Campaign add-on to Halo paced differently, highly regarded by fans
Microsoft game studio 343 Industries has spelled out a compensation package for users affected by the matchmaking flaws that awaited title Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been plagued with since launch. The package includes Halo 3 adjunct title ODST which was not expected to be released, a remastered multiplayer map, a month of Xbox Live service, and a character nameplate for use in-game.
Match-3 and Boggle collide in this fun, single-player game
There's no shortage of word games on the app store, and for the most part, a lot of them have very similar mechanics. You have your Scrabble, your Boggles, and your Hangmen. But what about games that combine genres of games to create something new and fun? That's why Letters and Dots, by J.D. Shultz, was created - to add a little flair to a fairly narrow genre.
Relax with unique down-tempo puzzle game Zen Bound 2
Games are supposed to be fun -- there's no denying that. Most games played have some sort of objective, be it shooting bad guys, racing against a clock, or beating other players at obtaining an objective. But some of the best games are the ones that are designed to be fun with no pressure, no competition, and no clocks. One such game, that utilizes a touch screen as more than a keyboard, is Zen Bound 2, by developer Secret Exit.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for December 19, 2014
There is less than a week until Christmas, and depending on where you live, approximately four days available for deliveries of presents. If there are more presents to get before the big day, you're likely to be spending a lot on quicker deliveries, so why not even out the cost by getting some great Friday Deals? Every Friday afternoon, we search for bargains on hardware, peripherals, gadgets, and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Prices are right at the time of writing, but double-check before purchasing, as prices could change. Also, be sure to return to this post over the weekend, as more deals will be added as time goes on.
Real-time simulation/strategy game allows micro-management of resources
War games may have originated from the need to boost military logistics and planning, but they have since become popular with civilian gamers. Risk and Chess are two popular war games most people are familiar with, as are Civilization and Hearts of Iron. How does newcomer Supreme Ruler Ultimate, by Battlegoat Studios, stack up to the classics?
Quick wits win out in this single-player word game
Word games have been around for a very long time. Most people grew up playing Scrabble or Boggle, and many have moved on to similar games like Words with Friends. The one thing most word games have in common is that they require, at minimum, two players. But now there's Moxie 2, by Blue Ox Technologies Ltd, a intuitive single-player word game.
Federal judge rejects move to dismiss
This week Hartz Mountain, a maker of pet toys, requested a federal judge dismiss a lawsuit by Seattle artist Juli Adams regarding the sale of her intellectual property without her permission or knowledge. The case is notable because Adams' designs were the basis of the characters now universally known as "Angry Birds," a name originally suggested by Adams and since used widely by Rovio and Hartz to market both the video game sensation and ancillary merchandise. The judge has refused to dismiss the matter.
Arcadia project proposes to stream games from cloud servers to Windows PCs
Microsoft is allegedly experimenting with streaming apps and games to Windows machines. An internal team is said to be working on "Arcadia," a codenamed project which would let software to run from Microsoft's Azure cloud services rather than on a local machine, streaming the app or game to PC users with lower-than-average specifications.
An undersea twist on a 1980s arcade classic
Arcade games have made the transition to iOS with almost no effort. Their simple interface works especially well with a touchscreen device, and because of this, a lot of developers have begun to offer their takes on the classic arcade games of the 1980s and 1990s. Blowfish Meets Meteor, by Sky Tyrannosaur, is at its core a remake of the ever-popular arcade classic Arkanoid.
Platformers and mazes combine in a perspective-based puzzler
Most of us remember doing mazes as children, working from one edge of a puzzle to another, trying to figure out how to get to the objective as quick as possible. What if there was a game that reminded us of the mazes of our youth, while simultaneously making them more challenging and interactive? Edge Extended by Mobigame, combines the mazes of our childhood with the challenge of a modern puzzle game.
News from the video game industry for the week of December 7
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN look at some of the bigger news from the game industry over the past week. In this week's look back in Weekly Game Replay, we cover Nintendo's stock and production changes with Amiibo, the delay of The Witcher 3, confirmation of character progress in Destiny carrying over to the next game, Final Fantasy XV's demo being exclusive to Final Fantasy Type-O HD, Paradox halting development of Runemaster, and the return of the maligned Stalker sequel to crowdfunding.
Crota rears his ugly head in the new, and controversial, Destiny DLC
While not quite at the top of the sales charts, Bungie and Activision's Destiny only fell to the latest in Activision's long running series of military shooters. However, beating Call of Duty, Destiny's latest downloadable content package was released this week -- The Dark Below. As downloadable content (DLC) goes, its not cheap, coming in at $20, but any content expanding a sparse story should be welcomed by the gaming populace. Electronista has been hitting The Hive hard this week in The Dark Below, read on to see what we thought about it!
Company says rejection was misunderstanding
The newly-launched iPad version of Papers, Please has briefly been censored by Apple, reports note. Players assume the role of a passport control agent in the fictional Eastern Bloc country of Arstotzka. Later into the game players have access to a full-body scanner; in the original PC title, players could toggle whether this presented characters in full (but cartoonish and low-resolution) nudity or simply in their underwear. A version with both options was initially rejected from the App Store, forcing developer Lucas Pope to remove the nudity.
NPD claims 1.2M Xbox One consoles sold in US in November
Microsoft has beaten Sony for the first time in a long while, in terms of console sales. Sales data from NPD reveals that the Xbox One outsold the PlayStation 4 in the United States for the month of November, with the pre-holiday spending breaking a sales streak Sony has enjoyed since the launch of its console in the country last year.
Jump, slide, and dance your way through this retro-inspired platformer
Bit.Trip.Run is a game set in the universe of Bit.Trip, a popular app by developer Gaijin Games that debuted on the Wii back in 2009. A total of seven variations came along, with Bit.Trip Runner meeting with great success that quickly went multi-platform, with releases on both the Nintendo 3DS as well as Steam. Bit.Trip.Run is not to be confused with Bit.Trip Runner, which begs the question: how does Bit.Trip.Run distinguish itself from the others in the series?
Take control of a tank in this simple WWII simulator
Developer Atypical Games has had success in the App Store before with their war simulation apps, titled Sky Gamblers: Cold War and Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders, in which both games focused largely on air combat. Now, the company has released Battle Supremacy, which puts players in control of their own tanks in this World War II-era simulation game. Will the company be able to win the ground game as it did with air supremacy? Read on to find out.
Embark on an epic journey to toast a slice of bread
Bossa Studios hit the market earlier last year with their hit game Surgeon Simulator, which challenged players to successful complete levels by hacking and slashing their way through surgeries. In December, the company released the highly anticipated game I Am Bread to early access on Steam. I Am Bread is the strangely emotionally-charged narrative that follows a slice of bread as it attempts to become toasted.
Compact RTS offers typical gameplay, low system requirements
Real Time Strategy (RTS) games are a typical mainstay of the desktop computer, with the genre largely failing to make the transition to consoles and gaming systems due to a lack of finesse with controls. Machines at War 3 from Isotope 244 is primarily a computer-based RTS which unusually headed to iOS devices shortly after launch. Is the desktop version of Machines at War 3 at the same level as other RTS heavyweights, despite building with a tablet interface in mind?
Series of attacks mirrors similar incidents by same group in August
Sony has suffered its second major hacking incident in recent weeks, with its PlayStation console users being the target this time. The company's PlayStation Network services were knocked offline late last night before returning to normal earlier this morning, in an attack which coincides with the 20th anniversary of Sony's original game console release.
Get the Hot Pockets, there's a new Sid Meier's Civilization title out
Civilization isn't the first strategy series in video gaming, but it is probably the most enduring. Since the series' introduction in 1991, countless players have been stormed by barbarians, built the pyramids, and been nuked into oblivion (because of a coding bug) by the Indians. This year, the Firaxis-developed series launched a sequel to both Civilization V and the well-regarded Alpha Centauri in the form of Civilization: Beyond Earth available on OS X, Windows, and Linux. How many hours of your life will this one take?
News from the video game industry for the week of November 30
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up some of the news direct from the video game world in one article. During this week's Weekly Game Replay, we look at a slew of news from the PlayStation Experience and Game Awards in Las Vegas, the leak of the next Assassin's Creed game, Australian stores pulling Grand Theft Auto 5, a new studio from 2K Games, and gameplay footage from the upcoming Legend of Zelda Wii U game.
Sci-fi and suspense collide in this 'choose your own adventure' game
Choose-your-own-adventure games are cropping up all over the App Store these days, and it's become apparent that there is a market for text-based adventure on iOS. One of these games is Heavy Metal Thunder by Cubus Games. The game, which has won a Pocket Gamer silver award, is an adaptation of a book by sci-fi novel writer Kyle B. Stiff. How well does it make the transition to interactive fiction?
Philips to end all lawsuits under terms of the cross-license patent agreement
Those considering picking up a Nintendo console in the near future no longer have cause for concern, as the Japan-based hardware and software developer ended its patent dispute with Philips on December 2. The two companies were locked into an infringement battle over motion technologies used inside of Nintendo's consoles, dating back to 2011, which could conceivably have resulted in a sales ban.
Definitive Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut launches on iOS App Store
Harebrained Schemes' conversion of the Shadowrun gaming universe has a new app on the iPad. After a year on the computer, Shadowrun: Dragonfall -- Director's Cut is now available for purchase. The new game is the definitive version of of one of the top-ranking PC games on Metacritic, and features 17 missions, vibrant music, team customization options, and an expansive Cyberpunk combat system in a 20-hour campaign. Shadowrun: Dragonfall -- Director's Cut is available for $7, and runs on the iPad 3, iPad Mini 2, or faster.
TV From Sky app goes live on PlayStation 4 in UK
British broadcaster Sky has added its streaming app to the PlayStation 4. Named TV From Sky instead of the usual Sky Go brand, the app provides online access to a number of live Sky television channels, as well as a wide selection of on-demand and catch-up TV shows via the console, for subscribers of the satellite television service.
Company searching for experience with Oculus Rift, game engines
Apple is seriously invested in developing VR-based gaming and/or interfaces, new job listings suggest. One calls for a game engineer with experience not just in VR but the latest game engines, with the purpose of creating software "combining state-of-the-art physics-based world simulation, visuals and Virtual Reality to enable Apple's development of next-generation product." Another listing asks for an app engineer familiar with the Oculus Rift VR headset as well as the Leap Motion gesture controller.
First episode 'Iron from Ice' launches, game played from five different points of view
Fans of George R.R. Martin's epic A Song of Ice and Fire series and the associated television show on HBO, "Game of Thrones," now have a new way to experience the saga. Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series hit Steam for OS X and PC today, bringing the California-based studio's narrative touch involving choice and consequence to Westeros.
Physical media gaming company, and rights holder, slow to adopt digital
For tabletop gaming enthusiasts, the partnership between Dungeons & Dragons purveyor Wizards of the Coast and Trapdoor Technologies became something to get excited over. The duo were supposed to create a suite of iOS tools for Dungeons & Dragons' "next" edition, later rebranded to be the fifth edition (5E). Essentially, the suite would contain everything a player might need to craft D&D 5E adventures for a band of players, pushing much of the math and record-keeping behind the scenes. However, just prior to release, Wizards of the Coast killed the partnership, for reasons it only knows for sure.
Beta program allows friends to watch gameplay, broadcasting automatically starts, ends
Valve has launched a new feature for its Steam gaming platform today, that aims to make live streaming gameplay a little easier than the widely-used Twitch. Steam Broadcasting is currently available as a beta feature, allowing users to hop into a stream to watch their friends play a quick game, or watch public broadcasts through the community hubs.
Matchstick Memories: text adventure and match three story
It wasn't long ago that the match-three and puzzle genre were thought to be one-trick ponies. Games like Bejeweled are popular, but lacking for long-term play. However, developers are now using these overlooked genres to create new games with deep story lines and interesting game mechanics. One such game is Matchstick Memories by CH Buckingham.
Simple and elegant yet challenging puzzle game
What makes a great puzzle game? Is it the capacity for complexity or the flashiness of the graphics? No, what truly makes a great puzzle game is the ability to engage a player and make them think. A good puzzle game doesn't need to be overly-complicated, but it does need to present interesting puzzles that need to be solved in a clever way. One such puzzle game is Hearts by By Snow Covered Games.
Sensui will retain manager position in US, two executives to jointly assume role
The troubles for the Xbox One continue in Japan, not only because of the continuing trend of low sales, but also due to the recent resignation of Head of Xbox Japan Takashi Sensui. Sensui stepped down from his role as general manager of the Xbox division for Microsoft as of November 30, making way for his replacements Yoshinami Takahashi and Nobuyoshi Yokoi.
Versatile speaker system tackles games, music with ease, distortion a drawback
Complete speaker setups come in configurations for a wide array of uses, from multi-speaker home theater packages to compact desktop PC solutions. While there is never one set that covers every function perfectly, those looking for 2.1 speaker systems are confronted by a wealth of choices. One such option that tackles gaming, music and movies in good fashion is the SW-G2.1 2000 speaker system from GX Gaming, the gaming subdivision of peripheral manufacturer Genius. But does the SW-G2.1 2000 setup offer a good sound value, or would consumers be better off purchasing something like a 7.1 surround sound system? Find out in our review.
News from the video game industry for the week of November 23
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN sum up some of the news from the gaming industry over the past week in one article. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we take a look at the strong sales of Super Smash Brothers, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby for Nintendo consoles, Ubisoft's free downloadable content (DLC) and games for botched Assassin's Creed Unity launch, This War of Mine statistics, new Star Citizen funding goals for pets, and upcoming PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold releases.
Update to 2003 filing focuses on adaption, doesn't mean official emulation coming
Last week, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) posted a recent patent update from Nintendo. Patent application 20140349751, filed in June 2014, looks to improve upon Nintendo patent 8157654, adding processor-level adaptation for emulators of handheld consoles like the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advanced. While some fans may take it as a sign that Nintendo is official moving into the smartphone and tablet space, it's more likely done for legal purposes.
Alienware Alpha punches well above its weight
The Dell Alienware Alpha is a micro-PC gaming console that has only just gone on sale recently. It was supposed to launch with Valve's Linux-based SteamOS, and is designed specifically as a gaming operating system to power "Steam Machines." However, the final release of the SteamOS has been delayed into 2015, and thus Dell has chosen to forge ahead with the release of its planned Steam Machine, running Windows 8.1 in the interim. As a micro-PC with console-style gaming in mind first and foremost, the system now ships an Xbox 360 controller rather than a Steam controller, and offers a makeshift Alien UI so that it doesn't require a keyboard and mouse to set up. Was it the right move to launch the Alienware Alpha without the vaunted SteamOS?
Stealth title offers slick gameplay in the shadows, utterly frustrating combat experience
Instead of launching the next game in the Of Orcs and Men franchise as a sequel to the action role-playing game, Cyanide Studios released a prequel with Styx: Master of Shadows. The prequel takes place roughly 200 years prior to the events in Of Orcs and Men, playing out the formative years of one of its protagonists, the goblin assassin Styx. Cyanide Studios makes a drastic shift to the stealth genre, something that might be off-putting to fans of the series. Does Styx: Master of Shadows make a successful transition from action to stealth, or is it merely trying for a different formula? Unfortunately, it's the latter.
win a Verve 2
What is the Verve 2? We asked ourselves the same question when we first heard of it. It turns out that it is quite unlike anything we have ever seen before. The Verve 2 is a sensor system that can be used to interact with a computer in a whole new way. We have one Verve 2 system to give away to our readers. Read on to learn more about this unique technology toy, and find out how you can win.
Razer fitness tracker priced at $100, release 11 months after unveiling
Razer is finally going to release its fitness tracker, just in time for the holiday sales. Originally launched at CES in January followed by delays caused by hypoallergenic testing and a beta test with developers, the Razer Nabu is being made available to purchase from the Razer website and retailers from December 2nd in North America, with Razer pricing the fitness band at $100.
Take control of your own rugby team with Rugby Nations 15
Sports games have existed for about as long as video gaming has, and have been popular whether played on arcade cabinets or on the Xbox One. While most would agree that sports games tend to thrive on consoles, Rugby Nations 15, by developer Distinctive Games, makes a strong argument for sports gaming on mobile platforms.
Win a copy of Civilization: Beyond Earth
As was mentioned yesterday, Civilization: Beyond Earth was released for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App Store, and on GameAgent. Also announced yesterday was that we will be running a giveaway. So, without further ado, we are pleased to reveal that we have obtained four redemption codes for this game to give away to our readers.
Charming roguelike dungeon-clearing game brings a touch of Finnish legend to the genre
Because of the accessibility of game design tools, independently-produced games are springing up on every platform. There's certainly no shortage of dungeon crawlers, roguelikes, or turn-based strategy games today. That doesn't mean, though, that Sproggiwood, by Freehold Games, should be overlooked. This turn-based roguelike has the player explore dungeons inspired by Finnish mythology, bringing peace to the land of Sprog.
Civilization: Beyond Earth available for OS X today
Firaxis and Aspyr have announced that Civilization: Beyond Earth will be available later today for purchase and download on Steam, the Mac App store, and on GameAgent. The game requires OS X 10.9.5 or greater, an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 8GB of drive space, and at least the Intel HD 4000 with 256MB of VRAM. Civilization: Beyond Earth retails for $50. Look for a MacNN giveaway of the title soon.
Hit the gridiron with the Peanuts gang
Cupcake Digital is a well-known name in the ring of games for elementary-age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. The company is now tackling two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?
Cash, credit payments up to $50 going to early buyers during three month period
In a release from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier today, the agency announced that Sony Computer Entertainment America would be paying out settlements to those that were misled by a PlayStation Vita advertising campaign that started before the handheld console released in February 2012. Under the settlement, Sony will pay out $25 in cash or $50 in merchandise credit for select games and services -- but what sort of impact will this cause for Sony? Electronista dives into the numbers to look at the potential $28.7 million the company will need to pay out.
Advertising promised 'game changing' features in ads, Sony never delivered
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Sony Computer Entertainment America reached a settlement today over advertising promises that were made for the PlayStation Vita leading up to its launch in February 2012. According to the FTC, Sony and advertising agency Deutsch LA promised "game changing" features in a 2011 ad campaign that misled consumers.
If you're looking to relive the 80s arcade culture, give this a try
Vintage gamers and arcade cabinet enthusiasts are likely to remember Arkanoid, which was a riff on a game called Breakout. The aim of the game was to clear a board of all of its bricks by using a paddle to bounce a small ball against them. At first, the game primarily showed up on arcade cabinets. The various remakes have shown up for just about every platform since. One such game is Acky's Breakout Reloaded by Isotope 244.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 24, 2014
Welcome to the second installment of Monday Deals, which we will be running throughout the holiday shopping period. While it is just four more days until shoppers become uncivilized and argue over who gets to buy the last of a heavily-discounted product, we are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid at a later reading, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post in the coming days, as more deals will be added as time goes on.
Console-style gaming PC from Alienware ships with Xbox 360 controller
Alienware has started to ship its attempt at creating a Steam Machine. Pre-orders for the Alienware Alpha will be heading to customers today, and the computer designed based on Valve Software's concept for console-style PC gaming will also be available to buy from various online retailers, with some configurations able to be picked up from some retail outlets.
News from the video game industry for the week of November 16
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up a one-stop article for some of the happenings in the video game industry over the past week. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we look at Double Fine layoffs, Call of Duty reaching $10 billion in sales for the franchise, World of Warcraft recapturing 10 million active subscriptions, Sweden considering a sexism label for video games, Activision settling its shareholder lawsuit, and more.