Zynga celebrates Valentine’s Day with love-filled Words with Friends stats

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In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Zynga has released the results of its third annual Valentine’s Day survey in Words with Friends across Facebook and mobile. The survey asked players to rate the best love-themed words they could create in the app, along with the best celebrity players. The survey also took a look at how Words with Friends has strengthened real world relationships, or even created new ones.

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King to bring Papa Pear Saga to mobile this fall

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Candy Crush Saga developer King has today announced plans to bring Papa Pear Saga to mobile later this fall. The game was originally released on Facebook in March 2013, and has climbed to over 18.9 million monthly active users, according to our app tracking service AppData.

This news is joined by a company milestone, as King’s entire portfolio of games on mobile, Facebook and King.com have crossed one billion daily plays.

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GREE, Marvel release first details on X-Men: Battle of the Atom [Interview]

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GREE and Marvel Entertainment have released the first details concerning X-Men: Battle of the Atom, an upcoming mobile card battle game on iOS and Android. The game has been developed as part of the X-Men 50th anniversary celebration, and it will be released alongside the Battle of the Atom comic book event later this fall.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom will feature both single and multiplayer card battles, as players collect a variety of mutants from X-Men’s past, present and future, and battle villains, including some that may never have been seen before.

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Puzzle & Dragons developer GungHo Online unveils new mobile game Freak Tower

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Following up the monumental success of its mobile phenomenon Puzzle & Dragons, developer GungHo Online Entertainment America has announced the launch of Freak Tower, a tower management game that combines tower building with tower defense.

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Mobile developer Kiwi, Inc. secures $9 million in funding for Android game development

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Mobile game developer Kiwi, Inc. has announced a new partnership with Sequoia Capital, resulting in $9 million in funding. The company has also received backing from AdMob founder Omar Hamoui, Guitar Hero co-creator Charles Huang and SV Angels.

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9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx combines strategic deaths with humor and whimsy on Android [Interview]

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Hungry Moose Games has launched its first app on Android, a side-scrolling platformer called 9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx, which combines puzzles and cooperative play into a whimsical new experience.

The game follows museum guard Casey and a temple cat named Sphynx through a gameplay setup that encourages dying in strategic ways to progress. 9 Lives features four large levels, along with a Jewel system for upgrades to each character’s abilities. Casey can be upgraded with crowbars and flares to reach otherwise inaccessible areas, for instance, while Sphynx can be upgraded to cling to ceilings and walls.

Throughout it all, players can use Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller for console-style play on the TV, but each control scheme leads to the same overall goal: to collect enough pieces of the broken relic of Bestet before our heroes’ luck, and lives, run out.

We had a chance to chat with Ric Williams, Co-Founder and President of Hungry Moose Games, a team comprised of ex-Bioware developers. Williams shed some light on the game’s design, and when users can expect the game to branch out to iOS.

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JoyBits announces company milestone, new ‘Doodle’ series details

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Mobile game developer JoyBits has reached a company milestone, as its line of ‘Doodle’ mobile games has been downloaded over 100 million times since the first game launched in July 2010. The franchise includes Doodle God, Doodle Devil and Doodle Farm, a series of mobile games that ask players to combine elements to form new and increasingly complex items.

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Wizard & Dragon Defense review

wizardWizard & Dragon Defense is an Android app from Basalt Games. It is available now as a free download from Google Play and contains additional in-app purchases.

Wizard & Dragon Defense is a side-scrolling game that is modeled after a basic tower defense layout. On one edge of a stage lies a giant Dragon egg, and on the other is a portal. During a level, monsters will regularly spawn out of the portal and start walking toward the egg. Players will take control of the hero and use standard attacks, special abilities, and summoned allies in order to protect the egg and destroy all the monsters. It’s a formula that allows inexperienced players to quickly adapt to the genre, but even they are likely to find the game far too repetitive after just a few stages.

Wizard & Dragon Defense seems to put a large emphasis on creating an experience that caters to new and inexperienced players. Helping players learn the mechanics and the flow of the game is the title’s strong suit. While there’s no formal tutorial, the first few levels of the game go over some of the most important aspects. Players can move the characters left and right by tapping the respective sides of the screen. Attacks are done automatically, but special abilities can be executed with the press of a button. Items can be consumed by tapping their icon on the top of the screen, while allies can be summoned from a list, provided players have built up enough mana over time. (more…)

Battle Bears Gold review

bearsBattle Bears Gold is an Android and iOS release from SkyVu Entertainment. It is available now as a free download on Google Play and the App Store and contains numerous in-app purchases.

Battle Bears Gold is a third person shooter with its main focus on online multiplayer games. Players who have played shooters on their mobile devices before can skip the game’s useful tutorial. Others will find that the tutorial is a great way to get used to the control scheme, which can take some adjustment time for fans of shooters on consoles or PC. Even with a tutorial that teaches players how to move, look, shoot, and use abilities, one of the biggest issues out of the gate is helping players learn to adapt. With the game’s focus on online, players will be forced to adapt quickly, or be prepared to lose a lot in the process.

When players are ready to play, they’re given a choice between two game modes: Team Battle and Plant The Bomb. Team Battle is the traditional team-based deathmatch. Two teams of up to four players each will square off with a time limit to see who can land the most kills. Players who need extra motivation to learn the ropes of the game will likely enjoy Team Battle because dying directly benefits the opposing team, so players will be forced to learn to survive. Plant the Bomb is a more strategical game mode where each team attempts to take a bomb and arm it in the enemy base. The large maps and few players lead to numerous one-sided battles, so most players will stick to Team Battle. (more…)

Sprinkle review

sprinkleSprinkle: Water splashing fire fighting fun! is an iOS and Android release from Mediocre AB. It is currently available as a free download on the App Store and for 99 cents on Google Play and carries additional in-app purchases.

Sprinkle is a level-based physics puzzle game that puts players in the role of a one-eyed (but two pupils) monster working as its city’s fire fighter. Every stage starts off the same way: Part of the town is on fire. The player needs to control and aim the vertically-situated fire engine and sprayer in order to extinguish the fires before the town’s residents lose their homes. The process feels very simple and the game’s first few stages provide visual hints as to how certain objects and tools work. Most of the work is done with the fire engine. While players can’t move the vehicle, they can change the water gun’s height and angle, then press and hold the red button to shoot. Water is a limited resource, however, so players need to use it wisely.

After the first couple of levels, Sprinkle stops with the idea of “Just point and shoot here” and starts requiring the player to consider the physics of gravity and water. In Sprinkle, water doesn’t sink into the ground until it sits on a level surface for a second.  So, when water is blasted onto a hill or over a cliff, it’ll create a stream or waterfall that keeps going until its momentum is stopped or it falls off-screen. This requires players to carefully (but quickly) map out how the water will flow, and adjust their plans accordingly. To make things more difficult, there are occasionally interactive elements within levels. Usually in the form of boulders, players can shoot various objects in order to move them around, creating new pathways. Stages that feature these tools usually require them to be used, but figuring out how is often the challenge. (more…)

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