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    Entries in mobile (16)


    Curiosity: Curiosity Killed the Fun

    Chisel out exciting messages to share with the world

    Peter Molyneux - the Grand Puba of hyperbole - has returned with his latest, greatest project known as Curiosity. What is Curiosity? An massively multiplayer mobile "game" in which players work together to chip away at a giant cube which is rendered as countless individual cubes. Only one of the horde of Curiosity players will be treated to a secret prize hidden away in the cube, which they can then either share with the world or keep as their own private trophy. Following their decision, no doubt Mr. Molyneux will claim his "game" a success before retiring to his hall of mirrors, where he every night proclaims his greatness which is reinforced by his reflections.

    I hate ripping on people who try, and Lords know Peter does try his hardest, however if there's one thing I hate - well, I hate a lot of things - but if there's one of the many relevant to this piece, it's a habitual liar. Unfortunately, the ex-Lionhead Studio lead is a constant offender, having brought his old ways to his new studio 22Cans. Curiosity isn't so much a product of lies, but rather a waste of time. It's a social experiment wrapped in a loosely termed game, which requires hours of combined player-power with little-to-no satisfaction save for the single recipient of whatever is inside the cube. My guess is that the "winner" will receive a video file containing a talking, floating, Molyneux head, which has some sort of positive bullshit message about Curiosity changing the world, book ended by proclaiming himself the world's greatest human being. Awesome!

    When you launch Curiosity, provided you are able to, as server load prevents connection to the game quite often, you are faced with a gigantic cube. You can pan and tilt the cube to see the world's progress thus far, and if a particular piece of land calls your name, you zoom in and have at it. As you get up close and personal with the cube, you see that each pixel of the bigger piece is individually rendered and reacts to the action taken around it. Tap tap tap tap tap at the cube to chip away, causing the mini-cubes to shake and stir as their brethren are poked to death. The more efficiently you tap, the higher combo you rack, the more coins you receive. Rinse repeat. You can take your coins to a store to purchase utensils that will make your cube-dispensing life that much easier. Rinse repeat. This is basically Curiosity in a nutshell. Wait, no. This is pretty much the full scope of Curiosity. It's an interesting multiplayer concept, allowing pretty much the entire world the ability to work together toward a singular cause, however the reward is not something the community as a whole will profit from. I play games to release frustration, to beat scores, gain accomplishments, admire art and design, or hear an interesting tale. Very rarely do I play simply to waste time. Curiosity offers none of the above, save for the latter.

    It's said the cube will take months to penetrate to its secretive core, perhaps years if these server connection issues continue. As the mobile gaming landscape evolves monthly, will something as vapid as Curiosity have the holding power to keep the demanding mob of gamers satiated for the duration of its lifecycle, or will it fizzle out before being chipped away for good? For me, Curiosity's lack of enjoyment is enough to fend me off while suggesting you do the same. Sure it's free, but so is the incredible Punch Quest, which offers a seemingly endless stream of awesome and feels much more rewarding. The bottom line is that we game for a purpose, a satisfaction unique and individual to each of us. I don't want my experience clouded by an unrewarding social experiment, at least not like this. It's an interesting concept to which I'd be more receptive of if it were presented differently, as in if it were actually fun. 

    The Score: 2 outta 10 Blasters!


    Punch Quest: Raising (and Punching) The Bar

    Not too long ago I heard about a game called Punch Quest which reminded me of the very good (and very free) Jetpack Joyride. Now months later, Punch Quest has hit the iOS App Store and has become one of the most addicting iPhone games I've played all year. Coincidentally, it's the first game I've really put through the paces on my iPhone 5, and the pair is insanely fast, clear, and colorful. In the midst of Hurricane Sandy, with internet service coming and going, and power threatening to shut down at any given moment, Punch Quest was a boon to my fingertips, helping me to avoid boredom.

    Punch Quest is very simple really, you run endlessly and you have two buttons controlling your highly customizable avatar. Left button jumps and uppercuts, useful for platforming and attacking, right causes you to dash ahead and simultaneously throw a straight punch. As you further yourself along the game you gain increasing amounts of Punchos (in-game currency, great name for a cereal) to purchase and unlock loot (in-app purchases to buy more currency) and upgrades, both cosmetic and functional. Once I started unlocking more advanced techniques and learning what the ever-advancing stage was throwing at me - including multiple paths - I realized how complex this little game actually is. Once you begin perfectly stringing together 80+ hit combos while avoiding enemy attacks and pitfalls, it becomes more hardcore twitch platformer a la Super Meat Boy than casual Temple Run-and-jump, without alienating either fanbase.

    + Hardcore twitch-reflex action while remaining casual friendly
    + Tons of customization options (both cosmetic and functional)
    + Insanely addictive
    + iPhone 5 support (both portrait and landscape)
    + Free

    I'm really struggling trying to think of some negative things to say about Punch Quest, but the reality is that there is little to nothing wrong with this rewarding, addictive, free and just plain enjoyable mobile title. RocketCat Games has taken the endless runner genre and has meticulously elevated it to the next level. The bar has been raised, iOS developers better start bringing the heat on their next sidescrolling runner (I'm looking at you Super Meat Boy iOS).

    The Score: 9 outta 10 Blasters!


    Archos Enters the Game with Android 4.1 Powered GamePad

    Uninspired name aside, Archos latest piece of hardware looks like it may be on to something

    The Archos brand has been synonymous with hit or miss since the company has been pumping out personal media players for as long as I can remember. Today they've announced the GamePad, a 7-inch Android powered tablet with controls built right into the hardware. Two analog nubs join a directional pad and four face buttons to give a gamer just about every input they need, shoulder buttons possibly included. This could be a very big hit. 

    The GamePad is Google certified, running Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean", the latest and greatest in Google's mobile operating system. Archos has developed automatic game recognition and mapping tools, which will allow most advanced Android games to have their controls automatically mapped to the physical input with no fuss. Don't expect PeeMaster 2000 to work with the sleek dual analogs, however Shadowgun should map without issue. With full access to Google Play, you can pick from thousands of titles, any of which will function with their original touch controls should your obscure tastes be too hipster for the device.

    Under the hood, GamePad is toting a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor combined with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU, which means not quite cutting edge but way more than enough to run today's top spec Android games. No word on storage and display specifics yet, but Archos has confirmed that the GamePad will retail for under 150 euros, which is a shade under $200. I expect there to be size options which scale up with price, but more on that as the information becomes available.

    As a gaming tablet, this bad boy has a lot going for it. Once you take into account the fact it's fully Google certified - Gmail, Google Play, Maps, Drive - this becomes a tablet that is very hard to turn down, especially at the curiously low sub-$200 sweet spot. Hopefully that doesn't mean skimping on the display and the build quality, something which Archos owners have bemoaned in the past. I'm intrigued, Archos. Please don't disappoint me.


    Ms. 'Splosion Man Goes Boom on Mobile and PC

    Remember that review I did a way back in the olden day about Ms. 'Splosion Man, a 2D platformer I really liked? Of course you do, because everything I write is as memorable as your first kiss in grade school (or college, whatever). It was a game I thoroughly enjoyed playing through, though it was available only to the limited audience of 360 owners. Twisted Pixel, developers who somehow manage to incite knee-slapping laughter from me time and time again, have now announced that their crazy pink lady of pure energy will be 'sploding on to PC, iOS and Windows Phone.

    I hate most platformers on iOS like America hates Electronic Arts, however I have a good feeling about Ms. 'Splosion Man. The mechanics are less about twitch reflex on the controls and more about proper timing on your 'splodes. Controlling the mademoiselle with the undoubtedly horrid virtual control will take some getting used to, however clicking anywhere to 'splode will be a breeze. With the power to 'splode anywhere you go, there is no reason to not play this title, unless you own an Android phone. Buuuuuurned.

    Ms. 'Splosion Man is due out for PC, iOS and Windows Phone some time this summer.


    Star Marine: Infinite Ammo - Don't Call it a Contra

    This is not Contra, nor does it feature space marines. Star Marine: Infinite Ammo is a 2D run-n-gun title for iOS that takes a whole lotta notes from the aforementioned Contra. Spread Gun, Crush Gun, Laser Gun, Flame Gun.. Eh? But you know what, it's cool. I don't mind cheap Contra rip-offs because I fucking love Contra. Spread Gun, bitch! 

    Aside from the bevy of similar weapons, Star Marine seems to also incorporate some other staples of the genre, including massive enemies, and wicked platforming. I see some hanging and moving between suspended rails, but I do NOT see any hanging from missiles in-flight. Your move, Star Marine. 

    How will a game cut from the same cloth as the punishing Contra hold up on touch controls? My guess: not well. The developers have at least tried to soften the blow of touch controls by using the twin-stick scheme rather than the typical directional pad and buttons layout. Twin-sticking it to the man actually seems like a great marriage for this type of game on iOS. At least until someone makes the perfect touch control. Hmmm..

    Get thumbs deep into Star Marine: Infinite Ammo on January 12.


    REVIEW: League of Evil

    Written by contributing author John Rios

    Very few iOS platformers have used virtual controls well, but League of Evil aims to get it right. Ravenous Games has crafted their own take on the simple A-to-B formula with a load of Super Meat Boy influence. League of Evil sacrifices nothing to make itself more touch-screen friendly, yet somehow manages to work amazingly well.

    A close cropped camera follows as you navigate and decapitate your way around levels at a blistering pace. Your abilities include a wall-jump, double-jump, and an air dash attack to take out enemies or add a little distance to your jumps through the bevy of crushing levels. The levels are not designed for length, maxing out at about 15 seconds, or no more than 5 seconds if you're impossibly good. This provides a nice mini-game feel, perfect for short periods of killing time or bouts of ADD. Though don't make the mistake of thinking you won't spend an hour blazing through stage after stage, because if you're not careful, you will. A recent update of 48 added levels builds on the soul-crushing fun, ensuring plenty of areas for you to zip around. The addiction of collecting hidden suitcases found in each stage, as well as the ranking system add incentive to play League of Evil over and over. 

    You will always feel like you have total control over the game's protagonist -- a cyborg that has a striking resemblance to The Terminator -- as you jump over spike pits and spinning hammers. Not once did I find myself hitting the dash button when I wanted to hit jump, or vice-versa. I did notice that my fingers were slipping a bit due to the diminutive size of the iPhone when coupled with a platformer as intense as this. Your mileage may vary though, especially if you have tiny fingers, or an iPad.

    The beauty of the 8-bit generation lives on in the slick, colorful, lo-fi visuals. While many a developer attempt to capture the true throwback nature of the NES days, leagues of failures are created along the way. League of Evil undoubtedly hits the mark, seemingly transported onto the iOS platform right from the late 1980s. The music feels like it was transplanted from a Contra or Ikari Warriors title, which is a fantastic compliment.

    League of Evil is truly a unique experience on your iOS device (until Team Meat creates an iOS port of Super Meat Boy). Fans of fast, punishing action should not miss out on this one.

    Buy it if: You haven't yet, it’s only 99 cents!
    Don't Buy it if: Platformers easily frustrate you
    The Score: 8 outta 10 Blasters!


    Out of This World, on to this iOS Device

    Another World
    -- or as I, as well as other North American gamers have come to know it, Out of This World -- is a game I remember fondly for kicking the shit out of me on my MS-DOS computer in the early 90s, when I wasn't playing Commander Keen or Dr. SBAITSO.

    Good news everyone! Out of This World will make a grand return to confound a new generation of gamer, who probably never heard of this classic, and do nothing these days but play Black Ops. Fucking newbs.

    Slated for iOS (iPhone, iPod, and iPad), developer DotEmu is handling the remake, and has been given the blessing of creator Eric Chahi to move forward and get this thing out the door.  It's not clear whether or not this is a re-make from the ground up or just a re-release with HD graphics, but I'll be overjoyed to get my hands on Out of This World either way. I remember having problems beating it as a kid, so I have a score to settle, and I'm sure many of you original gangstas do as well. 

    via Game Informer


    Watch the PlayStation Phone be Fondled Aggressively

    Sony Ericsson's Xperia PLAY, otherwise known as the PlayStation Phone, has found itself a long way from home -- again. Previously filmed in unromantic locales such as a McDonalds, a factory, and a basement, the PSPhone now finds itself in a parking lot, where a hungry geek slides his long fingers all over her sleek body. Poor PSPhone, she gets no respect!

    The device itself is looking quite nice from a purely physical standpoint. The touch screen seems to be a bit unresponsive to the intrusive man's commands at times, and the slide mechanism looks to be incredibly stiff, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. I'm sure it'll loosen up with use, but hopefully not by too much.

    The video shows us some key parts of any mobile phone such as micro-USB port, and LED flash, as well as a few mobile gaming specific items like the shoulder buttons. The body is slightly chunky to accommodate the slide out gaming controls, which still look a little bland to me. Let's see the touch pad in action! 

    Word is the Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY, which is starting to be abbreviated to S.E.X. PLAY, will finally have its official introduction at next month's Mobile World Congress. Until then, we'll look forward to seeing it taken on more cheap dates with shady, long-fingered dudes.


    The Game Dealer, From the Makers of Game Dev Story 

    Game Dev Story is a solid, solid iOS game purchase. In it, you own a development company, and you must micromanage a dumbed down game development process from hiring staff and freelancers, to attending game expos. Simple, addictive fun.

    I'm thrilled to hear today that Kairosoft, Game Dev's devs, have released a spiritual successor to the sleeper hit called Wai Wai! The Game Dealer. In it you, you guessed it, manage a retail game store. PROTIP: Naming your game store GameStop will immediately bankrupt you and instantaneously cause you to lose the game, and your iOS device to explode in your hands. 

    No localization plans have been announced yet (sorry to burst your bubble), but here's to hoping Kairosoft brings the addictive sim stateside, albeit with less Wais in the title.

    via Destructoid


    Sony Ericsson's PlayStation Phone Gets Felt Up

    Sony Ericsson's PlayStation Phone has been spotted in the wild, and immediately gets groped on camera. Not much has changed cosmetically since it's first low quality photo reveal. Actually, nothing has changed, which is a bit disappointing to say the least. PlayStation has always impressed me with its cutting edge designs, but the PSPhone is a little disappointing to say the least, especially once you slide the screen up and look at the underwhelming controls.

    Android's Gingerbread OS is looking pretty sexy though, and that could be the only thing this device has going for it right now. Expect to get more details very soon.

    via engadget