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Outwitters 2.0 is Officially Available Right Now

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 13th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: WITTY :: Read Review »

Outwitters is an adorable strategy game where players take turns trying to destroy each others' bases. And One Man Left has just released an update that has totally rebuilt it.

Now Outwitters has iPhone 6 and 6 Plus support, along with iOS 8 compatibility. The app also has a few new features such as auto-refreshing when you receive a new turn, cross-platform play, better push notifications and frame rates, new animations, and a whole lot more.

You can check out the new and improved Outwitters for free on the App Store.

Dungeon Hunter 5 Coming on March 12

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 3rd, 2015

Gameloft has excitedly announced that Dungeon Hunter 5 is on its way! Once again, you will adventure across the land of Valenthia exploring dungeons and fighting monsters. The game will have a new asynchronous multiplayer mode called Strongholds which lets you create a customizable base that you can defend and raid your opponents bases. There will also be a new evolution system for your gear so you can upgrade as you go. Dungeon Hunter 5 comes with a single player campaign with 5 realms and tons of dungeons. If you don't want to go it alone, you can hire friends or other players as allies.

Dungeon Hunter 5 will be available on March 12th for iOS.

FastWord Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on December 5th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WORD STRATEGIES
Create words fast or slow. It's your call in strategy focused and fun, FastWord.
Read The Full Review »

Tap To Play Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on September 4th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SHALLOW MULTIPLAYER
Want to play short mini-games with friends while on the go? Tap To Play offers this, but it's a pretty shallow affair.
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Bowl With Me Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 6th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: 7 PINS RATHER THAN A STRIKE
Offering a fun bowling experience amongst friends, Bowl With Me is a little simple but still offers some fun times.
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Formulaic Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Campbell Bird on February 28th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: LETTERPRESS WITH NUMBERS
Remember Letterpress? Replace letters with numbers and we've got Formulaic.
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Suburbia Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on February 7th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SPRAWLING TILES
Suburbia mixes competitive elements, board game design, and Sim City into a pretty awesome experience.
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Stop Review

+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
By Jennifer Allen on February 7th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WORDPLAY FUN
Guess words quickly based upon a randomly assigned letter and a bunch of categories in this fun and competitive word game.
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Arena of Heroes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: GOOD GAME
A lot of people are familiar with MOBAs at this point, but how many of them have played one that's turn-based?
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Las Vegas! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on May 9th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIGH ROLLER
Roll some dice, place some bets, and hopefully come out on top in this iOS adaptation of a family-friendly board game.
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Bookworm Heroes Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 22nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CUTE WORDINESS
As cute and charming as other Bookworm games, Bookworm Heroes pits player against player in a battle of word creation.
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Garfield's Trivia Party Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lisa Caplan on March 29th, 2013
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: GARFIELD GRUBS
This multiplayer trivia game based on the Garfield comic strip might be amusing for a minute, but hyper-aggressive monetization makes playing any longer a tedious affair.
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Top Bot Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 8th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SHALLOW RACING
It's cute to look at but Top Bot is a pretty shallow if mildly entertaining multiplayer racing game.
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Yushino Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on February 25th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: IT ALL ADDS UP
Yushino turns turn-based multiplayer word games into a numbers game, and it works brilliantly.
Read The Full Review »

Real Racing 3 - Time Shifted Multiplayer

Posted by Rob Rich on February 1st, 2013

Earlier we took a look at the history of Real Racing as well as that of Firemint itself, then it was on to the nitty gritty details of the Real Racing series' gameplay design issues. Now it’s time to talk about what could be one of Real Racing 3’s most revolutionary features: Time Shifted Multiplayer.

Of Two Minds

Most iOS gamers are familiar with the idea of asynchronous multiplayer at this point; one person takes a turn and submits it, then next person takes their turn whenever they’re able, and so on. Many iOS multiplayer games use this mechanic to great effect these days; Robot Entertainment’s stellar Hero Academy, OMGPOP’s Draw Something, and Playdek’s Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs. Evil are just a few examples.

It’s great for playing anything turn-based on the go because it enables players to jump in and make their move whenever it’s convenient for them. Taking a break to get lunch, turning off the phone for a few hours during a long trip, or even taking a break partway through a match are all possible thanks to this particular form of multiplayer.

Real-time multiplayer games are a bit more difficult to execute on iOS devices. Not so much because the technology isn’t there, but because the very nature of mobile platforms creates a different sort of “flow” for users who aren’t tied down to a particular location. And Game Center is still in its relative infancy, so setting up a match among friends typically requires a decent amount of prep work. Especially given the sheer number of titles available for most Apple products these days. Capcom’s Street Fighter IV Volt and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 are both examples of this particular multiplayer type, and both fun games, but setting up a match takes more work than it does on many gaming platforms.

The fast paced nature of the gameplay and the speed with which most bouts are completed fit the real-time online play well, but it still requires players to find a good spot to stop for a moment if they want to get a match or two in. Or they could also always play to their heart’s content while relaxing at home or any other location with proper seating and wireless internet.

Real Racing 3’s Time Shifted Multiplayer is a sort of amalgamation of both asynchronous and simultaneous play, and could very well lead to some significant changes in how we play mobile games with other people in the near future.

Thinking Freely

“What could we do if we had no limitations?” is the mantra that was used throughout Real Racing 3’s development according to the game’s Development Director, Kynan Woodman. “The answer to that question for many of us," he said, "is that we would be able to play against our friends and other real people anytime and anywhere.” It might not seem like a big deal but not everyone has the same daily schedule.

Anyone who’s ever tried to play games online with a friends who lives in another state, even one that’s in the same time zone, knows just how problematic it can be at times to try and coordinate. Being able to play with friends without needing to adhere to a specific schedule means everyone can play when they have a moment rather than having to set aside a specific time or possibly turn down an open invitation.

And thus Time Shifted Multiplayer was conceptualized. Without worrying about whether it was “possible” or not, they got to work figuring out a way to combine the accessibility of asynchronous play with the pulse-pounding action of simultaneous play. In essence, it’s meant to be the best of both worlds.

Blazing a Trail

Firemonkeys hasn’t revealed the exact details of Time Shifted Multiplayer just yet, but it has explained the basics of how everything comes together in practice. When a Real Racing 3 player begins a race against someone else it’s not actually a direct competition.

Rather than racing against their opponent directly they’re in fact racing against “... their fully interactive time-shifted double," Woodman said, "which emulates their performance and skill.” In other words it’s like racing against their ghost, only this particular ghost is tangible. This “non-ghost” can be driven off the track, react to other racers jostling for position, and all the other stuff a real player would do automatically.

Imagine racing against a snapshot of another person; a sort of virtual player that’s compiled from data based around their particular skill level and performance. If left to its own devices it’ll achieve a time similar (if not equivalent to) the player’s original run, but that’s only if it’s left alone. This is, in essence, what Time Shifted Multiplayer is.

It’s never a good idea to get too far ahead of things when it comes to speculation, but it’s also incredibly difficult not to get swept up in all the Time Shifted Multiplayer madness. It’s a technology that combines the two primary forms of online play iOS users have come to rely on for all of their games, and as such stands to create quite a stir once more and more titles begin to adapt similar techniques. Fusing the play anywhere/anytime convenience typical of most mobile multiplayer games with the more directly interactive (and often more competitive) nature of real time multiplayer certainly seems like a brilliant idea on paper.

Firemint (and now Firemonkeys) has been on an interesting road trip up to now; full of all kinds of unexpected detours, the occasional paint job, maybe a trade-in here and there, picking up a few new passengers along the way, and bittersweet goodbyes to those who've been dropped off. Of course it's not over yet. There's still a lot of road to travel. We’ll have to wait until next month to see how well everything Firemonkeys has experienced and created comes together for the newest pit stop, but the potential is definitely there.