Start Four has announced the launch of its Facebook game of the same name, giving sports fans a new way to show support for their favorite teams. The game supports multiple sports, including the MLB, NBA and NFL, and allows players to create fantasy teams of four players, with the goal of picking the athletes that will perform best in upcoming games.
Mini Golf MatchUp is a new iOS and Android game from Scopely, makers of the “With Buddies” series of cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer games. The new game is available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play. This review is based on the iOS version, tested on an iPhone 4S running iOS 6.
Mini Golf MatchUp is an asynchronous turn-based miniature golf game in which pairs of players take it in turns to complete various courses and attempt to score as many points as possible. The game is controlled from a top-down perspective by tapping and dragging away from the ball’s current location to set power and direction using an on-screen arrow, then releasing to take the shot. The fewer shots the player takes to reach the hole, the more points they will score, and additional bonus points can be scored by shooting the ball through gems of various types. It is usually the gems rather than the number of shots that make the difference between winning and losing. If the player makes a mistake, it is possible to use a single “do over” per game for free, after which it costs soft currency to undo a shot. Players play the entire hole before passing play to their opponent rather than taking it in turns to take individual shots as in real golf.
Coins may be earned through play, acquired via in-app purchase or received as a reward for inviting friends to the game via their device’s contact list. The game also features Facebook and Twitter connectivity, allowing the player to invite friends to play directly using Facebook and to tweet about the game using Twitter. The player is rewarded with achievements for taking advantage of these facilities, which subsequently provides them with a special currency known as “stars.” These stars are used to unlock new courses when starting a new game with another player — alternatively, the player may immediately unlock specific courses with in-app purchases. Later courses also require that the player expend soft currency to play on them, so the game has the potential to get quite expensive for those who aren’t careful with their in-game currencies.
The game is inherently social by its very nature. During the course of the tutorial, the player is forced into starting at least three games with random opponents rather than having the opportunity to practice by themselves — in fact, there is no solo play option in the game. The game features a chat facility in which players may leave messages for one another after they have completed their turn, but other than this there does not appear to be a means of viewing another player’s profile — the only real point of contact you have with them is their chosen username and their avatar (which may be pulled from Facebook). This is a minor issue, but given that the game tracks players’ stats and allows one’s own performance to be reviewed from the main menu, it would perhaps be nice to be able to compare statistics with other players.
On the whole, Mini Golf MatchUp is a simple, easy to understand game that is very straightforward to get into and quick to play — all ideal features of an asynchronous game. Its monetization is arguably a little heavy-handed — it’s possible to spend up to $99.99 in a single in-app purchase, and the player is even given achievements for buying soft currency — but it is possible to have a satisfying experience for free. It’s a decent addition to the lineup of asynchronous titles available on iOS, and noteworthy among them for not following the usual word or puzzle game formulae.
The iOS version of Mini Golf MatchUp is currently ranked at No. 2 in Top Free Apps, No. 115 in Top Grossing Apps, No. 2 in Top Free iPad Apps, No. 314 in Top Grossing iPad Apps, No. 1 in Top Free Games, No. 96 in Top Grossing Games, No. 1 in Top Free iPad Games and No. 215 in Top Grossing iPad Games. The Android version, meanwhile, is ranked at No. 162 in Games, No. 62 in Arcade Games and No. 379 in Top Free Apps. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.
A fun, well-implemented asynchronous minigolf game.
Real Racing 3 is a new iOS release from EA and Firemonkeys, a studio born from the merging of original Real Racing developer Firemint and IronMonkey Studios, the latter of which was responsible for some of EA’s better mobile offerings. The new game, unlike its premium-price predecessors, is a free-to-play title with additional in-app purchases of in-game currency. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, weighing in at just under 2GB in size once installed.
Like its predecessors, Real Racing 3 is a racing simulation with an eye on realism, particularly on the graphical front. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the best-looking games on iOS, even on slightly older hardware such as the iPad 2. Car models (including some impressively-rendered interiors) look very much true to life, and the various circuits are recognizable as their real-world counterparts. There is a degree of draw distance pop-in on some objects (at least on iPad 2, the device used to test the game) but in practice during races things are moving around so much that this is barely noticeable. (more…)
FishPro is a new Facebook game developed in collaboration with the fishing tournament organization FLW. It’s available now in open beta on Facebook, and is currently featured in sidebar advertising on Facebook’s App Center.
FishPro is a fishing simulation in which players take on the role of a rookie fisherman and attempt to prove themselves by completing a variety of quests and competing in tournaments. Basic fishing gameplay involves equipping one’s rod with an appropriate hook, line, lure and bait and then casting into the water by pressing and holding a “cast” button to set the power level. Once cast, the game splits to a side-on view depicting numerous fish swimming by underwater. The player may reel in their line in an attempt to attract fish. It’s normally very obvious which fish will “bite” because they will be the ones who are not swimming in a straight horizontal line — fish that will not bite are also depicted as out of focus.
Race Track Rivals is a new Facebook game from Digital Chocolate. Unlike many of Digital Chocolate’s other recent titles, it is not a strategy game; rather, it is a 3D racing game featuring the opportunity for users to create their own content, and is available now in open beta on the social network.
Race Track Rivals is a simplistic racing game designed to provide quick, accessible automotive thrills and asynchronous competition to its players. It is split into three main components: the races themselves, the pit lane and the track editor. The track editor does not become available to players until they have reached experience level 4, but this does not take very long.
In a race, players simply have to use the directional keys on their keyboard to steer their car, the spacebar to brake and one of several different keys depending on the configuration to trigger a nitro boost for a sudden burst of acceleration. Nitro is only available in limited quantities, but can be replenished by driving over glowing blue powerups on the track. Each race sees players competing against three other opponents and unfolds over three different laps. The player’s opponents are “ghost” cars based on other players’ best recorded times around the track rather than live opponents, and as such this means that there are no collisions between cars — driving into another car simply causes one to pass through the other. The reason for this implementation rather than live synchronous multiplayer is to ensure players can always immediately get into a game. There is no sitting around waiting for matchmaking with online opponents — players are able to get into a race immediately, regardless of the time of day and the number of people online. After a race, players may optionally make any of their opponents a “rival,” which allows them to more easily keep track of their performance and even compete in custom competitions designed by them. (more…)
Kabam today announced it will develop a free-to-play Fast & Furious 6 mobile game to release alongside the movie May 24. The game will feature various competitive street racing modes with cars from such manufacturers as BMW, Honda, Dodge and Ford.
The announcement comes the morning after Super Bowl XLVII, during which the first trailer for the Fast & Furious 6 movie aired.
Kabam is developing the game in its newly acquired Vancouver, Canada studio, Exploding Barrel Games, which is staffed by developers with experience in the racing genre. Exploding Barrel Founder and CEO Scott Blackwood, who will head the project, previously worked as an Executive Producer at Electronic Arts, contributing to many Need for Speed titles as well as the Skate series.
Recently, Kabam has seen a lot of success in games based on popular movies. Last year Kabam and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment partnered to co-publish The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth for mobile devices. The game became the fastest growing title in Kabam history, becoming one of the top ten grossing apps on iOS in 50 countries in two months. Kabam’s The Godfather: Five Families, which is developed in partnership with Paramount Pictures, is one of seven Kabam games that grosses more than $1 million per month.
Pong World is a new iOS game from Atari and zGames. The new title is a free-to-play app, released in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original Pong’s release to arcades in 1972. It’s available now from the App Store.
Pong World sees players working their way through a series of themed stages in an attempt to unlock everything the game has to offer. Each stage must initially be played in “Conquest” mode — a one-on-one match against a computer-controlled opponent in which the first player to reach five points wins. The basic mechanics are identical to the original Pong, though the game screen is presented in portrait rather than landscape perspective, and each stage has a variety of obstacles in the middle for the ball to bounce off as well as various destructible items that yield coins and powerups when broken.
Following the completion of a level in “Conquest” mode, players may then move on to play in either “Survival” or “Battle” mode. Survival mode sees players simply having to not let their computer-controlled opponent score a point on them for increasingly-lengthy periods of time, while Battle mode allows two players to compete against each other on the same device. (more…)
Bike Race is an iOS game from Top Free Games. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and, due to its Facebook connectivity, has also been showing up in the Top Gainers charts for Facebook games for the last few weeks, with 3,100,000 monthly active users to its name.
Bike Race is essentially a new iOS adaptation of the physics-based motorcycle stunt racing games that have been popular on the open Web for many years now. Players take control of a motocross racer and may control the bike by pressing and holding on the right half of the screen; braking may be achieved by pressing and holding on the left. When in the air, the bike’s rotation may be controlled by tilting the device to the left and right. Accelerometer-based controls are difficult to get right, but Bike Race strikes a good balance between sensitivity and allowing the player to maintain control while continuing to hold their device naturally.
Levels are simply presented, with a themed backdrop for each set of levels overlaid with a simple, line-based representation of the track, which tends to include hills, valleys, jumps and even loop-the-loops. Players must take full advantage of the game’s physics model to negotiate the track as quickly as possible — if this means taking a particularly large jump to leap over a time-consuming loop-the-loop rather than performing the stunt, so be it. Upon completing a level, players are given a rating between one and three stars according to how quickly they completed it, and are then able to either retry or advance to the next level. (more…)
Let’s Fish is a Facebook game from Polish developer Ten Square Games. It’s been available since September of this year, and is presently showing up in the “Trending” section of Facebook’s App Center.
Let’s Fish is a fishing simulation with realistic, photographic visuals. Unfolding from a first-person perspective, players must catch as many fish as possible, upgrade their equipment and gradually become the best virtual fisherman in the global rankings.
Basic gameplay is very simple, and is explained in a step-by-step tutorial when the player first starts the game. Players must equip a rod, line, hook and bait, and this will determine the approximate maximum weight of fish they will be able to hook and bring ashore. Once they’re ready, clicking the “cast” button casts the line ready to catch a fish. Players must then wait a few seconds in order for a fish to bite, and then click on the “pull” button. At this point, a line tension meter appears on screen and the player must click and hold the “pull” button to reel in the fish to a marker without allowing the meter to reach either the top or the bottom. Pulling increases the tension but brings the fish closer; releasing may allow the fish to get further away, but reduces tension. (more…)
Carnage Racing is a new Facebook-based racing game from Jagex, the U.K.-based developers of the popular browser-based MMO Runescape. Jagex’s stated aim with the new game is to “break new ground in gameplay and graphics for Facebook games,” and in order to accomplish this goal, they brought on a number of team members who previously worked on Rockstar’s Midnight Club series of console racing games. It is a decision that paid off.
Carnage Racing blends elements of several popular computer and console games to create a unique, visually-impressive experience on the Facebook platform. It features the weapons-based vehicular combat of Nintendo’s Mario Kart series, the realistic (though unlicensed) cars and focus on stunts of EA/Criterion’s Burnout series, and in a peculiar twist, it also features elements of Valve’s Portal series. (more…)
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