It seems like any time I hear of a new iOS game being built with the Unreal Engine development kit, I’m immediately interested. Such is the case with The First Attempt from Turkish developer Wish Game Studio. They recently released a video of their upcoming game and, despite not having any idea what type of game it is, the video has piqued my curiosity.
Take a look for yourself at the video for The First Attempt, which shows some character renders, some vague story description, and some fly-throughs of a few of the levels:
Unfortunately, there is no other information about the game, and the developer’s blog and Facebook page don't offer many clues either, though they do have additional screenshots if you're interested. My best guess is that The First Attempt will be some sort of first-person shooter, as the level designs appear to be laid out like a single-player campaign of a typical FPS. It’s really anybody’s guess, though, and there is plenty of speculation going on in our forums.
The video states that The First Attempt is set to launch sometime this month, and we’ll bring you any new information on this title as we get it.
Back in March Rovio Mobile released Angry Birds Rio, a version of their incredibly popular bird-themed physics game Angry Birds that tied into the also bird-themed movie Rio.
Normally movie tie-in games aren’t very good, but we were pleasantly surprised with Angry Birds Rio in our review, even awarding the game 5 stars. More than just a Rio re-skin of the original game, it actually contained a few new elements and improvements that made it almost feel like a full-fledged sequel.
In following with Rovio’s practice of adding plenty of new levels to the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, they have released a trailer for the first update that is set to hit for Angry Birds Rio, subtitled “Beach Volleyball":
Rovio has stated on their Facebook page that this new update is set to hit sometime this week. If you’ve been enjoying Angry Birds Rio as much as we have, then keep your eyes peeled for an App Store update badge these next few days to check out the new Beach Volleyball levels.
App Store Links:Angry Birds Rio, $0.99
Angry Birds Rio Free, Free
Angry Birds Rio HD, $2.99 (iPad Only)
Angry Birds Rio HD Free, Free (iPad Only)
Earlier this week we took a look at the upcoming multiplayer dual-stick shooter Deadlock from Crescent Moon and Invulse Games, and today we have the first trailer which shows the game in action. Deadlock will feature matches that can be played with up to 8 players online using Game Center in modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture & Hold.
In addition, there will be a fairly extensive upgrading system for your player. The 30 different weapons in the game will have various unlockable attachments which can alter their performance, and your character can equip armor pieces that offer different attributes and abilities. Many of these items and weapons will unlock as you achieve the 30 available ranks in the game through play.
Take a look at the first teaser trailer for Deadlock, which actually is quite a tease but does show off a good bit of gameplay:
Crescent Moon and Invulse are aiming to have Deadlock out by late June, and based on my time with a preview version of the game it’s definitely one to keep your eye out for if you enjoy dual-stick shooters and competitive online play. There’s a lengthy discussion thread in our forums where both developers have been chiming in with additional details, and we’ll have more on Deadlock as it nears its release sometime next month.
One of the strongest entries in an overcrowded castle defense genre is Liv Games’ Legendary Wars [Free]. We reviewed Legendary Wars back when it launched during Macworld in January, and found it to be highly enjoyable due to the variety of gameplay types, interesting upgradeable abilities, and wonderful artwork. Liv Games didn’t stop there, either, and offered up a substantial update to the game in March that added Retina Display support, Game Center integration, and a number of other enhancements and optimizations.
Legendary Wars is a game that seems like it would lend itself very well to the larger screen of the iPad, and indeed many players in our forums have been enjoying the game a lot just playing on the iPad in 2x pixel doubled mode. There’s no need for that anymore, however, as the iPad native Legendary Wars HD [99¢] is now available. It's essentially the same exact game content-wise, but the bigger screen allows more of the battlefield to be shown, requiring less scrolling and giving you a better view for planning your strategy.
Legendary Wars HD looks and plays wonderfully with a properly formatted screen and native resolution graphics for the iPad. As a special launch promotion, and as a bonus for current owners of the game who may want to double dip with the iPad version, Legendary Wars HD can be purchased for just 99¢ through the weekend. Plus, if you don't already have the iPhone/iPod touch version, you can currently pick that up for free this weekend as well. It goes without saying that you should definitely give the regular version a download while free, and if you own an iPad then Legendary Wars HD is an easy recommendation at the launch price of 99¢.
As happy as it makes me to see how far the iOS platform has come in adapting to more traditional gaming tropes, there’s really nothing I love more than coming across a game that utilizes controls and mechanics that feel completely organic to the touch screen. Such is the case of Foodies [99¢], the first iOS game from indie developer Nano Titans and one that I had never even heard of before until it popped up in the App Store just a few hours ago.
Foodies is a story of two squishy, uh, creature… things named Sam and Pam. They are madly in love and Sam proposes marriage to Pam, but there’s a problem. Pam likes a man with some meat on his bones (if these things have bones, that is), and she has given Sam one week to gain some weight before she’ll agree to get married. All that’s left for Sam to do now is eat everything in sight.
The unique control mechanic in Foodies is a big part of what I like so much about the game. Placing two thumbs on the screen will create a line in between them. Sam will drop into a level from the top of the screen and you’ll use this created line to bounce and push him around each level, collecting the various types of food and avoiding hazards.
The 80 levels in Foodies are also very creative. Some have you simply collecting all the food on the screen, sometimes with a time limit or only a certain number of bounces to accomplish the task. Other levels require only collecting certain kinds of food (like healthy stuff) while avoiding the rest (like junk food). Oftentimes there are obstacles to deal with too, like buzz saws that will kill you or barriers that must be bashed into several times to get past them.
Foodies also contains the ever-important 3 star rating system for each level, though in this case it’s actually a 3 candles on a cake rating system. You’re scored on the treats that you munch during a level, how long it takes you to complete it, and how many bounces you needed.
This brings me to my one problem with Foodies, and that is that it seems incredibly difficult to earn 3 candles for many of the levels. I’ll feel like I completed one as quickly and efficiently as possible, but when my score is tallied up I’ve barely earned enough for 1 or maybe 2 candles. This isn’t a huge issue and it’s possible there’s some aspect to the scoring that I’m missing, but it’s really the only thing in the game that had me scratching my head.
Check out this extensive video from the developer that gives a taste of the mechanics and many of the level types in Foodies (actual gameplay starts at 1:29):
Besides the tiny scoring quibble, Foodies is an extremely entertaining game. The two-thumbed control scheme is incredibly intuitive to use, and with a bit of practice, you’ll be bouncing Sam around expertly in his quest for increased caloric intake. The 80 included levels will take some time to work through, not to mention trying to earn 3 candles for each, and they get quite challenging and complex in the latter half of the game. I’d love to see some more levels released in future updates, as well as achievements to go along with the already included Game Center leaderboard for total score.
If you’re looking for a new gaming fix that’s different from what’s already out there, plus has charming visuals and plenty of content, then definitely give Foodies a look. I was surprised by just how much I immediately enjoyed the game, and players in our forums seem to be loving it as well.
Noel Llopis of Snappy Touch and Miguel Friginal of Mystery Coconut Games have teamed up on an upcoming project called Casey’s Contraptions, a colorful physics-based puzzle game. 8-year old Casey must build crazy Rube Goldberg-like contraptions in order to solve the more than 70 levels in the game. Solving puzzles will unlock over 30 different items which can then be used in a level editor to create your own puzzles.
Casey’s Contraptions will also feature Game Center integration which allows you to see replays of how your friends solved the puzzles in the game, and they can see your solutions as well. Also, created levels can be shared via email so you can send out your creations for other people to take a crack at.
The developers have just released the official trailer for Casey’s Contraptions that shows off the many possibilities of the physics gameplay:
I’ve been a big fan of these types of physics creation puzzle games ever since The Incredible Machine way back in that long-forgotten era known as the 1990s, and Casey’s Contraption looks to be a solid take on the formula. The game is slated to launch on May 19th, and we’ll take another look at it then. Until that time, swing on by the upcoming thread in our forums for a discussion on Casey’s Contraptions.
There have been plenty of excellent retro platformers released for iOS over the years, and the upcoming 1-Bit Ninja is one that has really caught my attention. Developer Ben Hopkins and his studio Kode80 wanted to create a platforming game that was an homage to the Game & Watch and Game Boy platformers of his youth, and it’s immediately apparent that 1-Bit Ninja is just that. It features monochrome-style graphics and simple 1 pixel animations, but it’s also hiding a high tech secret under the hood.
Anytime during play, you can touch and drag the upper portion of the screen to reveal the world in 3D and get a new perspective on things. If you follow console gaming at all, the effect is somewhat similar to the upcoming title Fez (I highly suggest watching the gameplay video for that game) or even the Paper Mario series. Changing the perspective is not only very cool looking but also affects the gameplay by revealing hidden paths and giving you a broader perspective down the level so you can plan your actions better.
But talk is cheap, check out this developer gameplay video to see what 1-Bit Ninja is like for yourself:
In addition to this interesting gameplay mechanic, Kode80 is also dedicated to creating a game that controls really well on the touch screen. The game has been designed from the ground up for two button controls – touching the left side of the screen makes your character run and touching the right side makes him jump – and that’s it. Players in our forums who are fans of iOS platformers like League of Evil [$2.99/Lite] and Mos Speedrun [$1.99] are skeptical about not being able to move to the left, but I’ll keep an open mind about that until I’m actually able to try the game.
That won’t be too long of a wait either, as 1-Bit Ninja is scheduled to hit at the end of this month. We’ll definitely be taking a look at this interesting looking title then, and check out the forum thread for more information.
Piclings [99¢] from Pan Vision Games is one of the most interesting uses of augmented reality in gaming that I’ve seen. It’s a simple platforming game that can take any picture and turn it into a playable level filled with coins, items, and enemies. The tech works surprisingly well, and it’s undeniably fun to think of new and silly pictures to create levels from. Unfortunately, the underlying gameplay mechanics aren’t the greatest, though they’re serviceable. Despite this, Piclings is still a unique enough experience that’s worth checking out.
The game includes 7 levels to play including a tutorial which walks you through the basic controls. A touch anywhere directional stick moves you character left and right, and you can float like a helicopter in the air for a limited time by pushing up. The floating mechanic is pretty awkward to use, and I would have much preferred the ability to just do a standard jump. Tapping anywhere on the screen will drop the Picling through the surface he’s currently standing on and down to the next.
There are a couple of enemy types to worry about too, like one that will slowly follow you around and one that constantly wanders the surfaces in each level. The only way to kill these guys is by luring the follower into another enemy, killing them both, or by grabbing an invincibility butterfly that lets you kill every enemy that you touch. Trying to make enemies collide to get rid of them is another awkward part of the gameplay, and again I’d prefer if it was just a standard “jump on their head to kill them” method.
In addition to the 7 included levels, you can also import any picture from your device or use a picture taken directly from the camera to create a new level. Piclings will intelligently determine what parts of the picture act as walkable surfaces, and for the most part it works really well. You can also go into any created level and edit your own surfaces in or out in order to get the level just how you want it. Enemies, coins, and special items are also automatically placed in your created level.
The level creation is where Piclings really earns its stripes. I’ve already spent an embarrassing amount of time just trying out different photos to make levels with, and I’m impressed every single time by how well it works. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close, and the ability to edit custom levels means you can spend the time to perfect it if you wish. You can also share your created levels, though this is only by way of emailing your photo to someone so they can save it to their device and use it in their copy of the game.
Taking Piclings as strictly a platforming game, it’s a fairly weak offering. The control mechanics are odd and probably would have worked better if modeled after a more traditional platforming game which has been done well many times on iOS. There also isn’t much to do in the game, as there’s no real story or campaign progression and the only real goals are earning Game Center achievements and uploading scores for each level to the leaderboards. Despite this, Piclings is still a lot of fun based solely on the ability to create your own levels. This novelty alone means I’ll be playing the game for a good long while until I run out of funny ideas for levels.
If that sort of thing sounds interesting to you, then Piclings is easily worth the purchase, and players in our forums seem to be enjoying it as well. But if you’re looking for the next great iOS platformer, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Just last Monday we checked out the trailer for Kiloo’s Frisbee Forever [Free], and were impressed with what looked like a bright, colorful, arcade-style game of frisbee flying. It was a pleasant surprise to see Frisbee Forever launch for free, though it does contain rather prominent IAP. It doesn’t appear anything will ever be required to be purchased in the game, as everything can be earned through just playing the game, it just looks like it will take a very long time to do so. Still, Frisbee Forever is an extremely well done game that is a ton of fun, and there’s no risk for giving the game a try.
Frisbee Forever contains 10 different environments each with 10 levels for a total of 100. Flicking your frisbee will set it in motion and gameplay involves simply steering the frisbee left and right through each of the obstacle filled courses. There are touch or tilt controls, which both work nicely, and the elevation of your frisbee is handled automatically. Flying through various circular and triangular checkpoints will allow you to keep your momentum going until you reach the finish. As you fly through each course you’ll try to collect the many stars along your route, with medals awarded at the end based on how many you’re able to get.
Most of the realism of flying a frisbee is dropped in favor of a more arcade-style gameplay. Your disc will fly through loops, corkscrews, and perform other feats that would otherwise be impossible in real life. This serves to make the game a lot of fun. Just trying to hit every checkpoint and stay airborne until the end of a level can be tricky, and the medals awarded for collecting stars give it that “one more try” element.
As for the monetary portion of the game, for every 3 stars collected in a level, whether you complete the level or not, you’re awarded a star coin. These coins are then used to purchase additional discs, upgrades for your frisbee, and unlock additional worlds. Naturally, these star coins can be bought as IAP in various denominations if you aren’t patient enough to earn the coins yourself. Given the rate at which you earn star coins and the prices of many of the shop items, it will take an extremely long time to buy everything available without buying coins through IAP, though it’s possible.
One strange thing to note is that there’s an option in the shop to disable ads in the game for $2.99, though I have yet to encounter a single ad in the game. A few players in our forums are getting ads in between levels, though the majority are not. It’s likely that there is a bug with the way ads are supposed to be displayed, and at some point they may end up appearing in the game, so just be aware of that possibility.
Overall I’m having a great time with Frisbee Forever, and it’s definitely a high quality production. It will take a ridiculous amount of grinding in order to get all of the content in the game, but thankfully the game is fun so I’ll be playing it a lot anyway. There are some seriously awesome discs among the 100 available to buy in the game that I’m already saving up for. Plus, I’m not opposed to throwing a few bucks in here or there to speed up the process.
I thought the original DrawRace [Free] was super cool when it was first released. It combined the familiar drawing mechanic that everyone at the time was going nuts over with a racing game. Playing the game amounted to drawing your path on the track, and the speed of your car was controlled by how fast you moved your finger on a particular segment of the racing line. It's a slick little setup, although it does seem to have a considerable learning curve since you need to draw your whole racing line at once.
Enter DrawRace 2: Racing Evolved, the sequel to DrawRace that just looks awesome. How awesome? Well, if I had to pick one thing to criticize about the original DrawRace it's that the game was a little basic. The sequel has a new career modes, leagues, leaderboards, 180 challenges, 16 cars, and 30 tracks.
For more information on DrawRace 2 check out the official site which also has tons more screenshots, or swing by the thread in our forums. I can't wait.