Fingerprint leaves its mark on the educational games space

Dec 9, 2013

It’s no secret that kids in the U.S. are lagging behind in the STEM subjects – also known as science, technology, engineering and math – when compared to their counterparts in other countries all over the globe. The reasons why are common fodder for both polite and political debate, but rooting out the cause pales in importance compared to finding a solution.

Fingerprint thinks it can help. The San Francisco-based company believes in its approach, combining first party content and the curation of top educational games from developers all over the world, all served up on its own platform. Some big brands are on the Fingerprint bandwagon too, tapping it to help create their own mobile kids networks.

news

But that’s the macro picture. When it comes to the specific area of STEM learning, Fingerprint already has an impressive group of offerings that attack the problem from different angles. Games like Equator and Cosmic Reactor turn math into a multiplayer affair, while Not Lost in the Universe teaches about renewable energy sources in the course of an interactive story. Other apps tackle business, math, geography, biology, and more, all tested by children and approved by experts before it hits Fingerprint Play.

The company has apps that teach letters and language skills as well, but according to Chief Creative Officer Michael Chanover, the more technical subjects have emerged as a primary focus. “We know with the increase in importance in the educational system in the U.S. and beyond how important STEM is becoming,” Chanover said to Gamezebo. “We know, especially in America, there’s a great big gap to fill with regard to STEM education, opportunities and jobs. It’s something we all see as important. And with the mobile content that we develop, the curriculum that we have in a lot of our games, we believe that we’re really helping bridge that gap.”

Read more »
 

Hotline Trail is a Hotline Miami-inspired endless driver

Dec 8, 2013

Developer Rezoner "Rezonerd" Sikorski participated in last month's 0h Game Jam, and his result is Hotline Trail, a top-down endless racing game where the route is only visible a short distance ahead. As the route reveals itself, players must make lightning-fast adjustments in order to keep from falling off of the track.

Hotline Trail features a trippy 80s vibe that may remind many of Dennaton Games' 2012 title, Hotline Miami (currently available for 50% off on Gamezebo Deals!). While not nearly as violent as its alleged inspiration, Hotline Trail relies more on the unknown, rather than violence, to keep the player on edge. Two players can play the game at the same time using the Arrow keys and the WASD keys separately. 

news

Read more »
 

Corona SDK training course for $49.99

Dec 7, 2013

If you’re thinking about making mobile games – and if you’re thinking about doing it with Corona SDK – Gamezebo Deals has an offer that you’ll want to jump into asap. Normally $100, you can sign up for the “Mobile Game Development Made Easy” course for just $49.99 right now.

The course is designed for intermediate level developers who already have some experience with Corona and mobile development in general, so beginners will want to give this one a pass. For everyone else though, this might just be the crash course you need to get your games up and running with Corona.

For more information on course specifics, and to sign up, click here to visit deals.gamezebo.com.

news

Read more »
 

How Playnomics is helping developers to better monetize their gamers

Dec 6, 2013

There’s no question that the free-to-play model is here to stay in the gaming industry. After all, there’s no better way for developers to get more people to check out their latest game than by using that alluring “Free” label. And for gamers, well who doesn’t love getting free games? But then of course, the big question for free-to-play developers quickly arises: “How do I get users to actually spend money while playing my game?” The sad truth of the matter is that for many of today’s smaller game developers, getting a lot of people to play their games for free doesn’t necessary put money in their bank accounts. But luckily for them, Playnomics is here to help bridge that gap: by introducing their innovative PlayRM suite that serves as a platform for developers to analyze their users’ in-game spending and staying habits, while effectively creating marketing campaigns to cater to these different individual monetization segments.

I recently had a chance to send some questions to Chethan Ramachandran, the co-founder and CEO of Playnomics, and find out some more about the latest additions to the PlayRM suite, how the company sees the relationship between game developers and their high-value users, and of course, how the future of free-to-play games factors into the equation. Well for starters, Ramachandran chocks up the challenge of creating a free-to-play game that is constantly able to draw in monetization from users over long periods of time as being dependent upon two overarching industry problems. This realization ultimately led Playnomics to introduce two brand new features into their PlayRM suite in order to address these problems head-on: the Acquisition Value Predictor and the Churn Predictor.

news

The first problem, as he tells me, is that “games must buy new users constantly to remain profitable.” What’s more, developers will tend to waste precious money and resources on marketing these new-user channels, only to bring in more players (acquisitions) who are unlikely to even spend anything in the long run. One way that the Acquisition Value Predictor aims to alleviate this problem is by displaying each player’s Lifetime Value rating (or LTV) only a few days after they initially start playing. This way, the marketing team can quickly shift their efforts to key in on these higher-value users, as a result of determining the overall ROI of each player source or channel. The AVP also predicts the likelihood of player spending for a 90-day period after they’ve entered into a game, and it continues these predictions throughout the entire lifespan that a player stays with the game.

Read more »
 

Free Games and Sales: Garfield Kart, Magicka and more!

Dec 6, 2013

How is everyone doing out there in the world of free games and sales today? Still recuperating after the biggest sales weekend of the year? Yeah, us too. But even though things may have calmed down a bit around here after the craziness of Black Friday Madness last week, that’s certainly not to say we don’t have a few new gaming deals to send your way all the same!

Why in fact, you’re pretty likely to find some amazing new deals everywhere you look on the internet this week: from huge discounts on some of our favorite iOS games to be released this year, to big savings on adventure games over at GOG.com, and even a new Humble Bundle with the word “Jumbo” in its title, so you already know that it’s going to be a good one! And even your old pal Gamezebo is hosting a great deal or two to round out the total package.

news

Will you be cashing in on any of the great savings listed below? Let us know in the replies, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to point out any other cool deals that we may have missed!

Read more »
 

Dragon Mania Review

Dec 6, 2013

Dragon Mania is Gameloft's answer to Clash of Clans, joining the crowded combat genre a bit late in the game, but making up for it with some very exciting gameplay. It drops some of the simulation elements in favor of active battle sequences, allowing you to take your elemental dragons into combat to see who's the best screen-tapper in the kingdom!

Dragon Mania is all about raising, feeding, and growing dragons, and then carrying them into battle against the evil Vikings. You do this by curating your village to hold habitats, then purchasing dragon eggs to hatch and care for. Collect rent from these buildings and use the money to upgrade them to hold more troops; but be mindful of food stores, as baby dragons need lots of chow to grow up to be big and strong.

 Dragon Mania

Quests appear on the left side of the screen, giving you direction early in the game. They range from simple tasks like "build this structure," to more complicated missions that will take days to complete. Naturally, you can skip artificial wait times by spending gems, one of Dragon Mania's two in-game currencies. In addition to the basic hatching and nursery facilities, Dragon Mania also has a handful of other buildings to help support your army. Breeding dens, for example, allow you to make new dragons in the old fashioned way, while things like banners and wishing wells are purely for show. Most of your time will be spent focusing on feeding your army, of course. With 50 different dragons to raise, you'll have your hands full without worrying about planting fruit trees.

Read more »
 

This Week in China: much parkour

Dec 6, 2013

Every Friday, in co-operation with Laohu.com, Gamezebo strives to bring you the latest and greatest news to come out of the Chinese gaming scene – and if this week is any indication, Chinese gamer’s really like parkour. A lot.

If someone were to introduce China to Mirror’s Edge, it’s entirely possible that brains would begin to melt. At the very least, I hope Adam Saltsman is taking notice. Let’s break Canabalt out of the vault for a trip overseas!

As always, if you dig any of these articles, we encourage you to visit Laohu.com for the whole story. These posts are just the Reader’s Digest version of what they’re tackling all week long.

news

Read more »
 

Clash of Puppets Review

Dec 6, 2013

Charlie loves B-movies, and who can blame him? There's a level of camp and cheese that catapults poorly made cinema into the world of endearingly awful. So when our good ol' Charlie happens upon a drive-in boasting a classic B-movie marathon, he pulls in right away to partake in the terrible goodness. But all that flick-watchin' is serious business, and Charlie soon succumbs to sleep, whereupon he is whisked away into the very films he loves in the role of the hero. Armed with a trusty baseball bat, proximity traps, and any number of firearms, Charlie must make it through the benchmarks of less-than-mainstream film, lest he be Nightmare on Elm Street-ed (killed in his sleep) by the very cinematic villains and monsters he has come to love. Tragic.

There's a cartoony style to Clash of Puppets that blends with a mostly linear take on classic 3D platformers. Putting elements like mechanics and gameplay aside for the moment, it's important to note that this is a good-looking game, especially for its light-hearted, kid-friendly style. No, it isn't the most beautifully developed experience in the history of mobile gaming, but there are enough subtle touches, clever lighting, and immersive additions (why is fog so spooky, anyway?) that you'll probably take note.  Charlie is pretty damned cute, and as far as heroes go, he's likable.

Clash of Puppets

Really, he falls under the strong and silent type that developers seem to like so much, but there is a lot to be said for the star of the show being an everyman. Even if it isn't a major plot point and even if we are talking about a game where cute puppets beat up other cute puppets, there's something about an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances and rising to a challenge. On some level, no matter how small, we tend to see ourselves like this – to view the world of the character through our own eyes. Or maybe I'm just reading waaaay too much into it and it's little more than a silly distraction. Either way, the means to think this way is apparently something that can happen.

Read more »
 

Warlords RTS Review

Dec 5, 2013

Warlords RTS is, as the title suggests, a real-time strategy game set in Aldfarne, a fantasy kingdom overrun by orcs, ogres, goblins, and other such Tolkien-esque riff-raff. Its simplified control scheme makes a tricky thing of complex maneuvers, but RTS fans are nonetheless likely to find it a pleasant way to scratch the strategy itch when they're away from home.

Warlords RTS is more than a little reminiscent of the classic Blizzard game Warcraft, back when it was known first and foremost as a real-time strategic conflict between orcs and humans. Unlike that game, however, and most others of its kind, in this one you'll personally lead your troops into battle with a "Warlord" avatar: a Ranger, a Wizard, a Warrior King, or a Huntress, each with unique skills, an RPG-style inventory of rings, amulets, armor and weapons, and the ability to wield powerful magic. As "you," the Warlords are the most powerful tool in your arsenal, but they're still far from invulnerable; fortunately, death is little more than a brief and temporary delay of four or five seconds until you're back on the field, and a ding against your final score.

Warlords RTS

The game looks and sounds great, and while the story driving it is a very thin, conventional high-fantasy tale of a good kingdom overrun by the forces of darkness, the two or three lines of narrative between levels is flowery enough to be legit without tipping into the overwrought. It's all very well-polished, and new units, spells, and control options are introduced slowly, giving players plenty of time to experiment with and grasp their use.

Your army will be made up of fantasy archetypes ranging from lowly swordsmen and archers to powerful mages and healers, represented by elves, dwarves, humans, and possibly even a hobbit. The number of units you can maintain at any one time is tightly restricted and can only be grown by conquering villages on the map, but even a "big" army isn't likely to number much more than 20 or so. Warlords RTS is a relatively small-scale game, a concession to the limits of touch interfaces on small screens; but the upside to that is that it's also fairly fast-paced, so you won't need to invest half your day to start and finish a battle.

Read more »
 

Brrrrr! Time Surfer gets a wintry new update

Dec 5, 2013

Time Surfer has received a sparkling winter-themed update today just in time for the holidays, which adds a brand new time attack mode called “Holiday Hills” that has players trying to navigate the snowy hillsides as quickly as possible. Of course, the real challenge comes in trying to avoid all of the presents and gifts that are blocking your path (I guess Santa had a big old hole in his presents bag this year!).

In addition to the new Holiday Hills mode, the new Time Surfer update also brings with it brand new characters like a festive gremlin, Daft Penguin, the protagonist from Kumobius’ latest game Duet, and even Santa Surfer himself! In addition, you’ll also find new music, 24 GameCenter achievements, and three all-new pets: including the Space Reindeer, Santa’s Elf Helper, and my personal favorite, an inanimate lump of coal known described as the “anti-present.”

news

Tis the season to play some Time Surfer! The brand new free title update to one of our favorite endless runners from this year is now live for both iOS and Android versions of the game. Happy surfing – err – sledding!

Read more »
 

Get Gamezebo daily updates in your inbox