Casual Game News

This Week in China: Fruity Robo 3

Apr 11, 2014

I won’t lie – that was a fun headline to type. I don’t know what a “Fruity Robo 3” is, and there’s a good chance that you don’t either. But if you’re in China, there’s a very good chance you do – and you’re no doubt excited to learn that it’s about to be adapted into the mobile game Three Kingdoms of Fruit.

What does it all mean? Read on to find out the answer to that and other questions, like “is Capcom looking for Chinese investment to enter the market?,” and “how do the Chinese feel about Papaya?”

Thanks again to Laohu.com for sharing the top stories out of China this week. For a daily dose of Chinese gaming news, be sure to bookmark Laohu.com

 

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Hearthstone is getting its first expansion with Curse of Naxxramas

Apr 11, 2014

Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure will be the first-ever expansion for Blizzard's free-to-play digital card game, featuring 30 new cards, a new game board and single-player class challenges.

The expansion takes the form of a card-based dungeon crawler, with five "wings" unlocking over as many weeks simultaneously on all platforms. Each will feature new single-player encounters with boss fights and unique cards. The first wing, The Arachnid Quarter, will be available for free to all Hearthstone players at launch. The remaining content, true to the game's free-to-play model, will be available either with real money orin-game gold.

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Hearthstone saw official release on PC last year, while the iOS version launched in Canada, Australia and New Zealand last week (though if you want to be sneaky, you can learn how to get around that here).

There's no word on the expansion's pricing or release at this time.

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Osmos made a cameo on The Simpsons this week

Apr 10, 2014

It’s been a few years since it first launched, but if you dust off your ol’ memory box, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of happy ones from your time with Hemisphere Games’ 2009 masterpiece Osmos. The game was later ported to mobile devices, winning Apple’s iPad Game of the Year award in 2010 – and, it would seem, the hearts and minds of The Simpsons show writers.

The internet was abuzz this week with talk of this week’s Minecraft couch gag on The Simpsons, but a voxelized Springfield wasn’t the only indie gaming nod on this week’s show. About halfway through the episode, when Milhouse learns that Bart has plenty of stolen goods – including Milhouse’s iPad – Bart suggests he relax to the soothing sounds of “this bubble game.”

We reached out to Hemisphere Games to see how this collaboration came about, and it turns out they were just as surprised as we were.

“We had no idea The Simpsons cameo was coming,” Hempishere’s Eddy Boxerman told Gamezebo. “Our jaws dropped in disbelief when we caught wind of it! As a few friends have said (and who are we to disagree?) ‘It's official -- Osmos is pop culture now!’”

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Mikey Boots is the next game from Mikey Shorts, Mikey Hooks creators

Apr 10, 2014

With two critically acclaimed platformers under their belt, it was only a matter of time until they gave us a third. BeaverTap Games, the creators of Mikey Shorts and Mikey Hooks have just released the teaser trailer for their next game, Mikey Boots.

As you can probably guess from the name, Mikey Boots will add some cool new footwear mechanics to all of the running, hooking and sliding you’re used to. Judging from the trailer, this means ROCKET BOOTS.

My apologies for the ‘all caps’ nature of that statement, but you try typing ROCKET BOOTS in lower case. It’s scientifically impossible.

They’re keeping a tight lid on further details right now, but that doesn’t mean that BeaverTap Games doesn’t have more good news to share. Mikey Hooks also launched on Android today. To celebrate this momentous occassion, the game is on sale for 50% off on both Android and iOS.

If you haven’t played Mikey Hooks yet, you should fix that immediately.

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What’s the longest the average user plays a mobile game?

Apr 10, 2014

If you guessed less than 24 hours, you’re a winner.  Which means if you’re a mobile game developer spending money to acquire new users, you probably are not a winner.  

In an exclusive to Re/code, Swrve revealed the results of a 90-day tracking survey of 10 million players, indicating that 19% of players open a game only once and 66% stop playing within the first 24 hours.  Of the player that stay, 53% of their spending occurs within the first seven days of playing.  

Meaning, the average game player will leave a game within 24 hours, and the average game spender will be of little value after the first week.

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If the name Swrve sounds familiar, they are the firm that released a study earlier this year that suggested that .15% of all mobile gamers are responsible for 50% of total revenues

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Big trouble in Tiny Thief: Rovio charging consumers for content they already bought

Apr 9, 2014

Late last week, Rovio Stars and 5 Ants announced that their game, Tiny Thief, would shed its $2.99 price tag and become a free-to-play game with in-app purchases. The new, free version of Tiny Thief features three levels (fifteen stages total) for free, with the option for players to purchase the fourth and fifth levels for $1.99 each. To the dismay of Android gamers who already owned the entire game, this update locks previous owners out of the final two levels, forcing everyone to pay to access the content.

That's right, Rovio took content away from buyers who already owned the access to it. As far as we can tell, there is nothing different from the original game beyond a new sixth level which is, not surprisingly, behind a paywall. Former Tiny Thief owners are upset at the sudden loss of access to the game.

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"This game gave me hope for mobile gaming," one person posted as a review on the Tiny Thief Google Play page, "[it was] an awesome game you paid for up front without this "free to play" money extortion stuff going on. Now however it seems corporate cash grubbing got the better of even that tiny dream."

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Fox goes ape@#$% over early Family Guy game videos

Apr 9, 2014

What a difference a day can make. Last night – roughly 24 hours before the official launch of TinyCo’s Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, the game accidentally snuck onto the New Zealand App Store for a short period of time. Gamers who noticed had just assumed the game had soft launched and, as any fans of Family Guy might have, decided to download it. And like a lot of folks who download games nowadays, they made videos to show off what they were playing.

Bad move, gamers.

In what one could only describe as an epic PR fail/complete misunderstanding of their audience, Fox went a little nutty and decided to try and shut down players who were showing the game a smidge too early. Touch Arcade has the full story, using their forum member HansKaosu’s experience to illustrate the point. In short, HansKaosu received a polite YouTube message from Fox asking him to remove the content, followed by a copyright claim against his videos, and… then Fox had his Twitch channel shut down. Like, completely. It’s been nuked.

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James Bond is getting a mobile game courtesy of Glu

Apr 8, 2014

You know who’s had a spotty record in the world of video games? Bond. James Bond. GoldenEye was a genre-defining success back in 1997, but everything that’s come before and after has been sort of… meh. Having said that, everyone’s favorite super spy has yet to try his hand at the most popular platforms of today: smartphones and tablets – which seems ironic, considering the iPhone seems like a gadget that only a 70s-era Bond film could have predicted.

But that’s about to change courtesy of free-to-play mobile powerhouse Glu. Expected to launch in summer 2015 (that’s not a typo), their untitled Bond project will be “inspired by the franchise's rich history, themes, characters, and narrative,” or so says a press release.

In other words, they’re keeping mum on the details.

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Still, Glu has a pretty stellar track record in the world of free-to-play. Not only do they deliver games that frequently appeal to the action-oriented gamer, but they do it with plenty of visual style and flair. Details or no details, this one seems like one to watch.

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Star Trek Timelines is the next game from Disruptor Beam

Apr 8, 2014

When Disruptor Beam hinted to us earlier this week that its next game would be based on an IP even bigger than the one featured in the title that put the studio on the map, Game of Thrones Ascent, the natural reaction was skepticism. What could be bigger than the show so popular it crashed HBO Go during its season 4 premiere last Sunday?

As it turns out, what the Boston-based developer really meant is that it’s working with a brand that has withstood the fickle, ever-changing winds of pop culture fandom for decades. Get ready to seek out new life and new civilizations online and on mobile devices, as the company’s next project is Star Trek Timelines.

Described as a strategy RPG like Game of Thrones Ascent – and made possible by a license from CBS Consumer Products – the new game will draw on characters from The Original Series all the way through to Enterprise in a story-driven voyage that challenges players to explore the galaxy the Star Trek way. That means assembling a ship, gathering a crew and determining whether combat, diplomacy or science is the proper solution to any given situation (Kirk may add seduction in there too).

If that’s not enough to pique the interest of your inner Trekkie or Trekker, consider that Disruptor Beam CEO Jon Radoff sounds every bit the kindred spirit.

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Mojang's Scrolls is (finally) coming to tablets

Apr 7, 2014

While everyone (with access to a Canadian iTunes account) has been furiously playing Hearthstone on their iPads this week, I’ve found myself thinking of similarly great strategy games that I wish I could play on my tablet. Chief among them? Scrolls.

A cards-meets-combat game that debuted in beta last summer (read our early impressions here), we’ve been hearing rumblings of a tablet version since 2011. Those rumblings have finally turned into a roar. In an update on Scrolls.com today, Mojang’s Owen Hill delivered the good news:

“An iPad/tablet version of Scrolls is in the works! We’ve enlisted the aid of Ludosity to port Scrolls into flatter, more touchy devices. We’ll have more news on this soon.”

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This is great new for fans of Scrolls (or, really, strategy games in general). Ludosity has already wowed us once this year with Card City Nights, and their 2013 release Ittle Dew was one of our picks for the top games of the year.

That wraps up your fantastic multiplayer strategy news for the day. Now get back to playing Hearthstone, you crazy kids.

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