I got one, T-O-Y-L-E-T. I’m awesome at spelling games!
NimbleBit is one of the few mobile developers who have achieved AAA status, making anything they announce an automatic news story. Unfortunately for us, most of their offerings are light simulations that are offered for free with a built-in paywall. They’re not bad games, hell, I’ve sunk more time than I’m happy admitting into Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, but they all eventually require you to sit and wait or buy some in-game “bux”.
Next week, they’re breaking from their simulation background and bringing a head-to-head word game to the App Store which looks to be a bit like Letterpress, and a bit like Kindo. In the game, you’re trying to capture your opponent’s capital and, to do so, you spell words which nets you more territory and inches you closer to victory. It looks really good but, this being NimbleBit, it’s also going to be free to download. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of IAP scheme they have going on in this one.
Or maybe we don’t have to wait. Capitals was soft launched in Canada today, so anyone north of the border can download it and give it a shot. If you manage to snag it, let us know how high the paywall is.
Capitals will release world-wide next week, on the 21st. Trailer after the break.
You try to come up with a funny caption for a word game.
As a general rule, most word games aren’t permitted entrance to Mount Hexmap where the Pocket Tactics magic is brewed. It’s not that word games are loathed here in the comfy confines, in fact some of them can be quite remarkable, it’s just that the remarkable ones are few and far between.
Now we have Alphabeats which meshes Scrabble (can a word game not compare itself with Scrabble?) and music games. Letters fall, Matrix-style, to the beat of a “pulse-pounding” song, forcing you to make words with them as fast as you can. On top of that, it has the aesthetic appeal of QatQi, which is something nobody can complain about.
The game comes with 6 songs from electronic artists such as Disasterpeace and Big Giant Circles, with 15+ more songs available as IAP. The app itself is $2 on the App Store.
Were you just released from prison? Has your memory suddenly returned from a bout of soap opera amnesia? Did you recently escape from the compound of a hyper-conservative Luddite religious community? Then it’s possible you’ve missed the fact that vaunted PC starship captain sim FTL is coming to iPad tonight. (If your problem was the last one, I’ll explain what iPads are later.)
FTL: Advanced Edition comes to us with a trove of new content that didn’t exist in the original PC release of the game, and the interface has been completely reworked for iPad — something that I briefly examined on Monday. I won’t waste time coyly pulling punches here: Subset’s iPad FTL is single-malt awesome served (no ice) in a tumbler of badassery on a coaster of righteousness.
Oh yes, and there’s other games, too, some of them very promising indeed. Trailers galore after the jump.
Plague rats deploy automatically if you’re using an unapproved Scrabble dictionary.
Of course, none of SpellBounders’ press materials say it quite so succinctly due to a healthy fear of Hasbo’s intellectual property attorneys but yes: SpellBounders is fantasy combat Scrabble. It’s a terribly clever idea.
In SpellBounders you face off against online opponents asynchronously — i.e., you take your turn when you’ve got time — and make words using the letter tiles in your inventory. If you’ve never played Scrabble (congratulations on your release from prison after 80 years, by the way) or Words with Friends, the gist is that you get more points for making words with less frequently-occuring letters like Q and Y. SpellBounder’s twist on the classic formula is that some tiles on the board contain mana that power the special abilities of characters you can play as.
A few of those heroes come free, and the rest are purchased individually, mirroring the way that DOTA and League of Legends make money. It makes sense that this game is free-to-play: as it’s multiplayer-only, it’s going to live or die by the size of the player base. Developers Insane Root tell me that SpellBounders will be out on iOS April 7th.
I picked up Mirror’s Edge for PC in the (not-so) Humble Bundle the other day. The game had always interested me but I’d just never found the time back in 2008. The gameplay is aces (first-person parkour — still unique) but it’s the surveillance state theme that I was still thinking about hours after I had put the computer to sleep. Maybe five years ago that would have felt like Orwellian science fantasy but it feels weirdly prescient now, and it left me wondering when we could expect to see iOS games investigating the subject.
And voila: Touch Arcade has unearthed Blackbar, a new iOS game from Big Bucket‘s Neven Mrgan and Panic‘s James Moore. In the world of Blackbar, all correspondence must pass through the censors of the Department of Communication, and you must piece together the redacted and obfuscated letters you receive from a confidant.
Sarah Northway needed a break from the end of the world. “I wanted something to lighten my mood after long months of simulating zombie massacres,” she said.
The output of Sarah’s diligence was Rebuild, the wonderfully replayable post-apocalyptic city-building adventure that started life as two separateFlash games and was eventually ported for iOS, Android, and even the pitiable Blackberry. So who could blame her for needing a holiday from zombies? Northway’s new game couldn’t be thematically further from the gruesome, unsentimental survivalist world of Rebuild. “It turned out pretty damn silly,” she told me.
After a couple of humdrum weeks January is finally getting into gear tonight with a few eye-catching iOS releases. These games are all out in New Zealand, the shadowy land of Janus – watch for them to show up in your timezones around midnight local time.
The release of Might & Magic Clash of Heroes will be grabbing a lot of headlines today – the game was a big success on XBLA and Nintendo DS a couple of years back. Despite the name, this isn’t a fantasy wargame in the vein of the old Might & Magic titles you might remember from the 1990s – it’s a strategy puzzle game whose fans include PT‘s own Lou Rinaldi. Word around town was that the iOS port of Clash of Heroes wasn’t exactly perfect, but it’s gotten a few pre-release updates that apparently address most of the problems.
Tumblewords has GameCenter multiplayer so hit me up on that.
First mentioned last week, the bomb defusing-themed puzzle game ShellBlast Forever also hits the App Store tonight. It’s one of the harder puzzle games I’ve played in while, actually – at the higher levels, it’s downright tense.
Last but not least, a new word puzzle game called Tumblewords. It’s a very moderately-paced word game, closer in spirit to the stately Letterpress than the frantic Puzzlejuice. Like Letterpress, the game features a number of different backgrounds and color schemes, but unlike Letterpress’s flat minimalism, Tumblewords’ art is supplied by notable webcomic artists: Liza Ferneyhough and KC Green at the moment, but a forthcoming DLC will add art from Achewood creator Chris Onstad. Remind me to tell you the story of waiting in line in Brooklyn to get Onstad’s signature on Worst Song, Played on Ugliest Guitar.
Oh yes, Phil, it is a thing. The Grading Game takes place in a whimsical fantasy universe where a grad student’s loan debt is paid off incrementally each time they grade a paper. You’re in a race against the clock to find grammar and spelling mistakes, with the goal of failing as many undergrads as possible.
“I’ve worked hard to make the game pop and shine, and the result is pretty addictive,” developer Charles Deck told me, “particularly if you’re a grammar nut or a stickler for errors like ‘alot’.”
The Grading Game was originally conceived as “First-Person Tutor” and created for the 7 Day FPS game jam – you may have read about it in RPS. It’s out today as an iOS universal app for a buck – a 50% off launch sale. Check for Phil’s review in the next week or so.