Whale Trail, ustwo’s stylish endless runner, is about to make another big PIVOT 180°™. The game is going to shift to a free to play model in the coming weeks. The game is going to be more akin to Jetpack Joyride or Temple Run than the pure score experience that it was previously. Now players earn an in-game currency called krill while playing, that can be spent on new costumes for Willow, along with powers and items for Willow to use, all in the name of higher scores. Of course, it will be possible to buy krill with in-app purchases as well.
For those who purchased the game in the past, and are potentially angry about that $0.99 game they bought shifting to free, well ustwo is hoping to soothe those fears by giving previous paid users a big bag of krill for their trouble. Just what I always wanted! Dr. Zoidberg should be excited too. ustwo are hoping that this update turns the game from a Succailure™ into a just plain success. The update is due to hit in the coming weeks.
Chillingo and Ars Thanea Games have announced their new upcoming genre-bending puzzle game Puzzle Craft, coming soon to iOS. This multifaceted game will have players trying to build a farm through resource collection. Yes, that sounds like many games that already exist, but Puzzlecraft is going to try and blend actual gameplay in with the formula. Players can havest and mine for materials in a puzzle board akin to a game like Dungeon Raid, where pieces adjacent in any direction can be collected. Harvested materials from the field can be converted in to materials to help stay in the mines longer. The collected resources can be used to buy new buildings, hire new workers, and get better tools.
The current plan is for the game to launch at a low entry price point supported by in-app purchases: coins can be purchased, along with additional moves to mine for a longer time. A tie-in Facebook game involving the mining game is in the works as well. Puzzle Craft is scheduled to hit the App Store at some point in the coming months.
Poker Pals, the asynchronous multiplayer poker/Scrabble hybrid released late last year, is about to be reborn. Better, faster, stronger than it was before.
The big new feature is the new Epic game mode. This takes place on an 11×11 game board, with two decks of cards coming into play. Jokers are no longer static corner cards in this mode; now they are actually playable cards that users can play. As well, 2x and 3x hand multiplier squares are available to make that great hand really sting.
On the technical side of things, the update will support the iPad Retina Display. Account creation and sign-in will be easier, with the ability to sign in via Twitter and Facebook along with email. Accounts will still synchronize across devices. It’ll be easier to plan out future moves while waiting for an opponent to make their move as well.
The update will be releasing in a few weeks, though we don’t have a date we can share yet. The iPhone/iPod touch version of the game is going to shift to a single free-to-play universal app, with the iPad version and both free versions of the game being removed from the App Store. However, all previous users, including those of the free version, will get free upgrades to the full version of the new app when they download it.
Spacetime Studios’ long-awaited new MMO, Dark Legends, has finally released on Android and Google Chrome. Spacetime claims that this is the first simultaneous cross-platform launch of an MMORPG; while their previous games were all playable cross-platform via iOS, Android, and Chrome, this is the first title to launch with support for multiple platforms.
I spoke recently with Cinco Barnes at Spacetime Studios, and he remarked on how this entry in the series is designed to have a different appeal than other games in the series. This is designed to be more like classical vampire legends versus ‘modern’ vampires like the Twilight series. Vampires are designed to be powerful, and their attacks are meant to have a brutality to them. The game overall is designed to appeal to an older audience, with buckets of blood, darker environments, and vampires that aren’t afraid to show some skin.
The game uses a new structure, with story events that can be viewed to advance the story and collect rewards. The combat missions are still there, and it’s of course possible to play both online and solo in these missions. New outfits can be bought, other players can be interacted with in the game’s overworld, and there’s also player-vs-player combat available through this overworld.
Combat has been modified to add charge attacks, which deal extra damage; it’s possible to even charge up special attacks for extra effects. Note that special attacks draw from the same blood meter as health does. However, it’s also possible to feed on enemies’ blood, refilling that meter.
The game is available now on Google Play for Android, and from the Chrome Web Store. The iOS version is expected to release after a two-week exclusivity period with Google, but player accounts will transfer between platforms by logging into the same account; it currently works between the Chrome and Android versions, just as it worked with Pocket Legends and Star Legends.
The latest episode in the Sonic revival series finally has a release date. Sonic 4: Episode 2 will release on May 15th. Letting players control both Sonic and his trusty ally Tails with a revamped physics system, and new partner abilities for the two characters. As well, the classic special stages from Sonic 2 will return in this game, possibly the final episode in the Sonic 4 series.
The other big piece of news from this announcement is that for those who bought Sonic 4 Episode 1 and buy Episode 2, a special Episode Metal will be made available. These levels will let players play as Metal Sonic in special repurposed levels from Sonic 1, and will help set up the story in Episode 2, where Metal Sonic will serve as a key antagonist.
Jetpack Joyride‘s 1.3 update is still in the works, and Halfbrick continues to roll out teaser trailers showing off some of the new gadgets that will be made available. The latest animated teaser is for the Gravity Belt. While its effects are still somewhat unknown, it appears as if gravity will greatly increase while using this belt. Will this make it easier to fall to the floor when up high, helping those runs go up even longer? We’ll soon learn just what exactly it does, as the update is scheduled to hit this month. The only other of the 15 total gadgets revealed so far are the Air Barrys and the Freeze-O-Matic, each with their own teaser trailer. Any two Gadgets will be usable together, though they will unlock in tiers of three each. So until this major update finally hits, keep collecting those coins, and get ready for the Gadget onslaught.
Aliens vs. Humans was created as an homage to the X-Com franchise. That means 90′s-style turn-based strategy action. However, this iOS game only had the combat element of the formula, which many players and our own Rob Rich enjoyed, but many people felt like something was missing. Well, developer Leisurerules has heard these complaints. They are now hard at work on version 2.0 of Aliens vs. Humans, which will add those other strategic elements to the game that people have loudly claimed was missing.
This means that players will be able to build and maintain bases all across the globe. The objective is ultimately to explore Earth to find the hidden alien teleporters, along the way researching teleportation. This will start off with being able to detect different degrees of teleporter activity, which will eventually lead to players being able to build their own teleporter to take the fight directly to the aliens, using recovered alien technology. Teleportation can also be researched as an ability to use in battle, to rapidly move units across the map. The game is still in development, with plans to come out before the early summer, to hopefully quell the anger of those who are so mad about not being able to build bases that they will give a game a lower score in an App Store review. Until that day, this trailer showing off a demo of base building is available.
With The Walking Dead TV series’ second season coming to a close, fans may be feeling listless, sauntering around without a purpose, wondering just what brains taste like, anyway. Well, for those who can’t get enough of the franchise, the first trailer for The Walking Dead game coming from Telltale has been revealed. Showcasing original artwork for the game and providing the first glimpse of the game in motion, it shows that the brutality of the series is well-represented. The games are not based off of the TV show, but features an original story and new characters, taking place in the world of the comic book series. So, there will be thematic similarities, but this is an original story and experience.
The first episode of the game is scheduled to release initially for PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 in April, with plans for other platforms announced later. Five episodes are planned in total, to be released monthly. Check out the trailer below, featuring the first glimpses of gameplay. As well, the official site has a video series on what has gone into the development of the game.
This Thursday, another slot on the top 25 apps likely goes to a galaxy far, far, away as Rovio Entertainment prepares to launch Angry Birds Space. Pun semi-intended. Details and teasers have been slowly trickling out over the last few weeks, but the most substantial trailer yet has been released. This one shows off some actual gameplay footage, revealing some of the most radical changes to the core Angry Birds formula yet.
Gravity will be the big factor that comes in to play here. In particular, gravity will be going every which way, with gravitational fields that will reverse gravity and flip turn things upside down. Thought levels were hard before when they were on relatively flat terrain? Now prepare to launch around spherical planets! Good luck! Pigs will even be floating in space, suspended in bubbles, that players must hit to send to their doom. There are even new giant boss pigs that must be taken down as well. If pigs have developed space travel, why are they still going after the malcontent birds’ eggs? Couldn’t they just genetically engineer their own? Perhaps the game will explain this.
Many of the classic birds will be back, with two key additions. The Lazer Bird is the same basic idea as the yellow bird from the original game, but will change angle suddenly when the screen is tapped. The Ice Bird explodes and freezes everything in a nearby radius when it hits something. The Boomerang Bird is nowhere to be seen, thankfully.
Angry Birds Space releases this Thursday on the App Store, and while Rovio hasn’t said anything about pricing, or if they’ll finally release the game as a universal app, we’ll know soon enough. As a starter, The Daily has also released a special Birds in Space app that features articles on the creation of the game, with behind-the-scenes details and concept art on the making of the game.
Meat: it’s what’s for dinner. This is basically the driving concept of Milkman Games’ upcoming Amazing MeatBot, which they recently demoed at GDC. The game involves making sure that the eponymous carnivorous robot devours only tasty meat, and not consuming any vegetables. This involves holding down on the screen to open up Amazing MeatBot’s amazing robot mouth, and then performing a variety of gestures in order to get rid of the vegetables. Sure, some could just bounce harmlessly off of the robot’s closed mouth, but others must be tapped and swiped away to make sure they can’t bring any harm to Amazing MeatBot at all.
For the vegetarian and vegan readers who lasted this long without recoiling in horror, a future update may introduce a character who has a higher opinion of veggies.
Amazing MeatBot releases on April 19th for not just iOS, but pretty much every other mobile OS under the sun. Check out the trailer below.
Toki Tori 2 is well underway, and Two Tribes’ Martin Reujvers and Collin Ginkel demoed the Mac version of the game at GDC’s Hollan Pavilion. The game ditches any kind of item usage as in the original, instead focusing on stomping and whistling actions that are used to interact with the environment. For example, by stomping, it can scare one creature into the mouth of a frog, who then produces a bubble that Toki Tori can ride in.
The team is striving to not lock anything artificially; everything in the game will be possible from the beginning. They are calling this a series of “knowledge-based unlocks” where the player is taught new things throughout the game, that they can then go back to use in earlier sections to find new collectibles and discover new paths through levels. They demonstrated this in several points throughout the demo, like in one area where players could discover a hidden area at the very beginning of the demo by using what they learned later on in it.
Toki Tori 2 will be released for iOS later this year, utilizing similar touch controls as the original iOS game. The PC/Mac versions are expected to launch in June, with iOS and possibly Android versions launching after that.
While the world waits for RedLynx to make a mobile version of their most popular game on consoles, Trials HD, they had a new iOS title to show off: MotoHeroz. Based off of the popular WiiWare game, we got our hands on the game at Ubisoft’s San Francisco headquarters. Playing like a more involved 1000 Heroz, the goal is to get to the end of levels fraught with crazy loops, obstacles, and that familiar nemesis: bottomless pits. The game is laid out with a more traditional level system than 1000 Heroz’s daily races, where there are 6 worlds with levels to try and get three-star ratings in. There are also hidden treasure chests that involve creative driving to collect.
MotoHeroz boasts a more robust ghost system. There are ghosts for not just the next star rating to pursue, but also for the best ghost time for friends, though this was not working when we tested it out. RedLynx’s Pekka Kupiainen claims that the game will sync up the ghosts from both the iPhone and iPad versions of the game.MotoHeroz will release worldwide on the 15th, and will be available for iPhone and iPad.
Indepndent developer David Hovanky has announced his new iOS game, Proton Boy. The game will let players take to the skies a jetpack-powered hero, whose goal is to help defend the Omega Alpha system from an armada of menacing aliens: the Vectaran. Players will use their accelerometer to fly through the skies, taking out their ships. There will also be levels with obstacles to fly around, and open-arena segments where players do that AND take down enemies. Players will earn money for destroying baddies and picking up star coins, which can be spent on upgrades like giant weaponized alien-destroying armor. Of course, considering that the player is controlling the very last line of defense, why the forces of humanity wouldn’t just give him the most powerful weapons right away isn’t exactly clear. But hey, times are tough and capitalism is still king, and no alien is ever going to take that away from us! Proton Boy is currently in development, with plans to release this winter.
In development game, Dragons vs. Unicorns, announced a single player mode to its soon-to-be-released game.
Single player gameplay in Dragons vs. Unicorns consists of protecting unicorn eggs in their nests while waves of various Dragon Minions come in successful levels to destroy them. The player earns points for hatching more unicorns and earns gold for killing the minions. Golden eggs occasionally appear that hatch the special Golden Unicornling. Protecting bunnies is also a priority. The bunnies come from the opposite side of the screen to incubate the unicorn eggs. Hedgehogs, which apparently have a magical pact with the unicorns, can be used to throw boomerang-style into the minions to cause maximum destruction. Check out the labeled picture in the gallery for a more detailed account of gameplay.
Digital Harmony Games already has one game on the App Store, Chin Up. Dragons vs. Unicorns is projected to be released with both single and VS modes, player data options, and social connectivity. To keep up with development of Dragons vs. Unicorns, keep an eye on the Digital Harmony Games blog here.
Nitro Games have announced an iOS spinoff of their pirate-themed PC game Pirates of Black Cove, Sink ‘Em All – and they have an entertaining trailer to go along with it. This will take the ship combat gameplay of the PC version and make it the featured element, essentially a naval isometric shooter with cannons to fire, and booty to plunder. Well, at least this is an arcade-styled interpretation of the whole process – that ship is clearly traveling faster through water faster than any real ship would. Also, while pirates may be heavily mythologized by our society, I’m pretty sure none of them used “Fart Bombs” in order to fell their foes. I’m no historian, though, so maybe they did. Their trailer, embedded below, shows just how this game’s combat system would apparently work in an office environment, or at least one where conflict resolution comes through the launching of cannonballs at one another. Pirates of Black Cove: Sink ‘Em All is coming soon, and will be free to play.
When it comes to racing games on iOS, it is safe to say that there are more than a couple of options. However, very few have the look and feel of the gorgeous visuals found in a Square Enix game. Though it isn’t from the famed Japanese developer, the upcoming game Speed Blazers, from developer Fraktalvoid seems to to be hitting on many of the same visual cues. If you are still skeptical, take a look at the trailer below and judge for yourself:
Now do you see what we mean? Regardless of how the game actually looks, there seems to be a very interesting and strategical approach to racing that might be worth taking a good long look at. The title will feature thirty two stages at launch, with more to come down the road. It is slated to hit the App Store in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eye out. But be careful, Speed Blazers might be so fast that you just might miss it!
The Tinké plugs directly into an iOS device, and users touch its sensor directly with their finger. By touching this, the device claims that it can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and the oxygen level in a person’s blood, making it essentially a pulse oximeter for an iOS device. It measures these then rates the person on its “Vita Index”, which is based on the quality of the measured information. Tinké also can track this information over time, so people can see how their health is changing, and preferably for the better! People can share this information with friends and family, with the ability to comment on Vita Indices, to share tips and encouragement. As well, users can share their Vita Scores anonymously, with the ability to compare their scores with other people in their age group.
The Tinké will come in four colors: black, red, white and an aqua blue. Zensorium is currently taking reservations, with a target price of $99, although there is no planned release date for the hardware. As well, there is no indication if this will officially support the iPad. Will the information be cloud-based, or device-based, so users could potentially use the Tinké dongle on their other iOS devices, like iPod touch or iPad, and will the network be available through the web? Plus, will it work? Will all the measurements, especially oxygen measurement, really be accurate based on just using a dongle? Other pulse oximeters are intrusion free, but use a closed design; will the open ended design of Tinké negatively affect measurement? These are important questions to be answered as Tinké reaches its release date in the indefinite future.
Kickstarter is increasingly being used to help finance the development of apps; the latest attempt at financing an app through the crowdsourced funding site is an interactive story app called The Last Sleeper. This app will feature the work of Halo 4 producer and designer Kendall Davis, Lord of the Rings sound designer (and Oscar winner) Ethan Van Der Wyn, composer Steve Jablonsky (known for Gears of War 3 and Transformers), among other veterans of the gaming industry working on this app. The story is described as a hybrid of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance, featuring characters Adam and Fera, who develop their relationship as they try to restore their planet of Ephos. However, hurdles arise, and an evil entity named The Shadow must be dealt with along with their personal issues. User input will help to guide and direct the story along, which tries to integrate the sound and visual design along with the user interactions. The app is currently in the funding stage, and is planned for release in the summer of 2012. For more details and concept art, check out The Last Sleeper‘s Kickstarter page.
Robot Entertainment, developers of titles like Age of Empires Online and Orcs Must Die!, are making their debut on iOS with Hero Academy. Despite their name, this game appears to be attempting to entertain humans as well as machines. This is a turn-based strategy game, pitting teams like the good Council versus the evil Dark Elves. They look dark and evil, so they must be evil! Combat is grid-based, where players send units to attack enemy units head on, and use abilities and spells to attack across multiple squares. The ultimate goal is to destroy the opponent’s crystal to win the game. Hero Academy will feature asynchronous online multiplayer, so players can take on their friends and frenemies whenever they darn well feel like. Robot Entertainment will be unveiling more teams, characters, and abilities, many of which will be available as in-app purchass, in the lead up to the game’s release, set for this winter.
Telltale Games has announced their latest series based on a well-known license: Law & Order: Legacies. This episodic series will feature characters from both the classic long-running original Law & Order TV series, as well as from the still-running Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. The likenesses of Jerry Orbach, Benjamin Bratt, Sam Waterston, Mariska Hargitay, and other actors from both series will be featured in the upcoming episodes. Players will act in both investigator and prosecutor roles, making decisions along the way that will affect the outcomes of cases. The games will debut on iOS first, making their appearance as universal apps starting this month, with 2 ‘cases’ set to release. 5 more cases will be released in the next few months, along with PC and Mac versions of the games. Telltale Games has released a behind-the-scenes video discussing the storyline of the series and how they’re bringing the characters from across the franchise together.
Austin-based White Whale Games has announced their first game for iOS, God of Blades. While the game is in an early state at this point, the developers have launched a Kickstarter page to help fund continued development of the game. The page has already met its goal, though donations are still accepted, with rewards such as original artwork for those who donate funds. The game itself will be a 2.5D action-platformer, featuring weapon-based combat.
The studio claims to be drawing inspiration from 70′s fantasy themes that inspired the sword-and-sorcery (not Sworcery) stories and artwork that also had an influence on the burgeoning rock and metal of that era (which still has an influence on bands like The Sword to this day). The concept artwork shows off this influence rather clearly, as if they were plucked straight out of the 1970′s, either by way of time travel or wizard’s spell to bring them to the present. Lost artwork and books are also part of the story, as fictional fantasy novels will play a part in the game’s world-building and internal fiction. There are also some ambiguous details on the use of geolocation to tie users in to the experience, although this should become more clear as the game enters further into development.
White Whale Games is comprised of 3 primary employees, working with outside programmers and musicians to help work on the game. Of particular note is the studio’s Creative Director, Jason Rosenstock. He most recently worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic for BioWare, and some of his work designing planets in that game will be seen when the game releases.
God of Blades is still a long way out, as work continues on the gameplay and artwork to make it look as close to their vision as possible. We’ll have more on this title as it nears its completion, as White Whale offers up a general release date of pre-Summer 2012. Want to check out a very, very early taste of what the game has to offer? Try this “First stage preview build” of an “interactive environment” in the Unity Web Player.
The NBA is coming back! Huzzah! What once looked like a bleak winter sports landscape of misery and despair will now be full of the pittering and pattering of wealthy millionaires pounding the rock in the hardwood. How else were we going to entertain ourselves? By watching hockey? Pfft. The other beautiful thing about the NBA coming back? It feels appropriate to play basketball games, and one title is hoping to capture some of that basketball fever.
NBA King of the Court is an augmented reality basketball game that involves geolocation. It’s developed by new mobile developer Ogmento, who are focusing on augmented reality and geolocation games, such as this one. Players compete to get the high scores on courts located near them. Hoops are located and played by pointing a camera-equipped iOS device around them to find hoops to shoot on. Players then try to sink as many shots as possible in a short time limit, by using a timing bar-based shooting system. Success earns coins that can be spent on powerups and other items. Additional attempts on a court can add to the player’s high score, although players only have a limited number of balls to shoot, though more are added over time.
Once they become the king of the court (hey, there’s that title!), then they can customize the hoop to their liking. This includes things like team logos, purchased with those coins. Feel bold enough to rock a Spurs logo in the middle of Lakers country? Go for it. As well, defensive powerups can be purchased to make potential court usurpers’ job much more difficult, such as ones that make the good shot area much smaller.
NBA King of the Court launched on December 1st, and is a free to play title. It requires a camera-equipped device, though iPad 2 owners should note that the app is not universal as of launch.
Grow tired of the same old Tetris on iPhone? The current version dates back to 2008 (fun fact: the game used to cost $9.99), so it may just be proper time for a new version of the game. Well, EA is hard at work on a new Tetris that will help mix things up. First, a brand new visual look offers a glowing design that colorizes each individual piece. A new rank feature appears to be in place, to allow players to reach the tile of “Tetrismaster.” The ability to earn coins to spend on in-game poweruos is also now available, potentially keying in on this being a free-to-play release, or even just a premium release supported by in-app purchases as well. Details are very scant at this moment, as no release date, potential iPad availability, or anything beyond these screenshots is currently available, but we will have more on this new Tetris release as they come in.
The game that Apple used to show off the iPhone 4S and iOS5 capabilities when it was released, Infinity Blade 2, is nearing its release, and developer ChAIR Entertainment has posted a pair of videos to talk about the game and hype people up for its release. The first video covers the game’s visuals with commentary from ChAIR staff on how the game’s visuals aren’t just designed to look stunning, but also to help create the atmosphere of the world. The second video covers the story elements of Infinity Blade 2, and what the developers, along with the author of the interquel novella Infinity Blade: Awakening, Brandon Sanderson, wanted to do to help expand the universe with this game. Both of these videos are embedded below.
Infinity Blade 2 will make its way into gamers’ hands starting next Thursday, as ChAIR Entertainment has confirmed the December 1st release date, and a price of $6.99 for the universal app. Those looking to get into the series before the highly-anticipated sequel releases can check out the original Infinity Blade at a sale price of $2.99, and read Infinity Blade: Awakening for $2.99 on the iBooks Store.
British design studio ustwo is making their first iOS game, Whale Trail. This is a charming endless high score game where players control a whale who is flying through the sky. The goal is to collect bubbles that extend the eponymous whale trail that powers this flying whale, which also extend the points multiplier. Evil dark clouds line the sky as well, and these must be avoided in order to keep the multiplier and whale trail up. Holding down on the screen causes the whale to fly upward, eventually performing loop-de-loops.
This is a game centered around its visual and artistic design. The theme is key here; the visuals are bright and colorful, representing a rainbow of colors with a whimsical style, contrasting the dark, evil clouds. The music, created by Gruff Rhys, continues that whimsical style with the lyric version of the Whale Trail theme that plays on the title screen, along with the instrumental version that plays in the game itself. Everything in the game is meant to be friendly, fun, and inviting.
One part of the game design that becomes apparent is that sessions last longer than the average endless/high score game. Failure is not an imminent threat like in other games like Jetpack Joyride; bumping into a cloud is not a death sentence, and refilling the whale trail bar is easy, though the bubbles do become more sparse over time. This was an intentional design decision.
As according to ustwo’s co-founder and “Chief Wonka,” a man who goes by the single name of Mills, “Whale Trail is about creating a longer gameplay experience – it’s about manifesting an almost endless/neverending gaming experience. You can’t appreciate this wonder if the game ends quick…you can’t rush beauty.” However, he adds that the game is meant to also appeal to a wider audience, including those who want to go for high scores: “It’s there to be enjoyed on the most simple and subtle of levels if you’re that way inclined, or to be enjoyed on a more serious and competitive level, for those who really want to push it to the limit and just focus on achieving the highest scores possible.” However, he reiterates the ultimate goal of the game: “This game is all about the joys of flying.”
Whale Trail will set sail on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on October 20th. Those looking to get their hands on this game right away can visit ustwo’s Whale Trail Facebook page and become eligible to test out the game for themselves before the game’s final release.
Black Lab Games’ turn-based strategy game Star Hammer Tactics, originally released for the Xbox Live Indie Games and PSN Minis for PSP and PS3, is making its way to the iPad this October.
This game purports to be a fast-paced strategy game where players control a fleet of ships trying to survive the onslaught of the Nautilids trying to attack the planet Novus. The game claims to have a rule set that is simple but still deep, so players can et into the game easily, while still allowing master strategists to use their skills to the fullest. The iPad version is a rewrite of the original game, featuring redone graphics in HD, a redesigned interface for touchscreen control, and gameplay tweaks to make the game be improved and user-friendly. The game will feature a 15 mission campaign and a 2 player multiplayer mode that takes place on one iPad. all bolstered by Game Center leaderboards and achievements.
This redone version will be available on the App Store this October.
Supermono Studios, known for their work on the MiniSquadron series and the app that turns chores into a game, EpicWin, have announced their newest title, called Forever Drive. This is a racing game with ambitious plans for user-generated content. The game features two modes, the first one being Drive mode. Here, players race along tracks in a top-down/isometric view, trying to make it from checkpoint to checkpoint while outrunning the clock on endless tracks. The Build mode then allows players to easily make their own tracks by tracing designs on the screen, and then modifying them before sharing them with the world.
Now, there have definitely been games with level sharing in them, and while it’s still a quality feature, the way Drive Forever implements level sharing is truly unique. See, levels that are shared online are added to the endless tracks that pop up in Drive mode, so random players can play the levels that are created by other people in the Build mode.
The game will be free to play, and will use a Credits system where by spending credits, the player’s points will be multiplied by a certain value and converted into XP, which are used to unlock additional game items, like vehicles, paint jobs, license plates, and even new buildings to adorn the scenery. When the player is out of credits, then they will still get XP, it just won’t be multiplied. This means that the game is intended to be perfectly playable without spending a dime, people who pay will just get to unlock items faster.
Drive Forever is scheduled to release in October 2011, though they plan on doing an “open beta test” of the app by releasing it only in Ireland and possibly Canada in order to test their servers and receive feedback from a larger userbase before releasing it to the general worldwide public.
Believe it or not, but at one point role playing games weren’t something that were played on a screen, but rather a tabletop. This variety of RPG was often aided with the use of stats sheets and scenarios books akin to what one might find in a Dungeons and Dragons style questline. One such work that is celebrating its thirtieth birthday is the H.P. Lovecraft masterpiece, Call of Cthulhu. In anticipation of this upcoming milestone Red Wasp Design is working on a unique and new gaming experience, set within the Cthulhu Mythos. Here is what they have in the works:
“The first title, ‘Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land’ is set in the midst of World War One and pits a team of investigators and soldiers against an ancient enemy, older than humanity itself. This eldritch enemy is using the carnage of the great war to build an undead army amidst the battlefields of Europe. The game will be a 3D turn-based strategy/role playing game and will initially launch on iPhone and Android with more platforms to follow. As the game is still in development, release dates and price points are to be announced after the summer.”
As is always the case when works of literature are being adapted to another medium, lets hope they don’t stray far from the original subject matter. There is a reason why this is widely considered to be one of the more notable RPGs in history. It will be interesting to see how the story transitions into a visual medium like 3D turn-based games, but if Dungeons and Drangons can do it successfully in numerous titles, it is only a matter of time before this one is tearing up the charts as well.
While the game isn’t going to be ready anytime soon, if you are interested to see how the development is progressing the team is posting weekly to their blog and giving everyone one an glimpse behind the curtain. Otherwise, we will be sure to keep you all posted as soon as we have an official release date.
Hail to the king, baby! Backflip Studios are bringing the cult Evil Dead franchise’s 3rd installment Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell’s famous protagonist Ash to the App Store with Army of Darkness: Defense. This castle defense game puts you in control of Ash as he tries to defend a medieval castle from the armies of the undead, known as the Deadites.
The game, created in partnership with MGM Studios, and based upon the movie of the same name, features over 150 lines of dialogue from the movie. The camera focuses on Ash as you play, but features otherwise traditional castle defense gameplay, as you have to summon and upgrade troops like peasants, swordsmen, spearmen, archers, and even Arthur to help you protect this castle. Ash can be upgraded to help dispatch the undead using gold you collect or pay for with in-app purchases. Backflip insists that these in-app purchases are purely optional, and just there for users who want a quick boost. You can upgrade your health, damage, chainsaw, broomstick, iron glove, and various spells with the gold you collect. Oh, and you can upgrade your castle with the Necronomicon itself to help protect you from the Deadites, including evil Ash.
The game will release on May 12th, and will cost $0.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch version, and $2.99 for the iPad version. Backflip promises that the game will be perfectly accessible even to those who aren’t familiar with the franchise at all, although there is plenty of fanservice for those who are familiar with the franchise. As Backflip CEO Julian Farrior puts it, “We’re excited to be partnering with MGM on this project and to say that our studio is a fan of the Army of Darkness film would be a gross understatement. This has truly been a labor of love where we have had the joy of working with some of the best movie dialogue and characters out there. Our goal was to create a truly compelling mobile castle defense game and layer it with this rich and whimsical IP that already had a mass following. We think this game will be fun for the AOD fanboy and newbie alike.” Backflip has a tradition of addictive games, with 95 million downloads of their titles across iOS and Android, and this shows promise to be part of that tradition. As well as this game, Backflip is launching several new free games in May and June, and Ragdoll Blaster 3 is currently in development. Check out some screens and a trailer of Army of Darkness: Defense below.
Namco Bandai’s newest game sounds…well, a bit wacky. Entitled “Bird Zapper!”, the game enlists players to help Skippy the Squirrel, who is enraged by the birds who short-circuited his music player. A bit of a complicated premise, yes, but the end result is easy to understand: the birds are squatting on the power lines, and with a swipe of your finger, you can knock them off!
Swiping like-colored birds will send them toppling from the power lines, and some birds will provide special bonuses or attacks. The more birds you dethrone, the higher your score. The power lines, and their birds, are set up in a grid-like arrangement. (Be sure to look at the screenshots; the graphics are bright and detailed, despite just featuring cartoon birds.) Because of the way the power lines are laid out, Bird Zapper! actually resembles a match-3 game like Bejeweled more than anything else, which is somewhat unfortunate. How many Bejeweled clones do we need? However, Namco hopes that it will still stand out.
Bird Zapper! will ship with three different play modes. In Survival, you swipe as fast as you can until your “power meter” is depleted. In Blitz, the goal is to reach the highest score in sixty seconds. Finally, Zen mode has no restrictions or time limits.
While Bird Zapper! has not yet been released, the website lists it with a “March 2011″ release date, so we expect to see this new title take flight soon. Namco plans to release Bird Zapper! as a universal app with both iPhone and iPad versions for $0.99, while an Android version will ship later for the same price.