iOS has always been a great place to play card and board games digitally, provided the game selection available was to your taste. I've made bunch of great discoveries over the years by trying out titles like Root and Lords of Waterdeep, but what I always secretly wanted all this time was a way to play Dominion on the go.
I recently came across a beta test for a game called Book of Demons: Tablet Edition, which aims to bring some Diablo-like action to your iPad, and it’s shaping up to be something you might want to look out for. It’s a sort of stripped-down action rpg where you play as one of three classes and venture as far as possible deep into a dungeon whilst making occasional return trips to town to heal up, identify new gear, and purchase other upgrades before going back to battle.
Book of Demons seems to be very aware that it’s borrowing heavily from a tried and true playbook, but the game also goes out of its way to make unique design choices. Most of these changes operate to make Book of Demons a much more mobile-friendly experience. Heroes move along linear, restricted pathways, for example, and you can pick up items or attack enemies from these pathways, even if those things aren’t directly in line with you. The game also has its own “Superhot Mode” that pauses the action any time you aren’t moving your character or making them attack.
Another fascinating design choice is how Book of Demons allows you to pick and choose the length of your play session. Using the Flexiscope™, players can elect to take on quests of five different sizes, ranging from “very small” to “very big.” For each size increase, you’ll take on more floors of the dungeon for greater rewards, but that will also require more time from you to complete. I’m not really sure I can say whether there are meaningful gameplay ramifications for using different sizes on the Flexiscope™, but having a time estimation for your play sessions is nice information to have regardless.
When you first start playing Book of Demons, you only have access to a single class: the warrior. It doesn’t take too long to unlock the additional rogue and mage classes though. These archetypes act almost exactly the way you’d expect them to, though the game does have an interesting system for balancing gear usage vs. spells which can take some getting used to. Specifically, every character in Book of Demons has a certain amount of mana, and that mana determines both which spells you can equip and the kinds of gear you can put on your character. As a result, it makes sense to build characters with a good balance of hit points and mana to make sure you can use abilities and equip loot to make your hero stronger.
In this beta state, Book of Demons does have a few odd issues that hopefully get straightened out by launch. Most of the problems I’ve encountered so far pertain to the game’s card system. Sometimes when equipping cards, particularly spells or items, they appear behind another UI element, which makes them really hard to see and trigger. Also, there’s a button you can press to bring up a list of equippable cards, but tapping this button also changes between loadouts that you can customize and switch between. This can make card management quite annoying.
Perhaps the strangest thing about Book of Demons though is its startup screen. Upon booting up the beta, you can see seven different pedestals with books on them, and only one of these books is for Book of Demons. The remaining six pedestals are empty, but there is an implication that other games might stand on these some day, particularly because the title above these pedestals reads “Return 2 Games.”
Although Book of Demons appears to be the only game developer Thing Trunk has worked on, it seems they have plans to bring six more games along with it. Given the relatively high quality of Book of Demons in this beta state, I’m excited to see what other games Thing Trunk might bring to mobile, or elsewhere.
I spent the better part of my weekend playing Flappy Royale. I didn’t necessarily want to. I just felt like I had to. It’s a hypnotic experience that’s way too easy to just keep playing.
Flappy Royale is the brainchild of Orta Therox, Em Lazer-Walker, and Zach Gage. It's a very simple idea: Take the the rules of Battle Royale games (e.g. PUBG, Fortnite, Apex Legends) and apply them to Flappy Bird. 100 players play as birds that jump out of a bus. From there, they must fly between as many pipes as possible until one player is deemed the champion.
The game controls pretty much exactly like Flappy Bird did back in 2013. The only real differences are the hopping out of the bus (presumably inspired by the Fortnite Battle Bus) and 99 ghost birds flapping on screen with you, all competing for the number one spot.
This latter element—the ability to see other players play while you do—is the secret sauce that makes Flappy Royale such a tantalizing challenge. You can always see your competition flapping alongside you, and you want beat all of them. If you can’t do that, maybe you settle for getting a top 50 finish before diving in again to see if you can do better.
Although it’s not officially released, anyone can go and download the beta release of the game here. In this early state though, the game is already quite popular. Here are some stats Orta Therox shared about the game over the weekend:
Oh… Damn. I was doing the stats wrong.
600,000 games were played on mobile native. 1,300,000 games were played on web.
2 million games of Flappy Royale is really impressive, especially considering it populates each of those games with 100 players. Where it starts feeling downright magical is when you consider that all of these matches start pretty much instantly.
Right now, Flappy Royale really feels like it has huge potential. It successfully distills the most thrilling aspects of Battle Royale into a really tight mobile package. A lot of this has to do with how quick and easy it is to play ten rounds without blinking, so here’s to hoping the game doesn’t get too bloated with extra features or monetization schemes before it officially releases.
Marvel Super War is the latest MOBA from Netease, but it’s not something you can just go and download on the App Store now. The game is in a closed beta, meaning you have to download it from a special link here and the developers are still ironing out some kinks before officially releasing the game to mobile players everywhere.
I’ve spent a decent amount of time with Marvel Super War over the past week, and I let me say, it’s not half bad. This is to say that it’s really neat to play as heroes and villains like Thor and Magneto, but this game feels a little too... familiar.
Game preservation is a problem. When games go out of production, hardware decays, titles get removed from digital storefronts, etc. there’s not a lot of recourse for players to return to titles they once loved. This is a particularly big issue for mobile games, since Apple has provenon multiple occasions that they do not care about games on their store, much less old ones.
Thankfully, there’s some folks out there who recognize this and have have decided to do something about it. GameClub is a new developer that just announced last week their dedication to “bringing awesome premium games back to mobile.” Although they’re only in their early access phase, they’ve already proven they’re up for task. Here’s what you need to know about GameClub, including instructions on how to get into their early access program.
In just over a week, Epic Games has made a flurry of announcements. First, they revealed that Fortnite—their ultra-popular PUBG competitor—is coming to mobile. This was followed by brief sign-up period for interested beta testers before sending out their first round of invites yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on one of these early invites, so we can clear the air on exactly what Fortnite on mobile is like.
Warner Bros. has some exciting games coming down the pipe!
Command ranks of supervillains in Batman: Arkham Underworld, by Turbine. You will be a kingpin, building your hideout, recruiting villains such as the Riddler, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc, and ruling with an iron fist over Gotham. You can test your skills against other villains, private security forces, the G.C.P.D, and perhaps even the Batman, himself, if you get big enough. You can sign up for the beta of Batman: Arkham Underworld at http://www.arkhamunderworld.com/sign-up-for-beta/.
Miss playing as Batman? How about in LEGO form? LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham, by TT Games, has Bats joining up with other super heroes of the DC Comics universe to save the earth from Brainiac's evil plans. The game, originally released for PC and consoles, is making its way to mobile this year.
Lastly, Mortal Kombat X, by NetherRealm Studios, promises to be a collectible card game with all the action of a classic Mortal Kombat game. It will feature cinematic gameplay, brutal fatalities, and a few all-new fighters exclusive to Mortal Kombat X. The app will also connect to the console or PC version of the game and give players the ability to unlock content cross-platform.
“In just four years, we have launched 25 games with more than 150 million installs worldwide across diverse fighting, strategy, puzzle and action adventure genres, and we will focus our business on a strong games-as-a-service model in 2015,” said Greg Ballard, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Social and Emerging Platforms, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “Our line-up of strong titles will deliver deep player engagement, as well as innovation like console game connectivity with games including Mortal Kombat X and Batman: Arkham Underworld.”
Based in the Witcher universe, CD PROJEKT RED's The Witcher Battle Arena is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). In an effort to keep things fair and balanced, the developer has said that the game will have no pay to win elements.
Benjamin Lee, Producer for Mobile Games, CD PROJEKT RED sounds very excited about the project: “We are extremely passionate about games, whether they be for PC, console or mobile devices. The Witcher Battle Arena is our take on the MOBA genre and we are really excited at the prospect of sharing it with the gaming community! We highly value fans of The Witcher, and their opinions have always been paramount in helping us develop a great gaming experience--The Witcher Battle Arena is no exception!”
The Witcher Battle Arena is pretty exciting news for fans of the series, but if you have never played a Witcher game, this app still looks like it will be a quality MOBA. Check out the new trailer below.
Creators of Hitman, Roto-Moto, has launched a closed beta of their game, Heroes & Generals. The game is a massively multiplayer first-person shooter involving online fighting between the Axis and Allied forces in Europe.
The game involves both strategic elements and first-person shooter (FPS) elements. Each side sends reinforcements, tanks, and other support to battles going on in various cities. The FPS fights don't necessarily have to be even, hence the need for support being sent to each side.
The game is actually a PC game but it will be offering a free companion app to the game called Heroes & Generals: Mobile Command. The app lets users access and view the campaign their playing in the PC version of the game. This includes viewing things like battlefields and supply lines on the map. It also allows players to chat with other players on their team when they aren't even on the PC game - allowing constant communication to continue for a constant online war. A future update to the app will allow users to move and manage assault teams in the game and most other strategy elements (the non-FPS part).
To apply for a key to the closed beta, visit the Heroes & Generals website here.
To be fair, there are a fair number of video editing apps available for the iPhone right now. I suppose it's because the portable nature of iDevices makes them perfect for amateur film folk. Cinefy is another such app meant for creating video clips, sure, but it appears to be much more extensive than most of the current offerings.
For one thing, it has a pretty sleek and accessible-looking interface: the individual tracks are easy to distinguish from one another thanks to some vivid color-coding. But it's not just about the editing. Cinefy also offers what, to my knowledge, is a first for iOS video apps. It features "one click licensing," which gives users access to a large selection of copyright-cleared tunes (provided by Friendly Music). A feature meant to streamline the process of video production, no doubt, and it seems like it'll do just that. Once a video has been finished, it can be exported to Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo.
There's no official pricing and release info available yet, but interested cinematic auteurs can head on over to the website to try and get a spot in the beta. And if anyone reading this gets in, please feel free to tell us about it!
A forum post over at Mac Rumors has shed a little light on the hugely delayed availability of internet tethering for the iPhone on AT&T. Announced at the iPhone OS 3.0 event (yes, that long ago!) AT&T is yet to introduce the feature that allows users to share their iPhone’s 3G connection with a computer via Bluetooth or USB.
The forum post shows two images found within the iPhone 4.0 Beta that is being seeded to developers and shows a Setup Internet Tethering option as well as a popup screen explaining that in order to enable tethering the user must contact AT&T. AT&T remains the sole carrier of the iPhone in the US and has been dogged by issues with its network including dropped calls and poor 3G coverage. Many believe that its delay in rolling out tethering to the iPhone is due to worries that it may put too much strain on the network.
Will the launch iPhone OS 4.0 be the moment those desperate for tethering have been waiting for? We guess all will be revealed at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference this June.