Author Archives: Joseph Leray


Final Release Version of Mojang's Card Battler 'Scrolls' Expected Late Next Month

A small team in Mojang’s studio in Stockholm, Sweden has been quietly and unassumingly developing Scrolls, a card-based tactics battler, for over three years, always seemingly overshadowed by something else. First, always and inescapably, by Minecraft [$6.99], a world-conqueringly massive phenomenon that grabs attention like a black hole grabs light. In 2012, the game was the subject of a trademark dispute with Bethesda Softworks, who argued that the title infringed on their Elder Scrolls series. The lawsuit was settled and Scrolls moved into open beta last year, without much fanfare. Microsoft’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion once again dominates any discussion about the studio or its games...

'Assassin's Creed Identity' Soft-Launches in New Zealand and Australia, Promising Authentic 'AC' Gameplay on Mobile

Remember earlier this summer when Ubisoft sneakily soft-launched Assassin's Creed Memories [Free] in New Zealand and Australia, with nary an announcement or trailer beforehand? Earlier this morning, they employed that same baffling strategy with another new title: Assassin's Creed Identity is currently free (with in-app purchases) for anyone with an iPhone living in Oceania (or pretending to)...

Subway Planning is Surprisingly Fun in 'Mini Metro,' Coming to iOS Later This Year

When I was in the eighth grade, a city planner came to my pre-algebra class to talk about the mathematics involved in managing traffic lights. He gave a series of problems and asked us to find ways to shuffle the maximum number of cars through a given intersection quickly and safely. Even the most basic questions were surprisingly complex and way beyond my group of hormone-addled pre-teens...

'Valiant Hearts: The Great War' Review - In the Trenches

One of my favorite poems in the English language canon has, ironically, a Latin title: "Dulce et Decorum est." In it, English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen tells his audience that, had they seen the chlorine-tinged carnage of trench warfare first hand, they..

The internet is sometimes an exhaustingly terrible place, but one of its redeeming qualities (for our purposes, at least) is that it's made making video games easier than ever. Another tool of this democratization might be inklewriter, a suite of interactive fiction tools developed by Inkle Studios. Inkle, you'll recall, are the dudes responsible for some of the best gamebooks on the App Store, like Socery! 2 [$4.99], 80 Days [$4.99], and most recently, Down Among the Dead Men [$0.99]...

You may remember Sunburn!, the sickly-sweet puzzle game about launching a crew of stranded astronauts with a suicide pact into a nearby star. I first wrote about the game last month, but the premise still makes me a little queasy if I think about it too long...

Mojang Is Slashing the Price of 'Scrolls' Before Its Upcoming iPad Release

Scrolls — the hex-tiled collectible card battler and the subject of a hilariously asinine lawsuit — cost $20.95 when it was put into open beta last year. However, the development team at Mojang are gearing up for an iPad release later this fall and have announced that they'll be slashing the game's price to a cool $5...

Victorian-Era Strategy Game 'Antihero' Lets You Stab, Sneak, and Steal Your Way to the Top, Next Year

I'm not particularly good at strategy games or asynchronous multiplayer — supply lines and terrain and Panzers are beyond me — so I can't do much but turn my nose up at the 4X genre's creeping renaissance on the App Store. There's a reason those old Kriegsspiele were designed for officers and not infantry...

According to a forum post by Blizzard community manager "Zeriyah," upcoming balance changes for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft [Free (HD)] will affect the Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard cards. This update, planned for September 22, will raise Leeroy's mana cost from 4 to 5. The Starving Buzzard, meanwhile, will have its mana cost raised from 2 to 5, and its stat line raise from 2 health, 1 attack to 3 health, 2 attack...

Low Poly Environmental God Game 'Biome' Coming to iOS Next Year

Biome is an upcoming environmental toy from the trio of developers that make up the fledgling studio known as Knick Knack. All angular polygons and electric greens and blues, Biome lets you "explore and transform the world as you play, unbound by goals or directives," as described on the website...

Microsoft announced earlier this morning that it had acquired Mojang — and Minecraft right along with it — for a cool $2.5 billion. The acquisition is expected to be finalized later this year, and Mojang's three co-founders, including Markus "Notch" Persson, are leaving the company...

As if they weren't busy enough, Harmonix Music Systems recently signed a publishing deal with Tilting Point to bring multiple new games to mobile devices. Tilting Point, to jog your memory, is a mobile publishing and marketing team known for projecting its game trailers onto the walls of Gothic Revival mansions...

1930's Heist Game 'Calvino Noir' Will Sneak onto iOS Later This Year

Daniel Walters and Ceri Williams, the duo behind Micro Macro Games' gorgeous and unfortunately overlooked Morphopolis [$3.99], are working on a stealth-slash-heist game due for the App Store later this year...

The cooperative element of Lucky Frame's new puzzle-roguelike The Nightmare Cooperative [$3.99] reveals itself after a few quick crawls through the game's tile-floored dungeon. Your party of up to four Miners, Archers, and Warriors moves as a single entity, sliding up, down, right, and left in unison with each swipe of your finger. With these strictures in place, its your job to guide your ragged band through 16-odd levels littered with wolves, pits, yetis, and executioners carrying gilded pitchforks. ..

If you're a casual Hearthstone [Free (HD)] player that's been side-eyeing the "Curse of Naxxramas" expansion, you should act quickly to snag the first section: the Arachnid Quarter has been free since release, but that promotion only lasts until the end of the month. Come September 1, the price will jump to 700 in-game gold or $6.99, the same as the other four areas...