Hellraid: The Escape draws inspiration from The Room

Apr 2, 2014

One of my absolute favorite games on mobile is the first-person escape-puzzler, The Room. We were lucky enough to get a sequel recently, but there's still a dearth of such games, perfectly tuned to touchscreens as they are.

Hellraid: The Escape has a silly name, but when a press release specifically cites The Room as influence, I'm willing to overlook a lot of things.

Perhaps it's best the name is silly. The game itself certainly doesn't look serious, what with the autonomous, disembodied eyeball in front of the May 5, 2014 release date in the trailer. The Escape (which, by itself, may be a better name) is tied to the upcoming PC/console hack-and-slash game Hellraid from Techland.

Techland is the team behind Call of Jaurez and Dead Island, if you didn't know. The studio can be very hit (like Call of Jaurez: Gunslinger) or miss (like Call of Jaurez: The Cartel). 

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Dungeon of the Endless Preview: Roguelike isn't a dirty word

Apr 2, 2014

I hate the word ‘roguelike.’ Judging by the recent adoption of new phrases like ‘YOLO’ and ‘procedural death labyrinth,’ it seems I’m not alone in this (though it’s not exactly like that last one rolls off the tongue, either). Regardless of how I feel about the terms we use to describe it though, I very much like what the genre represents: the challenge of outdoing your own personal best.

Dungeon of the Endless is very much a roguelike at its heart – you’ll face procedurally generated stages, plenty of treasure discovery, and permanent death – but it manages to bring something new to the genre that gives it a truly unique appeal: controlling multiple characters at once.

Dungeon of the Endless

Rather than controlling a single hero in a “fight or die” scenario, players start with two characters to swap between and will uncover more as they proceed deeper and deeper into the game. With different skillsets and upgrades, players will balance their time between both, employing tactics that will make or break them.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – I haven’t even told you what Dungeon of the Endless is about!

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How the Games Industry Tried to Fool You Today

Apr 1, 2014

If you haven't already noticed, it's April Fool's Day. Whether you figured it out by now from a bogus news article, a text from your Uncle telling you he's won the lottery, or even or our shenanigans at Gamezebo, the day is celebrated around the world as a day of kind-hearted trickery. Like Halloween but with no treats, April Fool's Day is celebrated by pretty much everyone, —from the science industry to the snack industry, no one is safe.

Gamers are certainly not excluded from the fun, as evidenced by this huge list of pranks seen throughout the games industry today.

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Apple removes Top Grossing Charts from App Store

Apr 1, 2014

In a surprising move, Apple announced that it is removing its Top Grossing Chart from the App Store.  From now on, there will only be two top ranking charts - free and paid.   In typical Apple fashion, the company made this move at midnight last night, on the first day of April, without giving anyone any notice.

Apple released the following statement:  “We’ve noticed, as many of you have, that the games in the Top Ranking Lists have not changed in the past year.  We suspect it’s because the game companies in the Top 10 are spending millions of dollars a day to keep their position, but it could just be coincidence.  So, we decided to take the high road and give game companies the opportunity to compete on merit than money.”

It’s unclear what impact this will have on the success of games in the Top Lists like Candy Crush Saga or Clash of Clans, the future of free-to-play games, or the cost per install ad model.  In their S1 released anticipation of going public, King disclosed that they spent $377 million last year on marketing.  

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review: A shield throw in the right direction, but not quite on target

Apr 1, 2014

If hope springs eternal, then very few places see it sprout as often as in the garden of mobile games based on super hero movies. Gameloft is trying again with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, learning something from its past missteps but still not hitting the mark with something that’s as awesome as it seems it could be.

As the movie by the same name hasn’t been released in the U.S. yet (lucky overseas audiences!), there’s no way for me to tell you if the game contains spoilers. What I can relay is that New York is under attack by multiple criminal conglomerates with acronyms for names, and Cap has to lead S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into the fray to set things right. Presumably, the Winter Soldier is also involved at some point.

 Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It’s easy enough to put Steve Rogers’ legendary skills into action, tapping on enemies to attack them hand-to-hand or swiping to target them with a thrown shield. Just like in the comics, Captain America can make some nifty tosses that ricochet off surfaces and hit multiple targets. There’s an option to use a virtual thumbstick and attack button instead, but only masochists would want to do that.

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Evil Genius Online Review: Everybody wants to rule the world

Apr 1, 2014

To be blunt, Tears for Fears got it wrong. I wouldn’t want to rule the world in its current state. It’s just too much hassle. Now if I could do it in the style of a James Bond villain, well, that’s a different story. Evil Genius Online helps you do just that, assembling an army of henchmen and an array of cool gizmos fit for global domination. It’s all done with a wink, helping elevate what is otherwise a pretty average social game experience.

If that opening paragraph gave you thoughts of Gru from the first Despicable Me or the Monarch from Venture Bros., you’re on the right track. That’s if you didn’t play the original Evil Genius, the PC game released back in 2004. In any case, Evil Genius Online gives you an abandoned government silo, an ambitious assistant named Penny Foxworth and a couple of Minions to get your career as a criminal mastermind underway.

Evil Genius Online

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Game of the Month: Luftrausers

Apr 1, 2014

Now that March has drawn to a close, it’s time to look back at the 31 days that were and see which games really managed to stand out as the best of the best. The first two months of 2014 saw some real game of the year contenders: The Banner Saga in January and Threes in February. Is March’s winner of that same caliber?

We consulted our Magic 8-Ball: All signs point to yes.

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Chaos Fighters Walkthrough

Apr 1, 2014

Chaos Fighters is a free to play anime fighting RPG from Coco Entertainment International, where you collect and trade fighters, train them, and power through endless stages while earning new power-ups and equipment. It’s an addictive blend of strategy and luck that will hook you quickly. Gamezebo's quick start strategy guide will provide you with detailed images, tips, information, and hints on how to play your best game.

Chaos Fighters

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Star Wars: Assault Team Review: Jedi card tricks

Mar 31, 2014

I imagine a fair number of people were of the “oh great, another Star Wars card game” opinion when Star Wars: Assault Team was announced, and I can’t say I blame them. But while it does make use of a few unfortunate monetization techniques, it’s actually not a bad time. In fact, it’s kind of clever.

As with most Star Wars games these days, Assault Team just can’t seem to avoid using notable characters from the movies. On the one hand, as a fan of the franchise, I think it’s about time to start exploring the expanded universe a bit more (or even create new characters entirely). But on the other, I can see why LucasArts would want to stick with the names most of the general public will be familiar with.

Star Wars: Assault Team

It all starts with Han Solo finding himself trapped on a Star Destroyer and fighting his way to freedom. As he blasts through teams of Storm Troopers during the tutorial missions, he’ll start to round up a decent team of fellow prisoners – as well as reunite with Chewbacca of course – and then it’s on to the game proper.

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Thievery or Thrifty? Selling keys from bundles for profit is not as illegal as you may think

Mar 31, 2014

Over the past few years, game bundles have risen to become one of the most popular ways that games are purchased digitally. “Pay what you want for X-amount of games for a super discounted price” is a particularly popular practice throughout the indie game scene, as it offers developers a great way to get their games in front of a massive amount of buyers. Humble Bundle, Indie Royale, Groupees, and Bundle Stars are all popular game bundling brands that promote both games and developers while (typically) allowing the buyer to select a price-point.

A few sites are taking ethically-questionable advantage of these deals, buying keys in bulk and then selling them at a later date for a profit. While initially it sounds illegal, there is no concrete court ruling that says it is, in fact, illegal. The closest court case found in the United States was a 2008 ruling that selling "not-for-resale" promotional CDs is legal. In 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled that the first-sale doctrine does apply to digital games, and individuals can resell their lawfully purchased property without penalty.

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So lawfully buying bundles of keys, and then selling them at a later date, is considered akin to selling a book bought at a book store, later on at a garage sale. There is no definite ruling in the United States, like there was with the European Court of Justice, but it certainly is only a matter of time until a similar ruling makes its way to the US.

The real debate boils down to the ethics of it all. Especially concerning the profits, or lack thereof, collected by indie game developers. 

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