Wooga’s Monster World arrives on iOS

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 8.33.42 AMSocial game developer Wooga’s Monster World has arrived on iOS.

We’ve known the game was slated to arrive on mobile platforms since we spoke to Wooga Founder and CEO Jens Begemann at Casual Connect last summer. At the time, Monster World’s iOS version was slated to be released sometime last Autumn, but the launch date was pushed back so the developer could tweak the game’s mobile experience.

Wooga’s press event in February revealed the iOS version of Monster World was finally nearing its launch date. The mobile version of the game will feature high-resolution graphics to take advantage of Apple devices’ Retina displays, and gameplay has also been adjusted to be a friendlier experience for the touchscreen interface.

Monster World is one of Wooga’s better-known titles. Even though it launched in April 2010, the game is still one of the top 25 Facebook games in terms of daily active users. AppData estimates the game has approximately 1.7 million daily active users. Expect our review sometime soon.

2K bringing horror-themed strategy to iOS with Haunted Hollow

Untitled-1Mainstream publisher 2K and Firaxis Games (the studio behind critically-acclaimed mainstream strategy games XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Sid Meier’s Civilization) today announced their upcoming iOS title, Haunted Hollow.

Haunted Hollow is much more casually-stylized game than the titles Firaxis is known for. In the game, players build haunted mansions one room at a time, spawning classic monsters like vampires, werewolves and zombies. These monsters are sent out into a nearby town, where they can terrorize the locals one home at a time. When a house is scared, it falls under the player’s control.

However, players have to compete for control of the town with an opposing mansion. These other mansions (and their forces) are directed by either other players or the game’s AI. Opposing monsters can steal control of houses back from you, and each time a home is scared the town’s terror meter increases. When the terror level maxes out, an angry mob is spawned that can attack the closest monster or will burn down the nearest terrorized house (when this happens, that building is no longer possible to scare and it’s essentially locked under the control of the last player to have possession of it).

Multiplayer games can be played both via Apple’s Game Center and pass-and-play mechanics, with players engaging in asynchronous turns where they expand their mansion and direct their monsters. Each turn, a player receives a room to place; identical rooms can be stacked together to create larger rooms capable of generating more powerful monsters.

Rooms01

We were able to spend a little time with the game on iPad and were surprised by how challenging gameplay was, in spite of the cutesy first impression made by the graphics. Instead of monetizing through regular IAP mechanics like energy or premium items, players will instead be able to purchase different types of mansion packs, which come with different monster types.

Haunted Hollow will join 2K’s expanding mobile catalog, which includes games like Sid Meier’s Pirates, Civilization Revolution and Borderlands Legends. 2K’s efforts on mobile are interesting to follow, as the titles released by the company tend to be marketed towards the fans of their established game brands. Although these types of games might now find popularity as widespread as titles like Words With Friends, they have built-in name brand recognition and are immediately more likely to be considered by the oft-pursued audience of core gamers.

2K didn’t announce an exact release date but said it will come out this Spring.

Town02

Kano/Apps finds success in social core game scene by listening to and building relationships with players

kano_apps-4541Canadian game developer Kano/Apps recently released its new mid-core strategy game Kingdom of Thrones on Facebook. We recently sat down with Kano/Apps Co-Founder Tim Teh to chat about the new game and how the studio managed to attain (and maintain) profitability.

Kingdom of Thrones is a notably different game from those previously developed by Kano/Apps. Prior to this point, the company had found success with its text heavy RPGs Viking Clan, Pirate Clan, Zombie Slayer and Mob Wars: La Cosa Nostra. Kano Apps was founded in 2008, and managed to bootstrap itself into profitability during the same year with these kinds of games.

Teh tells us it was much easier to grow a hit without spending a lot of cash on user acquisition at the time. ”The popular game at the time was Mob Wars. It was this game that popped up and made people notice there was a viable industry there,” he notes. ”All the viral channels were really open and not clamped down at all. So we were able to grow and become profitable within the first year.” (more…)

Corona Labs launches Corona Cloud for mobile developers

CoronaLabs-Flatlogo-URL copyToday, Corona Labs launched Corona Cloud, a suite of cloud services partnered with the Corona SDK for mobile development.

The new backend as a service is open to anyone to use, but it’s designed to be extra appealing to those already using Corona SDK. Corona Cloud provides a number of back-end features that would normally require developers to implement via multiple third-party toolsets, greatly lowering the time requirement necessary to implement things like multi-player support, chat functionality, push notifications, analytics and leaderboards/achievements. Additionally, the service features integration with Twitter and Facebook, so developers can access users’ various social graphs.

“Even for the basic things like leaderboards and achievements and basic user account management, we’re making that work across platforms like both iOS and Android,” Corona CEO Walter Luh tells us. “They’ll be able to work seamlessly.”

As a result, Luh hopes Corona SDK and Corona Cloud will make developers more efficient. “We want to make people ten times more productive,” he says.

Corona Cloud is available to all mobile developers, but it’s designed to provide those studios using Corona SDK with even faster development due to the implementation of the integration of Corona Cloud with the existing platform.

Corona Labs was founded five years ago. Prior to that, Luh had worked at Adobe on Illustrator and at Apple on the Final Cut Pro team. Corona SDK, meanwhile, is a toolset designed for the development of native mobile apps that’s been used for some popular mobile games. Some of the more notable titles created with the software includes Bubble Ball, Major Magnet and last spring’s Lorax movie tie-in mobile game.

Luh tells us Corona Cloud’s pricing is actually divided into a set of tiers, including a free option that is designed to help fledgling developers get their app launched as inexpensively as possible. Certain features will be free for everyone who uses Corona Cloud, like unlimited user accounts, leaderboards and achievements. Additional features will feature what Luh calls a “free up to a limit” mode. This way, small developers can implement the technology at no cost into their games, but will need to start paying based on API calls.

To learn more about Corona Labs or the new Corona Cloud, visit the official site here.

Newtracks seeking to revolutionize music genre with its social game, Bands

daniel_bockSocial developer Newtracks recently debuted on Facebook with Bands, a game focused on making it in the music industry by combining rhythm, puzzle and strategy gameplay mechanics. You can read our review here, and we recently sat down with Newtracks Co-Founder and CPO Daniel Bock to talk about how Newtracks is hoping to change the face of music games with Bands.

Newtracks is a relatively young company, having recently been formed by Bock, CEO Roman Frank and CDO Norbert Haacks. The company’s three founders studied game design at university, with a particular focus on music games.

“We looked at music gaming as it was back in the game,” Bock says. “We all really enjoyed music games, but we always wondered why there wasn’t something out there with more than just rhythm gameplay.” (more…)

Mike DeLaet is Kabam’s new head of worldwide business development

MikeDeLaetMobile social developer Kabam today announced Mike DeLaet has been brought on board to serve as Senior VP of Worldwide Business Development.

DeLaet comes to Kabam after serving as the Senior VP of Global Publishing at Glu Mobile since 2009. Before that, he was the Senior Manager of Games and Business Development at Sprint Nextel Corp.

According to a company statement, DeLaet will report to Kabam COO as he oversees the company’s business partnerships with companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. This is definitely an area of expertise for DeLaet, who led Glu’s expansion into Asia with hirings in several countries and localized launches of the company’s games.

This latest hire highlights how bullish Kabam is about pursuing an international audience. Although Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North is one of the top-grossing iOS games, several international markets (especially Asia) are considered untapped gold mines for developers simply because there is such a huge demand for new content by a truly massive audience.

Ryan Seacrest reveals, Zynga confirms, Draw Something 2

Television personality Ryan Seacrest today revealed the existence of Draw Something 2, the sequel to OMGPOP’s runaway mobile success Draw Something.

Seacrest, best known for hosting Fox’s long-running television show American Idol, Seacrest posted the following image to his Twitter account today.image001

Zynga VP and OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter was quick to confirm Seacret’s claim that the public was checking out some legit Draw Something 2 artwork, responding with the game’s official logo.

image002

Zynga’s acquisition of OMGPOP made some serious headlines last year, especially since the deal was reportedly worth somewhere around $200 million. Zynga’s staying mum on exactly what kind of new features the game will contain, or even when it will release, but Porter’s comment implies Draw Something 2 will continue to leverage social networks so players have more ways to share their images (something that users have long been clamoring for).

Seacrest and Draw Something have long been associated with one another, especially following the revelation that Seacrest was producing a Draw Something-themed gameshow for CBS.

What will be interesting to see is how Zynga handles Draw Something after its sequel is launched. AppData estimates the game still has over 5 million monthly active users, and those are only the users who connect the game to their Facebook accounts.

Bubble Safari Ocean is this week’s catch among fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU

infeatureZynga’s Bubble Safari Ocean is this week’s fastest-growing Facebook game by monthly active user, bringing in 1.6 million MAU for an 18 percent gain.

Pretty Simple’s Criminal Case is continuing its steady growth, up 14 percent this week with 1.4 million MAU. Zynga’s Words With Friends came in at No. 3 with 986,410 MAU, a 7 percent gain. CookApps’ Pengle took the No. 4 spot with 740,865 MAU, up 14 percent. Nordeus’s Top Eleven Be a Football Manager completes the top five games on the list with an 8 percent increase of 718,144 MAU.

Three other games on this week’s chart had gains greater than 50 percent. Wooga’s recently-launched hidden object game Pearl’s Peril surged up 151 percent with 489,253 MAU. Qublix’s Bubble Land grew by 58 percent with 383,806 MAU. Finally, Zynga Elite Slots — Zynga’s combination of slots and core RPG mechanics — was up 55 percent with 267,682 MAU.

Name MAU_ESTIMATE Gain Gain,%
1.  Bubble Safari Ocean 10,087,500 +1,633,145 + 18%
2.  Criminal Case 11,837,500 +1,419,738 + 14%
3.  Words With Friends 14,262,500 +986,410 + 7%
4.  Pengle 5,706,250 +740,865 + 14%
5.  Top Eleven Be a Football Manager 8,950,000 +718,144 + 8%
6.  Bubble Safari 18,818,750 +597,637 + 3%
7.  UberStrike 2,787,500 +508,709 + 20%
8.  Pearl’s Peril 792,118 +489,253 + 151%
9.  Galaxy Life 2,768,750 +476,906 + 20%
10.  Pet Rescue Saga 23,925,000 +450,081 + 2%
11.  Dragon City 21,875,000 +403,116 + 2%
12.  Bubble Witch Saga 17,225,000 +395,848 + 2%
13.  Bubble Land 978,125 +383,806 + 58%
14.  Pool Live Tour 13,212,500 +363,521 + 3%
15.  House of Fun 1,437,500 +343,311 + 30%
16.  Jewel Epic 950,625 +343,033 + 49%
17.  Hidden Agenda 1,300,000 +304,146 + 26%
18.  8 Ball Pool 11,481,250 +287,308 + 2%
19.  Zynga Elite Slots 705,625 +267,682 + 55%
20.  CastleVille 8,287,500 +245,284 + 3%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataCome back for our look at the fastest-growing Facebook games by daily active users on Wednesday and top emerging apps on Friday. You can learn more about Facebook’s new ranking system here.

Read our reviews of…

Social games news roundup

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 2.20.06 PM

Overhaul Games wants help putting Baldur’s Gate on Android — Overhaul Games is planning to launch Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition on Android but wants some player insight about which Android devices they should prioritize for the release. If you have an opinion about what device you’d like to see the game on, head over to the official forums.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 2.40.50 PMMagneto squares off against Hydra in Avengers Alliance — I swear, Marvel: Avengers Alliance is trying to re-tell the Acts of Vengeance storyline from the 1980s. In Chapter 11 of Avengers Alliance, Magneto “declares a grand plan for New York” and suddenly his mutant forces wind up in an bloody free for all with Hydra and the Red Skull.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 2.55.59 PMMoonlight Online getting a new look — IGG’s Moonlight Online is about to get a brand new redesign that will be far less cutesy than before.  ”We’ve done away with all the mushiness and shininess of any teen pop movies,” IGG says. The new version of Moonlight Online will be available for free download on March 20, 6:30 PM.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 1.32.55 PM

Max Awesome hits Google Play [Launch] — Chillingo launched Rebel Crew Games’ Max Awesome on Google Play this week. The game contains 60 levels where players guide the titular Max on his quest to achieve daredevil fame and glory. You can also challenge your friends in the game via Facebook.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 1.50.56 PMAliens are coming to SimCity Social — SimCity Social’s latest update is bringing the UFOs back to the game. The game’s about to undergo an alien invasion, so players are being tasked with ramping up their cities’ defenses ahead of the attack (which is set to start in two days).

image001Eat Eat Hooray! comes to iOS [Launch] — The Playforge, developer behind Zombie Farm and Zombie Farm 2, this week announced its newest iOS game Eat Eat Hooray! Players have to help the Morps rebuild their capitol city and travel to other worlds as they seek to undo the mischief created by “renowned dinosaur wizard” Rasputin.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 3.08.38 PMTotems goes up on iOS [Launch] — Mobile developer Timecode just released its first game, Totems, for iOS. Totems is a strategy board game where players strive to conquer the most pieces of territory on the map. The game is currently on sale for $0.99, but will normally sell at $1.99.

Puzzle Chasers on top of emerging Facebook games for the second week in a row

infeatureKonami’s Puzzle Chasers is again the top emerging game on Facebook this week, growing by 34,687 monthly active users for a 37 percent gain.

Rumble Games’ Diablo-like social RPG KingsRoad is starting to see some serious growth, taking the No. 2 spot with 33,144 MAU for a 46 percent increase. The questionable spelling of Plumet 2′s title isn’t enough to keep users away, as it came in at No. 3 with 31,439 MAU for a 60 percent gain. JamRT’s JamJamBeta saw the same amount of growth as Plumet 2, coming in at No. 4. Playtasy’s tower defense game Ninja vs. Shogun finishes the top five games on the list, bringing in 22,206 MAU and growing by 70 percent.

Two other games on this week’s list saw growth greater than 50 percent. Peak Games’ NEW Battles was up by 67 percent with 20,962 MAU. Adictiz’s Laboratz took in 18,316 MAU, a 132 percent gain.

Name MAU_ESTIMATE Gain Gain,%
1.  Puzzle Chasers 90,000 +34,687 + 37%
2.  KingsRoad 80,000 +33,144 + 46%
3.  Plumet 2 50,000 +31,439 + 60%
4.  JamJamBeta 60,000 +31,439 + 60%
5.  Ninja vs Shogun 30,000 +22,206 + 70%
6.  NEW Battles 30,000 +20,962 + 67%
7.  Golden Empire Casino 50,000 +20,947 + 40%
8.  Day X 50,000 +20,939 + 33%
9.  Crystal Legacy 50,000 +20,939 + 33%
10.  Fantasy Kingdoms 60,000 +20,939 + 33%
11.  Cubefield 60,000 +20,939 + 33%
12.  Call of Gods Official 60,000 +20,932 + 28%
13.  LOL TW Gift 60,559 +20,932 + 28%
14.  BattleSolitaire 70,000 +20,924 + 25%
15.  Tank Fighter 70,000 +20,924 + 25%
16.  MMOG DivoSaga 90,000 +20,908 + 20%
17.  Laboratz 20,000 +18,316 + 132%
18.  Insanity 80,000 +16,981 + 18%
19.  Hellout 80,000 +16,981 + 18%
20.  Ninja Soul [s2] 70,000 +15,678 + 19%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppData. Come back next week for our top weekly gainers by monthly active users on Monday, our daily active users on Wednesday, and the top emerging apps on Friday.

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