes live tomorrow (4/19), the iOS version of Plants vs. Zombies will finally be comparable to its PC counterpart. Both for the iPhone and the iPad. Rejoice, fellow iOS users! Rejoice and stop all the bellyaching!
A wise man once said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” If that is the case, then developer Jinqi Pang might as well be writing Popcap a love note in the most gushing prose imaginable. Just a look at their game Castle Attack – Ultimate HD+ and you will see why.
In case it wasn’t apparent, this new puzzler set during the Han Dynasty, seems just a tad like the Popcap powerhouse, Plants vs Zombies.
Instead of gathering sun beams, Castle Attack has players gathering food that is produced on a regular basis by cook units. These can then be expended to purchase other units used to protect the castle. Though unit names may be different, the core conceit of the game remains the same.
Lets just hope that the production values live up to the Popcap standard as well, because this game will set you back a hefty $9.99. If you have the chance to check it out, let us know what you think of it in the comments below.