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KAMI on Steam photo
KAMI on Steam

Chill paper-folding puzzle title KAMI is now on Steam


Oh, KAMI
Jan 24
// Darren Nakamura
Despite initial impressions, State of Play's recent iOS puzzle game KAMI is not about folding colorful pieces of paper into three-dimensional figures that resemble animals. Aesthetically, it does involve origami paper being ...
Peggle 2 photo
Peggle 2

Here's some videos showing off the new Peggle 2 Masters


The sequel is just over a week away!
Dec 03
// Alasdair Duncan
One of the sure fire ways to my shriveled, deep-fried, black heart is to mention The Big Lebowski. Now you throw Peggle in the mix and I'm all ears; PopCap has just put some trailers online showing off the powers of some of ...
Candy Crush Saga photo
Candy Crush Saga

Sweet stat: Candy Crush Saga's been installed 500M times


I bet your mom's one of them
Nov 15
// Brett Makedonski
Have you heard about this tiny, up-and-coming indie game called Candy Crush Saga? If you haven't, welcome to the Internet, and I'm flattered that this is the first thing you chose to read. If you have, don't feel special; it ...
Peggle photo
Peggle

A few precious moments of Peggle 2


...spread across three separate videos
Oct 09
// Jordan Devore
Short clips of Peggle 2 -- so this is what it's come to ... okay! Look, I'm desperate. PopCap has "gameplay preview" videos of the Peggle Masters Bjorn, Luna, and Berg that offer a quick fix to get us through the wait for th...
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Your MOM plays videogames


New study says most moms game
Aug 27
// Dale North
No, really. She probably does. Mine does. In fact, new research released today by the Entertainment Software Association says that 74 percent of moms are gamers.  The "Mom Gamers Study: A New Generation of Gamer" found t...
PAX 10 photo
PAX 10

PAX Prime 2013's PAX 10 games have been announced


You might have heard of some of these games already
Jul 29
// Darren Nakamura
One of my favorite parts about PAX Prime since 2008 has been the PAX 10 indie game showcase. Over 100 games were submitted to be judged upon by a panel of experts, and the following ten games have been declared the best of th...
Zyngattrick photo
Zyngattrick

Don Mattrick to turn Zynga around with business clichés


Shift some paradigms, think outside the box
Jul 26
// Steven Hansen
Former Microsoft figurehead and presumed fall guy Don Mattrick is now the CEO of Zynga, the company known for making millions off the Facebook boom and games like Farmville. Of course, the casual powerhouse hasn't been faring...
Zynga photo
Zynga

Zynga error lets stranger do hilarious customer support


In all fairness, he tried to warn them
Jul 05
// Brett Makedonski
Zynga's been a hot topic in the news lately, but this gaffe is quite a bit more lighthearted than the Mattrick saga. It's also pretty embarrassing. As reported by Kotaku, Zynga accidentally put a random person in charge of cu...
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Marbly is the newest game from Tetris creator, now on iOS


Squares are so retro! Spheres are the new hotness!
Jun 02
// Jason Cabral
When you think of long running puzzle game franchises, you'll inevitably come across Tetris. We have all played it at one time or another, willingly or otherwise, and we have Mr. Alexey Pajitnov to thank for it...
Draw Something 2 photo
Draw Something 2

Zynga launches Draw Something 2


Try again?
Apr 25
// Dale North
Here's another excuse to draw dick pictures on your mobile device and send them to your friends. It's Draw Something 2, the follow-up to the Pictonary-like social game that captured our imaginations for exactly 1.5 weeks last...
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Cut the Rope: Time Travel takes Om Nom to the past


New puzzle title coming soon
Apr 16
// Dale North
ZeptoLab is preparing to release a follow-up title to their hit mobile puzzle game (and now 3DS game), Cut the Rope. This new game, Cut the Rope: Time Travel, has cute little green guy Om Nom traveling to the past to visit h...
Draw Something photo
Draw Something

Draw Something television game show is really happening


Coming to UK's Channel 4
Apr 11
// Dale North
Remember when we told you how Zynga was working on turning their popular drawing mobile game into a television game show? That's actually happening now, but not for CBS as we originally heard. Word is that they've decided not...
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Rovio ain't angry: $194m in revenue, 45 percent from toys


A record year for the casual games company
Apr 04
// Dale North
Who says you have to make AAA console games to make money? While the big guys are shutting down left and right, Rovio flings off their financial results for 2012 showing that they're growing at an amazing rate. The Espoo, Fin...
Fire Emblem: Awakening photo
Fire Emblem: Awakening

'No way': Fire Emblem: Awakening director on casual mode


Not everyone was on board with casual mode
Apr 03
// Dale North
How did you play the fantastic 3DS tactical RPG Fire Emblem: Awakening? Did you leave permadeath on, playing the game's classic mode? Or were you more than happy to switch on the game's casual mode, which has your dead charac...
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Zynga: Tablets are becoming the ultimate game platform


Farmville dev praises your iPads and your Samsung Notethinkers
Mar 18
// Jim Sterling
Console fans will protest, PC fans will bellow in outrage, but Farmville developer Zynga believes tablet devices are on track to become the ultimate platform for gaming experiences. According to games president Steve Chi...
Game of Thrones Ascent photo
Game of Thrones Ascent

Rule Facebook from Game of Thrones Ascent


Not bad for a Facebook game
Feb 25
// Joshua Derocher
Game of Thrones Ascent is a Facebook game, and I know that many of you are about to stop reading as a result. Maybe the fact that it doesn't have an energy meter limiting how much you can do will make you interested again. It...
2013 D.I.C.E. Summit photo
2013 D.I.C.E. Summit

Jesse Schell: Marketing BS and good games won't be enough


D.I.C.E. keynote 'The Secret Mechanisms'
Feb 08
// Jordan Devore
Dale has been at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit all week and left express instructions to pass along Schell Games CEO Jesse Schell's keynote speech to you kind folks. Having now watching it myself, I have to agree -- it's an enter...
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Jimquisition: Dumbing Down for the Filthy Casuals


Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Dec 10
// Jim Sterling
There are valid concerns with the "dumbing down" of our entertainment, but as with so many issues, there are just as many invalid ones. This is especially true when "inclusiveness" and "dumbing down" are seen as the same thi...
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Wii Mini online scrapped to keep down costs


Nintendo claims Wii Mini is for 'families'
Dec 06
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo has justified the Wii Mini's lack of basic features by claiming the aim was to keep costs down. Yes, I know, a bit of a Captain Obvious response. More interesting is the extra reasoning provided by Nintendo of Canada...

Review: Chasing Aurora

Nov 21 // Jim Sterling
Chasing Aurora (Wii U)Developer: Broken RulesPublisher: Broken RulesRelease: November 18, 2012MSRP: $14.99 Chasing Aurora is a competitive game for up to five players, in which cute mutant bird people engage in a variety of airborne playground games. Supporting Wii Remotes and the GamePad, the aim is for some players to act as the aggressors, while the others avoid their wrath. There is a small selection of games, all of which play on this single idea.  One such game is Hide and Seek, in which the GamePad user flaps around the arena and attempts to hide from the Wii Remote users, keeping off the television screen and ducking behind trees to avoid detection. Another has the GamePad player as an ice bird, charged with tracking down and tagging opponents by flying into them. The final mode, Chase, is ostensibly a game of "keep away" as players race to grab a shiny object and hold onto it for a set amount of time, stopping other players from touching and retrieving it.  [embed]239071:45873[/embed] These games can be mixed and matched into tournaments, with players swapping the GamePad around for an even crack at the scoreboard, and there's a decent selection of colorful arenas to play in, sometimes featuring environmental hindrances such as strong blasts of wind, sneakily placed rocks, or lightning strikes.  Controls are simple, with the left stick doing most of the flying, a button to flap wings for extra speed, and one to dive in order to quickly drop latitude. The minimalistic control layout is efficient, providing all you need to take your childhood schoolyard memories into the air. With a charming visual style, and some really nicely designed characters, Chasing Aurora is very difficult to dislike.  As well as multiplayer, a series of solo time trials are on offer, giving players the task of gliding through a series of gates and trying to wrack up as a big a score as possible. There are twenty courses, but they can all be cleared very quickly, and playing alone is dull enough to where I can't imagine many would want to go back and replay them. All you end up doing is circling around some small arenas for as long as you can, and it's safe to say that doing so isn't particularly enthralling.  Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it doesn't always make for a compelling game, and it sadly has not worked for Chasing Aurora. While the games are quite fun, the sheer lack of content on offer is disappointing. You can see everything the game has to offer in an hour, and the lack of nuance or dynamism to the game types ensures that, as amusing as it is for a while, everything gets dull fairly quickly. No matter which game you select, they're only very slight riffs on a single concept, and the pace never intensifies beyond its laid back beginnings.  Some lengthy loading times hold back the experience a little, too. The game boots with a sizable wait, and it can take a while to load each individual match. It's a shame, because the simple 2D visuals are great, and there's some really nice music. I don't know what it's doing that requires so much loading, though.  As a disposable game costing a few dollars, Chasing Aurora is something I'd recommend wholeheartedly. As a game that presents itself as worthy of standing alongside the biggest and best digital console offerings, and prices itself accordingly, this hopeful little number is left desperately wanting. While it's good for a little bit of innocent, inoffensive amusement, it just offers nowhere near enough to justify an immediate purchase. You'll likely be done with it within sixty minutes, and there's not a lot to go back to.  It's a shame, because Chasing Aurora really ain't that bad at all. For all that it has, it's just not good enough. 
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For the birds
I knew nothing about Chasing Aurora when I bought it. It won my money by being in the right place at the right time, as I needed to purchase something from the Wii U eShop and test out Nintendo's digital distribution efforts....

Review: Rabbids Land

Nov 18 // Jim Sterling
Rabbids Land (Wii U)Developer: Ubisoft ParisPublisher: UbisoftRelease: October 18, 2012MSRP: $49.99 Rabbids Land revolves around a four-player board game. The board is made up of three rings, one of which is the central starting area and two of which contain a variety of squares with special properties. The aim of the game is to travel around the board, completing objectives to win a set number of trophies, before returning to the starting ring. Winner, obviously, is the first to get all the trophies and make it home.  Players pass around the GamePad in turns, tapping on a virtual die that determines how many spaces can be moved. The most desirable spaces to land on are game squares, as these pick the player and a random opponent to compete for three trophies. Quiz spaces ask a general knowledge question in exchange for two trophies, while traps remove a trophy from any player unfortunate enough to land on them. Prize spaces grant unique one-use abilities, such as a loaded die that lets you pick any number you wish, or the power to steal a trophy from another player. Finally, there are event spaces, which alter the board itself by adding score multipliers, bombs, or burglars that move around the board and steal trophies.  [embed]238852:45827[/embed] The mini-games make use of the Wii U GamePad in a variety of gimmicky ways, but it has to be said that none of them come across as very inspired. Unlike Nintendo Land, Ubisoft's own party offering is a little on the tame side, doing nothing that we haven't seen before from other mini-game compilations that use motion or touch controls. We have a game where you tilt the Pad to move a ball around, one where you trace images with the stylus, one where you use the gyroscope to look about and shoot at things -- it's all quite pedestrian stuff. There's a little bit of a spin when the Wiimote comes into play, with other players trying to stop the main participant from winning, but again, it's the same kind of stuff we've seen on the Wii already.  The games are slow paced, simplistic, and kind of dull. They all work just fine, but they're hardly exciting. Part of the problem is that I believe the GamePad is far less suited to the idea of party games than the Wii was, but Ubisoft is trying to force it anyway. The GamePad is a less physical controller than the Wii remote, and it's not exactly cause for a party mood when you're watching somebody hunched over a little screen, tracing lines with a thin plastic stylus. The GamePad's potential for asymmetrical multiplayer experiences is exciting, but not for these kinds of thoughtless mini-game experiences. The informed wackiness of people performing "crazy" objectives together is lost in translation when it comes to the more exclusive properties of the Wii U's primary controller.  There's very little else of note in Rabbids Land, for all its promise of silly adventure in a crazy theme park. Outside of the board game, you can tackle unlocked mini-games in a Free Play or a Treasure Hunt mode. Treasure Hunt places coins in the games that can be tapped on and collected. The more coins players find, the closer they get to unlocking various videos in the Extras menu. These videos are mostly brief skits featuring the Rabbids doing silly things, and I believe they're far more entertaining than the actual interactive portions of this product.  Rabbids Land isn't awful, but it's wholly unnecessary for a system that's launching with Nintendo Land, a game that trounces Ubisoft's attempts in every conceivable way. Rabbids Land does nothing exciting with the new input, nor does it take advantage of what the Wii U can do in order to provide games more suited to the GamePad. Instead, it tries old tricks on a system that's not built with them in mind, and the result is something disposable that has no real value to anybody.  If you play Rabbids Land, you won't have the worst time, but it'll be wasted time nonetheless. 
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Rabbids Bland
It's hard not to like the Rabbids. Cute in an ugly way, stupid in an admirable way, the bug-eyed creatures bear an innate charm, and it's hardly surprising they swiftly stepped out of Rayman's shadow to star in their own fran...

Preview: Wizardlings

Oct 25 // Dale North
When an enemy (or multiple enemies) pop out of the shadows, a battle kicks off. This is a turn-based encounter that makes use of your spellbook. With the treasures and supplies found during exploration, you're able to use the spellbook to combine them to create magic spells that can be used in battle. In battle, brewing up a spell is as easy as touching one of the icons at the base of the battle screen. If you have enough resources, the spell is created. Another tap puts the spell to use. These are all based on elements, giving the battle system a rock-paper-scissors kind of feel. Finding more wands through exploration gives you access to more spell types, letting you take on even more monsters. These supplies, like ingredients and gems, are finite sources, so you'll want to go into battle stocked up, which means that you'll want to poke all of the little dark tiles. I realize that this doesn't sound very exciting on paper, but it is fun randomly finding treasures and enemies. Along with these found supplies you'll also uncover things like armor and accessories during exploration. Like any good RPG, you can equip and customize your character with them. All of my enemy encounters were more entertaining than challenging, but I could see that changing as the game progresses. Too easy? Maybe, but this is a casual game. And it could be that tapping dark tiles to make them light might not engage more hardcore gamers. If that's the case, this game probably won't satisfy your RPG itch. But, if you go in looking for something cute and simple, you'll have a good time with Wizardlings. Either way, I'll say that this game features what are probably the cutest enemies in an RPG ever. Overall, Wizardlings is very cute game with its deformed characters, cuddly-mean baddies, and vibrant world art. The floating land masses and their strong colors seemed to pop right off the iPad I was using to test out the game.  Wizardlings is a free-to-play iOS title, which means that there's a pay element built in. Mind you, that was never apparent in the time I spent with the game. What it boils down to is that uou can pay to acquire more resources instead of hunting them down. Square Enix tells us that everything you can buy can also be found, which is nice to hear. Wizardlings is available for iOS now on the App Store. Square Enix says that it will come to other mobile devices soon. 
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A cute, casual, tap movement RPG
I had a chance to check out Square Enix's casual iOS (and soon Android) RPG Wizardlings at New York Comic-Con a week or so back. It's a cute little title that has your hero or heroine moving to lift the darkness and push back...

Plants vs Zombies 2 photo
Plants vs Zombies 2

PopCap announces Plants vs. Zombies 2


Plants vs Zombies 2 release dated for Spring
Aug 20
// Conrad Zimmerman
Prepare to defend yourself from an all new zombie onslaught as PopCap Games has just announced a sequel to Plants vs. Zombies. Scheduled for release in Spring 2013, Plants vs. Zombies 2 will feature new scenarios to keep...
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A little more on Sports Connection for Wii U


Aug 16
// Abel Girmay
Simple, fun, and oddly addicting, 2006's Wii Sports is perhaps the game most credible in establishing Nintendo's early dominance in the casual market. In a fashion similar to Wii Sports, Ubisoft's upcoming Sports Connection f...
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Roku boxes get cloud gaming in Big Fish partnership


Jul 26
// Dale North
Do you have one of those nifty Roku streaming internet boxes? I have two as they're amazing little things. I just bought my dad one for Father's Day, too. They're cheap and insanely useful, and I can't recommend them enough. ...
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Sony focusing on family-friendly games this Christmas


Jul 24
// Jim Sterling
If you're looking forward to a slew of cool PS3 games to play this holiday season, you might want to dial your excitement back just a touch. Sony has declared it'll focus on "family-friendly" games this Christmas, hoping to r...
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Zynga's Draw Something game show coming to CBS


Jun 17
// Dale North
I fell in love with, became addicted to and later swore off mobile drawing game Draw Something over the course of 3 days. I deleted the app, washed my hands of it, and never spoke of it again. Zynga paid about $200 million to...
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Finally! Hironobu Sakaguchi's surfing game is almost done


Jun 17
// Dale North
Mistwalker's next game isn't a massive multi-disc RPG or anything even close to that. It's a surfing game called Party Wave. Let that name echo around in your brain for a second. Sakaguchi's recent tweet: Finally t...

Review: Space Ark

Apr 18 // Alasdair Duncan
Space Ark (PC)Developer: Strawdog StudiosPublisher: Bounce EntertainmentReleased: March 16, 2012MRSP: £6.99, $9.99 With the solar system decimated by a black hole, a team of animal Arkonauts departs from Earth in a space ship that looks suspiciously like a wooden boat, in an attempt to terraform new planets for settlement. There's no reason to be interested in the story of the Arkonauts or how a zebra can actually fly a space craft. Suffice to say, the game is split into 4 different solar systems with a number of planets in each to terraform to suit your specific Arkonaut's needs (ice planets for penguins, etcetera). The way you'll be terraforming the planets you come across is by collecting DNA gems a series of levels; hit the minimum combo target and you'll be on the way to helping your Arkonaut create his or her own perfect world in space. To get a combo, you'll need to collect DNA gems of the same colour within a really short space of time; take too long or start picking up a different colour and the combo is gone. There's a tiered score for you to go for, and you'll still be able to move onto the next level as long as you collect all the DNA gems, but fail to hit your minimum combo target and you won't be able to terraform that level. The actual gameplay of Space Ark is a kind of mix between Arkanoid and Breakout; you control both the Arkonaut and a bounce pad on the bottom of the screen. By using the two in unison, you can guide your Arkonaut around the level and pick up the DNA gems as quickly as you can in order to rack up a big combo score. You can guide your Arkonaut from left to right, as well as giving them a height boost by hitting the bounce pad at an exact time. Hit the ground, though, and you'll lose a life and your collected combos will start to float away unless you can recover them. Essentially these are the entire core of the gameplay of Space Ark. That's not to say the game doesn't throw some new elements from time to time, like the pinball-esque flippers and bounce pad clouds, but they never really shake up the core gameplay. Your goal is always the same: collect the gems and proceed. There's never any big game changing switch-up at any point, and unfortunately this makes the game one-paced and fairly easy. Whilst later levels definitely raise the difficulty up by changing the gem arrangement around and introducing multiple planes of gems, it becomes really easy to just have your Arkonaut just bouncing up and down on the bounce pad whilst you plan your next move. The game controls fairly simply on a keyboard. You use the arrow keys to control the bounce pad left and right, with the Enter key being used for initially launching your Arkonaut and for special powers like the machine gun. The power ups can be real handy, like the shield which stops your Arkonaut from losing gems when it hits the ground, whereas the machine gun is useful for taking out columns of gems. You can use a wired Xbox 360 controller as well, which Space Ark recognizes without any problems and which was a nice bonus. The only problem I found was that switching between the two felt super weird after long sessions using just the keyboard, it just feels like there's a real difference in sensitivity between the keyboard and pad. Another small annoyance was that Space Ark wouldn't ever display fullscreen despite me selecting the right option. The biggest annoyance in Space Ark is the lack of a stage select feature. Fail to hit your combo target and you're given the option to restart the level, but if you return to the game later, you'll have to play each level of a planet in sequence just to get to the one you failed to claim. Whilst most of the early levels are a breeze, it would be much more useful being able to jump to a level you failed to terraform rather than being forced to play the entire section again. Aside from this oversight, Space Ark doesn't really do anything that's bad. The game functions well enough and there are no bugs or glitches that either make it unplayable or broken. It's just such a basic game that there's little motivation to proceed with it. Picking up combos is relatively easy and common, so even scoring a big one feels a little underwhelming.  In the end, most of your momentum will ebb away and you'll find yourself collecting the last lone DNA gems to move on and be done with the level instead of finding a surge of excitement as you finish. There are Time Trial and Survival modes, along with leader boards to compare your high scores with friends. However, if that doesn't appeal then you may find yourself giving up on the Arkonauts' journey sooner rather than later. Younger gamers will surely find the bright colourful visuals appealing, not to mention the cute animals and the low level of difficulty can keep them engaged but older gamers might find Space Ark a sugary but un-fulfilling snack.
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You know that when the main characters of the game you're about to play are adorable animals like cats and penguins, you're possibly playing a game aimed at children. A few months ago, I played Shaun The Sheep: Home Sheep Hom...

New details of Spicy Horse's Big Head Bash revealed!

Mar 29 // Conrad Zimmerman
Attracted to the collectible vinyl toy movement in recent years, which has seen massive growth as artists continue to create a seemingly endless supply of creative and beautiful toys, Spicy Horse wanted to tap into that collector's spirit for Big Head Bash. Players will be able to show off their collections in a customizable display case with a constantly growing selection of backgrounds and accent items. "What I like about it," says American McGee, "is that people instantly understand the idea of collecting, playing with and trading vinyl toys. In recreating this in the game environment we give people the option to move some of their collecting impulse online – and to share their collections instantly with friends around the globe. Anyway, if I’m playing an online game I’d rather collect toys than cows!" Spicy Horse plans to create a huge variety of these toy designs, based on their own properties as well as those of popular vinyl toy designers, licensed characters from films and comics, and other avenues of popular culture. In play, Big Head Bash is a platforming arena shooter in which two teams of players battle it out against one another. Each player can take two weapons into the match, weapons which include your standard guns as well as more creative implements of death such as the "Floatron," a rifle firing a slow-moving projectile which can be bounced off of the environment before it detonates. Other weapons have curious aesthetic functions in addition to causing damage, like leaving behind flowers at the point of impact when using a "Flower Gun." Just as with the toys, Spicy Horse plans to continually expand the weapons repertoire over time. One of the goals Spicy Horse set forth in creating these new free-to-play games is that they have all the polish you would expect from a retail release. Using Unity3D, they've crafted rich, beautiful stages full of visual elements which are just as much fun to stare at as they are to shoot people in. Likewise, the toys themselves have a fantastic level of detail, complete with a glossy finish which makes them pop right off the screen. Over the last several weeks, Spicy Horse has been engaging in network testing and are preparing to launch a closed beta soon. To that end, they've partnered up with GameStop's online game distribution system, Kongregate, as the launch platform for the browser-based title. "We are thrilled to be the exclusive launch partner for Big Head Bash" said Jim Greer, CEO & co-founder of Kongregate. "American McGee is a veteran and a visionary and has put together a great team at Spicy Horse." Jim added, "Spicy Horse's take on side-scrolling deathmatch adventure-shooter will be perfect for our mostly hard core players. We look forward to showcasing Big Head Bash to Kongregate's audience of more than 16 million monthly gamers."  [embed]224737:43198[/embed] Not wanting to be outdone by all of this announcing, we at Destructoid have a little surprise as well. Mr. Destructoid will be available as a playable character in Big Head Bash. In addition to being a snappy dresser, Mr. Destructoid also brings a massive cock -- gun, that is. The cock gun will fire explosive roosters from its rear because if there's one thing which says "class," it's combining a dick joke with a poop joke and wrapping it in an explosion. You're welcome. Players can go and sign up for the closed beta of Big Head Bash right now over on Kongregate, with the beta opening up later this spring. To keep abreast of the latest news on the game, focus your gaze on the official Big Head Bash website.
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Last year, Spicy Horse (the Shanghai-based development studio founded by American McGee in 2007) began to focus on developing casual, free-to-play titles for social platforms. Now, the fruits of that labor are starting to ma...


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