I freaking love mech games. It’s just a shame that this is a largely ignored genre on the App Store. Or at least it was, until Small Impact Games took it upon themselves to show it some love.
M3CH looks to be the answer to iOS mech combat fans’ prayers. Of course showing a little love yourself on the developer’s Kickstarter page might speed things up a bit. It evokes a similar feeling to other gritty/semi-realistic mech piloting titles and sports some pretty impressive production values. I had to pry myself away to ask M3CH’s animator, James Rowbotham, about Small Impact Games’ baby.
Were there any particularly major influences in the design of M3CH‘s world? I know it’s not exactly the same but I’m getting a pretty strong Steel Battalion vibe from it.
At the time 3D iOS games exploded, we were playing a very mixed bag of games but fortunately they were all with the same genre, Mechs! We just loved the direction the iOS store was heading, it was screaming for a game with user-friendly touch-screen controls but with the in depth details you get in our favourite mech games.
Surprisingly however, Killzone 2 was a big inspiration in terms of AI and cover based action. What some mech games lack is the use of buildings as cover and enemy’s that work together to out flank you, something we saw that had been untapped in the genre (a lot of open spaces/terrain), so we looked at the great AI in Killzone and their behaviour and found a way to work it into our game.
You folks have done a bang-up job with the control scheme. Was it the product of rigorous testing and polishing or did you know right from the start how you wanted to handle it?
The aim with M3CH since the beginning has been to try and create an iOS game that doesn’t feel like it’s an iOS game, and more like a console experience. Touchscreen controls are notorious for being hard to use and something that we really wanted to nail. We went through a lot of different iterations to get to where we are now; having both shoot buttons on one side, holding down shoot instead of the auto toggle system, putting the shoot buttons on the thumbsticks and a lot more. We are keeping open minded about it and although we are getting later into development if we have an idea for an even better control set then we will be sure to test it out!
Were there any mech designs you wanted to include that ended up being scrapped?
There are quite a few that didn’t make it into the game (we already have 40 different mechs in the game). At the moment we have a mix of legs styles such as reversed legs in the game but [an] animalistic style is something we are keen on in terms of animation and how the mechs behave.
What exactly are your plans for the multiplayer?
We are hitting some technical limitations which means it most likely be 1-on-1 to start with. We would love to get a larger number of players battling at the same time (8v8 is the dream!), especially where the winning players get new weapons unlocked and credits to spend. At the moment its deathmatch style gameplay but we have plans set for objective based multiplayer.
Are you allowed to talk pricing?
It’s still early days but we are hoping for around the £1.99 [$2.99] price range. One thing we are certain of however is that we don’t want pushy monetization and in-app purchasing interrupting your gameplay experience, all mechs and weapons are attainable without too much grinding and we reward dedicated hard working players with big payouts.
How about a release date?
As for a released date, a lot of that depends on the kickstarter campaign, if we are successful then we are aiming for an April release this year.
Greedy Bankers Vs. The World was only the beginning for Alistair Aitcheson. Now we have Slamjet Stadium to satisfy our same-screen multiplayer desires. Think football re-imagined by a bunch of aliens who were trying to piece the rules together a couple hundred years from now and you’ll have the basic gist of it.
Where exactly did you pull Slamjet Stadium‘s inspiration from? Not just the wacky-looking gameplay; I’m talking about the physical roughhousing, too. Super-intense family game nights as a young boy perhaps?
Haha, I don’t know really! I’m generally a fairly calm and friendly guy. I was never into rough-housing at all when I was a kid! I am very competitive though, as my friends know – I’ll always be looking for a way to mess up my rivals in any game.
So I wanted to experiment more with this kind of game design. The original prototype for Slamjet Stadium came out of a big batch of experimental multiplayer games I did over the summer and tested out in the pub.
Often you’ll find yourself scoring by spotting a really awesome shot or powerup, so paying attention to the board is really important. Hand-grabbing is certainly a useful tactic, but it’s only one way of doing things. That makes play really dynamic. One moment it could be best to play rough, the next moment you might need to think fast, or play accurately.
While we’re on the subject of the multiplayer, how are you going to influence players to stop being polite?
People tend to jostle as much or as little as they feel comfortable with, and surprisingly that’s usually quite a lot! There’s typically a “eureka” moment when one player realizes they can get in the way of their friend, or use their opponent’s characters instead of their own. The physicality often grows from there!
So I’ve put messages in the loading screens suggesting ways you can “cheat.” The game’s advising you to play foul, so it must be okay! That eureka moment has to inspire creative play, so it’s important that players know that the game isn’t degenerating into chaos.
Would you mind going into a few specifics? Stuff like general gameplay, number of teams, differences between teams (if any), etc.
Each player gets two characters on a team, and the rules are fairly simple. You grab a character with your finger, pull back to charge their engines, and let go to send them flying across the screen. You want to hit the ball into your opponent’s goal, and the first to score five points wins the match.
There are also various power-ups and stage hazards that appear: rage power to smash up your opponents’ characters, freeze power that traps them in ice, multiball release, powerful gusts of wind.
My favorite activates “Last Man Standing” mode, where traps come in from the side of the screen, and it’s up to you to avoid them (or throw your opponents into them); a point is awarded to the survivor!
There are nine different arenas in the game, with different effects and hazards. As for the teams, there are six to choose from and each has different physical properties: shape, weight, boost power and grip.
Are there going to be multiple game modes? Might we be able to look forward to something similar in a future update?
Right now it’s split into Multiplayer and Solo Play. In solo, you take on a gauntlet of computer-controlled opponents over three leagues of increasing difficulty. Beating each one unlocks an extra multiplayer stage, and you can compete via GameCenter over your fastest completion times.
In Multiplayer it’s very much a quickmatch format: you choose your teams and arenas, and can have a rematch or pick new teams after someone wins. I’ll probably add some extra variations and setups in updates; I guess it depends on what players want to see after the initial launch. My focus was on getting players into the action as fast as possible.
All the elbow-slamming, wrist-grabbing, butt-nudging madness of Slamjet Stadium can be unleashed upon your iPad on March 14th for $2.99.
A number of players have been able to enjoy Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances in all its meticulously strategic glory for almost a full year now, but the experience has been tied specifically to web browsers. That’s a problem that will cease to exist in the near future.
Fans of the series should note that this isn’t a typical C&C. It’s not real-time strategy and its not divided into small half-hour long skirmishes. Each of the game’s 50,000 (that’s “fifty-thousand”) player servers houses a gigantic circular world map. Players begin on the outside and attempt to fight their way to the middle, which is far easier said than done. Simply reaching the center of the map can take months of planning and teamwork, and then there’s the matter of holding on to the bases that sit within those areas. Comparing this to the original series is sort of like comparing checkers to chess.
Tiberium Alliances is an incredibly player-driven experience. Hence the “Alliances.” NOD and GDI exist pretty much in name only here as player-formed groups can and will consist of both. Once these alliances have been established it’s up to the participants to figure everything out. Who wants to play the heavy hitter? Who wants to act as support? When will so-and-so be on so that you can coordinate an attack against a nearby enemy outpost in order to take it over and gain its bonuses for your alliance? There’s a ridiculous amount of strategy to be found if players are willing to travel deep enough into the rabbit hole.
Combat is also a rather involved affair with specific units gaining an automatic advantage over specific defenses and vice-versa. By the same token, different buildings within a base have different levels of importance in a fight. The Defense Facility, for example, will repair other buildings over time. Take it out and the base will take a while to get back to full strength. Or there’s always the Construction Yard. Kill that and the base is toast regardless. Of course not all bases can be overrun in a single attack, which is why it’s vital to communicate with other alliance members and really plan complex maneuvers ahead of time.
The overall experience is largely unchanged from the browser-based version, with the exception of a new touch-based interface. However, once the iOS version is released Tiberium Alliances will be totally cross-platform with players able to manage their bases and assemble armies on their computer, then immediately jump in where they left off on their mobile devices if need be. Which will be a boon for any serious players as the community is looking pretty intense and involved. In a good way.
Anyone interested in checking out Tiberium Alliances can do so right now through their web browser, of course. But in another month or so the entire life devouring, free-to-play strategy monster will go cross platform. And then there won’t be anywhere left to hide.
I unfortunately missed out on the chance to play Rage of the Gladiator when it was originally released on the Wii, despite my legitimate interest. Luckily I’ve gotten a second chance because Gamelion is porting it over to iOS devices as a fully re-mastered and arguably definitive version.
The basic story is that Gracius, the main character and gladiator extraordinaire, is fighting for his freedom and for revenge against those who’ve slain his father. How? By cutting a swathe through a horde of inhuman bosses. Anyone who’s played Infinity Blade will be familiar with the adapted control scheme (tap arrows to dodge left/right, tap buttons to block, swipe to attack), but combat in Rage of the Gladiator feels decidedly more arcade-like than Epic’s, well, epic. Attack and response time is a bit faster, fights are broken up into three “rounds” much like a boxing match, and there are a number of weapons and skills to unlock and purchase as you progress.
Again, while Rage of the Gladiator is indeed similar to that other popular swipe fighter it’s not exactly a carbon copy. There’s a noticeable emphasis on giving each combatant their own personality, and with the addition of a jump button and some rather complex combo attacks it can be quite the ordeal to make it through a fight in decent shape. It‘s definitely a challenge but every pattern can be learned eventually and it can be exceedingly satisfying to knock a particularly bothersome foe in the jaw with a warhammer in slow motion.
Anyone interested in a first-person arcade-esque gladiatorial beat down should keep an eye on the App Store. There’s no official word on a price but Rage of the Gladiator is set to release sometime in November.
Who doesn’t love a good word game? Nobody, that’s who! With this in mind EA Mobile is working on Word Smack, a new free-to-play spelling puzzler that takes its cues from Mastermind and Hangman.
Word Smack is, at its core, an asynchronous multiplayer word game where the highest score wins the match. Players will have to guess their assigned words using only a couple of hints and their personal spelling knowledge, with proper guesses leading to new words and potentially more points. Once they’ve exhausted their allotted 15 guesses their turn is over, however, so it pays to stop and think for a bit rather than charge blindly ahead. Of course that’s just the first round. The two that follow get progressively more difficult but also yield higher points. So really, it’s the final round that can make all the difference. Assuming someone hasn’t totally botched the first two, anyway.
Word Smack is due out this fall, and it won’t set you back a single pe–y.
Did the Battleship movie get you all pumped up and ready to take on some hostile aliens? Yeah, me neither. In fact it was fairly unimpressive. ClassicBattleship, on the other hand, is all kinds of alright. EA Mobile’s upcoming Battleship Airstrike looks to sit somewhere in the middle, containing the spirit of the classic board game and coupling it with a faster-paced asynchronous multiplayer experience.
Imagine a typical game of Battleship. Each player takes their turn one shot at a time, trying to find their opponent and sink their fleet before they meet a similar fate. Battleship Airstrike ratchets the formula up a bit by allowing players to take multiple shots per turn. In addition to that, special limited use shots can be purchased with money earned through play in order to gain some possible advantages. Advantages such as destroying a ship with a single hit or deploying a kind of artillery sonar that doesn’t cause damage but will reveal vessel locations within a certain number of tiles.
Once a turn is completed – which may consist of several strategic bombings and even paying for repairs on your own damaged (damaged, not destroyed) ships – it’s all submitted to the servers and the opposition is alerted. Typical asynchronous multiplayer stuff, really. It’s more the mold-breaking multi shot turns and special shells (not to mention the possibility of repairs!) that make Battleship Airstrike enticing.
Battleship Airstrike should be out sometime this fall.
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.
Theological discussions aside, I imagine it would be pretty tough to build a massive sea-going vessel and then stock it with two of every animal in the world. I also imagine it would be rather difficult to catch up with said super-sized ship once it’s set sail, but that’s exactly what happens in Chillingo’s Catch the Ark.
Noah and a few of his animal buddies have been left behind. Rather than mope around and wait for the floodwaters they decide to get proactive and attempt to chase down the biblical boat. The gameplay, which is still admittedly in fairly early form, takes place on an endless river. Players must guide the tiny raft back and forth in order to avoid obstacles and snag some coinage. These coins can be gathered and used to purchase new dinghies or special power-ups to give their future runs a better chance at success.
I have to admit I was pretty impressed by Catch the Ark, even with the game in such an early form. The visuals are incredibly stylish and colorful, the controls are responsive, and the little detail of animals hanging on the small boat representing “lives” is just brilliant. It’s also worth noting that, at least in this early build, it avoids many of the pitfalls typically associated with Bible-related games. Which is to say it’s more about the game than the Genesis.
Catch the Ark is still too early in development to have an official release date or price, but it’s definitely coming. And it seems like something worth keeping an eye out for.
Imagine a twisted game show in which contestants have to navigate their way through a maze full of hazards in order to earn some potential big bucks. Possibly even their freedom. Okay, not that game. What I’m talking about is Chillingo’s Man in a Maze. It’s a bit less bleak.
For starters, the Man (pictured) is always grinning like a goof. That’s pretty much the tone to expect from Man in a Maze: goofy and lighthearted. In between levels players can potentially spin a large, Price is Right-style wheel for bonuses or even use gems nabbed within a stage to purchase upgrades. Of course the stages themselves can be a bit more punishing than the bright and colorful themes might make them appear.
In my brief time spent with the game I saw a number of variations to the maps, which required completely different strategies. At it’s core, Man in a Maze functions much like a fairly typical maze chase game. Players guide the hapless grinning fool around with a finger drag and attempt to snag gems, avoid enemies, and possibly nail them with a fancy ball or two.
All the family friendly (and universal!) game show of death shenanigans will be coming to the App Store this winter.
What do you think of when I mention fur underwear, lots of muscles, and a really big sword? Okay, it calls a couple of different pop-culture icons to mind but what if I include flowing blond locks and an alter-ego that wears pink tunics? Couldn’t be anyone other than He-Man, could it? Well it is. And The Most Powerful Man in the Universe is getting The Most Powerful Game in the Universe at the end of the month by way of GlitchSoft (Destructopus, Star Marines) and Chillingo.
The developers have teamed-up with Mattel in order to bring the App Store an interactive celebration of the iconic 80’s action figure’s – I mean action hero’s – 30th anniversary. Hem-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is quite possibly the first iOS Tap n’ Slash, too. Players will tear through several different environments and over 25 levels throughout Eternia as they attempt to thwart Skeletor yet again. The game features destructible environments, un-lockable and upgradeable attacks, hidden artwork, a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, and a surprisingly clever control scheme. I didn’t get the chance to play around with it at all but it looks pretty intuitive with the left side for the screen used exclusively for movement and the right for jumping, attacking, and a bunch of special moves.
The glorious homage to one of the manliest toys ever to have graced the 1980s – with its self-referential humor, giant boss battles, and promise of more content in the form of new playable characters and levels in the future – is due out in the App Store at the end of the month, specifically October 25th. I wasn’t able to get a solid price point but it should go for between $0.99 and $1.99. Very soon we’ll all HAAAAVE THE POWEEEEEER! Make sure to use it wisely.
Things are looking pretty grim. A despicable race of alien beings has planted a doomsday device called “The Cosmic Fuse” deep inside the Earth’s core. Rather than wait for a team of semi-washed up actors lead by Hillary Swank to ride a drill train through the center of the Earth we’ve enlisted the help of Verticus, the world’s first (so far as I know) free-falling superhero.
Verticus is a new “endless faller” headed to the App Store courtesy of Moonshark, Controlled Chaos Media (creators of Texting of the Bread), and Stan Lee. Yes, that’s Stan – The Man – Lee. The comic book legend has created a special story and superhero for his first iOS outing, as well as supplying his own voice as the player’s mission commander. Commence geeking out. I was able to have a chat with Moonshark’s CEO, Matt Kozlov, and he filled me in on the whole world-saving affair.
The titular do-gooder must fall his way through the Earth’s atmosphere, past cities and their streets, and beyond its very center in order to reach and diffuse the alien invaders’ bomb. Then he has to make it through to the other side. This isn’t a mere dodge-em-up, however. The fledgling hero will have both offensive and defensive abilities to aid him in his task, as well as a number of upgrades to earn and unlock through multiple playthroughs. So there’s obviously plenty of incentive for multiple replays, what with the upgrades and new suits to earn. It’s also possible (though not necessary) for players to purchase in-game cash to speed up their development if they so desire.
Verticus is slated for a release sometime this fall (we all see what you did there, Moonshark). If you’re too excited to sit idly by and wait for the action to commence, you can also check out the game’s official Facebook page for more details. Oh, and you can enter to win one of a few pieces of official Verticus artwork signed by Stan Lee while you’re there, too. Wait, what?
Just about everyone in the world dreams about having super powers. Flight, strength, x-ray vision, that kind of stuff. While DeNA (think Mobage) and Marvel Entertainment’s upcoming Marvel: War of Heroes may not bestow impossible abilities to its players, it does put them in charge of a slew of iconic heroes.
Assuming the role of a S.H.I.E.L.D agent players will collect cards featuring various Marvel heroes and craft their own super team. Powers and abilities can be fused and upgraded as well, making an already powerful legend even more so. If you’re thinking it sounds similar to the more than a little popular Rage of Bahamut, that’s because it is. And because it’s being crafted by the same developers. Although the story – which is a thing that actually exists in this freemium card game. I know, right? – is all original and comes directly from Marvel itself. As does the art, actually, which is ridiculously awesome.
Marvel: War of Heroes is due to hit the App Store this fall. Anyone with even the slightest interest will be able to check it out for free, but those of us who are already curious can head over to the official website to pre-register. Why? Because it earns a free rare card, among other things. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from playing similar Mobage titles it’s that rare cards, no matter how useful they might be to my strategy, can pay off big. Also it might actually be really cool.
Freemium social games are all well and good, but a number of them are decidedly lacking in certain places. Namely in action. That’s probably why it’s so easy to take notice when companies like Pangalore announce a game like Knightly Adventure.
Knightly Adventure is indeed a social game, and it does indeed possess a bunch of typical fantasy RPG elements; stuff like medieval kingdoms, quests, hostile monsters, colorful storybook-like graphics, and so on. But while it adheres to many freemium norms, it also attempts to deviate in that one key area. Amidst all the kingdom building, character customizing, friend gathering, and so on is a much more interactive action RPG approach to the quests. With the option of choosing between four character classes (swordsman, wizard, bowman, or knight) available to further sweeten the deal.
This free-to-play cross-platform (mobile, tablet, or Facebook) super-hyphenated fantasy adventure will be setting up shop in the App Store sometime next month. Presumably and preferably soon.
I’m not what anyone would consider a soccer fan, but that doesn’t keep me from appreciating all of the cool stuff players can expect to find in EA’s upcoming FIFA 13. This is, of course, in addition to the expected bullet-points such as improved graphics and such.
FIFA 13 is indeed a great looking game. Player animations are incredibly smooth and their likenesses are captured eerily well considering this is an iOS game. Although they do have that creepy blank look that so many real world based character models tend to have. A bunch of smaller details will no doubt cause salivary glands to work overtime as well, including balls sporting the proper logos and all the tiny graphics typically found on a player’s jersey. And all of these fine details can be enjoyed up close and personal thanks to the game’s instant replay feature.
It doesn’t stop with tie visuals though. For the first time ever EA Sports Football Club will make its way into an iOS title. Even better, preexisting accounts will be carried over, so nobody will have to start from scratch on their iOS device. Of course my personal favorite addition is the way special skill shots and moves can be controlled via a second virtual stick on the right-hand side of the screen. Simply tap and drag in a given pattern or direction and the controlled player will start with the fancy footwork.
No information is available yet on pricing, but football (football, football) enthusiasts can expect to find FIFA 13 in the App Store sometime this fall.
It’s always nice to see something a little different in a market saturated with a bunch of “Me, Too” freemium titles. Chillingo‘s Zooniverse is one such deviation for a couple of different reasons, not just because of the unobtrusive tutorial. Seriously, it’s incredible how many developers think interrupting the player with pop-up boxes is “good.” *deep breaths*
While Zooniverse is about running a zoo first and foremost, it’s also about keeping the customers happy. These core customer demographics are divided into three main categories: men, women, and children. Each group has its own preferences when it comes to facilities and adorable critters to ogle, so it’s important to find a balance that caters to everyone. Making more people happy means more money, and more money means being able to expand the zoo with more enclosures, animals, and just space in general.
A great deal of critters ranging from woodland to aquatic, and even prehistoric and outright impossible, can be housed in the many available enclosures. Once an animal is settled in, be it through a purchase or breeding, players have to make sure to keep it well fed. Starvation won’t result in horrible complex-forming consequences, but it will cause the creatures to stop earning cash. So, you know, don’t be a jerk and keep them well-fed.
The burning question of what happens with a mouse is bred with a hippo (a Hippopotamouse) will finally be answered for free later this summer.
When the squirrel god – god of squirrels? I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics of this particular theology. No pun intended – sees a lone bushy-tailed critter dragging itself through the desert, he bestows it with a special acorn that creates a rather large tree. This tree becomes an oasis and eventual home to other wayward squirrels; constantly growing to make room for even more denizens. It’s similar to Tiny Tower, no doubt, but Chillingo‘s Happy Squirrels is much more than a simple re-skinning of a familiar concept.
As the tree grows and floors are added, players are able to choose what rooms they would like to create from a total of 25 different options. These rooms can earn nuts, the game’s main form of currency, at different rates and with different caps on how much they can hold. Each chamber can also be upgraded up to five times, with each iteration able to earn even more, faster. These munchies can be used to purchase new rooms and otherwise expand the tree. Potions, the other form of “kinda” currency, are needed to speed things up if players don’t feel like waiting X-number of hours for construction to finish. Or they can be exchanged for more nuts. Whatever the situation demands.
What really sets Happy Squirrels apart is its level of interactivity. At any time the iOS device can be jostled or titled in order to make the tree’s occupants jump or slide around, respectively. A number of other cosmetic interactive touches such as doorbells to ring, as well as a couple of acorn-earning mini-games, make it feel like there’s always something to do while waiting for the workers to finish their tasks.
Happy Squirrles will be setting up shop for free sometime this summer.
Scientists seem to love locking up tiny animals and experimenting on them. At least in video game fiction. The fortunate thing about this is that it makes for plenty of opportunities to create a game based around escaping the evil scientific facility. In this particular instance it’s the driving factor behind Chillingo and Kiz Studios’ new maze chase iOS title, Critter Escape!.
As is to be expected, players will have to guide a “so ugly it’s cute” critter through level after level of increasingly perplexing mazes full of enemies, obstacles, power-ups, and challenges. Simply completing a stage should be simple enough no matter the player’s gaming prowess, but getting the coveted three star rating will require some fairly significant skills. Especially in the latter half of the game’s 120 levels. This requires not only making it to the exit, but also grabbing the crystal hidden somewhere in the maze, as well as completing a specific challenge such as finishing without being seen or under a certain time limit.
Critter Escape! isn’t just “another” maze chase game, however. While it defaults to a line-drawing control scheme (other options are available, including a virtual stick), it’s a very smart line-drawing controls scheme that automatically finds its way around obstacles. It also features a wealth of customization options that can be cosmetic (i.e. a funny hat) or both cosmetic and game-changing (i.e. a ninja suit that makes it easier to avoid guards). There’s also plenty of hidden content (bonus levels, etc) to encourage repeat play.
Keep an eye out for on-the-lamb potato monsters at the end of the summer, when Critter Escape! will be available to the masses for $0.99.
I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I wish more browser-based games made their way onto iOS. A lot of them are fantastic, but due to various software/hardware constraints they typically don’t function on handheld Apple devices. It’s a shame, really. But what isn’t a shame is that another browser MMO is coming to iOS. And it’s going to be playable across all (read: iOS, Android, HTML 5) platforms.
Dragon Eternity affords players many of the luxuries they expect in their MMOs; more than 1,000 quests, loot drops, 200+ crafting recipes, mounts, powerful bosses, crafting professions, pets, over 500 monsters to fight, custom character development, and five different PvP modes. So yeah, there’s a lot on offer here. The beta version is already sporting over a million registered users, so I think it’s safe to say that it won’t be one of those Massively Multiplayer Ghost Towns that some of these games tend to be when they first launch.
It’s still in open beta via the browser version, but once Dragon Eternity is complete it will be available for iOS (most likely iPad) and Android devices as well. It’s also going to be free-to-play so there’s no need to start saving up for the eventual release.
Ham in the Fridge, those responsible for the well received if a bit disturbing 5 Minutes to Kill (Yourself), have been up to something. They’ve been lurking in the shadows, left to their own devices, doing something altogether unseemly. They’ve been Bumpin’ Uglies. I’ve recently had the chance to talk a bit with Brett Hummel (Creative Director) and Drew Pearson (Director, Business Development) about their odd little creation and have come away from the discussion feeling more than a little excited. Not that kind of excited.
Bumpin’ Uglies isn’t quite the depiction of debauchery that many would expect given the (awesome) title. Uglies are, in fact, these small lima bean-looking critters who are about as smart as a sack of dirt and can only get around by way of being flung. Players have to guide their ugly through a given level (32 total at the moment), gathering shinys and coins along the way, until they manage to collide with the ugly waiting at the other end. Hence the bumping. This creates a temporary whirlwind of activity, followed by the production of a number of “bumplings” possessing traits from both parent uglies. And some recessive genes, naturally. Coins gathered throughout each level can be used to unlock new level packs (3 available at launch with more to follow), more ugly parts for further customization, and special boosts (4 types available at launch) that can be used to make getting around a bit easier.
Bumpin’ Uglies is slated to release later this summer for free. If it sounds like a game worth playing (and it should), head on over to the Kickstarter page to lend a financial hand. Come on, you know you want to.
Everyone’s messed around with building bocks in some form or another at some point in their life. Everyone. It’s kind of a universal thing. Which is a big reason as to why I’m somewhat amazed that very few people have attempted to merge the concept with interactive design. It’s one of those ideas that doesn’t seem obvious until someone comes up with it. And Boldai came up with it.
Blocksworld is, in essence, a set of virtual building blocks. Structures can be cobbled together, tiny people can be crafted, and all manner of impossible creations can appear with a few taps and flicks. But simply creating a thing is only the beginning. Once that mutant frog or towering skyscraper is complete, it can be brought to life or used as an asset in an animated movie or even video game. This is because it’s more than just a sandbox, it’s an incredibly easy to use toolset for creative types.
Any iOS user can open up Blocksworld and create whatever their imagination can come up with. Then they can use it to create their own action movie or turn it into a game, then they can share it with the world on the official website. Or Twitter and Facebook, of course. The tools are rudimentary but the sky is indeed the limit.
Blocksworld is still in beta but is expected to release later this summer. There’s no official word on pricing yet but users will be able to purchase additional content packs (prices also TBD) in order to bolster their creative arsenal.
When a super nova threatens a planet full of cats (multiple planets, actually), the self-appointed task of saving them falls on a pair of big-hearted extraterrestrials. The duo will have to hop from world to world, gathering as many kitties as they can before the time limit runs out. Then doing it again, of course. Because CATS, people. Because cats.
The gameplay functions as a sort of weird combination of gravity-based claw machine meets incremental in-game improvements found in titles like Katamari Damacy. The ship’s tractor beam can only pick up the smaller felines at first, but after enough of them are carried off it gains strength and can be used to lift much larger targets. Coins earned through play can be used to buy new ships or upgrade a specific one, while stars acquired through achievement-like progress will unlock new worlds. And there are always special hidden kitties to find and (hopefully) rescue.
The US release of Cats Away should be out sometime around the end of June/beginning of July and $0.99 is all that’s needed to secure this universal iOS cat carrier.
After a recent SHMUP release (okay, not so recent. And they pretty much do SHMUPs exclusively), Cave is poised to drop another one on us. Kind of. Bug Princess 2 Black Label is more like a Director’s Cut than a real sequel, but it might just be the be-all-end-all version for series fans to get.
The key story and gameplay elements are exactly the same as the original Bug Princess 2. Make no mistake, however, there’s new stuff to justify the purchase. Even more bullets are included in this version, which is something I would never have considered possible but there it is. Players can also recreate a near arcade-perfect experience by slowing down the action (i.e. simulating processor strain). But by far the most interesting addition is the new Boss Rush Mode. All of the massive bosses from the first and second game are here, and high scores can be posted for bragging rights. There was also mention of an option to save progress, but details are still a little scarce at this point.
Bug Princess 2 Black Label has no definitive release date or price at the moment. Presumably it should be out in the next few months, and most likely sell for anywhere between $5 and $15 using Cave’s previous titles as a guide, but that’s all speculation. It is coming, though. And it’s looking like it’ll be glorious.
In some ways the original Shadowrun was a little before my time. Only a little, though. I was actually just too young to appreciate tabletop role playing games when I was eight. But I did appreciate the kick-ass SNES video game spin-off, and I even managed to come back to (and run) the pen and paper original in high school. Like many people I have very fond memories of street samurai and wage mages, so the news that Jordan Weisman (the original creator) plans to bring it back to PC, Mac, and tablets fills me with glee and makes me squeal like an excited school girl. Complete with jumping up and down repeatedly.
As is the apparently very successful trend right now, Harebrained Schemes has taken their idea to the Kickstarter community instead of a publisher. Ordinarily I’d try to rally the troops in an attempt to ensure that they meet their goal but that’s already happened. Like, a while ago. The developer is already at three times their goal to start working on the turn-based, player-driven RPG. That’s not to say that people should stop donating, though. If they can make another 200K or so (reaching 1.75 million) then Physical Adepts will be added. As one of many who have “seen” what physical adepts are capable of, this excites me.
The project still has a little over two days before it’s finished so we all have time to make our pledges. Virtually all of the game is pure speculation at this point, but I have every confidence in Mr. Weisman and his team. And I could not be looking forward to raiding mega corporations more.
Hearing about an adventure/music/rpg is enough to pique my interest, and that’s exactly what Arman Bohn‘s Arranger is setting out to be. However, reading over a few of the more descriptive elements has gotten me more than interested. It’s gotten me downright excited, actually.
“The game is an Adventure/RPG that combines elements from classics like The Legend of Zelda, WarioWare and the original Sierra adventure games,” according to the developer. Now if that doesn’t get people’s attention then I suppose there’s no hope for the world. The mini-game laden adventure is looking pretty fantastic in a simple, retro-esque sort of way. Players will be controlling the tiny musician as they attempt to save the world in a less-then-typical fashion. Rather than direct combat or level-grinding, they’ll be gathering a number of musical instruments in order to craft a tune that will avoid whatever this particular catastrophe entails.
Arranger is still a little ways out, being slated for a Summer 2012 release, but it definitely looks like something to keep an eye on. If the trailer below is any indication, it just might be worth the wait. It’s also apparently going to have some great music.
People love stuff like Google Maps. There’s just something about viewing satellite images of one’s neighborhood that’s kinda neat. Know what’s even neater? Tossing customizable zombie outbreaks into the mix.
Binary Space is set to release an iOS edition of their rather popular PC sandbox thingie. Zombie Outbreak Simulator utilizes Google Maps in order to allow users to unleash the Living Dead practically anywhere. Even right in their own backyard. A number of variables can be tweaked, such as zombie speed and number of law enforcement officials, giving users tons of possible scenarios to set up and watch unfold. New to the iOS release is the ability to zoom in and out to view the action from a detached aerial view to a far more intimate low-flying bird’s eye view, complete with animated characters.
Zombie Outbreak Simulator should be popping up in the App Store by the end of the month. Zombie nuts, crazy survivor types, and anyone simply looking for a fun and goofy map app will be able to get their hands on it for $1.99.
Even with all the praise the Infinity Blade series has gotten since its introduction, there’s usually one major complaint people have: there’s no freedom of movement. A rather silly gripe seeing as open-world style exploration isn’t the point (plus it would be ridiculously taxing on the hardware with those graphics), but it’s still probably the most common one seen in user reviews and the like. Infinity Blade: Dungeons has no such movement restrictions. It’s also a fairly major departure from the gameplay series fans are used to.
Infinity Blade: Dungeons takes place thousands of years before the events in the first game, with players taking control of a weaponsmith on a quest to forge the legendary sword that’s at the center of it all. At its core, it’s a dungeon crawler. No more tapping from point-to-point and watching cutscenes and no more one-on-one bouts. Enemies can and will swarm and the player character can and will destroy them mightily with plenty of fast-paced combat and AOE (area of effect) strikes. And of course, being a weaponsmith means there will also be crafting. No word yet on what that would entail, specifically, but it’s going to be in there.
Infinity Blade: Dungeons is due out later this year (no specific date or price, naturally). It’s looking like it’ll be available across most iOS platforms, but will look its best on the iPad 2 as expected.
Okay folks, time to get ready. Start clearing off some space on that iOS device and set aside plenty of alone time because Hunters 2 is looming on the horizon. And not one of those “further away than it seems” horizons. I’m talking the kind of horizon that’s really, really close.
The original game was something of a smashing success, but it wasn’t exactly perfect. Many users took issue with the somewhat limited arsenal, the lack of much variation for the contracts, the repetitive environments, and so on. Well Rodeo Games has taken the criticism to heart. Hunters 2 will feature the same ridiculously awesome strategy gameplay, but also includes more. As in more of everything. More weapons, more environments, more gear, more environments, and even more features. Such as a full-blown campaign mode (*SQUEEE!!!*) It’s also looking pretty spiffy with the new real-time lighting effects. And are those new enemy types I see in those screen shots? I think they are.
Regrettably there still aren’t any real specifics about the launch, but Rodeo Games estimates that we can all look forward to seeing Hunters 2 on the App Store in just a couple of weeks. How much it’ll cost is still up in the air, but honestly, does it really matter? I’m fairly certain there are a ton of iOS users that are anxious to jump on it as soon as it’s available, no matter the price. Myself included.
Being a cute and cuddly critter must really suck. It seems like the more adorable something is, the more likely it’ll be harassed by zombies or space aliens or something. In the case of Kung Fu Rabbit it’s decidedly the latter. An entire village of fluffy bunny children has been abducted and it’s up to the lone remaining Kung Fu master to bring them all home.
Players will jump, slide, wall-jump/slide and beat the tar out of baddies throughout 70 levels. With two different difficulty modes, no less. Carrots can be earned and spent on various accouterments, lending a bit of a personal touch to each individual’s rabbit. Some will no doubt also like to know that Kung Fu Rabbit will support Airplay (720p), iCloud and the iCade.
Release details are still a bit lacking in specificity, but Kung Fu Rabbit should be making its way onto the App Store in early March. There’s also no official word on a price, but it’s going to be universal so at least we know
Holy crap. No, seriously, holy crap. Pixowl Inc, in collaboration with Bulkypix, are poised to unleash something major on the App Store. It might look like a simple toy at first, but make no mistake: The SandBox is packing some seriously intense concepts behind that cute facade.
When The SandBox first caught my attention, I thought it looked like a nifty little pixelated world-building game. In a way, it kind of is. However, I was thoroughly unprepared for just how many different aspects of this created world could be manipulated. Water will flow down hills, erode stone into sand, turn dirt into fertile soil, evaporate in extreme heat and freeze in extreme cold. Flowers and trees can grow. Weather will develop based largely on the environment. Players can even make rudimentary circuits to do anything from heating to creating light.
The SandBox is still very much in beta at the moment, but that’s no reason not to get excited. What’s already implemented is pretty amazing, actually. A lot of specifics are still up in the air, such as the final number of “story” levels (currently around 20), price and release date. It’s kind of a shame because this is all so cool, but then again it’s probably best not to rush things. Although the super-curious or anxious can try to get in to the beta. No guarantees, though. Regardless, be sure to keep an eye out for The SandBox whenever it does hit the App Store.
The darkness is coming. It won’t give up. Ever. The only option is to run. Dodge obstacles, plan ahead and only resort to direct conflict when there’s absolutely no other choice. But most importantly: Never. Stop. Running.
InterWave Studios, in collaboration with EVENT Interactive, is bringing one of the best indie runners this side of Canabalt to iOS. rComplex is a beautifully stylized runner with a story. One that will only fully reveal itself to those with the fortitude and reflexes to brave all seven of the world’s environments. Players control a nameless “running man” as he jumps, ducks, dodges and sprints from his seemingly omniscient pursuer.
Aside from looking super-awesome (no, really, look at those screens!) it also offers up a bit more variety than a standard runner. Each level involves running of a sort, certainly, but some use close-quarters to up the tension while others utilize lane-changing motorcycle chases. Plus there’s that story I mentioned that can be uncovered through a combination of progress and item/secret discovery.
There’s no official price announcement yet, but rComplex is due out at the end of February. All things considered, I don’t think I mind having to wait another month to get some hands-on time. I’m fairly certain it’ll be worth it.