Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Breath of the Wild Developers Discuss the Zelda Timeline

News: Breath of the Wild Developers Discuss the Zelda Timeline

Hyrule Historia is getting a little outdated



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Mighty Gunvolt Burst Gets Three New DLC Characters Tomorrow

News: Mighty Gunvolt Burst Gets Three New DLC Characters Tomorrow

The more the merrier



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Shaun's 10 Best Games of 2017 - A Year Full of Truly Unique Mobile Games

Well, that's another year just about in the books. This was a strange year all around, and it wasn't until we all started to deliberate on the end-of-year stuff that I truly realized how many awesome, fun, and unique games hit iOS in 2017. Sure, there were some amazing ports, and I think those have commanded a lot of attention as the year has come to a close. But there were also a lot of cool mobile originals, many of which came from developers new to the scene. I had a hard time carving this list down to just ten games, with the last couple of cuts taking an awful lot of deliberation. As usual, I'm not going to rank these in any order beyond the alphabetical. All of them are equally worthy of consideration.

Card Thief

Card Thief, $0.99 I think a lot of people who loved Card Crawl didn't get into Card Thief quite as much. It's not surprising because it has a very different sort of appeal to it. It's not as immediately accessible as that game was, but in exchange it's a much deeper game mechanically. I love the way it manages to pull off stealth in a card game, and it's really great about daring the player to push themselves past their comfort zone. And of course there are all the little touches that make this developer's games come to life. You'll have to stick with it a bit to get the full effect, but it's well worth the investment in the end.

Cat Quest

Cat Quest, $1.99 I have a feeling Cat Quest is going to show up on a lot of our staff Top Ten lists, but there's a good reason for that. Simply put, this is an outstanding action-RPG that has something to offer you whether you've got a whole evening to sink or just a coffee break. It looks great, plays well, and has a ton of things to do in it. I particularly like how even though it has clear influences, the game truly feels like its own thing. Simply a grand adventure.

DANDY DUNGEON Brave Yamada

DANDY DUNGEON Brave Yamada, Free Dandy Dungeon is such an odd little game. The unlikeliest of heroes embarks on a story quite unlike anything you've ever seen before. The dungeon-diving is quick, somewhat unique, and requires a clever eye. The RPG mechanics are well-realized, though there are occasional bits where things drag due to the game's free-to-play nature. I'd strongly recommend buying the permanent shop items that cut back on that stuff if you really mean to fully enjoy this game. And you should; it's a great panacea for a case of the same-olds.

Danmaku Unlimited 3 - Bullet Hell Shooter

Danmaku Unlimited 3 - Bullet Hell Shooter, $4.99 There have been a lot of great shoot-em-ups released over the last couple of years on the App Store. This is one genre where I firmly believe an indie has a shot at competing with the big boys, and one of the main reasons why I believe that is the Danmaku Unlimited series. The previous game in the series was incredible, and this third game easily stands alongside it as one of the finest shoot-em-ups you can get on your iOS device. It's a tough game that rewards mastery and courage, making for a thrilling experience that keeps you coming back for more.

[Premium] RPG Djinn Caster

[Premium] RPG Djinn Caster, $0.99 A Kemco release? On Shaun's Top Ten? It's more likely than you may think. I think Kemco must have finally been getting diminishing returns on their near-monthly cookie-cutter JRPG releases, because this year they demonstrated a clear effort to work with new developers and publish some games outside of their usual input. They're all nice, but the best of the lot is easily Djinn Caster, an enjoyable Arabian-style fantasy that combines a strong story with solid action mechanics. If you miss the days when games like Zenonia and Inotia offered up fun action-RPG adventures without a free-to-play shakedown, you'll definitely want to check out this game.

Empyrean

Empyrean, $5.99 Choice of Games puts out a lot of releases in any given year. So many that even I can't keep up, even though I wish I could. As usual, there were a lot of great games in their line-up this year, but for my money, the most enjoyable was Empyrean. The setting is great, a sort of dieselpunk pulp hero world where a foppish wealthy socialite can secretly become a flying ace purveyor of justice at the drop of a hat and the donning of a mask. With great characters, an intriguing plot, and an excellent branching narrative, Empyrean is one gamebook you won't want to miss.

Fire Emblem Heroes

Fire Emblem Heroes, Free Those who know me well know that I am a total Fire Emblem nut. It's one of my favorite series of games, and as such, I looked forward to the release of this game with equal amounts of anticipation and trepidation. When it finally came out, I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the core gameplay it was able to keep while still making it suitable for quick play. But Fire Emblem Heroes isn't here because of how it was at launch. It's here because the developers have significantly improved the game with a bunch of thoughtful updates that came about from listening to the community's feedback. The game it is now, after all those updates, more than deserves its spot.

Million Onion Hotel

Million Onion Hotel, $3.99 Typically, I try to avoid including more than one game for any given developer on my list. But I really couldn't choose between Dandy Dungeon and Million Onion Hotel, and given that they are very different games, I think it's probably okay. This game calls back to classic game design, where you were told nothing directly and had to figure out how things worked by messing around and paying attention to the results. There's more going on here than you might initially expect, and the way it fuses its bizarre story to the gameplay mechanics is excellent. Also, Space Cows.

Thimbleweed Park

Thimbleweed Park, $9.99 There are two important ways that Thimbleweed Park succeeds. First of all, it's a great point-and-click adventure game in the classic Lucasarts style. That's no surprise given that the people who made it are the very folks behind that classic style, mind you. But the other way it succeeds is somewhat more surprising. All too often, when legendary creators return to the genre or style that made them famous, the result tends to come off like a simple throwback or perhaps a victory lap. Thimbleweed simultaneously manages to pay its respects to the genre while also deconstructing it in a clever way. It's a game that only its creators could have made, and only at this point in their lives and careers. You may not necessarily be pleased with how it all turns out, but you've got to respect it, if nothing else.

YANKAI'S PEAK.

YANKAI'S PEAK., $1.99 Many people are obsessed with geometric shapes, but it's a rare talent to be able to use that obsession to entertain others. Kenny Sun is one such talent, and his favorite toy this year was the humble pyramid. Yankai's Peak is an unusual spin on block-pushing puzzle games like Sokoban or Boxxle, swapping out easy-to-predict cubed crates in a warehouse for trickier pyramids on precarious platforms. You control one pyramid and need to use it to push the others into their proper positions. Once you suss out the solution, it can be a surprisingly simple process, but getting there is a lot of puzzling fun.

This has been a challenging year for me, both personally and professionally. If nothing else, the beat of the App Store drum is a steady one, ensuring that no matter how many breaks I need to take, there will always be some great games to fill them with. While I don't really know what to expect specifically in 2018, I suspect at least that fact will remain true. Here's to the year, friends, and may it find you in good health and happiness!



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'HQ Trivia' Android Limited Beta Is Live, Aims for January 1st Release

HQ Trivia [Free], the popular live quiz game that got a lot of attention in 2017 and whose prizes continue to grow daily, is now in Android limited Beta, and the developers are hoping that by New Year's day they'll manage to make the game available to all Android players. If you're an Android player, you can head here to pre-register for the game and get notified when the game finally goes live. If you're lucky, you might even get to play the beta before the game releases (the selection appears to be random). So, if all goes well, 2018 will see both iOS and Android players joining the HQ Trivia party.

Some iOS players, though, are complaining about the Android launch given the iOS version's issues, especially with lag. HQ Trivia has grown immensely in just a couple of months, and the tech the developers use struggles to keep up. So, some players feel that the game first needs to work better on iOS and then expand. At the same time, the developers want to get as many people as possible playing the game so they can draw in more money from whatever their monetization plan is. We'll see that 2018 holds for HQ Trivia.



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FCC issues final extension for video game CVAA accessibility waiver

At the request of the ESA, the FCC has extended an existing waiver that temporarily makes video games exempt from the accessibility requirements set forth in the CVAA of 2010. ...



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Rob's 10 Best Games of 2017 - A Purrfect Year for Mobile Gaming

2017 has been a year of competing extremes in almost every aspect, whether personal, public or within the world of iOS gaming. While so much of it was dominated by the demise of many of my favourite childhood classics with iOS 11 and the 32-bit Appocalypse (being unable to play Dungeon Raid anymore has been a particularly bitter pill to swallow), the release of an unprecedented barrage of high-quality games have made 2017’s struggles slightly easier to take. While phenomenal ports of complete console titles have been fantastic to Witness (no pun intended), and the typically strong showing of innovative indie classics have only further emphasised iOS’s strengths as a serious gaming platform, it has been you - the iOS community - that has been the highlight of my 2017. Whether it’s developers revealing insights into the hottest upcoming games, people sharing their experiences with recent and classic mobile releases, or even heated debate over Taylor Swift and Brawl Stars, the TouchArcade Forums and especially the Discord community have been particularly fantastic points of refuge for not only passionate mobile gamers, but also for a lovely group of friendly people. From both a personal and professional level, my thanks go to everyone who has been actively supporting our community and helping it go from strength to strength over the past twelve months. Alright, enough rambling - here are the top ten iOS games that were particularly memorable for me in 2017, in no particular order:


 

Linelight

Linelight, $1.99 It’s going to come up a few times over the course of this list, but there are some games that just feel like they were destined to be on iOS. More than any other game I’ve played this year, Linelight epitomises this natural fit on the iPhone and iPad, and resulted in one of the most natural, immersive and memorable puzzle experiences of the year. The combination of a beautiful soundtrack with hypnotic visuals and intuitive puzzles resulted in Linelight telling a surprisingly engrossing story over its brief lifespan, and being far more than the sum of its parts.


 

Splitter Critters

Splitter Critters, $2.99 A push for graphical fidelity is fine, but it’s occasionally the simplest ideas that are the most astonishing. When I first tried out Splitter Critters on an internet demo prior to launch, I was taken aback by how its core gameplay mechanic - of splicing the environment to direct your cute avatar to the goal - just made [em]so much sense[/em]. However, this preview was unable to prepare me fully for the complete release on iPhone, which used this mechanic in such ingenious and innovative ways in every level, in a way that was so effortless and intuitive on the touch screen. Beyond all else, Splitter Critters was just a fantastically fun breath of fresh air in 2017.


 

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, $14.99 When this game dropped on the App Store early in January, you just knew 2018 was going to be a special year for mobile gaming. The Binding of Isaac had obviously made waves on other more sedentary platforms, but the iOS iteration was my first experience of Edmund McMillen’s cult hit - and boy, what an experience it was. Being essentially the full console game, The Binding of Isaac was chock full of strange and eccentric surprises to discover, and its seemingly endless longevity made it a mainstay on my device throughout the entirety of 2017. Being able to just pick up the game and put in five minutes whenever I felt like it really emphasised the qualities of mobile gaming, and with so much to discover, I can see myself playing The Binding of Isaac well into 2018 and beyond.


 

Cat Quest

Cat Quest, $1.99 I’ve been outspoken over my love of cats during my many months writing for TouchArcade, and so it’s an understatement to say the excitement surrounding Cat Quest was palpable in the lead-up to its release. Despite this, I was still blown away upon playing the final product - whether it was the incredibly tight control system, the beautifully detailed world to explore, or the cacophony of feline puns around every corner, Cat Quest was the closest to the purrfect traditional adventure title we’ve been longing for on iOS since the platform’s inception. Cat Quest deserves every accolade it will inevitably receive, and I can’t wait to see what the developers do next.


 

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon, $4.99 I’d love to put the original Game Dev Story [$0.99] on every top 10 list I write, but its release in 2010 sadly makes it a few years too early for this particular poll. However, I don’t even need to refer to the late mobile release of Game Dev Tycoon as ‘the next best thing’, as it is the long-awaited improvement over Kairosoft’s classic simulator that I’ve been waiting so many years for, and truly goes above and beyond its peers. With gameplay that combines the mobile-suited bitesize game development with a deceptive level of depth, Game Dev Tycoon managed to have that same warm feeling of fulfilling childhood dreams that its genre contemporaries have capitalised on for so long, and the attention to detail that the developers included in its mobile iteration only made me question why we haven’t seen the title before now on the App Store. Finally, the spectre of Game Dev Story 2 can rest in peace.


 

Fowlst

Fowlst, $1.99 Fowlst was a game that sadly slipped under the radar on its release in June, and I can understand why. It’s a bit of a strange concept at heart - especially with its irreverent humor littered throughout the game’s app description - and the screenshot stills simply do not do the exciting action justice. However, give Fowlst and its charming rocket-pooping owl protagonist a chance and you will find one of the tightest and most compelling arcade games of the year, and one that I found myself gravitating towards whenever I had a few minutes spare. Incredibly simple controls, a surprising amount of variation and customisation, and some pretty epic bosses to tackle resulted in something that distilled the compulsive qualities of Downwell [$2.99] into something unique for the mobile platform.


 

Cally's Caves 4

Cally's Caves 4, Free It's a nice feeling to see an established series - one that originated on the App Store, no less - reach greater and greater heights, and Cally's Caves 4 managed to surpass my expectations from its predecessors and turn everything up to 11. Whether that's the sheer amount of content, the variety of weapons, enemies and environments to encounter and explore, or the even more ridiculous bosses that lie in wait at the end of every labyrinthine zone, Cally's Caves 4 kept me coming back repeatedly just to see what was in store for me next. With the developer being extremely active amongst our Discord server, it felt like I had a lot emotionally invested in Cally's Caves 4 in the lead up to its release, and I'm glad that the resulting concoction was something that stands incredibly strong on its own merits.


 

Hidden Folks

Hidden Folks, $2.99 This is somewhat of a latecomer to my own personal list, as I’ve literally only just joined the exclusive iPad Pro club over the past few days. While the sheer power of the device may suggest games like the excellent GRID Autosport [$9.99] (which sadly just missed the cut) and others would be the best to show off the iPad’s capabilities, it’s been Hidden Folks that has entertained me the most in my early tablet days. The beautiful hand-drawn graphics on the sizeable screen real-estate of the iPad have made looking for the weird and wonderful targets in Hidden Folks a joy, and the game feels like the modern culmination of the Where’s Waldo-esque books that I spent so much time squinting over as a child.


 

Morphite

Morphite, $7.99 You can’t have a best of 2017 list for iOS without some mention of Morphite - after what seemed like years of development time, Morphite’s ambitious attempt on the first person adventure genre felt like a glimpse into a utopian future of what mobile gaming could eventually become. Stunning cel-shaded graphics brought alien worlds to life, and exploring planets and scanning the creatures you encounter was both impressive in its scale and immersive in its detail. Despite lofty comparisons to No Man’s Sky and the Metroid series, and some minor control and open-world issues that are inevitable with a game of its scope, Morphite was an astonishingly enjoyable opus for one of the App Store’s best publishers.


 

Death Road to Canada

Death Road to Canada, $10.99 Zombie games are arguably more dead than their antagonists, but Rocketcat Games did the impossible this year and reinvented a tired genre with so much unbridled wackiness I’m still not entirely sure of the best way to approach a game in Death Road to Canada. The bizarre events, the even more eccentric characters that are encountered, and the brilliantly tense amalgamation of Oregon Trail-esque RPG mechanics with pure zombie-killing action resulted in a title that finally fulfils the tired cliche of ‘no one game is the same’. The typical Rocketcat Games’ support for Death Road to Canada has seen the title grow from strength to strength in the months since its release, and reading the wild stories of attempted runs on our forums has been almost as fun as playing the game itself. I may never have made it to Canada, but I can confidently confirm Rocketcat have made it to my top 10 list yet again.

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'Minecraft' Getting Adorable Turtles In the Near Future

Minecraft's [$6.99] empty oceans are about to get much more populated once the upcoming Update Aquatic hits in 2018. The developers decided to give us an early present by teasing us about a new water mob, turtles. Turtles will make their nests on shorelines across various biomes, and their young ones will scamper down to the water, according to the official description. The turtle textures in the screenshot below will likely be temporary and might change before they are added to the game. That's pretty much all the info we have on the turtles. I wonder if we'll get any uses for turtle shells (guitars?), although I'd hate to have to kill those cute creatures.

I can't wait to get the Update Aquatic and finally see the oceans populated with all kinds of sea creatures. The land has always been very busy, but the oceans and the skies have been really empty, a fact that made Minecraft maps less interesting. I've always loved the idea of building an underwater house, and now I'll have plenty of fish and turtles swimming by my windows. What other water mobs do you want to see?



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Best of 2017: Meaning and choice, or how to design decisions that feel intimately difficult

Kuba Stokalski, lead designer at 11 bit Studios, explores the conflict at the heart of many choices in This War of Mine - and examines how it can be used in other contexts. ...



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'Ninja Attack! is Frosty Pop Corp's Trippy Homage to the 'Shinobi' Ninja Star Throwing Bonus Level, Coming in February

One of the funny side effects of being a broke little kid growing up during the heyday of arcades is that I probably spent more time watching video games than actually playing them. I mean, once you run out of quarters that's kind of it, you know? So how would I spend that extra time at the arcade before mom said she'd pick me up? I'd just watch. Sometimes I'd be able to watch an actual live human being playing a game, but more often than not I'd just check out each game's attract mode. Video games, and especially arcade games with their superior (at the time) visuals, were mesmerizing to me, so I found great satisfaction just watching them in motion even if it was just a short demo mode. I have a great fondness for attract modes due to that, and even as my gaming turned more to increasingly powerful home consoles, I'd still just sometimes kick back and watch an attract mode just because it entertained me. Heck, even as a nearly forty year old a game's attract mode can still make some great background noise while working. Maybe I'm just weird.

Anyway, back in the day one of the coolest attract modes around was that for Sega's 1987 action platformer Shinobi. The platforming parts were just so-so, but the attract mode also featured the game's bonus stage, which was a first-person ninja star throwing game that was the absolute coolest thing to me. This was the late eighties and ninja stars were the epitome of awesome to little 7 year old boys. Thanks to the marvel that is YouTube, you can even watch the Shinobi attract mode and see exactly what I'm talking about in the above embedded video. So I took an extra keen interest when I saw the latest game from prolific mobile game developer The Frosty Pop Corps posted to our forum as it's directly inspired by Shinobi's bonus game. Yes, you'll be maniacally throwing ninja stars from a first-person perspective, but Frosty Pop also wondered "If Hunter S. Thompson was head of the art department at the Sega Corporation Ltd. in the early 80s, what would the bonus round in Shinobi look like?" The answer to that question is their upcoming Ninja Attack!

Besides throwing ninja stars at horrific creatures in drug-induced settings, you'll also have the chance to upgrade you weaponry and make it rain by launching paper money, bullets, and other strange items at them. In addition, there are 30 different psychedelic skins to unlock, and the game will even have an Augmented Reality mode which will let you blast out ninja stars (or whatever) in the real-life setting of your choosing. There will be "hundreds" of in-game quests to complete and leaderboards to compete on. Given my weird fetish for the Shinobi attract mode I'm really excited for Ninja Attack!, but it also just looks like the type of game that's perfect for the iPhone. Its planned release is this coming February so in the meantime feel free to drop by the forum thread to leave your thoughts on the trailer and maybe keep an eye out for some random promo code giveaways ahead of the official launch.



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Parents, make sure to register for GDC 2018 childcare!

Game Developers Conference organizers are proud to continue their partnership with experienced childcare provider KiddieCorp to offer GDC 2018 attendees access to an on-site children's program. ...



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Blog: How to build audio for VR games

What's the difference working with Virtual Reality compared to flat-screen games except for Binaural positioning? This article shares insights on creating audio for VR Games. ...



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Nintendo Has Reportedly Delayed the Roll-Out of 64GB Switch Game Cartridges

News: Nintendo Has Reportedly Delayed the Roll-Out of 64GB Switch Game Cartridges

A move that may disappoint some publishers



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Gta San Andreas Android Gameplay For Mobile

Reminder: Submit your game to the Unity 3D Game Art Challenge at GDC 2018

GDC and Unity have partnered to curate/host a 3D art contest for games using Unity, and the 12 winners will be showcased at GDC 2018! The deadline to enter is this Sunday, December 31st! ...



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