Nimble Quest is a new iOS game from Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes developer NimbleBit. It’s available now from the App Store and, like the developer’s other titles, is a free-to-play game with additional in-app purchases.
Nimble Quest is a significant departure from NimbleBit’s two previous hits in several ways. First of all, while the aesthetic is still heavily based around retro-style pixel art, the higher resolution of the new game makes it look more like a title from the 16-bit era than the chunky 8-bit style of Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. Alongside the change in aesthetic comes a change in play style, too — rather than being a relatively conventional “tap and wait” business sim both Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, Nimble Quest is an arcade action game. Specifically, it’s a cross between mobile phone classic Snake and the venerable arcade RPG/shooter title Gauntlet — and it’s excellent.
Basic gameplay in Nimble Quest is very simple. Play begins by selecting one of several different hero characters, each of whom have their own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities. When the game proper starts, the hero character begins walking around an enclosed arena and is unable to stop. Swiping in a particular direction on the screen causes the character to start moving in that direction — though like Snake, it’s impossible to simply reverse your direction, and only horizontal and vertical movement is allowed.
Enemies spawn into the arena at regular intervals — some as individuals, others in snake-like formations — and the player must defeat them to progress. Each enemy defeated adds to a bar at the top of the screen, and when this bar fills the level fills with gems to collect for a few seconds before proceeding to the next arena, which has a different graphical theme and enemies. As players progress through the levels, they unlock new heroes that they can use as their “leader” in subsequent games. (more…)
Confrontation is a new Web-based card game from Userjoy that has recently launched on Facebook. The game is currently highlighted in the featured spot of Facebook’s App Center front page.
Confrontation is a fairly straightforward card-battling game in which players collect cards and then use them to battle decks from either computer- or human-controlled opponents. There is an unfolding story to follow, but the focus is very much on battling and collecting cards rather than providing a deep narrative-centric experience.
The game begins with a hasty tutorial that forces players to begin collecting one particular type of card without giving them the option to try anything else, then throws them into battle. After explaining what the icons on the cards mean and giving the player their first experience of battle, the tutorial ends and the player is thrown into the game proper. Unfortunately, this means that the game has only explained a tiny proportion of its rather cluttered and overcomplicated interface, meaning that players are largely left to determine what they are supposed to be doing by themselves.
Mutant Badlands (formerly known as Radiated Wasteland) is a new Facebook game from Pixel Pandemic. It’s available now in open beta via the social network and the open Web.
Mutant Badlands is a conscious attempt to make a massively-multiplayer role-playing game for Facebook that doesn’t follow the usual conventions of social gaming. Writing in a press release prior to the game’s open beta launch in mid-February, Pixel Pandemic CEO Thomas Jacobsen noted that he believed the market to be “flooded by cute farm animals and boring linear gameplay” and that there were too few challenging browser-based role-playing games designed to attract gamers who had grown up with standalone PC games such as Fallout and the original X-Com series. Mutant Badlands is very obviously heavily inspired by the first two Fallout games in particular, as everything from its interface design to its overall aesthetic very closely resembles Black Isle’s classic PC titles. (more…)
Castle Champions is a new iOS game from Gamenauts. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with additional in-app purchases of in-game currency.
Castle Champions is pitched as what would happen “if Tiny Tower got bloody” and that’s actually a rather accurate description — players alternate their time between managing a castle tower in a very similar fashion to Nimblebit’s runaway success, and engaging in combat with rival teams of warriors. Because the player is thrown into combat every few minutes, there’s a stronger feeling of “structure” to the experience rather than mindless tapping and restocking in the pursuit of nothing but the more efficient acquisition of currency — here, you’re not only building a tall tower, but also training troops and heroes to send into combat.
The tower management aspect of the game requires the player to construct various types of room to perform different functions. Residential rooms house people who can staff commercial and industrial rooms; commercial and industrial rooms provide income when staffed and fully stocked. Meanwhile, the main addition to Tiny Tower’s basic formula comes in the form of military rooms, whose residents can be added to the player’s battle team rather than the workforce. Military rooms also allow the player to level up their forces in exchange for soft currency. (more…)
Inferno is a Facebook game from Russian developer Playflock. It’s available now on the social network for anyone to play, and has recently been receiving some advertising via Facebook’s sidebar module.
Inferno is a role-playing game that is very similar to Playflock’s other release Insanity (which we reviewed here) — it’s not quite enough to call the two games “reskins” of each other, but they certainly have a huge amount in common.
Inferno takes place in a “dark fantasy” world in which the player takes on the role of a male or female warrior attempting to deal with the tides of undead blighting the lands. Gameplay unfolds in a number of different components — completing simple non-interactive “jobs” by clicking on a “perform” button until energy expires; battling monsters by clicking on them in the hope that their hit points bar expires before the player’s does; taking over local buildings in order to guarantee income from them; battling immensely strong “boss” monsters; and fighting other players in the Arena. (more…)
Insanity is a Facebook game from Playflock. The game started showing activity in January of this year, but has just recently started enjoying a feature spot in Facebook’s App Center. It’s available now for all to play.
Insanity is a social role-playing game in which players take on the role of a new inmate in a horror movie-style mental asylum. The circumstances of the player’s arrival are not made especially clear, and the rather hasty tutorial introduces players to only the very basics of the interface before leaving them to discover everything else for themselves. In some respects, this feeling of stepping into the “unknown” helps enormously with the already-impressive atmosphere of menace and dread the game evokes, but in others it is frustrating, since there are a lot of different elements to this game, and much of it is simply not explained adequately to the player from the outset.
There are a number of different activities the player can partake in while playing Insanity. While hanging out in their room, they can customize their character, including changing their name, gender, facial appearance and clothing. Some customization items require that the player purchase them with in-game currency; others may be acquired from either the built-in chance-based dice minigame; others still may be acquired from defeating bosses. In a nice touch, players can preview how their character will look with these items and see the unlock conditions, so they know what objectives to focus their attention on completing. Players may also customize their room with one of several different backdrops, each of which provides various bonuses to their “aggression” and “insanity” statistics, which affect their performance in combat. Some rooms may be purchased; others must be unlocked by defeating specific bosses. (more…)
Kingdom of Thrones is a new Facebook game from Kano/Apps. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and has been enjoying increased visibility through both a feature spot in the App Center’s “New Games” section as well as frequently-appearing sidebar ads.
The game is a midcore strategy offering somewhat in the vein of recent offerings from Kabam, Plarium and Digital Chocolate, but immediately distinguishes itself with its colorful pixel-art style. It’s not immediately apparent if the rather simplistic aesthetic is a deliberate stylistic choice or simply a matter of budgetary constraints, but it actually works surprisingly well once the initial “culture shock” has worn off: everything is extremely clear, and there is absolutely no ambiguity as to what each graphical element represents. While titles such as Plarium’s Stormfall: Age of War may look objectively “better” in terms of detail, this improved detail can sometimes come at the expense of clarity. (more…)
Even though Facebook is often considered the default platform for social games, it looks like Twitter has received an exclusive with massively multiplayer online role-playing game Tweeria, the “lazy Twitter MMORPG.”
Tweeria is a largely automated RPG experience: Once players authorize the app, they do some basic character customization (like choosing a faction, race and class) and the game takes it from there. There isn’t any default character artwork or avatar that’s used at the beginning of the game. Instead, users have to acquire a rather hefty amount of in-game gold and select a portrait from the game’s marketplace, which seems to be using artwork submitted by DeviantArt users.
Every time a user tweets after this, their in-game character goes on adventures that are recorded and displayed within the game. These adventures allow players to gain experience, possibly discover equipable items and will mention other Twitter users when you include them in a message (seen below).
Currently, Tweeria is a completely free-to-play experience. There doesn’t seem to be any way to acquire gold other than through having one’s character go on adventures, which means earning enough currency to buy new items is a gradual process. Likewise, progress can be sped up by joining a guild and going on raids, but these are still fairly hands-off experiences. The instructions, which seem to be written by a non-native English speaker vaguely reference how there’s an ability to search for raids via a Twitter hashtag search.
Tweeria certainly bears watching, as it’s one of the earliest games to adopt Twitter as a game platform instead of simply using it for social sharing. Currently, the game’s home page shows it has 36,448 players spread between its three factions. That said, it remains to be seen if the title will be able to find an active audience who might be able to eventually be monetized.
KingsRoad is an online action RPG from Rumble Games, playable both on the Facebook canvas and on the open Web. The game has undergone an extensive closed beta testing period, and is finally available in open beta for anyone to play. The shift to open beta coincides with a major version update for the game, which adds a new character class and numerous other benefits.
KingsRoad is an action RPG in the mold of popular standalone PC games such as Blizzard’s Diablo franchise and Runic Games’ Torchlight series. Players take on the role of a single character and guide them through numerous quests in order to level up, acquire new equipment and advance the game’s story. The game can be played in both single-player and cooperative multiplayer modes, and is free-to-play with optional in-app purchases of hard currency. (more…)
Godsrule: War of Mortals, the “build and battle” game Sega announced earlier this year, is now in open beta.
Godsrule is a mid-core game, combining citybuilding and action RPG genres. Players control the forces of either mystical creatures or bloodthirsty humans in a world that seems heavily inspired by Norse mythology. Like many core strategy titles, users are tasked with erecting and upgrading buildings while establishing an army they can send out on missions.
However, as opposed to many other core games, missions don’t seem to be automated tasks where players simply wait for their minions’ return. Players instead engage in battles on small maps where they have to summon their forces one at a time and directly control the action. As a result, the action is much more hands-on, but one isn’t able to bring in a large horde of characters; maps seem to have various ways of limiting the number of creatures that can be summoned, thereby providing a little extra challenge to the mission.
Since it was announced, Sega and developer Gogogic have maintained the game would launch simultaneously on both the web and iPad, though the game’s web portal doesn’t work on iOS due to Flash Player requirements and a search for the title on the iTunes App Store comes up blank. Strangely, Facebook shows there’s a Godsrule: War of Mortals game with approximately 500 monthly active users, but clicking on the link results in an error page.
As we’ve noted in the past, Godsrule: War of Mortals is an ambitious step for Sega. The company doesn’t have much of a social or mobile presence and core games are becoming an increasingly crowded market with developers trying to follow on the success of companies like Kixeye and Kabam. That said, Godsrule at least feels different from the typical mid-core titles we tend to see, but it’s too early to tell if its different gameplay and cartoony graphics will be enough to help the game thrive.