Upcoming platformer, Leo’s Fortune shows promise

In order to be fun, a platformer needs to do one crucial thing right and that thing is precise physics. If the game feels and plays right as you are running and jumping along, then everything else falls into place. I should be able to intuitively slow down as I’m running and have the exact effect happen on screen. Leo’s Fortune is a platformer that features a little furball that can run, jump, float, sink and swim. Yes, Leo’s Fortune nails all the basics and has a strong foundation for a rather quirky and charming mobile/tablet game.

Story is told through good-looking artwork that has its own unique style. The art combined with the voice-over is very reminiscent to one of Tim Schafer’s recent titles, The Cave. The gameplay is accomplished with moving left and right, jumping and inflating and deflating. Unique to Leo’s world as opposed to your Mario’s and Sonic’s is that inflating and deflating can cause effects such as building momentum on slopes, wedging between tight areas and sinking/surfacing in water. Puzzle elements will also slowly introduce itself and they will demand some clever use of pufferfishing up.

Stages are cleared after making it through just like in other platformers, but the bigger goal is to get all 3 stars. Each star represents completing a stage with particular excellence and these include collecting every coin, not dying a single time and completing the stage under a certain time limit. What’s also neat as opposed to other games with 3 star systems is that you do not need to accomplish them all in one run through. You can complete a stage focusing exclusively on beating the timer then go back and take your sweet time collecting coins. Getting all the stars in a world will unlock bonus challenge stages.

Leo’s Fortune will release on iOS first and other platforms on a later date. The tentative release date window is later this month for iOS.

Fruit Ninja HD & Age of Zombies iPhone / iPad Apps Go on Holiday Sale from Halfbrick

Halfbrick is bringing two of their most known iPhone and iPad apps on sale for the Holiday. This week both Fruit Ninja and Age of Zombies, featuring Barry Steakfries, will go on sale for $.99.

Fruit Ninja HD SALE – To celebrate the holidays and the release of our awesome Lite versions, Fruit Ninja HD is on sale right now for just 99 CENTS! Get every piece of Fruit Ninja content on your iPad for 80% off – Arcade Mode, Dojo, online Game Center multiplayer and more!
Fruit Ninja HD - Halfbrick Studios

Fruit Ninja Lite – The worldwide hit game that started the App Store craze can now be tried at no charge! Fruit Ninja Lite is now available worldwide as a new iPhone app to download for free, and features a sample of Classic – the very first bombastic gameplay mode! There are also a small sample of Achievements to unlock, with three exclusive to Fruit Ninja Lite! You can also post your results on Twitter and Facebook, showing off your ninja skills to the world!
Fruit Ninja Lite - Halfbrick Studios

Fruit Ninja HD Lite – The awesome iPad action of Fruit Ninja HD is ready for free in Fruit Ninja HD Lite, which features a sample of Classic Mode, as well as a taste of the local multiplayer mode – Zen Duel! Achievements and social functionality is also available! In both Lite versions of Fruit Ninja and Fruit Ninja HD, players can even access the Dojo and unlock a selection of new blades and backgrounds!
Fruit Ninja HD Lite - Halfbrick Studios

Age of Zombies UPDATE – Barry Steakfries is getting in the giving spirit with a new free update! Age of Zombies 1.1 features THREE new maps for Survivial mode, Elf Zombies to blast in the face, new Leaderboard functionality showing your friend’s scores to beat, and a Story Mode level select system. Now you can replay your favorite chapters of the AoZ adventure!
Age of Zombies™ - Halfbrick Studios

Age of Zombies SALE – *Begins December 21* The universal app is going on sale for 66% off, down to just 99 cents! Players can also try out the game for free by downloading Age of Zombies Lite.

Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time iPhone & iPad App Launches in Time for ‘A Christmas Carol’

There’s a new Doctor Who iOS App launching on the iTunes store for iPhone, iPad and Touch today.

Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time App is based on BBC AMERICA’s hit drama series that follows the adventures of The Doctor, the mysterious traveller who, with his human companions, journeys throughout all of time and space, facing a variety of foes and righting injustices.

The action puzzle adventure game features the Doctor and his companion Amy Pond travelling through time and space to defeat infamous enemies, solve devious puzzles and restore peace. Featuring Weeping Angels, Daleks, Cybermen and Silurians, the game allows users to play as both the Doctor and Amy Pond, utilizing their unique skills and abilities to solve challenges.

On iPhone and Touch:
Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time - BBC Worldwide

On iPad:
Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time HD - BBC Worldwide

“Coming to the App Store is a landmark moment for the Doctor Who franchise,” said Robert Nashak, Executive Vice President, Digital Entertainment, BBC Worldwide. “We look forward to bringing users, and fans of the show, an exciting and interactive experience that they will enjoy.”

The launch of the app coincides with this year’s Christmas special, Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, airing on BBC AMERICA on December 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Doctor Who, the BAFTA award-winning series, is one of BBC Worldwide’s top global brands airing in over 50 territories worldwide.

Battlefield Bad Company 2, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 & Cause of Death Hit iPhone

EA Mobile has just announced the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Cause of Death, The Game of Life and Scrabble FREE for iPhone on the iTunes store.

As part of the launch, EA is also making more than 70 of its iPhone and iPad mobile apps available for $.99, including: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit for iPad, Cause of Death for iPhone and SimCity Deluxe for iPad and BattleField Bad Company 2.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Based on the bestselling console game from DICE, let the battle rage in the jungle, snow, and desert, in close-quarter combat, and in the air. Utilize intuitive controls as you destroy enemies with tanks and choppers in state-of the-art vehicular combat. Go all-out in full online multiplayer mode, and get a modern-warfare simulation for iPhone & iPod touch that’s second to none.
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY™ 2 - Electronic Arts

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
10 Klassic arenas await in Arcade Mode pitting you against the top Mortal Kombat warriors. Kustomize your button layout and dominate your opponents in head-to-head battle. Then “Finish Him!” with epic Fatalities and humiliating Babalities.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat™ 3 - Electronic Arts

Cause of Death
Investigate. Interrogate. Unmask the murderer! Get the only interactive detective adventure on the App Store that lets YOU solve the crime in a FREE NEW EPISODE EVERY WEEK. But be careful out there. Every choice you make could have deadly consequences.
CAUSE OF DEATH: Can You Catch The Killer? - Electronic Arts

The Game of Life HD (iPad)
Get family and friends together for PARTY PLAY – ONLY WITH iPAD – and make it a game night! Enjoy the all-time favorite board game in a whole new way with enhanced HD-quality graphics, plus new interactive and custom features. Live THE GAME OF LIFE to the fullest on iPad!
THE GAME OF LIFE™ for iPad - Electronic Arts

Scrabble FREE
Square off with friends via Facebook or start a game against a random opponent with just one touch. Play up to 50 games at once – more than ANY other word game for iPhone® & iPod touch®! Also access the popular Teacher Feature and see the best word choice from your previous move. The more you play, the better you get!
SCRABBLE Free - Electronic Arts

Pogo Games Goes Mobile on iPhone and iPod

As of today, Pogo Games’ casual titles have gone mobile on iPhone and iPod Touch through the App Store. Pogo recently began a beta launch on to Facebook as part of EA’s growing digital initiative. As a leader in casual gaming, Pogo’s destination site receives 12M monthly unique visitors and has 1.5M active subscribers.

“We’ve been entertaining audiences for more than 10 years, and that experience has given us a deep understanding of the types of games that engage people and keep them coming back for more,” said Michael Marchetti, SVP & GM Pogo at Electronic Arts. “With the move to iPhone and iPod touch, we’re giving people new ways to play, share and compete—now any moment can turn into a fun moment.”

Games that will be available through Pogo’s iPhone App include:

– Poppit! – Pop groups of balloons of two or more of the same color to release hidden “prizes.
– Word Whomp – Spell as many words as possible before the clock runs out.
– Turbo 21 – Take on a fast-paced black-jack inspired card game.
– Mahjong Safari – Topple tiles in this classic game of Mahjong with a wild new spin.
– Sweet Tooth 2 – Match three or more sweets in a row to score.

The Pogo Games App will offer a seamless experience for those who play Pogo online, extending rewards, leaderboards and challenges to iPhone and iPod touch users. The Pogo Games App is one of EA’s ‘freemium’ offerings, with an advertising-supported business model which makes its games accessible to everyone.

Through In App Purchase of $2.99, players have the option to upgrade to an advertising-free gaming experience. Members of Club Pogo can also log-in through the app and receive advertisement-free game play.

The Pogo Games App is available from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch:
Pogo Games - Electronic Arts

pogo-screen1

Sons of Anarchy Season 3 Goes Mobile on iPhone & iPad

sons of anarchy

Sons of Anarchy is going mobile in 2010: first Belfast, now the iPhone and iPad. Today, FX announced a new iPhone and iPad app that will feature some exclusive content not found in the show. The app will be updated every Monday and Wednesday with new side stories that work hand-in-hand with Sons of Anarchy Season 3.

The app will feature never-before-heard stories, bonus materials and club history. This new app takes fans deep into SAMCRO’s roots, explore “John Teller’s” original vision for the club, and the origins of its relationship with the IRA as well as its link to Belfast. We’ve heard creator Kurt Sutter talk (watch interview) about creating a full length Teller Bible for print so we may see some of the preliminary work in this new app.

On the app, Kurt Sutter remarked, “Welcome to Sons of Anarchy. What follows is an insider’s glimpse of the SOA mythology from Charming to Belfast. The MC history, character backstory and the details of the large narrative arcs my writers and I draw upon to create the show. I think you’ll dig it. If not, what the hell, it was only a buck.”

The app retails for $.99 on the iTunes Store.
Buy App for iPhone:
Sons of Anarchy - Fox Mobile Entertainment, Inc.
Buy App for iPad:
Sons of Anarchy - Fox Mobile Entertainment, Inc.

Speck Adds More Colors and Bumpers for iPod Touch 4th Gen Owners

Whether you’re an iPhone or iPod Touch gamer, you know one thing: iPhones and iPod Touches magically like to fall and when they do that cool retina display just isn’t so cool anymore. Also, let’s face it, they’re stylish – that’s why there are so many first adopters. You want to be the first person with the new cool gadget, taking the best darn camera pics available.

Speck, makers of iPhone and iPad cases galore, has a diverse offering of iPod Touch 4th gen cases, ranging from strictly functional cases (to protect your iPod Touch from “too much” damage when falling) to more glamour based cases that will definitely garner a few wandering eyes.

speckit4_family002

Full Speck iPod Touch 4th Gen Case Offering:
GeoMetric – A flexible and slim protective case with triangular contrasting-textured facets. The unique texture provides a better grip with its perfectly contoured form-fit design. Available in Black, Cyan and Purple for MSRP of $29.95.

Fitted – Original, genuine fabric patterns and designs give your iPod a fabulous tailored look. This form-fit fabric-wrapped two-piece hard shell case protects from scratches and scuffs and is soft-touch finished for a comfortable grip. Available in MisKerChief Red, TastyCakes Pink, SpexyHexy Purple, TartanPlaid White, Darkest Tartan Plaid, Dalmatian Houndstooth and CookieCamo Brown for MSRP of $29.95.

speckit4_family002

PixelSkin HD – A flexible high-contrast skin case with a smooth HD pixel texture. It’s perfectly contoured, single-piece skinny fit makes quite a style statement with its matte-finish pixels and shiny glossy grid. Available in Black, Purple and Bright Red for MSRP of $29.95.

speckit4_family002

PixelSkin – This rubbery matte finish case and its extra-grippy grid texture provides unmatched pixel insulation for serious protection from bumps and drops. Fun, flexible, and available in Black, Kelly Green, Hot Pink, Cyan and Purple for a MSRP of $24.95.

speckit4_family002

SeeThru and SeeThru Satin – A one-piece flexible hard shell case for a sleek look, a smooth finish and total device functionality. Its rubberized edge and button cover provide extra grip and protection. The soft-touch finished SeeThru Satin offers an extra-smooth comfortable grip and a frosted appearance. The SeeThru is available in Clear while SeeThru Satin is available in Black and Dark Blue for MSRP of $29.95.

CandyShell – A one-of-a-kind single-piece patent-pending design; a hard shell case with soft, rubberized interior lining and button covers. It’s the standard in both style and shock absorbing protection. Available in Batwing Black, Moonsicle White, LoveHate Pink, PaleMoon Grey and MoonRock Grey for MSRP of $34.95.

ShieldView Protective Screen Films – Protects iPod touch screens from scratches and smudges with a glossy finish that provides maximum image clarity. It’s non-adhesive, easy to apply/remove and comes in a three pack. Available for MSRP of $9.95.

speckit4_family002

iPhone & iPad Game Update: Fruit Ninja Creators Returns with Age of Zombies (+New Trailer)

On Oct. 28th, the creators of Fruit Ninja return to the iTunes store with Age of Zombies, an all new game featuring Barry Steakfries. When we last left Barry, he was running through an endless parade of zombies, demons and other undead monsters in Monster Dash (see review).

Age of Zombies is a dual-stick shooter that will be available for the iPhone and iPad. It was released earlier this year on the PSP. Halfbrick states that the upcoming iPhone & iPad release will have “new graphics, controls and extra update content.”

About Age of Zombies:
Age of Zombies features the hero Barry Steakfries as he travels through time, blasting faces, heads and zombie junk. There is no shortage of dudes to kill, including ninjas, mummies, cavemen and even the legendary Zombie T-Rex!

See the Trailer:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ3RV07v1Rk[/youtube]

iPhone Game Review: Monster Dash

Casual gamers have seen their share of endless runner titles released on the iPhone. Similar to on-rails games, in runner games, you don’t have full control of your character’s movement; the character runs endlessly from left to right. Typically, you can only make your character jump to avoid pitfalls, monsters and the occasional land obstacle. Sometimes you are given the option to shoot monsters. Since these games pop up so often on iPhone, it’s easy to turn a blind eye. However, when Halfbrick Studios, makers of BuzzFocus favorite Fruit Ninja, decides to release a running game, you have to sit up and take notice. Monster Dash, Halfbrick’s latest release, breaks the monotony of running games, while offering several gaming niceties that make for one addictive title.

Monster Dash features Barry Steakfries, a guy who likes to run around with a shotgun blasting zombies, mummies and vampires. Did Halfbrick unknowingly discover the long lost Winchester brother from Supernatural? Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) do love their shotguns, and apparently so does Mr. Steakfries. Monster Dash features four stages Tomb town, Demon Dynasty, Zombie Metropolis, and Vampire Kingdom. Once you run 1,000 M you will advance to the next board. What immediately makes this game different is that the game randomizes the order of which boards you play on. So, essentially, every time you play the game is different.

monsterdash_pic

You have two buttons at your disposal: the left button to jump and the right button to shoot. You’ll need to jump to avoid falling into chasms or on top of land spikes. The longer you press down on the left button the farther and higher you will jump. Gamers can also jump over the roaming undead or jump on top of enemies to kill them, much like Super Mario. If you jump on an undead enemy that is walking through land spikes, the spikes will not hurt you. But, why jump when you have an explosive shotgun? You’ll want to play Monster Dash with sound, watching the small fire bursts out of your shotgun just doesn’t have the same monster-pounding feel that seeing and hearing the fiery blast does. Halfbrick did a great job in adding a little bass to each blast, really making the shotgun boom. The Shotgun fires short range bursts.

If you ever get tired of the shotgun, there are weapon upgrades to be found in crates sprinkled throughout each board. Upgrades include the Pacifier, which acts like a powerful handgun that shoots across the entire length of the board. There is a Machinegun Jetpack that allows you to rain death down from above. The Jetpack also gives you some added height as the momentum from the downward bullet blasts propels Steakfries upward. The Mr. Zappy gun provides an electric burst that disintegrates your enemies and leaves you glowing bright blue. No word yet if this will have any long-term health effects on Barry Steakfries.

monsterdash2

Gamers are given three hearts. So you can die by losing all your hearts or by falling into a chasm. There are about two hearts on every board, but mistiming the jump to grab them can result in a quick death. When you die from heart loss, you will explode into a bunch of bones.

Barry starts the game off at a moderate jogging pace. As the game progresses, he will slowly gain speed. However, the faster you run, the more difficult it is to control your speed, dodge enemies and time chasm jumps. By the third board, you’ll see a lot more monsters on the screen as well as longer land spike beds. With the added speed, you’ll be able to jump the spikes with your superfast running start. By the third board you’ll really feel the adrenaline of Monster Dash, even if it is fleeting. When Barry picks up speed you’ll be wishing you had one more life. Alas, you don’t.

At the end of each game you can check out your stats and see how they compare to your overall stats. The game tracks stats like distance, monsters killed and how many monsters you killed with each weapon. Much like Fruit Ninja’s wise sage fruit facts, Monster Dash leaves you with a gaming quip from Barry Steakfries. You will also get different rankings based on how well you do. Ratings range anywhere from “False Start” and “It’s time to start a Re-run” to “Jet Setter.” Gamers can upload stats to leaderboards via the Openfeint system. Monster Dash also allows you to post updates to Twitter and Facebook.

Monster Dash is one running game worth checking out. The game is priced at a reasonable $0.99. Halfbrick already has additional boards planned for release in the coming months, which may come sooner than later. In conclusion, here is a quote from Barry Steakfries: “Why am I the cat with only one life?”

Monster Dash
Monster Dash

Genre: Action
Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: HalfBrick Studios
Release Date: August 19, 2010
Rating: 8.7 / 10

Buy App on iTunes:
Monster

iPhone Game Review: Hexalex

Scrabble, much like Bejeweled in the world of match-3 gem games, has seen many variations in the realm of iPhone gaming. Developer Nathan Gray has decided to stake his own claim in word-app gaming with Hexalex.

The premise of Hexalex is much like Scrabble. You are given seven letter tiles, each of which has a point value based on how often it appears in the English Language. The Hexalex board has double and triple letter scoring spaces as well as double and triple word scoring spaces. The main difference between Hexalex and Scrabble is the shape of the tile spaces. Instead of a square, each tile is a six-sided hexagon. This creates for a unique word-gaming experience because gamers are able to place tiles in both downward and diagonal directions. This style allows for more word combinations.

Hexalex gives gamers the chance to form combo words. Do to the six-sided letter tiles, you will often find that your letters will touch letters in other words. If this happens, you can actually create more than one word for additional points. As the game progresses it is nearly impossible to form a word without touching the letters of another word. Because of this, Hexalex allows players up to two junk words – a junk word is an invalid word that is comprised of only two letters.

Hexalex

Gamers have the option to perform full tile exchanges three times per game without penalty. If you find that you have all vowels, you can simply discard your entire hand for new tiles. However, all the tiles go back into the digital pool before new tiles are selected. So you can actually end up with the same tiles you discarded. Gamers can also partially exchange tiles from their hand for a modest penalty.

Just like in Scrabble, you can play with up to four players in Hexalex. Players can either be local or you can connect with them online if you have their Hexalex gamer tag. Unfortunately, you cannot simply hop around looking for games if you don’t already have someone to play with. Gamers can also choose to play with AI players. There are five levels of difficulty for AI opponents. The hardest of which is called HAL 9000. Sometimes playing an AI player in games like this just seems unfair. You never know if chance is giving the computer the great tiles or if it is just programmed in. That’s one of the biggest problems with Monopoly – the dice always seems to roll in the computer’s favor. Regardless of the situation, the Hal 9000 will find a way to best even the brightest wordsmith by creating some of the most inhuman (no pun intended) two-letter word combos imaginable.

Hexalex delivers a fun word gaming experience that will delight Scrabble gamers. The game connects with Facebook so you can brag about the trophies you’ve earned. The multiplayer can use some improvement so that gamers jump into a lobby system and compete with anonymous gamers. Of course, this also would present the problem of unscrupulous gamers who drop when they are losing.

Hexalex is priced at $2.99. The price is modestly high for an iPhone app of this kind. It would be more appealing at $1.99 since there are already several word games on the market at comparable prices.

Hexalex
Hexalex

Genre: Word Game
Platform: iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: Nathan Gray
Release Date: July 01, 2010
Rating: 8 / 10

Buy App on iTunes:
HexaLex