Grab it Magazine Home
Contact Grab It Magazine
Grab It Magazine Frequently Asked Questions
Grab It Magazine Privacy Policy
Indie Games News Mobile Menu

Gossip - Industry News

27 December, 2016

Renoir Review – Not So Elementary

An intriguing noir-inspired murder mystery riddled with difficult puzzles make this a hard case to solve.

How far would you be willing to go to solve your own murder? That’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a question I had to keep asking myself to see if I was willing to push through some frustrating mechanics and puzzles in the noir-inspired Renoir to unravel the case. Though I enjoyed my time with Renoir, it is one of those games where patience truly is a virtue. And, at times, that is a virtue I did not possess.

Renoir is an interesting mash up of genres, which I’m still undecided whether it completely works. From a story perspective, Renoir runs in a similar vein to Murdered: Soul Suspect with police officer, James Renoir, investigating his own murder. It’s an interesting hook with a lot of potential and one that hasn’t been completely done to death (pun intended). 

As you might expect, the story element of Renoir searching for his murderer is heavily emphasised so you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be a narrative heavy, adventure driven game. But instead Renoir plays out as a 2.5D platformer. It’s an odd pairing of genres, with the emphasis taken off the narrative and instead put on solving a bunch of increasingly complex platforming puzzles.

I love engaging my brain to solve noodle scratchers as much as the next bloke but, boy, did I encounter some frustration in Renoir. The premise behind the puzzles is that Renoir has the ability to control other phantoms around him, and use them to solve environmental puzzles (such as avoiding sources of light and directing phantoms to operate platforms). In doing this, Renoir recollects his last living memories to search for clues that lead back to his murderer.

The difficult of these puzzles ratchets up quickly and, unfortunately, I found myself turning to video guides quicker than I had hoped. Instead of being engaged by a potentially captivating murder mystery, I was instead trawling through Youtube looking for help. Perhaps this says more about my (lack of?) puzzle solving abilities, but I was disappointed that the emphasis shifted from the story to solving environmental puzzles. It didn’t help that the controls were not always the most responsive, when many of the puzzles required a fine degree of precision.

Nonetheless, let me say this though – the game looks visually stunning. I have a warm and fuzzy soft spot for noir-inspired games, and Renoir fits the part beautifully. Gorgeous black and white scenes are occasionally punctuated with a dash of bright colour, like something ripped straight out of a Hollywood noir movie or graphic novel. In fact, Renoir gives off a Sin City vibe. Or if you’ve played Blues and Bullets or The Detail, then you know what sort of game you’re in for. Renoir captures that moody, jazz-esuqe atmosphere particularly well and is an absolute pleasure just to sit and drink in scene after scene.

For more information, you may wish to read our review of Blues and Bullets: Episode One and The Detail (Episode One and Episode Two).

Renoir will not be a game for everyone. Underneath some frustrating mechanics lies a game with a fascinating story and some genuinely challenging (yet rewarding) puzzles. Unfortunately, the the complexity of the puzzles and mechanics may be enough to turn some people away, especially those who would prefer to focus on the narrative. And that's a shame too, because the gripping story should be the selling point of this game rather than a bunch of difficult environmental puzzles.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

06 October, 2016

What Happens When Gaming Becomes A Chore?

When we lose sight of why we game, our hobby becomes nothing more than a humourless chore.

My 18-month old daughter had finally gone to sleep. As is my usual evening ritual, I trudged downstairs and plonked myself, bleary-eyed and exhausted from work, in front of the TV ready to game the remainder of the night away. For 10 minutes I stared blankly at the screen, unsure of what to play. My ever growing "pile of shame" beckoned to me with merciless taunts and jeers. The pressure to pick up a game - any game - merely to wipe off my backlog was immense. It was at that moment I had an epiphany: sadly, my wonderful hobby had become nothing more than a humourless chore.

27 September, 2016

Burly Men at Sea Review – A five-star adventure

A charming and relaxing folktale adventure that empowers the player through a wonderful sense of discovery.

The opening scene of Burly Men at Sea is brilliant, setting the tone of the entire game. As the title screen popped up, I waited rather impatiently for the game to start. After around half-a-minute, I began to think that the game had frozen. A rather inauspicious start, I mused to myself. Frustrated, I swiped at the iPad screen. Surprisingly, the screen reacted to my touch, revealing something hidden on the right. Holding my finger down, the screen began to expand until the path forward was revealed. And so, my seafaring adventure had begun...

22 September, 2016

Why Did the OUYA Fail? Reflecting on the Little Console That Couldn’t

Despite the initial groundswell of support, the OUYA microconsole faded from the limelight just as quickly as it sprang up. So why did the OUYA fail to connect with gamers?

Though there were doubters, the excitement was palpable. A new microconsole was poised to enter the market, ushering in a new way to game with the spectacular promise of “upending console gaming”. With brash confidence and even greater ambition, the stylish OUYA was born. Running on the Android operating system and priced at just US$99, many people felt that the OUYA’s lofty goal of breaking into living rooms dominated by traditional console manufacturers was in the realm of possibility.

Fast forward several years and the only remaining legacy of the OUYA is the dust-covered units either packed away in disgruntled early adopters’ cupboards or jamming up eBay’s auction listings. The company itself is no more, with the leftover scraps bought by Razer Inc. RIP OUYA, 2013-2015.

With such momentum behind it, how could the OUYA fall from grace so spectacularly in only a few short years? Now that the dust has well and truly settled – even if the bitterness still lingers – we thought it might be a good chance to reflect on the little console that couldn't. Sorry, OUYA owners – our condolescences.

21 September, 2016

Discover Some Great Secrets in the Latest PC and Android Humble Bundle

Hidden object adventure games are the focus of the latest PC and Mobile Humble Bundle.

The latest PC and Android Humble Bundle has landed, with the theme of the bundle being hidden object adventure games from Artifex Mundi. At the time of writing, forking out $5 will net you 8 games from Artifex Mundi’s catalogue with more titles to be announced in the near future. Normally, these games would set you back $119 if purchased separately.

Hidden object adventure games is a genre rarely talked about in mainstream gaming circles. But these games have a surprisingly large following, with developers like Artifex Mundi building their entire catalogue on the genre. And doing so very successfully and competently, might we add. We’ve previously played, reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed games like Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart and Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call (read our review here).

Admittedly, I’m quite late to the party on this one but I also recently discovered a site called Bundlestars, offering similar bundles and a store front like Humble Bundle. Bundlestars has a number of bundles you may want to check out, including its own hidden object bundle featuring 14 games for just $2.50 from Cryptic. I also nabbed the ‘Nemesis Bundle’, which includes stellar titles like Risen 3, Killer is Dead and Broken Sword 5 for just $4.99. And so the backlog grows ever larger.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

20 September, 2016

Pirate Adventure Duke Grabowski Gets Release Date But There’s One Final Hitch

Pirate adventure Duke Grabowski sets sail on October 6 without the previously promised DRM-free version.

Venture Moon Studios has announced that its Monkey Island-inspired swashbuckling adventure Duke Grabowski will be hitting Steam on October 6. The news will undoubtedly be met with joy from fans, with the successful Kickstarter project initially to have been delivered a year earlier. For more information on this promising pirate adventure, you can read our Preview of Duke Grabowski which also made our recent Top 10 Upcoming Adventure Games.

However, there is one final kick in the pants for some Kickstarter backers. Due to restrictions imposed by publisher Alliance Game Studios, a DRM-free version of the game will no longer be offered. The developer is hoping to set something up later on GOG or Humble Bundle, but are unable to make any promises at this time.

This decision has kicked the proverbial hornets’ nest on the Duke Grabowski Kickstarter page. A number of backers have already demanded refunds, stating that they only backed the project on the premise that they would be receiving a DRM-free version. Fortunately, Venture Moon Studios is extending an olive branch to these backers promising that it will gladly refund any pledges. Nonetheless, this will undoubtedly leave a bitter aftertaste for those backers who have been patiently waiting several years for the game to be delivered. That being said, Venture Moon Studios is doing a better job of managing the fallout from this issue than Comcept has on the mismanaged Mighty Number 9 Kickstarter project.

Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler! will hit PC (Steam-only) on October 6.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

16 September, 2016

The Woes Continue for Mighty No 9 Kickstarter Backers

Three months after its release, Kickstarter backers of Mighty Number 9 are still waiting for their pledges to be fulfilled.

It’s not looking pretty for Kickstarter backers of Mighty No 9. After years of smoke and mirror theatrics, miscommunication and multiple delays, Mighty No 9 released in June to relatively insipid reviews across the board. That in itself is a kick in the pants for fans who threw down their hard earned cash, understandably thinking that their investment was a good one with industry stalwart Kenji Inafune at the helm.

But even three months after Mighty No 9’s release, the managerial missteps and shady practices continue. Backers that pledged for 3DS and PS Vita versions remain out in the cold. No word has been forthcoming from Comcept on when the handheld versions will be available, or even the development status of these versions. Some backers are even still waiting on their keys for platforms that have already been released.

It is also painfully clear that many backers who pledged for physical rewards are yet to receive their loot. A brief perusal of the comments on the Mighty No 9 Kickstarter page reveal that backers from every tier from $60 up are still waiting for word on the status of their physical rewards. Some delay might be considered acceptable given the complexity involved in the organisation and distribution of said rewards. But these physical rewards were initially promised to be with backers by April 2015 (yes, a year-and-a-half ago), which should not have been held up by delays to the game itself.

Comcept has shown a surprising stubbornness to not engage with backers on the game’s Kickstarter page. Instead, the company continues to roll out tedious updates about the latest fan concept art competition or behind-the-scene documentary videos. But no mention of the issues that backers actually want answers to. Even though every update from Comcept is met with rabid and disgruntled comments from backers, the silence is deafening.

If you ever wanted the perfect example of how not to run a Kickstarter campaign, look no further than Mighty No 9. Both Inafune and Comcept have lost a lot of credibility with the mismanaging of this campaign. Especially so, when it was discovered that Inafune had turned his attention to other games including Red Ash and Re-Core. For more information on these games, you may wish to read What Does Inafune's Presumptuous and Disingenuous Red Ash Kickstarter Say About Gamers? and ReCore: Can It Survive the Curse of Comcept?

Gamers do not forgive or forget easily.

In the mean time, Mighty No 9 Kickstarter backers remain sitting miserably on the sidelines. With no word on when the 3DS/PS Vita versions will release or when physical rewards will be shipped, there is very little good news. And even when those versions are released, the game that awaits them leaves a lot to be desired.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

14 September, 2016

Grab the First Three Sorcery! Gamebooks on Sale Ahead of Sorcery! 4 Release

Legendary Gamebook Designer Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Series on Sale For Mobile Devices

Indie developer inkle has carved out itself a special niche in the market for its superb range of gamebook adventure titles. While it’s difficult to pin down a personal favourite, the company is well known for its Sorcery! gamebook series from the genius mind of Steve Jackson.

Ahead of the release of the final title in the quadrilogy - Sorcery! 4 on 22 September - inkle has slashed the price of the first three games (Sorcery!, Sorcery! 2 and Sorcery! 3) to just US$0.99. If you’ve never experienced the magic of Sorcery! (pun well and truly intended,) this is the perfect time to pick them up on the cheap.

Sorcery! 4 concludes the story arc of the series with the fate of the land of Kakhabad still hanging in the balance. The game is said to include thousands of choices with over half a million words in dialogue. Players can expect to master up to 48 different spells and experience a unique touch-based sword dueling mechanic, with procedurally generated descriptions of the action.

If you're interested in more work by inkle, check out our 80 Days Review and an Interview With inkle on 80 Days.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

10 September, 2016

Afro-Noir Adventure Game The Journey Down Coming to Consoles

The Afro-noir point-and-click adventure trilogy will be making its way to Xbox One and PS4

In great news for fans of point-and-click adventure games, SkyGoblin has announced that its afro-noir inspired title – The Journey Down – will be making its way to Xbox One and PS4. SkyGobin is currently busily working away on the third and final chapter in the trilogy, originally funded on Kickstarter, slated to come out in early-to-mid 2017 for PC, Mac and Linux. However, in a post for backers, SkyGoblin broke the news that it has tapped specialised porting studio Blitworks to also bring all three games in the trilogy to consoles. Blitworks has previously ported other indie darling titles including Fez and Spelunky. No release date has yet been given for consoles.

In other news, SkyGoblin noted that work on the The Journey Down: Chapter Three is progressing well. The casting is almost complete, several characters are now fully voiced and most of Bwana’s speech has been recorded and implemented. Having payed the first two games in the series, we can’t wait to get our hands on the third and final chapter, awarding it a place in our Top 10 Up Upcoming Adventure Games.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

29 August, 2016

Top 10 Upcoming Adventure Games

Grab It counts down its top 10 most anticipated adventure games coming out in the near future.

The fast paced and ever changing nature of the gaming industry means it can be pretty easy to overlook quality titles on the horizon. Throw into the mix the sheer quantity of games released every year and a serious lack of time to even make a dent in your pile of shame, it's no wonder not all games get the attention they deserve. 

Here at Grab It, we're quite fond of adventure titles. Enough so that we've put together a list of our top 10 most anticipated adventure games coming out in the near future. Many of these titles may have flown under your radar, especially as they come from smaller indie developers. But that shouldn't scare you off because the quality of these games is shaping up to be on par with anything you might have played. Like all things in life, keep an open mind and you might just be surprised at how much you enjoy yourself.

Without further ado, here are our top 10 adventure game "diamonds in the rough" to be on the look out for.

20 August, 2016

Indie Darling Burly Men At Sea Sets Sail in September; Receives New Trailer

Land lubbers, rejoice! After reporting on upcoming folktale adventure Burly Men At Sea for nigh two years, this hugely promising indie darling is finally being released on September 29 for PC, Mac, iOS and Android. This is no simple feat either, with devs Brain&Brain running into numerous problems during development. We have incredibly high hopes for Burly Men, especially after the absolutely charming success of Brain&Brain's first outing Doggins (read our review).

To celebrate the announcement of the release date, the devs have released a new trailer which you can see below. 

Finally, you can catch up on what Burly Men is all about by reading our previous coverage including an overview and interview with the developers.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

 

25 February, 2016

Folktale Adventure Burly Men At Sea Receives a New Very Burly Trailer

With a release date just over the horizon, Burly Men At Sea is shaping up to be one of our most anticipated indie titles of 2016.

It's no secret that we're pretty big fans of indie dev Brain&Brain, heaping copious amounts of praise upon its previous adventure title, the lovable Doggins. If you've been following us for some time, you might also have noticed that we've been covering Brain&Brain's upcoming title, Burly Men At Sea, for over a year now (you can read our previous stories below).

The last time we pumped out a story, the news wasn't so good with the devs hitting a rather unpleasant financial snag. But that seems to be all in the past now, with work progressing well. In celebration, Brain&Brain have released a new trailer for Burly Men, which sets the scene for the intriguing folktale adventure we'll be setting out on. You can check it out below.

Burly Men At Sea will release in 2016 on PC and mobile platforms.

Previous coverage:
     - Work On Folklore Adventure Burly Men At Sea Is Progressing But Hits Major Snag
     - Interview: Doggins Creator Brain&Brain Talks Burly Men At Sea
     - Folktale Adventure Burly Men At Sea Is Coming

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

 

19 February, 2016

Blackwell 5: Epiphany Review – Dearly Departed

The final entry in the Blackwell series saves the best for last, packing an emotional punch for long time fans.

This review is of the iOS version - which released on February 18, 2016 - but the game is also out on PC.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And so it must be with a fitting and touching conclusion to the Blackwell series. Over the course of five games, we've followed Rosa and Joey (quite literally) to hell and back. So to have their story finally wrapped up left me feeling conflicted in the best way possible.

30 November, 2015

Lack of Content vs. Value for Money with Star Wars Battlefront

Grab It argues that the real problem with Battlefront is not a lack of content. Instead it has to do with the idea of "value for money."

After being out in the wild for a little over two weeks, Star Wars Battlefront is shaping up to be one of the most polarising titles of 2015. Review scores have spanned the spectrum, with respectable outlets awarding it from 3 up to 9.5 (out of 10). While most reviews have praised Battlefront for its near-unparalleled graphical fidelity and respect for the source material, a particular criticism has stood head and shoulders above anything else: a lack of content. But I don’t think this criticism gets to the heart of the problem - what people are really struggling with is the concept of "value for money." For many, Battlefront does not offer good value for money.

03 December, 2015

Assault Android Cactus Review – Intense Four-Player Bullet Hell

Best experienced with friends, Witch Beam's Assault Android Cactus may be one of the most intense, satisfying and genuinely fun games of 2015.

Assault Android Cactus from Australian developer Witch Beam is one of the most satisfying and enjoyable games I’ve played in recent times. This year's game catalogue has been quite an interesting one for me, with a few really big ups, but also some notable downs. So I’m very thankful to have been able to play a game like Assault Android Cactus, which left me feeling incredibly cheerful after every play session.

A throwback to classic arcade games, Assault Android Cactus is a lovingly crafted twin-stick shooter about mowing down hordes of robotic enemies with an arsenal of weapons so over-the-top it would make Rambo blush. After picking up a distress call from a space freighter, Cactus (the assault android) and co are sent to investigate. Upon arriving, they are lovingly greeted by a crazy AI who looses its robotic minions upon the not-so-helpless crew. Cue lots and lots of shooting. Lots!

01 November, 2015

"Dark, Bloody, Gritty and Grim" - Interview (Part 2) with Richard Morgan on Dark Fantasy Gamebook A Land Fit For Heroes

Grab It caught up with veteran video game writer Richard Morgan to find out some world exclusive details on his upcoming digital gamebook, A Land Fit for Heroes

Yesterday we posted Part 1 of our interview with Richard Morgan on the upcoming digital gamebook adaptation of his widely esteemed dark fantasy series A Land Fit for Heroes. Today, in Part 2 of our interview, we have even more juicy details including some world exclusive information on how the trailer blazing multiplayer component will work. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

01 November, 2015

"A renewal and expansion of the world you left behind" - Interview (Part 1) with Richard Morgan on Dark Fantasy Gamebook A Land Fit For Heroes

Grab It caught up with veteran video game writer Richard Morgan to find out some world exclusive details on his upcoming digital gamebook, A Land Fit for Heroes

It was only a few weeks ago that we lifted the lid on one of the most exciting upcoming digital gamebook projects, A Land Fit for Heroes, from veteran video game writer Richard Morgan. You can read our preview of the game right here. Morgan has penned a number of well known video game narratives including Crysis 2 and Syndicate. But more than that Morgan is held in very high esteem for his dark fantasy trilogy A Land Fit for Heroes, which is getting the digital gamebook treatment.

In hot anticipation of the first entry in the series releasing soon, we managed to catch up with Richard to chew the fat about what both long time fans and newcomers can expect to encounter. Enjoy.

19 October, 2015

Crysis 2 and Syndicate Writer Richard Morgan Bringing Gamebook Trilogy to PC and Mobile

Veteran video game writer Richard Morgan's dark fantasy trilogy A Land Fit for Heroes on its way to PC and Mobile

If you’ve played Crysis or Syndicate, then you’ve had a taste of the superb work of author Richard Morgan. Likewise, if you’re a fantasy fan then you may have read Morgan’s dark fantasy trilogy “A Land Fit For Heroes,” comprising The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands and The Dark Defiles. In rather exciting news, Morgan (in conjunction with indie developer Liber Primus Games) will be bringing his trilogy to PC and mobile in the form of a digital gamebook. And rather soon, in fact.

For those who may not be familiar Morgan's work, here is the background to the series (from Goodreads):

“A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath—Gil, for short—a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose cynicism is surpassed only by the speed of his sword. Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but when his mother enlists his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one young woman. Grim sorceries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of the Aldrain, a race of widely feared, cruel yet beautiful demons. Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.” 

16 October, 2015

Dropsy Review – Can't Sleep, Clown Will Eat Me

An old school point-and-clicker that hides its significant charm behind a scary clown face.

Let’s get this out of the way; Dropsy freaks the hell out of me. For the life of me, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being slowly tortured by a retro-inspired nightmare. The colour palate alone evokes the same effect as someone dragging their fingernails down a chalkboard. Indeed, the game made me realise I probably have a touch of coulrophobia. But putting my insecurities aside, Dropsy is one very good game that adventure fans should play. Just don’t send me your psychologist bill.

What is it about clowns that evoke such a sense of unease? Psychologist Sigmund Freud might say that clowns embody the notion of the “uncanny,” that feeling of when you look at something or someone and it’s not quite right. The thing in question is often recognisable, but just different enough to be disconcerting. By all accounts, this is the pretext underlying Dropsy - a slightly rotund clown with a garish yellow-toothed smile, ghostly pale make-up, and an eclectic outfit that wouldn’t be out of place in the 1980s. Based on appearances only, this is not the sort of clown you’d invite to perform at children’s parties. Or associate with. Ever.

11 October, 2015

K.O.M.R.A.D. Announced - Tap Into Your Inner James Bond

Brand new indie studio Sentinent Play tackles spies, secrets and Soviets in The Cold War with its debut title, K.O.M.R.A.D.

Conspiracy theorists eat your heart out, The Cold War is still very much alive and kicking! Armchair detectives will no doubt agree that there are plenty of juicy little secrets yet to uncover from this tumultuous era of stone-eyed presidential face-offs and nuclear devastation just a button press away. It is this sense of mystique and curiosity tinged with fear that brand new studio Sentinent Play taps into with its first title, K.O.M.R.A.D.

Like a classic James Bond film, K.O.M.R.A.D. sets the scene with spies, secrets and Soviets:

Your phone chimes with a text message from an unknown number. In broken English, you’re informed that your online accounts have been hijacked — passwords changed, identity stolen. You can get it all back in return for a simple task: hack into a Russian computer untouched since the 1980s and probe it for useful information. How, exactly? That’s where your people skills come in, because K.O.M.R.A.D. isn’t any ordinary computer — it’s an experimental Soviet artificial intelligence that doesn’t know the Cold War ended.

What piqued our interest in K.O.M.R.A.D. is the rather unique approach it takes to the gameplay, unfolding as a real-time conversation (via text message push notifications) with the all-knowing computer mind. This means that the story (which can change based on player choice) will only gradually become clear over time as K.O.M.R.A.D. drip feeds information to the player. So unlike a traditional game, you’ll most likely only pick up K.O.M.R.A.D. for short bursts every day.

Probably the best way to think about K.O.M.R.A.D. is as a cross between an old-school text-based adventure and a gamebook, updated for the on-the-go mobile world. I'm a massive fan of both genres - just check out my exclusive chat with genre masters Tin Man Games in Episode 6 of Grab It - so I can't wait to get my hands on this love child. My hope is that player choice will have real and meaningful impacts on the flow of the story, rather than merely offering up superficial dialogue variations. But in any case, who doesn't want to feel like a suave spy, responding to secret messages on your phone?

K.O.M.R.A.D. will be “out soon” for Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad. In the interim, you may want to check out one of these similar excellent experiences;
   - Device 6
   - Fighting Fantasy: Starship Traveller 
   - Game of Thrones: The Game

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

 

23 September, 2015

Blackwell 4: Deception Review - Super Ghouls n' Ghosts

Does the fourth game in this retro-inspired point-and-click adventure series live up to expectations? Or is it as hollow as a family spiritual guide?

This review is of the iOS version - which released on September 24, 2015 - but the game is also out on PC.

The Blackwell series has grown on me immensely. For a loyal fan of point-and-click adventures, I was surprised  I hadn’t heard of the series until earlier this year when Wadjet Eye Games ported the first three games (Legacy, Unbound, Convergence) to mobile. (You can read our review of the Blackwell Trilogy here.) For the most part I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Blackwell games, so I’m thrilled that Deception has also made its way to mobile.

The Blackwell games have a special place in my heart if only because Wadjet Eye Games has tapped into a pleasantly nostalgic vibe that wouldn’t feel out of place in a nineties adventure game. But perhaps even more poignant is the sharp writing that quickly cuts through a superficial layer of cliché.

For newcomers to the series, the Blackwell games follow the adventures of spiritual medium Rosa Blackwell and the family spirit guide Joey Mallone. Rosa and Joey work together to guide other spirits “into the light.” So there’s the cliché part, but I found the temptation to roll my eyes at such a trite concept dispelled by the gradual unfolding of the sad stories of these spirits. It’s pretty powerful stuff to watch grieving characters who have been murdered struggle to come to terms with their death and lament those things never achieved in life. It may hit too close to home for some people.

Also Read: 25 Fun Facts to Celebrate Monkey Island's 25th Birthday

08 September, 2015

Warhammer 40,000: Legacy of Dorn – Herald of Oblivion Announced

Aussie indie developer Tin Man Games lift the lid on its latest digital gamebook outing.


Prolific digital gamebook developer Tin Man Games is at it again, branching out into yet more unexplored territory. It's from a developer with a pedigree that includes everything from romantic supernatural adventures (Strange Loves 1: Vampire Boyfriends) to Shakespearian interludes (Ryan Norths To Be or Not to Be) to zombie apocalypses featuring a stuffed bunny protagonist (Zombocalypse Now). This time the Aussie studio is bringing us an entry in the Warhammer 40,000 universe called Herald of Oblivion, the first title in the newly conceived Legacy of Dorn series.

Here’s the description for Herald of Oblivion:

“You are a veteran Space Marine of the Imperial Fists Chapter. Equipped with powerful Terminator armour and armed with the deadliest weapons that the Adeptus Astartes wield, you are a symbol of the Emperor’s might. Trapped aboard the space hulk Herald of Oblivion and the only survivor of your squad, you must fight your way through the aliens and heretics that infest the star vessel and find a way to escape the horror and return to your Chapter.”

Fans should be rightly excited to hear that gamebook veteran Jonathan Green has penned the adventure. Green is well known for writing classic gamebooks in the Fighting Fantasy and Warhammer series, so we know the series is in good hands.

Also read: Zombocalypse Now Review – Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse Has Never Been More Delightful

Also read: 80 Days Review – A Jules Verne Classic

From what we’ve seen so far, Herald of Oblivion will follow much the same format as Tin Man Games’ other gamebook adventures, though the dice-based system has been replaced with a first-person turn-based combat system. This seems like quite a natural feature to have in a game where tactical combat is likely to be important, rather than relying on random chance dice-based combat. The shake-up in the combat approach certainly worked for other Tin Man Games titles like An Appointment With F.E.A.R., or even Forge Reply's excellent Lone Wolf series.

We won’t have to wait too much longer either to rip into hordes of aliens, with Herald of Oblivion due to drop on PC, iOS and Android in late September.

For a massive feature on Tin Man Games and our Top 10 Digital Gamebooks on iPad, you can pick up Episode 6 of Grab It.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

29 August, 2015

Blues and Bullets: Episode One Review – Number One with A Bullet

This noir adventure from A Crowd of Monsters brings thrills to PC and Xbox One.

Blues and Bullets is the gaming equivalent of Frankenstein; a strange mash-up of bits and pieces that manages to form something greater than the sum of its parts. It seriously feels like someone at A Crowd of Monsters threw a bunch of random story ideas and gameplay elements at the wall to see what would stick. But, you know what, it works. In fact, it more than just works. Blues and Bullets is shaping up to be one of my favourite games of 2015. 

Trying to describe Blues and Bullets is no easy task. Like an overpacked burrito, the team at A Crowd of Monsters have taken an incredible amount of inspiration from some of their favourite games and stuffed it into their own experience. Expect to find plenty of nods to genre classics like Max Payne, BioShock (now available on iOS), L.A. Noire and even James Bond. But at its very soul, Blues and Bullets plays out like a hard-boiled, detective novel with more than a dash of Frank Miller-esque noir inspiration. We've seen it all before, but this one is special. 

25 September, 2015

Only 10% of All Current-Gen Games Are Remasters, Remakes and Re-collections

Played it Before? Will the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 be known more for its remakes and remasters than new games?

 

Like a live hand grenade, one of the biggest complaints lobbed around this console generation is the supposed prevalence of remastered games. Certainly, the year following the release of the Xbox One and PS4 coined its own zodiac sign known as the “year of the remaster.” During this time hard hitting, console selling blockbusters such as Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, Metro: Last Light, Deus Ex: Human Evolution and Borderlands were all given the nod to receive a new coat of shinier paint.

Surely, with all those remasters being thrown our way, there must be very little else to play? Will this generation go down as that of the “remaster?” Has our investment in brand spanking new hardware been all for naught?

The answer to all those questions is an emphatic no.

21 August, 2015

Are We About To Experience The Biggest Revolution In The History Of Gaming?

The gaming industry is the on the verge of a radical revolution. Are we prepared?

If I were to ask what Crackdown 3, No Man’s Sky and the Oculus Rift have in common, I can perfectly imagine the blank stare you would give me in return. Indeed, these seemingly disparate projects have nothing in common. Yet, they also have everything in common: hope. What these exciting projects represent is a leap forward in gaming, the likes of which we have never seen before. After waiting patiently for so long, our hopes and dreams are crystallising into what will be a truly revolutionary era in the gaming industry. What lies ahead is the stuff of what was once fantasy, yet it will become reality.

07 August, 2015

First Trailer For Burly Men At Sea Drops, Steam Greenlight Kicks Off

If you’ve been following our coverage of the upcoming folktale adventure Burly Men At Sea from indie dev Brain&Brain, then you may just have picked up how excited we are. You can read our preview for more information and an extensive interview about the game with the brains behind the name, David and Brooke Condolora.

Even though things were sounding a little grim a few months back, progress is now moving along nicely. So nice in fact that Brain&Brain has released its first teaser trailer for the game (check it out below). I’m loving that pastel-inspired art work and the light-hearted nature coming through from the characters and sound track.

Also read: Our review of Brain&Brain's first game, Doggins 

In more exciting news, Brain&Brain is going to be demoing Burly Men at Sea publicly for the very first time as part of the Media Indie Exchange (MIX) showcase in Los Angeles next week. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.

Finally, we heartily encourage you to do this amazing indie dev a solid by heading on over to their Steam Greenlight page, which launched yesterday.

Be sure to keep tabs on our website, as we'll let you know more about Burly Men as soon as we hear about it.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

04 August, 2015

Fort Meow Review - Damn, Dirty Cats

Angry Birds meets Plants vs. Zombies in this feline frenzy.


Throughout history, no war has been waged more ferociously than that between man and cat. Having owned a number of cats I can attest to their amazing ability to kick my blood pressure into overdrive in an instant, even while coming across as aloof and insipid creatures. But perhaps one of the most hotly contested battles is that for precious lap space. Even while trying to write this review, I shooed away a cat multiple times. No clear winner has ever emerged. This ongoing struggle lies at the heart of Fort Meow.

23 July, 2015

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father - 20th Anniversary Edition Review

After 20 long years, does Gabriel Knight still stack up as one of the best adventure games of all time?

The iOS version of the game - which released on 23 July 2015 - was reviewed

Over the past few years, the announcement of the latest “classic game” to be remastered has become as predictable as an annualised entry in the Call of Duty series. But when done right remasters have a lot to offer, appealing to rusted-on fans while hopefully bringing new converts into the fold. So what happens when a facelift is applied to a 20-year old game like Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father? Is it a feeble attempt to turn back the clock, or a masterpiece of the finest calibre? Well, just like any sort of cosmetic surgery, Gabriel Knight may look beautiful on the outside but it doesn’t always mask the underlying flaws.

11 July, 2015

Spiritual Successor to Syndicate Wars, Satellite Reign, Launching On 28 August

Is Satellite Reign the spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars fans have been waiting for?

"In streets soaked with rain and neon, profits are measured in body counts. Now it's time for a hostile takeover..."

After entering Steam Early Access in December 2014, 5 Lives Studios has announced that its spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars, Satellite Reign, has now entered beta. In even more exciting news, we now have a solid release date for the full retail version. Set your alarms and get your pre-orders down for August 28, 2015. It's been a long time coming, but we're ready!

We walked away from our hands-on time with the Steam Early Access version full of optimism. In our preview, we noted that Satellite Reign was shaping up to be the true spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars fans have been waiting for. 

Check out a snippet of our preview below:

"Even at this early stage, I love what 5 Lives is looking to achieve. 5 Lives has managed to capture that feeling of a futuristic, sci-fi cyberpunk city in the vein of Bladerunner or Deus Ex. Giant billboards advertising sleazy strip joints flicker with garish neon lights. Citizens rush by, eyes downcast, not wanting to be caught even giving so much as a sideways glance at their neighbour. The soldiers of the totalitarian regime cluster together flanked by the all seeing, all knowing floating cameras. The atmosphere is one of a once vibrant yet seedy metropolitan city having been trampled underfoot by the crushing oppressiveness of big brother."

For more, be sure to read Satellite Reign Is the Spiritual Successor to Syndicate Wars We've Been Waiting For.

Satellite Reign will be releasing on PC, Mac and Linux.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

12 July, 2015

Magic Duels: Origins Review - 5 Stars

Can the grandfather of collectible card games make a triumphant return to form, especially in the face of heightened competition in recent years from the likes of Hearthstone?

It doesn’t seem all that long ago we were getting excited for Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers. But a year has already passed and with it comes the latest iteration in this long running collectible card game (CCG), Magic Duels: Origins. True to its nature, Origins doesn’t deviate from the well polished Magic: The Gathering formula. But more than any other version of Magic, Wizards of the Coast has stripped away layer after layer of complexity to welcome new players into the fold. This alone makes Origins the definitive digital version of Magic.

Also read: The Making of Magic: The Gathering - Our Wizards of the Coast Exclusive in Episode 6.

Casting our minds back to last year’s entry, we called Magic 2015 an excellent digital adaptation of the physical version of the game. Yet for all of its established history, Magic was a recent newcomer to the digital space. Accordingly, it lacked some of the simplicity and features boasted by its rivals, notably the massive Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Interestingly, the first thing I noticed in Origins is the clear nod to other CCGs. In particular, fans of both Magic and Hearthstone will notice some striking similarities between the two games, especially around the streamlined interface and how cards can be obtained (more on that soon). As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Heathstone's popularity is impossible to ignore. This makes Magic a far more attractive proposition for newcomers to gently ease into the game, whether they be complete newbies to the CCG genre or making the leap from Hearthstone.

06 July, 2015

.PXL Review - iPads Will Be Broken

Could .PXL be the hardest damn video game man has ever made?


As far as profanity-inducing, frustratingly difficult, one-tap endless runners go, .PXL is right up there with the best (or worst?) of them. It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big fan of punishingly difficult games, but .PXL takes the cake.

A similiar game: One More Dash Review - A Finger Tapping, Eye Popping, Mind Drug

A fairly simplistic, but useful, way of describing .PXL is a stripped back version of Mr Jump (which, in itself, is an infuriating game). But rather than controlling a little stick man with a penchant for suicide, .PXL wants you to keep – yep, you guessed it – a little black pixel alive for as long as possible. Cue lots of tapping and stabbing of your iPad screen to avoid all manner of maddening obstacles.

Despite .PXL floating down the rather well-worn path of difficult endless runners, it’s implemented well. And even though there aren’t lots of pretty, flashy visual or a massive variety of obstacles, it's strip-backed attire feels rather appropriate. In keeping with the simple idea of controlling a little pixel, it feels like you’re playing inside of a rudimentary computer program.

Also Read: Our exclusive making of interviews for One More Dash and the savagely hard Wave Wave 2.0 in Grab It Episode 8

Even in its simplicity, there are some fairly challenging sections. Navigating over and around rotating platforms may sound basic enough, but when that’s combined with an inversion in gravity and rapidly narrowing corridors, iPads will be broken. After awhile I did become familiar with the patterns of the obstacles, but it still didn’t guarantee success. 

Admittedly, .PXL does not boast much staying power and you’ll probably delete it off you iPad after a few weeks. But working your way up the leaderboards is fun for a time. And, if you’re wondering, I had crept into the top 100 out of 85,000 players at the time of this writing. Nonetheless, for a free game (if you can stand the intrusive ads), it’s a good time waster. Just be mindful that you probably will lose your temper more than once.

Grab the game here.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

02 July, 2015

Here Are Four Franchises That Telltale Needs To Tackle Next

Even with so much already on its plate, Grab It Magazine picks four franchises that Telltale Games definitely needs to work on in the near future.

I think it’s fair to say that Telltale Game’s fortunes are riding rather high at the moment. Ever since its excellent adaptation of The Walking Dead, Telltale can (almost) do no wrong. A pretty telling mark of Telltale’s confidence is its expansion into other, potentially very risky, franchises. Seriously, no one could have possibly guessed that Telltale would team up with Microsoft/Mojang to make a Minecraft-inspired game. Or what about the announcement of its new hybrid TV/video games series called Super Shows?

(Note: You can play the following games on your iPhone or iPad by clicking the game name - The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, Tales from the Borderlands, Back to the Future.)

So in the spirit of picking somewhat obscure ideas (like Minecraft,) we’ve picked four franchises that Telltale should definitely consider sprinkling its magic dust over. We’re only half joking too...

Also read: Telltale Games: A Microsoft Story?

16 June, 2015

Has Square Enix Acknowledged That Final Fantasy XV "Exceeds the Quality of Final Fantasy VII"?

The internet fell over, exploded then somehow imploded with the news out of E3 that Square Enix is remaking Final Fantasy VII. You can check out the trailer below. I can’t begin to describe how excited I am as Final Fantasy VII is my favourite game of all time. In other words, don’t mess with my nostalgia Square Enix!

Details are rather scarce at this stage with no specific release window being given. What we do know is that it will be available first on the PS4, although this certainly doesn’t confirm exclusivity.

But the question should be asked, why now? Fans have been clamouring for a remake for years and have been rebuffed at every turn. The closest thing we received was a re-release on Steam and the Gold Saucer bike mini-game coming to iOS.

If you cast your mind back a few years ago, CEO Yoichi Wada laid down a number of conditions during the company's annual shareholder meeting were a remake of Final Fantasy VII ever to take place. In his words, he said that Square Enix would not remake Final Fantasy VII until it made a brand new Final Fantasy game that “exceeded the quality of Final Fantasy VII.” The legendary Tetsuya Nomura also mentioned around the same time that a remake of the game was not a priority for the company, being more focused on improving the quality of its other games in development.

Presuming that this remake is not a pure cash grab or that Wada's comments have been forgotten, it must mean Square Enix is finally satisfied that it has created a game that surpasses the quality of Final Fantasy VII. Given the timing of Wada’s comments (in 2012,) this can only point to Final Fantasy XV. I sincerely doubt Square Enix considers Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII or the various mobile spin-offs to be better than Final Fantasy VII.

If true, this is a win-win for gamers. Not only do we get a remake of Final Fantasy VII, it also means we have so much to look forward to in Final Fantasy XV. I can vouch for that too, having played Episode Duscae and being thoroughly impressed by what was on offer.

Square Enix, you have frustrated us for years. But the future is looking bright for us Final Fantasy fans. 

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

 

12 June, 2015

The Detail Episode 2: From The Ashes Review – Steady As She Goes

How does the second entry in Rival Games' noir crime thriller compare with the riveting first instalment?

Playing The Detail for the first time was like a punch to the stomach. It was raw, edgy and even left me feeling a little bit dirty. Unsurprisingly though, when you start out at such a cracking pace, maintaining that momentum is always going to be difficult. While From The Ashes (currently available on PC, with iOS arriving shortly) is another solid entry in this gem of a series, it lacks that killer punch delivered in the opening act.

Also Read:  Our Review of The Detail Episode One

After a gangland meeting went south (seriously, when do they ever go to plan?) at the end of Episode One, we were left with quite a cliffhanger as “reformed” criminal Joseph Miller returned home to his family. I won’t spoil too many details, but From The Ashes picks up directly where the first episode left off. Interestingly though, the focus of the story quickly changes gears in an almost jarring fashion, leaving behind a lot of what had been built up in Episode One. I’ll be interested to see how Rival Games ties everything together when the story arc comes to a close.

10 June, 2015

Work On Folklore Adventure Burly Men At Sea Is Progressing But Hits Major Snag

Earlier this year we rather excitedly covered the upcoming project from indie dev Brain&Brain; the folklore adventure Burly Men At Sea. You can read our preview here and also a subsequent interview with husband and wife duo, David and Brooke Condolora. You may be familiar with Brain&Brain from their stand out debut title, Doggins.

After months of solidly plugging away at its title, the dev has offered up some good and bad news. First, the good news. The latest blog over on Brain&Brain’s website estimates that around 90 per cent of the story has been completed, with 20 per cent of the game now playable. The playable section has been submitted to a number of game festivals to gain invaluable feedback from testers. 

28 May, 2015

One More Dash Review - “A Finger Tapping, Eye Popping, Mind Drug”

SMG Studio has a history of creating incredibly addictive games, but can lightning strike twice for the Australian developer as it rolls out a sequel to mega hit One More Line?

I will unashamedly admit that I easily sunk dozens of hours into the SMG Studios' previous two games, OTTD and One More Line. Both games still occupy a special place on my iPad home screen and get regular use.

One More Dash is the latest finger-taping, eye-popping, mind drug from SMG Studio, which seeks to capitalise on the popularity of its predecessor, One More Line. As a direct sequel, One More Dash doesn’t reinvent the wheel in terms of gameplay - not that said wheel was awfully complex to begin with. However, the indie developer has taken many of the best features from One More Line and refined it like a well crafted beer to create a worthy sequel that bubbles with same addictive deliciousness required to justify the name "One More."

28 May, 2015

Hellraid: The Escape Review

"In Hellraid: The Escape, a sorcerer obsessed with dark arts has trapped your soul in a magic prison guarded by demonic creatures. Why are you there? Who are you and why can’t you remember your name? To find the answers, you must first escape from this dimension of agony hung somewhere beyond time."

Broken up into a number of self-contained levels, the emphasis in Hellraid: The Escape is on using your wits to escape rather than frenetic button-mashing action. After diving headfirst into the game, I was thoroughly impressed by the time and effort developer Shortbreak Studios and Techland have clearly put into it. This is certainly not a mere cash grab or sub-par mobile tie-in with impressive production values throughout. Better yet, there are no IAPs or other intrusive in-game mechanics - you pay once for a premium experience.

Also read: Tormentum: Dark Sorrow Review - Disturbingly Brilliant

The puzzles are clever and challenging, and make smart use of the iPad’s interface. And not once did the puzzles ever repeat. Some of my favourite brain ticklers included brewing a potion to sneak past a particularly challenging enemy and rearranging a lock mechanism that required me to die multiple times before I could complete it. Make no mistake though, the puzzles err on the side of being quite difficult. You will die repeatedly to the point that it sometimes feels like you’re banging your head against the wall. But this just makes it all the more sweeter when you have that lightbulb moment and solve the puzzle.

As mentioned, for a mobile title the visuals are quite stunning, on par with some console and PC games that I’ve come across. Each dungeon is intricately detailed with macabre little items, like blood splatter, skeletons twisted in agony and grotesque monsters. It makes me all the more sadder that we may never see more of this twisted universe given that Techland has shelved plans for the console experience for which this mobile title was supposed to act as an entrée.

But something is better than nothing, and thankfully, Hellraid: The Escape manages to be more than just an entrée.

Grab the game here.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

28 May, 2015

Are You Sad That Techland has Shelved Hellraid? You Can Still Play The Excellent Hellraid: The Escape

In rather sad news, developer Techland has halted work indefinitely on its dark fantasy hack-and-slash title, Hellraid. Originally envisaged as an additional mode for Dead Island, the scope of the project grew to such an extent that it was spun off into its own game described as a mix between Dead Island and The Elder Scrolls. The game was initially slated to be released in 2013, but was delayed several times until it ground to a halt entirely earlier this week.

22 May, 2015

What If The Simpsons Was Made Into A Magic: The Gathering Game?

The possibilities are endless if Magic: The Gathering were to ever branch out into other franchises.

Collectible card games (CCGs) are so damn hot right now, with the likes of Hearthstone and Armello making massive waves throughout the industry. However, the undisputed king of CCGs still remains Magic: The Gathering. Since launching in 1993, the Magic series has grown in leaps and bounds. One of the biggest changes to come to the series occurred a few years ago when Magic made the jump from being a pure physical-based card game to entering the digital world. It has even reached the point where Magic is going to be turned into a movie, penned by one of the writers from Game of Thrones. You can try out the latest iteration of Magic for free on iOS by picking up Magic 2015.

11 May, 2015

15 of the Best Kickstarter Games You Can Play Right Now

What are the best video game projects funded through Kickstarter?

The crowdfunding service Kickstarter has certainly become the go-to platform for aspiring and seasoned developers alike over the past few years. Case in point, the internet has been going slightly nuts this past week for Playtonic Games’ Yooka-Layee (check out the Kickstarter here). As at the time of writing, the duo have managed to rake in US$2.2 million from 44,000 backers with no signs of slowing down.

Also Read: The Success of Yooka-Laylee Should Serve as a Slap in the Face for Publishers.

Although there was some scepticism about the idea of crowdfunding when Kickstarter first started gaining popularity, we’ve moved past that initial period. We’re now starting to see Kickstarted games make their way into the wild. And some of those games are good. Very good, in fact. Given the phenomenal success of Yooka-Laylee, we’ve picked 15 of the best Kickstarted games that you can get your hands on right now. Enjoy!

04 May, 2015

The Success of Yooka-Laylee Should Serve as a Slap in the Face for Publishers

 

Playtonic Games launched its Kickstarter for Yooka-Laylee (check it out here) today and 40-minutes later, the colourful duo breezed past its rather modest funding goal of £175,000 (AU$265,000.) Less than 24 hours later Yooka and Laylee had managed to amass a small fortune to the tune of $1 million, smashing through all of its stretch goals. With 43 days still remaining, the sky is the limit for these two mischievous creatures with total pledges pushing the $2 million mark from 38,000 backers.

There will be plenty of time to celebrate the success of Playtonic Games and for us to eagerly anticipate this old-school flavoured platformer, but for now, on behalf of gamers everywhere, I want to say to publishers, “we told you so!”

01 May, 2015

Will Cyberpunk Be The Next Hot Gaming Trend?

About a decade ago the gaming industry had a massive love affair with WWII. Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Company of Heroes and Hearts of Iron are just a few games that rode the tidal wave of popularity until the bitter end.

Once our passion for historical warfare subsided, it was replaced by something which captured the brain dead imagination of developers and gamers everywhere - zombies. The popularity of zombies has burned even brighter than that of the World War, invading games for the better part of a decade. Not only have zombies/walkers/undead been the focus of countless games, they've also shambled into experiences with completely different settings - did you ever seriously think Red Dead Redemption would get a zombies-inspired DLC?

01 May, 2015

Bladerunner Meets Shadowrun in Cyberpunk Adventure Technobabylon


Back in February we rounded up details on some of the most exciting indie games on the horizon (see them here) One of those games was Technobabylon, the cyberpunk point-and-click adventure from Wadjet Eye Games. You might be familiar with the developer from its other well received point-and-click games including Gemini Rue and the Blackwell trilogy (you can read our review of the Blackwell games)

The idea of a futuristic cyberpunk setting in gaming certainly seems to have gained traction over the past few years. Deus Ex: The Fall and Shadowrun: Returns hit the nail on the head. The upcoming spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars, Satellite Reign (read our preview here,) also looks incredibly promising. And from what we’ve seen so far, Technobabylon is equally exciting. You can check out some of the screenshots below, but they already give off that creepy vibe of a slightly off-key and bleak future in which humans and cyber genetics smash together in an unholy union.

11 April, 2015

Satellite Reign Is The Spiritual Successor to Syndicate Wars We've Been Waiting For

This might come as quite a surprise, but it’s now been 20 years since iconic developer Bullfrog released its critically acclaimed tactical shooter Syndicate and sequel Syndicate Wars. Feeling old yet? The Syndicate series is one of those games that always features high on critics’ must play lists. And for good reason. The gritty real-time isometric squad shooter laid down a blueprint for not only the many games that sought to emulate it, but for an entire genre.

Unfortunately, following the release of Syndicate Wars in the mid 90s and with the shuttering of Bullfrog in 2001, the series largely went dark. Sure, there was a reboot in 2012 that reimagined Syndicate as a first person shooter. But the less said about that game the better.

For years, hardcore fans clamoured for another entry in the series that remained true to its roots. While we may never see another classic game with the Syndicate branding on it, we’ve got the next very best thing - Satellite Reign.

17 March, 2015

Tormentum: Dark Sorrow Review - Disturbingly Brilliant

I remember watching the movie Aliens for the first time many years ago. While I found the aliens to be sufficiently scary, it was the dark and creepy universe in which the movies take place - created from the mind of surrealist painter H.R. Giger - that stayed with me far longer. A future that shows aliens and humans twisted together into a cold and biomechanical relationship is truly freaky stuff.

In what can only be described as disturbingly brilliant, the world of Tormentum looks like it has been ripped straight out of the sketch book of Giger. It is a completely twisted world, populated by things that should only inhabit our worst nightmares. It has the feel of a dark and twisted version of Machinarium, Dark Souls and I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream.

05 March, 2015

Is Warner Bros Tarnishing Batman's Image?

A few days ago Warner Bros announced a bevy of new titles for its growing mobile empire (read about it here). This includes a mobile tie-in with Mortal Kombat X, a Lego Batman: Beyond Gotham port and an undefined experience called DC Comics Legends. One of the biggest announcements, however, is a new title in the Batman universe called Arkham Underworld. Details are relatively scarce about the game at this stage, but as we discussed the other day, based on what we do now, our money is on a F2P title in the vein of Clash of Clans.

01 March, 2015

Republique Out Now On PC and Mac

Update: The intriguing Republique from developer Camouflaj has now snuck on to PC and Mac. For a limited time you can pick it up at a 20 per cent discount on Steam (grab it here.) Check out the remastered screenshots below - which look absolutely gorgeous in Unity 5 - and find a link to our review of the iOS version.

Original story: As promised during their highly successful Kickstarter, developer Camouflaj will be releasing the stunning République on PC and Mac this Feb 26. The game is already available on iOS, with three episodes now released. The story of young Hope, lost and alone in a dystopian society, reaching out through her phone to the player character, brought triple-A gaming to touchscreens in a big way. Wonderfully voice-acted, richly detailed and stacks of fun, it mixes the stealth-like thrills of a Hitman, with the atmosphere of a BioShock.

We published a world exclusive making of feature in Episode 1 of Grab It, which also happens to be our free trial issue, so if you have an iPad there really is no excuse not to check it out. It includes a huge interview with the game's mastermind, Ryan Payton (Metal Gear Solid series, Halo 4). Grab it here. We also feature a huge interview with Unity CEO David Helgason in Episode 2 of Grab It.

26 February, 2015

Has Microsoft Killed Off Valve's Steam Machines?

Last month I wrote an opinion piece asking whether Valve’s Steam Machines had already run out of puff. In short, I argued that the Steam Machine seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. Who are they targeted at? What gap do they fill in the market? Is there even a market for them? I suggested that Valve needs to have a large presence at the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC,) and go out of its way to answer all of our questions.

In the month since I wrote that article, two interesting developments have occurred. First, Valve released a press statement noting that it will have a sizable presence at GDC, and will be showing off its Steam Machine and the final iteration of the Steam Controller. This is excellent, if not unexpected, news. This could be the final large scale opportunity Valve has to convince us of the benefits of its shiny new hardware.

Interestingly, in Valve’s press release it also noted that it will be unveiling “new living room devices and a previously-unannounced SteamVR hardware system.” This is a tantalising titbit of information, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Also Read: Why is Microsoft Making A Game for Sony Players?

24 February, 2015

Value for Money: How Much Would You Be Willing to Pay for The Order: 1886?

Note: You may also be interested in reading another recent feature entitled The Order 1886 - Why Do We Want Games to Fail?

In the wake of the release of The Order: 1886, a common theme quickly emerged. Many reviewers and players alike criticised the game’s length, which reportedly clocked in anywhere between 5 to 12 hours depending on your playstyle. This was enough for some reviewers to drastically slash their final score and turn off a number of potential players from buying the game.

But, for the most part, I think the debate about the length of The Order: 1886 has been greatly misguided. Whenever we discuss the merits of a game’s length (whether in a positive or negative light,) we’re actually discussing another issue entirely. The real issue we are asking is “are we getting value for our money?”

21 February, 2015

The Order: 1886 - Why Do We Want Games To Fail?

Disclosure: I have not played The Order: 1886 and I’m certainly no psychologist either.

As the level of hype built up towards the explosive release of The Order: 1886 on PS4, I found myself caught up in its infectious nature. Arguably, The Order is the first AAA title of 2015 to be released in the form of a brand spanking new IP from a respected developer. Who wouldn’t be excited?

In amongst the legitimate excitement surrounding its release, one thing struck me. For every person barracking for developer Ready At Dawn to release a masterpiece of the highest calibre, there seemed to be two people eagerly anticipating its downfall. Not just eagerly either – there were people genuinely willing this game to fail. In fact, the vitriol spewed forth from the darkest corners of the internet was shocking. I genuinely don’t recall a game receiving so much unjustified hatred before its release.

It's prompted me to ask the question: why is it that we want games and developers to fail?

19 February, 2015

Introducing the Monkey Island Inspired Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler

It was only the other day we were walking the gameplay plank in our Top 10 Pirate Games of All Time article, and while those of you yearning for a return of swashbuckling extraordinaire Guybrush Threepwood may have wait a little while longer, we may have the next best thing incoming. We talk of the Monkey Island inspired adventure, Duke Grabowski.

At the helm of the project from Venture Moon Industries is industry legend and LucasArts alumni Bill Tiller, who has worked on titles like The Curse of Monkey Island, The Dig and Full Throttle. Although the portfolio of games that Tiller has worked on over the years is expansive, he seems to have a passion for pirates. Tiller also worked on the pirate adventure game Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, which released in 2009.

17 February, 2015

The Detail: Where The Dead Lie - A Masterpiece?

After finishing the first episode of The Detail, I felt like having a shower. In all my years of gaming, The Detail is shaping up to be one of the darkest games I have ever played, dealing with issues that would never be raised in polite conversation. As a noir-inspired crime adventure set in a modern American city, there is little new ground to be broken in this genre. In fact, Rival Games has eagerly cited inspiration from Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s The Wire. But Rival Games has brought something to the table that borders on being a masterpiece. The Detail is confronting. It is bold. And it's something that should not be ignored.

16 February, 2015

Ever Wondered How Ludicrous IAPs Are For Game Developers? Candy Crush Dev Has Raked In Over $4 Billion Since 2012


We’ve all had an inkling for some time now that in-app purchases (IAPs) are a ludicrous source of revenue for developers. The proverbial pot of gold, if you will. After an in-depth look at the financial reports of casual game developer King (of Candy Crush fame,) there is certainly no doubt left. Since 2012, King has raked in over $4 billion in revenue from IAPs across all its titles. I don’t quite have the vocabulary to express how unfathomably large that number is.

King’s public quarterly financial reports provide a refreshingly unique insight into its business model. It does take some time and effort to unpack each report, but a goldmine awaits those persistent enough. In the fourth quarter of 2014, there were 356 million unique individuals playing one or more of King’s games. These players spent $586 million in “gross bookings,” which is King’s terminology for total cash spent by players for virtual items. Although King has nearly 200 games on its plate, 77 per cent of revenue received from IAPs came from just three games - Candy Crush Saga, Farm Heroes Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga.

16 February, 2015

Don't Forget To Back Children of Morta on Kickstarter, Closing In On Stretch Goals

Update: There’s a little over three days left for you to back Dead Mage’s ambitious roguelike title, Children of Morta. In excellent news, the game has already hits its initial funding goal of $65,000. From here on end, it’s all about the stretch goals. At the time of writing, the game had brought in almost $87,000 meaning there will also definitely be a PS4 and Vita version. At $95,000 the devs will implement local co-op and a new chapter, which seems to be the most exciting stretch goal by far. Going beyond that means we could also get a Wii U version ($100,000,) Arena Challenges ($105,000) and an Xbox One version ($110,000).

Original story: Back in September, we rather excitedly shared what little details we had on the upcoming project from Shadow Blade developer Dead Mage, called Children of Morta. Speculate no longer, good people. Dead Mage has just launched a Kickstarter for its game, which is already well on the way to being funded.

Children of Morta is being billed as a story-driven hack-n-slash game with roguelike elements, citing inspiration from games such as Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy and Risk of Rain. The art style brings to the surface nostalgic feelings of games of yesteryear, with a 2D pixel art aesthetic mixed with more contemporary effects.

The game itself revolves around playing as members of the Bergson family. From the Kickstarter pitch:

12 February, 2015

10 Games To Play Alone on Valentine’s Day

Many approach it with a spring in their step and a great sense of excitement. A wonderful day to be enjoyed with your cherished loved one. But for others it hangs ominously overhead like a wretched shadow, sucking the very life out of them. That’s right good people, the dreaded Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Last year we had such a great time putting together our list of the best games to play on Valentine’s Day for the relationship disadvantaged, we’ve updated it with some new games. Check out our list below and grab anything that takes your fancy.

Is there other games you would have added to the list? Let us know in the comments.

09 February, 2015

The Top 10 New Indie Game Trailers


The gaming scene moves at such a rapid pace that blink, and you’ll miss it. This is especially so, when the sheer volume of heavy hitting triple-A games being released makes it easy to overlook the hugely talented, but very small indie developers. So that you don’t miss out on some hidden gems, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most exciting new indie game trailers to keep an eye on. Even better, some of these titles are already out so be sure to show your support by grabbing whatever catches your fancy.

07 February, 2015

Humble Weekly Bundle Is All About The Adventures

This week’s Humble Bundle is an excellent one for the brave adventurer. Aptly named the “Humble Weekly Bundle Adventures!” it contains some top notch point-and-click adventure titles that thoroughly deserve your time. The pin-up boy of the pack is the dark crime epic The Detail (Episode 1) from Rival Games, which also recently released on iOS (grab it here). You can read our interview with with Jukka Laakso (CEO,) JD Sorvari (lead writer) and Timo Naskali (lead programmer) to find out more as the team put the final touches on the game’s first episode.

Also of note in the bundle are several titles in the Broken Sword series, the hilariously offbeat Detective Grimoire and The Whispered World Special Edition. As far as point-and-click adventure titles go, these are some seriously good games on offer. But like any good advertisement, wait there’s still more! Rounding out this massive bundle are the soundtracks for each of the games on offer. 

In total, the bundle would normally set you back $133 of your hard earned cash. Not bad for something that you can pay whatever you want. But keep in mind that, if you choose to do so, some of your generously donated money will go towards supporting two charities: Worldreader and AbleGamers. These organisations do some fantastic work, so rest assured your money will be going to great causes.

Visit the Humble Bundle website here.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

References (iOS links):
     - The Detail
     - Broken Sword: Director’s Cut
     - Broken Sword – The Smoking Mirror: Remastered
     - Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse
     - Detective Grimoire

03 February, 2015

The Top 10 Best Pirate Games Of All Time

Who doesn’t love a good pirate adventure? Certainly the billion dollar success of the Pirates of the Caribbean series is a testament to that fact. Despite this, the pirate genre is one that is criminally underused in games. About a decade ago, we went through a phase where every other game was based in WWII and we’re currently going through an extended zombie phase, so why not make pirates the next big thing?

In anticipation for this new wave of pirate games, which I’m convinced is going to happen, I've picked my top 10 best pirate games of all time. So strap on yer boots me hearties and get ready to tear my list to shreds in the comments below! Do you agree with what I've put together? What other worthy pirate games have you played that deserve a spot on this list?

Also Read: The Top 10 Star Wars Games on iOS

28 January, 2015

Satellina Review

2014 was a cracking year for intriguing puzzle games on the App Store. Our inquisitive minds and twitch reflexes were treated to the likes of One More Line, Avoid Sensory Overload and Lex, even while our patience was pushed to the very limit. Already this year looks to be shaping up nicely with what might be the first big puzzle game to suck up our precious free time - Satellina from indie dev Moon Kid.

Satellina defies easy classification, but is best thought of as a raw, twitchy, stripped back puzzler. It’s not easily comparable with other puzzle titles out on the market, but if you combine the successful gameplay elements of Threes! with the survival elements of Helix and add a bunch of charm to boot, you’re heading in the right direction.

28 January, 2015

Stripped Back Puzzler Satellina Beams Its Way to iOS

Update: The stripped-back puzzler Satellina has just beamed its way to iOS and Android. You can grab the game right here. You can read our review here.

Original story: Indie studio Moon Kid is readying its first game release, the stripped-back, raw puzzler Satellina. In the game, you are required to touch and clear the three colours - green, yellow, red - in order. The rhythmic moving of the colours around the screen combine with the music score to ensure it's not as easy as it sounds, and it could very well be one to suck you in - check the video below. We've just been informed that the game will hit iOS devices on January 22, and then Android on January 29.

In the interim, if you are looking for an incredibly simple, stupidly addictive high score game to get sucked into, check out One More Line

28 January, 2015

Interview: Doggins Creator Brain&Brain Talks Burly Men At Sea

Several weeks ago we shared some exciting details on the second project from indie developer Brain&Brain, the folktale adventure Burly Men At Sea. The studio's first title – the lovable adventure game Doggins – is one of my personal favourite iOS games of all time. If you haven’t tried it out, you can read our review here and grab the game here.

Husband and wife duo, David and Brooke Condolora (who together comprise Brain&Brain) were kind enough to catch up with me to answer some burning questions I had about Burly Men At Sea. Enjoy!

23 January, 2015

Play As A T-Rex With Extraterrestial Jump Boots In JumpJet Rex From Treefortress Games

It’s no secret that we’re a big fan of indie developer Treefortress Games here at Grab It. Their debut game, the tower defence x RPG adventure Bardbarian, is an absolute blast and one that belongs on every iPad. You can read our full review in Episode 4 of Grab It. Bardbarian’s release, however, wasn’t without its share of controversy.

The developer has bounced back strongly from these concerns, all the more smarter and wiser from its time with Bardbarian. And with these lessons tucked firmly under its belt, we can now look forward to Treefortress’ newest game, the 2D platforming adventure JumpJet Rex.

In the words of the developer, JumpJet Rex is a “punishing old school 2D platformer with a time-trial twist.” Citing inspiration from games such as Mario, Megaman and Trials HD, Treefortress’ goal is to appeal to those of us who love the old-school platformers of the late 80s and early 90s, while adding a fresh coat of modern paint.

That sounds intriguing enough, but the cherry on top of this delicious icecream is that players take control of a T-Rex with extraterrestial jump boots. Day one purchase right here!

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait to get our hands on the title. Treefortress recently brought JumpJet Rex to Steam Early Access, if you’re keen to give it a whirl. The game will remain in Early Access for around 10-12 weeks, enough time for the dev to gather and integrate player feedback. You can pick up the game for $9.99 now (which contains a free copy to gift to a friend,) and represents around 35 per cent of the final game.

At full retail release, the game will be available on Windows, OS X and Linux for $14.99. The final version will contain more levels, bosses, a co-op mode and a whole bunch of customisation options. Treefortress has also shared its desire to bring PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo fans into the fold very soon after its initial release.

Already, JumpJet Rex is shaping up to be an incredibly fun, challenging and slightly wacky take on the retro 2D platformer. Taking the time to gather and incorporate player feedback via Steam Early Access is a smart move, especially after the debacle surrounding Bardbarian. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some extraterrestial jump boots to strap on to my T-Rex.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

References:
     - Bardbarian
     - Episode 4 of Grab It
     - JumpJet Rex

22 January, 2015

Binding of Isaac Meets Rogue Legacy in Children Of Morta From Dead Mage

Back in September, we rather excitedly shared what little details we had on the upcoming project from Shadow Blade developer Dead Mage, called Children of Morta. Speculate no longer, good people. Dead Mage has just launched a Kickstarter for its game, which is already well on the way to being funded.

Children of Morta is being billed as a story-driven hack-n-slash game with roguelike elements, citing inspiration from games such as Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy and Risk of Rain. The art style brings to the surface nostalgic feelings of games of yesteryear, with a 2D pixel art aesthetic mixed with more contemporary effects.

The game itself revolves around playing as members of the Bergson family. From the Kickstarter pitch:

19 January, 2015

Opinion: Have Valve's Steam Machines Already Run Out Of Puff?


Like the gruff and slightly disheveled rebel who views mainstream society with suspicion, Valve has always been a company that loves to buck the typical social trends. Time and again, the company has earned thunderous acclamation from gamers by offering an excellent gaming platform and developing games of undisputed quality, all while showing a keen willingness to listen to its players and innovate. Indeed, for many, ‘Gaben’ can do little wrong, apart from being unable to count to the number three. But if the confusion surrounding Valve’s latest baby – the Steam Machine – is anything to go by, the company may be about to put a foot seriously in the wrong direction. Are Valve’s Steam Machines dead before they even hit the market?

If you’re still unsure what purpose Steam Machines serve or why you would consider purchasing one, there’s no need to panic – you will be gladly welcomed with open arms by your just-as-confused brothers and sisters. Ever since the company announced the slightly eccentric Steam Box back in September 2013 (along with a funky new controller and a new game-focused operating system, SteamOS,) the picture has not necessarily become clearer. In fact, almost a year-and-a-half later and the waters remain just as murky.

15 January, 2015

Folktale Adventure Burly Men At Sea From Doggins Creator Coming In 2015

One of the biggest surprise hits (at least for me) last year was the criminally underrated, lovable adventure game Doggins. You can read our review here. I can’t stop talking about the game and I would go so far as to say that Doggins was close to my iOS game of the year.

In excellent news, husband and wife team David and Brooke Condolora from Brain&Brain are working furiously on their second project, the folktale adventure Burly Men At Sea. Details are relatively scarce about the game so far, but we do know that it follows a trio of large bearded gentlemen on a fantastical adventure at sea. A few screenshots have surfaced so far, which you can see below. I love the direction of the art style, with a palate of softer and soothing colours being utilised, along with the use of minimal lines. It really does seem to capture that sense of preparing to set off on an epic adventure on the high seas.

We also know that the game will unfold through discovery, with the player being cast as both storyteller and wayfinder. This suggests to me that the player will have quite a significant role in not only pushing the story forward, but also shaping its direction. I wonder if we can rely on our storyteller to provide us with the truth, a la Rhys and Fiona in Tales From The Borderlands (read our review of Episode 1 here).

We won’t have to wait all that much longer either, with Burly Men At Sea aiming for a Spring 2015 release. We’ll keep you posted on any progress as it comes to light. You can also head over to Brain&Brain’s blog for more insights into the development process.

If we’re lucky enough, we’ll see if we can sneak in an interview with these guys to pick up some extra juicy insights.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

References:
     - Doggins
     - Tales From The Borderlands

14 January, 2015

SineWave Review – “Pitch Perfect”

When I first heard of the music rhythm game SineWave, I consulted my old pal Google to find out what it meant. Now I’m no professor (shock, horror), but apparently a sine wave is a mathematical curve that describes a smooth, shapely and acoustically unique oscillation. And, interestingly, sine waves are the most frequently used waveform when producing deep sub bass. At least to my layman’s mind, this description is particularly apt for the debut project from indie developer Mad Fellows – smooth and unique.

Mad Fellows is a relatively new two man company founded by ex-Guitar Hero and DJ Hero veterans Paul Norris and Dan Horbury. If you're like me, then you probably sunk a significant amount of hours into Guitar Hero during the peak of its popularity, so if nothing else, it was always going to be intriguing to see how the duo translated the concept to mobile devices.

13 January, 2015

Music Rhythm Game SineWave Will Hit The App Store On January 15

After a few false starts, indie developer Mad Fellows has assured us that their debut title - SineWave - will definitely be launching on the App Store on January 15. We've been keenly anticipating this release for some time now, so we're pretty happy here at Grab It that there's only two more days to wait. Keep an eye on our site for a link when the game goes live and a detailed review. In the meantime, the developer has offered some very helpful tips on getting the most from its game once it launches. Also be sure to check out the launch trailer below:

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

 

08 January, 2015

The Blackwell Trilogy Review

Point-and-click adventure games have been enjoying a rebirth in popularity over the past few years, with a number of high profile and high quality titles making their way to our iOS screens. Not only have we enjoyed a slew of innovative new adventure games – did someone say Machinarium or The Wolf Among Us? – developers have also tapped into our nostalgia by bringing old classics back to life. Developer Wadjet Eye Games has jumped aboard the bandwagon, bringing its previously PC-only point-and-click adventure series, Blackwell, to an iOS audience.

The Blackwell games – Legacy, Unbound and Convergence – probably can’t be called “old school,” since the first title in the series was only released in 2006. But that’s certainly the feeling that Wadjet Eye Games has gone for, taking clear inspiration from developers like Sierra and LucasArts, with a retro visual style. If you’re old enough to remember these classic adventure games, it’s a nice touch that invokes warm and fuzzy feelings of your childhood. Having said that, the art style doesn’t always hit the mark, but more on that below.

04 December, 2014

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Act 4: Dawn Over V’Tagg Out Now, Also Hits Steam

Gamebook adventure fans, rejoice! The fourth and final Act of Joe Dever’s critically acclaimed Lone Wolf series, Dawn Over V’Tagg, is out now. For those who have been following the series with interest, it’s been a long (and impatient) road for both us and Lone Wolf, so it’s nice to see his story finally wrapped up.

While Android and iOS users have been hacking and slashing Vordaks and other bad dudes for months, PC and Mac users can get in on the love with the complete Lone Wolf series now available on Steam. The inclusion of almost 80 Steam achievements and trading cards is a nice touch. If you move quick enough, you can also pick it up for 10% off the usual price.

We reviewed Acts One and Two of Lone Wolf in Episode 5 of Grab It, calling it “one of the best gamebook adventures on the market which strikes the perfect balance of an old-school gamebook feel while breathing new life into an otherwise aging genre.” The satisfying combat is worth singling out in particular, mixing real-time mechanics with turn-based action. It’s certainly a far cry from traditional gamebook adventures where the prospect of winning a battle essentially boils down to random chance with the rolling of die.

You can grab Lone Wolf right here:
     - iOS
     - Steam

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

28 November, 2014

How To Play One More Line Like A Boss

Update: The super addictive one touch arcade title from SMG Studio, One More Line, is hard. Like really hard. Apparently I'm not the only one cursing in frustration either. SMG Studio was at such a loss over all the bad scores being submitted that it's graciously created a "How to play" video to give us poor schmucks a fair chance. Check out the video below, it's actually quite helpful. My high score now stands at 103. Has anyone been able to do better than that? Drop us a line in the comments below.
Grab It Now

Original story: From Avoid Sensory Overload to Wave Wave and yes, even Flappy Bird, gamers can’t get enough of super challenging, instantly replayable arcade gems that lock your mind a way in the cave of focus, where the rest of the world fades into insignificance next to your score. SMG Studios, who recently released the excellent tongue-in-cheek tower defence/RPG hybrid OTTTD, has the next big brain buster and it’s just landed. The game is One More Line.

As simple as you can possibly get, the aim is to guide a rainbow-like line through a vertically scrolling landscape of obstacles. You can’t turn, but you can latch onto an obstacle, which sends you into an orbit around it and flings you off in the direction you’d expect when you let go. That’s about it. If it sounds too crazily simple to be fun, we challenge you to play this game once, put it down and never be interested in shooting for One More Line.

In Episode 8 of Grab It, we featured One More Line, including a making of interview with the developer’s founder Ashley Ringrose. In fact, the developer was featured three times, with OTTTD and the upcoming – also excellent – Hyper Death Robot Party also amongst the 68 featured indies. You can grab the episode here.

References:
   - One More Line
   - Avoid Sensory Overload
   - Wave Wave
   - OTTTD
   - Episode 8 of Grab It

28 November, 2014

Best "Get" Games of 2014 So Far

Over the past week we’ve noticed quite an interesting development on the App Store. If you were to go and download a free game, you may notice that it’s no longer labelled as “free” but rather as “get.” Maybe “free” really isn’t so “free” after all. If you’re interested in reading more about this development then head over to our opinion piece on the topic.

But with all this talk about games, we figured that you would be interested in knowing what the best games to “Get” are. So sit back and enjoy our Best “Get” Games of 2014 So Far (January to September.) Our selections - which are in no particular order - are based on not only the quality of the experience, but also the nature of any IAPs the game might have to offer.

If you are wondering who we are, we’re a AAA digital magazine that you can pick up on the App Store anywhere in the world to get dedicated coverage of the indie iPad gaming scene. We’re trying to not only push the boundaries of what a digital magazine can be by making the reader experience feel like playing a dynamic and interactive game, but we’re also full of hours of reviews, exclusive developer interviews, footage, images, insights and more. Below you will find links to each edition.
     - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue*)
     - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn
     - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley
     - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua
     - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz
     - Grab It Episodes 2-5 Bundle
     - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers
     - Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
     - Episode 8 - the PAX AUS edition
     - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection

27 November, 2014

Opinion - When Free Isn't Free: Apple Changing Pricing Buttons From "Free" to "Get" Doesn't Go Far Enough

Earlier this year, I wrote an opinion piece asking whether Apple should be held accountable for shifty pricing practices. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the sort of games being referred to here. A shiny new “free” game pops up on the App Store, only for it to be riddled with intrusive IAPs or advertisements. Clash of Clans, The Simpsons: Tapped Out, and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff all come to mind. As I previously suggested, both developers and Apple need to shoulder some of the responsibility for these woeful pricing strategies.

Although I personally find this pricing/sales model quite distasteful, that’s not my main gripe. Rather, the heart of the matter has to do with transparency. Advertising a game as “free” only for large portions of the game to be locked behind a pay wall is misleading at best and blatant false advertising at worst. A game such as Touch Force, which is advertised as “free,” can only been enjoyed for around 3 minutes before needing to fork out real money to continue playing. By any standard of reason, that is completely outrageous. South Park may have been on to something.

24 November, 2014

Music Rhythm Game SineWave Will Be The First Game of 2015

Update: Good news everyone! We've just received word of a hard date for when rhythm-based tunnel shooter SineWave is set to drop on iOS. In slightly bad news, we'll have to cool our jets for just that little bit longer - mark January 1, 2015, in your calendars. But the wait is definitely going to be worth it. We recently managed to get some hands on time with the game and came away thoroughly impressed. Be sure to read our initial impressions below.

Original story: For some time now, I’ve been following with great interest the debut project from indie developer Mad Fellows called SineWave (previously known as Salvage.) If you haven’t heard much about it, SineWave is a rhythm-based tunnel shooter in which you fly forwards through a 3D world in a little spacecraft – dodging obstacles and shooting other drones – all to the beat of heavy bass warbling soundtracks. If you've played games like Record Run or Guitar Hero Mobile, the concept will feel immediately familiar. But even more awesome.

One of the things which excites me the most about SineWave is that it’s in incredibly experienced hands. Mad Fellows is comprised of ex-Guitar Hero and DJ Hero veterans (and all-round nice guys) Paul Norris and Dan Horbury. So you can rest assured these guys have the chops to make a pretty decent music game. To my delicious anticipation, I recently got some hands on time with the game before its impending release.

06 November, 2014

Top 10 Best Free iOS Games of July to September

It’s both crazy and awesome, all at the same time, that there’s only seven weeks left till Christmas! Where did that year go? Perhaps you’re saving a pretty penny or two to buy presents for your loved ones (i.e. yourself?) Or maybe you’re holding out for some sweet post-Christmas sales. In any case if spending your hard earned money sounds too much like a chore, rest easy. We’ve put together our top 10 best free iOS games for the months July through September. For the wonderful price of absolutely nothing, you can’t really go wrong by picking up a few of these stellar titles.

When you’re done checking out the following games, be sure to also have a look at our Top 50 Best iOS Games of 2014 So Far (January to June) and our Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of September. Still not enough gaming for you? We just released our biggest episode ever, covering all of the amazing indie devs who were on show at PAX Australia. Even better, it’s free right now for one more day! Grab it here.

If you are wondering who we are, we’re a AAA digital magazine that you can pick up on the App Store anywhere in the world to get dedicated coverage of the indie iPad gaming scene. We’re trying to not only push the boundaries of what a digital magazine can be by making the reader experience feel like playing a dynamic and interactive game, but we’re also full of hours of reviews, exclusive developer interviews, footage, images, insights and more. Below you will find links to each edition.
     - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue*)
     - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn
     - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley
     - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua
     - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz
     - Grab It Episodes 2-5 Bundle
     - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers
     - Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
     - Episode 8 - the PAX AUS edition
     - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection

30 October, 2014

The Pursuit of Photorealistic Graphics Is 'Stagnant and Non-expressive' According to Indie Dev Cardboard Keep

At any one time there are so many fantastic indie titles bubbling away in development that it can be difficult to keep up. But one indie title that’s recently popped up on my radar is from a little known studio called Cardboard Keep. Its first major project is the intriguing third-person action-adventure title Warden: Melody Of The Undergrowth.

With clear nods to games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Banjo-Kazooie, Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls, well, you get the gist of why I’m pretty excited. And although Cardboard Keep are keeping much of the story veiled in mystery, a few delicious insights have emerged. What we do know is that the world has been thrown into chaos, with the once harmonious relationship between nature and mankind overturned. Our adventure revolves around controlling a Warden Spirit, a being that is able to shapeshift into Wardens. These Wardens are children called upon by the forest, each of whom has unique and special powers.

An early build of the game will be available for some hands on time at the upcoming PAX AUS in Melbourne, Australia and will be available on PC, Mac, Linux and consoles in 2015. In the Grab It PAX AUS Indie Game Guide, we have a bunch of awesome insights into the game, screenshots and an exclusive in-depth interview with Calum Spring, founder of Cardboard Keep.

While there is much to be excited about, one of the things that really stood out to me was Warden’s stunning Wind Waker-like visuals. Like a wonderful piece of art, the hand-painted scenes are incredibly expressive, coming alive with both colour and character. That’s no accident either, with Cardboard Keep being very deliberate in what it wants to say through Warden’s artistic style. Here’s a snippet from our interview with Spring:

"Clarity and readability are central to our art style, and colour and vibrancy are great for expressing the dangerous and beneficial elements of the world. Plus we don’t want players missing elements that we’ve poured so much effort into! We also wanted to contrast the art style with the more challenging and mature combat, and narrative components of the game. So while Warden is quite upfront in its thematic discussion, it’s not all dark and bleak.

At the same time, this style of art is faster for a small studio like us to iterate upon and generate a larger world out of. We find the pursuit of photorealistic graphics shown by larger studios to be stagnant and non-expressive. You can say alot more with colour."

To read our full exclusive interview with Cardboard Keep and to learn more about Warden, be sure to pick our our PAX AUS Indie Game Guide (which is currently free for a limited time.)

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

27 October, 2014

Digital Gamebook Appointment With FEAR Is Tin Man Games' 'Most Challenging Fighting Fantasy Title' Ever Undertaken

With PAX AUS only days away from flinging open its door to hordes of excited patrons, there is an infectious buzz in the air of Melbourne, Australia. Going hands-on with some of the biggest and brightest indie games has left us humbled at the talent on display.

One of the games you’ll be able to get some play time with is the digital gamebook Appointment With FEAR from Tin Man Games. It's yet another adaptation of the legendary Steve Jackson Fighting Fantasy series, however it carries a completely different tone. Think less sword and sorcery romp, and more superhero beat-em-up with a dynamic comic book aesthetic.

Being such a radical departure from the usual Fighting Fantasy gamebooks was what made it stand out to the team at Tin Man Games. Co-founder, Neil Rennison, had this to Grab It for our feature article in Episode 8:

“Being superheroes set within a large comic book city, it simply cried out for a bit of a digital makeover. With tablet-based comics being in vogue, we thought it would be a great idea to actually make it feel more like a digital comic, complete with slide-on panels and avatars with speech bubbles, rather than walls of text narrative found in the old paperbacks.”

If you’ve ever thought that doing a mere adaptation of a physical gamebook cuts down on the workload, think again. Appointment With FEAR may be one of the complex projects Tin Man Games has ever undertaken.

“This was certainly our most challenging Fighting Fantasy title yet,” reflected Rennison. “We always have to perform some element of re-writing or logic re-wiring whenever we convert a gamebook to digital, but with Appointment With FEAR, we had to completely re-write every section and had to add a lot of extra content too!”

If you want to read more of our exclusive interview with Rennison, be sure to download our PAX AUS Indie Game Guide. Even better it’s free for a limited time!

You might also be interested in reading our full review of the game, which we called an accessible, light-hearted and wonderful introduction to the world of digital gamebooks. We also have a massive interactive digital making of feature with Tin Man Games in Episode 6 of Grab It, including our Top 10 Digital Gamebooks.

Finally, Appointment With FEAR is out right now, so you can grab it here.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

References:
     - PAX AUS Indie Game Guide
     - Episode 6 of Grab It
     - Appointment With FEAR
     - Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies
     - Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell
     - Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King
     - Fighting Fantasy: Starship Traveller (which made our Top 50 Best Indie iOS Games of 2014 So Far)
     - Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom

30 October, 2014

How To Eviscerate Zombies in Virtual Reality With A Real-life Chainsaw Prop In Dead End Alley

It seems to me that the only thing more satisfying than hacking and slashing zombies to a bloody pulp is doing so with a real-life chainsaw prop. That’s exactly the experience kinemortophobics (i.e. those who are terrified of zombies or turning into a zombie) can expect at Stirfire Studio’s booth at PAX AUS in Melbourne, Australia from October 31 to November 2. 

The studio’s upcoming zombie hack-n-slash mobile title Dead End Alley looks to appeal to both casual and more established gamers alike. Stuck at the bottom of a dead end alley, all you can do is watch in abject horror as the hordes of shambling masses creep slowly and surely in your direction. Cue lots of hectic swiping and slashing on your mobile device with ye olde faithful – a trusty chainsaw.

27 October, 2014

Quake x Minecraft + Nine-Player Splitscreen = Gunscape

Note: For the full list of 68 indie games interviewed and analysed in Episode 8 of Grab It, click for more info on the App Store or watch the trailer.

One of my most anticipated games of the year has to be the indie gem, Gunscape.

One of the big draw cards of the upcoming PAX AUS in Melbourne, Australia, is the Indie Showcase. Chosen by a panel of grizzled industry veterans, the Showcase highlights a select few titles as the most outstanding from the Australian and New Zealand indie scene. One of those games that made the cut – and which will be playable at PAX AUS – is Gunscape by Blowfish Studios.

A rather succinct (albeit crude) way to describe Gunscape would be a love letter to the entire FPS genre. At its core Gunscape plays out like a classic arena-style shoot-em-up – such as Quake III Arena – including typical game modes such as Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All and CTF (Capture The Fish.) But Gunscape is so much more, with Blowfish Studios preferring to label its game a “FPS Construction Kit.” Indeed, Blowfish Studios is putting a massive focus on the community with creating, editing and sharing player developed maps integral to the experience. Friends can even jump in and help out the build via co-op, a la Minecraft.

Intrigued? Well, let us whet your appetite some more. Ahead of PAX AUS, we had the opportunity to catch up with co-founder of Blowfish Studios, Ben Lee, to chat about the origins of Gunscape. We've run a massive feature in Episode 8 of Grab It, featuring a tonne of assets, music, information and more about the making of this game. Here is a snippet of what Lee told us in reference to his inspirations:

“We’ve managed to bring in some core experiences from all these [classic FPS] games into Gunscape. We have the simple, yet fun, core FPS gameplay from Quake. This is essential as no matter what kind of map a player creates, the experience of playing it as an FPS remains fun and competitive. Unreal Tournament 2K3 really started expanding on the different types of multiplayer gameplay in the FPS genre and this is something we’re also bringing in to Gunscape. There are at least eight different multiplayer game modes and we’ll continue to add more with each additional in-game theme. In fact, the big news we’re announcing at PAX AUS is a theme inspired by Bungie’s Marathon games.

Finally, GoldenEye had some memorable game modes too, but the obvious aspect we are capturing here is the splitscreen console gameplay – not that it's limited to gaming consoles only. With the advent of Steam Machines a whole new player base will be happy to play some local multiplayer. Gaming PCs should also be well equipped to handle up to nine player split screen in Gunscape on a nice 4K display!”

This is just scratching the surface of what we can expect from Gunscape. For the rest of our massive in-depth making of feature and world exclusive interview with Lee on Gunscape, be sure to pick up the PAX AUS Indie Game Guide. For a limited time only, the app is absolutely free. So go on, grab it here!

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

References:
     - PAX AUS Indie Game Guide
     - Beben 3 (AKA Quake III) – check out our step-by-step guide to playing Quake III on iPad
     - Doom Classic
     - Doom II RPG
     - Doom Resurrection
     - Minecraft
     - Wolfenstein 3D

28 October, 2014

Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of September

As the year continues to roll on, the quality of iOS games has only seemed to get better and better. Truly, the indie scene is such a fertile breeding ground for unbridled creativity and unashamed passion. Like chalk and cheese, this month alone the variety of the games on our list couldn't be more different. Everything from pirate gamebook adventures to Cold War espionage platformers to alien tower defence games. And goats. Let’s not forget the goats.

When you’re done checking out the following games, be sure to also have a look at our Top 50 Best iOS Games of 2014 So Far (January to June) and our Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of August. Still not enough gaming for you? We just released our biggest episode ever, covering all of the amazing indie devs who will be on show at PAX Australia. Even better, it’s free right now! Grab it here.

If you are wondering who we are, we’re a AAA digital magazine that you can pick up for US$2 on the App Store anywhere in the world to get dedicated coverage of the indie iPad gaming scene. We’re trying to not only push the boundaries of what a digital magazine can be by making the reader experience feel like playing a dynamic and interactive game, but we’re also full of hours of reviews, exclusive developer interviews, footage, images, insights and more. Below you will find links to each edition.
     - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue*)
     - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn
     - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley
     - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua
     - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz
     - Grab It Episodes 2-5 Bundle
     - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers
     - Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
     - Episode 8 - the PAX AUS edition
     - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection

17 October, 2014

The Best iOS Game Bundles At Bargain Prices

Bundles. Bundles everywhere! As we’ve previously reported, a cool new feature of iOS 8 is that it allows developers to sell their apps in bundles, often at a heavily discounted price. Many excellent deals await those savvy enough to sift through the App Store. Or we could just do it for you. Actually that’s exactly what we’ll do. After wading through mountains of games, here are our recommendations on the game bundles you simply must own.

Just a quick note that prices are in US dollars. The number in parentheses is the cost of the games were they to be purchased separately. Don't forget that if you already own some of the games in a particular bundle, there is also an option for you to ‘complete the bundle.’

Did we miss any bundles that have caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below. Keep checking back regularly as we’ll add more bundles as they come across our metaphorical desk.

17 October, 2014

Incandescence Shines on iOS

Update 2: The new rhythm-based music game Incandescence has just started rolling out around the world. Even better it’s free, so why not grab the game here and give it a go.

Update 1: We've just received an email from developer Guerilla Tea Games and we're glad to report the game will be out on Oct 16.

Original Story: Guerilla Tea Games was a star of Episode 5 of Grab It. The indie developer from the UK blew us away with its revolutionary title Play to Cure: Genes in Space, whereby you can help scientists in the real world cure cancer by shooting at asteroids and flying through space in an imaginary one. It’s brilliant and the developer gave us the full rundown on how they did it in our feature story, which you can pick up here.

Now that it has cured cancer, the developer is keen to help you find your rhythm in a visually rich tap-fest for high scores. The game, Incandescence, is said to test your stamina and your rhythm, as you tap a mystical prism at the right time to link together a high score. However, the higher your score, the more the visual effects ramp up in an attempt to distract you from the beat.

It sounds a world away from the scientific wonderment of Play to Cure, but it also sounds like decent fun. It’s coming to iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 "soon."

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

16 October, 2014

More Than Meets The Eye - Angry Birds Transformers Deploying Worldwide

Update: The wait is no longer. The intriguing Angry Birds X Transformers mash-up has now hit the App Store and is rolling out worldwide. For the very low price of free, it’s worth checking out. Make sure to grab the game here.

Original Story: Never shy of a power team-up, Rovio and Hasbro are ganging up on the rest of the App Store in an upcoming super collaboration that's sure to be more than meets the eye. A, Angry Birds Transformers mobile game is planned, whereby Autobirds and Deceptihogs will go at it, but this is only a small part of the story.

Alongside the game will be a range of toys and they will be going the Skylanders magic trick - we're talking full toy-to-life capabilities. Hasbro will be releasing a range of Angry Birds related figurines that use Telepods technology to transport characters into the game world, bringing their unique powers with them. It's not clear at this stage whether the toys-to-life experience will be restricted to the new Angry Birds Transformers line, or be incorporated into the existing collaborations between the companies on Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Go! toys, or the upcoming Angry Birds Stella toys (and game) due in September.

“We’re really excited to combine the iconic Transformers universe with the quirky world of Angry Birds” said Blanca Juti, Chief Marketing Officer of Rovio. “This mash-up is going to appeal to those who grew up with the brand in the 80s, as well as fans of the brand today. People are going to love it!”

“Angry Birds Transformers provides fans worldwide with a fun, new story and characters, and innovative ways, like our TELEPODS platform, for consumers to engage with the brand” said John Frascotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Hasbro. “We collaborated with Rovio to create opportunities for kids and families to experience Autobirds and Deceptihogs across multiple formats and entertainment platforms, for a completely immersive branded experience.”

Despite Nintendo recently joining the toys-to-life phenomenon and both Skylanders and Disney Infinity swimming in thousand dollar notes, this remains a surprising move. Will toys-to-life and mobile gaming work? We look forward to hearing more over the coming weeks.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

References:
    - Angry Birds Epic (read our review)
    - Angry Birds Go
    - Angry Birds HD
    - Angry Birds Seasons
    - Angry Birds Star Wars II
    - Angry Birds Stars Wars HD

14 October, 2014

Hands On With Rhythm-based Tunnel Shooter SineWave - "Hitting the Right Notes"

For some time now, I’ve been following with great interest the debut project from indie developer Mad Fellows called SineWave (previously known as Salvage.) If you haven’t heard much about it, SineWave is a rhythm-based tunnel shooter in which you fly forwards through a 3D world in a little spacecraft – dodging obstacles and shooting other drones – all to the beat of heavy bass warbling soundtracks. If you've played games like Record Run or Guitar Hero Mobile, the concept will feel immediately familiar. But even more awesome.

One of the things which excites me the most about SineWave is that it’s in incredibly experienced hands. Mad Fellows is comprised of ex-Guitar Hero and DJ Hero veterans (and all-round nice guys) Paul Norris and Dan Horbury. So you can rest assured these guys have the chops to make a pretty decent music game. To my delicious anticipation, I recently got some hands on time with the game before its impending release.

18 September, 2014

Crescent Moon Games Is Rolling Out The Game Bundles

With the release of iOS 8, prolific mobile publisher Crescent Moon Games is getting in on the action. As we speak, the publisher is rolling out a number of themed game bundles that include some pretty amazing games. Here’s what bundles have popped up on the App Store so far:

Great Platformers ($7.99 - save 50%)
2-bit Cowboy, Almightree: The Last Dreamer, Evertales, Gear Jack, Nakama, Paper Monsters, Shadow Blade, Twisty Planets, Clash of Puppets 

Fantastic Role-Playing Games ($14.99 - save 60%)
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD, Coldfire Keep, Evertales, Mighty Dungeons, Mines of Mars, Pocket RPG, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor, Demonrock: War of Ages, Ravensword: Shadowlands 

Amazing Strategy Games ($7.99 - save 50%)
300 Dwarves HD, Demonrock: War of Ages, Hairy Tales, Raid Leader, Siegecraft, Siegecraft Defender, Topia World Builder, Kids vs Goblins 

Awesome Action Games ($6.99 - save 50%)
2-bit Cowboy, Deadlock Online, JAM: Jets Aliens Missiles, Monkey Boxing, Mutant Storm, Strike Wing: Raptor Rising, Shadow Blade, Optical Inquisitor, Neon Shadow

Mind-Boggling Puzzle Games ($4.99 - save 50%)
Almightree: The Last Dreamer, Hairy Tales, Nia: Jewel Hunter, Twisty Planets, Zen Training, Gears, Relic Rush 

Any or all of these bundles look amazing. But If I had to pick just one, I would go for the Great Platformers bundle which includes classics like 2-bit Cowboy (showcased with developer interview in Episode 5 of Grab It), Shadow Blade (showcased with developer interview in Episode 2 of Grab It) and Gear Jack. It's also worth noting that if you already own some of the games in the bundle, there is an option to pay the difference for the games you are missing. 

Also be sure to check out our guide for downloading iOS 8 and information on some other great bundles.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

18 September, 2014

Is iOS 8 Too Big For Your Device? Try This Trick So You Don't Have To Delete Your Games

When Apple declared iOS 8 as “the biggest release since the launch of the App Store,” they weren't kidding. Literally. If you've tried to download the update this morning, you may have realised that it requires a whopping amount of storage space. On some iPhone and iPad models, you’re looking at needing around 5.7GB of free space. This is a pretty big problem for some people, especially those with an iPhone 4S or 5C which only have a total storage space of 8GB. In comparison, previous iOS updates only required 1GB of storage.

If you’re not particularly keen on deleting absolutely everything from your iDevice to make room for iOS 8 there’s actually a fairly simple workaround. Just connect your device to a computer and use iTunes to download and install the update. Doing it this way will significantly reduce the amount of storage space required. While you’re at it, don’t forget to back up your device should anything weird and wonderful happen during the installation. Expect to set aside at least 1.5 hours to download the update. And voila, you’re good to explore the magic of iOS 8.

The first thing you may want to do is check out the new bundles of games that have appeared on the App Store. You can also look at the below episode of Grab It to find the best indie iOS games available on iPad.

If you are wondering who we are, we’re a AAA digital magazine that you can pick up for US$2 on the App Store anywhere in the world to get dedicated coverage of the indie iPad gaming scene. We’re trying to not only push the boundaries of what a digital magazine can be by making the reader experience feel like playing a dynamic and interactive game, but we’re also full of hours of reviews, exclusive developer interviews, footage, images, insights and more. Below you will find links to each edition.
     - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue*)
     - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn
     - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley
     - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua
     - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz
     - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers
     - Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
     - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

15 September, 2014

Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of August

Some moderately famous guy once said, “my momma always said, 'life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'" When I peruse the App Store, this quote comes to mind. The quantity of titles released on a weekly, and even daily, basis is truly astounding. You just don’t know what you’re going to come across. Unfortunately, it is too often the case that the real gems are lost beneath a sea of absolute rubbish and clones. Which is what makes our job so important. It is our pleasure to present this month’s top 10 premium gems of the App Store for your consideration. Have a look through our picks and do these devs a solid by grabbing a game or two. You won’t regret it. 

And if you somehow manage to get through all of these amazing games, you may also want to check out our Top 50 Best iOS Games Of 2014 So Far - which goes from January to June - or our Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of July.

04 September, 2014

Max Gentlemen Review

Every so often a game comes along that is so completely wacky, you can't help but smile in appreciation. Well, get ready to plaster a big goofy grin on your face because Max Gentlemen is a game all about stacking hats in the most gentlemanly manner possible. Yes, the objective truly is to stack hats as high as you can through a series of minigames.

One such minigame pits you against a well-manicured gentleman in a bar where every beer you manage to drink before your opponent gives you another hat to stack. But watch out for flying boomerangs and darts, otherwise you'll lose a hat or two. Meanwhile, in the background is a bar brawl involving muscly men hurling gentlemanly insults at each other. Sound insane? What else can we expect from a game that was inspired by a spam email. However, while at no point does developer The Men Who Wear Many Hats take itself seriously, I'm thankful the studio has still worked hard to create a slick experience, with tight and intuitive controls.

Apart from it being jolly good fun, the relatively shallow experience is given legs with the option to challenge mates to a hat stacking duel and through new hat varieties that are unlocked the more you play. I've never been so excited to unlock a fez! The developer has also taken a sensible approach to IAPs. With the base game being free, you're able to grab a few extra minigames, characters and additional hat varieties for a couple of dollars.

Max Gentlemen probably won't be in the running for game of the year or even be a game you're still playing in six months. But not only do I have a far greater appreciation for the humble hat, I have added a large number of gentlemanly insults to my repertoire. Now go grab the game you foppish cad!

Grab the game here.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

01 September, 2014

Call of Duty: Heroes Hands-On - "Unimpressive"


We're taking a good long look at online strategy games this month, following the release of Episode 7 of Grab It, which features the world exclusive making of feature for Tiny Troopers Alliance. It's set to take the lead in a genre that is really gaining some big name IP. And like a well-oiled machine, this includes the Call of Duty juggernaut, which continues to rumble on with little sign of slowing down. The latest entry in the franchise is the Clash of Clans-inspired iOS title Call of Duty: Heroes, currently in soft launch in Australia and New Zealand. I spent some hands-on time with the game – which I would like to stress is still in beta – and came away rather unimpressed.

20 August, 2014

Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games Of July

There’s no need for alarm, but you do need to follow my instructions carefully. First, go and quickly close the curtains. Then unplug the phone (does anyone have a landline anymore?) and cancel any social gatherings (yes, even box socials) you may have planned for the next month. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself because you’re going to need an insane amount of time to experience all of what the top ten premium games of July have to offer. More so than any other month in recent memory, the games on our list for July are quite an eclectic bunch. Everything from an epic monster hunting adventure in which you could easily sink hundreds of hours to a heart-pumping gun-toting first-person shooter to a game where you experience life from the perspective of a mountain.

If you somehow manage to get through all of these amazing games, you may also want to check out our Top 50 Best iOS Games Of 2014 So Far. If you see a game you like, you know what to do – grab it!

If you were wondering who we are, we’re a AAA digital magazine that you can pick up for US$2 on the App Store anywhere in the world to get dedicated coverage of the indie iPad gaming scene. We’re trying to not only push the boundaries on what a digital magazine can be by making the reader experience feel like playing a game with dynamic and interactive video, audio and animations, but we’re also full of hours and hours of exclusive developer interviews, footage, images, insights and more. Below you will find the trailer for latest episode, and links to each edition.
   - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue)
   - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn
   - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley
   - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua
   - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz
   - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers
   - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection

13 August, 2014

How Gaming Can Connect Us to Literary Masterpieces

Have we lost touch with our cultural roots? In a society that lives life in the fast lane, we are becoming increasingly removed from those who have gone before us. Gaming is no exception, where the next fad is defined by the five minute consumerism of titles like Flappy Bird. Forgetting our past darkens our future.

But, all is not lost. In a small, yet significant, way games can bridge the divide between generations, allowing us to reconnect with our cultural forefathers. Today I want to focus in on one part of our culture that we desperately need to remember – the giants of the literary world.

11 August, 2014

Zombocalypse Now Review - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse Has Never Been More Delightful

Note: We have just released episode 6 of our game discovery app, Grab It, featuring not only the Top 10 Gamebooks on iPad, but also an exclusive feature with genre legends Tin Man Games on how it has reinvigorated the genre for the digital generation. You may also want to check out Grab It's website for all manner of articles related to gamebooks as part of our self-declared Gamebook Month.

A huge part of my childhood was captured by the magic of choose-your-own adventure novels. I cherish the countless hours spent under my blankets exploring the stories of mysterious assassins, powerful dragons and wicked enemies. After playing Zombocalypse Now, I was joyed by how it brought back those wonderful memories. Zombocalypse Now represents the very best of the old school choose-your-own adventure experience, updated for a modern audience.

08 August, 2014

Oceanhorn Game Of The Year Edition Out Now

Update: The Game of the Year edition to Oceanhorn is out now. Be sure to ready yourself for another epic adventure through this wonderful land and then grab the game here.

Original Story: Good news fans of big Zelda-like adventures - the Game of the Year edition of the upcoming Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas will be landing on August 7. The update will be free for existing owners and adds a stack of new content like fishing, dynamic weather and a whole new island to explore with its own story content. For the full details one what the update will include, check out our interview with creator Heikki Repo. A new trailer has released (see below) showing off the new elements and it looks like they make a great game even better. We've followed the title closely since launch, having featured an exclusive making of on the game as the cover story for Episode 2 of Grab It.

You can grab this great game here, and check out our feature (with a stack of other content) in Episode 2 here.

07 August, 2014

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Act 3: The Shianti Halls Out Now

After an agonisingly long wait, the third Act of Joe Dever’s epic gamebook adventure, Lone Wolf, has finally hit the App Store. Act 3 picks up where the action left off, with Lone Wolf continuing his quest through The Shianti Halls where he’ll face off with some new bad dudes called Vordaks.

We reviewed Acts One and Two of Lone Wolf in Episode 5 of Grab It, calling it “one of the best gamebook adventures on the market which strikes the perfect balance of an old-school gamebook feel while breathing new life into an otherwise aging genre.” The satisfying combat is worth singling out in particular, mixing real-time mechanics with turn-based action. It’s certainly a far cry from traditional gamebook adventures where the prospect of winning a battle essentially boils down to random chance with the rolling of die.

Adding to this great news, Act One has just been slashed to the very low price of free for a limited time. There’s really no excuse not to give Lone Wolf a shot, especially during Grab It’s self-declared Gamebook Month.

Grab the game here.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

06 August, 2014

Out There, Godfire and Sorcery! Star In Massive App Store Sale - Save $50

At any one time there are an incredible number of games on sale on the App Store. In fact, we could churn out articles on a near-daily basis showcasing some pretty sweet deals. But even I was gobsmacked by the calibre of games on sale at the moment and the deep price cuts given. A number of these games even made our Top 50 Best Indie iOS Games of 2014 So Far.

Tying in nicely with Grab It’s self-declared Gamebook Month, digital gamebook Sorcery! from inkle has been slashed. If you’ve been waiting to jump into this innovative series, or have been on the fence about whether to give gamebooks a shot, now is the time. If gamebooks aren’t your thing, there are some other really nice deals to be nabbed. We can thoroughly recommend the adorable point-and-click adventure Doggins (read our review) which we called “a wonderfully charming, humorous and casual adventure that is unfortunately cut short in its prime.” Another must-play, which came in at number 3 on our Top 50 Games of 2014 So Far, is the fiendishly difficult space adventure, Out There by Mi Clos Studio.

05 August, 2014

Interview With Gamebook Developer inkle on 80 Days

You may have seen the other day that Grab It has officially declared August as Gamebook Month. Throughout the month we're going to bring you all manner of articles related to the wonderful genre of digital gamebooks.

We recently caught up with Jon Ingold (creative director) and Meg Jayanth (writer) from gamebook developer inkle to chat about their recent title 80 Days (be sure to read our review) and to shoot the breeze about gamebooks in general. Enjoy.

02 August, 2014

Tin Man Games Interview - "Gamebooks Have No Ceiling On Creativity"

You may have seen the other day that Grab It has officially declared August as Gamebook Month. Throughout the month we're going to bring you all manner of articles related to the wonderful genre of digital gamebooks.

In our just released Episode 6 of Grab It, we featured an awesome interview with gamebook developer Tin Man Games on how it is reinvigorating the old-school genre for a modern audience. We want to share a snippet of our interview with Neil Rennison, founder of Tin Man Games, on why gamebooks are such an amazing vehicle for creativity.

"In developing gamebooks, there is literally no ceiling on creativity because the world you create is mostly shown in words. We aren't constrained like other styles of adventure games or by print restrictions. The old school Fighting Fantasy gamebooks were traditionally divided into 400 sections, not because it was a nice number, but because they could only print a certain number of pages. Some of our gamebooks have over 1,000 sections.

Given how large a gamebook can be, maintaining player choice throughout the story is paramount to the experience. Each reader needs to own that story and feel personally invested in the narrative. Keeping this in mind, we need to have a lot of choices, not only to increase replayability but to make sure each choice is fleshed out. This means working through complex gameflow graphs, which look like crazy spider's webs!"

To read our entire feature interview with Tin Man Games (including images of those gameflow graphs), and a tonne of other exclusives related to all things indie iPad gaming, be sure to pick up Episode 6 of Grab It.

Writer:
Stephen Mitchell

02 August, 2014

5 iPad Games You Want On A Desert Island – My List is Better

Recently, my colleague Garry Balogh came up with a list of the 5 iPad games you would want if you got stuck on a desert island (read the article here.) I think the context involved something about a boatload of half-naked people walking around eating magical desserts. I’m not even going to go into all the logical problems with Garry’s fantastical scenario, like how you are supposed to keep your battery charged or get a decent net connection.

Anyway, sure it was a nice list (with a lot of great games on it – check them out!) but I’m now going to give you the definitive list of what games you would want if you were stuck on a desert island.

01 August, 2014

Grab It Is Officially Declaring August As Gamebook Month

We're not sure if we have the power to do this, but Grab It is seeking international recognition for the month of August to be declared Gamebook Month. I'm a man on a mission and because I love gamebooks, I want people everywhere to share my passion. So why not dedicate August to gamebooks!

But let's address that burning question bubbling away in the minds of those of you who didn't live through the eighties - what exactly is a gamebook? At the broadest level, they are simply works of fiction that involve the reader by allowing them to make choices which effect the story progression. Traditional choose-your-own adventure stories fall into this category. Another popular variation, which shot to prominence during the 1980s, is the role-playing gamebook, which involves the use of a rules manual; essentially a single player version of Dungeons and Dragons. Finally, the adventure gamebook often combines a complex branching narrative with a more action oriented role-playing system, which may be unique to that particular gamebook.

27 July, 2014

80 Days Review - Inkle Adapt Jules Verne's Around The World in 80 Days into a Digital Choose Your Own Adventure Classic

Note: We have just released episode 6 of our game discovery app, Grab It, and it features not only the Top 10 Gamebooks on iPad, but also an exclusive feature with genre legends Tin Man Games on how it’s reinvigorated the genre for the digital generation.

"I have entered into the service of a new gentleman. It would seem he is a gambling man. 'Passepartout,' said he. 'We are going around the world! Pack my evening jacket. There is not a moment to waste!'" It is with these incredulous words that intrepid traveller Phileas Fogg and his faithful French valet Passepartout set out to traverse the globe within 80 days, providing the backdrop for our titular adventure.

21 July, 2014

Why The Wolf Among Us Is Better Than The Walking Dead

After being agonisingly drip fed episodes of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us over the past nine months, the first season has finally reached its grand conclusion. With it came a hugely satisfying ending that wrapped up loose plot threads while leaving us hungry for more. In true Telltale fashion, a final mystery was also tantalisingly dangled in front of our noses, potentially paving the way for season two.

With the benefit of having the complete season available for play, there can be no doubt that The Wolf Among Us is an excellent game. After the runaway success that Telltale found with The Walking Dead, many wondered, as I did, whether lightning could strike twice. Not only did that lightning strike with a resounding thunder clap, I would go so far as to say that The Wolf Among Us surpasses The Walking Dead, and is currently shaping up to be my (early) game of the year. What I found in The Wolf Among Us was a title that taught me more about myself than any other game I’ve played recently. Who would have thought it would come through the gruff personality of Sheriff Bigby Wolf?

16 July, 2014

Tablet Tips: A Gamer's Guide to Getting the Most From Your iPad – Part 2

You’ve just been given a brand, spanking new iPad for your birthday. In your excitement, you rip the box open with inhuman strength, and fling it to the far corner of your room where it can hang out with long forgotten household chores and half-completed projects. Like an ill-disciplined chimp, you start blindly hitting and slapping your new toy in the hope that it will magically operate. Before long you’ve downloaded a thousand dollars worth of IAPs and activated the self-destruct function.

Welcome to your new iPad. Here at Grab It, we understand the excitement that comes with owning a new iPad, but also being too impatient to take the time to learn the ins and outs. Well you’re in luck. For your convenience, we’re continuing a series of articles that outline our top tips to get the most from your iPad experience.

Be sure to also check out the following articles:
     - Tablet Tips: A Gamer's Guide to Getting the Most From Your iPad - Part 1
     - How to Play PC Games on Your iPad
     - How to Play Quake III on Your iPad

This Guide has been developed using iOS version 7.

02 July, 2014

Magic 2015 Game Designer Cards Revealed - Notch, Brian Fargo, Rob Pardo and More

Update: It's time to start building your deck - Magic 2015 is out now. Grab it here.

Original Story: You can almost hear the collective intake of excited breath from hardcore Magic: The Gathering fans with only two weeks to go until Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers launches on iOS. As you might be able to tell, we’re totally not excited about its impending release at all. We had to force ourselves to write a rather glowing preview and some optimisitc hands-on impressions. End sarcasm.

Any little bit of information we find out, we’ve been hastily passing on to you all. As we mentioned in our preview, this year’s entry features a number of cards designed by some pretty famous people in the gaming industry. Perhaps you’ve heard of little known personalities like Markus “Notch” Persson (Minecraft), Brian Fargo (Fallout) and Rob Pardo (World of Warcraft)?

23 June, 2014

Adventure to Fate: A Quest to the Core JRPG Review

Adventure To Fate: A Quest to the Core JRPG is sure to raise a few eyebrows among the most grizzled and seasoned of adventurers, billing itself as a classic-style JRPG. But can I share a secret with you? I don’t rightly know what constitutes a classic JRPG! The explanations given to me over the years have been as numerous as there are eccentric JRPG characters, yet I still haven’t quite grasped it. But if your understanding of this “classic” genre includes sprite-based graphics, an abundance of loot and monotonous grinding, then you’re in good company.

21 June, 2014

Interview: Kuuluu Interactive on Linkin Park's LP Recharge Wastelands

A few days ago, we posted our review of Linkin Park's first foray into the iOS scene with LP Recharge - Wastelands (grab the game here). In short, it's an excellent top-down action game that treats gamers and Linkin Park fans alike with respect. It's a title you can get behind with confidence rather than the cheap cash grab one usually associates with a game with some band's name affixed to it. 

With Linkin Park rightfully stealing the limelight, it can be pretty easy to forget the talented developer - Kuuluu Interactive Entertainment - sitting quietly in the wings, working away to make this fantastic game. We caught up with Juidth Greife, Head of Marketing & PR, to get her thoughts on what it was like to work with such a phenomenally popular band.

20 June, 2014

Doggins Review - "A dreaming terrier's battle of wits with a villainous monocled squirrel"

Do dogs have dreams? This is the question delightfully posed and charmingly answered by developer Brain & Brain’s point-and-click adventure Doggins. After going on a fantastical journey into outer space, involving time travel and against scheming squirrels - or as the App Store description states, "a dreaming terrier's battle of wits with a villainous monocled squirrel" - I don't think I'll ever quite look at a sleeping dog in the same light again.
 
Our tiny terrier’s adventure starts off with what a dog seems to do best, settling in for a well-earned nap. Except this pooch's slumber is anything but usual. He’s soon transported to the moon, where he must explore the unusual surroundings via much sniffing and doggy antics.

19 June, 2014

Linkin Park Recharge – Wastelands Review

Whenever a really famous person attaches their name to a product, there’s always that sneaking suspicion in the back of your mind you’re going to end up with something rubbish. You just need to look at all those ‘quality’ products heartily endorsed by Krusty the Clown to get an idea of what I’m talking about. So it was with some trepidation that I approached the debut iOS title from superstar musicians, Linkin Park. Yes you read that correctly. The kings of rock, Linkin Park, have joined the likes of Radiohead, Bjork, Skrillex and James Lavelle in branching out into the indie iOS gaming scene. And you know what? Their game – LP Recharge Wastelands – is actually quite good. Should I have ever doubted Linkin Park?

10 June, 2014

Out of E3: Indie Darling Threes! Heading to Xbox One

It’s not often we report on iOS games heading to other platforms, but in this case we’re willing to make an exception. Just announced at E3, Microsoft will be bringing Sirvo LLC’s surprise puzzle hit Threes! (grab it here) to the Xbox One as part of its ID@Xbox initiative. Developer Hidden Variable will be handing the port.

We were so impressed with sliding tile puzzler Threes! that we awarded it a spot in our Top 10 Best iOS Games of February 2014, calling it an incredibly charming experience that will leave you with nothing but warm and fuzzy feelings. For a game that's all about numbers, that's a pretty amazing feat.

Indie dev Sirvo LLC certainly deserves the recognition for their creativity and ingenuity in developing such a well rounded and endearing title. This is especially so in the wake of the devs publicly lamenting the rise of Threes! rip-offs and clones, some of which gained more attention than the original title. It's only fitting that more people should have the opportunity to experience such an amazing game.

If you haven't picked up Threes! yet, do the devs a solid and grab the game right here.

09 June, 2014

Interview: How Martin Scorsese and Charlie Chaplin Inspired Clown's Secret

A few days ago we reported on the upcoming adventure title, Clown's Secret, from Expression Studios. It certainly caught our eye, being best described as a 2D adventure game inspired by the work of silent film extraordinaire Charlie Chaplin while channeling the creativity and fun of Monkey Island.

We caught up with lead game designer, director and writer Luciano Rateke ahead of its late 2014 release to find out some exclusive details on the development process and what we can expect from Clown's Secret.

07 June, 2014

République Goes Free in Fantastic Weekend of Sales – Save $35

Here in Australia we’ve just started a long weekend. The sun is shining and the temperature is crisp. But wherever you are, what better way is there to spend a weekend than with your feet up, iPad in one hand and refreshing beverage in the other? To top it off, a number of pretty sweet iOS games have just been given deep discounts on the App Store. Times are good!

Without doubt, the pick of the bunch this weekend is the stealth extraordinaire, République, which has gone free. We reviewed République in Episode 2 of Grab It, calling it a stunning success that delivers on gameplay and story. We also caught up with Ryan Payton – the founder of the studio Camouflaj behind this excellent game – who has previously worked on the Halo series. You can read the full making of feature in our free Episode 1. Before you leave the App Store, be sure to also spare a thought for the visually stunning platformer Leo’s Fortune and the equally stunning, but much darker, Limbo.

07 June, 2014

Linkin Park Release A Game... And It's Good!

Linkin Park are certainly no strangers to the gaming scene. As part of the band’s ‘Recharge’ universe, in September 2013 the group released the free-to-play action puzzler, LP Recharge, as a Facebook-only title. The group followed up the game with their remix album Recharged in October 2013. Over half a year later and the band still isn’t done with this universe. Joining other well known artists like Radiohead (Polyfauna), Bjork (Biophilia) and UNKLE founder James Lavelle (God of Light), Linkin Park has branched out into the iOS space with their 3D action game, LP Recharge – Wastelands.

Sounding like it could be the plot for a half-decent action movie, Recharge Wastelands is set in the distant future; the Earth is a barren wasteland, ruled by a race of hostile synthetic creatures known as the Hybrids. You control the band members of Linkin Park as they make a last stand against the might of the Hybrids.

After playing Recharge Wastelands for some time, I walked away suitably impressed. Wastelands doesn’t feel like it is simply an excuse for Linkin Park to slap their name on the game. Instead, their experience with LP Recharge (the Facebook game) seems to have made all the difference, with Wastelands coming off as quite a fun title.

06 June, 2014

Charlie Chaplin Meets Monkey Island in Clown’s Secret

We’ve been tracking little known indie dev, Expression Studios, for some time now and we’re excited to report on its first title, the 2D adventure game Clown’s Secret. By all accounts though, Clown’s Secret isn’t shaping up to be your run-of-the-mill title. The devs over at Expression Studios have taken inspiration for their game from classic movies of the silent age, particularly the work of Charlie Chaplin. It's clear already that Expression Studios isn’t merely paying lip service to these movies either. To keep things genuinely authentic, not only will Clown's Secret be presented in black and white, there won’t be any text. Instead, all dialogue will be spoken in gibberish, but mainly presented through animations, and topped off with the classic jazz-style music we’ve come to associate with silent films.

03 June, 2014

How To Play PC Games On Your iPad - A Step-By-Step Guide

Here at Grab It, we understand the excitement that comes from owning and gaming on a brand new iPad, but also how difficult it is to learn all the ins and outs. In this article, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to stream PC games directly to your iPad with minimal effort.

If you’re interested in more tips and guides to get the most from your iPad, be sure to check out the following articles:
     - How to Play Quake III on iPad – A Step By Step Guide
     - Tablet Tips: A Gamer’s Guide to Getting The Most From Your iPad – Part 1

If you want to skip to our step-by-step guide, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

03 June, 2014

Top 10 Best Free iOS Games of May

Did you know that at the start of May, there were over 215,000 active games on the App Store? Imagine trying to wade through all of those titles to find something worthy of your time. It's like trying to find a needle in a hay stack, which Mythbusters has proved to be a near-impossible feat unless you have some crazy, hi-tech equipment. The great thing is that we’ve got your back covered here at Grab It. We've perused the App Store and come up with our Top 10 Free iOS Games of May and Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of May

If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of all your iOS gaming news, be sure to sign up to our newsletter. You can also check out our Top 10 Free iOS Games of JuneApril, March, February and January.

While you're on the App Store, be sure to check out our innovative game discovery app, Grab It. You've never experienced anything like it before, it's the best fun you can have finding great new games.
- Episode 1 = With The Making of République (*Our Free Sample Issue*)
- Episode 2 = With The Making of Oceanhorn
- Episode 3 = With The Making of Monument Valley
- Episode 4 = With The Making of Last Inua

23 May, 2014

Lego Games Star in Massive Weekend of Sales - Save $50

Holy smokes Batman, here we go again: another weekend, another long list of excellent games on sale. In fact, the quality of the games on sale is so fantastic, you should grab them all to support those awesome devs.

But if your purse strings won’t stretch that far, then you should definitely check out the Lego games. Don’t be fooled by their stylishly cute appearance. There’s actually surprising depth to these games and they will, more often than not, leave you roaring in laughter. It’s also no secret that I’m a massive fan of gamebooks and choose-your-own adventures. If that’s you too, then be sure to snap up the two gamebooks on sale from Australian indie dev, Tim Man Games (Gamebook Adventures 1 and Fighting Fantasy). Even if you haven't played a digital gamebook before, now is the perfect time - I can assure you that Tin Man Games has done an excellent job in utilising the iPad's features, while still maintaing that old-school gamebook feeling.

22 May, 2014

Tablet Tips: A Gamer's Guide To Getting The Most From Your iPad - Part 1

You’ve just been given a brand, spanking new iPad for your birthday. In your excitement, you rip the box open with inhuman strength, and fling it to the far corner of your room where it can hang out with long forgotten household chores and half-completed projects. Like an ill-disciplined chimp, you start blindly hitting and slapping your new toy in the hope that it will magically operate. Before long you’ve downloaded a thousand dollars worth of IAPs and activated the self-destruct function.

Welcome to your new iPad. Here at Grab It, we understand the excitement that comes with owning a new iPad, but also being too impatience to take the time and learn the ins and outs. Well you’re in luck. For your convenience, we’re beginning a series of articles that outline our top tips to get the most out of your iPad.

If you like helpful tips, also be sure to also check out our step by step guide to Playing Quake III on Your iPad.

This Guide has been developed using iOS version 7.

23 May, 2014

Top 10 Tips - Your Essential Guide to 1849

It’s criminal that so few iOS games have taken advantage of the rich backdrop of the Old West. That’s why we’re stoked here at Grab It that indie dev, SomaSim, has ventured out to stake its claim by bringing the Old West to life in its debut title, 1849. Set during the California Gold Rush, 1849 is a city management game heavily inspired by the likes of SimCity and Civilization. Across 20 campaigns, players are tasked with building towns upon patches of dirt and turning them into thriving, pulsating hubs of humanity. Sounds like a walk in the desert, right?

In the next episode of Grab It - out soon - we review 1849, calling it a well-rounded city management game, with equal parts fun and strategy. To help you become the fastest gun in the West or, more accurately, the best administrative town planner in the Old West (which really doesn’t sound as cool), we’ve put together our Top 10 Tips.

Don’t forget to pick up 1849 (grab it here). Also, be sure to sign up to our newsletter to get daily indie iPad gaming news delivered to your inbox and to find out the exact moment when Episode 5 of Grab It lands.

20 May, 2014

Is the Paid Market for Mobile Games Broken? Bardbarian Dev, Treefortress, Thinks So

The lute-shredding, tower defence/RPG/strategy title Bardbarian, from indie dev Treefortress, is a fantastic title that belongs on every iPad. In our review in Episode 4 of Grab It, we called Bardbarian one of the most cheerful and engaging games we’ve played in awhile, citing the super fun mash-up of genres and the charm oozing from every pore as its big attractions. Sadly, it seems too few people have experienced the awesomeness of Bardbarian, with Treefortress making the switch from paid to free because the game simply wasn’t making money.

Bardbarian’s price at launch was a mere $0.99; less than an apple. But even at this price, it seems people weren’t particularly interested. In a post over on the Touch Arcade forums, Treefortress details how Bardbarian hasn’t even come close to breaking even. What the dev has noticed, however, is that a significant amount of people who bought the game purchased IAPs. By dropping the price to free, they’re aiming to get Bardbarian into as many hands as possible, and hope that those IAPs bring in strong revenue.

17 May, 2014

Godzilla - Smash3 Out Now

Update. Godzilla has once again been unleashed upon our world with an intention to cause massive chaos! Make sure you go check out the new movie and then, while you're still in a destructive frame of mind, pick up Godzilla - Smash3 from Pipeworks Software and Rogue Play. Even better, it's free so make sure you grab the game here. Let us know what you thought about the movie and the game through our social media channels.

Original Story. It was only a few days ago we revealed that the king lizard himself, Godzilla, will be smashing his way onto iOS devices alongside the upcoming movie reboot, on May 16. It pretty much goes without saying that being able to play as Godzilla is every kid's dream, right? I'm sure that it wasn't just me as I was growing up.

In anticipation of the game's upcoming release we manged to catch up with Growth & User Acquisition Lead at Rogue Play, Nate Adams, to find out more of what we can expect.

09 May, 2014

Top 10 Best Premium iOS Games of April

The App Store is a weird and wonderful place. In amongst a number of highly questionable titles and endless clones of Flappy Bird, there are some real gems to be found. Here at Grab It, we pride ourselves on unearthing the best that the App Store has to offer, but more importantly, the amazing indie devs standing behind these titles. With the month of April having come and gone, we were once again floored by the number of quality titles that came our way. Mind-bending puzzlers, hardcore space exploration, stealthy assassins and punishing dungeon crawlers all feature in our top 10 best paid games of April. Make sure to also check out our Top 10 Best Free iOS Games of April.

You can also check out our Top 10 Premium iOS Games of March, February and January.

While you're on the App Store, be sure to check out our innovative game discovery app, Grab It. You've never experienced anything like it before, it's the best fun you can have finding great new games.
   - Episode 1 = With The Making of République
   - Episode 2 = With The Making of Oceanhorn
   - Episode 3 = With The Making of Monument Valley
   - Episode 4 = With The Making of Last Inua

07 May, 2014

Save $30 in Mid-Week Madness on the App Store

What is it about the idea of a sale that makes us so excited? Sure, it means we save a few bucks, but maybe it's the notion that we've somehow got the upper hand on a retailer or merchant. I know from personal experience that if I even capture a glimpse of a 'On Sale' sign, I'm attracted to it like a bee to a flower. Unfortunately, I often end up getting sucked in to buying something I didn't really want or need.

Well, the good news is that there's some pretty sweet deals going down on the App Store at the moment. I can guarantee that you won't walk away unsatisifed if you pick up any or all of these deals! Even better, you'll be supporting some incredibly talented indie devs.

25 April, 2014

Orion’s Gold - Quick Fix Review

Developer digiKhel’s first foray into the iOS world is the intriguing space mining arcade title, Orion’s Gold. After a brief tutorial, you’ll find yourself manoeuvring little spaceships around Orion’s Belt as you mine precious resources. This is done by distributing orbs of power amongst a number of portals that help guide the ships.

Even if it sounds a little complex - certainly moreso than simply swinging an axe Minecraft style - in practice, the controls work like a charm. Yet Orion’s Gold isn't a simple moon-stroll into outer space. You’ll be required to manage your ship’s temperature by equally mining both red and blue ore, all while keeping an eye out for exploding asteroids and completing various challenges. The end result is a highly competent game that achieves a nice balance between strategy and crazy, chaotic fun. Particularly during the more difficult levels, I had the most fun when I abandoned any notion of strategy and gave myself over to the insane explosion of colours on my screen.

In a nice touch, players can upgrade their ships to last longer in Orion’s Belt deadly mine fields. However, there isn’t too much incentive to keep coming back time and time again. A few additional environments and more meaningful collectibles would add some needed depth. That being said, digiKhel’s first iOS game is worth its weight in gold, especially considering it is a one-man effort. I am very excited to see what his future efforts will yield.

Grab the game here.

Quick Fix is a regular section in Grab It - The Game Discovery App, and it's a great place to discover new and interesting games via reviews, features, opinions, top 10s, previews, videos and more. In our latest episode, which only just hit the App Store – you can grab it here – our Quick Fix section features Shapist, Dudeski, Trials Frontier, Star Wars: Assault Team and Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork.

25 April, 2014

Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers Preview

Update: It's time to start building your deck - Magic 2015 is out now. Grab it here.

Original Story: Collectible card games (CCGs) have been all the rage lately, with the charge being led by Blizzard’s free-to-play iPad title, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. By all accounts, Hearthstone is an excellent game (read our first impressions here). But anticipation is building for the annual entry in the Wizards of the Coast’s seminal card battling series, Magic: The Gathering. I’ve been playing Magic since I was in high school, so can attest to the near-religious fervour that surrounds the release of a new deck of cards.

This might make you feel slightly old, but the Magic series has been around in physical form since 1993. However, it was only in 2012 that an accompanying digital version released on iPad for the first time, Magic 2013: Duels of the Planeswalkers. This year will follow the same pattern, with the core card set (boasting 269 cards) due to release on July 18 alongside an iPad version, Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers (teaser trailer below).

24 April, 2014

Botanicula to iPad on May 1st

Update. Good news, everyone! Fortunately, unlike Professor Farnsworth from Futurama, I actually have some good news and not the exact opposite. Amanita Design has just announced over on Twitter that Botanicula will release on iPad on May 1st. By my calculations, that makes it...still too long for my liking. Watch this space - we'll let you know the when game starts rolling out worldwide.

19 April, 2014

Adventure Game Horn Goes Free in a Massive Weekend of Sales - Save $50

Happy long weekend everybody! What better way to spend the weekend than with your feet up, a frosty beverage in one hand (preferably a beer) and a gaming device in the other? If this is your idea of a good time, then you're in luck because a number of truly excellent games have just been given deep discounts on the App Store.

Check out the list below which works out to a massive $50 in savings. Each and every game on this list has a lot to offer, but our pick of the bunch has to be the adventure game Horn from Phosphor Game Studio. We were so impressed with Horn we awarded it a spot in our Top 50 Indie iPad Games of 2013, citing its richly detailed graphics, quirky humour and great sense of adventure. I’ve also recently been playing the tower defence/strategy game Prime World: Defenders, and can highly recommend it. In fact, Prime World: Defenders is one of the best tower defence games I've ever played, offering an incredibly satisfying experience with a meaningful upgrade system and positively challenging levels.

15 April, 2014

Tin Man Games Beams Steve Jackson's Starship Traveller to iOS

Australian developer Tin Man Games is a specialist in bringing classic gamebook/choose-your-own adventure experiences to modern touchscreen devices. In awesome news for fans, the studio has just released Steve Jackson’s epic 1983 Fighting Fantasy novel, Starship Traveller as a digital gamebook adventure - you can grab it here.

In Starship Traveller, players jump into the shoes of a starship commander whose ship is sucked through a black hole into an unknown and hostile universe. Players are tasked with exploring alien planets to collect clues that will enable them to plot a course home.

14 April, 2014

Hoplite Review

Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis certainly wasn’t referring to Hoplite when he belted out the lyrics “I like pleasure spiked with pain” in the song Aeroplane, but like the many substances he found himself hooked on, Hoplite is an addictive experience where pleasure hides the pain.

Hoplite presents a deceptively simple premise. Taking charge of a proud little Greek hoplite, your quest is to clear dungeon after dungeon in search of the mysterious Golden Fleece. In traditional roguelike style, your gallivanting Greek moves across a tile-based board to battle demonic enemies not particularly keen to part with their Golden Fleece. Hoplite captures the look and feel of old-school roguelikes, with a clean and simple interface and appropriate sprite-based graphics.

12 April, 2014

Dead Island devs Announce Hellraid: The Escape

Techland has slowly but surely become a household name in recent years, owing largely to their incredibly fun free-roaming zombie game, Dead Island (on PC and consoles). Not content to simply rest on its laurels, Techland has a number of projects in the development pipeline, including the PC and console title Hellraid, which has been described as a darker fantasy version of Dead Island.

If the idea of magic and zombies (or magical zombies?) has piqued your interest, then you’ll definitely be interested to hear that Techland has announced a new mobile title set in the same universe, Hellraid: The Escape. From what we’ve seen so far (check out the trailer below), Hellraid: The Escape reminds us of In Fear I Trust (although hopefully much better – read our review here). At least from the trailer, it looks like we'll be treated to some interesting puzzle solving ideas, a macabre sense of humour and free-roaming exploration.

Hellraid: The Escape will release on May 15 for $2.99 and will not contain any IAPs. Keep an eye on this space, and we’ll let you know when the game starts rolling out worldwide. If you need to get your zombie fix in the meantime, do yourself a favour and check out Dead Trigger 2. It took top spot in our Top 10 FPS Games on iPad feature from Episode 2 of Grab It.

11 April, 2014

Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff Out Now

Update 2. Break out the Hindenpeter, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff has just started rolling out worldwide. You can grab the game here.

Update 1. Our patience has been rewarded, with Fox and developer TinyCo announcing some more details for the upcoming Family Guy game. We now know that the game will be, very appropriately, called "Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff" and will release on iOS on April 10.

In an epic fight to end all fights, Peter and Ernie the Chicken once again go toe-to-toe. The resulting carnage leaves Quahog a smouldering ruin, and it's up to the player to lovingly rebuild it. Cue plenty of in-app-purchases and timer management, a-la The Simpsons Tapped Out.

04 April, 2014

Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff to iOS on April 10

Update. Our patience has been rewarded, with Fox and developer TinyCo announcing some more details for the upcoming Family Guy game. We now know that the game will be, very appropriately, called "Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff" and will release on iOS on April 10.

In an epic fight to end all fights, Peter and Ernie the Chicken once again go toe-to-toe. The resulting carnage leaves Quahog a smouldering ruin, and it's up to the player to lovingly rebuild it. Cue plenty of in-app-purchases and timer management, a-la The Simpsons Tapped Out.

04 April, 2014

Interview: Rogue Play on Godzilla - Smash3

It was only a few days ago we revealed that the king lizard himself, Godzilla, will be smashing his way onto iOS devices alongside the upcoming movie reboot, on May 16. It pretty much goes without saying that being able to play as Godzilla is every kid's dream, right? I'm sure that it wasn't just me as I was growing up.

In anticipation of the game's upcoming release we manged to catch up with Growth & User Acquisition Lead at Rogue Play, Nate Adams, to find out more of what we can expect.

01 April, 2014

Godzilla Got Game

We’re counting down the days here at Grab It Magazine until the undisputed king of the monsters, Godzilla, once again smashes his way into cinemas on May 16. If it were possible for us to be any more excited, then we were absolutely stoked to hear that developer Pipeworks Software will be releasing a tie-in mobile title, Godzilla – Smash3. Very appropriately you take control of Godzilla as he causes massive amounts of destruction around the world.

Based on the trailer below, Godzilla – Smash3 is shaping up to be quite an interesting blend of genres. Naturally, there’s plenty of smashing and destruction. But RPG aficionados should also find satisfaction in being able to upgrade your Godzilla. At heart, though, the title seems to be very much a puzzler, being required to match up a set of tiles to perform actions. If you do well enough, you even get to use the King Lizard's signature move, "Nuclear Breath."

Mark the date on your calendars. Both the movie and game will release on May 16. The game will also be free-to-play, so you haven’t got anything to lose by trying it out. We'll keep you posted when the game begins rolling out globally.

In the meanwhile, there's been plenty of other solid movie tie-in games that you should check out. Only this week Captain America: The Winter Solider blasted on to iOS. If you're looking for some other awesome indie titles, why not check out Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine.

01 April, 2014

Top 10 Free iOS Games of March

Where did the first few months of the year go? It's unbelievable that March is already over! Something else that I've found incredible over the course of this year is the quality of iOS games coming out. The indie space is ready to explode with new studios popping up everywhere. Already, we're starting to reap the rewards of the creativity of these talented developers.

The month of March was no different as we were truly spoilt for choice in the free-to-play realm. Have a look at our list below and grab anything that takes your fancy. If you like what you see, be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine - you'll discover an amazing number of high quality indie games you never knew existed.

29 March, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Out Now

Update: If the movie left you hankering for more Captain America, you can now check out the game. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has just launched on iOS. You can grab it here.

Original Story: Brace yourselves – winter is coming! Oh wait, wrong franchise. But just as exciting, Captain America: The Winter Solider is coming to cinemas this March. In a move that will surprise no one, a movie tie-in game is set to launch alongside Captain America’s latest frosty adventures. Although movie tie-in games don’t always have a great track record, we really like how The Winter Solider is shaping up.

27 March, 2014

Boom Beach Review

Finnish developer Supercell electrified the gaming world in 2012 with a small title you may have heard of – Clash of Clans. The insanely addictive strategy title captured the imaginations (and wallets) of thousands of armchair generals. Riding on this wave of success, Supercell has launched another assault on our free time with combat strategy title Boom Beach. Despite inevitable comparisons with Clash of Clans, Boom Beach establishes its own beachhead, giving armchair generals an excellent reason to take up arms once again.

26 March, 2014

Clash of Clans Dev Releases Boom Beach - First Impressions

Perhaps you’ve heard of developer Supercell? They released a little title in 2012 called Clash of Clans. Yes, don't worry, I’m being sarcastic. Riding on a wave of success, Supercell has followed up with the promising combat-strategy title Boom Beach. But does lightning strike twice?

From my hands on time with the game, I found it to be incredibly easy to pick up. It doesn’t hurt that Boom Beach strolls down the well worn path of many other strategy titles before it - collect resources, build a base, raid enemy base, rinse and repeat. The only difference is that all of this takes place in a beautiful tropical island setting.

24 March, 2014

Simogo's Device 6 a Winner at the 2014 Independent Games Festival

Update: The full list of award winners have been announced for the 2014 Independent Games Festival (IGF). We're very pleased to report that the fantastic Device 6 from Simogo (grab it here) took home the top gong for Excellence in Audio. Luxuria Superbia from Tale of Tales (grab it here) nabbed the Nuovo Award for Innovation. Make sure to also keep your eye on the upcoming title Gorogoa by Jason Roberts (trailer below), due out in late 2014, which picked up an award for Excellence in Visual Art.

Congratulations to all the award winners and finalists. With so many amazing titles behind us and many more on the horizon, it’s a great time to be a gamer.

24 March, 2014

Hitman Go Out Now in Australia

Update: We've received word that Square Enix has done the Aussies a favour by soft-launching Hitman Go on the Australian App Store. The game costs $4.49, and you won't have to pay for the full game when it is released. What are you waiting for? Just hit this buy now link and jump into the mighty big/quiet shoes of Agent 47.

Original Story: Legendary assassin Agent 47 is bringing his decidedly non-stealth bald head and iconic barcoded neck to touchscreens. As we reported in Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine, publisher Square Enix had hinted it was going to bring more of its IP to iPad after the success of Deus Ex: The Fall and the Final Fantasy series. But unlike recent iOS hit République, this game does not opt for the console-like stealth experience you might expect.

Developer IO Interactive describes the game as: "Hitman GO is a turn-based strategy game with beautifully rendered diorama-style set pieces. You will strategically navigate fixed spaces on a grid to avoid enemies and take out your target or infiltrate well-guarded locations. You really have to think about each move and all the Hitman tools of the trade you would expect are included; disguises, distractions, sniper rifles and even 47’s iconic Silverballers."

22 March, 2014

Save $35 as Republique Stars in a Huge Weekend of Sales

We made it to the end of another week. Congratulations everyone! Let’s celebrate with an awesome sale on the App Store. There’s something for everyone here – from war mongering worms to managing a boutique fashion store or even racing around insane tracks at breakneck speeds.

In our opinion, the standout game in this sale is the stealth-based title, République. In our review in Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine, we called Republique a stunning success that delivers on gameplay and story. We also caught up with Ryan Payton – the founder of the studio Camouflaj behind this excellent game – who has previously worked on the Halo series. You can read the full interview in our free Issue 0. Make sure to also pick up the mind bending title Duet, which we included on our 50 Best Indie Games of 2013 and is also reviewed in Issue 1 alongside a developer interview.

21 March, 2014

The Creator of Crysis and Far Cry Releases New Game The Collectables

Update 2: The Collectables has just gone live on the App Store. You can grab it here.

Update: We've just heard that, following its soft launch last month, The Collectables will be launching globally on iOS next week. The free-to-play action/card game title from Crytek tasks players with controlling a group of soldiers as they bust up a bunch of enemy infested islands. Before each level, players construct a deck of cards featuring abilities, weapons and soldiers. The player can then control the flow of battle by choosing what cards to play from their deck. Cards can be used to perform actions like call in airstrikes, decoys and heal fellow troops.

If you pre-register on the game's website (for free), you can score yourself a pretty sweet exclusive version of the in-game character RELOAD.

19 March, 2014

Dead Mage Studio's Shadow Blade Receives Stealthy Update

The excellent ninja action-platformer Shadow Blade (grab it here) from Dead Mage Studios has just received a hefty update. Our stealthy protagonist Kuro can now slice and dice his way through an entire new chapter, comprising 12 levels in the Downtown area. Here, you will also run into a new enemy type called The Punk Mob.

Dead Mage Studios has also added three additional “hardcore” levels. These hardcore stages are arguably the best part of the game, offering clever environmental and puzzle designs which demand ninja-like patience and persistence.

The icing on this delicious cake is the inclusion of three new game soundtracks, video replay and sharing options, and the incredibly simple, but useful, addition of a “Par Time” display.

In our review of Shadow Blade, we called it an accessible and competent platformer, packed with clever puzzle designs and loads of replayability. For our full review, and an interview with Dead Mage Studios, be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine.

Check out the trailer below and then grab Shadow Blade here.

19 March, 2014

Kairosoft's World Cruise Story Sails onto iOS

Acclaimed developer Kairosoft is well known in gaming circles for its cute and highly addictive pixel sim management adventures. The sheer number of games Kairosoft has released is truly astounding, but you may know the studio best for the incredibly fun Game Dev Story (grab it here). Kairosoft has slowly but surely been bringing its catalogue of games to iOS – almost 20 to date – and the latest title to make the leap is World Cruise Story.

In what must be everyone’s dream come true, you manage a luxury cruise liner as it sails around the world. You can deck out your ship to your heart’s content with casinos, swanky restaurants, spas and snooty shops. As you sail from country to country, passengers will review your ship. Amass enough fame and you might be lucky enough to have celebrity passengers and royalty grace your ship.

There may be more in-depth sim management titles out there, but Kairosoft will win you over with its cute characters and bafflingly addictive gameplay. For certain, World Cruise Story will give you plenty of bang, and many hours of fun, for your buck.

While you’re on the App Store, make sure to also check out Kairosoft’s other sim management titles. We recommend you start with Game Dev Story. But be sure to also check out Mega Mall Story, Ninja Village, Hot Springs Story, and Grand Prix Story.

If you're after a wider selection of tasty management titles to sink your teeth into, why not check our our 50 Best Indie Games of 2013 and Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine to learn all about the games and game makers producing quality experiences for iPad.

18 March, 2014

Massive Sale on Kemco RPG Series

Well, it’s certainly been a massive day for the humble RPG.

First we found out that Rovio soft-launched Angry Birds Epic in Australia, New Zealand and Canada over night. If you live in one of these countries, you can grab it here and read our thoughts on why gamers everywhere should celebrate its launch.

We also heard on the delicious RPG grapevine that legendary developer Kemco has slashed the price of a number of its old school JRPGs. If you haven’t picked up any Kemco titles, now is the perfect time to find out what a classic JRPG looks like; especially if you’re keen on involved storylines, complex characters and an abundance of dungeons to explore. In doing so, you’ll also save yourself almost $40 from the usual cost.

15 March, 2014

Freakin Sweet! First Screenshots from Upcoming Family Guy Game

Giggity giggity. Back in December, we learnt that Fox would be teaming up with developer TinyCo to bring everybody’s favourite Rhode Island family to mobiles everywhere.

Both parties have been relatively mum on any details surrounding the game, so at this stage, we still don’t even know what sort of genre it slots into. What we do know though is that it will be a free-to-play “authentic” Family Guy experience, featuring an original story conceived by the show's writers. It will also feature many of the show’s voice actors like Seth Green, Alex Borstein and Mila Kunis.

TinyCo and Fox have just released the first set of screenshots for the game. As you would expect, there are nods to a variety of characters and crazy stuff from Family Guy episodes. We should also note that these screenshots look pretty darn impressive, especially since they were taken in-game.

09 March, 2014

Hunt Whales on Your iPad Right Now

We’ve received word that the great swashbuckling adventure Assassin’s Creed Pirates (grab it here) has received a major update. In a move that won’t make too many animal conservation groups happy, you can now go hunting for whales. That’s on everyone’s secret “things to do before I die” list, right?

The full details of the update are:
    - Go whale hunting and collect 50 species of Caribbean fish
    - Unlock 2 new ships and battle 6 historical bosses
    - A new Survival Mode
    - A new map area to explore, complete with brand-new campaign and secondary missions
    - More collectibles, including treasures and diaries

Ubisoft has been showing a lot of love to its mobile Pirates spin off, only recently rolling out a sizable update, adding new maps, missions and collectibles. In Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine (grab it here) we praised Pirates for doing an excellent job of capturing the high seas fun of recent next-gen release Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

You can grab the game right here.

08 March, 2014

Killer Sales This Weekend

Yesterday, we reported that a pretty hefty sale was just getting underway on the App Store. A number of quality titles like Deus Ex: The Fall, Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light, and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic all received deep discounts.

The list of truly excellent games on sale has continued to grow.

07 March, 2014

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Updated with iCloud, MFi Controller Support

Picking up a lightsaber to defend the universe from Sith Lords has never been easier. In the most recent update to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Aspyr Media has acknowledged some long-running fan requests. KOTOR now joins a growing list of games that support all available MFi iOS 7 controllers. This includes support for both standard and extended controller styles.

If you’re interested in finding out more on MFi controllers, we reported on the Ace Power and Logitech Powershell models in Issue 1.

With KOTOR now available on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Aspyr has also included support for cross-device saves with iCloud.

It has never been a better time to jump into the world of the Jedi. But if you’re still a little undecided, the price of KOTOR has been cut 50% to celebrate, from $10.49 to $5.49 - it stars as part of a huge sale on the App Store this weekend.

You can grab KOTOR here. May the force be with you.

07 March, 2014

A Weekend of Huge Sales on the App Store - From Sith Lords to Lara Croft

If you had plans to go out this weekend, then cancel them. A number of truly excellent games have just been given deep discounts on the App Store. There's a little bit for everyone here - from fighting Sith Lords, to shamelessly dancing around your lounge and platforming as Lara Croft.

Check out the list below which equates to a $40 saving. If anything takes your fancy, don't forget to grab it. We highly recommend RPG fans dive into the classic Knights of the Old Republic by developer BioWare (Mass Effect, Dragon's Age), while Deus Ex: The Fall is a strong standalone entry in this revered series. Lara Croft and the Guardians of Light is also a great isometric, puzzle heavy action game that is a top spin-off from the main Tomb Raider adventures. Going out on the weekend is overrated anyway, right?

Just Tap the Link to get the deal:
    - Deus Ex: The FallFrom $7.49 to $0.99
    - Tomb Raider IFrom $2.99 to $0.99
    - Lara Croft and the Guardian of LightFrom $6.49 to $0.99
    - Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicFrom $10.49 to $5.49
         
* Updated with MFi controller support
    - Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in OrlandesFrom $6.49 to $0.99  
         * Read our recent interview with Tin Man Games about its partnership with Joe Dever
    - Rhythm Thief & The Paris CaperFrom $10.49 to $1.99
    - SEGA Go DanceFrom $1.99 to Free
    - Hollywood MonstersFrom $6.49 to $0.99

You should also check out last weeks 12 Games in App Store Frenzy sale, as some remain on discount, like XCOM: Enemy Unknown. And while you're on the App Store, do us a solid and pick up an issue of Grab It Magazine - you'll discover the very best new indie games in there.

06 March, 2014

Line of Defense Tactics - First Impressions

Line of Defense Tactics (trailer below) is a real-time strategy game that puts you in the combat boots of a team of four marines. Based on Issue 0 of the Line of Defense comic series, your squad undertakes a number of kill, infiltrate and retrieve missions in outer space and in planet environments.

After playing through the first three missions, you’re then prompted to buy the game – I'm sure that many will not make that step. The control scheme renders the game almost unplayable. It is incredibly tedious and frustrating to direct your squad members, often resulting in unintended instructions and constant deaths. Even something as simple as selecting a team member is an exercise in patience. Having played excellent strategy titles like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Shadowrun Returns - both of which made our Top 50 Indie iPad Games of 2013 - it is sobering to be reminded of how poorly a game can play without precise control implementation.

04 March, 2014

Interview: Mad Fellows Talk Salvage, Dubstep and Quitting AAA for Indie

Yesterday we reported that two man dev team Mad Fellows recently announced its first project, the music rhythm game Salvage. Here at Grab It Indie Games Magazine, we're quite excited by what we've seen thus far. If you can imagine a mash up between games like Avoid Sensory Overload and Boson X, all to the heavy beats of dubsteppers Zomboy, SKisM and Noisia, it's not difficult to see why we're excited about this entry into the growing "rhythm" genre. The icing on the cake is that Salvage is in the capable hands of industry veterans Dan Horbury (DJ Hero) and Paul Norris (DJ Hero & Guitar Hero).

We caught up with co-founder Paul Norris to find out some world exclusive details on what we can expect Salvage to deliver.

04 March, 2014

Top 10 Tips - Your Guide to Fiz: The Brewery Management Game

Come one, come all - master brewers, aspiring beer connoisseurs, and sim management maestros. There’s more than enough quality beer on tap for everyone to find something to love about Fiz: The Brewery Management Game.

If you’re not familiar with Fiz, your goal is to rise from the humble beginnings of your garage, brewing your way to the top, all while seeking that elusive perfect batch of beer. However, it’s not quite as simple as churning out keg after keg, hoping to make a few quick bucks in the process. Strategy and forethought are required before you can ascend the throne and be crowned the ultimate beer king.

In Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine we reviewed Fiz, calling it a fun yet challenging sim management game. To help you succeed in Fiz, Grab It Magazine has put together its Top 10 Tips.

Of course, don’t forget to grab Fiz right here.

03 March, 2014

Balanz Out Now - A 10-Player Jenga-like

I love playing the tabletop game Jenga. If you haven’t played it before, you start by setting up a tower of wooden blocks. Each player must try and remove one block at a time and then place it on top to build the tower higher, even as the foundations become less sure. It often ends in chaos and much laughter (and someone doing a shot). Balanz invokes the same warm, fuzzy feelings of close family and friend bonding times.

Balanz is a multiplayer game, which can involve up to ten people gathering around a single iPad or iPhone. Similar to Jenga, the objective is for players to build up a digital block tower, making sure it doesn’t fall over. Once a block is added to the tower, the player must physically pass the iDevice to the next person, while keeping the device flat to make sure the tower doesn’t fall over. The rules can be tuned to limit the amount of time you have to pass the device to the next person, or to increase the tilt sensitivity.

Balanz looks like an incredibly fun and simple game to whip out when a bunch of friends come over. Even better, it's out now on iOS - grab it here.

If you want to discover great new iPad games, be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews, five big features, top 10s, opinions, news, videos, soundtracks and more - it all starts with our big world exclusive reveal for the amazing Thralled.

03 March, 2014

Toxic Origin Announced - Borderlands Meets Dead Trigger

Like the uncle who spoils family dinners with his embarrassing and drunken antics, the humble first-person shooter hasn’t always been welcomed with wide open arms on mobile devices. Developer IndieLevel is hoping to change that with their first-person survival shooter, Toxic Origin.

At first glance, Toxic Origin reminded me of weapon porn/RPG hybrid Borderlands on PC and consoles. Indeed, the visuals look fantastic, with a cel-shaded, comic book style quality. But Toxic Origin plays out much differently to Borderlands, with short, contained levels in which you must survive against waves of twisted toxic waste creatures. In this regard, the gameplay reminded of the excellent zombie shooter, and 50 Best iOS Indie Games of 2013 winner, Dead Trigger 2 (grab it here) and even a little bit of the old Duke Nukem (grab it here).

It seems like Toxic Origin could still do with some fine tuning in terms of movement speed (the below footage is from a beta after all), but we’re pretty excited by the possibility of another solid entry in the mobile FPS genre. Toxic Origin should be out soon. In the mean time, be sure to check out our Top 10 First Person Shooters on iOS in Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine, out now.

03 March, 2014

If iPad Games were Movies - Out There

With Hollywood buzzing from Oscars fever today we thought we'd have a bit of fun by posing a question - if iPad games were made into movies, who would star and who would direct?

My game of choice would be the recently released spaceship management/gamebook adventure hybrid, Out There.

Without doubt, the only director I would approach is Ridley Scott. Although Scott has gone on to direct blockbuster movies and mega franchises, one of his first movies was the 1979 horror/science fiction film Alien. Scott has the golden touch when it comes to expressing the emptiness of space. The oppressive atmosphere that Scott is able to create feels like a pressure valve gradually building towards an epic explosion. This sounds like it would suit the universe of Out There nicely.

There can be no question that my leading character would be William Shatner. He has the appropriate gravitas to reflect the hopelessness of the situation, having docked a significant amount of experience as captain of the Starship USS Enterprise. But Shatner also has a wicked and sharp sense of humour - look no furrther than Boston Legal (or National Lampoons Loaded Weapon 1) - which would be a welcome balance to the suspense of Out There.

Be sure to check out the trailer for Out There below.

Still not convinced? Have a read of our first impression of Out There and our Essential Survivial Tips.

Finally, don’t forget to grab the game here.

You can also check out our movie adaptation ideas for RépubliqueBloodstroke and The Shadow Sun. And our mock posters.

03 March, 2014

Salvage Announced by ex-Guitar Hero and DJ Hero Devs

Two man dev team Mad Fellows recently announced its first project, the music rhythm game Salvage. Sporting a similar vibe to games like Boson X (grab it here) or Avoid Sensory Overload (grab it here), you’re flying forwards through a 3D world in a little spacecraft, dodging obstacles, all to the beat of a heavy bass-driven soundtracks. Customising you little spaceship looks like a key part of the fun, and we love the way the dubstep driven beats time in with reflex movements as your hurtle down the worm hole. In a move that should get fans excited, the music is being provided by dubsteppers Zomboy, SKisM and Noisia.

But music alone doesn’t make a game worth playing... unless your Radiohead. Rest assured that Salvage is in good hands. The Mad Fellows team is comprised of industry veterans Dan Horbury (DJ Hero) and Paul Norris (DJ Hero & Guitar Hero), who are no strangers to creating AAA music rhythm games.

There’s no word yet when Salvage will rave its way to iOS, but we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, we highly recommend merging your love for music and gaming in God of Light, Avoid Sensory Overload or Lyme.

If you want to discover great new iPad games, be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews, five big features, top 10s, opinions, news, videos, soundtracks and more - it all starts with our big world exclusive reveal for the amazing Thralled.

01 March, 2014

The ABCs of RPGs - Part 7 - Roguelikes

In our series exploring the various sub-genres of role playing games, we’ve had a look at KRPGs, JRPGs, WRPGs, ARPGs, SRPGs and MMORPGs, and hopefully you’ve been enjoying the journey. Issue #1 of Grab It Magazine is available now in the App Store (and for the price it’s the best cup of coffee you’ll never have). Amongst its fifteen hours of entertainment you'll find reviews for the time travelling JRPG Across Age 2, and the triple-A, top-shelf, made for iOS WRPG The Shadow Sun, from developer Ossian Studios. The Shadow Sun is a home-run with hours of deep adventuring to be had. Today we continue our journey by taking a brief look at an RPG genre that has traditionally appealed to a fairly niche audience – the roguelike.

** You also may want to check out our Top 50 iPad Indie Games of 2013, which includes a number of RPGs, and our celebrity top 10s from developers like Ryan Payton, founder of République developer Camouflaj**

28 February, 2014

Top 10 Best iOS Games of February

The App Store is a bit like FIFA. It's filled with a lot of funny faces from all over the world - some bad, some good - but admired for the few that really stand out from the crowd. The superstars. A month may seem like a short time, but in the busy iPad league its akin to a season, and we thought we'd highlight this month's MVPs. The most valuable plays of February. Get any or all of these; you can't go wrong. Once you've done that, you can move onto our top 10 free iOS apps of February.

And remember to check out Issue 1 of Grab It Indie Games Magazine - it's built like a game, filled with interactivity and choice as you discover 22 in-depth reviews, 5 exclusive features, 14  interviews and plenty more.

(click here for the  top 10 best iOS games of January)

24 February, 2014

In Fear I Trust Review

I love being scared. I’m a massive horror buff and relish the prospect of games that want to frighten the pants off me. When I heard about In Fear I Trust, I jumped (in excitement) to see what thrills were on offer, but after my time with the game, I was reminded that the only thing I fear more than frightening situations is mediocrity. Unfortunately, despite oozing bucketloads of scary potential, In Fear I Trust is a disappointing experience.

22 February, 2014

Dig Deeper in "Significantly Bigger Worlds" for Minecraft Pocket Edition

If you’ve played Minecraft: Pocket Edition (grab it here), you’ve undoubtedly seen all the game has to offer. It’s fairly limited in scope, with very little to do, right? Before I’m overrun by hordes of angry, disgruntled creepers, let me assure you I’m joking!

The Pocket Edition of the game that needs no introduction is set to become even bigger. Mojang has detailed on a blog post some of the changes being worked on. Here’s what the studio had to say:

"We’re working on restructuring a lot of code to allow for significantly bigger worlds in future updates. We’re also updating the AI, inventory and a bunch of other things. Unfortunately we don’t have a release date yet, but so far, everything is going to plan."

Here at Grab It Magazine, we’re massive fans of Minecraft. But we know that it’s not an easy game to get into, sporting a pretty steep learning curve. When you do grab Minecraft (grab it here), make sure you check out our newly released Issue 1, which features a comprehensive guide to becoming a master crafter quickly.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Minecraft: The Guide

Tip 1 - Start out on Creation Mode. Minecraft has two modes: Survival Mode and Creation Mode. The quickest way to death and dismay is to dive into Survival mode: before you know it, night comes and tough nasty things feast on your pixelated face. So give yourself a chance to learn the mechanics of Minecraft in the nice, sunny daytime. In Creation Mode you're invincible: you can learn the ropes, devise a strategy and prepare yourself before taking on the horrors of Survival.

Tip 2 - Basic Manoeuvres. Get used to navigating around the world of Minecraft safely and efficiently. If you can't find a ladder, try "jumpblocking:" jump and place a block while in mid-air that you land on. Rinse and repeat to get as high as you like. When you get up high, crouch so you stick to the ledge and avoid slipping off to your untimely death. This is especially useful if you want to build a bridge or other precarious structure high up, and it will become an essential manoeuvring tool.

For our complete Minecraft Guide (shown below), as well as 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews and five big features including our big reveal for the amazing Thralled, make sure you check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App.

14 April, 2014

Top 10 Tips - Your Guide to Hoplite

Hoplite (grab it here) is a deceptively simple title. Taking charge of a proud little Greek hoplite, your quest is to clear dungeon after dungeon in search of the mysterious Golden Fleece. But in true roguelike style, lying just beneath the surface is a game requiring much patience and strategy. This may be enough to turn some people off even considering giving Hoplite a go. But, stick with me. Hoplite manages to showcase the best elements of the roguelike genre, while also being highly accessible to newcomers.

Make sure to check out our review of Hoplite here.

To help you on your quest to make the Golden Fleece part of your trophy cabinet, Grab It Magazine has put together its Top 10 Tips for Hoplite. Before long, you’ll be slaying demon wizards with the best of them.

If playing Hoplite whets your appetite for more solid roguelike titles, why not check out our review of Isle of Bxnes, and our Top 10 Tips for Isle of Bxnes.

21 February, 2014

Faster Than Light Approaching Faster Than Light

We reported last month that Subset Games is bringing its PC hit Faster than Light to iPad in the near future. Rather than being just a straight port, the game will receive a huge update and be rebranded FTL: Advanced Edition. The added features amount to such an incredibly large amount of new content, it could almost be considered a new game in its own right.

Subset Games has detailed further additions making their way to FTL: Advanced Edition. You can check out the full range of new features here, but some of the biggest additions include:

     - Visual improvements
     - A new hard mode for “masochistic fans”
     - A hacking system in which you can fire drones to block doorways and disrupt enemy systems
     - A mind control system to ‘befriend’ enemies for a short period of time
     - A new “Clone Bay” allowing you to create clones of dead crew members

There’s still no firm release date yet, meaning we all have to contain our growing excitement just that little bit longer. Keep an eye on the site and we’ll let you know when a firm date is announced. In the mean time, you'll just have to make do by playing some other suitably fun space games. Why not check out Star Command or Space Chicks.

Also be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews and five big features including our big reveal for the amazing Thralled.

22 February, 2014

Motocross, Monsters, and Mobsters - 10 Amazing New Indie Games

I feel like a broken record saying this, but it’s been another massive week on the App Store. What a great problem to have! The quality of indie iOS games released lately has been nothing short of incredible. We've rounded up 10 of the best new games to hit the App Store this week, along with their trailers. Check them out, and by all means, don't forget to grab anything that takes your fancy.

Also be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews and five big features including our big reveal for the amazing Thralled.

1. Tengami = grab it here

19 February, 2014

Isle of Bxnes Review

We’ve seen many trends come and go in the relatively short life of the gaming industry and there’s one currently gaining momentum I’m excited about - the resurrection of the roguelike. You know a game like this as soon as you see it: brutal difficulty, constant (and often permanent) deaths, and very little handholding. 

We’ve seen a few of these games successfully make their way to iOS in recent times, notably Cardinal Quest, Hoplite and 100 Rogues. Isle of Bxnes throws its hat into this hardcore RPG ring and despite some limitations, developer Whalenought Studios has done an impressive job showcasing the best of the roguelike genre.

18 February, 2014

Fight Off Zombies as a Chainsaw Wielding Abraham Lincoln in Second Chance Heroes

Don’t quote me on this, but I’m fairly certain that Second Chance Heroes (trailer below) is the most factually accurate representation of history's greatest historical figures since Bill & Ted's. You might recall the time U.S. President Abraham Lincoln set aside his legislative duties to fight off hordes of zombies with the presidential chainsaw. Or maybe the time when Genghis Khan charged into battle alongside the swashbuckling pirate Blackbeard. If any of this rings a bell, you probably failed history class.

Developed by Rocket City Studios, Second Chance Heroes looks like an insanely fun cooperative action-arcade game. A bunch of famous historical heroes are transported to the future to save us from the inevitable apocalypse, which of course features evil robots, nuclear missiles, aliens and zombies. If you’ve ever dreamt of sending packs of zombie chickens back to the hell from which they came with a chaingun wielding Queen Elizabeth 1... you’re a strange person... who is in luck!

If I haven’t yet convinced you of the awesomeness of Second Chance Heroes, it’s also available to try for the very low price of ‘free’.

Make sure you grab it here.

Also, if you're in the mood to discover some pretty sweet games, be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews and five big features including our big reveal for the amazing Thralled.

19 February, 2014

Top 10 Tips - Your Guide To Isle of Bxnes

Isle of Bxnes (grab it here) is a challenging and unforgiving roguelike adventure, smugly looking down on those not worthy of its time. Set in the Stone Age, you guide a little nomadic tribe across the ocean, fighting barbaric savages and plundering loot. In true roguelike fashion, brutal difficulty, permadeath and little explanation about the mechanics should be assumed. But don't let this turn you off. If you're willing to persist with Isle of Bxnes, you'll find just beneath the surface an enjoyable difficult RPG that showcases the best elements of the roguelike genre. For our review, look here.

To get you started in your quest to be the most savage caveman of them all, Grab it Magazine has put together its Top 10 Tips for Isle of Bxnes.

Also be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews and five big features including our big reveal for the amazing Thralled.

15 February, 2014

GNAH! Announces New Genre - PlatRubikFormer

Is it just me or are modern puzzle titles getting weirder and weirder? I’m not complaining by any means, because I love the concept behind upcoming title GNAH! It’s a bizarre idea, about a guy trapped inside a bunch of weird monster heads called Gnahs (trailer below). There are several different quirky monster types including a submarine and bunny.

To help your little man escape, you have to poke and prod the monster craniums in all sorts of ways. This involves solving puzzles inside the head, while manipulating the exterior of said noggin. Developer KO-OP Mode refers to the concept as a "puzzle PlatRubikFormer." 


GNAH! is scheduled to be released in 2014 and while iOS is not on the current platform list, we've got our fingers crossed for an announcement in the future. Keep an eye on the site and we’ll let you know when a firm date is announced either way.

In the meantime, if you’re in the mood for some weird and wonderful puzzle titles, why not check out the follow games, coming from our Top 50 Indie iPad Games of 2013 and our newly released Issue 1 of Grab It Magazine.

Other recommended games for fans of think-gaming:
     - 868-Hack
     - Blackbar
     - Device 6
     - The Room Two
     - Year Walk
     - Duet
     - Lost Toys

Also be sure to check out Issue 1 of Grab It - The Game Discovery App. It includes 22 in-depth reviews of indie iPad games, 14 exclusive interviews and five big features including our big reveal for the amazing Thralled.

14 February, 2014

10 Games For Single People on Valentine’s Day

You’ve been anticipating this day for months - February 14. Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’ve approached it with dread. Maybe with hope. Or maybe with indifference. Well, if you find yourself sitting at home all by your lonesome, Grab It Magazine (issue 1 out now) has got you covered. We’ve put together a list of 10 iOS games that will perfectly suit your mood and single status during the love fest.

And don't forget, you can always check out our 50 Best Indie iOS Games of 2013 for more great options. If you like the sound of any of these games, just grab it.

12 February, 2014

Assassin’s Creed Pirates' Price Slashed

If ye consider yourself a true pirate, then look no further me hearties. A true pirate is always looking for the simple pleasures in life (i.e. drunken bar brawls), friendly companions (i.e. brawny, dim-witted goons) and solid investment strategies (i.e. plunder and loot). We’re not sure we want to advocate drunken bar brawls, but we can definitely help you save some plunder.

For a limited time only, Assassin’s Creed Pirates has been slashed from $5.49 to $2.99 in the App Store. We noted in our just launched Issue 1 that Assassin’s Creed Pirates does an excellent job of capturing the high seas fun of recent next-gen release Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Only recently, the game also received a sizable update, adding new maps, missions and collectibles.

There hasn’t been a better time to jump in to the pirate life. So don your peg leg (a table leg is fine), grab a parrot (any parrot will do) and put on your eye patch (a medical pad is ok). But most importantly make sure you grab it now as we don’t know how long the deal will last.

If you're interested in setting out on some other sea faring adventures, make sure you check out the following games.
     - Oceanhorn
     - The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
     - Monkey Island Tales
     - Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption
     - Isle of Bxnes

12 February, 2014

Star Wars Tiny Death Star Just Got A Little Bigger

The Emperor's plans to build a weapon of intergalatic destruction are slowly but surely coming to fruition, with a wealth of new content hitting Star Wars Tiny Death Star.

The latest update brings the following new features:
     - An overhauled Imperial Assignments system, including 100 new missions
     - Special events, in which you can earn limited edition rewards
     - A new Cargo Bay floor where you can pick up your rewards
     - New characters and Imperial VIPs

In our review of Tiny Death Star (which you can check out in Issue 1), we called Nimblebit's charming title a fun and light-hearted experience, not to be missed by Star Wars aficionados. We liked it so much, we gave it a spot in our Top 50 Indie IPad Games of 2013. You can grab Tiny Death Star right here.

While you're perusing the App Store, why not check out some other Star Wars titles on offer.

     - Angry Birds Star Wars II
     - Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
     - Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles
     - Lego Star Wars: Microfighters
     - Star Wars Pinball 2
     - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
     - Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

10 February, 2014

Virtue’s Last Reward Developer Brings Banshee’s Last Cry to iOS

Visual novels don’t get anywhere near as much love as they should. If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, they’re not games in the traditional sense. Visual novels are more like interactive fiction experiences, where your choices drive the direction of the narrative. If you recall fond memories of those 'choose your own adventure' novels, then you'll definitely like what's on offer.

If you’re looking for an easy entry point to the genre, then Banshee’s Last Cry might scratch that itch. In fact, we were so impressed we included it in our Top 10 Free iPad Games of January.

Here’s the developer’s description of the plot:

"Banshee’s Last Cry is a thrilling visual novel that takes readers on a deadly thrill ride of murder and deception. Set in a snowed in hotel lodge during Christmas, vacationers find themselves caught up in a murderous “whodunit” game when someone winds up dead. Local legend tells of a banshee whose screams can rip through flesh, but, is the killer really a deadly monster or the work of a madman?"

With up to 30 different endings, there’s some serious replay value to be found here. Developer Spike Chunsoft is best known for its well received narrative-driven games 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and sequel Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward for the PlayStation Vita.

You can grab it here.

An alternative experience we recommend is Tin Man Games' Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom. Grab it here.

09 February, 2014

Relive the Magitek Magic of Final Fantasy VI on iOS

Square Enix has been showing a lot of love to Final Fantasy fans lately. The legendary developer has been slowly but surely porting its back catalogue of titles to mobiles. Final Fantasy VI (trailer below) is the latest entry in the renowned RPG series to make its way to iOS.

Originally released in 1994 on the SNES, Final Fantasy VI is often considered one of the greatest in the series. The game’s main antagonist, Kefka - the nihilistic psychopath clown - deserves an award for being one of the most memorable and evil bad guys in Final Fantasy history. Now is a great time for both veterans and newbies to jump in and experience the magic of Final Fantasy VI. You can grab it here.

While you’re at it, make sure to check out the other Final Fantasy games on iOS:

     - Final Fantasy
     - Final Fantasy II
     - Final Fantasy III
     - Final Fantasy IV
     - Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
     - Final Fantasy V
     - Final Fantasy VI
     - Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
     - Final Fantasy: All The Bravest
     - Final Fantasy: Dimensions
     - Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

06 February, 2014

Captain America Becomes an iOS Game

Brace yourselves – winter is coming! Oh wait, wrong franchise. But just as exciting, Captain America: The Winter Solider is coming to cinemas this March. In a move that will surprise no one, a movie tie-in game is set to launch alongside Captain America’s latest frosty adventures. Although movie tie-in games don’t always have a great track record, we really like how The Winter Solider is shaping up.

The story is co-written by Marvel and inspired by events from the movie. Fans will no doubt be pleased that plenty of famous Marvel characters will make an appearance. As you can see from the trailer, the Winter Soldier really looks the part, taking the form of a 3D action game, presented with comic book style, cel-shaded graphics.

Further piquing our interest is that Gameloft is taking the development reigns. Gameloft has made a name for itself taking on other movie tie-in games like Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3 and The Amazing Spiderman. Gameloft has also produced other high quality titles including Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and N.O.V.A. 3, all of which feature in Issue 1's Top 10 First-Person Shooters (out next week).

While you’re impatiently waiting for March, why not check out some other solid movie tie-in games.
    - Robocop
    - Man of Steel
    - Despicable Me: Minion Rush
    - Fix It Felix Jr
    - Monster's University
    - Fast and Furious 6: The Game

05 February, 2014

Ferris Mueller Chucks a Sickie to Come to iOS

Mueller, Mueller, Mueller. This is the game everyone was asking for. Well not quite, but we're glad it exists. Despite taking obvious inspiration from Matthew Broderick's classic 80s school jigging film, the similarities end with the title.

An old fashioned point-and-click adventure, Ferris Mueller, rather than being a happy-go-lucky adolescent is naturally a small green horse in a Wild West town. And instead of partying like it's 1986, your quest is to track down nine hidden golden carrots. If this hasn't piqued your attention, nothing will.

Ferris Mueller is a rather quirky title, offering up some interesting puzzles and laugh-out-loud humour. It's definitely worth chucking a sickie to give it a go. You can grab it right here.

Also if you like games about movies, why not check out Robocop.

01 February, 2014

Top 10 Free iPad Games of January

It has been a busy start to the year for the iOS gaming scene and Grab It Magazine both. If you haven't already, the number one free app on iPad this past month was our free sample issue of Grab It Magazine - but we would say that, wouldn't we! Check it out - six exclusive interviews, features, reviews and more. But onto the game front: what were the best free games of January? Find theme below and remember, if you like the look of anything, you can just grab it.

Read More...

31 January, 2014

John Woo Has Released a Bloody iPad Game

Legendary action flick director, John Woo, has made his first foray into the mobile video game market with violent action thriller, Bloodstroke. Woo is best known for directing high octane thrillers Hard Boiled, Mission Impossible II and Face/Off. Woo has also toyed with video games in the past, releasing the Hong Kong action thriller Stranglehold on consoles and PC in 2007.

With such a pedigree, Bloodstoke is unsurprisingly equal parts gritty, bloody and action-packed. Taking the role of bodyguard, Mai Lee, your objective is to protect your charge using any means necessary. In an effort that would make Woo regular Chow Yun-fat proud, this means slicing, dicing and shooting your way through half the population of Hong Kong and Beijing.

In a neat touch, Bloodstroke is presented in black-and-white with comic book-style cutscenes. In true John Woo style, the only colour in the game is the rivers of red blood that get splashed around from slain enemies.

If you’re looking for a slick action title that doesn’t require too much thinking, Bloodstroke is your one stop shop. Grab it here. And check out the other games that made our Top 10 iOS Games of January.

For more great gaming fun, also check out our 50 Best Indie iOS Games of 2013 and don't forget to try out our free sample issue of Grab It Magazine.

If you just like to spill blood, you may enjoy some of the titles in our best FPS games on iOS list, below:
    - Dead Trigger 2
    - Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour
    - Wolfenstein 3D
    - Doom Classic
    - Doom II RPG
    - Blitz Brigade
    - Doom Resurrection
    - Rage HD
    - Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies
    - Neon Shadow
    - Time Crisis: 2nd Strike
    - Overkill 2
    - Gun Commando
    - Frontline Commando: D-Day
    - Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard
    - N.O.V.A. 3
    - Duke Nukem 3D

28 January, 2014

Tail Drift Prepares for Landing on iOS

Australian indie developer Attract Mode Games will be bringing its arcade flight racing game, Tail Drift, to iOS in June. Tail Drift pits players against one another in intense flight racing action, through tubular tracks, all while dodging inconveniently placed environmental obstacles.

We're quite excited to get our hands on this title, as it already won Unity Technologies' 'Flash in a Flash' competition back in 2012 due to its "creativity and fun." We'll keep you updated on a specific release date, but you can enjoy the trailer below and the first developer diary.

Note: You can also check out our exclusive interview with the CEO of Unity Technologies in our free sample issue of Grab It Magazine, and we also have his picks for the top 10 iOS games of 2013 here.

In the meantime, if you're keen for some crazy car flying/racing action, we recommend Jet Car Stunts 2 (grab it here) or Rail Racing (grab it here). Or just head straight to our 50 Best iOS Indie Games of 2013.

24 January, 2014

Carmageddon Is Free Right Now

Cult 90s racing hit Carmageddon has just gone free on the App store. We use the term "racing" rather loosely here, given the game is just as much about blowing up your competitors and mowing down hapless pedestrians. Even after several decades, it's still a guilty pleasure to play. If you haven't had the chance to experience the goodness of this 90s darling, take the opportunity to grab it right now, as this deal's only going to last a few more hours.

While you're on the App Store, why not try our free sample issue of Grab It Magazine, too.

Other Great Racing Games on iOS:
    - Asphalt 8: Airborne (which made our Best 50 Indie iOS Games of 2013 list)
    - Reckless Racing 2
    - Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
    - Rail Racing
    - Real Racing 3
    - Jet Car Stunts 2
    - Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Or if you just like running people over, go for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

19 January, 2014

Little Big Mansion Announced - Little Game, Big Ambition

Little Big Mansion is shaping up to be a magical experience, literally. Krisjet Game Design’s quirky puzzle platformer puts you in the shoes of two magicians exploring an old mansion. Each has their own magical talents, which you’ll need to use wisely to navigate your way out. Houdini eat your heart out!

You start out controlling the younger magician, who can switch the size of objects. This happens to be incredibly convenient when you come across a tiny corridor no normal sized person could possibly fit through, or when you need to shrink a massive key to fit a lock. The older magician has the ability to swap the position of two objects, allowing easy transition between rooms. Both magicians eventually meet up and you’ll need to employ all the talents at their disposal to escape. This place had one seriously unhinged architect!

From what we’ve seen so far, Little Big Mansion looks more than just smoke and mirrors. An interesting concept and clever puzzle design could make this one of the genuine indie gems of the year. Little Big Mansion will magically appear on iOS in early 2014.

Escape Games For While You Wait:
    - The Room Two
    - The Lost City
    - Ms. Splosion Man
    - Khaba
    - Freedom Fall
    - Temple Run 2

17 January, 2014

How to Play Quake III on iPad - A Step by Step Guide

During my teen years, I sunk a significant chunk of time into the classic first-person shooter Quake III. Even today, Quake III is still considered one of the best competitive shooters ever developed. If you’re feeling a twinge of nostalgia, or want to see what the fuss is all about, you can now play Quake III on your iPad.

However, it’s not quite as simple as downloading Quake III from the App Store. You’ll have to use an app called Beben III, developed by Ronny Stiftel, which will allow you to play Quake III Arena, Quake III Shareware, and the community developed Open Arena. Both Quake III Shareware and Open Arena are free-to-play, but you’ll need to own the full retail version of Quake III Arena.

If this is all sounding a bit too complicated, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide. Soon enough, you’ll be fragging mates online (via LAN) or gibbing bots offline in classic game modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. Full credit to Ronny Stiftel for all his efforts.

At the end of the article, you can find a list of the best FPS games available on the App Store: alternatively, check out our 50 Best iOS Indie Games of 2013 article. Also, don't forget to check out our free sample copy of issue 0 of Grab it Magazine. We also recently reviewed an iOS remake of 1996 Doom Engine era FPS Strife, which you can read here.

Read More

13 January, 2014

Winter is Coming To iOS - Game of Thrones: Ascent Announced

Like many of the noble families in the kingdom of Westeros, the Game of Thrones franchise continues to expand its influence. The Facebook strategy-RPG Game of Thrones: Ascent will be invading iOS “in the near future,” according to developer Disruptor Beam during an interview with Gamezebo.

For those unfamiliar with the game, you take the role of the head of a minor House in Westeros during a time of political and social upheaval. George R. R. Martin himself describes Ascent as featuring “alliance building, treachery, marriages, murders and, most of all, the constant struggle to be the greatest house in Westeros.” Yep, sounds like a Game of Thrones game to me.

A neat feature of the Facebook version is that while the HBO series is running, the game receives content updates, including quests and items, featured in the previous episode aired on TV. The trailer below gives you a great insight into the game, but we do know that those of your with Facebook accounts will be able to transfer them across to the mobile version for cross-platform play.

Keep an eye on this one. It has already won a number of awards, including the 2013 Facebook Game of the Year in the Staff Picks category. If you need something to get stuck into while you wait, check out ABCs of RPGs series, or our Top 50 iPad Indie Games of 2013.

By: Stephen Mitchell

24 January, 2014

Device 6 Snatches Award at the 2014 Independent Games Festival

Update: The full list of award winners have been announced for the 2014 Independent Games Festival (IGF). We're very pleased to report that the fantastic Device 6 from Simogo (grab it here) took home the top gong for Excellence in Audio. Luxuria Superbia from Tale of Tales (grab it here) nabbed the Nuovo Award for Innovation. Make sure to also keep your eye on the upcoming title Gorogoa by Jason Roberts, due out in late 2014, which picked up an award for Excellence in Visual Art.

Congratulations to all the award winners and finalists. With so many amazing titles behind us and many more on the horizon, it’s a great time to be a gamer.

09 January, 2014

Top 10 Duke Nukem Quotes

We’re pretty excited that the king himself, Duke Nukem, has just made another leap to iOS. Developed by Spawn Studios, Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project is on sale now and this grab it link will update automatically as the game goes on sale in your territory (or here for iPhone). The game offers up some old-school sidescrolling shooter fun, with a healthy dose of ass kicking, alien stomping, babe saving and bubblegum chewing.

In honour of the hulking mass of meat that the Duke is, we’ve put together our top 10 best quotes from his earth saving adventures. As befitting the Duke, these quotes are covered in more cheese than a margarita pizza. We highly recommend voice actor Jon St John, who brings Duke to life like no one else could.

Top 10 Duke Nukem Quotes

10. Your face, your ass - what's the difference?
9. Now you see me, now you’re dead.
8. Your ass is grass, and I’ve got the weed whacker.
7. You're an inspiration for birth control.
6. My boot, your face; the perfect couple.
5. I’m an equal opportunity ass kicker
4. Little pig, little pig let me in. Or I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll kick your ass in!
3. I've got balls of steel.
2.  Hail to the king, baby!
1. It’s time to kick ass and chew bubble gum...and I’m all outta gum. 

References:
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project (iPad):
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project (iPhone):
Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem 2

09 January, 2014

Simian.Interface is Bananas

Some games are just plain quirky. Playing as a test-subject monkey with a malfunctioning computer in its brain to solve spatial-based puzzles definitely classifies as quirky. In simian.interface, your primate friend must align, create and solve geometrical-based puzzles, all for the wonderful prize of a banana. What you realise pretty quickly is that simian.interface isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of how we think a game should act and feel. It also turns the introspective finger on ourselves, making us ponder about the monkey hamster wheel of society. Pretty neat for a game that’s all about solving puzzles.

If you’re in the mood for an eccentric puzzle-based game, that’s both challenging and rewarding, all while pushing you to do some navel gazing, simian.interface is right up your banana tree.

It's rolling out across the world here; this grab it link will update automatically. (here for iPhone)

04 January, 2014

Detective Grimoire Brings Laughs to Point-&-Click

Fans of old school point-and-click adventure games should check out the newly released Detective Grimoire. Funded on Kickstarter, the titular detective must work with the crazy residents of a swamp to solve a bizarre murder. Gorgeous visuals, clever puzzles and laugh out loud humour elevate Detective Grimoire into the company of classic adventure games.

You can grab it here.

02 January, 2014

Jet Car Stunts 2 Out Now

If you're into racing flying cars thousands of miles above the Earth (who isn't?) then you'll definitely want to check out the below trailer. Developed by True Axis, Jet Car Stunts 2 is rolling out on the App Store right now - this link will update automatically when your country comes online. As you can see, it is more than just a racing game, it's also quite a challenging puzzle platformer as you navigate through these mind-melting tracks as they float above the world.

19 December, 2013

Deus Ex: The Fall Just 99c

In the lead up to the App Store freeze over Christmas, there'll be plenty of bargains to be had. Here's another excellent deal - Deus Ex: The Fall for only 99c. Jump into the shoes of former SAS agent Ben Saxon as he seeks to uncover a drug conspiracy around human augmentation. More than just a lazy spin-off from the main console series, this is a genuine standalone entry which is well worth a look, especially at this price. You can buy it right here.

18 December, 2013

Apple Announce iOS Games of the Year

Apple has announced its highly anticipated (and valuable) Game of the Year choices for 2013. The top gong for iPhone Game of the Year went to Ridiculous Fishing. The runners up were Device 6 and Plants Vs. Zombies 2.

In the iPad category, the winner was Badland, followed closely by XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Impossible Road. You can buy all these games via the links below, but we’d also like to know what you think. Are they worthy winners?

Ridiculous Fishing
Device 6
Plants Vs. Zombies 2
Badland
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Impossible Road

16 March, 2014

Crytek's The Collectables Out Now

Update 2: The Collectables has just gone live on the App Store. You can grab it here.

Update: We've just heard that, following its soft launch last month, The Collectables will be launching globally on iOS next week. The free-to-play action/card game title from Crytek tasks players with controlling a group of soldiers as they bust up a bunch of enemy infested islands. Before each level, players construct a deck of cards featuring abilities, weapons and soldiers. The player can then control the flow of battle by choosing what cards to play from their deck. Cards can be used to perform actions like call in airstrikes, decoys and heal fellow troops.

If you pre-register on the game's website (for free), you can score yourself a pretty sweet exclusive version of the in-game character RELOAD.

Home

Latest Issue

Grab It iPad Magazine Indie Games Episode 8 out now