Back when the Apple Watch was first announced, Owen polled some developers to see what they thought of the wearable and the results were mostly “meh” with a “hmm” thrown in for good measure. What could you possibly create on a screen that small was the initial impression, but then each dev started to come up with ideas that just might work. I think the takeaway from that article was, given any new medium, creative folk will usually figure something out.
I’ve been highly skeptical of the Watch and had really put off any notion of picking one up, mainly because I assumed that there couldn’t be any decent gaming on the device. This from a self-professed Apple fanboy (I’m typing this up on my MacBook Pro while using my iPad as a second monitor and listening to a podcast on my iPhone). Today we learned I was wrong and at least one decent game is coming to Apple Watch, Rules! by The Coding Monkeys.
Now, before we get too excited, realize that the version on your watch won’t be the same thing you get on your phone or iPad. The wrist version will feature short brain teasing puzzles that you can play to achieve a daily goal which will unlock new options within the game. It’s like Runkeeper for your brain.
Rules is already available in the App Store for your iPhone and iPad and the watch version is already available and will be ready to roll when Apple Watch is.
If you’ve not played Rules before, there’s a trailer after the break.
Rebus puzzles are one of those weird things that I remember doing all the time when I was a kid, but don’t remember seeing at all as I got older. Heck, I don’t even see them in the puzzle books that my kids get anymore. I’m not sure why this is. Are they old fashioned? Not fun? Do I not buy my kids enough puzzle books? I honestly don’t know the answer, but I might be able to figure it out next week when Jutiful releases Rebus for iOS and Android.
If you’re not familiar with a rebus, it’s basically a puzzle where pictures represent words or parts of words. The puzzles can be incredibly clever, but can also lean toward being groan-worthy, which is perhaps one reason that they aren’t as prevalent these days. Rebus is a puzzle game that will feature over 100 of these types of puzzles and it will be free to download. I’m guessing more puzzles will be available as IAP down the road, but 100 puzzles for nothing seems like a pretty fair deal.
Rebus will be available for both iOS and Android devices next week. After the break I’ve included more puzzles and a trailer. Post your answers in the comments and you could win absolutely nothing but the admiration of your fellow readers. Of the 7 puzzles I included in this post, I can only solidly figure out 2 of them, and one of those was only because I saw the answer. I’m guessing you guys can do a whole lot better.
What are you doing Wednesday night? Cancel that. Oh it’s that thing? Listen, the judge will understand. Tell her you’re with me.
There’s a new game out this week from Mikengreg, the nom de enterprise for indie game dev heart-throbs Mike Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend, who together created the endlessly delightful Solipskier and the latter of whom was responsible (to varying degrees) for Hundreds, Ridiculous Fishing, and Threes. Basically, these chaps have figured out how to bottle a very particular and highly habit-forming kind of fun. And they have a new bottle for you.
Mikengreg sent me an advance copy of a new game called TouchTone to mess around with, and I adore it. They’ve asked me not to lift the cloche too high just yet so I won’t, but I’ll tell you that this is quite unlike anything we’ve seen from them before: it’s every bit as compulsively playable as Threes, but it’s framed by a politically subversive theme that I quite like. Wohlwend called it a game that “crowdsources” national security.
I’ll leave it there for now. But this is a Wednesday night release worth staying up for. iOS-only, I think. I’ll ask about that.
I’m sure there were many before it, but the first minimalist puzzle game I can remember that really grabbed my attention was Letterpress. It was a great game, sure, but the presentation was simple, relaxing, and, dare I say, pleasant. Since then, it seems like every other puzzle game has latched onto the graphic style. That’s not a terrible thing, but it would be nice if we could move on and try something new.
Dotello is a new puzzler that hasn’t moved on. Minimalist seems too weak a word. It’s dots on a white background. It doesn’t look bad, by any means, but the trailer also doesn’t do a very good job of telling me what the hell the point is. It looks like a match-3 game, but looks like you can move the dots to wherever you want instead of the usual sliding mechanism. In any regards, it’s a puzzle game for iOS Universal, so I’ll probably at least give it a try. It’s free to play, as well, and the IAP only appears to let you continue a game. It’s a slow Friday, folks.
Nab Dotello for iOS Universal, and take a look at the trailer after the break.
As much as we’ve enjoyed Auro around here, there was a lot of chuckling in the Writers’ Dungeon over the game’s epic 30-stage tutorial, whose combination of extraordinary length and unforgiving difficulty reduced more than one PTer to tears. Nowadays we expect loving, maternal tutorials that coo at our every click, but Auro’s pedagogical prologue was more like a hard-drinking step-father that couldn’t possibly be impressed.
Without a doubt, the game behind the tutorial is a gem (read Davy Lane’s review if you haven’t already) but creator Keith Burgun told me this weekend that he knows the feature-length tutorial was a bit over the top, and a new update is on the way to address that. “The biggest thing [in this forthcoming update] is making the game less intimidating for new players, by cutting the number of tutorials by a third.”
There’s more to the forthcoming tune-up than just that — experienced players are getting some love, too. “There’s also a new HUD, way more feedback for stuff to make things more clear, and like a billion other improvements,” Burgun tells us. “Like the gameplay and difficulty are completely re-tuned now. Defensive play works really well in 1.28 – meaning, just get a few points and then survive until the end of the level. What we’ve always wanted was players to DIVE into the fray, take damage, make something happen. You now really kinda have to do that at higher levels.”
We’ll let you know when that update hits. Watch the Auro trailer after the jump.
I just need to soak up 14 points of damage with my 4 HP and a healing potion that heals 5. Shit.
Last time we talked about Card Crawl from small, 2-person dev team Tinytouchtales, we really didn’t have any clue what to make of it. We knew it used a 54-card deck and that those cards, somehow, formed a dungeon. I’ve been fortunate enough to try out a pre-release version of Card Crawl and I’m happy to report we were on the right path, but there’s a lot more to it.
The Card Crawl play area consists of 2 rows. The bottom row contains your in-game avatar as well as two slots for your hands and an extra slot for your backpack. The upper row consists of cards being dealt from the aforementioned 54-card deck which makes up the dungeon. The deck consists of weapons, shields, potions, special abilities, and way too many monsters. Seriously, there are a lot of monsters. Your job is to collect the items and abilities and use them to remove the monsters until there are no cards left in the deck. You score points based on how much gold you collect on your journey, either from picking up gold cards or from selling items back to the dealer.
It all sounds simple, and it is, but the complications arrive when you realize that you can only use each slot once per turn, but you also need to remove 3 cards from the top row each turn. So, when you get double swords, you might have to sell one for gold just to move forward. Or, do you fight that goblin and take the full hit to your HP hoping to draw a potion card on the next turn and save the sword for later?
Overall, Card Crawl isn’t a Thunderstone-like dungeon crawl, but a simple puzzle game with a dungeon theme. That said, I’ve been having a really great time with it so far. I’ve played 7 games thus far and have yet to win a game, although I’ve repeatedly gotten the deck down to zero cards before succumbing to wounds.
Card Crawl will be arriving on iOS next week. Check out the release trailer after the break.
Two new releases that are flaunting the usual Wednesday night release convention and just popped up on the app stores this morning. It’s anarchy, I tell you! Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.
The first is Arnhem: Airborne Assault, a scrappy little wargame from Richard Berger. It’s not going to win any beauty contests unless all of the other contestants are members of AC/DC but it seems like a pretty good little hex-and-counter wargame. It’s a WWII affair that puts you in charge of the Allied paratroopers making the ill-fated airborne assault on Holland in 1944. The combat model is big on fog-of-war, so considerations like moving your troops through forests and maintaining contact with the enemy are a big deal. There’s a couple of genuinely tough scenarios in there, but I haven’t spent enough time with the game to decide if it’s Clever Tough™ or Throw Your iPad in the Canal Tough™. You can find out for yourself for two bucks: it’s available for iPad and for Android, too. This one’s got online multiplayer for up to four players, too.
A gameplay video of this, plus another new release below.
Match-3 games aren’t a usual stop for the Pocket Tactics express, but every now and then one will pop up that causes us to pull the alarm chain and slow this thing down. In the past, we’ve praised Match-3 in games such as 10000000 and Super Glyph Quest, both great RPGs with a match-3 component. CineMagic from Bandai Namco drops the RPG, but replaces it with a pretty cool theme of matching symbols to make movies.
CineMagic puts you in the shoes of a producer who needs to make movies and rake in more cash at the box office than the other blockbusters at the local theater. As you match symbols you’ll gain access to new genres, actors, writers, and characters. It’s standard match-3 stuff, but the game has a certain panache and brings the theme to life with some great riffs on Hollywood.
CineMagic is currently in soft launch in Asia, but should be launching worldwide later this year. Unfortunately, it will be a free-to-play app with the ability to pay for more content with real cash, but you can also grind and collect currency in-game as well. We’ll have to wait and see if there’s a paywall.
More screenshots and trailer (apparently with an older title) after the break.