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10:00 PM on 06.13.2014

Go on a sniping rampage in Hitman Sniper

Square hasn’t been afraid to use the Hitman IP in fun and creative ways. Hitman GO was a critical success for doing something unique, and while Hitman Sniper isn’t on that same scale, it is still at least a ton of fun.

Hamza CTZ Aziz




Platformer Narcissus aims to bring back the arcade experience photo
Platformer Narcissus aims to bring back the arcade experience
by Beccy Caine

Narcissus, or so the myth goes, was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. Renowned for his beauty, but also for being somewhat of an ass, he was lured to a pool of water by goddess of divine retribution Nemesis, where he became fixated with his own reflection. (And then died.) The inspiration for Alex Johansson’s Narcissus is truthfully less dramatic, evoked by watching his little brother jump between stepping stones on a river near his home, reflection in tow.

The game was part of the Leftfield Collection at the EGX Rezzed Expo in March and I happened to run into the developer in the closing minutes of the expo. I was met with a unique take on a runner game complete with beautiful pixel art and an 8-bit soundtrack intent on replicating a lost experience.

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Extrasolar does exoplanet exploration, but it is more than meets the eye photo
Extrasolar does exoplanet exploration, but it is more than meets the eye
by Darren Nakamura

When I was talking to one of the developers of Extrasolar on the show floor at PAX East, I said something that I now regret. "This looks like something I would really like, but might not appeal to a ton of other people." He responded gracefully, simply saying that they have a healthy number of players, and a good percentage of players see it through to the end.

To be fair, the presentation of Extrasolar in the Indie MEGABOOTH was intentionally muted. There, it was shown as a simple exploration game on an extrasolar planet. The player tells the rover where to go, and after a set amount of time it sends back a photo. The intrinsic value of that alone was enough to get me started, and I urge others to sign up for it now to experience it as intended. If you need further convincing, then keep reading. Prepare for minor spoilers.

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LEGO Minifigures Online is an MMO that anyone can jump into photo
LEGO Minifigures Online is an MMO that anyone can jump into
by Brett Makedonski

Let's face it: massively multiplayer online games can be intimidating for some people. Between the incredibly nuanced systems that some titles tout, and the tales of time and dedication required to "properly" play a game, it's not exactly an inviting scene. It's tough to fault those that shy away from the genre altogether.

Funcom's out to make an accessible free-to-play MMO, and it's got the world's most beloved toy brand behind it. LEGO Minifigures Online is a game that's technically aimed at children, but it's plenty reasonable to expect a more mature audience will find a certain cathartic thrill, too.

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Mobile slot machine RPG Slot Revolution has strong hooks photo
Mobile slot machine RPG Slot Revolution has strong hooks
by Dale North

I tried Konami's latest money eater this morning. Their iOS, Android, and Kindle title, Slot Revolution, doesn't have the best name. It doesn't do a good job of describing this free-to-play slot machine-based dungeon crawling RPG, but I could tell that it had role-playing roots from the screenshots, so I gave it a spin.

A spin, folks. 

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The offensive leads to the defensive in Toy Rush photo
The offensive leads to the defensive in Toy Rush
by Brett Makedonski

One of the cutest-looking games that I saw at PAX Prime was Uber Entertainment's Toy Rush. Don't let the cuteness deceive you, though. Toy Rush is shaping up to be a surprisingly deep and fun title. 

The developers most often recognized for Monday Night Combat put a bit of a twist on what they know the best. Toy Rush is a tower defense title that tasks the player with focusing on an offensive or defensive approach depending on whether engaged in single- or multiplayer.

Actually, single-player could probably be considered a training grounds of sorts for the multiplayer. The 50 level single-player campaign is oriented around working your way toward destroying the enemy's base by strategically releasing your different foot soldiers. Each level completed earns you tickets, which in turn are used to buy booster packs of cards.

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Preview: Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded photo
Preview: Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded
by Fraser Brown

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded - Land of the Lounge Lizards -- my, that's a big title -- threw some nostalgia my way immediately. Just as in the original '87 version of the game and its '91 VGA remake, Reloaded begins with a series of questions designed to prove the player's age. It's a throwback from an era when most assumed that all games were for kids, and even a nine-year-old could walk out of a shop with a softporn adventure. Al Lowe designed the questions believing that no child would know the answers. 

He was right, because back in the '90s I needed a cheat sheet. The now out of date questions have been updated with more appropriately modern ones, emphasizing the fact that we've entered remake territory. Likewise, the original MIDI soundtrack kicks in before being transformed into a modern interpretation of the theme.

Reloaded is still very much an LSL game, complete with the lewd humor and the awful, but somehow still lovable protagonist, Larry Laffer -- but it's chock-full of changes and additions.  

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7:00 PM on 06.10.2013

Assassin's Creed IV's companion app is pretty rad

Did you play the Outer Ops missions in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker? It was a little meta-game thing that let you send your soldiers to take on various conflicts around the world. It was a risk/reward system, as you could g...

Hamza CTZ Aziz

4:23 PM on 06.10.2013

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is about eating the best taco ever

So remember in the first Plants vs. Zombies when you randomly found a taco? Crazy Dave immediately bought it off of you for 1,000 coins, and then he pocketed the taco to eat later. Well in Plants vs. Zombies 2, Crazy Dave fin...

Hamza CTZ Aziz



Smaller is better: Hands-on with the 7-inch Wikipad photo
Smaller is better: Hands-on with the 7-inch Wikipad
by Dale North

We met with the Wikipad folks during GDC last week to get our hands and eyes on the newly shrunken Wikipad, coming down from the original 10-inch size to a more manageable (and more affordable) 7-inch version. At 10-inches, this dedicated gaming tablet was attractive, but its price ($499) and size made it less of a real portable gaming device and more of an in-home gaming luxury. You can ask Sweet Brown what I think about that. 

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Three titles and 30,000 polygons later with Real Racing 3 photo
Three titles and 30,000 polygons later with Real Racing 3
by Keith Swiader

Firemonkeys' Real Racing series is synonymous with mobile racing games, and the studio is poised for the worldwide release of the third installment, Real Racing 3, on iOS and Android devices later this month.

Real Racing 3 will bring with it 45 meticulously detailed cars that run the gamut of 12 manufacturers, including Ford, Dodge, and Porsche; eight locales with a multitude of variations of each; and over 900 events spanning cup races, drag races, and elimination challenges. More importantly, though, Real Racing 3 brings its new Time-Shifted Multiplayer, essentially an evolution of racing against ghost data that incorporates the records of both your friends and players worldwide.

If this sounds ambitious, that's because it is. But in the case of Real Racing 3, this is an evolution that works.

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Preview: Leviathan: Warships had me go down with the ship photo
Preview: Leviathan: Warships had me go down with the ship
by Fraser Brown

I'm such a big fan of nautical combat that I continued to play Assassin's Creed III -- a game that bored me beyond belief within the first two hours -- just for the ship missions. So when Leviathan: Warships was announced just over a week ago at the Paradox Convention in Reykjavik, you could say that my interested was piqued.

That it turned out to be a turn-based co-op strategy romp with cross-platform play between PC, Mac, and tablets was the icing on the cake. I donned my captain's hat, went head to head against another writer, and came up with all manner of excuses when he blew up all of my ships. 

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The next Magicka is coming to tablets, and it's fun photo
The next Magicka is coming to tablets, and it's fun
by Fraser Brown

When Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester revealed the company's plans to expand into cross-platform multiplayer experiences last week at the Paradox Convention, I was extremely interested to see what the Swedish publisher would be showcasing. One might even say excited.

After the trailer for Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet faded to black, my enthusiasm was greatly diminished. To my eyes it looked like a stripped-down, 2D Magicka for platforms I rarely care about. The humor was still there, at least in the video, but I was less sure about everything else.

Half an hour with the game, played co-operatively with four other journalists, and my fears were significantly reduced. This is definitely still Magicka, and it has the potential to be a bit of a riot. 

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Hands-on with the Wikipad, gaming tablet extraordinaire photo
Hands-on with the Wikipad, gaming tablet extraordinaire
by Steven Hansen

Tablets are pretty awesome pieces of technology. They still sort of make me feel like I’m in the future -- just another step closer to Minority Report. Plus, as someone who frequently ends up lugging around a not-so-portable laptop, I’ve found them particularly alluring. Still, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted any tablet as much as I want the Wikipad.

Obviously the biggest thing that sets the Wikipad apart from its competitors is its gaming focus, evidenced both by the impressive hardware and, more overtly, its custom controller dock, which makes traditional control schemes for tablet games available.

Continue reading for more on how neat it is, particularly in its little touches.

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Finally, a Pokemon-like game for mobile devices  photo
Finally, a Pokemon-like game for mobile devices
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not 100% sure if there are already Pokemon-like games available on iOS or Android devices. I'd love to be told differently, but for now I'll tell you about ngmoco's Monster Tracker, the closest thing I've seen to a Pokemon style game on mobile yet.

It's like Pokemon in that you'll be able to find, capture, train, and battle monsters of different elemental abilities against others. You'll have multiple attacks at your disposal in the turn-based battles, and the more you fight the stronger your creatures you'll get. You can also upgrade your monsters by feeding them other monsters you've captured in the game. Yes, actually feed your monsters other monsters.

Unlike Pokemon, the exploration feature is very limited as you're just tapping somewhat randomly on the screen in rather small environments. The locations themselves are pretty, and have a nice touch interface, but don't go thinking you'll be exploring towns and running back and forth through tall grass hunting monsters. 

Not my exact dream monster hunting game, but it's a step in the right direction at least. Expect Monster Tracker on iOS and Android later this year for free.

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E3: Final Fantasy Dimensions is old-school Final Fantasy  photo
E3: Final Fantasy Dimensions is old-school Final Fantasy
by Steven Hansen

Final Fantasy XIII or Final Fantasy XIII-2 not doing it for you? Is Final Fantasy VI still your favorite game in the series? Or perhaps you insist that Final Fantasy V’s job system is still the best thing in the world? Well, I have a surprise for you!

Final Fantasy Dimensions released as a mobile game in Japan in 2010. Accordingly, it was a return to the old-school Final Fantasy style: 2D pixel art, white text on blue menus, random encounters, and turn-based gameplay with active-time battles. Oh, and there is a job system.

Interested? Well, Final Fantasy Dimensions is finally coming overseas to iOS and Android.

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