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Posts tagged with "games"

A Remastered Version of Rolando Is Returning to the App Store April 4th as Rolando: Royal Edition

Rolando was one of the earliest break-out games on the App Store when it debuted in 2008. Millions of fans downloaded the game, which featured colorful round characters that you maneuvered through four worlds with the help of the iPhone’s accelerometer. However, as Federico highlighted in his story on app preservation last summer, the ngmoco-published title disappeared in 2017 when it wasn’t updated to support Apple’s 64-bit architecture.

Today though, Rolando’s developer, HandCircus, announced that Rolando is coming back on April 4th as Rolando: Royal Edition. According to a report by TouchArcade, the game is a remaster of the original title:

…beyond a beautiful overhaul with the brilliant 2.5D aesthetic of the game’s sequel, as well as the expected graphical polish to seamlessly fit into the 2019 App Store, HandCircus have actually overhauled a lot of the levels, interactions and mechanics across the game.

Today’s news comes close on the heels of the launch of GameClub, a startup that plans to bring unavailable classic iOS games back to the platform starting with Hook Champ. TouchArcade’s former Editor-In-Chief Eli Hodapp is GameClub’s VP of Business Development.

Federico’s closing commentary from last summer’s story sums up the state of game and app preservation and his hopes for the future well:

It doesn't have to be this way. I want to believe that, over the next decade, Apple and third-party developers will learn to appreciate the history of the App Store. And that they will treat its back catalogue as something more than a nuisance with an expiration date. Because sometimes it can be useful, and perhaps even fun, to marvel at how far we've come by looking back at how it all began.

I couldn't agree more. So many classic iOS games have fallen by the wayside and are now unplayable that it was heartening to see that HandCircus is bringing back Rolando and learn more about GameClub’s efforts. Two announcements isn’t a trend, but I hope it’s a sign that momentum is building behind preservation in the iOS game and the broader app industry. The time feels right to revisit these classics.

Rolando: Royal Edition is available to pre-order on the App Store for $1.99 and comes with iMessage stickers that are available today.


Niantic Previews Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Studio’s Follow-Up to Pokémon GO

Later this year the team at Niantic will launch a new game based on a very popular IP: Harry Potter. The game's full title is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and it will come to both iOS and Android as an AR-centered gaming experience in the vein of Pokémon GO, Niantic's biggest hit.

Today Nick Statt of The Verge published his impressions of Wizards Unite following a preview Niantic hosted recently. Statt writes:

The core activity in Wizards Unite involves collecting a mix of artifacts and sometimes saving notable characters from the series who are stuck in a bad situation, like the titular Harry being pinned down by a spooky dementor. From there, you play a little tracing mini-game, to evoke the casting of a spell and then collect the item or free your friend. Afterward, you’re able to add that item or character to your collections book, earn experience points, and level up.
[...]
Beyond traversing the map, collecting those artifacts, and visiting inns to eat food, players of Wizards Unite will have a few more advanced activities to keep them busy. Those include leveling up your character, picking a subclass (called a “profession”) to learn new abilities, and then teaming up with up to five other players to compete in a fortress (what Niantic has designed to be this game’s version of gym battles from Pokémon Go). These team challenges feel like a cross between a traditional strategy game and something similar to Nintendo’s Fire Emblem, where one-on-one battles take place simultaneously after players select an enemy from a top-down map.

Based on Statt's article, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is going to have a lot more depth and complexity to it than Pokémon GO, which I'm excited about. Pokémon GO has scaled over time to become more of a gamer's game than it used to be, but with Wizards Unite it sounds like that added depth will be there from the start for those who want it.

There's still no firm release date available for Wizards Unite, but a 2019 launch is confirmed.

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Fortnite Adds MFi Controller Support

The latest update to Fortnite on iOS adds support for MFi controllers. I don’t play Fortnite on iOS regularly, but I tried the game when it was released on iOS and have played on the Nintendo Switch from time to time. The game has done extraordinarily well on iOS, but on balance, I’ve preferred playing on the Switch because I found it much easier to play with a physical game controller than onscreen gestures. That calculus could change for a lot of players now that the iOS version of the game supports MFi controllers.

I paired my SteelSeries Nimbus Bluetooth controller with my iPad Pro and gave Fortnite a try for the first time in months. Having played on the Switch, the controls felt immediately natural. The game’s HUD has labels showing what each button does, and there are diagrams available in Fortnite’s help system too. The responsiveness of a Bluetooth controller isn’t on par with a wired game controller, but it’s a big improvement over onscreen controls and paired with an iOS device that can push 60fps, iOS can be an excellent way to play Fortnite.

A full rundown on the latest Fortnite update is available on Epic Games’ website.


Steredenn: Binary Stars Debuts on iOS

French indie game studio Pixelnest debuted Steredenn: Binary Stars on iOS today. The update is a major expansion of the original version of Steredenn that I reviewed over a year and a half ago. Everything I loved about the original game that made it special and an instant classic is present in Binary Stars plus a whole lot more.

Pixelnest has added more ships. Each has unique strengths and weaknesses and a special ability that’s triggered by tapping the top right corner of the screen. That’s a new addition to the game’s control scheme, but it fits naturally with the game’s existing controls making the new abilities easy to pick up even if you are used to the old control scheme.

The new ships aren’t all immediately available though. Instead, they, along with bosses, weapons, and other unique elements are unlocked as you progress through the game adding a sense of progress and incentive to come back and play more.

There are loads of other additions too including new weapons, ship upgrades, and bosses. Like the original, the game's stages are mostly procedurally generated. As in the past that keeps the game feeling fresh throughout no matter how often you're defeated. However, the addition of so many new game elements makes Binary Stars a much deeper game than the original and one that’s sure to grab players’ attention for extended periods.

Binary Stars also features a new unlockable mode called Boss Rush. It’s a weekly challenge similar to the Daily Run that pits players against a variety of bosses and tracks their success on a special leaderboard.

Pixelnest has announced that the studio is being disbanded but that the team will continue to support Steredenn. It’s shame to see Pixelnest wind down, but they leave behind an incredible legacy in Steredenn, which launched to wide critical acclaim on consoles, desktops, and iOS and has gained a loyal following.

If you haven’t tried Steredenn before, now is a great time to jump in because Binary Stars has taken everything that is great about the original game and polished it into an incredibly fun, intense gaming experience that’s ideally suited for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. There's so much new content to explore that players of the original version that haven't picked up the game in a while should dig in again too.

Steredenn: Binary Stars is available on the App Store a free update to existing players of Steredenn and $3.99 for newcomers.


Game Day: Tropico for iPad

Tropico is a franchise that’s been around since 2001, but today marks its first time on an iOS device courtesy of Feral Interactive. Ruling a banana republic in the Caribbean as El Presidente is a natural fit for the iPad’s touch interface. Whether you’re navigating around your island nation or building out its infrastructure, touch makes the interaction with the game’s environment feel natural and tactile in a way that pointing and clicking with a mouse or trackpad can’t. Add a steady pace of challenges to overcome as a leader, and the results are terrific.

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Reigns: Game of Thrones Review

With Game of Thrones on hiatus before its eighth and final season, fans can get their fix of their favorite characters and join in the intrigue with Reigns: Game of Thrones, which was developed by UK-based Nerial and published by Devolver Digital. The announcement of the game in August came as something of a surprise because it’s not often that a media company the size of HBO entrusts the characters and story behind one of its most popular shows to a small independent game studio. At the same time, however, the combination felt like a perfectly natural evolution of the Reigns series. Reigns: Game of Thrones, which was released today, doesn't disappoint.

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The State of Gaming on the Apple TV

Samuel Axon of Ars Technica published an article over the weekend about the state of gaming on Apple TV, inspired by the recent demise of Minecraft on the platform. In it he shares quotes from notable iOS and tvOS game developers about Apple's problems with the Apple TV as a gaming platform.

On the subject of Minecraft, Team Alto developer Ryan Cash said:

"If I were in charge of the game...I think I'd really try to stay there. While the platform certainly isn't the biggest, it continues to grow, and it's a great way for certain types of audiences to experience gaming, often for their first time."

Strange Flavour's CEO Aaron Fothergill expressed similar sentiments, highlighting how easy it is to port a game from iOS to tvOS. He did, however, share one common request for the platform:

"I...like the idea of game controllers (ideally Apple ones) being bundled with the Apple TV as an actual Apple option. So there's an Apple TV being sold specifically for games."

Finally, developer Patrick Hogan shared three things he believes Apple should do:

  • Include an Apple-branded, full-featured controller with every Apple TV.
  • Market the Apple TV as a gaming platform.
  • "Spend a lot of money on funding platform exclusives, ports, and presence at every major gaming expo and conference to break the chicken-egg problem of getting customers to make it viable to devs."

Gaming is clearly an area where Apple could have more success if it wanted to. Producing a controller to bundle with the Apple TV, even if it were just included with certain SKUs of the device, wouldn't be that difficult for the company. Clearly it's just something that the execs in Cupertino don't want to pursue at this time.

It could be challenging bridging the gap between the touch-first games of iOS and potential controller-first titles on the Apple TV, but if Nintendo can walk that line successfully with the Switch, I don't doubt that Apple could do the same. Until such a strategy shift takes place though, Apple TV gaming is likely to remain stuck in mediocrity.

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Panic to Publish Untitled Goose Game by House House in Early 2019 on Switch, Mac, and PC

Panic, well-known in the Apple community for its beautifully-designed Mac and iOS apps, announced today that it is teaming up with Melbourne-based House House to release Untitled Goose Game, which made a splash last fall when it released pre-alpha gameplay footage on YouTube. The game will be published by Panic in early 2019 and be available as a Nintendo Switch exclusive and on the Mac and PC.

This is how Panic describes the game in its press release:

In Untitled Goose Game, it’s a lovely morning in the village and you are a horrible goose. Combining sandbox-style experimentation with slapstick-style schtick, it’s beautiful, puzzling, somewhat stressful, and above all else, funny as heck.

As the trailer below hints, Untitled Goose Game requires players to use a combination of stealth and puzzle-solving skills to complete tasks, while aggravating the humans around them.

Untitled Goose Game was featured by Nintendo today in one of its periodic Nintendo Direct livestreams that highlighted several new indie titles coming to its Switch console in the upcoming months. The game will also be available to Mac and PC users via Steam.

This is House House’s second game, but its first Switch title. In 2016, the studio released Push Me Pull You, on Sony’s PS4 and PCs.

Panic got its start as an indie game publisher with Firewatch, a critically-acclaimed game from Campo Santo that was released in 2016. Cabel Sasser, co-founder of Panic, said of today’s announcement:

We’re crazy excited to work with House House to bring this funny, good-feeling game into a sometimes bad-feeling world. There’s something so nice about the simple joy of laughing and causing mischief that we know will delight video game-playing families everywhere.

Untitled Goose Game has been highly-anticipated since House House released pre-alpha footage late last year. Interest in the game has continued to build throughout 2018. According to Polygon:

…its simple gameplay and undeniably charming style made it one of the standout titles at the Day of the Devs showcase at GDC 2018.

Panic is will be showing off a playable early version of the game this weekend at PAX West in Seattle.

The announcement of Untitled Goose Game as a Switch exclusive further demonstrates the console’s popularity among indie game developers. I’ve been eagerly awaiting Panic’s next move as a game publisher, and the humor and charm of Untitled Goose Game make it feel like a perfect fit for the company.


Game Day: Donut County

Tomorrow, Donut County by developer Ben Esposito will be published by Annapurna Interactive, which also backed the critically-acclaimed Florence. The game, which was announced in 2014, but has been in development since 2012, tells the story of a raccoon named BK, his friend Mira and an assortment of other characters from Donut County who are trapped 999 feet beneath the surface of the Earth. You play by manipulating a hole that grows as you move it across the landscape swallowing objects. If the premise sounds strange, that’s because it is, but it also works through a combination of a clever game mechanic, funny writing, and engaging sound design and artwork.

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