Kingdom and Dragons combines city building with role-playing games in an attempt to create a unique and enjoyable experience, and it succeeds. Players start in a mostly empty kingdom with an unnamed swordsman at their disposal. The game introduces players to the city by guiding them through the process of unlocking and building structures. When it’s time to fight, players are sent out with their swordsman, ready to take on multiple waves of various enemies. There’s not much of a tutorial that goes along with combat. The game explains the mechanics and a few tricks, but most players will be left to fend for themselves. Fortunately, the combat in the early stages is simple enough for players to learn the system, rather than panic for their lives.
Once players begin to get the hang of the game, they’re given numerous ways to customize their characters’ skills and accessories. As players’ cities gain access to gold mines and other money-gathering resources, they’re able to earn gold, one of the in-game currencies. Gold is most frequently used to power up characters and purchase items from the in-game shop. As players progress through Kingdom and Dragon’s numerous levels, they’ll be given the opportunity to add to their characters’ skill lists. Most of combat is based around moving with the on-screen directional pad, attacking with one button, and using skills with various other buttons. There’s a bit of trial-and-error that goes along with using skills, as the game doesn’t have a simple way of labeling buttons, but this is not a serious issue. (more…)
Irish developer and publisher KamaGames has announced its new KamaGames Publishing Program. The new unit of the company will focus on working with developers to release titles on iOS and Google Play. Games accepted into this program will be allocated a minimum marketing budget of $100,000 to assist in the launch of the title. KamaGames considers this amount to be the minimum required in order to attract a necessary number of users, perform game analysis, and specify necessary improvements for the title. (more…)
Dots: A Game About Connecting is an iOS release from Betaworks One. It is available as a free download from the App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
The game is a fast-paced puzzle that’s all about connecting dots of the same color. There are no gimmicks or traps, leading to a level of simplicity that’s rarely found in games. When first opened, the game instructs players to connect a couple dots. When the player slides his or her finger from one dot to the next, a line forms between them and they disappear. After a few similar trials, the tutorial comes to an end and players are sent to the game’s main screen, which features two options: “Play Now” and “Menu”.
Selecting “Play Now” drops the player into a game of Dots. The premise is simple: Players are given 60 seconds to clear out as many dots as possible. Any time two or more dots of the same color sit adjacent, players can draw a line through their path in any non-diagonal direction. Any dots caught in this line will disappear and the dots above them will fall down to fill the empty spots. New dots are generated from the top. Though this part of the game is not unique, when players manage to touch one part of the line to another, creating a box, all the dots of that color will be removed from the screen. This creates a quick way to earn points, and creates a new layer of strategy. Instead of clearing the most dots in one turn (thus scoring the most points), players may want to find ways to set up a box, allowing them to be in position for a high-scoring turn. (more…)
[Editor's Note: This story was a recap of an interview InsideSocialGames.com had with Alan Avidan, Executive Director of Business Development at Bees and Pollen occurred on June 6,2013, during Day 1 of the Inside Social Apps Conference in San Francisco.]
Alan Avidan of Bees and Pollen is working on a new type of game play: predictive personalization. The idea stems from the fact that many players get frustrated when they get stuck. For beginners this might mean not clearing level one, where as for more experienced players, the breaking point might occur when they can no longer unlock certain features without using the virtual store.
Editor’s note: During the upcoming Inside Social Games Conference on June 6-7, Bret Terrill, the Founder of 12gigs.com, will be moderating two panels on the future of social apps, “Gambling Games: The Promise of Real Money,” and “Platform Opportunities for Social Apps.” InsideSocialGames.com had the opportunity to ask Bret two important questions on the future of social and mobile games.
Bret Terrill: A cross-platform gaming network is something that a lot of people were chasing last year as the next big thing. The idea was: Similar to Facebook owning the social graph, a company could own the “gamer graph”, connecting people who liked certain genres across platforms and games. As it stands today, Facebook is really the only company that has been successful in creating a cross-platform (PC and multiple mobile environments) gaming network , one that has largely fed off their immense social network.
Other large games companies, such as DeNA and Gree, have had success in the Japanese market, but they have moved toward a publisher model in the last year. It is an open question on whether Clash of Clans players care about what other games the people they “friend” within the game are playing. I suspect the gameing industry itself cares much more than the players, who are more interested to see what is in the top charts of their phone’s App Store.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD is an iOS release from Capcom. It’s available now as a free download from the Apple App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD brings together the first three releases of Capcom’s famous Ace Attorney series and provides their first release in HD. The games put the player in the role of Phoenix Wright, a young attorney with a habit of finding himself defending accused murderers. Right from the start, the game offers a cutscene that shows the first victim and her killer, and it’s up to Phoenix Wright to prove that his client was framed and reveal the identity of the real killer. To do so, players will need to battle in the courtroom, picking apart testimony and presenting evidence. Outside the courtroom, players will guide Phoenix through numerous areas, collecting evidence, speaking to witnesses, and uncovering details, all to discover the truth.
The entirety to the game is based on understanding the facts and breaking down every piece of testimony. While most cases stand well on their own, some of them connect with each other and make references to past cases, which can be important. Players who aren’t up for a ton of reading will be instantly turned off, because the Ace Attorney series is based around reading and dissecting dialogue. Players will be captivated by each character’s personality and choices. Each story is long, but they’re separated into enough parts where players won’t need to commit too much time to enjoy the games. (more…)
Dead Ahead is an iOS release from Chillingo. It’s available now as an ad-supported free download from the Apple App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
Dead Ahead is an endless runner-like game that gives the player a motorcycle, a gun, and a ton of zombies. Players start off in the forest with just a scooter and a pistol. Moving at a slow pace, they’ll need to drag their finger up and down the right end of the screen to navigate their character around roadblocks, parked cars, and plenty of zombies. Occasionally, zombies will begin charging at players from behind, so they’ll need to either use the accelerate button to outrun them, or fire their weapon to shoot them down. It’s not a concept that’s entirely original, but could be implemented well.
Right off the bat, that’s one of the most noticeable problems with Dead Ahead. In theory, players dragging their fingers along the right side of the road is a neat way to control steering. In practice, the movement of the bikes feel sluggish, and holding the right edge of the screen causes players to not see part of the screen, creating somewhat of a blind spot. The blind spot itself wouldn’t be bad, but the slow steering and occasionally fast speed of the motorcycles require players to have an almost-instant reaction time. Once the running zombies are factored in, the experience is much more frustrating and difficult than it needs to be. Dead Ahead is a situation where numerous little issues come together and create a larger issue that hurts the entire game. (more…)
Apoc Wars is an iOS game from DeNA. It is available now for free in the Apple App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
Apoc Wars is a post-apocalyptic strategy game that combines a cartoony style with military gameplay. When players first open Apoc Wars, they’ll be prompted to either sign into Mobage or create an account. After that, players are presented with a view of a desert wasteland and are tossed into the game’s tutorial. The tutorial goes over almost all the game’s essential features, including combat, team building, and base construction. There are numerous games like Apoc Wars, so many players won’t need the tutorial, but those who are new to the genre will find that it does a great, albeit quick, job at explaining how the game works.
Once players finish the tutorial, they’re sent out on their own with little more than an empty base. From there, players are encouraged to expand their base and strengthen their defenses so they can best deal with various enemy threats. Users who need some extra guidance can turn to the “Missions” menu. Missions are small goals that allow players to earn extra resources and in-game currency without having to spend much money. Most missions take no more than a couple minutes, though some will require a few extra steps before they can be accomplished. Players don’t need to complete missions or claim their rewards, but they’re highly encouraged to, as many rewards are well worth their time and require little effort.
Combat is the main focus of Apoc Wars’s gameplay. As players expand their base and forces, they’re preparing themselves for the various combat situations that arise. When a player is ready to initiate combat on their own, they’re given a list of AI-controlled opponents that are ready for battle. At first, this list is simply populated by low-level opponents who aren’t willing to put up much of a fight. As time goes on, players will battle bigger and stronger rivals, which give out bigger rewards. As long as players continue to strengthen their troops, these enemies aren’t much of a threat, but they will cause occasional casualties. The bigger threat for many players will be defense. Players will need to organize their base in a way that best protects their command center, as they will occasionally be attacked. Most of the early combat will be with AI-controlled baddies. Once players make alliances they can team up to take on others, but this currently feels limited. Hopefully future updates add to the multiplayer functionality.
Apoc Wars monetizes through Blood Money, an in-game currency. Players are given a large chunk of Blood Money at the start, and they’ll earn small amounts as they progress through missions, but players who need more can buy bundles. Blood Money bundles range from $0.99 for a pack of ten up to $99.99 for a pack of 1250. Smaller bundles are hardly worth it for most players, as ten Blood Money will rarely purchase anything of value. Players who start spending around $20 will be able to buy upgrades and equipment at a rapid pace, allowing their forces to be stronger than ever.
Apoc Wars is a fun game that will appeal mostly to the hardcore crowd looking for a new strategy game. The unique visuals will likely draw in a few extra players, while the in-depth tutorial will help keep them around. The problem with Apoc Wars isn’t that it’s bad, it just doesn’t feel wholly original. There are other games that follow the same formula, and Apoc Wars fails to do anything to draw attention to itself. Players who pick it up will find that it’s worth their time, but only time will tell how long its current player base will remain engaged.
You can follow Apoc Wars’s progress on AppData, our tracking tool for mobile and social apps and developers.
Apoc Wars doesn’t feel entirely original, but it’s somewhat fun, provided other players continue to play.
Electronic Arts’ previous attempt at a mobile Tetris failed to make fans believe the classic fast-paced puzzle game could make the transition to a touch screen device. The reflexes and precision required to succeed when the pace increases proved to be something touch controls weren’t ready to handle. Tetris Blitz, EA’s new venture into the world of Tetris, makes key changes to the classic formula and the experience is much better because of it.
Tetris Blitz is a far cry from the arcade style of classic Tetris. The entire premise of Tetris Blitz is that each round is played in two-minute bursts. This allows for quick sessions, much like PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz. Blocks still drop from the top, but their pace is much slower than previous games, giving players a chance to plan their moves carefully, rather than rely on reflexes. When the blocks start dropping, players are greeted with three outlines of where the block could fit. If none of them are worthwhile, the block can be rotated and three new positions will be offered. When a player finds the best spot, they can tap on the outline and the block automatically drops into that position. Once an entire line is filled, it vanishes, and higher blocks fall down. The controls make Tetris Blitz feel simpler, but the core gameplay remains intact. Once the two-minute round is over, the score is calculated and players can compare their results to their friends, if they’ve logged into Facebook. (more…)
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