October 2015

‘The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain’ From Tin Man Games Looks Fantastic

It’s been really interesting watching the revival and subsequent reinterpretation of the gamebook genre on mobile platforms. We’ve had pure text-based interpretations from Choice Of Games and others, fancier recreations like the Gamebook Adventures from Tin Man Games, and games that draw heavily from electronic RPGs, like Forge Reply’s Lone Wolf [Free]. Probably the most attention-grabbing attempts at bringing the gamebook experience to new places are the recent releases from inkle Studios. Sorcery! [$4.99] and 80 Days [$4.99] garnered tons of praise from almost every corner with their stylish, fresh approaches to interactive fiction. In the wake of those excellent experiences, the expectations of the audience have risen, and Tin Man Games is ready to take up the challenge with their adaptation of the original Fighting Fantasy book, The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain.

Rather than do a straight adaptation as they’ve done in the past, this time they’ve decided to completely re-imagine the book. Oh, you can still more or less enjoy Warlock in the manner it was created, albeit with prettier visuals. The look of the game goes for a style reminiscent of miniatures on a game board, a great match for Warlock‘s theme and setting. Beyond …read more

‘Doom’ Designer John Romero’s ‘Dangerous Dave in the Deserted Pirate’s Hideout’ Now on the App Store

John Romero, co-founder of id Software and designer of Doom [$4.99], has just re-released one of his first games on to the App Store, in Dangeroud Dave in the Deserted Pirate’s Hideout []. This is a platformer from the late 1980s, where you collect gems and make it through levels as quickly as possible. It has the kind of clunky feel of a game made back in that era, but it’s still a pretty cool relic from the era, and it comes with either retro visuals or high-res art to play the game with. Plus, it’s free to download, with only IAP to remove ads. It’s a piece of gaming history from a legendary developer, it’s certainly worth a download.

What’s kind of crazy about this is that the game is published under the name “Alfonso Romero.” Alfonso is John Romero’s first name. So, yeah, one of the most important figures in the history of gaming can’t go by the name he’s always been known by on the App Store, he has to go by his legal name. In case you wanted some insight into how Apple operates and has policies that don’t really make any sense for anyone. …read more

Sacca To Shark Tank: “I Will Not And Cannot Do It If I Have To Wear A Suit”

If you’re not familiar with Shark Tank, it’s ABC’s show that drops companies in front of investors from all walks of life, including the very loud Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. It’s oddly become a family favorite for a lot of people I know, mostly because they get to shout at the TV and make predictions on whether someone will invest or not, or talk about… Read More …read more

No Picture

Racing Around Pool Tables Lives Again: ‘Micro Machines’ is Back!

One of those games that has perhaps an outsized reputation among 8-bit and 16-bit era gamers is Micro Machines. It’s a fun game, but for some reason remembered more than games of similar or better quality. Maybe it’s the variety of the game, where you drive around bathtubs and pool tables in tiny cars. Maybe it’s that it’s top-down, a style that holds up better than behind-the-back games. Horizon Chase [$2.99] perhaps begs to differ, though. Or perhaps it’s just a reminder of those cool little toy cars. But regardless of why it’s memorable, this announcement that Chillingo and Codemasters are doing a new Micro Machines game has me excited:

Not a lot of details beyond that, beyond that the game is set to arrive this year, and will be a 3D game, with plenty of racing of tiny cars. I’m certainly curious to see how this will turn out, and if a modern take on this formula can still be fun after all these years. Keep an eye out for this one.

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New Apple TV First Impressions: A Discoverability Nightmare, Zany Controls, and Loads of Potential

I unboxed my Apple TV a little over an hour ago, and my initial impressions of the device are incredibly mixed. I’m happy that I got a lot of my predictions right when I posted about the Nvidia Shield, but at the same time, that isn’t a great thing. The Apple TV is going to have a long way to go before it’s a serious contender in the gaming space, as crazy controls and a baffling lack of discoverability are holding it back. Of course, there’s loads of potential here, but, will Apple realize that potential?

First off, let’s start with the things that are really awesome about the Apple TV. As expected, the Siri search stuff is incredible. Once I downloaded the requisite streaming video apps I use, just being able to search for a movie across all of them feels like magic. If you’re a cord cutter who relies on Netflix and the others for your video content, you could make a strong argument that the new Apple TV is worth picking up just for this feature. If that’s how you feel, then the rest of all this is just kind of a value add, which might be …read more

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‘Clash of Clans’ Developer Responds to Claims that ClashCon was Overhyped

ClashCon, Clash of Clans [Free] inaugural Con, is over, and overall it looked like a success. However, a part of the Clash of Clans community felt that ClashCon didn’t deliver on the hype and that while players were waiting to hear all about the upcoming update, all they got was a peek of the TH11 and the Eagle Defense. Add to that how many players felt the update was really only about high-level players, and you can pretty much understand what the reactions were. Now, I don’t know whether the reactions were appropriate to the situation, but what I do know is that the rumble forced a member of Supercell to respond to the complaints in a forum post. According to Anoushka, TH11 is a big update and while it may not affect everyone equally, the changes in attack/defense (new hero, new defense) are game changers in a way. However, he continues, there was too much hype (not by them) so people expected the update to revolutionize the entire game.

Anoushka continues by saying he has no idea where the expectation came that the whole update would be announced at ClashCon, but …read more

Objects In Space To Support Homebrew Controllers

Announced earlier this year, Objects In Space is an intensely detailed spaceship bridge simulator with a retro pixel art aesthetic. The developers, Flat Earth Games, have announced that the game will support not only third-party controllers for your bridge needs, but DIY home-made controllers as well. To help celebrate this news, they have also released their first gameplay trailer, showing off the game’s submarine-style interface.

Using what the developers describe as a “virtual serial port”, the game will support the creation and use of any sort of control they can devise. Banks of switches to control weapons, reactor shutdown buttons with safety catches, or display boards with LEDs showing ship damage without changing viewpoints are all within the realm of possibilities. The aesthetic of the game lends itself well to the idea of cobbled-together interfaces, and the prospect of being able to do so physically to play the game is very intriguing.

The announcement came along with a playable demo at PAX Australia, the display for which also featured a few physical hand-made controllers, each a module for controlling different aspects of the ship. A series of …read more

The Mysteries of Dead Secret Are Available to be Unveiled

Not much was known about Dead Secret beyond its teaser trailer when it released months ago. Now that the game is available for Samsung Gear VR, there’s still not much more information to go on. Harris Bullard is dead, and while the police aren’t too broken up about it, you, playing as an unknown journalist, want to know what happened. Is that byline in the paper going to be worth it? Judging from the scary people in masks creeping around the house, probably not. Because, while Dead Secret is focused on mystery, it is also keen on making you scared. Really, really scared.

I worry that horror in VR will be the end of me; that it will be my breaking point when I finally put a game down because it’s too scary. I’m even more worried that Dead Secret will be that breaking point, as its lead, Chris Pruett, has been studying horror games for years. If you want to read some really interesting looks at console horror games, go to his site. Read around. He’s been looking at horror games in-depth for over a decade, and is …read more

5 ways Facebook is going all-out to win over India

(Photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

Facebook is going all-out on India. That makes sense. With Mark Zuckerberg looking ahead at saturation in mature markets like Europe and North America, and with his social network locked out of China, he’s pushing forward a lot of things to ensure that Facebook gains plenty of growth from India.

130 million Indian people now use Facebook actively. But Facebook wants a lot more. It wants “the next billion people,” as the company has called them, who’ll use Facebook and all its sister apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

Asia as a whole is vital to Facebook’s future. The site hit 496 million monthly active users in Asia-Pacific at the last count. Soon, the region will have more active Facebook users than Europe, the US, and Canada combined.

Here are five recent ploys – including several that happened this week – which show Facebook’s renewed determination to win in India:

1. Getting more people online in the first place

One challenge in the India market is that not many people are online yet. Poor infrastructure and low incomes combine to keep a lot of people off the web, particularly in rural areas.

India now has 350 million active …read more

The Long-Awaited Sequel To ‘Dragon Fantasy’ Releases… Today?

One of the cool things about following iOS gaming is that you never completely know what each week will bring. Every Thursday, there are a few surprises even for the staff of TouchArcade, and then there are the odd out-of-nowhere launches on other days of the week, too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the sequel to Dragon Fantasy [$7.99], Muteki Corporation’s love letter to classic JRPGs, released out of nowhere today. Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$4.99] will carry a regular price of $9.99, but will be on sale for the first week for just $4.99.

Originally titled Dragon Fantasy: Book II when it released on Sony’s PSN just over two years ago, the game follows the further adventures of the middle-aged warrior Ogden and his companions. While the original game was an homage to 8-bit JRPGs, The Black Tome Of Ice is more heavily inspired by 16-bit JRPGs like Square’s Chrono Trigger [$9.99]. The first game was pretty well-regarded around TouchArcade. I liked it well enough to write an RPG Reload feature on it, and I know Jared is a big fan of the game, as well. The members …read more