Monument Valley Review: A beautiful journey through an impossible world

Apr 7, 2014

Monument Valley is a work of art.  Its intricate, delicately crafted levels are masterpieces that exceed their M.C. Escher inspirations.  Where Escher designed 2D representations of impossible-yet-operational architecture, Monument Valley opens that idea up to a 3D world that must withstand scrutiny from every angle as well as direct manipulation by the viewer.  Paths that appear elevated and inaccessible from one direction become stepping stones when rotated.  Supporting archways are actually stairs once flipped.  Every part of the towering structures fit together like crisp, fresh out of the box jigsaw pieces, and yet they can be turned and twisted to create dozens of new pictures that are just as unified and smooth.

Monument Valley

Your interaction with these impossible structures is twofold: at times, you will manipulate them directly, turning cranks or sliding pieces of the architecture to achieve tactile, immediate changes.  Other restructurings require characters within the towers themselves to step on buttons to elicit responses, ranging from doors opening to entire sections of the world moving.  All of these actions have one goal: get our protagonist, Ida, to the platform at the end of the stage.

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Get ready to save lives in colourful Android simulation Doctor Life

Apr 6, 2014

Colourful simulation title Doctor Life, which developer WIGU Games released on iOS all the way back in February, is finally available to download for your Android-powered devices from Google Play for a limited-time price of 99c (a saving of 67%).

The first time you fire up Doctor Life, you’re given the keys to your very own medical practice - a small and humble clinic. Your job is to transform this clinic over time into a multi-story hospital that’s large enough to treat hundreds of sick patients at once.

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That’s not your only job, mind.

Each and every patient that enters through the front doors of your hospital will exhibit real-world symptoms. Yep, you guessed it. It’s also your job to correctly diagnose and successfully treat each patient based on their symptoms.

Doctor Life may be colourful, but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. You must act fast to cure your patients and earn excellence awards, and keep an evil tycoon from buying the land that your medical centre sits on.

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Shelter 2 set to test players' parenting skills, this time as a mother Lynx

Apr 5, 2014

Last year, game developer Might and Delight released one of the most emotionally conflicting games I've ever played. Shelter was an adorable little game about raising a little badger family and escorting your cubs through the wilderness. But Shelter also dealt with just how unforgiving and cruel Mother Nature is for cute little animals. I lost one cub in the darkness of the night, never to find it again; I accidently let one cub starve to death as I lost track of which cubs were eating enough; and I watched the rest of them get washed away in a flash flood. I was a horrible badger mother.

Hopefully I'll be a slightly better Lynx mother. Earlier in the week, Might and Delight announced that Shelter 2 will start players off as a pregnant Lynx, working to prepare a den for her incoming babies. One of the biggest differences between the first and second games is that Shelter 2 won't be a linear experience, like its predecessor was. Instead, players will be able to venture out from the den and explore the nearby areas, returning to the den at anytime they wish to. A stamina system is also being added into Shelter 2, perhaps necessitating timely returns to the den after a set amount of time out exploring. 

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MIND: Path to Thalamus is one gorgeous first-person puzzler

Apr 5, 2014

PC

The recently revealed MIND: Path to Thalamus is not the sort of game you'd expect from the game developer behind the popular "Warcelona" Left for Dead 2 campaign. There are no hordes of zombies trampling over one another to attack the player, or frantic gun fights in between burnt out cars and looted buildings. In fact, MIND: Path to Thalamus is essentially the polar opposite of Warcelona, as far as that game's setting is concerned.

MIND: Path to Thalamus is a first-person puzzle game that puts players in control of the elements in order to solve the game's environmental puzzles. The game is currently in development for PC, and the developer, Carlos Coronado, has announced plans to bring the game to the Oculus Rift platform.

"I am planning to bring this game to Oculus Rift," Coronado explained on the game's Steam Greenlight page. " I think this game will be perfect for the Oculus because the gameplay is not fast or requires high flash skills or accuracy in your movement."

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This Week in China: Whale watching

Apr 4, 2014

When you develop free-to-play games, a lot of your time is spent playing Moby Dick. Your business can live or die by the elusive whale – a gamer who’s willing to spend money in your game, and spend big. In China, the story is no different. That’s why it’s so great to get some insight into what whales in the Chinese market look like, which is something we do this week.

Thanks again to Laohu.com, the Beijing-based site that graciously provides a roundup of China’s gaming news every week for the Gamezebo audience. To learn more about the Chinese gaming scene, be sure to give Laohu.com a read.

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Chaos Fighters Review: Lots of chaos, little fighting

Apr 4, 2014

Considering that we live in a time of virtually non-stop sensory overload, Chaos Fighters is a mobile RPG that’s well suited for right now. Coco Entertainment has managed to craft a game where your anime-styled fighters always has something to do – and so will you, thanks to its dizzying array of ways to power up your characters. It’s stylish, to be sure, but there’s a lack of steak beneath the sizzle that keeps it from achieving its full potential.

Fans of JRPG humor and character designs will best appreciate the game’s opening, which explains why there’s chaos to be fought, and the scantily clad female assistant who guides you through your first steps into combat and character progression. As it turns out, the latter is considerably more involved than the former.

Chaos Fighters

More precisely, combat in Chaos Fighters is a spectator sport. The preparation is everything, from choosing your fighters mix of skills from a selection that grows as he or she levels up, to making sure your gear is upgraded and as maxed out on stats as possible. Once the battles start, there’s nothing you can do to influence the outcome, as the AI plays both sides according to the percentage chances that special abilities will activate and the attributes and stats that govern their basic attacks.

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How to get a Canadian iTunes account

Apr 4, 2014

iPhone and iPad games sometimes launch early in specific regions – usually for those lucky ragamuffins living Canada, New Zealand or Australia. Many online-centric mobile games dance the staggered release routine to stress test servers and catch various other problems before launching in countries like the ol’ U.S. of A.

Not to fret, dear readers. Much like subsidized health insurance, you too can experience the same wonders as Canada just by setting up a spare Apple ID on your iDevice of choice with these few simple steps. These instructions will work on any free-to-play game in any country you may need, though Canada seems the region of choice for most developers.

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Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff hits mobile April 10

Apr 3, 2014

Isn’t it surprising that Family Guy has made it past the 200-episode mark without an official mobile game? TinyCo has been working with the voice cast from the long-running animated show and the brand experts at Fox Digital Entertainment to rectify this oversight, and the fruits of their labor will be available to all next week when Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff launches for iOS and Android on April 10.

Using the latest, particularly destructive donnybrook between Peter Griffin and Ernie The Giant Chicken as a backdrop, the game asks you to direct the Griffin family and their friends in an effort to rebuild Quahog. If that sounds like it’ll have builder elements, you’re probably on the right track.

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Heroine's Quest Walkthrough

Apr 3, 2014

Heroine’s Quest is a point-and-click adventure and RPG hybrid created by Crystal Shard.  In this game, you will guide a Heroine through a Norse mythology-themed world as she completes quests and saves Midgard from eternal winter.  Gamezebo’s walkthrough will provide you with detailed images, tips, information, and hints on how to play your best game. 

Heroine's Quest

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11 bit studios puts the shoe on the other foot with Anomaly Defenders

Apr 3, 2014

Well, now we’ve done it. By we, I mean humans, and by done it, I mean we’ve taken the fight directly to the aliens responsible for invading Earth in the Anomaly series of tower offense games from 11 bit studios. For the final installment, Anomaly Defenders, there’s only one thing left to do: flip everything around.

Not only will you be playing as the aliens this time, you’ll be doing so in what 11 bit calls the “first ever Reverse Tower Offense game.” You may also know it as tower defense, but perhaps that’s just a matter of semantics.

In any case, you’ll have to master eight types of towers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses against different human units. Research in various tech trees will allow upgrades to the damage, armor or critical hit chances of your towers, and since the humans are determined invaders, you’ll have to make tactical decisions in real time instead of sitting there and letting your towers do all the work.

Without learning from what 11 bit assures us will be repeated failures, the aliens will die, and apparently we care about that now. Anomaly Defenders is coming for smartphones, tablets and PC later this spring, and if you still need a reason to be properly motivated to fight against your own species, the first trailer should put you in the proper frame of mind.

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