This week's sponsor

iMazing

Take control of your iPhone data


Posts tagged with "games"

Panic Reveals Plans to Sell a Handheld Gaming System Called Playdate in 2020

Panic, well-known for its thoughtfully-designed Mac and iOS apps, has announced that it's entering the hardware market with a portable gaming system called Playdate, which will ship in early 2020 and cost $149. This isn't Panic's first foray into the game industry. With the release of the hit indie game Firewatch in 2016, the company became a game publisher. Later this year, Panic will publish the highly-anticipated Untitled Goose Game on the Nintendo Switch. Still, creating hardware is something altogether different for Panic.

Playdate is a diminutive handheld device with hardware and software features that distinguish it from any other handheld on the market. The bright yellow handheld system is just 74mm  ×  76mm  ×  9mm, which is roughly three inches square and a little thicker than an iPhone XS.

Read more


Game Day: Rolando Rolls Back Onto the App Store

Today, HandCircus, the creator of Rolando, has released an excellent remastered version of the classic iOS game called Rolando: Royal Edition.

If you were playing iOS games in the early days of the App Store, you are probably familiar with Rolando. The game wasn’t on the Store day one but came a few months later at the end of 2008.

Rolando was one of the early break-out hits on the App Store. The game was downloaded by millions of fans worldwide who loved its colorful, round characters. Rolando was also one of the first games to incorporate the iPhone’s accelerometer into its gameplay in a way that was tightly integrated with the game instead of feeling gimmicky.

However, the original game was a victim of Apple’s 2017 transition to a 64-bit architecture. Although many cherished classics were updated in time, a large number of games fell by the wayside. Until today, one of the most beloved of those titles was Rolando.

Read more


Apple Arcade: Our Overview of Apple’s New Gaming Subscription Service

Today at the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple detailed a variety of services it plans to launch from now through the end of the year. In addition to the expected services for video, news, and an iOS-integrated credit card, perhaps the event's biggest surprise was Apple Arcade, a gaming subscription service debuting this fall. Apple Arcade will feature no games currently on the App Store, but will instead serve as the only way you can play 100+ new games on iOS.

Read more


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.

Permalink

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.

Read more


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.

Read more