Author Archives: Carter Dotson


PAX Prime 2015: 'Minecraft Story Mode' Seems Great, but Will Minecraft Fans Love It?

Sometimes, a game is exactly what it seems like it would be on the tin. Minecraft Story Mode sounded a lot like it would be a mixture of the familiar Telltale narrative and gameplay tropes with the world of Minecraft [$6.99]. How exactly that combination would come together would be a good question, but after playing a demo of the game at PAX Prime 2015, I have to say – this seems rather promising. It's already rather thrilling, and Telltale is at least using the world to tell an original story centered around the experience...

Eon Altar isn't a mobile game. But it's got a super-cool mobile integration where you can use mobile devices to play the game. It's a quasi-turn-based RPG, where you and 3 other players battle against waves of enemies, and you control your character and battle while controlling it on your mobile device, seeing the results on the TV. You can move around during non-combat phases, with the ability to use friendly abilities during battle, before eventually going into battles. Each player controls a unique character with their own set of abilities. Some attacks and abilities have cooldown and energy costs, with energy being regained by doing damage with standard attacks. If an enemy attacks you, you are engaged with them, and can only attack them, but otherwise you can choose which enemy to attack. But be wary if you have area-of-effect abilities: some of them can do friendly fire damage. ..




PAX Prime 2015: 'Riptide GP: Renegade' Won't be Mobile First, but it's Still Mobile Jet Ski Racing

My initial reaction to finding out that Vector Unit was showing off Riptide GP: Renegade at PAX Prime, but for consoles, was to say "Et tu, Vector Unit?" But not so fast, my friend – I met with the developers of Riptide GP 2 [$0.99] and Hydro Thunder Hurricane, and they confirmed that they have far from abandoned mobile – in fact, Riptide GP: Renegade will be coming to mobile very shortly after the game launces on consoles...

PAX Prime 2015: Rocketcat Games is Closer to Finishing 'Death Road to Canada', 'Dad by the Sword', and 'Five Card Quest'

Death Road to Canada is coming! It seriously is still happening despite extensive delays; I played it at the Rocketcat booth at PAX Prime 2015! This was another game that was demoed on PC with a controller, but as it's running on the Punch Quest [Free] engine and uses just movement and 3 action buttons, it should be an ideal mobile fit – Kepa Auwae says that you can expect Wayward Souls [$6.99] style controls. And speaking of that, expect an update with new stuff like the Paladin character class (with a brutal new mode) along with the PC version of Wayward Souls in January or so. ..

PAX Prime 2015: 'VA-11 HALL-A' is Yet Another Cyberpunk Waifu Bartending Simulation

VA-11 HALL-A is kind of an odd one. It's a bartending simulator meets a visual novel somewhere in a cyberpunk dystopia. You play as the bartender at the bar pronounced Vallhalla. If you're looking for a very "game-like" game here, you may be disappointed as this is really a story and dialogue-driven experience. Your interaction is limited is figuring out how to make the drinks based on various instructions, but the meat of the game is the storytelling and the experience. The demo at PAX Prime had our bartender interacting with Streaming-chan, a woman who is constantly streaming her life on the internet. You have limited choices – you can, for example, make her a super-strong drink when she leaves the option up to you and pry very personal info out of her, or make her a weaker drink and keep her on guard. Well, as on guard as a person livestreaming 24/7 can be. There's an ingredient that is often optional, and your usage of it can affect how much your clients get drunk. There's the promise of branching storylines, influenced by the drinks you make and how your customers react to them...

Vainglory [Free] is trucking along with more content being added to the game regularly, with a new character being added, and a big structural change to online ranks and their upcoming resets. Skye is the latest character, and is a tribute to the Korean style of Vainglory play, which is very high-risk and aggressive, according to Super Evil Megacorp. Skye can target lock on to enemies, with the ability to use a strafe fire attack, the ability to quickly teleport around her target, and to drop a large barrage of missiles from the sky. She rewards reading the battles and how your teammates are doing in a fight, as she can wipe out multiple opponents at once, or be wiped out in a blaze of glory. She definitely represents a unique character among the roster currently available. Expect to play as her soon...

PAX Prime: 'Mushroom 11' Will Come to Mobile...and Should be Best on Mobile

One of the issues with being one of the few mobile-exclusive journalists out there comes at convention time. There's a lot of games that it can be difficult to tell if they're mobile or not based on just seeing them being demoed on a desktop with a controller. And there's another big factor in play, too: PAX Prime is very much a gamer culture event. And gamer culture doesn't care much for mobile games. So unless you have something like, say, Nova Blitz, which is a card game that actually is probably ideal to demo on tablets as they do, and is something established on another platform. This leads to comical moments where I can play a game and realize "this would be perfect on mobile, if not better." Mushroom 11 was one of those games...

PAX Prime 2015: NetEase's 'Eternal Arena' Combines MOBAs with Action-RPG Structure

NetEase is definitely keeping busy. The Chinese publisher is expanding rapidly into the US, and their presence at PAX Prime 2015 had them showing off the recently-released Speedy Ninja [Free], along with a few other games, including a pair of artsy puzzle games that will be free without IAP...

PAX Prime 2015: 'Antihero' is 'Hero Academy' Meets 4X Strategy

The name Antihero is certainly ironic, as it draws immediate inspiration from Hero Academy [Free]. I got a demo of the game on iPad at PAX Prime 2015, and it needs to be on your radar. The premise of the game is that you are commanding a team of Victorian rapscallions who are trying to defeat their opponent by getting 3 victory points on the mean streets of Victorian England. To do so, you can attain points by assassinating targets, by taking over a church with urchin units to gain a victory point that can be lost, or by buying a victory point if you have the currency to do so. ..

PAX Prime 2015: 'Blade: Sword of Elysion', 'Chronoblade', and the Free-to-Play Action-RPG Formula

My PAX Prime 2015 was particularly nutty thanks to my only being there for Saturday and Sunday, and trying to squeeze in as many meetings as I could without dying running around the byzantine labyrinth that is the Washington State Convention Center. But thanks to a scheduling quirk, I had a couple of meetings back-to-back to check out a couple of hack 'n slash action-RPGs in Blade: Sword of Elysion and Chronoblade, and it really brought to light just how much the free-to-play formula is causing these games to become not bad, but just way too similar...

PAX Prime 2015: 'Dungelot Shattered Lands' is Fun, but Could it be More Fun When Streaming the Game?

The eclectic and increasingly prolific publisher tinyBuild Games has a busy slate in the coming months, and that includes a few interesting mobile games. PAX Prime 2015 saw them showing off the next Dungelot game from Red Winter Software, Dungelot: Shattered Lands. The demo they had on hand at PAX Prime 2015 showed that there would be more of the game's Minesweeper-style tile-uncovering and monster-battling action – and as a premium game this time around – with new elements like crafting involved. It's familiar but instantly pretty fun, and promises to be a deeper experience than the previous 2 games in the series. One cool thing that's coming to the desktop version of the game is integration with Twitch where viewers can interact with the game and influence the events that happen to the streamer. tinyBuild wants this to come to mobile, it is only a question in a technical capacity of how to do so, and they are reaching out to try and make this a reality. ..

To be blunt, I've never really played Magic The Gathering to any significant degree to understand it on more than a surface "this is a collectable card game" level. But based on a demo of Magic: the Gathering - Puzzle Quest at PAX Prime 2015, it seems like fans of the long-running card game franchise have something to look forward to here. Expect a structure very similar to Marvel Puzzle Quest [Free], but with MtG premise and rules, where you actually roll in to battle with your hero character and a deck of cards you can summon and use in battle by making your gem matches on the puzzle board. Summoned creatures will attack other creatures and eventually the opposing hero, with the goal being to run down their health. ..

PAX Prime 2015: 'Galak-Z: Variant Mobile' Shows Promise, but Raises Questions

It was a bit of a surprise when Galak-Z was anounced for mobile, just because it didn't seem like the kind of game that would land on mobile, but I welcome developers trying to bring their cool games to mobile whenever possible. GungHo, the publisher of 17-Bit's mobile adaptation of the game, retitled Galak-Z: Variant Mobile, had an early playable version at their booth, and it certainly seems like something to keep an eye on. This is a roguelike-style action game, where you command a space fighter that uses Asteroids-esque thrusting mechanics to fly around and blast baddies, complete with objectives to play through in the procedurally-generated world. Dungeons exist as things like abandoned space stations, and often have upgrades if you complete the objectives within. ..

PAX Prime 2015: Versus Evil Demos Impressive Roguelike 'Bedlam' and 'The Banner Saga 2'

Publisher Versus Evil had a bunch of games at PAX Prime 2015, and while none were demoing on mobile specifically, a couple of games based on the engine for The Banner Saga [$9.99] are on their way to mobile, with Bedlam and The Banner Saga 2, and the development of Guild of Dungeoneering continues onward, with a mobile version in the future...

One of the best games of 2014, Out There [$1.99], got an update not long ago adding new visuals, music, and a bunch of new content in its "Omega Edition" update. And now, if you've wanted to play the game for yourself at a way-too-cheap price, well, the game's on sale for $1.99 this weekend. Definitely pick it up at that price – it was a fantastic game even before the new content was added in...

'Adventure Roller Skates' Has a New Name, 'Raider Rush', and a Release Date

Adventure Roller Skates is a game we and especially Jared here at TA have been excited to play. But if you too are excited to play Adventure Roller Skates, well, I have bad news: you can't play Adventure Roller Skates, ever. That's because the game has gotten a name change to Raider Rush. Gotcha! Egg and your face were in alignment. ..

tinyBuild Games' Divide by Sheep [$2.99] was definitely an interesting little puzzle game when it first released, straddling the line between being a casual math puzzler with a cute look, with challenging puzzles and a surprisingly-gory macabre theme. If you haven't checked this one out yet, and you've been meaning to, well, now's as good a time as ever, as the game has just gotten its 5th world in the latest update, along with a cool $0.99 sale price...

Did you miss Adventures of Pip [$9.99] when it was $4.99 at launch? Well, while I think the game is worth $14.99 since it's a good platformer and that's what the game is worth on other platforms, I'm here to tell you about an opportunity to both pay an above-average price for a mobile game and still get a discount. Because Adventures of Pip is in the PAX 10, the developers at Tic Toc Games have put the game on sale for $9.99 for the weekend. No one knows when the game will be on sale again, so if you want the game for less than $14.99...do it now...

'Horizon Chase' Review - What's Old is New Again

Aquiris Game Studio was on a mission with Horizon Chase [$2.99]. They wanted to recreate classic racing games like Outrun, Top Gear, Jaguar XJ220, and others from the late-1980s and early-1990s, even getting the Top Gear composer, Barry Leitch, to create the soundtrack for the game. And oh, did they knock it out of the park. They've created a game that spectacularly recreates the feel of the racing games of 25 years ago, while abandoning the annoying aspects of those games, creating this wonderful hybrid that shows that they managed to create their dream game...

'Hecticube' is Like Reverse Pong with Bullets, Releasing Next Month

Graham Reid has announced a release date and revealed a new trailler for his upcoming game Hecticube. This is a one-or-two player game with same device multiplayer that can be best described as reverse Pong meets Dual [Free] – perhaps ignoring that Dual recently got a Pong-inspired mode. But the core here is that you're trying not to have your paddle hit the ball bouncing around the levels. If it hits you three times, it's game over. Thankfully you have the ability to shoot a bunch of shots; you can fire two different shots at a time, with the ability to fire one big shot by tapping-and-holding...