There's a Mario piggy in Angry Birds Epic

Mar 18, 2014

If your head is still spinning from the realization that there’s an Angry Birds RPG on the horizon, you’ll want to sit down for this one. The game soft-launched in Canada and Australia last night, and after 30 minutes or so, we bumped into a pig that looked pretty darned familiar.

Red hat. Moustache. Pipe. Mushrooms. I’ll let you be the judge:

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It’s-a-him! Mario!

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Could Amazon’s game machine be a dongle made for streaming?

Mar 18, 2014

Ready yourself for the most interesting rumor of the morning. We all know that Amazon is getting into the games hardware business. I’m not keeping score, but it seems safe to say that this is the worst kept secret of the year. What’s been a rather well-kept secret, however, is what this gaming hardware would be.

Now it looks like we have our first hint.

TechCrunch is saying they’ve learned from multiple sources that the device is going to look an awful lot like the Chromecast, Google’s $35 streaming device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port.

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There’s also the very real possibility that the device will be more of an “all-in-one” unit than a dedicated games console. With a variety of instant services already in-house – Prime customers can stream unlimited movies, TV shows, books, and soon music – offering a set-top box to bring it all to your living room is just good sense. Think AppleTV meets Chromecast meets Spotify meets Netflix, but with games.

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Deadlings Review

Mar 18, 2014

"Pay-to-win": it's hardly a death knell for most mobile games, as it's quite easy to find people with more money than time and a poor sense of where to spend either one.

Deadlings certainly isn't the most egregious such game, but it hardly gets a pass.

Death (as in the Grim Reaper) is unsurprisingly lonely. After seeing potential friendship in the equally unwanted zombies of the world, he tries to win their companionship by running them through a gantlet of deadly traps, platforms and obstacles at his new business, Deadlings, Inc.

The elevator pitch is something like Jetpack Joyride meets Lemmings. You play as Death, guiding different classes of endlessly running zombies through test chambers, collecting brains and making for the exit.

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Brave Frontier Review

Mar 17, 2014

There’s something to be said for the classics. Actually, there’s a lot to be said for them, or they wouldn’t get to be classics in the first place. Brave Frontier definitely has its sights set on giving mobile gamers nostalgic feelings of the JRPGs of bygone days, with some collectible card game bits sprinkled in for good measure. That’s a sound strategy, and the result is fun enough to be worth the free download.

Every good RPG needs a land to save, and in the case of Brave Frontier, it’s called Grand Gaia. This magical locale is home to hidden power for those who can vanquish its strange creatures, but it’s been sealed off by some fallen gods.

Brave Frontier

That’s where you come in. As a Summoner with immense promise, you’ve been granted access to Grand Gaia via Lucius’ Gate. With a guide named Tilith to introduce you to core concepts like summoning units, fusing them together to make them more powerful, and leading them into combat, it doesn’t take long to get started on setting things right.

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Godzilla needs a match-3 game like I need a hole in my head

Mar 17, 2014

There’s a pretty fantastic-looking Godzilla reboot on the horizon. If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, you should go and do that now. Go on. I’ll wait.

Did you watch it? Amazing, right? Godzilla + Walter White = the only movie you need to see this summer. A monstrously huge movie like this deserves an equally monstrous video game tie-in. But instead of a crazy, over-the-top action game, the King of All Monsters is about to get saddled with a genre not terribly befitting of his city-crushing nature: the match-3 game.

Godzilla Smash-3 looks to blend some pretty stellar visuals with the “draw-a-line” match-3 tactics of games like Dungeon Raid. The game’s official announcement promises “RPG-style progression” as well, which usually pairs nicely with match-3 gameplay.

And did we mention it’s being developed by Pipeworks Software, the folks responsible for Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee and its two sequels?

Ok, maybe this could be good after all.

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Google Play Games is about to get a whole lot better

Mar 17, 2014

Google has always had the tools to make mobile gaming on Android devices into a force to take on iOS toe-to-toe, it’s just been a question of having the will and awareness to put them together in a way that makes sense for developers. With the now-underway Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco as a backdrop, that time may have arrived.

On the same day it’s sponsoring a Developer Day at GDC, Google is introducing a range of improvements to the Google Play Games service intended to make it even more attractive to designers and players alike. Chief among them are game gifts, roping in Google+ to allow in-game items to be sent to anyone in a person’s Circles, and the option for direct multiplayer invites through the Play Games app.

The Google Play Store is getting 18 new categories to aid in discoverability, something Google Play Games lead product manager Greg Hartrell told Polygon was sorely needed.

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"We've never had a role-playing game category," Hartrell said to Polygon. "There isn't a music game category. And if you're into those types of games, you're relegated to using search right now, or relying on it being recommended to you."

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5 must-play games from #cyberpunkjam

Mar 16, 2014

From March 1st through the 11th, game developers from around the world participated in the Cyberpunk Jam, an event which challenged developers to create a game based in the cyberpunk genre.

The only rules for the Cyberpunk Jam were the game must be cyberpunk-themed, and based on an image provided by the event organizers. 

By the end of the game jam, 256 games had been produced. The following five were some of our favorites.

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The Week In Review: Layoffs, funding, IPOs, oh my!

Mar 14, 2014

We ran a survey recently asking our game developer friends what more they want to see on Gamezebo.  One of the key pieces of feedback we received is that you want to see more industry news.  Who k(new)?  

As long as you read and share this news round-up (hint, hint, you wild and crazy people with tons of followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), and there’s enough interesting news to round up, we’ll sum the news up for you every Friday.

This week:  PopCap and Disney layoffs, Large Animal Games is closing, King is still going public, and lot of new studios and businesses forming.

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Bridge Constructor Review

Mar 14, 2014

Bridge Constructor by HeadUp Games is a bridge-building mobile game that lets you exercise your physics prowess. It also offers a strong, important reminder: Not everyone is cut out for building bridges. It's OK for a bridge to fall apart on your screen, but in real life, smiling sheepishly and shrugging while cars plummet into ravines simply isn't acceptable.

So, if you don't know anything about engineering, is it still worth giving Bridge Constructor a go? Sure it is. The game challenges you to build serviceable bridges. There's no need for them to pass any hoity-toity government inspections. If the whole shebang collapses but the cars driving across manage to outrun the destruction, the point's still yours. No jail time!

Bridge Constructor

Each level of Bridge Constructor offers up a gap that must be bridged (it turns out an earthquake has shaken all the world's previous bridges to dust). Your supplies include concrete gates, girders, cables, and plain old wood. 

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More layoffs at PopCap

Mar 13, 2014

Earlier today, Gamefront had an anonymous source claiming PopCap Games, maker of the Plants vs. Zombies titles, had suffered a round of layoffs. Parent company Electronic Arts wouldn’t comment on the source’s number of 30 jobs lost, but did provide the site with a statement from PopCap GM and co-founder John Vechey confirming that some people had been let go:

“The changes we made today at PopCap were painful and we’re sorry to lose some of our friends and colleagues. But it was also necessary in order to stay on course with our future plans for mobile games, live services, and new IP. PopCap is a studio that made its name building great games that the world can fall in love with, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

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This isn’t the first time PopCap has suffered a reduction in headcount since it was purchased by EA in July 2011. Fifty employees were laid off from North American locations in August 2012, and the company’s Dublin studio was closed a month later.

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