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Hearthstone on phones photo
Hearthstone on phones

Hearthstone's availability on smartphones is bad for my health


Custom deck building at red traffic lights
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
When Hearthstone made its way to the iPad, I may or may not have played it for two weeks straight. My wife and I would sit down by the fire (or hearth, if you will) with our iPad and laptop in-hand and play for hours whi...
Spiderweb Software photo
Spiderweb Software

The new iOS update killed Spiderweb Software's iPad Games for good


Apple probably won't care
Apr 17
// Joe Parlock
Spiderweb Software’s not having a good time as of late. No one really pays much attention to them most of the time, but the fact they still pump out very niche retro-style CRPGs after 20 years is a really nice thin...
Halo: Spartan Strike photo
Halo: Spartan Strike

That new Halo game is out today on PC and mobile


Top-down shooter Halo: Spartan Strike now available for $6
Apr 16
// Kyle MacGregor
There's a shiny new Halo game out today on Windows 8 devices, iOS, and Steam. Well, sort of. Halo: Spartan Strike is another top-down shooter in the vein of Halo: Spartan Assault, which probably isn't what you think abou...
Samorost 3 photo
Samorost 3

Samorost 3 looks like the surreal point-and-click adventure of my dreams


That world design is something else
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
The last time I wrote about Samorost 3, I expressed surprise and delight that Amanita Design was making another one of these charming point-and-click adventure games. Today, a year and a half later, I could do the same -- I ...
SEXY LAYTON photo
SEXY LAYTON

Sexy Layton and Sexy Luke react to going mobile


But what about the 3DS?
Apr 15
// Kyle MacGregor
The Japanese mobile game market is booming and studios are climbing aboard the money train. Take Level-5, for example. The next installments in the Professor Layton and Fantasy Life series are abandoning their homes on Ninte...
Apple Watch Gaming photo
Apple Watch Gaming

Adventure time with WayForward's Watch Quest: Heroes of Time for Apple Watch


Mathematical?
Apr 14
// Jed Whitaker
The first adventure game made exclusively for Apple Watch, Watch Quest: Heroes of Time, has just been announced by WayForward. Your iPhone will serve as your kingdom, while your journey takes place on your shiny new Appl...
Tropes vs Women photo
Tropes vs Women

New Tropes vs Women series Positive Female Characters debuts


Checkmate, Link!
Mar 31
// Jed Whitaker
Everyone's favorite feminist Anita Sarkeesian is back and this time with a new sub-series of Tropes vs Women in Gaming called Positive Female Characters. In the debut episode Anita takes a look at the main character fro...
Forgotten Memories photo
Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories iOS debut on April 23, watch the launch trailer now!


Wii U, Vita, Android, and PC will have to wait an ickle bit longer
Mar 30
// Stephen Turner
As you may recall, Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities came out of near-nowhere with its Silent Hill 2 cast additions, after several years off the development grid. If you're still wondering what Guy Cihi's delightf...

Review: Jump'N'Shoot Attack

Mar 26 // Tony Ponce
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Android, iOS [reviewed], Windows Phone)Developer: FreakZone GamesPublisher: ScrewAttack GamesReleased: March 26, 2015 (Android, iOS) / TBA (Windows Phone)MSRP: $2.59 You are Louise Lightfoot. The President has been captured by mutants. In order to save him, you must follow these specific instructions: Jump. Shoot. Every so often, jump and shoot at the same time. So... Mega Man? Yeah, kinda! Only the commands are more explicit here, since the only two actions at your disposal are jumping and shooting. Jump'N'Shoot Attack is an auto-runner, only less Canabalt and more Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run. There are four worlds split into four stages apiece, and Louise will hoof through each without a care. To jump, tap anywhere on the left half of the screen; to shoot, tap anywhere on the right half. Simple and responsive! [embed]289538:57919:0[/embed] Your gun can be upgraded twice by collecting power-ups -- the first upgrade grants a double shot, while the second bestows the mighty spread shot. Raising the stakes even further is a jetpack item found in certain stages which transforms the action into a deadlier version of Jetpack Joyride. The 16 stages are rather short, so to compensate, they've been packed with enough enemies and obstacles to give your thumbs a proper workout. Between adjusting the height of your jumps to cross narrow platforms and hammering the trigger because your gun is not rapid-fire, you'll be feeling the burn before long! One small mercy is that Louise stops running if she hits a wall, so use the break to regain composure before hopping over and storming onward. For completionists, three gems can be found in each level. As expected, collecting these gems often requires you to skirt closer to death than you'd prefer. Case in point, you may reach a fork in the path, with one branch leading to a gem and the other to a power-up that would make the rest of the level less stressful. As concentrated as the challenge is, however, the overall length is still on the tragically low end -- on my first run, collecting the gems in all but two levels, I finished in just over an hour. There's even an achievement for clearing the game in under 10 minutes! Unless you are a serious achievement or high-score hunter, it's unlikely that you'll return to Jump'N'Shoot Attack once the credits roll. There's a solid foundation that I hope FreakZone will expand upon. Rayman Jungle Run got a free update that added more levels, so perhaps that's a possibility here as well. Could we maybe get some boss battles too? It's a shame to have a game that so clearly draws inspiration from Mega Man and Contra but skimps out on the meaty encounters that highlight those series. So will Jump'N'Shoot Attack spark a mobile renaissance and win over the hardcore masses? Probably not. Is it a solid runner that delivers a tough but responsive platforming experience as promised? Absolutely. Gold star for effort.
Jump'N'Shoot Attack photo
Something, something, Egoraptor reference
Four Christmases ago, I joined the smartphone brigade when I found an iPhone 4S nestled under the tree. Oh boy! I thought. Now I can grab all those iOS games that people can't shut up about! And for a couple of years, I was a...

Nintendo mobile photo
Nintendo mobile

Nintendo talks NX, mobile game pricing, DeNA partnership


'Nintendo will continue its [console] business with even stronger passion'
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo is finally entering the mobile game space through a collaboration with DeNA. Why now? As CEO Satoru Iwata explained to TIME, "We have come to the stage where we can say that we will be able to develop and operate so...
WHAT THE FUCK photo
WHAT THE FUCK

Paula Deen's butter-matching mobile game has a nightmare trailer


I'm crazy now, ya'll
Mar 13
// Steven Hansen
I'm not sure what to say. I don't feel right after watching this.
Lost Within photo
Lost Within

Human Head is back with mobile survival horror title Lost Within


Coming to iOS and Fire devices
Mar 09
// Jordan Devore
Last I heard of Human Head Studios, it had taken over development on Minimum (and, prior to that, was working on Prey 2 until publisher Bethesda finally said stop). The company is now putting out a mobile horror title called...
Rockman Xover photo
Rockman Xover

Rockman Xover will be shut down at the end of this month


Mega Man was dead, risen on mobile, will he rise again?
Mar 03
// Chris Carter
Have you experienced the trainwreck that is Rockman Xover yet? The free mobile game may not be available in the west, but it's still the only surviving and active Mega Man game -- that is, until the end of this mont...
BlazBlue photo
BlazBlue

BlazBlue: Battle Cards looking to take that card crown


First gameplay footage released
Feb 27
// Robert Summa
The BlazBlue franchise continues to diversify its portfolio. Whether it be a mobile rhythm game or a visual novel, the series has grown from its fight-game roots. With BlazBlue: Battle Cards, that trend continues -- but only...
Forgotten Memories photo
Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories drags Silent Hill 2 alumni back to the world of survival horror


Troy was never my Guy
Feb 27
// Stephen Turner
Psychoz Interactive's survival horror Forgotten Memories has been flying under the radar for some time now, but all that seems likely to change with the recent cast announcements of Guy Cihi and Dave Schaufele (Sile...
BlazBlue photo
BlazBlue

There's a new BlazBlue rhythm game and it's out now


Brace yourselves, anti-mobile and free-to-play comments are coming
Feb 25
// Kyle MacGregor
"This isn't the BlazBlue game you're looking for," he persuades you with a small wave of the hand. Okay, maybe it is. Maybe you're in the market for a "gluttonous" rhythm game where you "eat to the beat of BlazBlue." In that ...
Sid Meier's Starships photo
Sid Meier's Starships

Sid Meier's Starships blasts off March 12 for $14.99


On iPad, Mac, and Windows
Feb 24
// Darren Nakamura
Sid Meier's Starships warped in out of nowhere. We had never heard anything about it until just last month, and it turns out that it will be launching on iPad, Mac, and Windows early next month. March 12, to be exact! It is r...

The first three rounds of Sid Meier's Starships are not enough

Feb 24 // Darren Nakamura
Sid Meier's Starships (iPad, Mac, PC [previewed])Developer: Firaxis GamesPublisher: 2K GamesReleased: March 12, 2015MSRP: $14.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit I don't mean to hate on Starships just yet. In fact, a lot of the design decisions make perfect sense from a gameplay perspective. It makes sense for a tactical combat game to begin with only a few units rather than an army. It makes sense to enclose arenas for the combatants to actually encounter one another. These elements make for a good game, but they run counter to the narrative of taking control of the Milky Way. Starships is broken up into two distinct sections that affect one another. Resource management and area control take place on the galaxy map, while combat occurs zoomed in to a piece of a solar system within that galaxy. By influencing planets on the galaxy map, players gather resources and eventually take control of sectors. The resources are similar to those found in Civilization: Beyond Earth, but with a few tweaks to their functions. Food is still used to increase population, which raises the overall resource output of a planet. Science is used to upgrade technologies to buff starship systems. Metal (formerly production) is used to construct buildings on planets, providing specific resource increases and other effects. Energy is used to add ships to the fleet or to install new or upgraded systems onto existing ships. Credits are a new piece of the puzzle, used to convert to any of the other resources, or to buy influence on a planet. [embed]286382:56944:0[/embed] By moving the fleet around the galaxy map, the player can initiate combat encounters. These take place on a two-dimensional hex grid centered around the planet of interest, sometimes featuring moons and filled with an inordinate amount of asteroids. On a turn, players can activate their ships in any order. For each ship activation, it gets some amount of movement depending on its component makeup, and one action that can be executed before, during, or after movement. A major selling point of Starships is the customization of the titular vessels. Energy can be spent to upgrade weapons systems, armor, stealth, sensors, and more. The more stuff a ship has piled onto it, the slower it will move, so engine upgrades are key for tactical maneuverability. One neat thing: as the ships are tweaked with new parts, their stated classes automatically update. The basic corvettes can eventually become cruisers, destroyers, or battleships with the right gear. There is no strictly correct setup for a fleet. In my first run through the preview build, I engaged in a few battles that emphasized sensors, and a few others that allowed only my flagship. For my second playthrough, I beefed up my flagship and neglected my others, but came across a different set of encounters. The variety in combat missions is an unexpected treat. The objectives range from simple (destroy all enemy ships) to complex (control three outposts at once) to just strange (navigate through an asteroid maze in a set number of turns). Each round on the galaxy map, players have a certain amount of fatigue to spend before being forced to take shore leave and end the turn. This usually amounts to about three combat missions per player per round. Combat missions can run quickly, with some taking as few as five minutes, though I can imagine that when larger fleets clash, it could draw battles out. Although there is a resource management aspect, it doesn't require nearly as much micromanagement as a typical Civilization game does. There are only a few types of upgrades for a planet, a handful of technologies to research, and marginal differences between the three Affinities introduced in Beyond Earth. Upgrades are purchased instantaneously rather than built up over time. It has a certain rhythm to it. The galaxy map is a strategy exercise, where influence over certain planets and adjacency to other players is important. These strategy considerations are punctuated by the tactical battles around each planet. The constant switching between the big picture and several small theaters is a little tough to get a hang of at first, but it helps to inject some variety into the experience. After the third round, just as I felt like I was getting the hang of it, the preview build ended. Three rounds played in less than an hour, and on my second playthrough I had covered about 20% of the galaxy. Though I can't say for sure how long an average game would run, a full Starships game is definitely meant to be less of an undertaking than a run through Civilization. Therein stems the one concern I have for Starships. From a pure gameplay perspective, the board game-like combat and area control work well together. As a followup to Beyond Earth, where the playground now includes the entire galaxy rather than a single planet, the simpler scope is counter to the conceit. Conquering the Milky Way should be an enormous endeavor, but everything here just feels small.
Sid Meier's Starships photo
A taste of what's to come
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth released to mixed reactions. I loved how it took the took the classic gameplay to alien worlds, and I especially appreciated its underlying narrative about the future of the human race. ...

Cave photo
Cave

Cave has a new shoot-'em-up hitting mobile in April


Probably only in Japan, sadly
Feb 23
// Kyle MacGregor
DoDonPachi studio Cave is back with a new mobile shooter, "Gothic Magic Maiden," which is set to arrive in Japan on April 16. Whether it will ever come west seems pretty doubtful, though. Cave shuttered its official Eng...
Mizuguchi's 18 photo
Mizuguchi's 18

Rez, Lumines creator working on puzzle RPG '18'


Well, the art is great
Feb 20
// Jordan Devore
On a few separate occasions this year, I've been reminded that Rez exists and felt a flood of guilt after recalling how long it's been since I last played this ridiculously cool sequence (too long). A new Rez, or Rez HD on c...
Endless snowboarding photo
Endless snowboarding

Stylish endless snowboarder Alto's Adventure now on iPhone and iPad


It's nice when mobile games respect your time
Feb 19
// Jordan Devore
It's rare that I cover mobile games here but I couldn't let Alto's Adventure slide by me. This is pegged as an "endless snowboarding odyssey" with a one-button trick system and 180 goals to best. Other things worth noting be...
Spectra photo
Spectra

Race through ten Chipzel songs on a laser track in Spectra


Billed as 'F-Zero meets Audiosurf'
Feb 18
// Darren Nakamura
"F-Zero meets Audiosurf" brings some vivid imagery to mind, but after watching the above trailer, I'm not sure I agree with that tagline for the indie racer Spectra. Sure, it's set to some bumpin' Chipzel tracks, but it look...
Artemis convention photo
Artemis convention

Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator is getting its own convention


Artemis Armada One
Feb 16
// Darren Nakamura
I have always been interested in playing Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, but have never had an opportunity. A team had it set up at Phoenix Comicon a couple years ago, but the room was booked for the whole weekend, so I w...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Particle Mace devs get down and dirty on design and development


Get to know the people who make great videogames
Feb 15
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on Youtube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] It's a white out blizzard ...
0h n0 photo
0h n0

0h n0: another simple, free, Japanese logic puzzle


Companion to 0h h1
Feb 13
// Darren Nakamura
Late last year I was turned on to 0h h1, a free digital version of the Japanese logic puzzle Takuzu. Developer Martin Kool of Q42 is at it again. 0h n0 is another adaptation, this time taking the puzzle Kuromasu and giving it...
Coup photo
Coup

Popular bluffing card game Coup will be a videogame soon


First on iOS, later for Android and PC
Feb 09
// Darren Nakamura
When people talk about good games to ease newbies into board games, The Resistance is one that gets brought up often. Heck, we have even played a few games of it on our forums. It took the hidden team aspect of Werewolf, tra...
Sunburn photo
Sunburn

Jump in to the sun for just $0.99


But only until Sunday
Feb 07
// Jonathan Holmes
Sunburn is an award-winning game on iTunes about leading a group of stranded space explorers, dangerously close to the sun, doomed to die a boring death by asphyxiation. What would you do if you had no hope for survival and ...
Sid Meier's Starships photo
Sid Meier's Starships

Sid Meier runs through Starships' customization and a small battle


Does he make it despite an estimated 40% chance of success?
Feb 05
// Darren Nakamura
Last month 2K and Firaxis announced Sid Meier's Starships, a strategy game set in the Civilization universe, continuing the story that Beyond Earth set up. With an impending spring release, it looks like it is pretty far alo...

Review: Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect: Episode One

Feb 03 // Chris Carter
Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect: Episode One (iOS [reviewed], PC)Developer: Orpheus Interactive, Silverback GamesPublisher: Fox Digital EntertainmentReleased: January 29, 2015 (iOS) / TBA (PC)MSRP: $2.99 per episode ($14.99 Season Pass) Plain and simple, this is a Telltale-style affair complete with item-based seek-and-finds, player choice, and a ton of dialogue. In other words, there's little room for exploration as you hop from one tiny child-sized sandbox to another -- otherwise known as the new school adventure genre. As a grizzled veteran who has spent hours pixel hunting in Myst and King's Quest, I'm generally okay with the push towards more visual novel and less adventure. Some of you may not be. The Prospect kicks things off with a rather interesting flash forward, giving the player character a choice to execute someone else with a bag over their head. Who is this hooded person? Are you even in control of the "main" character, or are you in the hood, and are you deciding to pull the trigger on yourself? It's a neat method of storytelling and likely won't be explored until the finale. [embed]287005:57140:0[/embed]The core narrative however will be spent setting things up for the rest of the tale. You'll meet the main character, whose Dad is terminally ill and could go at any moment. His brother happens to be part of the notorious Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club (this time called SAMLIN, based in Oregon), and his father thinks that he's been saving up to send his favorite son to college -- only, you've been spending that cash to keep the lights on, and keep him alive. Methods to earn unscrupulous cash are literally knocking at the door. Over the course of the show we've seen many unlikely people become members of the club, and it's interesting to see it unfold from their eyes. Your landlord, the local police, your dad, and of course the Sons play a vital role in your character's future, and the hook actually isn't bad. There's also some loose ties to the show with fan-favorite character Tig Trager, also played by Kim Coates, who makes a decent impression and not just a cameo. Thematically the dialogue is also very similar to the show, which is fine by me, but may offend others. In other words, the dialogue is very male-driven, and you'll likely find plenty of sexist and racist lines in the first 15 minutes. But while the setup is great on paper, the actual follow-through isn't so exciting. Visually the game looks similar to something Telltale would create, but with less emphasis on character design and world building. It just feels off and uninspired at points, like development was straight-up rushed. The motorcycle portions are probably this biggest offender, all of which feature the same dark highway. Choices aren't that prevalent either, so the visual novel comparison couldn't be more apt. You basically get a few options to shoot people or not, and that's about it. There are "relationship" counters of sorts where if you say something mean an icon will pop up with a "minus" symbol, or a heart symbol for something favorable. There's no indication that these actually mean anything or will matter later on. This initial episode will run you $1.99, and the season pass costs $15, which will net you all 10 episodes. This is a rough prospect, because although I am supportive of the episodic format, I'm generally in for four or five -- ten is way too many, to the point where a mere hour is very difficult to really drive anything meaningful home. Even the show started running hour and a half episodes eventually. Maybe this will turn out great over time with the planned PC version as a bundle, but the jury is still out. Even with its faults, The Prospect really isn't as bad as it looks. The cheap fan service of Tig (one of my favorites) drew me in, and the idea of slowly working your way into the Sons of Anarchy is fun enough. Since there are going to be so many episodes, I'll likely do a check-in at the halfway point and again at the end. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Sons of Anarchy review photo
SAMCRO takes a backseat
I was skeptical of Sons of Anarchy at first, but once I realized it was Hamlet on wheels I was in. Its seven season run wasn't perfect (particularly the Belfast plotline), but it kept me thoroughly entertained throu...







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