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Fieldrunners 2 - Now Only 99 Cents for the 4th of July

Posted by Andrew Stevens on July 2nd, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Fieldrunners 2 is celebrating the fourth of July with a price drop; now only $0.99! In our review, Jennifer Allen said, "Fieldrunners 2 is a fine example of just how much fun can be garnered from an iOS device. Offering many hours of fun for a mere $3 is an utter bargain and Fieldrunners 2 truly deserves its title of the new king of tower defense."

Mushroom Wars Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Jennifer Allen on February 1st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STREAMLINED STRATEGY
Simplicity starts out being the great thing about Mushroom Wars, but it does turn restrictive after a time.
Read The Full Review »

148Apps' Best Games of 2012: 20-11

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 27th, 2012

We enter the middle portion of our rundown of 2012's best games, covering numbers 20-11 of our favorite games. Have an opinion of your own? Let us know in the comments!

20. Girls Like Robots: Based on quality, Adult Swim Games probably had the best 2012 of any mobile publisher, with a succession of high-quality games with absurd premises. The silliness made it a great fit on a surface level for the publisher. The high quality of the game, which transcends its silly people-organization concept by just continuously iterating and evolving on it throughout the game, made it something special.

19. Polara: This endless runner mixes in the color-switching of classic shmup Ikaruga with endless runner gameplay. But it shines because it is never content to keep throwing the same tricks at players, as Eli Cymet explains: "Polara boasts tight and varied gameplay, and consummately constructed stages. Rather than rest on the laurels of novelty and squander the core mechanic, developer Hope This Works Games offers a new way to think about color matching in almost every level."

18. Polymer: Play the "One Polymer" mode in this unique sliding puzzle game from indie-musician-turned-developer Whitaker Trebella to see its genius: it encourages long-term strategizing and planning to make a high-scoring match, not just quick reactions like in other puzzle games. Sure, there's modes that require quick thinking as well that are plenty of fun, but the premise of One Polymer is what kept me coming back.

17. Pocket Planes: Nimblebit hates our free time. Last year's Tiny Tower was addictive. So was Pocket Planes, thanks in no small part to the fact that there was more surface strategy to employ, and the ability for players to have a say in their fate as they expand their airline's reach into a globe-traversing empire. Plus, what other game has people in frog suits flying planes? It's the only game on this list, for sure...

16. Need For Speed Most Wanted: If one game was to define how far iOS gaming came this year, EA and Criterion's racer, adapted to iOS by Firemonkeys, might be it. From being packed full of features, and looking absolutely amazing to boot, it's showing that the difference between consoles and mobile, at least on a technical level, is a rapidly-shrinking gulf. Yet despite the good looks, it is definitely a keeper for its gameplay according to Blake Grundman: "Even with the most critical of eyes, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is still easily one of the best racers on the platform to date. You would have to be crazy not to take this hot rod out for a nice long joy ride."

15. Organ Trail: Director's Cut: Often times, pixel art is used just as an art style, and not to convey an actual retro feel. Not so here. By combining the look and feel of an 80's PC Oregon Trail game, and combining its mechanics with a modern-day zombie apocalypse, the elements brilliantly wind up informing each other and forming a sublime take on a classic. Rob Rich feels the same way: "Virtually every aspect of Organ Trail: Director’s Cut oozes style and cleverness. Also pus. It’s a game that’s likely to please zombie fans as well as anyone who remembers the one without the green-skinned shamblers fondly. And it’s with no hesitation or trepidation that I suggest that everyone reading this should buy it. If they haven’t already, of course."

14. Ski Safari: There are endless runners, and then there's Ski Safari. I'll let Rob Rich explain why it made our list: "Penguins, snowmobiles, eagles, and yeti can all be used to put some real distance between the accident prone man and the avalanche. Not only are they useful, they’re also pretty funny. Watching the yeti run wildly or slide along on its stomach never gets old. The same can be said for seeing a penguin ride along on the fuzzy mythological beast." If a man and a penguin riding a yeti while outrunning an avalanche ever gets old, I will weep bitterly. An easy choice for this list.

13. Super Crate Box: It would be easy to forget that this was actually a 2012 title, since it came out in the first week of January. I don't forget sitting for hours on end, either on touchscreen or at my iCade, trying to last just a little bit longer, cursing out that disc gun, the giant walking green skulls, or the stupid fire pit at the bottom. Yet, after those countless hours, no game revealed itself to give the players the control over their fate, to be about pure skill far more than randomness, quite like this one did.

12. Fieldrunners 2: Remember 2008? That's when the first Fieldrunners came out. 2012 is like an eternity since then, but Fieldrunners is still a ton of fun. As Rob LeFebvre writes: "Fieldrunners 2 HD is a brilliant combination of action and strategy with a depth of gameplay that’s hard to ignore. I find myself thinking of solutions to particularly difficult maps while I’m driving, or showering, or making dinner for the kids." Just don't burn the food while protecting your base.

11. Mikey Shorts: The laser precision of the controls is a significant part of what made this so good: trying to shave fractions of seconds off one's time in order to beat a friend on the leaderboards could be nigh-impossible with virtual controls, nay it should be. But instead, it's about as perfect as it could be. Not bad for a first-time effort, and challenging friends to try and one up their times added a ton of value to this one. Plus, there's silly hats.

Talking Borderlands Legends, Its Challenges And The Possibility Of DLC With 2K Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on November 12th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SHALLOW LOOTING :: Read Review »

Barely two weeks have passed since the release of 2K Games's Borderlands Legends. Things travel fast in the world of iOS gaming, however, and we checked in with James Lopez, associate producer at Gearbox, to see how he felt about Legends, as well as any plans for the future.

"We never really imagined [Borderlands Legends] being a FPS. It’s clearly possible, but we’re very happy with the FPS experience in Borderlands 1 and 2," explained James. "The goal of Legends was to try something different, something that explored other facets of Borderlands, untapped potential."

As anyone who's played Borderlands Legends can attest to, it's quite a change of pace to its older siblings, but it turns out that there are some significant similarities in its 4 player based squad combat. "Although you can play Borderlands 1 and 2 alone, we always intended the true experience to include all 4 characters at once. We wanted this to be the same for Legends." James Lopez elaborated to explain that, "...clearly, we can do missions with fewer characters (the tutorial starts off that way), so it might be something we revisit later."

Somewhat unusually for a game closely connected to a console or PC title, Borderlands Legends lacks any functionality directly tied into its bigger brothers. James told us that this was "never really considered...an option", citing that the team wants the fans "to be able to enjoy the full experience for whatever they buy."

What challenges were faced trying to convert a typically FPS title to the iOS screen, and implementing strategic elements, however? James explained, "We kept asking ourselves what the core ingredients of Borderlands are. Some things were obvious, but some were elusive and some were difficult to accomplish because of time constraints (like randomizing gear, UI tweaks, adding gameplay features)."

Despite such issues, James has been pleased with the response to Borderlands Legends. "We tried to put as much of the core formula of Borderlands in as we could, and we’re glad people are feeling like we accomplished that. That doesn’t mean we won’t try to squeeze in more, though!" It's worth noting that, at the time of writing, sales figures as well as critical reaction to its release, aren't as positive as Lopez and the team hoped. App Annie's listing demonstrates the progress sales wise, while an average Metacritic rating of 51 demonstrates that not everyone found it to their liking.

Improvement seems to be a common theme with 2K and Gearbox's future plans for Borderlands Legends, however. As James explained, 2K China's developers believe that "...there are some things we’d still like to revisit, and I believe they’ll knock it out of the park." and while he couldn't discuss any immediate plans for DLC or extra content, he did tell us that "...given the great response so far, I think we'd be crazy to stop here".

As 2K China finds its feet in the iOS world, it'll be interesting to see what they come up with next. As James explains, "Legends hasn't been out long, and this is somewhat of a new frontier for us". Discussing the recent announcement by Subatomic to include in-app purchases within Fieldrunners 2, he expanded upon that by explaining '...I think we’d like to explore any option that allows to create content of value for our fans."

While James Lopez and the team might be clutching their cards close to their hands for now in terms of DLC support, we'll be keeping a keen eye on any further developments for Borderlands Legends. For now, check out our review to learn more.

Favorite Four: Games To Show Off Your iPad Mini

Posted by Jennifer Allen on November 2nd, 2012

Were you one of the lucky people to pick up a shiny new iPad Mini? Wondering what gaming delights are worth buying for it? There's a whole bunch. You're going to have an awesome time discovering them. To start you off, though, we've rounded up our four favorite titles that should give you a great idea of just how many hours of quality gaming can be had on the iPad Mini.

Fieldrunners 2
It's a personal favorite of mine mostly because it's so darn addictive. Fieldrunners 2 is the creme de la creme of tower defense gaming, offering just enough challenge to keep you playing while still always feeling inviting. This is thanks to its wide selection of difficulty levels, mission types and a trickling of new towers and power-ups that can be unlocked throughout. There's hours of fun to be had. It looks stunning, too.

Be warned, SpellTower is going to cut into your productivity levels. That five minute session will turn into hours, easily. Players simply swipe words together with extra points gained for using bonus tiles and creating long words. It's a simple Boggle style idea but one that's perfectly implemented. Five different game modes, including local multiplayer, will hook you in for a long time to come.

Bumpy Road
Bumpy Road is an adorably, charming endless runner style game. Players must clear the path and keep the road bumping along in order to keep an ageing couple safe on their journey down memory lane. The further you play, the more you discover things about the couple and their family. It's that sweet and delightfully heart warming.

Real Racing 2 HD
Consistently on the cutting edge of iOS technology, Firemint's Real Racing 2 HD demonstrates the power of your iPad Mini while also offering a great racing game. No other game has surpassed it in terms of its extensive career mode, impressive visuals and use of licensed cars. And? If you have an Apple TV, you can zap the gaming up to the big screen in your living room. There's multiplayer functionality available, too, to seal the deal.

App Update: Boom! Fieldrunners 2 Gets New Tower For Halloween, iCloud Sync

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on October 24th, 2012

Subatomic Studios has just pushed out the update to Fieldrunners 2 on the iPAd, and should have the iPhone update out super soon as well. In addition to the Boom-kin tower there to the right, the developer has also added the ever-popular iCloud sync, so saves can transfer between the iPad and iPhone versions with ease. The in-app purchase option will also be iPhone/iPod touch update.

New features include:
- The super cool, all new explosive BOOM-kin Tower so you can
celebrate Halloween with a bang!
- iCloud support so that you can transfer saves between iPad and
iPhone/iTouch versions
- IAP (iPhone and iPod Touch only)
- Bug fixes for: reduced loading times, fixed crashes, game save issues have been fixed, achievement unlocks have been fixed, item issues have been fixed

Fieldrunners 2 Adds In-App Purchases – Because Users Demanded It

Posted by Carter Dotson on October 22nd, 2012

Fieldrunners 2 is getting in-app purchases, according to a blog post from the game’s developer, Subatomic Studios. Such a thing should not be notable in 2012, as in-app purchases have become the norm. But there’s two reasons why this is a story: one, Fieldrunners 2 launched without IAP at first at all, a rarity considering that the game had a virtual currency in place for buying in-game upgrades already. Second, the reason why they did it reveals something interesting about people’s expectations of App Store games.

This isn’t necessarily a case of Subatomic Studios not having made a lot of money so far, because according to its own numbers, the game has made over $1 million so far. That’s more than Jetpack Joyride made in its first few months, for comparison, though before it went free-to-play. Considering the long amount of time between entries of the Fieldrunners series and the game’s high production values, it’s likely that there would be a high cost to make the game, though the original Fieldrunners has had the benefit of being on many platforms to help bring in revenue over that time as well.

Fieldrunners 2 also had the benefit of launching at a “premium” app price on iOS: $2.99 for the iPhone version, and $7.99 for the iPad version, neither of which is universal. The iPad version doesn’t have the IAP yet; I reached out to Alec Shobin, marketing and PR manager at Subatomic, who explained that “It will probably come to the iPad version later. We wanted to launch it on one platform at time in order to work out any kinks, since this is pretty new to us.”

Now, there is an interesting reason given by Subatomic as to why the studio would go ahead and reverse course on IAP: people actually wanted it. The general trend among the ‘core’ gamer community is that in-app purchases are bad for consumers and potentially exploitative. If Subatomic is to be believed, however, there were people actually wanting the ability to buy more in-app currency. Shobin reasons that “they appreciate and almost expect that feature, especially in an iOS game.”

This kind of behavior has become standard procedure, and even premium games are conditioning players to expect in-app purchases, which is likely due to the oft-copied Infinity Blade series’ decision to include them. The difference is in that Fieldrunners 2 is doing something more akin to the original Infinity Blade, adding them in post-hoc, rather than integrating them as part of the initial product as with Infinity Blade 2.

But does Subatomic Studios feel like it may come off as feeling greedy due to adding IAP to a game that already came with a ‘premium’ price? "Yes, this is absolutely a concern," said Shobin, "but there isn’t really much we can do about it. People asked for a way to buy coins with money. We’re running a business, so it would be foolish for us to turn them down when we can meet their needs without doing anything else to change a game that our existing community loves so much. If people want us to keep making games - if we want to keep making games that we love - we need to recoup our development costs AND earn enough to begin our next game(s).”

While there’s definitely a steady contingent of people complaining already about the change, the choice for Subatomic Studios seems easy in the context of whether they should listen to the people that want them to not have IAP, versus those that want them to shut up and take their money. It just shows how much consumable IAP has become a part of the iOS gaming market that now even the feature’s exclusion is cause for complaint from users. It’s a problem that developers want to have – the demand from people to give the developers more money to keep playing their game.

Fieldrunners 2 HD Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob LeFebvre on September 25th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BIGGER IS BETTER
Fieldrunners 2 HD on the iPad is the definitive game in the series. The new towers are nice, but the true joy here is the big screen.
Read The Full Review »

Subatomic Studios Talks About Bringing Fieldrunners 2 To The iPad (exclusive)

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on September 13th, 2012

In case you didn't know, one of our favorite tower defense games, Fieldrunners 2, comes out for the iPad today. In our ecstasy at being able to fight off wave after wave of cartoon army men and their worldly weapons of war, we decided it would be a good time to talk to the Subatomic Studios guys about the process of bringing this game to the "big" screen.

148Apps: Fieldrunners came out on iPhone, then was put on iPad - what did you learn from that process that helped you with the current upscale?

While we had initially hoped for a simultaneous launch, there are some advantages to launching the iPad after the iPhone. The iPad users are getting a more polished experience out of the gate. There have been two balance passes on the iPhone Fieldrunners 2 since launch, and the iPad is starting with both of them. The extra time has allowed us to add new features that players asked for, and really use the space available to the iPad.

It also let us focus on the iPhone experience on that launch, making that as high-quality as possible. When it came down to it, we wanted to put as much polish as possible into the game.

148Apps: Why didn't Fieldrunners 2 come out as a Universal app? Was this a business decision, a technical one, both, or something completely different?

Basically, we wanted phone users to be able to download the game over the air, without compromising on visual quality on the iPad. Without getting too deeply into technical details, if your app is larger than 50 MB phone users need to connect to WiFi to download it... They can’t just download it over 3G. The iPhone build of Fieldrunners 2 is 49 MB. Due to the super high resolution artwork needed for the giant retina display of the iPad 3, the iPad build is ten times that size. It clocks in closer to a massive 500 MB.

Hopefully we’ve hit the right compromise of broad availability for iPhone users, while still providing the massive resolution that iPad 3 users will appreciate. In addition to that, staggering our launches for different platforms allows us to focus on eliminating as many bugs on each platform at a time. Launching for multiple platforms at once could result in both versions being much buggier than when launched individually.

This was certainly not an easy decision!

148Apps: What were the challenges in taking FR2 to the larger screen? The successes?

The massive size of the iPad retina artwork took a tremendous push to create. Some of the artwork was created in iPhone resolution, and had to be rebuilt from scratch. But even if things like the map files were created in Super HD, they still needed to be cut up into layers again and restructured. I can’t express how nice things look on iPad Retina, but I completely understand why not all developers are supporting it yet.

And the iPad has changed significantly over its lifetime. The iPad 1 had the lower resolution screen and very little RAM. The iPad 2 had more memory, but the same screen. The iPad 3 has a super high resolution screen and a good amount of memory. To make things look and play as well as possible, we actually have 3 separate display pipelines depending on which of the three iPads the user has. That’s crazy.

While we’re on the subject of Artwork, we put a lot of details into every piece we make. The iPad’s larger screen really gives the artwork the space to breathe. And this isn’t just about showing larger pictures: the bigger screen is more precise for touches, allowing us to make UI elements smaller and closer to the edge of the screen. We can really get the interface out of the way, to focus the player on what is happening on the field.

Another nice thing about the iPad was that once we decided to push past the 50 MB limit, we were free to use as much hard drive space as we needed. This let us put in features like the Fieldguide, a compendium of all knowledge about enemies, towers, and items. We added 5 new towers. And for serious fans, we have 1.4 hours of director’s commentary included in the build. The iPad director’s commentary alone takes up as much space as the entire Fieldrunners 2 iPhone build.

148Apps: Best story about the process of iPhone to iPad? Any salacious or "oh sh*t" moments?

There isn’t much that I can share at the moment. But--Subatomic Studios had a central server where all of the artwork was stored. At one point during development, we managed to destroy that server, causing catastrophic failure. That was also when we discovered that the backups had been failing. We spent a solid few days scrambling through desktops, file transfer logs, and anywhere else we could to find those files. Thankfully, we were able to reconstruct what we had. But we had to learn this one the hard way: eat your vegetables and make sure your offsite backups are working.

148Apps: Where will we see FR2 next? PSN? Android? Ouya?

We’re still deciding which platforms make the most sense for Fieldrunners 2, and a lot of that comes down to what the community asks for. Send your platform requests to @Fieldrunners on twitter, or drop by our forums at Fieldrunners.com!

New App: Fieldrunners 2 HD Now Available - Get Those Creeps, in HD

Posted by Jeff Scott on September 13th, 2012

While you could play Fieldrunners 2 on the iPad, it was stretched and not really optimized for the iPad. But now, you can get the version that I've been waiting for, Fieldrunners 2 HD. I guess I'm not getting any sleep tonight!

Fieldrunners 2 Review

By Jennifer Allen on July 19th, 2012
The best tower defense game out there, bar none.
Read The Full Review »

Fieldrunners 2 - Sequel to the Great Tower Defense Game Coming in June

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 22nd, 2012

The original Fieldrunners (and iPad version) was one of the first real "wow" games on the iPhone. A game that was everything the new gaming platform needed, fun, amazingly well done, and made you want to play just one more round. Since it's release nearly four years ago, it has been a staple in best of lists yearly.

It was pretty surprising that after all this time we got word that Subatomic Studios was releasing a sequel. Fieldrunners 2 will be out this June on iPhone/iPod touch and follow on the iPad shortly after. And wow, does it look good. We don't have much yet, but take a look at this shot.

What we do know is that it has more of everything. More creeps, more levels, more towers. Really looking forward to this one. Hope to get a hands on for you during E3. Stay tuned.

Hit the jump for a few more screenshots and full press release from this highly anticipated sequel.


Subatomic Studios announces sequel to classic tower defense game

CAMBRIDGE, MA - MAY 22, 2012 - SUBATOMIC STUDIOS is pleased to announce Fieldrunners 2 for iOS! The massive sequel to the award winning tower defense game, Fieldrunners, will launch on the iPhone at the end of June, with an iPad version available shortly afterwards (pricing tbd). With more levels, more weapons, more enemies, and more ways to play, Fieldrunners 2 packs tons of gameplay into the ultimate tower defense experience.

Fieldrunners 2 features over 20 beautifully hand-painted levels spanning four distinct zones. From the grassy fields, to the scenic cities, and even the secret volcano base, Fieldrunners 2 has it all! Defending each unique map requires a new strategy, and the players are armed with more than 20 upgradeable towers and customizable loadouts to take on that challenge. The limbo-of-death Link tower, the sniper-like Railgun tower, and the we-probably-shouldn’t-be-giving-this-to-people Nuke tower join dozens of others for powerful all-new defensive capabilities. In addition to basic survival and newly revamped time trial maps, mind-bending puzzle maps and innovative sudden death maps have joined the fray. Adding devastating air strikes and precision-based power up attacks to the mix means the fieldrunners don't stand a chance! Or do they?

In Fieldrunners 2, over 30 different types of enemies rush the field like never before! Moving like a swarm of locusts, each fieldrunner plans their own route through your deadly maze of towers. Change your strategy and the enemies immediately adapt their paths for the optimal attack. Wrapping around obstacles in massive waves, charging over bridges and under tunnels, inside trenches and over open fields, pummeling your defenses from as many routes as possible is all part of the fieldrunners’ plans.

Do you have what it takes to stop the fieldrunners? If you do, you just might discover their secret origins...

About Subatomic Studios
Subatomic Studios, based in Cambridge, MA, is an award-winning independent developer of video games for handheld and mobile devices. Fieldrunners, the studio’s flagship game, combines gorgeous artwork with fine-tuned tower defense gameplay, allowing Subatomic Studios to captivate mobile gamers everywhere with a truly unique entertainment experience. Fieldrunners was first released for the iPhone and iPod Touch, followed by versions for the iPad, the PSP, the Nintendo DSi, BlackBerry, Android, Chrome Web Store, Roku, Gametree TV, and more!