As mentioned earlier this week, free-to-play turn-based MOBA Aerena: Clash of Champions has a new premium priced version called Aerena – Masters Edition. This new edition eschews its former F2P model in favor of asking players to pay upfront for an experience that’s ad-free and eliminates the grind. Since I reviewed Aerena when it first came out and noted the game’s somewhat slow progression, I decided to take a look at Masters Edition to see how well it delivers on its promises.
As it turns out, I found myself able to purchase unlocks including new units, ships, and shells all within playing a couple matches, which is a big difference from Clash of Champions. It seems as though Masters Edition is more generous with its in-game currency in general, making progression feel a lot smoother. In doing so, playing it felt more like a game about crafting a loadout that fits a particular playstyle rather than a game about slapping together whatever units and items are the most affordable.
It is worth noting that with this re-release players can still opt to play Aerena in its free-to-play form, and both versions of the game allow players to play against one another. Also worth noting is the fact that the free-to-play version offers time-limited trials of new units, whereas the paid version does not. This isn’t really a big deal though, since it is easy enough to unlock units in Masters Edition anyway.
Overall, those that were frustrated by the progression mechanics of Aerena: Clash of Champions in its original form should be pleased with the changes that Aerena – Masters Edition has made. That being said, anyone that wasn’t initially compelled by it won’t be won over by this new version.
The original Bioshock is pretty much the greatest video game adaptation of an Ayn Rand novel in existence. It’s also a pretty darn awesome game in its own right. And it’s coming to iOS later this summer.
No joke: Bioshock on iOS is a direct port of the classic first-person adventure/shooter. The whole game – all the areas, enemies, dialogue, memorable moments, hidden cats, etc – has been made to work on the iPhone and iPad. There’s even that odd dip in the right-hand staircase in the lighthouse when you find the bathysphere.
The visuals have been scaled-back a bit, of course. Otherwise there’s no way it would clock in at just under Apple’s maximum download size of 2GB. That’s not to say it looks bad, though. There may not be dynamic shadows or fog effects, and the textures may be a lower resolution, but Rapture still the super-creepy underwater dystopia we’ve all come to know and love.
The port supports MFi and other bluetooth controllers, but also sports a set of touch controls that have been optimized for the experience. Naturally a controller is the more comfortable of the two options when it comes to a game like this, but the touch interface is about as accessible as I could’ve hoped for.
Bioshock doesn’t have a concrete release date or price just yet, but it will be available later this Summer as a premium release with no in-app purchases.
Posted by Ellis Spice on June 25th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Big Action Mega Fight! developers Double Stallion Games have announced that their previously free-to-play brawler is set to relaunch as a premium title on June 25. In this new version of the game, ads, in-app purchases, and two sets of currencies will be no more, with gameplay progression adjusted to avoid any tedium or grinding. The game will also feature the new levels, enemies, and features added since the launch of the free-to-play version.
This change is being made after players commented to the developers that the free-to-play model did not feel right. As such, the developers decided to experiment with a paid version of the game on the Amazon App Store back in March, which generated a positive reaction from players. As a result, this new premium version is now set to become available to iOS players as well.
The new version of Big Action Mega Fight! is available on the App Store for $1.99, with the price set to increase to $2.99 after a week.
Pixowl has been working tirelessly for quite some time now, what with all the monthly updates to The Sandbox along with several other projects. It doesn’t look like they plan on slowing down anytime soon, either.
Last week, in addition to the news of the Farmer’s update, it was also revealed that The Sandbox is rapidly approaching 2.0 status. This milestone (which should be ready within the next three to four months) will include updated features such as an all new interface, reworked campaigns, and will be in HD just like its PC counterpart. This means it’s going to look better, and give you a bigger place to play in.
The Sandbox EDU was also on display, which will be a premium paid version of the freemium classic that’s been specifically tweaked to function as an educational tool. The plan is for parents, educators, and kids to use it as a way to study things like physics, electricity, hot/cold, and so on. All of the elements will be open from the start, and will be restricted to those that actually have some educational value (i.e. no zombies). The Sandbox EDU should be available in the App Store a little before “back to school” time.
Finally there’s Garfield: Survival of the Fattest, which is due out in September. This one’s sort of like Greedy Grub [GET LINK] but with Garfield characters. You’ll get to complete missions for characters from the comic series, build stuff, collect resources, and even take part in three different mini-games. All in the name of getting the giant orange cat to lose weight. Or rather, to help the giant orange cat avoid losing weight.
Gameloft has announced that it will be the development studio bringing the official The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game to iOS this April when the movie is released. The game will be similar in many ways to Gameloft’s original offering, but this sequel is going to be more graphically rich and more detailed in appearance compared to its predecessor. The overall size of the game’s open world of Manhattan will be increased as well, giving you more room to sling your web and get the bad guys.
The game is a “premium title,” meaning there is almost no chance that it will be a free offering (especially considering it’s launching with a movie). But maybe that’s for the better; tons of in-app purchases to keep a game sustainable are never fun. Be on the lookout for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for iOS this April, but for now, check out the teaser trailer below.
Ah, the Great App Store Pricing Debate. For years people have been arguing over the cost of mobile games. What constitutes “too much?” Where’s the line when it comes to free-to-play monetization techniques? Should developers have deep discounts and temporary giveaways? Should consumers simply expect everything to go on sale and wait accordingly?
The recent Dungeon Keeper debacle is a good example of this. Gamers and critics alike have railed against it for using various monetization techniques and associating itself with the classic PC strategy series, and many point to it as an unpleasant indication of where the video game industry (especially mobile) is headed. It’s an issue that’s almost as complicated as the initial Freemium vs. Premium debate; so let’s take a closer look at everything and try to make sense of it all.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been out on iOS for less than a week, but that didn’t stop it from making a bit of a splash on the App Store. So far it’s taken the number 3 spot for paid iPad apps and number 4 for top-grossing iPad apps, as well as being named Editor’s Choice by Apple on the App Store for the week. It’s a designation that we here at 148Apps wholeheartedly agree with.
During these past few days, the Council has been keeping tabs on all of XCOM’s operations. And in that time they’ve recorded the loss of 143,900 soldiers. Almost 150 thousand lives lost so far, and that’s not counting civilian casualties. However, they’ve also discovered that there have been 1,775,322 x-rays taken down in the process. That roughly averages out to one operative lost for every twelve aliens. While it’s unfortunate that so many have had to sacrifice themselves for the sake of humanity there’s some consolation in knowing that we’re still coming out ahead. There’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel, but we could all stand to do a little better.
It’s true that only time will tell who will come out on top, but my money is on us. It kind of has to be. But we must all remember not to get too carried away, either. The battle for mankind’s survival is important but there can also be consequences to spending too much time worrying about Sectoids and Mutons, and not enough about work and stuff. It’s all being documented in a new video series – “XCOM: Enemy Unknown Consequences,” the first of which can be seen below.
Just remember, we can and will win this war, but only if all of our operatives play it safe.
So another series of Olympic games is looming. Honestly it’s like they have these once every few years or something. Well in preparation and celebration of the events taking place this summer, NEOWIZ is introducing the London 2012 – Official Mobile Game. In other words it’s summer Olypmics on your phone.
Players can take part in nine different (popular) events: the100M, 110M Hurdles, 100m Freestyle, Double Trap, Triple Jump, Pole Vault, 100m Butterfly, Kayak (K1), and Archery. A player’s athlete can be trained and customized with well over 200 different items, to boot. It may even include boots, actually. London 2012 also offers three different game modes (Training, Challenge, and Olympic) just in case a simple campaign through a series of Olympic games isn’t enough. Although realistically I doubt a single athlete would take part in so many different events in the same year.
London 2012 – Official Mobile Game is available on the App Store right now in two varieties: Premium ($2.99), and Free. The difference between the two being Premium including an “additional 3,000 stars and 5 max. stamina points (Worth $5.50).” So there’s something for everyone. Unless they own an iPod Touch, original iPad, or iPhone 3GS or older, that is. It’s only compatible with newer devices, sadly.
Grinding our way through the latest iOS genre darling, Freemium games, is becoming somewhat of a turn off. There may or may not be a backlash to the developers or their games, but I’m feeling a definite slacking off in my interest in these types of games.
First off, let’s be clear on what freemium even means. Wikipedia defines the term as ” a business model that works by offering a basic product or service free of charge (such as software, web services or other) while charging a premium for advanced features, functionality, or related products and services.”
In the iOS app world, and more specifically, the gaming app world, Freemium has been hailed as the next big thing for companies wishing to make money. Some developers I spoke with at GDC seemed to think that the entirety of the iOS gaming market was going to a Fremium model, though I tend to agree with Tracy Erickson over at Pocket Gamer, who posits that Freemium games will continue to be a successful niche of the gaming market, and not be the whole of iOS gaming’s future.
Rather than repeat what better minds have already covered, I’d like to focus on the consumer end of the equation. As an avid gamer across all platforms, I’ve seen my share of games. And, to be honest, Freemium as a business model doesn’t inspire me to play a game. The ephemeral “fun” factor is, however, something that motivates me. I’m assuming it will motivate other players as well.
Many of these games seem to be about the mechanics alone. This is the Freemium Grind. Farmville is the grandame of Freemium gaming, of course, and the Freemium Grind mechanic is fairly transparent: build a farm, grow stuff on the farm, sell said items, gather in-game currency, and start the cycle again. Added into this mix are some social reciprocity (I’ll give you a gift so you will give me a gift), and some pride in place (this is my farm, there are many like it but this one is my own). Other games that fall in this category include Smurf’s Village, any of the Story games, Mafia Wars, We Rule, etc. There are some other games that hide the basic mechanics behind some other mechanics, like Gun Bros, Pocket Frogs and Pocket Legends, to name a few.
What is it, though, about this mechanic that turns me off? The artificiality of it, for one thing, bugs me. When I invade in ZombieFarm, I have to wait another couple of hours before I can invade again. Or, of course, I can go ahead and purchase an upgrade for a invasion recharge. This isn’t fun. Another thing that bothers me is the continual reminders. I stopped playing We Rule and GodFinger mainly due to the constant notifications. I don’t need more things telling me that I have to take care of them. I have children and pets for that, thank you very much. I don’t want to feel obligated to launch a game – don’t we all have enough obligations in our lives?
When are we going to see a Freemium game that isn’t like this? Where’s the incredible gaming experience that is free or low cost to enter, but then offers thrilling and fun gaming experiences? Where’s the World Of Goo Freemium? The Rolando Freemium (oh, yeah, they couldn’t figure it out)? The Flight Control Freemium?
I’m sure there are smart developers out there. Making iOS apps is not for the intellectually challenged. I think, however, that we need a new star to step forward and not just take the Freemium model to the next logical step (hardcore freemium, music game freemium, shooter freemium, etc.) but to turn it on its head. To make a game that is TRULY a fantastic game, that is free to play, yet encourages folks to purchase in-game items. How do we do that? Is it possible? Some think it is, but I’m not holding my breath.
Like most difficult questions, I don’t believe this one has a definitive answer. We need the premium, buy once, play forever games as well as the free to play, mechanical freemium games as well. But we also need something new, if the freemium model isn’t to crush itself under its own weight and continued copy-cat-ism that reigns in the space. Who’s gonna step up? Will it be you? Let us know in the comments.
I am eager to let readers know about Oceanhouse Media’s annual app sale in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday from Wednesday, February 25 through Monday, March 9. During this time, five of their best-selling Seuss stories will be on sale for $0.99 each, and there will be discounts for other classic Dr. Seuss titles as […]
Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Complete is now available. It’s a combination of all the previous releases in the series where you get all four acts (Blood on the Snow, Forest Hunt, The Shianti Halls, and Dawn over V’taag) of the gamebook saga for one price. Relive the story of Kai Lord of Sommerlund as he […]