Carter talks to Arctic Empire's Eli Cymet about his studio's upcoming tower defense game OfficeAttacks!, discussing what they plan to do with the free-to-play mechanics as compared to how other games have done them, and how they're trying to pay homage to other games while steering clear of cloning.
Dream Heights, the new freemium game from Zynga that looks an awful lot like Tiny Tower, has officially been launched on the US App Store. And, proving that gamers have long and vengeful memories, the title has promptly been slammed with a whole mess of One Star reviews. Choice morsels include "Blatant copy of Tiny Tower mechanics /w a Zynga art dept. skin. But I have to say, the way Zynga innovated with regards to being stingy with in app currency is nothing short of ground breaking," and "Wow, not a Tiny Tower ripoff. Not at all. Completely different in every way." As of right now the game has received 311 One Star ratings, but that number has been largely overwhelmed by the 1263 Five Star ratings it's also seen.
Zynga has been accused of shady business practices in the past, but this time around the community seems to be taking particular offense. Part of the controversy stems from the fact that Zynga attempted to buy outTiny Tower developer Nimblebit at one point, but was refused. Thus, many are taking the launch of Dream Heights as a slap in the face to the smaller company. Still, it seems the rage has all but abated, and it appears Zynga may weather the fury of the Internet and come away largely unscathed. The game is currently averaging a Four Star overall review score, and the average iOS social gamer is probably largely unaware of the controversy. We'll wait a bit and see if there's any long-term effects, but for now it seems that Zynga's future (and stock price) remains mostly unaffected.
Dark Elves aren't evil, they're just misunderstood.
On This Episode:
Carter and co-host Rob Rich discuss the current cloning epidemic that continues to spread with games that appear to clone Tiny Tower and Triple Town. As well, they discuss some of the games that they've been playing lately.
You're the best around! No one's ever gonna keep you down!
On This Episode:
Carter and an esteemed panel of regular Portable Podcast guests share their opinions on the best games of 2011, their most underappreciated game, and their favorite pre-2011 game that they're still playing.
Part One: Games 16 - 25 Part Two: Games 6 - 15 In what was another fantastic year in the world of iOS gaming, we are here to bring you the titles that we, the staff of 148Apps, thought were the best of the year. Here are our top five picks for the Best Games of 2011:
5. Tiny Tower: Listening to some of the most prominent voices in gaming journalism right now, so-called 'social' and 'free to play' games are the scourge of the industry, and will bring forth the end of gaming as we know it, or at least a cowpocalypse. Of course, the problem is more that these games tend to be designed for nefarious purposes, to try and suck every last penny out of players' wallets. Tiny Tower was one of the few to not do this. It does a lot of the little things right - from giving out its credits through completing in-game actions, to providing things for players to do while actually checking in on the game, to feel compelling yet fair.
I spent weeks on end compulsively checking my tower, managing where my little bitizens should be working, and making that building go higher and higher. I eventually stopped - my tower was very large, and I didn't necessarily feel the need to make it bigger, and I had other ways to spend time when on my iPod. But there's just a satisfaction in knowing that a game is designed in a way that if I wanted to get back in, I could, and wouldn't have any negative effects waiting for me if I did so. This is a shining example of what the industry needs to do with their free to play titles, as it is infinitely more satisfying than the ones that make me feel like they just want my money.
4. Tiny Wings: This wasn't supposed to happen. A game made almost entirely by one guy in Germany, with no promotion whatsoever, shooting to the top of the charts? Sure, in the early days of the App Store, back in 2009, it would seem believable; but here in 2011, for this to happen? It seems impossible. But it's clear to see why it did just that: its watercolor graphics, adorable bird protagonist, and simple-yet-unique gameplay mechanic all combined to make a hit game that just happened to be picked up by people...then by a few more...then a lot more...then suddenly everyone was talking about this ingenious little game made by some unknown developer that now everyone was playing. I still don't know how it happened, but I'm sure glad it did.
3. Infinity Blade 2: There was one iOS game that made me cry this year. This was not it. It should have, though. Due to glitches with iCloud, I lost my built-up characters twice. On consecutive nights. A lesser game would have made me throw it down in frustration, delete it, and never speak of it again. I guess it says a lot about a game that I could pick it up again for hours on end, after any practical benefit to playing it had eroded, whether it had been to simply review the game or even after I had beaten it. There I would sit on my couch, continuing to hack away at enemies, managing my equipment to keep mastering it and improve my stats. I've lost a lot of time to this stupid game, and though it may be inherently repetitive, and largely only iterative on its well-known prequel...it was still some of the most fun I've had this year.
2. Where's My Water? - Physics games can be distilled down to a pretty easy formula these days: combine an endearing protagonist to create an emotional connection to the player with gameplay that uses the physical interaction of objects in a simple enough way that even casual players can become hooked to for great success. Combine these two things, and profit is the hopeful result. Plenty of games attempt this. Very few succeed at it, though. Where's My Water did just that.
The goal of the gameplay, which is simply to cut through dirt to guide water to Swampy's bathtub, hits the notes of being deceptively simple with added complexity. Soon, dangerous substances are added, along with pipes, bombs, moss and other hazards. But that simple mechanic of cutting through dirt to guide the water with understandable physics, remains the core.
Of course, the fact that Disney makes Swampy come alive doesn't hurt at all. Swampy is fantastically animated, as one would expect from, well, Disney. His worried and pained expressions while wearing his shower cap and waiting in his empty tub for his bath water causes that hook to sink in; I'm not just doing this for myself, I'm doing this for that little guy! He gets so happy when he gets his water that it becomes difficult to not become attached, to want to keep trying to get that water to him.
Disney found a way to create that kind of emotional connection to players, and look where they sit on this list. They earned it.
1. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP - In reality, a lot of the hype for this game was in part due to its visual style: sure, retraux pixel art is en vogue among a lot of games this year, but it was the detail, the usage of it to become something more than just imitation of the good ol' days of gaming. The mystery played a large part of it too - we knew how it looked, but how would it play? What was the setup for this game? What will happen?
What we got was a truly beautiful experience. The combat is simple and somewhat repetitive, sure. But everything else about it raises the experience to another level. The art and animation are splendid, of course. The music, composed by Jim Guthrie, is an incredible feast. The writing is at times humorous, but helps to set up a scene of a world with mystery and wonder, explaining only just enough when it needs to. The ending is so powerful it brought me to tears. It takes a powerful piece of art to do that, and it is something that few games have ever done to me. As a pure game, it is imperfect. But as an experience - I can't say I experienced anything greater on iOS this year. This will stick with me for a while, and it is an easy choice for our game of the year.
That's it, there's our list of the best of the year in iOS gaming. Did you have a preferred title? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to another great year of iOS gaming in the year 2012!
Happy Holidays! If you're like many folks, you'll have gotten a new iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch this holiday season. And if you're looking for a place to learn all about this new magical device in your life, you've come to the right place. 148Apps has tons of resources on using your new device and filling it with the best thing about it: apps.
Learning The Basics
The operating system of these devices is one of the most intuitive around. However, there's always more waiting under the hood to make things just that much easier or better on us. While your new iPhone or iPad may not come with a manual, you can download one fairly simply from the iBooks Store. First, grab [appinline:364709193,"iBooks"], then grab the manual for your new iPad, iPhone, or
Speaking of the operating system, we've written a few articles about the latest and greatest from Cupertino right here on 148Apps. Check out our Full Feature Roundup on iOS 5.
We even published some downloadable magazine-style User Guides last year, on each of the devices. Feel free to grab them and read through them - many of the tips and tricks included there are just as relevant today as they were then. iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
To the iCloud!!!
You may have seen some of the information about iCloud in the Apple TV commercials. It's a great system that gives you unprecedented storage and sharing options. Here's a short intro to iCloud from Apple.
We've got you covered with iCloud as well. Here's information on both moving your data to the iCloud to help keep things synced and backed up. You may also need more information on how you set up iCloud in a multiple user family. This details all the ins and outs of multiple user groups who may otherwise share iTunes accounts.
There Really is an App for That
Once you've got a good handle on using that sleek new iOS device, you'll of course want to dive in and start downloading apps. Whether you're an avid gamer, a music lover, a book reader or even (gasp) all three, you'll find everything you need in the iTunes Store.
When it comes to Apps, iOS has no peer. There are over 500,000 apps in the App Store, so you'll doubtlessly find something you like. The trick, however, is filtering through all of those apps to find the specific things you want. That can be tricky, but luckily there are many ways to help.
First off are our very own reviews. We review a ton of apps weekly to give you the best recommendations about the best apps we find. Be sure to look through our Reviews lists, which can be filtered by type of app as well as sorted by date, app name, or app rating. If you just want to read reviews of our highest rated iPad games, for example, it's an easy click. And for on the go browsing of 148Apps reviews, grab the [appinline: 444792529,"148Apps App"].
In addition, we have our famous Price Drops lists, which can be sorted to just show the latest drops in prices, or even just the latest FREE apps. Very handy, if we say so ourselves. If you're looking for the very latest additions to the App Store, we have a list for that, as well as one for the Top Apps across all the App Store categories for each device. Then of course there's always the very best of the best in free apps available in the free games and free apps lists.
If you want even more app discovering goodness, you might want to check out a few apps made to help you wade through the App Store. Some of our favorites are [appinline:387037496,"AppShopper"], [appinline:348286549,"Chomp"], and [appinline: 383151779,"AppZapp"]. There are even specific apps to help you find the latest free apps. Some of the best include [appinline:348650932,"Free App A Day"], [appinline: 470693788,"Apps Gone Free"], and [appinline:484505841, "Free App Alliance"]. These will all help you sort and find and browse apps and games to your heart's content; we use them all the time to find new great apps to use and write about on the site.
Where Else To Find 148Apps?
We're everywhere, really. However, the best places to find us are on Twitter, Facebook, and now even Google+. Be sure to come visit and chat with us there. We're ever so responsive.
Free Apps You Shouldn't Do Without
Now, we wouldn't be the premier Apps review site without some sort of parting gift, now would we? How about some apps you really should try out? To make the deal even sweeter, let's make them free apps.
iBooks, Nook, & Kindle - Reading ebooks is all the rage these days, especially on these fancy new iOS devices. We love reading on our iPad, and have even been known to crack a virtual spine or two on our iPhone while waiting at the doctor's office. For those of you with shorter attention spans, there's always Newsstand, iOS's magazine subscription service. Some of the best ereader apps include [appinline:364709193,"iBooks"], [appinline:384910586,"Nook for iPhone"], [appinline:373582546,"Nook for iPad"], and [appinline:302584613,"Kindle"]. Happy reading!
Facebook, Twitter, & Instant Messaging - Keep in touch with family, friends, and us - your favorite Apps website - with these free social networking apps. Tell 'em 148Apps sent you!
There's [appinline:284882215], [appinline:333903271] though [appinline: 428851691,"Tweetbot"] is much better, though not free like the official Twitter app.
For instant messaging, check out [appinline:336435697,"imo"] and [appinline:405179691,"imo for iPad"]. And don't forget [appinline: 304878510,"Skype"] and [appinline: 442012681,"Skype for iPad"]. We've become big fans of [appinline: 392796698 ,"GroupMe"] lately too for group communication.
Gaming on the Cheap - Now, we put out a sweet weekly article that tells you about the latest FREE gaming apps, but here are a few we think you won't want to miss. We could go on for hours about it, really, but these should get you off to a good start.
For a great free endless runner, check out [appinline:420009108,"Temple Run"]. A wonderful game. For some great physics puzzle fun, the new king is [appinline:467810884,"Where's My Water? Free"] and you can never go wrong with the classic [appinline:409807569,"Angry Birds Free"]. A couple other free games we really like include [appinline:466965151,"The Sims Freeplay"] and [appinline:422667065,"TinyTower"].
You should also check out our massive iOS game and app sale post. There are tons of great deals and quite a few temporarily free apps there. Be sure to grab the great [appinline: 457446957,"Jetpack Joyride"] while it's free. It's one of our favorite games of the year.
We hope you've enjoyed learning about your new magical iOS devices. The iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are some of the best new gadgets to give or receive. Be sure to come back often to see what we have for you; we're always looking to find the news or apps you want to know about first. From all of us here to all of you out there, Happy Holidays!!!
Host Carter Dotson and 148Apps' Rob LeFebvre discuss the variety of tablets out there, and whether the alternative tablets provide a superior gaming experience than the iPad. As well, they discuss the rise of free to play and freemium apps on the App Store, and how they are indicative of the rapid evolution the App Store undergoes.
You know, we call it pixel art, but isn't all art displayed on a digital display pixel art?
On This Episode:
Carter speaks to Ben Hopkins of Kode80 about his new retro-inspired platformer, 1-Bit Ninja. They discuss the inspirations behind the game, and the 3D aspects of the game.
Carter speaks to Ian Marsh of NimbleBit about his company's new freemium game, Tiny Tower. They discuss what went into the game's freemium elements, and NimbleBit's philosophies about freemium games and trying to get people to pay for content in their games.