Casual Game News

5 Great Looking Games Recently Greenlit for Steam

Apr 19, 2014

On April 16th, Valve announced that they have selected a new batch of 75 games for Steam distribution through the Steam Greenlight system. As always, the batch included games of all types: from puzzlers and platformers, to a game about shark attacks, and a game about a pixel in an old TV.

This latest group features some stand-out games in terms of visual presentation (as well as gameplay). These are the games sure to catch your eye, even before you see them in motion.

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This Week in China: Candy Crushing the Great Wall

Apr 18, 2014

Back in October I had a chance to visit King’s studio in Stockholm. I was mainly there to check out an upcoming game and absorb the culture, but as is often the case when talking with mobile-minded developers, the conversation eventually moved to Asia: the great white whale of gaming markets. How do you break into it? And how do you get to be #1?

This week King answered that question, at least as far as China is concerned – and based on my chats with the team, the move they’ve made isn’t the least bit surprising (and really, it’s the one any developer looking for success in the Asian market should consider). But what was it? Read on to find out!

As always, thanks to our pals at Laohu.com for providing Gamezebo readers with a roundup of the biggest gaming news to hit China each week.

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Indie Box brings a new indie game to your doorstep every month

Apr 18, 2014

Generally, people love getting presents in the mail. It's always a nice surprise to get a package from someone and exciting to open it up and see what's inside. Over the past few years, an industry has emerged that ships monthly subscription boxes full of random (generally themed) goodies to millions of people every month. In our nerdy corner of the world, Loot Crate and Nerd Block are the two big names competing with one another. Though starting this May, a new subscription service called Indie Box is set to launch.

Each month, Indie Box celebrates the old days of gaming where buying a game involved opening the game's box, pulling the game out and sorting through all the goodies that came along with the game.

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"Opening the game box was an event in itself," a promotion for Indie Box reads."After eight months of development, we're happy to announce we've launched Indie Box: independent games in a collector's edition box delivered to your door every month."

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An Indie Within an Indie: Woah Dave! Is Gaijin Games next Hit

Apr 18, 2014

Here’s some good news for all the up and coming game designers out there: in case being part of an indie studio isn’t enough creative freedom for you, there’s always the option of being an indie within an indie.

That unique set-up was what Jason Cirillo explained to me as people played his upcoming game Woah Dave! on two stations at the Gaijin Games booth at PAX East. Though he modestly deflects talk of being a solo act, Cirillo is for all intents and purposes the lone member of Robotube Games, a company he started in 2006 that now operates as a sub-label of Gaijin.

“I develop games myself inside of Gaijin as sort of a skunk works or experimental lab,” Cirillo said. “Gaijin is working on bigger projects now which are unannounced, so these are smaller games to kind of fill in the gaps.”

Woah Dave! looks every bit the kind of game that reflects the individual tastes of its creator. It’s a platformer with simple but frantic action that has players chasing high scores by trying to stay alive as long as possible, avoiding aliens and attempting to “pick stuff up and throw it.”

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By Trekkies, for Trekkies: Star Trek Timelines Is in Good Hands

Apr 17, 2014

Star Trek fans are among the most loyal and passionate in the entire spectrum of pop culture aficionados. That makes it all the more shameful that they’ve had their hearts broken by video game adaptations numerous times over the years.

A fan of the property himself, Disruptor Beam CEO Jon Radoff knows that it hasn’t always received the most love and care from game designers.

“Too many games have been made where they take some existing title, re-skin it, add a little Star Trek dust on top to make it look like Star Trek, and they ship it,” Radoff said to Gamezebo at PAX East. “Frankly, I think fans rightfully have some cynicism about these poor licensed products.”

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Awareness of that state of affairs is front and center in Radoff’s mind as his company gets set to boldly go into full scale development of its next game, Star Trek Timelines. The Boston-area studio announced the project recently and has revealed some of the initial details.

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Bridge Constructor gets medieval on May 1st

Apr 17, 2014

Remember how you were nursing a serious Bridge Constructor addiction a few weeks back? Don’t be ashamed – we all were. And if today’s announcement is any indication, you should ready yourself for a relapse: Bridge Constructor Medieval will be available on iOS and Android on May 1st.

Travelling back to the days of yore, amateur bridge builders will need to use their old skills in some new ways. The Middle Ages were rife with war, and as such you’ll need to build bridges sturdy enough to withstand cannon fire and get your troops across, but also weak enough to collapse under the weight of enemy troops, sending them spilling to their deaths below. We’re not quite sure how the yin/yang of bridge design can balance such contrasting goals, but we’re excited to find out.

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New materials, new challenges, and familiar gameplay await ye olde gamers brave enough to take the plunge. Keep an eye out for Bridge Constructor Medieval when it hits your favorite mobile marketplace on May Day.

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The Elder Scrolls Online Review Diary: Crafting and Exploration

Apr 16, 2014

Crafting isn’t something I generally spend a lot of time with in MMOs. I usually find anything I want can be bought with gold I earned doing something more interesting than clicking “create” and watching progress bars fill up.

The Elder Scrolls Online puts a surprisingly tall – and very enjoyable – emphasis on crafting. I was skeptical at first, but after spending most of an entire day exploring Cyrodiil, gathering materials and custom-building my personal arsenal I’m quite hooked.

You see, crafting isn’t treated like a completely separate aspect of the TESO experience. Each trade has its own skill tree, augmented with the same skill points used to build up a character’s combat abilities. Some might groan at the tough choice between learning a new spell and being able to highlight resource nodes – and it does feel like a sacrifice at first – but it shows how important the developers want crafting to be.

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In most games, crafting is a gradual, granular slog. You build the crappy equipment until you’ve leveled up enough to make the slightly-less-crappy equipment and so on. TESO makes the time I spend feel worthwhile, as I leave a personal mark on each unique steel snowflake.

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CandySwipe and Candy Crush makers settle trademark differences

Apr 16, 2014

Here’s something I bet you weren’t expecting: Albert Ransom’s trademark troubles are officially a thing of the past.

Ransom, whose company Runsome Apps created CandySwipe, has been fighting King’s Candy Crush Saga trademark since long before “candygate” became a buzzword. And when King applied for the US trademark on the word CANDY, Ransom swore he’d fight that too.

King fired a returning shot by purchasing the trademark rights to Candy Crusher, a 2004 game, and using those older rights to try and have Ransom’s mark on CandySwipe revoked.

In a word, things were getting ugly.

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But as of today, that ugliness is a thing of the past. Ransom has informed Gamezebo that he and King have “amicably resolved” their dispute. He has withdrawn his opposition against the Candy Crush Saga mark, and in turn King has withdrawn their counterclaim against CandySwipe. “Both our games can continue to coexist without confusing players,” reads an official statement on candyswipe.com.

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Steam user data reveals the best way to do Free-To-Play

Apr 16, 2014

If you want an intense and fantastic example of Real Games Journalism, I recommend checking out Kyle Orland's exhaustive analysis of Steam user data at Ars Technica. It shows some incredibly interesting trends on how Steam users are buying -- and playing -- their games.

What I'm most interested in is what this means for free-to-play games and development in general. The top two games on Steam right now -- both in terms of total users and hours played -- are free-to-play. Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 both cost nothing to play, are essentially multiplayer-only, and started out as paid games. (In the case of Dota 2, that payment was to get into the closed beta.)

Ignoring Team Fortress 2 for a moment, I think Dota 2 is particularly interesting. About four thousand human years have been put into the game since it hit beta in 2011. My Steam profile says I account for nearly 400 hours of that, so I can hardly feign surprise.

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Steam is estimated to account for three-fourths of the PC gaming market so it's not surprising that a game by Valve, the service's creator, would have a top spot in downloads. Dota 2 gets understandably preferential treatment on Steam's front page just about daily. It's not surprising that a Valve game, according to Ars' statistics, makes up a fifth of total playtime on a Valve service.

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GBA4iOS gets tactile with G-PAD

Apr 16, 2014

While the legality around playing ROM’s is murky at best, that hasn’t stopped GBA4iOS from becoming an insanely popular option for gamers looking to bring a little Game Boy Advance nostalgia to the pockets of 2014.

Besides, until Konami decides to release a proper Castlevania game to the App Store, this is as close as you’re going to get.

The only downside to the app is that, well… it’s an app. iOS devices are touch-screens by nature, and even though the touch controls work incredibly well here, there’s just something missing. Old school gamers sometimes crave a more tactile approach.

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The G-PAD is the answer to their prayers.

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