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Jim Squires

Gamezebo's Editor-in-Chief, and your last line of defense in the coming zombie apocalypse.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is coming to Android (but probably not tomorrow)

Apr 23, 2014

In a twist that should surprise absolutely no one, one of the biggest iOS games of last year is making its way to Android in the (probably very) near future.

Tweets from the official @XCOM account yesterday announced not only that XCOM: Enemy Unknown was coming to Google Play, but that it would be released on April 24th. That tweet was later deleted, with a new one indicating that it was “an error” – though they don’t make it clear if the error was the release date or announcing the release date.


We’re assuming the former, but… we also won’t be surprised if we wake up tomorrow morning to find XCOM at the top of the paid games list on Google Play.

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Pocket RPG Creators Bring Tom Sparks to Kickstarter

Apr 23, 2014

There are some game developers that consistently churn out pure gaming gold, while others tend to be a little hit or miss. In our experience, Tasty Poison Games falls into this latter category. We fell in love with Pocket RPG, had our hearts broken by Neon Shadow, and now, with Tom Sparks and the Quakes of Ruin, we’re learning to love once more.

A top-down action game destined for Steam (you can upvote it on Greenlight here), Tom Sparks sets players on the loose as a steampunk hero trying to figure out why his world is being ravaged by mysterious earthquakes. The developers are citing Ratchet and Clank as a gameplay influence, and it’s not hard to see why. Players will be exposed to a variety of weapons, each of which will be unlocked with the currency you collect by smashing things with a giant wrench… and that currency looks an awful lot like bolts.


They don’t list Tom Sparks middle name anywhere, but I’m pretty sure it’s “Homage.”

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Mobile exclusives are the next big thing, says WSJ

Apr 21, 2014

When he’s right, he’s right. Back in January, Gamezebo founder Joel Brodie made a bold prediction: Apple and Google would start pushing companies for exclusives on mobile games, in the same way that Microsoft and Sony do in the console space. This weekend, the Wall Street Journal released a feature that suggests Joel’s assumption is now well underway.

“The two Silicon Valley giants have been wooing game developers to ensure that top-tier game titles arrive first on devices powered by their respective operating system,” WSJ reports, citing sources close to the situation.


When you have only two big players, though, I suppose a situation like this is an inevitability. Especially when both seem equally matched in appeal for developers. Apple might be less effected by piracy, and developers may see more success with paid games as a result, but the install base of Android dwarfs what Apple is doing on a global scale. If you’re not sure who to develop for first, being courted by either Google or Apple for an exclusive might make that decision a whole lot easier.

"When people love a game, and it's not available on an alternate platform, they'll change platforms," Kogregate’s Emily Greer told WSJ. "The level of attachment a person has to a game can exceed almost anything."

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Fable Age Review

Apr 18, 2014

Match-3/RPG hybrids are cool. Always have been, always will be. Whether we’re talking Puzzle Quest, 10000000 or Puzzle & Dragons, there’s a flavor of puzzle-RPG out there for everyone. Fable Age is a game that plays closest to the latter, but don’t let that fool you – in a world of Puzzle & Dragons clones, Fable Age manages to take those familiar pieces and craft something that can stand on its own two feet.

Fable Age

The debut mobile project from developer Blue Tea Games, it’s no surprise that the team chose to explore the world of myths and fairy tales. It’s a theme that they’re more than familiar with, having developed the popular hidden object series Dark Parables (which never failed to get top marks from our reviewers here at Gamezebo – The Final Cinderella even netted a perfect 5/5).

But while Dark Parables took a rather sinister tone, Fable Age remains playful. Bright colors and cartoony designs rule the day.

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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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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.


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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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.


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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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.


The G-PAD is the answer to their prayers.

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Last Life is ‘Kentucky Route Zero in space’

Apr 15, 2014

At least that’s how it was described to me in a tweet from Andrew Webster, former Gamezebo editor and current scribe at The Verge. And after hearing a description like that, there was no way around it: I just had to learn more.

Now on Kickstarter, Last Life is a murder mystery with a twist:

The murder you’re trying to solve is your own.

“LAST LIFE is a sci-fi noir adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux about a transhumanist colony on Mars,” reads the official Kickstarter page. “When a murdered detective is 3D printed back into existence, he reopens his last case to uncover what he missed--a hunt that reveals AI corruption, corporate espionage, and the conspiracy that may have led to Earth's doom.”

If that sounds as incredible to you as it does to me, you’re not alone. The folks at Double Fine happen to agree with us, so much so that Last Life has become the second game to earn the “Double Fine Presents,” distinction – an initiative that Tim Schafer & Co. have launched to help raise the visibility of deserving indie games that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. 

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Civilization: Beyond Earth - because strategy games belong in space

Apr 14, 2014

You know who’s great making PAX East announcements? Firaxis. Last year the studio used the Boston convention to announce the mobile port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown which, yes, managed to live up to the lofty promises they’d made. This year, they decided to go one step further and announce the next entry in everyone’s favorite strategy series, Civilization.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth will take players on a journey into the stars for the very first time (unless you count 1999’s spin-off Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which the devs of Beyond Earth love, but stressed they’re going in their “own direction” from in a conversation with Kotaku).

Following a series of events that Firaxis refers to as “The Great Mistake,” the Earth is looking a little rough around the edges. As a result, humanity sets off to colonize a strange new world. Unlike past games in the series that draw from history, Beyond Earth will be about making choices to shape humanity’s future. 

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