Author Archives: Carter Dotson


Stugan Game Accelerator Returns for 2016; First Game from 2015, '_Prism', Set to Release

Stugan launched its first "games accelerator" program in 2015, inviting a small group of game developers, all expenses paid, to work on their games in a cabin in the Swedish countryside over the summer. All the while, they were getting mentoring from notable games industry figures such as Jens Bergensten, lead developer on a mildly successful indie game known as Minecraft [$6.99]. Stugan is returning for a second year, with mentors including Bergensten, Tommy Palm (former designer on Candy Crush Saga [Free]), Rovio Stockholm general manager Oskar Burman, and more. The applications for developers are open through March 31, 2016, and developers who participate keep all rights to the games they work on...

'All is Lost' Releases This Week, Just as Foursaken Media Said

When developers make a release date estimate, it's best to try and stick to it. After all, delays are disappointing. And as the FNAF World fiasco shows, releasing too early is a problem, too. Thankfully, Foursaken Games is going to hit it right on the button with the release of All is Lost. They said it would release in early February, and today they announced that All is Lost is going to release on February 4th, which is this Thursday. That's early February, and in fact is the very first Thursday of February, meaning that if this was PolitiFact, their release date claim would rate as True. Good job, Foursaken Media...




'A Short Tale' is the Punny New Game from the Developers of 'Forever Lost'

Glitch Games, creators of the Forever Lost trilogy, including last year's Forever Lost Episode 3 [$3.99 / $6.99], are releasing a new point-and-click adventure game next week on February 11th, called A Short Tale. Is it a reference about the length of the game? Not necessarily, as Glitch Games is promising a "large" world to explore. It's just that you're a tiny person in a normal-sized world, so everything seems huge. That's why it's a A Short Tale...

Sega Soft Launches English Language Version of 'War Pirates: Heroes of the Sea'

If you enjoy yourself some free-to-pirate games, by which I mean free-to-play games where you're a pirate, and not the "copyright violation" kind, well, Sega's got a game for you. They've soft-launched War Pirates: Heroes of the Sea in the Philippines, where you'll be battling your armada of ships against other plucky pirates in the Pirate Isles. You'll be able to recruit an army of 70 different pirates to battle, boasting different abilities, with timing of those abilities and your cannon fire being necessary to achieve pirate supremacy. The game originally released in Japan, and here's some footage of some Japanese YouTubers engaging in some piracy, though this soft launch is for the English-language version of the game:..

Nitrome's 'Ultimate Briefcase' Blasts to the App Store This Week

Nitrome's showing signs of getting off to its usual blistering release pace here in 2016, after the anticipated Rust Bucket [Free] update, and now the release of their first published game Ultimate Briefcase this week. The game was made by a third-party studio in Quite Fresh, but is helmed by a former Nitrome artist, so the game does fit into the Nitrome portfolio even if it actually does some things different from other Nitrome games...

'Card Thief' is the 'Dungeon Raid'-Inspired Followup to 'Card Crawl'

Tinytouchtales is making a followup to the fantastic and successful Card Crawl [$2.99], called Card Thief. This will be designed around the same solitaire card game principles, but will be centered around stealth gameplay of drawing paths, trying to avoid dangerous cards on a 3x3 grid, with influences from Sage Solitaire [Free] and Dungeon Raid [$1.99]...

Kingston's HyperX brand has largely been known for gamer-targeted, performance-focused computer components, but HyperX has started jumping into the gaming headset buiness recently, and with smashing results. The HyperX Cloud and Cloud II, priced at $79.99 and $99.99, are among the few well-regarded gaming headsets in the audiophile community in their price range. The headsets have good noise isolation, good sound for gaming, are remarkably comfortable, boast durable metal construction, and have detachable microphones. The Cloud II differs from the Cloud I in that it comes with a memory foam headband, and a 7.1 USB DAC for virtual surround sound. As well, the Cloud Core for $59.99 at Gamestop cuts out some of the optional acessories such as the travel pouch and optional earpads. ..

PAX South 2016: 'Warbits' Brings 'Advance Wars'-Inspired Turn-Based Strategy to iOS Soon

So, Warbits has been in the works for a long time now – we wrote about it back in 2014, and it's been in development for about 4 years now. But it's finally nearing completion, and it's looking really, really impressive. It's very much inspired by and a streamlining of the influential turn-based strategy game Advance Wars – many of the systems and unit types directly resemble ones from that game. Plus, the whole thing has a quirky and humorous feel to it, with robots arguing about whether ketchup goes on scrambled eggs. The villains say yes, and frankly, I agree. Hot sauce on scrambled eggs is good too, but sometimes I like some ketchup on there. But there's a reason why I'm the villainous Carter Dotson, after all...

PAX South 2016: Finji's 'Runaway Toad' Has You Escaping a Princess with a Blimp

Finji Games' booth was full of PC games that they're publishing, but they haven't forgotten about mobile at all. Adam Saltsman of the studio showed me Runaway Toad, an endless platformer where you play as a toad escaping a very possessive princess trying to find the one toad that's actually a prince – seriously, she will come after you with a blimp. You can tap to charge up a hop jump, trying to land on platforms safely. You can pick up powerups that will let you flap in midair, get a longer aiming line, or have a friendly hippo save you if you land in the water. It's rather fun, and plays remarkably well at this point, with the game hopefully releasing in March as a paid game...

PAX South 2016: 'Looty Dungeon' Lets You Cross Dungeons as a Catapult

Taco Illuminati showed off their game Looty Dungeon to me at PAX South 2016, and while it immediately conjures up visions of the fun The Quest Keeper [Free], and while it's definitely cut from the same cloth of "dungeon crawling Crossy Road [Free] game," it does some have some differences. Namely, there are several dozen characters each with their own abilities. And the characters are definitely cut from a humorous cloth. Like, you can unlock a catapult to play as, and by tapping-and-holding on the screen, can fire a powerful boulder two squares in any direction...

PAX South 2016: 'Deckbound Heroes' is a Curious CCG with a Cross-Game Card Collection

Deckbond Heroes is a CCG that lets you see what cards your opponent is playing, seeing what abilities they might have to play against you, and the cooldowns of the ones they can't play right now, allowing for a different form of strategization. You're fighting for outposts that allow you to do direct damage to the opponent, though these wear down as you attack them, and can be rendered unusable, or potentially revived with the right cards and abilities. You're playing best 2 out of 3 rounds to knock your opponent down to 0 health, but outpost status remains between rounds. Maybe you lose a round, but you might have a good position for the match...

Versus Evil had another mobile game to show off besides the CCG, Eternal that was sharing booth space with them; Like a Boss is an action-RPG that hopes to take the MMO and flip it on its head. You essentially play as a raid boss, fighting off waves of incoming heroes. The demo starts you off as a big bad boss, fighting until the raid takes you out, letting you sample some of the abilities you get in the game. The full game will have you choosing from a few different character classes to trounce puny heroes as, along with missions where you'll even have to help out other bosses against those pesky adventurers. Heroes deserve nothing good. ..

PAX South 2016: 'Crush Your Enemies' Promises to be a Brutally Good Time

We found out about Vile Monarch's Crush Your Enemies the other day, and the game was playable on the PAX South 2016 show floor. The game was publicly on PC but an iPad build was available, giving me the opportunity to see how this pixelated RTS would play. And it can prove to be quite brutal: the first few missions will ease you into the game and teach you how the systems work. You'll learn how to multiply your units, switch between more powerful types, conquer territory, and more. Right now, the only issue is that you can choose between different amounts of units to send at once, and it could be a bit more intuitive to select between the three as you choose their path...

PAX South 2016: 'Eternal' Puts its Own Spin on the 'Hearthstone'-Style CCG

The CCG genre has never been more popular, and talking to some folks, there's a bit of animosity toward Hearthstone [Free] right now, so the field is wide open for anyone competing for that CCG love. Eternal, developed by Dire Wolf Digital and published by Versus Evil (Update: Eternal is self-published, the game was merely sharing space with Versus Evil at their booth) , is another CCG that'll have you battling against opponents. The game is in pretty good shape at the moment, as they had the cross platform multiplayer already working: I played a multiplayer match against a developer playing on a PC while I was on an iPad...

PAX South 2016: 'Heroes Must Die' is a Real Game...and a Real Play?!

So here's something you probably haven't heard before: Heroes Must Die is a game that features a sequel...that will be staged as an interactive play. Seriously. The game will have you playing as a hero who winds up working for a villainous boss, fighting in battles on hex grids – that's right, this is a real game – where you must combo through enemies of the same element type, with the ability to hit enemies as you pass, so you have to be smart with the paths you take. Here's the combat in action:..

PAX South 2016: 'Den vänstra handens stig' is a Game of Black Metal and Blood Sacrifice

Newmark Software, maker of the absurd Hyperemesis Pizza [$1.99 (HD)] Den vänstra handens stig sounds a lot like a black metal album title, and, well, that's a conscious decision: the game is heavily inspired by black metal art and music. I don't even know if you could call it a 'game', necessarily: there's an AI who is going on a journey and trying to reach a goal. It is learning and failing on the way, but it will eventually reach its goal in a few hours. You can stop it by drawing a sigil on the screen, forcing it to lay down and quit, forgetting all it has learned and starting all over again. So, the 'game' is in seeing how long you want this journey to last, and if you want the AI to complete its journey...

The fine folks at Super Evil Megacorp just announced this morning some new happenings around the Vainglory [Free] eSports scene and some contet that's coming in 1.14. Well, at PAX South this morning I got to play with the new hero, Ozo. He's a very interesting fighter because if you can upgrade to him to where two of his three abilities – a 3-hit combo attack and a triple jump combo – can be used constantly in battle, keeping you constantly active and targeting enemies in combat. His triple jump can wreck enemy minions as his third jump does splash damage, with his third ability, a Sonic-style spin attack, able to attack heroes. He's a fun one, and with 1.14 set to hit in early February, you'll get to play with him soon...

Talking a lot about Vainglory [Free] recently has me curious as to what the future of it and games like it, versus something like Supercell's take on MOBA/CCG multiplayer in Clash Royale, will look like. On one hand, I really like the idea of Vainglory. I like the idea of mobile being the home of not just games that you can play while on the bus or on the toilet, but being the home to any sort of game. I like that you have a game you can play on your iPad for hours on end. I think that most mobile games should keep in mind that a significant portion of the audience is going to be playing them while bored for a few minutes or while they're on the toilet, yes. And even lengthy games should be set up to where someone can drop it for something more pressing with ease. This can even be done in multiplayer games, like the way Call of Champions [Free] instantly subs in bots. Also, not everyone has or wants a PC to game on. There's an audience out there that doesn't mind playing big, long games on their tablets because that's the one form of gaming that they have available to them...

The incredibly fun and well-designed Rust Bucket [Free] by Nitrome was just missing one thing in my estimation, as I said in my review: more fixed levels to play with once you beat the quasi-tutorial's 10 levels. And more were indeed teased through a locked menu on the screen, but they were not to be had quite yet. Thankfully, the teased level pack is finally here, and Rust Bucket has 10 additional levels to play through. These introduce new mechanics, but because you're also playing with things that you've already messed around with, you'll be mixing old knowledge with new. The new levels are pretty challenging, and it's worth jumping back into this update...

'Momoka: An Interplanetary Adventure' Review - It Ain't Pretty, But It's Great Fun

From the first time I saw it, Momoka [$6.99] always had me a bit on edge. It looked cool, but something about the game's production values always seemed to leave me feeling like this could be a mediocre game. The visuals felt like they were on the wrong side between ugly and intentional low fidelity. Something about the way characters moved and operated left me feeling like this could be what could be succinctly summarized as a janky game. Janky games are frustrating, because they could and should be great, but often get in the way of themselves with things like bugs, poor controls, and ill-advised design decisions. Momoka certainly flirts with jankiness, and has some rough edges that make it not the smoothest experience ever, no. But it's constructed so well, that its flaws stay out of the way of this fantastic Metroidvania platformer...