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GDC 2014 - Mutants: Genetic Gladiators is a Neat-Looking Monster Training Game

Posted by Rob Rich on March 19th, 2014

Mutants: Genetic Gladiators from Kobojo is a monster battling/breeding game that looks like it might make a fair number of waves. It's sort of like a combination of monster training games like Pokemon and the battle system from games like Final Fantasy VI, with a really nifty art style and some pretty crazy-looking characters.

As your mutants battle they'll level-up and store up energy that they can use to 'breed' with other mutants in order to (potentially) create stronger fighters. It has a lot of player-versus-player elements to it, but there's also a fair amount on hand for those who'd prefer to avoid fighting other people. There's a pretty hefty collection aspect to it, with most of the available mutants sporting three or four different forms/skins. That's all in addition to the planned monthly rare recipe additions and player tournaments.

Mutants: Genetic Gladiators should be coming to the App Store as a universal release in mid-April, for free.

GDC 2014 - Ruzzle Adventure Will Favor Solo Play

Posted by Rob Rich on March 19th, 2014

The original Ruzzle was quite the cool little multiplayer word puzzle game. So it stands to reason that a follow-up would be on the way. Hence Ruzzle Adventure: a solo rendition of the familiar Ruzzle formula, with a few changes of course.

Ruzzle Adventure spreads wordly challenges across 100 levels (probably double that once it launches in the US), and lets you see your friends' progress as you move through the map. Gameplay is also a little more varied this time around, with multiple game modes involving trying to clear special blocks with a limited number of turns, racing against rising water, or just trying to make a lot of words.

At the moment Ruzzle Adventure isn't available in the States, but once it is it'll be free to play and universal.

GDC 2014 - Talisman: Digital Edition is Looking Mighty Awesome

Posted by Rob Rich on March 19th, 2014

Talisman: Prologue was a pretty great adaptation of GamesWorkshop's rather popular board game, but many seemed to view it as incomplete. I mean it was purely a solo affair, so that sort of makes sense. However, now Nomad Games is getting ready to release Talisman: Digital Edition and appease those who were hoping for a more multiplayer-driven affair.

Talisman: Digital Edition will still let you play against AI if you'd rather keep things solo, but it also offers asynchronous play. In case you're wondering how that works with spell interrupts, it basically uses a combination of push notifications and a timing window for players who want to try and counter an opponent's casting. Nomad also has plans for continuous support by adding new cards every few weeks, making new expansions available every few months, and even offering a curated library of user-created content.

You should be able to find Talisman: Digital Edition on the App Store for the iPad at the end of April for $7.99.

GDC 2014 - Ravensberger Announces SmartPlay, Microminds, and Ravensberger Puzzle

Posted by Rob Rich on March 19th, 2014

Ravensberger has been busy! The board game/puzzle designers have been hard at work on several new projects lately.

The item on the list is the SmartPlay, which is an intriguing device that you can use in conjunction with your iOS device in order to make it act as the rule keeper/game master for a physical board game. You just attach your device to the stand so that the camera has a view of the board and the app will keep track of piece movement, dice rolls, rules, and so on. The SmartPlay will be releasing in Europe this September (so probably next year in the US) in conjunction with three games (one of them is a reprint of King Arthur!), and will most likely be adapted to work with older games down the line.

Microminds is a similar idea, only it's a self-contained game for kids. A bunch of little aliens have crash-landed on Earth and need help with fixing their ship and getting home. Kids will use the game board, cards, and tokens - along with their iOS device's camera - to find and scan the appropriate elements in order to create new ship components, and hopefully get the lost little guys back to their home planet in the process. Microminds is also due out in Europe this September.

Finally there's Ravensberger Puzzle, which is a rather large (and ever-growing) collection of digital jigsaw puzzles. You'll have your own personal collection to play around with, and the app will track your completion percentages and times for you. Lots and lots of puzzles are available across lots and lots of themes, and you can easily change the number of pieces used for a given image using a slider (all the way up to 500, with no duplicate shapes). Ravensberger Puzzle will actually be available as a universal release in the App Store next week on March 27, and will sell for $2.99.

Image Credit: AppGamers

GDC 2014: 13th Lab Reveals Rescape Augmented Reality Rifle Controller for iOS with Kickstarter Campaign

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 19th, 2014

13th Lab has launched a Kickstarter for their upcoming Rescape accessory for first-person shooters on iPhone. This rifle-esque accessory is built for quasi-ARG applications: the game uses the gyroscope and camera attachment, and the software can map out real world areas to be turned into game levels. As well, the software can be implemented into existing games - the prototype allowed players to play with a prototype of Quake at their GDC booth. The 3D printed prototype lacks the planned d-pad on the controller and the Kickstarter is looking for $150,000 at a $129 buy-in for the prototype and SDK access for developers with the demo Office Defender game.

GDC 2014: Unreal Engine 4 Launched - goes subscription at $19 per user

Posted by Jeff Scott on March 19th, 2014

Expect to some some really pretty, graphically rich, 3D Flappy Bird clones soon.

Epic announced today a move that makes the Unreal Engine development kit available to all, at only $19 per month. In a risky move to counter other 3D engines in the mobile space, Unreal Engine 4, launched today, is available to anyone that wants to pay the $19 per month fee. That engine can be used to deny games to both desktop and mobile games. Previously the engine that powers Infinity Blade would cost millions and require a negotiated deal.

Unreal dies require that developers that make money from games developed with The engine, from premium, free to play, or ad supported, to pay a 5% gross license fee.

The engine is available to download now at http://www.unrealengine.com/.

GDC 2014 - 1849 is an Interesting Mix of City Builder and Spacial Puzzler

Posted by Rob Rich on March 18th, 2014

SomaSim's 1849 is a sim about the California Gold Rush in the same vein as older objective-driven simulations and city builders. It's also got a surprising amount of puzzle-like elements as you'll quickly find yourself trying to figure out the best way to make use of the limited space you're given.

The core idea behind 1849 is balance. You need to mine gold and other precious metals to earn money. You also need food and lodgings for your citizens and workers or else they'll abandon ship in a heartbeat. But in order to do that, you'll also have to make sure to provide other amenities such as schools and access to a saloon to keep the citizens of your ever-growing city happy. The catch is that every city (of which there are 20, each with their own overarching goals to complete) has a limit to how far it can expand. So in order to create a successful self-sustaining city you'll have to pay close attention to where you place what buildings and how many you construct.

SomaSim is aiming for an early May release. A specific price point hasn't been locked-in yet, but 1849 will be priced at a premium and offer additional content packs in the future.

GDC 2014: World Zombination from Proletariat Studios Will Feature Colorful Zombie Warfare

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 18th, 2014

Former Zynga Boston developers formed Proletariat Studios, and now they're hard at work on their first game: World Zombination. This casual strategy title puts players in control of either zombies trying to destroy protected human safehouses, or the humans protecting the safehouses. Sounds bleak, sure, but the game is bright and colorful. As well, there's online elements with other players planned, and plenty of new units to collect and deploy. Release is planned for later this year; check out gameplay video below, and check out their Twitch channel for regular livestreams of the game's development.

GDC 2014 - Robots Love Ice Cream from Dragon Army

Posted by Rob Rich on March 18th, 2014

Tucked away amidst all the rather incredible demos at this year's Indie Megabooth was an interesting little shooter about robots and their apparent infatuation with frozen dairy products. I'm talking about Robots Love Ice Cream.

Robots Love Ice Cream is all about driving an ice cream truck around spherical worlds and launching the delicious treats at invading robots who are bent on stealing it all. Different types of ice cream will have different effects (standard blaster, rapid fire, spread, etc), and there are a number of different robots to gum up the works as you try to keep the Earth's citizens (and ice cream!) safe.

Keep an eye on the App Store, because Robots Love Ice Cream should be releasing later this month.

GDC 2014: Tilt to Live 2 Gets New Brimstone Pinball Game Mode

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 17th, 2014

One Man Left is bringing the first new game mode to Tilt to Live 2: Brimstone Pinball. Based off of the brimstone ball powerup added to the game, this mode is based entirely around it, with a ball that stays in the arena. Bounce it off of enemies to take them out, bounce it off of the walls to activate a super laser, but be wary: the enemy spawners occasionally spawn chainsaws. Ouch. The update is coming soon to both iOS and Android.

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GDC 2014: Unpossible, the Super Hexagon-Inspired Arcade Challenge Game from Acceleroto

Posted by Carter Dotson on March 17th, 2014

Acceleroto, creators of Air Hockey, have a new game, Unpossible, inspired by games like Super Hexagon and Pivvot. From a first-person perspective, try to avoid oncoming obstacles in one of three difficulties, including daily challenge and a casual mode. The easy mode is designed for the less-skilled and for those just getting used to the game; the later ones will put skilled gamers to the test. Look for this one in a few weeks.

What I Played on the Road to GDC 2014

Posted by Rob Rich on March 17th, 2014

GDC is upon us, and a number of industry folks are gathering San Francisco in order to take part - myself included. Since it's about a 6 hour flight from New York I decided to load my phone up before I left with the idea that I'd have a massive selection of games to occupy me. In addition to what I normally have on there I also decided to add games like Brandnew Boy, Out There, and Starbase Orion. But the game that really occupied the majority of my time is one I didn't expect: Calculords.

Perhaps it was because I slept for most of the flight and didn't have the time to play everything. Maybe I wanted something to get my brain moving again after I was done napping. Or maybe it's just excellent and I wanted to keep playing it. Whatever the reason, I played Calculords significantly more than anything else on this trip. It kept me entertained, woke me up (all that math!), and it's just, well, fun.

This is, of course, not to say that my other picks were bad in any way. Quite the contrary, really. But Calculords really is something special. I might be a tad biased because I have a soft sport for card games, though.

The Big Indie Pitch Returns to GDC - Much Developer/Journalist Speed-Pitching is Expected

Posted by Rob Rich on February 28th, 2014

Pocket Gamer.biz reports that the Big Indie Pitch will be returning to GDC this year. Several developers get to speed-pitch their projects to a whole lot of game journalists; even including some 148Apps folks!

The Big Indie Pitch will be taking place on Thursday, March 20, from 12pm - 4pm (PDT). If you're interested in attending and are a member of the gaming press, a developer, or just want to come and watch, you can sign up at the Eventbrite page.

In addition, you can check out the Pocket Gamer GDC Party taking place on Monday, March 17, from 8pm - 12am (PDT) if you're so inclined.