Android beta testers wanted for Catan’s new online multiplayer modes!

Dec 4, 2013

Anyone who’s a fan of the board game Catan will tell you that playing it is often better with friends. Well the good news for you is that the developers behind the mobile iteration of Catan have heard your pleas loud and clear, and are just about ready to roll out the first update to the game with new multiplayer functionality. However, they also need your help to test out the new multiplayer components to make sure everything is working up to Catan standards before the full-fledged release.

Now there’s even more good news: to help with this testing, the developers are giving everyone a chance to try Catan’s new multiplayer on the Android version of the game before its final release! If you want in on the action, all you need to do is request to join the new Catan Google+ Community that the developers have set up right over here, and wait to be added by the team to the server test group within a week’s time.

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It should also be noted that the build you’ll receive will be limited to the new multiplayer functionality only, which currently includes the options for quick and custom online matches. And of course, if you happen to partake in the testing event, don’t forget to help the team out by providing them with feedback about your online Catan experience!

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The Franz Kafka Videogame gets an absurdly awesome first trailer

Dec 4, 2013

As a Literature major for life, I’ve read more than my fair share of Franz Kafka throughout my college years, so the idea of a new video game that’s actually based on the famous German author’s classic body of work is really bringing out the book nerd in me. Mostly because now I can use terms like “Kafkaesque” while writing something for Gamezebo!

The Franz Kafka Videogame itself was first teased a good while back, but now a few more interesting tidbits of information about the literary adventure have begun to surface this week, along with a truly fascinating debut trailer. For starters, the overall plot of The Franz Kafka Videogame will be based on a number of Kafka’s own writings, such as “The Castle,” “Amerika,” and the high school English class staple, “The Metamorphosis.”

In the game, players will take control of a character named K, who sets off on a distant voyage after being offered a new means of employment. And naturally, that voyage will quickly spiral into an adventure filled with “absurdity,” “surrealism,” and “total uncertainty,” as one would only expect from something that bears the Franz Kafka name.

And that’s really all we have to tell you about The Franz Kafka Videogame right now, other than that it will be coming to iOS, Android, PC, and Mac platforms sometime in 2014, and that we really can’t wait to play it. Don’t forget to check out the debut game trailer that’s embedded in this page up there, and feel free to start your very own Kafka literary circle down in the comments section!

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Spil Games to invest $5 million in the development of HTML5 games

Dec 4, 2013

Spil Games, the leading global company for all things online gaming, has announced a $5 million investment today to be put towards the creation of HTML5 games. All in all, that lump sum of $5 million will be delegated to developers creating brand new gaming experiences, as well as updating existing ones to fit the new HTML5 foundation. Spil Games also plans to put some of that money towards the marketing of their own games, which currently enjoy more than 180 million users each month.

In case you might be unfamiliar with the prospects of HTML5 as it continues to make its mark on the gaming industry and the world of technology at large, it is essentially a more fluid and flexible markup language for making content on the internet. But the biggest draw of the new coding language for game developers is that it can be utilized by a number of different platforms and mediums, such as mobile devices, which could potentially allow them to bring their games to a far larger number of platforms without sacrificing the additional time and resources needed to create an entirely new port.

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Of course, as if often to be expected with any kind of new or emerging technology, HTML5 has experienced a fairly slow adoption from the majority of game developers so far; however, Spil Games feels this is all about to change, and that 2014 will truly be the year for HTML5-founded games to truly explode. And just in case you didn’t believe them, Spil Games CEO Erik Goossens has already stated the company’s plans to launch 500 brand new HTML5 games over the course of 2014 alone! HTML500 anyone?

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Gary Chalk's Gun Dogs Review

Dec 4, 2013

For gamebook fans of a certain age, Gary Chalk is a name to conjure with. He got co-author credits for the illustrations in the early Lone Wolf books, probably the best loved of the many gamebook franchises that thronged bookshelves in the mid-eighties. Times have changed, and digital publishing is all the rage, but Gary’s art has not diminished and he’s here with a brand new outing, Gun Dogs.

This is the latest title in Tin Man Game’s Gamebook Adventure series and it shares a lot of mechanical similarities with its predecessors. You’ll read through a paragraph of text, often be presented with some choices at the end, and occasionally have to check one of your stats against a dice roll, or fight a monster.

Gary Chalk's Gun Dogs

Battles are decided by throwing a number of offensive and defensive dice and comparing the highest of each to see if a blow is landed. If so, the difference between the totals is the damage inflicted. I’ve never liked this system: it’s functional but leads to a lot of indecisive rolls followed by colossal sums of damage. But as the Gamebook Adventure series has gone on, Tin Man has found a number of ways to improve the basic mechanics. Here, as the title suggests, you have a gun.

But this is a fantasy adventure, so it’s a slow hand-loaded pistol. That’s used to set up a number of tense and interesting choices in the book where you might – or might not – have had the chance to load your weapon before venturing into danger. Whether you actually hit with your gunpowder weapon or not is, like many other things in the story, decided by a dice-based stat test.

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Game of the Month: Oceanhorn

Dec 4, 2013

November has always traditionally been one of the greatest months to be a gamer: after all, that’s usually when all of the big-name developers decide to release their most highly-anticipated projects of the year, just in time for the holidays. But now it looks like the same could also be said for the mobile games industry as well, as this past November gave us so many amazing new releases that we had an unbelievably difficult time trying to narrow them all down for this list!

So here’s a quick rundown of the incredible new gaming experiences that kept us busy all throughout November: an exhilarating platform-runner that took us through all sorts of hot and cold places where the ground is made of food; a strategic look at the afterlife for shoguns, where things are actually a bit more crowded than one might initially believe; and of course, a monstrous adventure across the colorful seas that could even give The Legend of Zelda a run for its money.

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For a more detailed account of all the games we thought were among November’s best this year, just keep on scrolling down this page. And don’t forget to let us know what you think of our picks in the replies below, or if you have some other great November games in mind that you think should have been included. I guess the only thing left to say now is this: Bring it on, December!

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Ravenmark: Mercenaries is now on Android

Dec 3, 2013

Calling all strategy enthusiasts with an Android device: boy do we have an early Christmas present for you! Today we’ve learned that Witching Hour Studios’ popular turn-based strategy war game Ravenmark: Mercenaries is now available on Android for the very first time. The latest Ravenmark game scored impressively high marks from us here at Gamezebo when it first came out on iOS this summer, and so there’s really no reason why Android owners shouldn’t check this one out!

In Ravenmark: Mercenaries, players are able to build their very own mercenary army and wage wars against other players online across the game’s desolate landscape. Perfecting the engrossing turn-based battle system that we saw in the first Ravenmark game, Mercenaries progresses the story events an additional six years, as inhabitants are struggling under the reign of a vengeful new ruler named the Scarlet Empress.

And best of all, the game is absolutely free to download and try out! You can pick up Ravenmark: Mercenaries for your Android device right now by heading over here to the Google Play Marketplace.

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Doctor Who: Legacy Review

Dec 3, 2013

There have been a few attempts at creating Doctor Who games that didn’t feel like glorified cash grabs, but mobile games have never been at the top of the list. Doctor Who: Legacy is a free-to-play effort that, while mired in the trappings of a match-3 gem puzzler, does a decent job of incorporating the lore and attitude of the popular sci-fi series.

Rather than simply matching gems to earn a certain score, the game plays out in a “versus” manner, where you, the Doctor, and several companions face off against enemies that range from Weeping Angels to Cybermen; two popular villains from the show itself.

Doctor Who: Legacy

Various types of gem matches are your only defense against the oncoming threats, and the Doctor (as well as each companion) has a special ability they can unleash against enemies. Some heal, some deal devastating damage, and others have other support techniques that are helpful in battle. Part of the fun lies in assembling a team that can play off of each other well, so as you progress and collect new team members, it’s interesting to test out abilities as well. 

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Entertaining and Educating: A Journey to Fun Town with Touch & Learn

Dec 3, 2013

Inspiration is just as likely to come from unlikely sources as it is from the most obvious places. In the case of Touch & Learn, a British studio devoted to creating educational games and apps, it relies on a little of both.

The surprising part of the equation starts with the Touch & Learn’s founder and CEO, James Lewis. With experience as a Hollywood art director responsible for the look of work as wide-ranging as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Band of Brothers, he’s not the first person who’d come to mind as a creator of kids’ apps.

Yet his motivation is both simple and easy to understand: he’s got kids of his own, and he watched how easily they were enthralled by mobile devices.

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“I’m a bit of a tech geek, and I got the original iPhone,” Lewis said to Gamezebo. “Once I got over the fact that I didn’t want to damage it and it wasn’t so precious, I let my daughter, who was 18 months old at the time, just interact with it. It blew me away how intuitive the phone was. And then we got the first iPad and it was the same thing.

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RIIIIIIDGE RACER!!!! goes mobile December 19

Dec 3, 2013

If that headline is lost on you, I feel sad for two very good reasons. One: you’re out of the loop on one of my favorite memes of all time, courtesy of Kaz Hirai’s 2006 enthusiasm (that nobody else shared) about Ridge Racer going mobile on the PSP. Two: There might even be a chance that you’re completely unaware that Ridge Racer is a thing, and since it’s really going mobile soon, that makes me one sad panda.

Namco Bandai has just revealed that the next game in the series will be Ridge Racer Slipstream, a mobile racer for iPhone, iPad and Android. The game will feature 12 vehicles, 300 customization options, and 20 tracks.

Get ready to download this one on December 19, aka the last day before the iTunes Connect shutdown freezes the new games section of the App Store solid for a week’s holiday. 

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Badland is now on Android

Dec 2, 2013

When it comes to action-adventure platformers on a mobile device, it just doesn’t get any more magical and mysterious that Frogmind’s critically-acclaimed Badland. After all, we’ve seen the highly original adventure crop up on countless App Store “best of” lists and mobile gaming promotions before, and now Android users finally have the chance to share in on all of the wonder. That’s right: Badland has officially come to Android devices today!

But now here’s the interesting thing about this news: the Android version of Badland has adopted a free-to-play model, so all users will be able to experience a taste of the whimsical adventure at absolutely no cost! Of course, to unlock everything that the premium version of Badland has to offer, you’ll need to make a series of in-app purchases which include: $1.99 to unlock the second set of 40 levels in the game; $1.99 to unlock 17 additional multiplayer levels and 3 multiplayer characters; and $0.99 to remove all in-game ads.

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But if you want to make the best of a really great bargain, you can always pick up the special Premium Pack for only $2.99, which unlocks all content and features of the game! You can download Badland on the Google Play Marketplace right now, and if this is your first time in the vibrant and mysterious world that accompanies it, please be sure to share your thoughts on the game down in the replies!

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