Tag Archives: android

The New Game From Journey’s Creators Feels Like A Dream

If Flower and Journey had a baby.

In the new game Sky: Children of Light ethereal figures prance and soar through gorgeous landscapes and crumbling temples. These characters hold candles and spread light throughout the world. At least, I think that’s what’s going on in ThatGameCompany’s first new game in seven years. It’s abstract.

Out now on iOS and coming eventually to Android, Sky: Children of Light feels like an extension or offshoot of 2012’s transcendent cooperative adventure game, Journey. The player, a titular child of light, is a caped figure who embarks on an adventure across seven fantasy realms, using light to revive fallen stars and reform constellations. Players interact with the world and their fellow players via a series of simple icons and gestures as they work together to solve the game’s puzzles and uncover its mysteries.

Unlike Journey, which limited play to two players at a time, the world of Sky Children of Light is filled with silent cloaked individuals hopping and flying about. It’s a social game. Players can make friends, who they can see online and meet up for play sessions. The game preserves some of the magical anonymity of Journey’s anonymous co-op partners by having players assign names to their friends. I named my first two friends Steve and Lara. I have no idea what their real names are. Friends can be added via more traditional methods, but there’s something appealing about having a friend list filled with randoms with made-up names.

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Gameplay is harder to describe, which is completely by design. As they adventure through the game, players encounter spirits that feed their light and lead them to ancient temples and other mysterious locales. Each area holds some sort of puzzle to solve in order to progress the game’s story. It might be as simple as applying candlelight to a door switch, or as complex as trying to maintain your light while exploring a rainy forest, racing from cover to cover.

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The goal in each area is to awaken an ancestral spirit, who teaches the player a new gesture before ascending into the sky to form a constellation. Forming new constellations unlocks new lands to explore.

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I’m getting the same sort of feeling playing Sky: Children of Light as I did playing Journey. I am not sure where I am supposed to go nor what my ultimate goal is, but somehow the game is getting me there. The wind blowing in a certain direction, a light gleaming in the distance or another player anonymously going about their business… these are my guides through these light-hungry landscapes.

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(Even the microtransaction store menu is pretty)

Children of Light is a free-to-start game. Players can spend money to buy candles to unlock new emotes and character customization items, or they can receive them in-game by playing or receiving gifts from friends. I haven’t felt the need to buy such things. I’ve been too busy just playing and having a good time.

Source: Kotaku.com

Lego Makes Tiny Tower Just A Little Bit Better

With more than 10 million downloads on iOS and Android devices, Tiny Tower is one of the most successful business simulation games of all time. Now NimbleBit has teamed up with Lego to make essentially the same game, only with Lego bricks and figures. It’s called Lego Tower, and it’s nice.

Tiny Tower is a free-to-play mobile game about building a tower, floor by floor. Residential floors attract little virtual people. Business floors require up to three of those little virtual people to operate. The money amassed from business floors (through virtual people paying rent) is used to build new floors. On the left side of the tower is an elevator, which the player can operate to deliver virtual people to their requested floor, generating more revenue and making the player feel more useful.

Lego Tower, out today on iTunes and Google Play, is all that and a bag of bricks. Instead of NimbleBit’s Bitizens, the virtual people are Lego minifigures, and players can collect different pants, shirts and heads to change their figures’ appearance. The tower background, lobby and roof can be customized with different Lego themes. It’s bright, shiny and happy. I have only just started my tower, yet I am already quite pleased.

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As charming as Lego Tower is, it’s also a big ‘ol advertisement for Lego products. Certain customization options, like the builds that top off the tower, carry “Inspired By A Real Set” labels, so folks know they are for sale. Does that Ninjago tower topper look nice? You can buy a set like it in real life and build it yourself. Ask your parents before stealing their credit cards, kids.

Lego Tower is also a free-to-play game, and there are several ways to pay. Users can spend cash on in-game currency to speed up building. Then there’s the Tower Club, a VIP subscription that gives players special benefits like double rent from tower residents, 25 percent off upgrades and automatic elevator control. Five club days costs $1.99. 299 club days is $19.99.

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All of the cash purchases are optional, of course. I’ve squeezed plenty of enjoyment out of my early build of the game without spending a cent. In fact, I did a free trial of the Tower Club and found that I preferred the game without it. Automatic elevator control? That’s half the actual gameplay out the window.

One of the easiest ways to create a lovable game is to take an already lovable game and add something else lovable to it. Lego Tower, ladies and gentlemen.

Source: Kotaku.com

There’s A Flappy Bird Battle Royale Game Now, And It’s Good

Flappy Royale, released today in beta on mobile and PC by game designers Orta Therox, Em Lazer-Walker, and Zach Gage, seems like a lot of things: clever, opportunistic, a joke. But it’s also fun.

Inspired by the 2013 mobile sensation Flappy Bird, Flappy Royale has you compete against 99 other poor souls to see who can survive the longest against a maze of deadly pipes. You can customize your look, and each level begins with all of the Flappys dropping in off a bus. Like in the original game, you tap the screen to make Flappy fly higher, or do nothing to watch him sink, all as part of an elaborate dance to avoid obstacles. Hit the ground, or anything else, and you’re dead.

But, unlike in the original game, you don’t die alone. In Flappy Royale, you die alongside an anonymous mass of other Flappys who are also desperately trying to cling to life. It feels more affirming. Even after the 20th straight failure without making it past the fourth pipe. Even if most or all of the other players aren’t actually real people (it’s not entirely clear). And honestly, how would you even be able to tell?

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The battle royale genre is often a dark one. Fortnite might be full of colors, costumes, and goofy dances, but that’s all in service of a zero-sum struggle over limited resources that ultimately leaves all but one of its participants dead. As a result, Fortnite and other games like it are seen by some people as a cynical way of monetizing societal angst in the face of impending environmental collapse.

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A sense of futility is pervasive in Flappy Royale as well, but it’s counter-balanced by the fact that everyone is doomed together. Or, at least, almost everyone. Some Flappys are really good at Flapping, and who knows what happens to them as they fly out of sight beyond the fifth and sixth pipes. Like Mario Royale (RIP), Flappy Royale is refreshing and entertaining despite its simplicity, in part because no one’s competing directly against each other. The sound effects are also really funny, and seeing all of the Flappys doing their best against impossible odds is heartwarming as hell.

The game’s currently available to check out on iOS, Android, and in your web browser over on itch.io.

Source: Kotaku.com

Pokémon Masters Brings Real-Time Team Battles To Mobile This Summer

Announced last month and due out on iOS and Android this summer, DeNA’s Pokémon Masters has players forming teams of famous Pokémon trainers and their partners for three-on-three battles on the artificial island of Pasio. Fresh details on the game highlight its strong focus on the trainers behind the Pokémon.

Pokémon Masters is not about catching Pokémon. It’s about catching famous Pokémon trainers from the long-running game series. Rather than forming a team of adorable monsters, each trainer in the game brings a single Pokémon into battle. Water gym master Misty, for example, comes with Staryu. They’re what the game calls “sync pairs”.

Players created teams consisting of three of these sync pairs and take them into battle. Trainers in the game are aiming to become the champion of the Pokémon Masters League. To do this, they must go on a journey across Pasio, collecting badges.

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Instead of participating in traditional turn-based Pokémon battles, Pokémon Masters battles are real-time. During battle, a move gauge slowly fills. Pokémon abilities require a certain amount of move gauge to activate. Once the meter hits the right point, moves can be unleashed. Trainers in Pokémon Masters have special battle moves as well, providing support and healing for their partners.

With a planned summer 2019 release and it being summer 2019 right now, we should know how Pokémon Masters plays real soon.

Source: Kotaku.com

Make ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ Run Faster With This Hack

Screenshot: E.Price

Game developer Niantic officially dropped Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Thursday afternoon for iOS and Android, which means people like me (and maybe you) spent their lunch break playing wizard and collecting magical creatures, things, and people scattered around town.

If you’ve already played the game you also probably made one big observation: It’s really slow.

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My lunchtime gameplay was right after the game went live, which means tons of wannabe wizards were flocking to the app to sign up and were hitting the streets to see what the game was all about. When a ton of people are playing at once, it puts a bit of a strain on the game’s servers. While the game didn’t crash like Pokémon Go did back in the day, it was running super-slow.

If you’re having the same issue, one easy workaround is to download the game’s assets onto your phone. The game will still need to connect to Niantic’s servers while you’re playing, but the amount of data it needs to transfer to your device will be a lot less, allowing the game to run much faster.

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The option to download the game’s assets isn’t obvious. To find it, you’ll need to go pretty deep in the game’s settings. First, make sure you’re on Wifi so you don’t get hit with huge data fees from downloading assets while you’re on the move.

  • Once you have the game loaded, tap on the suitcase at the bottom center of the screen.
  • On the next screen, tap the gears on the top left side to bring up the Settings menu.
  • At the bottom of the Settings menu, there’s an option to “Download All Assets.” Click that to download all of the assets for the game onto your phone.

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Screenshot: E.Price

Downloading all the assets at once means you won’t have to download as much while you’re out and about, which can make the game potentially load a little faster.

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After my download, I noticed a lot less lag time when loading up Foundables, and the game seemed to work a lot better in general. Of course, the number of people using the app could have decreased in the hour or two between my initial launch and when I downloaded the assets, but for the sake of argument, I’m giving the download the credit.

While you’re in that Settings menu, you can also tweak a number of other things within the app; you can turn off music or sound effects and manage your notifications, among other things. I personally opted to turn off the opening sequence. While you’re in there downloading the assets, dig around and see what else you might want to customize before you get back to swinging that virtual wand.

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Source: Kotaku.com

Nintendo’s Mobile Game Dragalia Lost Has Finally Lost Me

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

From its launch in late September through mid-May, Nintendo’s mobile RPG Dragalia Lost was part of my daily routine. I only missed one daily login during the entire period, and that was because I was recovering from surgery. But, over the past couple of weeks, the game’s pull on me has faded, and my play sessions are growing more and more sporadic. The events are predictable. The summoning draws aren’t as exciting. I’ve lost the will to Dragalia Lost.

I have to give developer Cygames credit. Dragalia Lost has held my attention longer than any other collectible character game. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes only lasted about four months. Nintendo’s tactical mobile RPG, Fire Emblem Heroes, kept my attention for three months, but now is a game I only hop on occasionally to harvest any free character summons I’ve accumulated. Eight months of near-daily play isn’t bad at all.

Now, the glue that stuck me to Dragalia Lost is wearing thin. I remain impressed that every new warrior or dragon added to the game gets their own story; there are no throwaway characters. It’s just that I’ve collected 94 of the 124 or so adventurers in the game. New faces are a rarity in my game. The same goes for dragons. I’ve got most of them, and the ones I don’t have only pop up during special summoning events.

Summoning new characters and dragons is my main motivation for playing Dragalia Lost. I play through quests and events to earn the crystals needed to do ten summons at a time (there’s a better chance of rares in a ten pull). It takes time to gather the 1,200 crystals required, and when the results are a handful of duplicate characters and the odd four or five star dragon, it’s not worth the trouble.

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Left: Dupes Middle: My characters Right: My most recent pull, another dupe

Some of that is my fault for playing so religiously. There’s only so much to collect, and I’ve worked hard to collect a lot of it. But Cygames hasn’t helped, either. Earlier this year, the developer removed character-enhancing Wyrmprints from the summoning pool, as they weren’t as exciting for players to receive than heroes or dragons. More duplicate characters and dragons in summons was an unfortunate side effect of that change.

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It’s not all about the summoning, though. After months of exciting new raid and facility events popping up on a near monthly basis, Dragalia Lost’s special events have started repeating themselves. Right now, one of the game’s earliest special events, “A Wish to the Winds” is back, which is lovely for newer players who never got a chance to reap its rewards, but not so good for a long-time player desperately searching for something new.

I’ve no doubt that Cygames and Nintendo will continue to bring fresh content and ideas to Dragalia Lost. April’s crossover with Fire Emblem Heroes introduced a new type of cooperative mission to the game (as well as some kick-ass new music). Another significant happening along those lines could easily drag me back for a time.

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Does leaving during the wedding summoning event count as leaving the game at the altar?

For now, though, Dragalia Lost is officially no longer a part of my daily routine. I’ll still keep it on my phone, maybe hop in from time to time to see if the developers dropped any “thank you” or “sorry for the inconvenience” currency into players’ inboxes following milestones or technical difficulties. If I see a cool new character or dragon pop up on Twitter, maybe I’ll drop in to see how the summoning roulette treats me. I still love the game. I’m just not in love with it anymore.

Source: Kotaku.com

Rhythm Games Don’t Get Much Simpler And Sweeter Than Muse Dash

Rhythm games can be pretty complicated, twisting players’ fingers into knots as they try to keep track of four to six lanes, each delivering a brutal barrage of notes. PeroPeroGames’ Muse Dash has all the quirk and charm of a DJMax or Superbeat: Xonic, but it controls with just two buttons.

Already a hit on iOS and Android, Muse Dash comes to the Switch and PC on June 20, bringing an eclectic mix of more than 80 songs for players to tap along with. Each song plays out like a side-scrolling action game. On the Switch, tapping a button on the left Joy-Con hits enemies traveling in the top lane, while buttons on the right side attack the bottom lane. There are hold notes which require players to hold down a button for their duration and the odd enemy that must be attacked by rapidly pressing buttons on either side. Boss characters appear once or twice a stage but mainly serve as a different way for notes to appear on the screen.

For fans of more frantic rhythm action, there are three difficulty levels to unlock for each tune, but there’s not a lot of room for the challenge to escalate when there are only two lanes to play with. Seasoned rhythm game players might be put off, or they could be tickled by the chance to play a little more leisurely. It’s nice to casually gain levels and to unlock songs, alternative outfits, and helper characters who provide benefits like temporary invincibility or damage reduction to the game’s three protagonists, Rin, Buro, and Marija.

If you’ve ever wanted to explore the joyful world of rhythm games but were daunted by the complexity, Muse Dash is the perfect game for you. The music selection is wonderful, ranging from cheery J-pop to hard and fast dubstep. The characters are either adorable, charming, or mildly racy, depending on the costume they’re wearing.

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There is depth to Muse Dash. Putting together the right combination of costume and helper characters can make a huge difference on tougher songs at higher difficulties. But mainly there’s a whole lot of simple, anime-tinged musical fun to be had.

Source: Kotaku.com

I Love It When A Puzzle Game Gets Its Difficulty Curve Just Right

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

A good puzzle game latches onto my mind and never lets go. One of the best ways to achieve this is to lead me along a perfectly plotted difficulty curve. MythicOwl’s math-based puzzler, Hexologic, is a prime example of how that’s done.

Hexologic is a relaxing Sudoku-style math game, available on Steam, iOS, Android and Switch and coming to Xbox One on June 13. The game was recently a finalist in Momocon’s annual indie game awards competition, in which I serve as a judge, and it wound up being one of the show’s five winners. It’s a highly polished puzzle game with lovely visuals, calming music and a math mechanic that starts simple and becomes very complex.

Each of the game’s more than 100 levels features one or more blank hexagonal spaces. All players have to do is fill in those spaces with one, two or three dots, in such a way that the sum of the dots jibes with the numbers on the outside of the hexagons. Here’s the game’s second level, which illustrates the concept nicely.

Simple, right? Almost too simple. Were the game to give me too many of these rudimentary, getting-to-know-me sort of levels, I might get bored. That would not be a good difficulty curve. Fortunately, level three introduces a new idea. Now all of the hexagons in a straight line adjacent to a number must add up to that number.

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Now there’s math logic involved. There are two spaces that must add up to two. That means the only possible values for those two spaces is one, as one plus one equals two. There are two hexes that must add up to four, one of which is already occupied by one dot. That means the final hex must be filled with three dots.

Level three primes the mind for what’s to come, and by that point, I have started assembling rules in my head. Any two hexes that must add up to five will be a combination of two dots and three dots. When any combination of hexes add up to the number three, none of those hexes will contain three dots. So when I get a level with a number three next to a number five, the answer is obvious.

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And I am swept along a stream of increasingly complex number logic. I am never overwhelmed, but never bored. I feel quite clever, actually, which is what a good puzzle game does. Four hexes that must add up to ten, but one space already has a single dot in it? Why, that leaves three groups of three dots. What a clever lad I am.

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Hexologic gets very complex in its later levels. Soon we have puzzles with set spaces featuring larger numbers of dots.

Then there are linked hexes, which share the same value.

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A massive update to Hexologic that dropped in September added even more complexity. New spaces have been introduced that use greater than, less than and equal signs, which ups the arithmetic challenge significantly. Or, they would, if developer MythicOwl hadn’t made the difficulty curve so smooth. One would imagine the ride from something like this …

…to a puzzle that looks like this …

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… would be wild and uneven. How does a game get from point A to point B=A<C+D+6? This is a good puzzle game, so I barely felt a bump. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Stop Playing Candy Crush and Start Playing Better Games

Thanks to smartphones and tablets, we’re all gamers now. I’m a gamer, you’re a gamer, our moms are gamers, and their moms are also probably gamers. So it’s about time we start putting all that gaming to good use.

In the video above, I make the case for deleting “dumb” games like Candy Crush and recommend “smart” games that will help you improve a skill, relax and meditate, or flex those neural connections in your brain.

The apps I recommend are:

While it’s debatable how effective “brain training” games are, it’s hard to argue that doing math problems in Elevate or solving the NYT Crossword isn’t a better use of time than the zombie-mode tap, tap, tap of playing a game like Crossy Road.

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Source: Kotaku.com

How to Use Valve’s New Steam Chat App

Steam has mainly been a gaming marketplace for PC games over the years, but Valve appears to be doubling down on the platform’s social aspects with its newly launched Steam Chat messaging app for Android and iOS.

While Steam Mobile has let users manage their accounts and send messages from their smartphones for years, Steam Chat splits the platform’s messaging service off into its own dedicated app. Steam Mobile isn’t going away, though; both apps will exist simultaneously, with Steam Chat dedicated to communication and Steam Mobile covering other parts of the service—such as purchasing games, initiating remote downloads, and Steam Guard account security.

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Here’s the full list of Steam Chat’s features at launch, according to Valve’s official blog post announcing the app:

  • Friends List: See who’s in-game or online at a glance. Never miss an opportunity to play.
  • Rich Chat: Your chats get even better with higher fidelity links, videos, tweets, GIFs, Giphy, Steam emoticons, and more.
  • Invite Links: Add new friends on Steam with a link. Generate an invite link you can text or email.
  • Customizable Notifications: Mobile notifications mean you’ll never miss a message or game invite. You can customize your notifications per friend, group chat, and chat channel.
  • Group Chats: Get everyone on the same page. Groups make it easier to do things like stay in touch with your communities and organize game night with your best friends.

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Some of Steam’s desktop features for chatting aren’t present on Steam Chat at launch, like voice chat, but Valve confirmed in its blog post these will be added soon.

Steam Chat seems to be aimed primarily at existing Steam users—and PC gamers more broadly—but the app’s features are reminiscent of many other messaging services on smartphones. Not surprisingly, Steam Chat includes similar capabilities as the mobile app for one of Steam’s upstart competitors, Discord. By splitting Steam’s messaging features into its own app, Valve appears to be looking to widen the service’s appeal. After all, you can create a Discord server for any topic right now; why not a Steam group?

After downloading and installing the app, you’ll need to sign in with your Steam account (or create a new one) and verify the device via a confirmation code sent to your email. Once you’re signed in, you’ll be able to message your Steam friends while not at your PC, and without needing the core Steam app installed.

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If you wind up giving the new app a shot, Valve is interested in getting user feedback through the Steam Chat app’s official Steam community page. So far, feedback from Steam users appears… well, “mixed” would be putting it nicely. Here are a few snippets from the comments of Steam’s announcement:

Manatee-Nyan! ♥ Lamppost: “Please merge this with the regular Steam app, there’s no reason to have 2 separate apps. It’s annoying an inconvenient.”

Mairo 🐻🎧: “Could you please then at least update Steam guard to use some goddamn regular 2FA system so I can just use something like authy, delete all steam apps from my phone. The proper steam app has been broken for years with zero updates and nobody even uses chat anymore, because every time I get chat message I have to find who messaged me first as app doesn’t tell me.”

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Voldiemert: “Discord wins with group chat, especially on mobile. I have no idea why time was put into this. I’d much prefer to see the Steam App updated. It’s a pain in the♥♥♥♥♥browsing the store, buying a game, and trying to install the game remotely.”

m4x7us: “FINALLY”

Hallo ich bin Grünspan: “How about some END TO END ENCRYPTION ALREADY instead of letting Steam read and analyze all our texts? Also how hard can it be to add some sort of chat history function that saves the entirety of all your chats to a text file or whatever?” 

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Source: Kotaku.com