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Daily Double: Plushed Character Design Contest, Beejive IM, and...it's Over?

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on December 23rd, 2009
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED :: Read Review »

Yep, that's right, folks...the Appvent Calender has come to an end. iTunes Connect is closed for Christmas, presumably to help iTunes handle the influx of traffic, so developers can't change prices until the holiday is over. There won't be any more free games, at least not through the official Appvent Calender.

What the folks at Blacksmith games are offering, though, is a contest. You can go here to read the full details, but the main thing is that you have to create a sketch, design, or description of a unique Plushed character. The winner will receive a $200 iTunes gift card (USA only, sadly). That's a nice prize right there!

The developers will pick their top five choices on December 29th and show them on the Appvent Calender site. In true democratic style, "the people" will get to pick the winner. Not only will the winner receive that awesome gift card, but their character will be animated and added to the game as an enemy in the fifth level of Plushed!

A fitting end to the Appvent Calender? I think so. It's hard to believe how close it is to Christmas.

Don't forget that EA still has a massive 24 games on sale, and other developers are still running promotions, too. Here's one last sale from an awesome app to conclude our Daily Double:

Beejive IM
Those App Store veterans among you will recognize Beejive as the widely acknowledged leader in the field of IM apps. Even Apple selected it as one of 2009's best app in their "2009 Rewind" feature. Sporting push notifications, group chat, support for a wide array of IM services, and oodles of other features, Beejive has long set the premium standard. We gave Beejive a shining 5-star rating, and highly recommend it to any heavy chat users. It was worth it back at $15.99 and was still a deal at $9.99. Now, its current sale price of $5.99 is likely the lowest you'll see this premium app go. Make sure to read our review for a more in-depth look!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays and all that, folks. It's been a great season for iPhone freebies!

First Look: Plushed By Blacksmith Games

Posted by Arron Hirst on December 15th, 2009

Blacksmith Games are about to debut onto the App Store with their first title for the platform. Submitted just a few days ago, Plushed is a platformer which will literally transport you to a fairytale world. The game takes the player on a dark-humored, Tim Burton-esque adventure roller coaster .. starting off with the story of a girl, who's most favorite things in the world are her fairytale book, and her cuddly bunny - Plushie. One night while in bed, she notices a snoring noise coming from out of a mouse hole in her wall. Having never noticed it before, she goes to inspect the noise and grabs a piece of cheese from her dinner left overs, to entice whatever was making the noise, to show it's face.

A few minutes later a mouse wearing a fairy costume appears in front of her, with a jealous-looking smaller mouse standing behind. Without a thought, the mouse grabs the cheese and devours it. As a reward the mouse offers the little girl one wish. Of course the girl wished to be a fairytale princess. Just as the spell was about to be cast though, a skull from the other mouse hits the wand, mis-firing the spell, causing it to hit the fairytale book. In an instant the book swallows up both the girl and plushie, and the adventure .. begins.

In-game, you play as the main character, Plushie the bunny. Guiding him through 9 danger-filled but fun lengthy levels, including; Ancient Ruins, Wild Plains, Mountain Trail, Batcow Stables, Cotton Candy Park, Cursed Wood, Graveyard Swamp, Princess Room and Evil Mouse Lair, you aim to collect as many golden ladybirds within each of these levels, as possible. Through the game you'll also come across various weird and wonderful support characters, including a pizza eater, which when given pieces of pizza will close its mouth and let you jump on his back to reach those hard to reach places, a kubicorn which is like a unicorn, but square!, and many more. By default only the first level is available, with the game unlocking each subsequent level, after completion of the previous. Completion of a level seems to be deemed as reaching the end-of-level door, as opposed to collecting all the pickups available, and therefore I found myself re-playing the levels to try and beat my previous golden ladybird totals.

The games controls are fairly straightforward. Moving back and forth is controlled by a left and right arrow seen as in the bottom left of the screen, while jumping is performed simply by tapping the screen. You'll be glad to know though that you can also control by tilt. To do this just select 'Tilt' from the 'Options' pane. As well as the game's built-in levels, Plushed also features 3 mini-games, which you can play through. These include: Jackpack Master, Mining Expert and Defender.

Having gotten the chance to test Plushed out over this weekend just gone, I have to say that I have fallen in love with it. In my opinion, a great first debut. Vibrant visuals and polished hand-drawn characters all complete with their own realistic animations, I couldn't help but not want to play through some of the levels again.

Plushed has already been submitted, and will be hitting the App Store soon. Watch out for this one!


Plushed Submitted to App Store, Final Trailer Released

Posted by Robert Corra on December 11th, 2009

Blacksmith Games have been mentioned alot recently in the news because of the Appvent Calendar promotion they organized, where developers have been offering a free game a day until Christmas. In the meantime, Blacksmith have been preparing their much-anticipated, first iphone game "Plushed" for release, and have just announced that it has been officially submitted to Apple. The final trailer was released in conjunction, and can be seen here:

A few months back, Blacksmith Games held a contest where the public would decide the price of Plushed based on the number of new Twitter followers the company could obtain. Besides helping to spread the word about the atttractive game, this promotion ultimately drove the price down to $1.99 from a max of $6.99. Here's what you can expect according to Blacksmith:

What happens when the fairytale world of a cute little girl turns into a cursed kingdom where she is queen? Her favorite plushie sets out to save her, of course. Guiding her loyal plush through several haunted meadows and creepy castles, you must use your wits to bring down the Evil voodoo mouse and his army of wacky minions! It’ simple; get to the castle, save the princess. You’ve seen it before, but not like this. PLUSHED! The adventures of the reluctant bunny knight...

- more than 20 unique and funny characters: Every character has different qualities, which will amaze you. You'll encounter Bunny Knight, Pizzaeater, Batcow, Kubicorn, Lil Red, Schizo Spider, Milk Gunner Fairy and many more
- unique gameplay: Control different items with your finger or by shaking your iPhone to attract enemies, defeat level bosses, to solve tasks and to do many other exciting things
- marvelous story: a typical fairytale? Not in this game
- hand-drawn backgrounds and game assets:The game’s design has a distinct visual style that merges the happy world of childhood fairytales with a somewhat macabre twist and dark humor.
- 3 world bosses that have to be defeated
- 9 extensive and unique levels: Explore the fabulous and adventurous world in PLUSHED!
- 4 minigames for even more fun
- 2 control options
- fancy soundtrack
- This game is designed specifically for the iPhone

App Store news Round-up for August 12th

Posted by Jeff Scott on August 12th, 2009

Phil Shiller is writing back to Steve Frank about the App Store approval process issues. While we wait for Steve Jobs to return our correspondence, here's the latest from the app store.

More Wolfenstein! The game was originally created by Id Software, ported to the iPhone by Firemint, and now published by EA. Delayed for nearly 2 months so as to not compete with with Wolfenstein 3D, the game was released yesterday at $4.99. A low initial price for an EA release.

It's an interesting idea for a game. Take the Wolfenstein 3D game and add an RPG element to it. Early reader reviews are great. We'll try to have a review up in the next couple days.

Plushed looks lush. Plushed, a new game from Blacksmith Games has a fantastic art style. Platformer + goth + pizza = Plushed? We'll have to wait and see if the gameplay delivers. Take a look at the YouTube video for more. Blacksmith Games is also doing a promo where the more people that follow them on Twitter, the lower the launch price of the game will be. Expected release date is September/October.

Push, bid, push, bid. Ebay have updated their app to include push notifications for outbid alerts and watched items. You still don't have a chance against the snipers though.