December 2016

Funny To A Point – New Year’s Resolutions For The Gaming Industry

2016 has come and gone,
which means setting aside old grudges and looking to the future. For many, that
means coming up with a New Year’s resolution, a personal pledge to guide them
toward a healthier and happier life throughout the year (or until they come up
with a good excuse to blow it off after the first week of January).

I’m something of a master at coming up with New Year’s
resolutions – so much so that I don’t stop with myself! This year I decided to
lend my expertise to the gaming industry, by writing out resolutions
custom-tailored to the biggest developers and publishers. So happy holidays,
and you’re welcome!

On an actually serious note, thanks to everyone who read, shared, and commented on …read more


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‘Mini Metro’ Teaches Principles of Network Design According to Public Transit Consultant

Mini Metro [$0.99] is a wonderful game, with our very own Mr. Shaun Musgrave giving it a full five stars in his review earlier today. When I first saw it, I thought I was looking at a real metro map (I’ve had to use trains for many years, so those kinds of diagrams are seared in my memory). That’s no accident, apparently, because according to Jarrett Walker, a public transit consultant, Mini Metro is more than just an entertaining game with a metro theme; it’s actually a great tool that teaches sound principles of network design that can come in handy to anyone professionally involved in designing city networks. His blog covers how accurate the game is – even though it wasn’t designed to really be accurate – and the steps needed to make it more accurate if one was inclined to do so.

He initially talks about how the demand-generation rules of Mini Metro are on the simplistic side as is the splitting of the city in clear zones (residential, commercial, etc). The other simplification is how these fictional residents just want to go to …read more


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‘Card Thief’ to Offer Beta Info Next Week, Hopefully the Beta is Near

I think it’s pretty fair to say we’ve been keeping a close eye on Card Thief here at TouchArcade, and I’m glad to hear that the beta for the game should be inching closer. As the developers have said in our Upcoming Games forum thread, a secret Guild Symbol has appeared, and that means we’re getting a Beta announcement next week. Hopefully that means the actual beta is very near. Why should you be excited? Card Thief is the follow-up to last year’s great Card Crawl [$2.99], and it looks to be just as clever as the latter.

In Card Thief, you draw paths between cards on a 3×3 grid to try and avoid guards while stealing some sweet treasures. As you can see in the video above, the art looks really nice, and there are mechanics like avoiding the light and moving around in the dark. There’s also a risk-reward mechanic where the longer the path, the harder the guards and the bigger the loot. I’m looking forward to this one, and if you are too, keep an eye here for further beta announcements.

…read more


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TouchArcade’s Top Stories of 2016: Pokemon, Pokemon, and More Pokemon

One of the fun things to do at the end of the year is pull up the site stats for all of 2016 and see which stories resonated most in our community with the best metric we have: How many unique page views a particular article got. This year was absolutely dominated by Pokemon Go [Free]. The amount of traffic this game generated for us was so extreme that it actually broke a lot of the automated reports I use to figure out which direction we should be steering TouchArcade. In trying to get more analytical about optimizing our content to fit what people seem to actually want to read, I was using all these tools to figure things out like, “Oh hey, this game’s upcoming release announcement saw abnormally high traffic outside of the standard deviation of similar articles, we should focus on this game more than we usually would when it’s released.” I’ve got a bunch of other tricks up my sleeve, but that’s the general idea behind it. Pokemon Go messed all this up, with random two paragraph news stories doing 100 to 500 times the traffic anything else we posted that day, which has really …read more


‘PinOut!’ Review – A Pretty, Good Spin on Pinball

With the end of the year upon us, I’m doing my usual job of going back and picking out some games for review that for whatever reason didn’t get one upon release. This year, most of the choices are coming from suggestions from the community, and one of the first games mentioned was PinOut! [Free]. Given that pinball is usually like catnip for me, I’m not sure why I missed this one to begin with. I imagine I was knee-deep in RPGs or something like that. At any rate, it’s better late than never, so let’s take a look at this stylish spin on one of the oldest electronic gaming genres.

The goal of PinOut! is simple: you need to help your ball escape the board. You only have the usual means of interacting with the ball, however, and just as in normal pinball, the virtual board is angled such that what goes up will surely come down if nothing gets in its way. Using the flippers placed along the route, you need to carefully launch the ball through a series of mini-tables. Unlike real pinball, if you miss the ball, you don’t lose a life or anything like that. …read more


Five Easy Ways To Make Overwatch Better

Overwatch was probably the most surprising game for me this year. I didn’t play it during its beta period, and I went into the experience fairly blind upon release. Usually, my interest in multiplayer shooters fizzles out after a few intense weeks, but I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time with it over the past few months. I love the characters and how each has his or her (or its) own role in matches, with every one of them featuring unique gameplay elements. That’s not to say that it isn’t without its flaws. I have a few humble suggestions on how Blizzard can tweak the game in small ways to make it even better for everyone. And no, that doesn’t include removing Hanzo and Bastion from the roster.

Let me silence those people who slam on the character-select button
Waiting before a match starts is boring, unless you’re interested in watching a countdown timer ticking away. During those periods, some players have found a way to amuse themselves: repeatedly tapping the character-select button until the game starts. Every time they do it, it flashes their choice on the screen, accompanied by a clicking sound. It is, in my opinion, the most …read more


Five Easy Ways To Make Overwatch Better

Overwatch was probably the most surprising game for me this year. I didn’t play it during its beta period, and I went into the experience fairly blind upon release. Usually, my interest in multiplayer shooters fizzles out after a few intense weeks, but I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time with it over the past few months. I love the characters and how each has his or her (or its) own role in matches, with every one of them featuring unique gameplay elements. That’s not to say that it isn’t without its flaws. I have a few humble suggestions on how Blizzard can tweak the game in small ways to make it even better for everyone. And no, that doesn’t include removing Hanzo and Bastion from the roster.

Let me silence those people who slam on the character-select button
Waiting before a match starts is boring, unless you’re interested in watching a countdown timer ticking away. During those periods, some players have found a way to amuse themselves: repeatedly tapping the character-select button until the game starts. Every time they do it, it flashes their choice on the screen, accompanied by a clicking sound. It is, in my opinion, the most …read more


‘Mini Metro’ Review – Train Braining

Continuing our year-end mop-up of games we missed out on reviewing at the time of their release for various reasons, the next requested title by our readers was Mini Metro [$0.99]. I’ve had an interesting relationship with trains over the course of my life. Passenger trains more or less vanished in the part of Canada I’m from when I was relatively young. Like most places in Canada, my town was far too small to merit a local metro system. I mean, we barely had buses. Thus, I didn’t end up riding a train of any sort until I was in my twenties, and I picked a wild place to start. Imagine a small-town bumpkin arriving in Tokyo, Japan, and trying to make sense of the colorful spaghetti that is the Tokyo Metro system. After a while, though, I got the hang of it, and I now consider myself to be pretty good at navigating the sometimes seemingly nonsensical connections from place to place in that city.

Mini Metro is a great game for giving you a little perspective on how metro maps might end up laid out as they are. You need to build a functioning metro system for each …read more


Iran has banned Clash of Clans for promoting violence and tribal conflict

Earlier this week The Ministry of Justice in Iran blocked Clash of Clans because psychologists in the country believe the game promotes violence and what they are describing as ‘tribal conflict’. They also state that, among other findings, that the game negatively affects family life for youth, who psychologists believe are addicted to playing. I reported earlier this year that… Read More …read more


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‘This War of Mine’, ‘Record of Agarest War Zero’, ‘Anomaly 2’, and More in Today’s Sales Round-Up

Okay, look, I think our wallets are almost in the clear. But we’re not quite out of the woods yet. While many publishers like to do their big sales during the Christmas week, others are more of the New Year’s type, and that means we’ve got some deals for you to take a look at today. Since there are a lot, I’m just going to list them out without the fancy details. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to investigate further. Without further ado, here are today’s sales.

11 bit Studios

Chillingo

HyperDevBox Japan

  • Spectral Souls [$4.99]
  • Blazing Souls Accelate [$9.99]
  • Record of Agarest War [$12.99]
  • Record of Agarest War Zero [$5.99]
  • ExZeus 2 [$4.99]

Big Daddy’s Creations

Miscellaneous

  • Avernum: Escape from the Pit HD [$9.99 (HD)]
  • Nameless: The Hackers RPG [$1.99]

So, yes. This selection seems to be mostly games that will require your thinking cap. Just the thing to stock up on in order to train for the impending Venusian Invasion of 20- and there I go again, …read more