This vault-inspired base-building sim is a great distraction, but is it worth your bottle caps?
Behind Sony’s mind-bending conference (...that FF7 announcement), Bethesda had one of the most spectacular showings at E3. We got a closer look at Fallout 4, discovered Dishonoured 2 and were introduced to a curious little base-building sim known as Fallout: Shelter. Now, I’m not normally one to delve into an F2P game so readily, but Shelter had three major draw cards: i) it was free, ii) it was available immediately and iii) it was Fallout (something). Honestly, it’s been so long I’d play Angry Birds: Fallout if it was put in front of me. But that’s neither here nor there, the important question remains: Is Fallout: Shelter any good? That question is actually harder to answer than you might think, but I suppose it comes down to two things, how much cash you’re willing to fork out and how proficient you are at micromanaging.
With Jurassic World around the corner and Primal Carnage on its way, we’re reigniting our love for terrible lizards starting with Theropods
Made during the 14 day Adventure Jam, Theropods is Seething Swarm’s shout out to games long buried under nostalgic sediment, like The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of The Tentacle, and also a love letter to the Triassic age.
A classic point-and-click adventure, Theropods begins with the player character, a resourceful red-head, and her witch doctor buddy relaxing by the campfire. The chill-fest is promptly ruined by a gang of velociraptors that chase the witch doctor off into the woods and our nimble heroine up a tree. You must use every item at your disposal and interact with the environment to rescue your skull-faced pal without being gored, trampled or chewed.
The game is short, no doubt, but what matters is how much Seething Swarm manage to cram into the short-lived experience. It has enough polish to feel like a demo for a larger game. Other than a few small issues with direction (once or twice I resorted to desperately clicking the entire screen), the puzzles are actually kind of awesome. To save holding your hand by throwing some text on the screen, visual and audio cues are sometimes given to let you know you’re on the right or wrong track.
For example, one early situation has you stuck in a tree with a velociraptor nipping at your heels. The way out clearly has something to do with a weathered branch hanging over a campfire, but my character kicks the branch to no avail. Amid the thunderous thwack the kick makes, I hear a slight crack– encouraging me to try again. After a few solid boots the branch finally come free and bursts into flames below. Other audio cues, like grunts, do a good job of letting you know when you’ve hit a dead end.
Theropods ends on a bitter sweet note, both in story and in the sense that I was happy to have experienced it but left wanting much more. Seething Swarm have given no word on whether they’ll dig deeper into the Theropods universe, but whatever their next project is, I’ll have my ears to the ground and fingers crossed in the hope that it’s a dinosaur themed point-and-click adventure.
It's that time of the year again. Whether you've faced wave after wave of chocolate treats, or had to put up with family members from a far, the best way to wrap up one of the most chaotic weekends of the year is with a nice, hard-earned video game binge. Go on, treat yourself. To celebrate the extra long weekend, we've put together a list of our favourite Easter Eggs of 2015, so far...
Way To Go is an indie game/interactive film project from Caroline Robert, Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit and Arcade Fire collaborator, Vincent Morriset. You start out with a paper-thin friend, dropped in the middle of the woods somewhere with a small set of simple directions: press the W key to walk, the E key to run, SPACE to jump and the left mouse button to interact. The rest is pretty much up to you.
“Go on. Make your way. Stop to see the smallest things. No one’s waiting, no one’s keeping score.”
You travel through the woods, across streams and into fields all while following one continuous line. At any time you are able to stop and take a “closer look” at your environment with a click of the mouse button and trust me, it’s worth it. Here are some of the most beautiful moments I captured on my journey through Way To Go.
Since the first episode of Tales From The Borderlands we’ve had two entries in Telltale’s Game of Thrones series. Don’t get me wrong, I love the steady flow of Telltale games, but it does feel like quite a while since I first set foot on Pandora with Fiona and Rhys. With Atlas Mugged we’re given a noticeably shorter stint on Pandora that still manages to delve further into each character, expand the roster of likeable characters, and improve upon what is some of the best video game humour in recent memory.
The Swedish team behind some of the App Store’s most engaging titles, like Year Walk, The Sailor’s Dream, and Device 6, have released the first episode to their four part podcast, The Lighthouse Painting. Set in the same universe as The Sailor’s Dream, The Lighthouse Painting is a podcast mystery that was inspired by vintage radio drama. Here’s the blurb from Simogo’s website:
One late summer the only two residents on a remote lighthouse island go missing. As a delivery man takes shelter from a storm on the island, he is soon drawn into a bewildering and dreamlike search for a woman and her father, the lighthouse keeper.
As I mentioned, Episode 1: Stories is available now, but you’ll be able to catch the rest of the series every Wednesday. Episode 2: Debts releases on the 25th of March, Episode 3: Dreams on the 1st of April, and Episode 4: Settlements on April the 8th. The podcast is free, and the only advertising you’ll get is a pleasant message from Simogo encouraging you to check out their library of games. Lovely.
I really wanted to love Hot Tin Roof. Glass Bottom Games pitches a charming detective-noir adventure set in an open metroidvania world, co-starring a cat with a fedora. While there is plenty to admire about Tin Roof and its inhabitants, the game itself constantly disengages the player through confusing navigation and a branching dialogue system that’s less Maltese Falcon and more Inspector Gadget.
In what seems like a bid to quell the nerves of investors, Satoru Iwata announced during a press conference that the company would be entering the mobile market with a new partner, DeNA. The details are still a little hazy, however, Iwata has stated that no existing Wii U or 3DS titles would be ported to the mobile space, but that all existing IPs and characters will be available for use by the mobile company. During that same press conference, Iwata has announced new hardware, and in true Iwata fashion that hardware has a codename, Nintendo NX.
Wednesday April 1 is looking to be an entertaining night for indie game fans. SMG Studios (of One More Line fame) and Microsoft Australia have partnered up to bring you two feature length documentaries - GameLoading: Rise of The Indies and Us and the Game Industry- at the Palace Chauvel Cinema on the corner of Oxford St & Oatley Rd, Paddington, NSW.
The physical Cards Against Humanity game was probably the biggest and dirtiest card game of 2014. Most people would have experienced this shameless game at one social gathering or another throughout the year - if not many. Well, to save your precious black cards from spilled drinks and tears of laughter you can now play the game with friends entirely from an unofficial web app called Cards Against Originality.
While the game is not linked at all to the original creator, Max Temkin, Cards Against Originality features every original card including all five expansions. And although that may sound a wee bit dubious, it’s all completely legal. The original CAH game is distributed under a creative commons license, meaning it can be remixed and distributed, but cannot be monetised without permission.
Being a web app, this game can be played from any device with an Internet connection. Finally, Grandma will have something to play other than Spider Solitaire. And although CAH creator Max Temkin is happy that people are sharing and customising the CAH experience, he has said that he never wanted a digital version of CAH as it detracts from the social experience. The news did prompt Temkin to explain that he is working on a number of projects at the moment, some of which are tailored to the mobile platform.
In fact, we already have one popular "remix" of the game on iOS called Evil Apples. And it now looks like we’ve got some more official mischievous mobile shenanigans to look forward to, courtesy of the twisted minds behind Cards Against Humanity.
You can play Cards Against Originality in your browser right now by following this link.
Note: Due to the popularity of Cards Against Originality the website, may be down. The developers have promised to have the site stable by the end of the weekend.
Did you catch Apple's keynote? No? Well lucky for you, Grab It has compiled everything you need to know about the Apple announcements. From the Apple Watch range, and the super interesting ResearchKit, to the new MacBook, we've got prices, we've got specs, we've got release dates andit's all here in Grab It's Apple Roundup.
White Night (PS4, XB0, PC) is the debut title from OSome Studios, a survival-horror that avoids the usual Zombie shenanigans to deliver a comparably down to earth ghost story with a detective-noir vibe. You play as a nameless chap who, after an unfortunate car crash, seeks help at a nearby mansion. Of course, the mansion has a deep and sordid history, and the ghosts that reside there encourage the protagonist to explore the abandoned abode’s many secrets through a number of clever puzzles.
At its heart, Kickstarter has a pretty straightforward premise. Developers showcase their ideas along with a variety of backer rewards and stretch goals, and depending on the quality of their pitch, the game will fall short, just scrape by, or completely surpass its funding goals. Though this is not always the case and sometimes game that are worthy of your money are unsuccessful - just look at Day for Night Games’ The Black Glove.
This mysterious game looked absolutely gorgeous and with a trusted team of ex-Irrational (BioShock) developers on board - and the support of Ken Levine himself - the game seemed like a guaranteed hit. Although The Black Glove was undeniably appealing to the peepers, a lot of prospective backers were left scratching their heads wondering what The Black Glove was all about, so the game never hit its funding goal. This is where Nik’s Kickstarter campaign for Albert & Otto excels. It’s a lucid exhibit of everything the game could become if it finds successful funding.
Hot on the heels of the recent news that Warner Brothers will be publishing a mobile tie in for their upcoming console brawler, Mortal Kombat X, the prolific company has just announced a bevvy of new titles for their growing mobile empire. And it comes as no surprise that the lineup features a whole lot of their video game go-to guy, Batman.
Transmedia projects are always appealing. The idea of an expanded universe that crosses between games, film, comic books and music is one that developers have been trying to pull off for years. The only problem is, transmedia projects have a wobbly past. Defiance released back in 2013 as a sci-fi television series and a video game, but was met with less than favourable reviews. Whereas, the recent Midnight Star, with its mobile shooter and interactive graphic novel tie-in, seemed to hit all the right notes. French Developer, Forge Animation, are aiming to follow in Industrial Toys’ footsteps by employing a powerful team of respected artists from a variety of fields to create an immersive universe with their upcoming game, animated film and graphic novel, Windwalkers.
With The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask recently remastered for the Nintendo 3DS, we’ve been spending a lot of time pretending to be someone, or something, else with the help of a vast selection of useful and unusual masks. Throughout video game history, we’ve been using masks to conceal our identities, to obtain mystical powers, and sometimes for the sheer comedic effect.In video games, masks often transcend their façade and become the Swiss army knife of the gaming universe.
Here at Grab It, we thought it was timely to celebrate these mysterious accessories by ranking our top ten video game masks.
Before them, fire devours, behind them, a desert waste. Nothing escapes them.
Inspired by 2D platformer classics like Another Earth and Oddworld, Windy Hill Studio’s debut game, Orphan, tells the story of boy in a world devastated by an overnight alien invasion. The young protagonist will use every object at his disposal to outsmart and outrun a horde of armoured robots that have been sent to clean up the Earth’s surface by an alien race.
The first thing that will catch your eye is Orphan’s fetching visual style. It’s easy to see why many media outlets are calling it a mix between H.G. Wells’ War of The Worlds, and Playdead’s Limbo. The flashes of lens flare and the dark, silhouetted character models are both throwbacks to the aforementioned titles. But, what makes the visuals so special is the developer’s history with photography. Scenes are a blend of real-life images, layered with raster graphics. Grounding each apocalyptic scene in the real world creates a spooky aesthetic unlike any other.
However, what caught my interest in the title was the gameplay. I loved Limbo for all its tricky puzzles and moody atmosphere, but the way Orphan implements combat - by giving the player access to makeshift armour, weapons and powerful alien technology - gives it a kind of 90s sci-fi adventure feel.
Orphan has only six days, and just under $9000 left to hit its $32,000 funding goal. The game will be available for PC, Mac, and Linux at release, and will eventually make its way to PS4 if the game hits its $36,000 stretch goal. Get Kickstarting here.
If you’re still not convinced that Orphan is worth the spare change in your pocket, check out the sombre trailer below.
All this talk about unique 2D platformers may have you flicking through your collection for something to play. Grab It's got you covered. Check out the magical sidescroller Nihilumbra, and Grab It’s Making of… an exclusive, fully interactive digital book on the App Store to tide you over until Orphan's eventual release.
In this article we discuss the possibilities for Condemned 3. Naturally, we discuss crucial plot points from Condemned: Criminal Origins, and Condemned 2: Bloodshot that may be considered spoiler-ish.
This month, Jace Hall - the CEO of Condemned creator Monolith Productions - expressed his interest in leaving the future of the Condemned franchise in the hands of an interested indie developer. It's obviously a series the studio has no intention of continuing in-house, which is a damn shame as despite its relatively poor commercial success, it's a cult classic and rightly so. However, the idea of opening the door to an indie to continue it forward is mouth-watering, and it's certainly got us thinking. Which indie team would we like to see take the reigns of the gritty survival-horror series? Whether it’s a reboot, a mobile iteration or a direct sequel to the strange conclusion of Condemned 2: Bloodshot, here are Grab It’s top indie contenders to take control of the established franchise.
Will Midnight Star reimagine the FPS on touchscreens? We’re about to find out. The game is being developed by Industrial Toys, a studio founded by Alex Seropian who, in a former life, reimagined the FPS console as owner of Halo creator Bungie – he has the pedigree. We've been following the game with great interest ever since it was announced. In fact, we ran a huge world exclusive making of feature on Midnight Star in Episode 7 of Grab It, talking with both Seropian and another former 12-year Halo veteran Paul Pertone, about the game’s creation. You can grab the feature here.
With the launch date set for Feb 5 (this Thursday!), we touched based with Industrial Toys and spoke to co-founder Tim Harris for an update on the title.
Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios has “100% confirmed” via their dev blog that their title I Am Bread will be releasing on iOS once the game launches out of Steam Early Access later this year.
I Am Bread casts players in role of a single slice of bread, with the ultimate, life-affirming goal of becoming toast.
The player awkwardly navigates the slice of bread around various sections of a house, looking to get toasted in any way possible, which now that I think of it, sounds like the kind of thing you overhear teens discussing on the bus ride home. This task seems to pose a similar challenge to Octodad, but rather than using four separate buttons to manoeuvre long, unpredictable tentacles, you’re moving each corner of the slice – with the added challenge of a "grip" metre. How this control scheme will translate to a touchscreen without it becoming a game of twister with your digits is yet to be seen (but that’s likely to be half the fun).
One thing’s for sure, if the transition is anything like its off kilter simulation predecessors, Surgeon Simulator and Goat Simulator (which both boast four-star ratings on the App store), quick fix mobile gamers will embrace the toasty title with open arms, and watering mouths.
If you can't wait for some bread-based gameplay, check out the arcade classic Toast Time.
As far as first impressions go, it’s impossible to ignore the resemblance that Tomasz Wacławek's Ronin bears to its predecessor, Tom Francis' Gunpoint. The window smashing, office block intruding, 2D platformer wears its influence on its sleeve, and much like a doting younger sibling, it wears it with both pride and a tongue planted firmly in cheek. But, to simply call Ronin a "Gunpoint clone" would be a disservice. As anyone who has spent some time with the turned-based assassination game can contend, Ronin brings its own style of fun to the table.
What has me most invested in Ronin is it’s unique take on turn-based combat. As the titular ninja, you will infiltrate buildings, eliminating agents and other ninjas, massacring your way towards a final assassination target. When an enemy is encountered, the action comes to a pause, and the player must strategically adjust the trajectory of the ninja’s jumps to avoid gunfire and place the nimble assassin in a viable position to eliminate each target. If the player is close to an enemy, a slash prompt will appear. If the enemy is too far away, the player can choose to throw their sword. This mechanic pushes the player to fight like a ninja, with style and grace. Ronin doesn’t waste too much time explaining the possibilities this mechanic allows for, so players are driven to get creative with their assassinations. Already, there are videos emerging with players risking death to trial out new and exciting ways to take out each target, and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a risk that pays off in many breathtakingly badass resolutions.
As development gains traction, Ronin is becoming more and more its own beast. With some freshly updated graphics, hints at an overarching narrative, and the support of publisher Digital Devolver, Ronin is shaping up to be one of my most anticipated indie titles of 2015.
While many mainstream stealth games have you deciphering hard to follow plots, Subverses will have you interpret an entirely different language in order to succeed.
Set in a dystopian future, where the world is ruled entirely by a few mega corporations, a devastating flu epidemic is crippling society. One corporation, known as Omnisource, is holding the key to humanity’s survival a secret. It’s up to you to infiltrate Omnisource and gather evidence to use as leverage against the corrupt organisation in the hopes of obtaining information on the cure.
As a spy in a foreign land, the player must learn a target language (chosen by the player) to solve puzzles and discover secrets through dialogue with helpful (or suspicious) NPCs. These puzzles present sentences and phrases that are split into smaller components, and must be rearranged in the correct sequence before progressing. The game currently supports English, French, German, and Spanish, but the developers are promising more languages if the game reaches its Kickstarter stretch goals.
If 2013’s App of the year, Duolingo, has proven anything, it’s that humans have unquenchable thirst for affordable and user-friendly language acquisition. Couple this phenomenon with a genre that has found success on the mobile platform with titles like Stealth Inc and République and it becomes obvious that the developer behind Subverses knows who its target audience is.
Subverses has less than three days left for its Kickstarter campaign and only 2% remaining of its funding goal. There are some pretty sweet rewards at higher tiers and some very interesting stretch goal promises over at the Kickstarter page. Check it out here, before it’s too late.
Melbourne developer League of Geeks has announced a January 22 release for the Steam Early Access of its long-awaited title, Armello.
If you’ve read this far and you’re scratching your head wondering what the hell an “Armello” is, then you’re in for a treat. Armello is a tabletop inspired, strategy RPG, where you play as a representative of one of four clans (Bears, Rabbits, Wolves or Rats) fighting for power in a Kingdom that’s succumbed to a dark and mysterious sickness, the rot.
After being successfully funded via Kickstarter, League of Geeks granted backers to an exclusive beta version and so far the feedback has been very positive. We were lucky enough to get a sneak play of the deep gameplay in preparation for Grab It Episode 8. We had a great time traversing the procedurally generated board and you can read out full thoughts and an interview with the developer in the episode. Armello is a complex and layered title that is sure to bring out the competitive beast inside players when it launches.
For those concerned with the game’s quality at Early Access, fear not. Trent Kusters of League of Legends has reminded fans that the game has been playable for quite some time now, and LoL has received loads of feedback and support from the Armello community, meaning the version that will be released on the 22nd will be worthy of your attention.
Check out our preview of Armello, and interview with League of Geeks’ Trent Kusters in Grab It Episode 8.
When the co-creator of Halo, Alex Seropian, and Industrial Toys co-founder, Tim Harris, started their Midnight Star journey, many doubted the duo's claims of reimagining the FPS for touchscreens. Fast forward a few years later, and a transmedia team of respected artists (including Hugo Award winner John Scalzi, X-Men artist Mike Choi and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian) have helped Industrial Toys deliver on their vision. This folks, is how you make a shooter for mobile devices.
In the summer of 1986 five friends from California make a mysterious discovery in the woods outside their quite hometown. The contents of this discovery will lead them on an epic adventure across the plane between life and death and have them entangled in a government conspiracy.
What is this, you ask? Surely Spielberg's latest coming of age blockbuster? No, the answer is Crossing Souls. Developer Fourattic's upcoming title is an 80's inspired action adventure, where the player controls five kids, each with their own unique personalities, across the world of the living and the world of the dead. Players will utilise each character’s varied weapons and abilities, and a device that allows players to traverse two different realities, to solve puzzles. This puzzle-solving feature is reminiscent of Chronology and The Silent Age, where players are constantly required to alter the landscape to reveal useful hints and objects from another time.
Since its creation, the Borderlands universe has become known for its rewarding loot-fests, grinding RPG elements, wasteland setting, and plethora of masked psychos, skaggs and ruthless vault hunters. The first game was also known for its almost complete lack of story. Some enjoyed jumping straight into the action without having to sit through lengthy cutscenes; others pined for something more - a motive to keep grinding. With one of its two latest adaptations (the other being Game of Thrones - A Telltale Adventure), Telltale Games (The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead) has flipped the franchise on its head, doing what Telltale do best and scrapping conventional gameplay elements and focusing on a beginning to end, immersive narrative experience. And Tales From The Borderlands is one of the studio's best yet.
Peter Molyneux has discussed a new project, The Trial, at the Fun and Serious Game Festival in Bilbao, Spain. The famous game developer and former head honcho at Lionhead Studios (Fable) has expressed his interest in creating a game that utilises social media interaction and high score leaderboards.
Molyneux didn’t reveal too much about the game – as we’ve come to expect from the man who created Curiosity, the mysterious tile tapping game that turned out to be a viral marketing campaign for Godus. But he did briefly muse on his inspiration for the title:
“The problem with social media is that we communicate too much. If you and I, who are having a conversation right now, could only say ten words to each other, we’d feel frustrated, with lots of things to say that we can’t utter. But, on the other hand, we’d make every effort to make those ten words sound as meaningful as possible.”
He also went on to discuss the idea of turning a commonplace feature, the high score leaderboard, into a core component, and an "exciting element in its own right." This notion of the high score leaderboard as a focus rather than an add-on comes from Molyneux wanting to stimulate "untapped feeling and emotions" that games have yet to explore by encouraging thousands of people to make discoveries together, to push people to "care about their neighbours as much as they care about themselves."
What has Peter Molyneux so attracted to common facets of "casual games" is beyond us. We were quite excited for Godus, and our writer Garry Balogh even planned to do a series of posts, ‘The Godus Diaries’, and although he was initially intrigued by the polished visuals and the terraforming gameplay, he was eventually disillusioned by the long wait times that F2P models enforce. Now Molyneux is taking aim at the merging of social media and video games, and we all know how people feel about receiving Candy Crush requests through Facebook. Even The Last of Us, which was arguably 2013’s biggest game, tried to implement a once off social media interaction in its DLC Left Behind, and players avoided that feature like the plague.
We’re all about new ideas here at Grab It, and fingers crossed Molyneux manages to pull this off. But we’ll hold our breath for now and direct our attention to other indie developers who are coming up with truly innovative and engaging ideas on a regular basis.
Warning: Massive spoilers for the HBO series Game of Thrones follow.
If you’re like us and have been eagerly awaiting the release of Telltale’s Game of Thrones, well here’s something to get you excited before its imminent release. Telltales has posted the first full-length trailer for the anticipated adaptation of George RR. Martin’s epic series. To celebrate, Grab It has rounded up information about the incoming game, and discussed some places we'd like the series to go. Check it out below.
Remember Zombies, Run! The audio-based fitness game that immersed you in a post-apocalyptic world, where your progress counted on how many steps you could rack up? Well the guys at Six to Start are merging the world of fitness fanatics and the mobile game scene once again with a new title, Dungeon Runner: Fitness Quest. As its title suggests, it takes aim at another corner of the gaming world - the classic 8-bit dungeon crawler.
To get started, you prop your phone up so the Facetime camera, and the screen, are facing you. Immediately you are asked to start running, and when you do, the on-screen pixel knight follows your lead and begins his adventure. You come across a small handful of barriers to begin with, such as closed gates, breakable pots (classic) and floor spikes. Each of these obstacles requires you to perform one of many workouts to proceed e.g. do squats to lift the gate, or star jumps to vault over the spikes. After a few of these smaller obstacles you’re faced with an enemy of some type, who must be punched until their health bar is drained, but if you’re a little bit spent and take too long, you’ll be struck and lose a heart. It’s kind of like a virtual obstacle course of sorts, without all the mud, neon tights and judgmental eyes.
Of course, the Facetime camera doesn’t have the same capacity to track your movements as the Kinect, and if you’re lazy enough you can just sit in your desk chair waving your hand at the camera while you fend off demons. But ‘winning’ the game isn’t really the point, is it? Sure you can sit there and complete every level while flailing your arms like a maniac, endangering those close to you, but there’s no real reward for trying to convince yourself that you’re smarter than a machine. Dungeon Runner: Fitness Quest is simply a workout companion, and quite a neat one at that. It’s also the kind of game that youngsters fuelled by their weight in red frogs go bananas for and could offer a healthy alternative for a rainy day inside.
Dungeon Runner: Fitness Quest serves its purpose well, though that's about all it does. There are five worlds each littered with the same pitfalls and baddies, the only difference being that the length is extended each time you advance. And the enemy characters reaction time is so slow, even in the final level, that you're never really in any danger of losing a heart. And even if you do happen to lose half a heart from an enemy attack, you usually collect a full heart after defeating them anyway. It's nearly impossible to screw up a perfect run. It's a tad lazy, even for a game that you can ‘GET’ or a ‘GET game’ – is that what we’re calling it now?
Cubus Games has been on a roll. First they adapted Kyle B. Stiff’s gamebook, Heavy Metal Thunder, for mobile devices (which we played and loved, by the way). Then we got chatting and Cubus Games informed us that it would soon be releasing another gamebook adaptation. That title turned out to be British gamebook author Dave Morris’ Necklace of Skulls, which featured a vastly different colour palette to its previous titles, and other additions, such as multiple playable characters – it too has been raking in great reviews. Now the company, which clearly doesn’t sleep, has announced the follow up to September’s Heavy Metal Thunder, Sol Invictus.
Not much is known about Sol Invictus yet, except that it will continue on from the events of HMT, following our forgetful space marine after the epic conclusion of that title. This is great news for fans because, as we pointed out in our review, Heavy Metal Thunder leaves a handful of loose ends and genuinely intriguing clues to possible plot devices for the sequel.
HMT had very few issues, and my only gripe being that there wasn’t more of Marc Gonzales’ dark and twisted artwork to compliment the huge blocks of text, so fingers crossed we get to see more of that in the sequel. No doubt Sol Invictus will be out before you know it. But if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Heavy Metal Thunder on the app store in preparation for this exciting follow-up.
Also, if you are into your gamebooks, I highly recommended checking out our feature interview with the founder of Tin Man Games, Neil Rennison - the godfather of digital gamebooks - about the art and craft of bringing back this genre - it is available in Episode 6 of Grab It.
Back in August, CD Projekt Red released the first trailer for The Witcher Battle Arena, a mobile MOBA with 3v3 battles, based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series. Around the same time, Android users were given access to a Beta, and iOS users were left twiddling their thumbs, filling the gap with other amazing mobile MOBAs like the beautiful Fates Forever, which we reviewed (an featured a making of interview) in Episode 7 of Grab It Magazine, and Apple’s poster child for the A8 chip, Vainglory. Well the wait is over, for a lucky few at least. Right now you can register your interest for the iOS Beta of The Witcher Battle Arena here.While you’re not guaranteed a spot on the list, everyone involved will take part in shaping a better experience for players when the game eventually releases some time next year.
With the explosion in popularity of Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas, their successful transition to the touchscreen, and Sapkowski’s sprawling international fan base, this game will undoubtedly gather a lot interest leading up to its release. For now, here’s what CD Projekt Red has to say about the game’s story and setting:
"War between the kingdoms of the north and the Nilfgaardian Empire tears the land apart. This is a conflict of unparallelled brutality and devastation--a total war. Old alliances have been destroyed and friendships have perished, leaving only trails of bodies and the sound of daggers being sharpened in the shadows. The lost souls displaced by this chaos must forge new destinies. Some lend themselves to the war effort, others decide to seek glory elsewhere. The latter often come to the Nilfgaardian Arena, a dark and bloody place where gladiators fight to the death for gold and the ultimate prize--the emperor’s respect. Become characters known from the Witcher series such as the kingslayer Letho, the dwarven brawler Zoltan Chivay, the mysterious Operator or the powerful sorceress Philippa Eilhart, and fight for glory, for justice, for honor... or just because that is what you love doing the most."
Late last month we previewed Australian Indie FRAMED and interviewed developer Loveshack Entertainment for our PAX AUS special edition of Grab It. Ever since FRAMED first showed its handsome face, Loveshack Entertainment has been racking up accolades from big events like Indiecade, SXSW and IGF China. And throughout its launch week FRAMED has well and truly fulfilled the glowing promise it showed before release. If by some bizarre chance this fantastic noir puzzler hasn’t popped up on your radar, then one man’s opinion might be enough to put you on high alert.
Loveshack's FRAMED is a new "narrative puzzle" experience where the player is tasked with manipulating comic book panels in order to achieve a desired story outcome, precluding the capture of two elusive thieves.
Last night I worked the old 9pm close like many retailers do in Australia on a Thursday night. Usually, there’s not much to look forward to after a late night shift dealing with self-entitled consumers. But last night was different. Last night I had a spring in my step and a smile you couldn’t wipe off my face even if you told me that trading hours have been extended for Christmas, again. Because for me, my friends, with the surprise announcement that FRAMED was released worldwide today, Christmas had already come.
You see I was oh-so-lucky enough to spend some time with FRAMED before its release in preparation for our insanely huge PAX AUS edition of Grab It last month. Being a big comic book fan, and a self proclaimed student of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, I went into FRAMED sceptical, despite the admiration it had received from so many game conventions. I was stupid, naïve and maybe even a little bit smug, because in my short time with FRAMED, Loveshack Entertainment's Josh Boggs, Adrian Moore and Ollie Brown introduced me to a world where comics and interactive gameplay coexist gorgeously as one.
Scott Morrison taught me that the way panels are positioned and scaled in comics is no random act for art’s sake. Framing panels speaks it’s own unique language. Large panels are important and often show moments of significance or power, where as short, sliced panels represent speed and a frantic energy. These ideas aren’t just present in FRAMED, they take control of your scrambled brain as you try to twist and swap out panels in order to create the perfect getaway for our enigmatic protagonists.
And maybe the most beautiful part of FRAMED is that it isn’t just a one trick pony that relies solely on its connection to the graphic novel medium. No, the puzzles are varied and more difficult than you could imagine from what you’ve seen in the trailers. The soundtrack is smooth and offers up a whole other tier to the interactive experience. And the narrative is subtle, understated and magnetic, pulling you along all in the hopes of finding out more.
This is, of course, all the opinion of one fan boy who thoroughly enjoyed their time with the alpha experience and left desperately wanting more like a dame left alone on an airstrip. But hang out for a review from Grab It and if this game has piqued your interest like the mysterious contents of a certain briefcase, then check out our hands-on and making of interview for FRAMED, and other amazing indie titles, in Episode 8 of Grab It Magazine.
Super Secret Service is the kind of honest game where you truly get what you pay for, scrapping the IAPs and in-game adverts and getting on with the short bursts of frantic arcade gameplay– a quintessential "quick fix" experience.
This tidy little tapper is a collaboration between Austin Ivansmith (DuckTales Remastered), Johan Vinet (Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW) and composer, flashygoodness (Tower of Heaven) where you sacrifice the lives of thousands of agents to shield the president from incoming projectiles.
The gameplay is about as simple as it gets, alternating between taps of the left and right sides of the screen when necessary, a la Timberman. If a shoe, pie or pistol strikes the President it’s game over. But it’s the red herring items like boomerangs and paper airplanes that you really need to look out for. These items pose no threat, but their presence causes you to flinch, often pushing you to needlessly dispense of a valuable agent, leaving the President open to fast flying projectiles. It’s kind of like the video game version of the playground pastime ‘slaps’ (or ‘knuckles’, whichever was your cup of tea), where hesitation and rashness both have punishing consequences.
Sometimes, games of the instant restart ilk have a looping soundtrack that is agonising enough to the ears to negate any of the game’s addictive qualities. Super Secret Service does not suffer the same fate. The chiptune soundtrack provided by flashygoodness is reminiscent of classic SNES titles. Now I know that comparison gets thrown around like a size ten shoe at a presidential press conference in Baghdad. But it truly is the case with Super Secret Service. In addition to that, Ivansmith’s experience with DuckTales Remastered has inspired some incredibly polished character models. It was actually kind of morbid reviewing the stats at the end of a round, reading the names and birthdays and seeing the faces of every agent lost. Early on in the game I unlocked an achievement for losing at least one agent born in every month of the year. And now I’m working towards disposing of the entire service of ten thousand agents. I am a monster.
Super Secret Service’s impressive visuals and catchy melodies set the stage for a simple and increasingly frenetic passion project that harkens back to the simpler days of gaming. It may be a little bit too modest for the full asking price of $1.99, but you can get it for 50% off up until the 16th of November, and for what seems to be becoming an "added bonus" these days, once you've purchased the game you won’t be asked to shell out any more cash.
Lance E McDonald, the brain behind developer Man Fight Dragon and sole creator of Black Annex, and as we learned in our huge interview on the making of the game, he has worked in marketing and sales for a Telco company for the past ten years. During this time it became clear to McDonald that there was a firmly embedded paranoia about the technology industry, and the bureaucracy behind it.
“I speak to customers every day who have this weird, jarring concept of how the industry works, and I’d like to play that up to create a future based on that vision.”
With its upcoming title, Black Annex, Man Fight Dragon plans to use these fears and delusions to shape a bleak and despondent dystopia setting. I had the chance to jump in to Black Annex’s dark and gritty office world in preparation for Grab It Episode 8 - The PAX Edition - and I had an absolutely killer time with this indie gem (killer time– as in I was killed over and over). McDonald’s droll vision of the information-technology future is a satirical symphony of the strange and somewhat wonderful conspiracies that emerge from the divide between consumer and product.
“People believe in this strange, overarching technology that can see and control things, and bureaucrats who have this insane level of complete access and control. Marketing companies with more money and influence than governments. I want to bring this world to life, and then propel it hundreds of years into the future to find out where it goes.”
But that’s just what’s on the surface of this brilliant action-strategy game. Black Annex boasts multiple character classes, collectable weapons and upgrades, and a complex, Syndicate-esque management system. Black Annex definitely stood out for me amongst the horde of quality titles charging the gates of PAX last weekend. If you weren’t fortunate enough to attend PAX AUS, or even if you just happened to miss this spectacular looking indie, then pick up the latest copy of Grab It to find out what all the fuss is about and to read our exclusive access to the developer, the title and the assets.
Nineties kids rejoice, the App Store has you covered. Not only have we received word about Pokémon TCG’s imminent arrival on iPad, but now tantalising news has surfaced revealling that Namco Bandai will be bringing the beloved Dragon Ball Z universe to mobile devices via Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle.
To be fair, this is not a first for the franchise. Tap Battle for Dragon Ball flew under the radar when released in and the Dragon Ball RPG never made it to western audiences, so it’s reassuring to know that Namco Bandai has confirmed a western release for this upcoming title and will be throwing its full support behind it.
What Dokkan Battle is exactly remains to be seen, but Namco Bandai has posted a mysterious teaser on their website in preparation, which you can view below. What are your thoughts? Another tap fuelled fighter? Or maybe an RPG adventure in the vein of Dragon Ball Origins? Whatever it is will be announced later this year. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on things as they progress.
For about a month now we've known that a Pokémon trading card game (also known as a Collectible Card Game or CCG) is well and truly on it's way to iOS. This is, of course, very exciting for fans of the colossal franchise and for those who have been having a blast with other collectible card games that have found their home on the iPad. So, as a die-hard Pokémon fan, how could it be possible that I'm not jumping out of my Pikachu onesie in anticipation for Pokémon TCG on iPad?
No doubt you’ve heard of Coffee Stains’ stupidly fun Goat Simulator by now. Launching back in April for PC and then in June for Mac, the Internet has not been the same since. Thankfully, from today you can cause havoc on a small town with a devastating goat from anywhere via your mobile device. Goat Simulator was slated for the usual Thursday release, but in an unexpected turn, Coffee Stain Studios announced the early release over Twitter after the game materialised in the App Store today.
If you haven’t yet played Goat Simulator, now is the time. Your function is simple – cause as much chaos as goatly possible by running, jumping, licking and ramming your way through a small community. There are very few goals, and the real fun comes from pulling off hysterical stunts and causing bizarre glitches to occur. This game will sit nicely next to the bevvy of pick-up-and-play titles that dominate the App Store, but something tells me we’ll notice more smiles and snickers on the commute home following the mobile release of Goat Simulator.
The iOS package seems to contain the full experience, so prepare yourself for pure anarchy and some satisfying unlockables such as “feathered goat” (which is, in fact, an ostrich).
Adventure Islands Games first developed Duke Dashington for Ludum Dare, a competition where participants are given 48 hours to develop a game inspired by a theme - Duke Dashington's theme is "10 seconds." For its transition from PC to the App Store, developer Jussi Simpanen has added over 100 rooms and three additional temples, which is a good thing. Everything about this game, from the vibrant pixel graphics to the classic 8-bit soundtrack and simple but frantic gameplay - evokes fond memories of classic SNES titles, like DuckTales.
You wouldn't be the first gamer to look past a title like Heavy Metal Thunder in the belief that the gamebook, as a genre, was something from a bygone era. But this relic of the eighties has never had it better, using the touchscreen interface of mobile devices to reinvent itself for modern audiences in exciting and dynamic new ways. And like I discovered with Motley Crüe, Dungeons & Dragons and jogging, playing Cubus Games' Heavy Metal Thunder has proven that some things from the eighties are still worth your attention.
Heavy Metal Thunder is the love child of Spanish game developer Cubus Games and American gamebook author Kyle B. Stiff. We're huge fans of gamebooks here at Grab It, having featured insights from one of the masters in an exclusive article for Episode 5 of Grab It and a top 10, so the sci-fi thrills of Heavy Metal Thunder immediately caught our attention. I spoke with Quim Garetta, co-founder of Cubus Games, about this exciting new project.
This is your second gamebook; how have you grown from The Sinister Fairground to Heavy Metal Thunder? In terms of the story, it's a sci-fi journey, so completely different from the spooky adventures in The Sinister Fairground. In terms of our engine, it's offers a big improvement in the reading experience for users. We have learnt a lot and now have a much more user-friendly reading flow while keeping the essence of the interactive storytelling and the easy-to-use gameplay mechanics. We are really proud of both adventures, but we know that the stunning artwork, design and the vibrant atmosphere of Heavy Metal Thunder is a little more attractive to those who aren't familiar with the gamebook genre yet.
Aimlessly rocketing through space sounds like one of the most terrifying scenarios possible, right? If you're a lightweight comet, however, it's one of the most peaceful experiences imagined. Hyperfocal Designs' Unknown Orbit gives you control of a comet orbiting a series of small planets. The aim is to time your landings on each planet's surface, holding one finger on the touchscreen as you rocket down a mountain slope, and letting go as you launch from any available incline. It's like Tiny Wings on a 3D plane.
The isolated electric guitar twangs and calm, wispy sound effects make this one very relaxing experience. You're given three objectives at a time, but for the most part I found myself forgetting about the task at hand and just enjoying the ride. However, this state of Zen isn't a given. It has to be earned by mastering the tricky gyroscope controls and sometimes unpredictable physics. And that's on easy mode. Unknown Orbit's serene qualities are by far it's greatest strength, so I didn't spend too much time on the higher difficulties, Omen and Erratus.
Your longevity as a stray rock depends on the mass of your icy core, which you maintain by gathering snowballs. This requirement gets a little frustrating at times due to collectibles being spread far and wide over each planets surface. In addition to this, each snow ball adds an insignificant amount of mass to your comet, and it feels as if you're only delaying the inevitable for another 10 seconds or so.
Hyperfocal Designs should be commended for creating a title that can be at times a warm, calming meander through space, yet at others a cruel and punishing challenge from the pits of hell, reminding you that you can never take a second for granted. If you're feeling stressed, grab a beverage, your favourite pair of headphones and pick up a copy of Unknown Orbit.
News broke last week that Team Meat were developing a "live-action" stealth game for iOS, called A Voyeur For September. A pity for the indie darlings that the internet leaves no stone unturned in the exploration of new announcements, as fans soon suspected a hoax. Suspicions of an undercover Meat Boy title were confirmed at PAX Prime today when Team Meat announced Super Meat Boy Forever for the iOS.
Super Meat Boy Forever is not a port of the 2010 hit, it will feature six new chapters, in addition to an endless runner mode with levels that randomly generate after each death. Edmund McMillen of Team Meat has emphasised that Super Meat Boy Forever won't be a simple endless platflormer, won't have a one button control scheme and will be free of pesky in-app purchases. Here is a snippet of what one half of Team Meat, Tommy Refenes, has to say about the announcement:
"It's not a little iOS throwaway game. There's a certain flavour to iOS games where it's just enough and there's not a real complete, cohesive experience. [SMBF is] going to have cutscenes and bosses. It's going to feel like an actual game and not a time-waster. There are tonnes of iOS games that aren't time wasters, but most of the little platformers and auto-runners are gimicky and strange, whereas we want to give you a challenge."
Team Meat are making a point that this game will be worlds apart from its App Store cohabitants, such as Jetpack Joyride, but the question still remains, why the sudden change of heart for a company that considers the App Store as the "tiger handheld game of our generation?"
Super Meat Boy Forever will hit tablets and PC in 2015.
Writer: Brodie Fogg
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 links to each edition, including our FREE sample. - 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
Face Invaders is a top-down arcade game by indie Australian developer, Electric Mammoth. With a quick selfie before the action begins, YOU are literally cast as the hapless hero defending yourself from waves of alien aggressors. It’s not quite as elegant a system as EA Sports' face modelling software, but pulling a silly face and watching it stare back as you as you fight for survival is part of the playful attitude the Mammoths capture with Face Invaders.
Face Invaders plays with a slightly different spin on the familiar tap and slash mechanic made popular on iOS by Fruit Ninja. There are ten different classes of insectoid enemies in Face Invaders, and each one requires a different combination of gestures to vanquish. Memorising these techniques is the most enjoyable part of the game. It amplifies the already frenetic gameplay, and when you fail, it's usually because of your poorly manipulated digits, knowledge that drives you to give it another go. That said, there are often huge spikes in difficulty and I found myself overwhelmed rather quickly a little too often.
This is somewhat balanced by power-ups that are purchased with achievable in-game currency, which can better prepare your for coming difficulty spikes. I did find myself forgetting to purchase these, however. Face Invaders is one of those games where you want to restart it immediately after defeat, and without a handy reminder to let you know you've accrued enough points to spend between sessions, a few times I charged straight on into inevitable death. There is also a small handful of bugs, such as kill streaks resetting randomly, that make some achievements painful to attain. These aren't game breaking, nor do they detract from the fun, but like the villainous Splurgons they must be squashed before we can experience this game in its entirety.
Electric Mammoth aren't trying to change the world with this addictive tap ‘n’ swipe arcade fix, but it's clear - even from just watching the launch trailer below - that a lot of fun was had making this game. It's totally worth a play for a $1, and kids in particular will undoubtedly get a giggle out of the gloriously shameless humour.
Team Meat, the two-person development powerhouse behind cult classic Super Meat Boy, has teased a new title, an iOS game called A Voyeur For September that appears to mix stealth gameplay with real-life. Or have they? Keen-eyed fans have pointed out that A Voyeur For September is an anagram for Super Meat Boy Forever, leading many to believe the new game is code for a coming sequel. Rather than respond to this discovery, Team Meat has tossed memes and other anagrams (such as Beam Toy: Rupee's Fervour) around the socialsphere. Is this truly an amazing coincidence, or has Team Meat been beaten to the punchline of its own joke?
However, there are more twists in this tale. Fans have been eagerly awaiting more information on what was meant to be the developer's next game, Mew-Genics, but that title is allegedly on hiatus until A Voyeur For September is released. Both Mew-Genics and A Voyeur For September are both listed for iOS, a format Tommy Refenes (of Team Meat) is known to greatly dislike. See the video below to see why (and mind the language). The man clearly likes to experiment with consumer psychology, so what’s the real truth of it all?
The last crumb of evidence linked to the enigma, is that A Voyeur For September is listed for PC, Mac, Linux, IOS, Android, and physical, in its listing for the upcoming PAX Indie Megabooth. This could suggest a location-based game in vein of Google's Ingress, albeit a creepier, more-likely-to-get-you-arrested Ingress judging by the trailer (also below).
So what is it folks? A covert Super Meat Boy title? A "live action" stealth game as teased? A backflip on iOS? None of the above? Looks like we won't know until the game is unveiled later this month at PAX Prime. In the meantime, why not find something fun to play in our Top 50 Best Indie iOS Games of 2014, So Far awards.
Have you collected every episode of Grab It? - 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 (trailer below) - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz (trailer below) - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers (trailer below) - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection