Yesterday at Apple's WWDC 2014 keynote, Epic Games showed off Zen Garden, a demo that was created using Metal and Unreal Engine 4. The scene was built in order to demonstrate dynamic scenes and huge vistas using both technologies, and can be seen in the keynote if you skip to around the 99 minute mark.
Zen Garden will be available on the App Store after iOS8's public release this Fall, with further details set to be announced in a live stream on Twitch this Thursday. Metal will be introduced into Unreal Engine 4 "at an appropriate time" after beta NDAs for it have been lifted.
That's what Man of Steel makes me do. Let out an overly-elongated sigh. It's a mediocre Infinity Blade clone that's half-complete at best. It makes last year's Avengers Initiative look inspired by comparison. That game at least dared to have multiple settings! This game is definitive proof that Batman is better, at least at Infinity Blade knock-offs: Arkham City Lockdown is a rather respectable title.
Man of Steel is a carbon copy of the Infinity Blade combat model: one-on-one fights, attacks in the cardinal directions, blocking, parrying, dodging, two different special attacks that charge up, tapping on the screen to win grapples, all that fun stuff. It's nothing new. There's no exploration outside of combat, any progression is done through menus. Players earn experience which can be used to upgrade Superman to higher levels, and fight in the Survival mode to grind for additional XP, though that mode also provides the bulk of the replay value. Thankfully there's no hackneyed "forced to start over" mechanic like in Avengers Initiative.
The game is dominantly familiar, but let me at least praise what little good it does. Dodging used as ninety-degree turns, which can be used to send enemies careening into the environment, which can cause experience bonuses and additional damage, is at least original. Sending enemies flying into the sky to be wailed on is pretty cool. Yet, there's something about the way that Superman just senselessly damages his surroundings that feels out of touch with the character. It's part of the phenomenon that Zack Stentz, co-writer of the Thor movie, describes well. All in all, the game is okay, but I never really had much fun with it. It's a very short game, and the fact that $4.99 doesn't even get players a universal app is an insult.
The biggest insult is that the game is seemingly half-complete. There's notably only one environment: Smallville. Sure, there's different parts of it, but the action never actually leaves there. It gets to just be so dull after a short while. Then, the final level comes around, which is a triple-decker insult: it rehashes bosses, including rehashing the first boss as the last boss in a three-boss sequence, and then it turns out that it's the end of the game. No big fight against Zod--it's "to be continued."
What's not to be continued is this game's continuing presence on my iPad.
This week at 148Apps.com, writer Carter Dotson reviewed one of the most anticipated iOS games in recent memory - Infinity Blade II. Dotson writes, "Most of what is new here is a modified and extended progression structure. Instead of one path leading to a final boss, where failure means starting over, there are now several of them, with more branching paths to explore. There are 3 different weapon types now: the traditional swords, slow and heavy axes that deal more damage, and speedy dual swords that deal less base damage, but can do double damage once combos are started. The story is more fleshed out, with actual speaking dialogue from characters besides the God King."
Meanwhile, our attention was turned to more artistic matters at GiggleApps, as Amy Solomon reviewed Auryn – Van Gogh and the Sunflowers. Solomon says, "The look of this app is terrific, with illustrations evoking the style that Van Gogh is known for, complete with bold color choices and noticeable use of brush strokes, but maintains a childlike quality that fits well within this storybook. The jazzy music used is also wonderful, relaxing as well as engaging and very enjoyable to listen to even for long periods of time. The narration used here is also quite good. Parents will also like that each spoken word is highlighted red to aid the young children new to the world of reading."
Finally, 148Apps.biz site editor Rob Lefebvre reported on tablet users and their media consumption. LeFebvre writes, "In a study put out by comScore and reported by Fierce Mobile Content and the appside, interested parties can see that the number one use of tablet devices is games, with 67% of surveyed tablet users saying they’ve played a game at least once in the past month, as compared to 49% of smartphone users surveyed. 23% of those surveyed said they’d played a game on their tablet EVERY DAY. That’s a good number."
That's our wrap-up for this week. While you're out getting all of your holiday shopping done, don't forget to check us out on our Facebook and Twitter feeds to find out the latest and greatest news, reviews and contests. Feliz Navidad!
Nexon Mobile, developers of Maple Story Cygnus Knights Edition, has announced a new first person shooter for iOS, Combat Arms: Zombies. The game will be based off Combat Arms, a free to play game for PC. Specifically, this game is based off of the Fireteam mode of the original, which puts players against oncoming enemy hordes, trying to survive and advance from checkpoint to checkpoint. As the title insinuates, the iOS version features that latest cultural craze, zombies, as the foe of choice. Nexon Mobile plans to release the game later this November after debuting the game at South Korea's G-Star gaming expo on November 10th. The game will be available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, amd while there has been no confirmation, it will likely be a free to play title like the PC version. The game will be running on Unreal Engine 3, and according to Nexon Mobile CEO, Albert Rim, it "will set a new standard for graphics...on mobile devices." Check out a teaser trailer for the game below.