Tag Archive for gaming

Mobile Game Roundup: Dragon Fantasy, Stay Alive, Spelltower, and Time Ducks

It's that time of the year again – this weekend, many of you without smartphones, iPod, or iPads are likely to get one, and those of you who have them already stand a decent chance of getting gift cards.

Plenty of great games have come out for mobile platforms this year, and they've gotten lots of attention – Jetpack Joyride, Infinity Blade 2, Tiny Wings, Squids, and others have all had their time in the sun, and you should grab all of them if you haven't already. For those of you looking for something else, I thought I'd highlight a few games that haven't spent a lot of time on the bestsellers list – just because they're low profile doesn't mean they aren't a whole lot of fun.

Dragon Fantasy 

by The Muteki Corporation
iOS (99 cents) – iOS 3 and up

Dragon Fantasy is an old-school Japanese-style RPG that takes its cues (and its name) from the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy games of the 80s and early 90s. Like other modern-day genre revivals (ZeBoyd Games’ Cthulhu Saves the World comes to mind), Dragon Fantasy will often mock JRPG conventions before turning around and using those same conventions in its gameplay, making it both a send-up and a pretty good example of its genre’s strengths and weaknesses.

Aside from its tongue-in-cheek script, Dragon Fantasy hues more closely to its source material than Cthulhu, which implemented its own tweaks and innovations to address some of the annoyances inherent to the genre. If you’re a fan of old-school RPGs, it’ll give you hours of play for the fraction of the price of a new Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy game on another system.


Stay Alive

by Drummer Games
iOS (99 cents), Android (Free, or $1.08 with donation) – iOS 3 and up, Android 2.2 and up

Stay Alive is a top-down shooter that will kill you within seconds of your first playthrough. That’s fine, though – you’ll respawn instantly, and as you get better at the game, you’ll also gather orbs that you can use to upgrade your ship’s shields, hull, and weapons. As in other “endless survival” games (like Jetpack Joyride and many, many others), the goal is ostensibly to go for as long as you can without crashing and then compare scores with your friends via the built-in OpenFeint leaderboards.

This game is a study in simplicity – there’s not even a separate screen for instructions, aside from the one that flashes by as each round starts. Most refreshingly, there’s no in-game store that converts real money into in-game currency – if you want a leg up in Stay Alive, you’re going to have to earn it.



by Zach Gage
iOS ($1.99) – iOS 4.1 and up

Spelltower, which I’ve heard described as “a word game for people who hate word games,” marries Boggle to Tetris. As in Boggle, you’re presented with a grid of letters, and you must make words using letters adjacent to one another. As in Tetris, new rows of letters are appearing constantly, and if your grid of letters reaches the top of the screen, you lose.

There are a few variants on this game mode – in Puzzle Mode, a new row of letters appears after every word you make. In Rush Mode, new rows appear at timed intervals. The odd one out, Tower Mode, gives you a single screen full of letters and challenges you to make as many points as you can with them. Like the best mobile games, it’s simple and addictive.


Time Ducks

by Tough Guy Studios
iOS ($1.99) – iOS 4.3 and up

This one’s a bit bizarre. It’s basically Frogger, in that you have to help various animals make it across a highway without getting hit. For every three animals you help, you can get a combo depending on what animals you save and in what sequence. Successful combos make higher-leveled animals appear, increasing your multiplier and leading to higher scores. Just watch out for cars, and for dogs.

If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry – you can also control time in short bursts, which can be helpful if you’ve accidentally sent a rabbit toward the grill of a truck. It’s a bit weird, but a unique design sensibility and some shambling but catchy music make this one worth a look.


Alan Wake Coming to PC in Early 2012

Today Remedy announced plans to finally bring their psychological thriller Alan Wake to PC via Steam early next year. The developer will also be including the game’s two pieces of DLC: The Signal and The Writer.

Released in 2010 for the Xbox 360, Alan Wake is a Stephen King-inspired tale about a writer whose wife goes missing in the Pacific Northwest.  The game was announced in 2005 as a PC/Xbox 360 release, but in 2009 Remedy confirmed that they’d limited development to the 360.

Though he couldn’t discuss specifics like release date, Remedy Executive Vice President Aki Järvilehto told Rock Paper Shotgun that the PC version will feature Steamworks and promised that “the experience of running it on a high-end PC, with a ninja set-up, [is] a big difference.”

Remedy’s also been prepping another Alan Wake project, the Xbox Live Arcade spin-off Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, which should release right around the PC version of the original. They’ve yet to confirm whether or not American Nightmare will make its way to the PC as well.

Humble Indie Bundle 4 Available

The Humble Indie Bundle team today launched the pay-what-you-want Humble Indie Bundle 4 just in time for the holidays – the bundle included WIndows, OS X, and Linux versions of Jamestown, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Meat Boy, Shank, and NightSky HD, while people who contribute more than the average payment (currently sitting right above $5) also get Gratuitous Space Battles and Cave Story+. Buyers can split their payment as they wish between the game developers, the Humble team, and the American Red Cross and Child's Play charities.

Since the first Humble Indie Bundle was posted last May, pay-what-you-want bundle of indie games have become exceedingly common – counting special bundles featuring specific games or developers, there have been seven Humble Bundles since the first one, and that doesn't even take into consideration bundles from folks like IndieRoyale and GamesAid.

These bundles are unquestionably great deals for gamers, who can get $100 worth of games for a hundredth of that price if they'd like, and it gives developers a chance both to foil piracy without using DRM and reach audiences that might not normally buy their games. I do sometimes worry that these bundles have the potential to undercut indie developers not included in them, and that they may reduce the pool of people willing to pay full price for the games – however, if these potential downsides exist, I haven't heard any evidence of it yet.

Once purchased, the games can be downloaded from the Humble Bundle site or via Steam. A gift order option is available for thrifty holiday shoppers.

Source: Humble Bundle