Featured image for post Never Stop Sneakin’ On the App Store

Never Stop Sneakin’ On the App Store

Never Stop Sneakin’, the part-comedy-part-action take on Metal Gear Solid’s Tactical Espionage Action formula, is now available on the App Store with full Gamevice support.

Although the overall presentation is incredibly reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid, the gameplay has been heavily simplified. Most actions are handled automatically, with player input mostly limited to deciding where to move. There is strategy involved in sneaking past guards, making your way to objectives, and timing your combat strategies to enemy positions, of course, but for better or worse, all of it feels incredibly simplified.

The biggest place Never Stop Sneakin’ differentiates from the formula is in its levels. Almost everything is procedurally generated here, which means no two games will play exactly the same. Procedural generation gives a nearly endless amount of variety in the way levels will be structured, which should increase replayability.

Never Stop Sneakin’s appearance on the App Store should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. Dust: An Elysian Tail, The previous game from developer Humble Hearts, was a mobile exclusive years, and even on console, Never Stop Sneakin’ looked and felt like something that would be right at home on mobile. Unsurprisingly, just like Dust, Never Stop Sneakin’ runs great on iOS and has excellently-implemented Gamevice support.

If you’re looking for a casual-friendly take on the Metal Gear Solid formula, this is as good as it gets on mobile.

Featured image for post Fortnite, Gamevice, and Controller Support

Fortnite, Gamevice, and Controller Support

In the short time since Fortnite was released on iOS, we’ve been inundated with requests to get Fortnite working with the Gamevice. Believe me, all of us here at Gamevice feel your pain – we want to play Fortnite with a controller just as badly as you do! Unfortunately, due to the way controller support works on iOS and Android, there is nothing we can do to add compatibility to Fortnite.

We use the standard, universal controller interface included in iOS and in Android. We don’t have any control over whether any game gets Gamevice support. It is entirely up to game developers to include controller support in their games. If a developer includes platform-standard iOS or Android controller support, Gamevice will be automatically supported. If a developer does not include platform-native controller support, there is nothing we can do to get around that.

Apple and Google both have standard control layouts as part of iOS and Android. Controller drivers, button layouts, pressure sensitivity levels, and such are carefully defined, as part of the controller specifications on iOS and Android. In order to build a controller that is certified to work with iOS or Android, companies like ours have to carefully follow these platform specifications. Every controller certified for these platforms can be trusted to support the same basic layout, the same features, have buttons with the same colors and labels – everything you’d expect in a cohesive ecosystem.

That isn’t to say we can’t add a few innovations of our own – Gamevice goes far beyond any other mobile controller, in build quality and in features like headphone support and Lightning charging. But in terms of basic controller functionality, we aren’t reinventing the wheel. This is good – we get to focus on building great hardware, and we know our hardware will work great with every game designed for any mobile controller. Nobody wants a situation where every controller maker has their own proprietary layouts and drivers that game developers must individually support. But it does place limitations on what we can do to support specific games.

There is nothing we can program into our controllers, or into our software, to “hack” Gamevice support into games that don’t natively support controllers. Literally nothing – all our controller can do is send inputs to your phone or iPad when you press buttons or move the analog stick. It is up to the apps and games on your device to handle those inputs.

This brings us back to Fortnite. As much as we would all like to be playing Fortnite with our Gamevice’s today, there’s nothing we can do until Fortnite knows how to respond to the inputs our controllers send. And the only people who can make Fortnite do that are Fortnite’s developers at Epic Games.

Fortnite, like many popular games, is built using the Unreal Engine. This engine, and similar engines like Unity, simplifies much of the work in designing a game. There is little technical reason for Unreal Engine or Unity games to not support controllers, as basic controller support can often be added through simply hitting a checkbox. Especially in cases like this, where versions of the same game for other platforms already support controllers.

Fortnite’s developers have indicated that controller support will be coming to the mobile Fortnite eventually. They have concerns about keeping things fair, and are considering requiring mobile gamers with controllers to be kept in the same matchmaking bucket as console gamers, rather than being able to play in the mobile-only lobby.

If you want to play Fortnite with your Gamevice quicker, get in touch with Epic. Let them know it is important to you to play Fortnite with your Gamevice. We’ve already told them, of course, but it means a lot more coming from real gamers! If Epic keeps getting requests for controller support, and sees how passionate most controller-owning gamers are, it might help them prioritize adding controller support.

The same goes for any other mobile game. Want to play PUBG with a controller? Wish Final Fantasy XV worked with Gamevice, like the rest of the series? Have another favorite game that you wish worked with your Gamevice? You need to contact the developer – they’re the only ones who can add controller support! Contacting us is okay, too – we like to know which games our customers care about. But at the end of the day, all we can do is then contact the game developers ourselves. And the fact of the matter is, to most developers, having passionate gamers asking for a feature is going to make a much bigger impact

Featured image for post Gamevice is at GDC

Gamevice is at GDC

This is one of the biggest weeks in the year for mobile game developers: GDC, the Game Developers Conference, is happening right now in San Francisco, and we’ll be there to check out the latest developments in mobile gaming.

The last time I attended GDC, it was as an independent writer, before joining Gamevice and starting this blog. This year, I’m proud to return representing Gamevice. It has been a huge year for us, and for gaming in general, and we’re super excited to see all the new things mobile game developers have been working on.

If you’re a developer, and you have a new game with Gamevice support, get in touch with us. We’d love to arrange a meeting, see what you have, and show it off here on the blog! If you haven’t integrated Gamevice support into your game yet, and you have any questions about how it works, you should still get in touch – we can walk you through some of the details of integrating mobile controller support into your games.

If you want to meet up, the fastest way is to send us a message on Twitter. You can also follow the social links at the bottom of this page to get in touch with the other Gamevice social accounts, but with how busy GDC can be, we might not immediately receive messages sent to those accounts.

Either way, I’m excited to see what’s new at GDC in the world of mobile gaming, and I’m looking forward to sharing the news with Gamevice fans on this blog.

Featured image for post Fortnite Beta is Available On iOS!

Fortnite Beta is Available On iOS!

This is huge news. Perhaps the biggest thing to hit mobile gaming in years. Fortnite, Epic’s extremely-popular Battle Royale game, is coming to the App Store soon! In fact, it is available now, in an invite-only beta release! An Android port should follow in the near future.

Fortnite mobile screenshot

This isn’t merely a Fortnite-themed mobile clone, either. This is the real, true version of the PC / console game. It will support cross-platform play between mobile versions and PC, PlayStation, and even Xbox. And because this is a real version of Fortnite, it will even receive weekly content updates and patches at the same time as the other versions.

Gamevice support will not be included in Fortnite at launch, and is not currently supported in the beta. Epic plans to support controllers later in the future. They have concerns about keeping things fair, and are considering requiring mobile gamers with controllers to be kept in the same matchmaking bucket as console gamers, rather than being able to play in the mobile-only lobby.

Fortnite exploration screenshot

Epic is looking for additional beta testers to try Fortnite on iOS, before the game goes into wide release. Sign ups are live, so be sure to head to the Epic site and get yourself on the list. Epic will be adding testers over the coming months, but the earlier you sign up, the better chance you’ll have of trying Fortnite early.

Because this is such a new game, in such a new genre, you’d be forgiven for not knowing why this is such a big deal. But make no mistake, this is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and a watershed moment in mobile gaming. Here’s a little history…

Fortnite is part of the somewhat-new Battle Royale game type. The idea is, a bunch of players spawn on a giant map, collect weapons, and try to be the last one standing. The map periodically shrinks its borders, which forces everyone into conflict, which prevents camping. It’s a clever take on the last-man-standing deathmatch game type, which perhaps explains why literally everyone seems to be playing a game like this these days.

Fortnite Map Shrink screenshot

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was the first of these games on the scene. Throughout its 2017 early access period, PUBG managed to grow from its humble origins as a ARMA 2 mod to over 30 million sales, even overtaking DOTA2 in having the most concurrent players on Steam.

Fortnite was originally launched as a pay-once premium game, called “Save the World”. In this game type, you build a base, then go on missions to collect resources, get back to your base, and use those resources to survive against waves of monsters. Epic founder Tim Sweeney described it as “Minecraft meets Left 4 Dead”. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell well. Shortly after PUBG hit the scene, Epic released a free-to-play, retooled version of Fortnite, which aped the PUBG Battle Royale formula. Since then, Fortnite has taken off like a rocket, even managing to surpass PUBG’s concurrent player record.

Fortnite Gameplay

Oddly, PUBG’s developers and Fortnite’s developers are both partly owned by the same company, Tencent. Tencent is relatively unknown in the West, but they’re a massive game publisher in China. What’s more, they’ve made a huge push into mobile gaming.

In addition to launching PUBG clones of their own, Tencent has already launched two official versions of PUBG on mobile (for some reason). Sadly, neither have Gamevice support, and we have no idea if support is coming. So in a way, Fortnite is their fourth attempt at a mobile Battle Royale – hopefully this experience will translate into a great mobile release.

Being able to play the real Fortnite, with a real Gamevice controller, against the real console and PC releases, is about as good as it gets for mobile gaming. And it seems like this dream is going to become a reality very, very soon.

If you have any questions about controller compatibility, or want to voice your support for Gamevice and Fortnite, get in touch with Epic on Twitter or on their web site. If the folks at Epic see how much enthusiasm there is for controller support, hopefully it will encourage them to implement it sooner!

Featured image for post Alto’s Odyssey Brings a New Level of Beauty and Polish to Endless Runners

Alto’s Odyssey Brings a New Level of Beauty and Polish to Endless Runners

Alto’s Odyssey, the sequel to one of the best games of 2015, Alto’s Adventure, was recently released on iOS. Since then, I’ve had a hard time putting it down.

Side-scrolling auto-running platformers are certainly not a rare game type on mobile. Between Jetpack Joyride, the Rayman series, the original Alto’s Adventure, and countless others, most of us probably own a few games like this already.

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The biggest way Alto’s Odyssey differentiates itself from the rest of the field is through its beautiful, relaxing, peaceful atmosphere. Everything about the presentation – the gentle sunrise, the use of simple silhouettes against smooth background colors, the perfectly-matched sound effects – the whole thing creates an almost zen-like feeling.

The other big way Alto’s Odyssey differentiates from the rest of the games out there: quality. Everything about this game feels like its been tested, polished, and retested hundreds of times, until it couldn’t possibly be improved any further. It is a rare feeling these days, where the trend is to launch games in an incomplete and buggy state, then push a bunch of updates to bring things up to par. Alto’s Odyssey feels like a game that is perfect exactly as it is, and although I’m sure it’ll receive the occasional update, absolutely nothing about it needs an update.

Honestly, I could go on and on about why this is such an amazing game, but there are enough stories like that already. Federico Viticci at MacStories wrote a wonderful article describing the feelings and emotions this game can engender. TouchArcade gave Alto’s Odyssey their game of the week, and a glowing review. Review aggregator Metacritic currently lists Alto’s Odyssey at a score of 91 out of 100. Our Twitter timelines are full of people posting their high scores and commiserating over bad-beat stories.

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Everyone is playing and loving Alto’s Odyssey, and that fills me with enthusiasm about the state of mobile gaming. Premium games – games where you pay an upfront fee to get a great experience – have always been what I gravitate towards, as a player. When one this good comes out, and does this well, it lends creedence to the model of selling great games. ArsTechnica has a great interview with Alto’s creators about just how much went into making such a great mobile game, which is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in premium mobile gaming, and some of the ways in which Alto’s creators approached iOS.

Games this good don’t show up often. An extremely polished, pay-once, premium game like this is a bit of an anachronism in 2018. If more games take a page from Alto’s Odyssey, I think the App Store would be a much better place.

Featured image for post Great Multiplayer Games for Valentine’s Day

Great Multiplayer Games for Valentine’s Day

As you are probably aware, if you’ve spent even the smallest time on social media lately, It is Valentine’s Day today! To celebrate the occasion, I decided to put together a special article.

My original plan was to compile an article about games with a vaguely romantic themes or components – Valentine’s Day exclusive content, dating mini games, that type of thing. Unfortunately – as was correctly pointed out by a member of our team – you should probably be spending Valentine’s Day with a significant other, not with your head in a game. This is the last time to be playing a single-player game, no matter how awesome it’s dating component might be.

So instead, here’s a much better article on great multiplayer mobile games. These are all premium games, all top-quality, and all worth a download. The idea is, these would all be great games for you to play in the same room, at the same time, with a significant other, if they’re so inclined. Or with a friend. Or by yourself, if you insist – these are all awesome single-player games, too.

Minecraft

What can I say about Minecraft that hasn’t already been said? It’s a masterpiece. It is perhaps the most recent to single-handedly invent a new genre. Minecraft’s open-ended sandbox gameplay lends itself well to multiplayer, which is why for many teenagers, Minecraft is how they hang out with their friends.

No surprise then, if you’re looking for a game to play with a significant other, Minecraft makes for a great cooperative multiplayer experience. Build something together, go on adventures, survive the night against enemies, build something even better… Minecraft is tailor-made to be played with other people. As far as multiplayer games on mobile go, Minecraft is as big as it gets.

Minecraft with Gamevice

Minecraft goes one step beyond most multiplayer mobile games, and introduces true cross-platform multiplayer. One person can play on iPhone (possibly with our special edition Minecraft Gamevice), another on Android. Or even on PC, Xbox, PlayStation… players of pretty much any modern device can hop on to Minecraft and play.

Worms 3

Worms was one of the biggest PC games of the ’90s, and if you’ve never played it before, you missed out on something amazing. The way it works: you control a team of cartoon worms on a randomly-generated 2D level. Your goal: use a variety of weapons to kill all the worms on the opposing team, while keeping your worms alive. Each player controls one worm every turn, and only gets to make one attack before their turn is over. Attacks require careful aim, using a selection of physics-based artillery. The player with the last worm standing wins. Simple, but addicting.

Worms 3 Gameplay Footage

There were a ton of physics-based artillery games before Worms, but none of them where as expansive, polished, or as funny as Worms – a status that remains unchanged, to this day. The iOS version of Worms 3, while far from the best version of Worms in existence, is easily the best one available on mobile. It fully supports Gamevice, though you will have to enable controller mode in the gameplay settings.

The Worms series has long been one of my personal favorite multiplayer experience, ever since back when I was 7, and a friend and I would stay up ’till 4 in the morning playing it. The beauty in Worms’ multiplayer is that it is perfectly suited to playing on one device – especially an iPad. One player takes a turn, makes their move, then hands their device to the next player, who responds. Even better, if both players are sitting on a couch together, so as to watch each others’ moves.

Riptide GP: Renegade

No multiplayer games roundup would be complete without a good racing game, and Riptide GP Renegade is one of the best available on mobile. It plays a lot like the classic Wave Racer, Hydro Thunder, or JetMoto series – your basic “futuristic bikes on water” racing game.

Riptide hits all the right notes. Beautiful graphics, smooth gameplay, and well designed levels – everything you’d want in a racing game, without any of the free-to-play nonsense that bog down some of the other racing games on mobile.

Riptide GP Renegade Screenshot

As you can expect from its placement on this list, Riptide includes several multiplayer modes. You can play split-screen with multiple controllers, jump online for a quick match, or – most relevant to this post – host a private match for people you invite.

Available for iOS and Android.

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

I put together a more expansive article on Monster Hunter recently, on the occasion of the release of the newest game in the series, Monster Hunter World. I’m sure the latest release brought more than a few new people into the series. If you’re one of those gamers, and you’re not sure how well this older release still holds up, have no fear: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite’s great reputation is still justified.

Monster Hunter Screenshot

Things get even better over multiplayer. Monster Hunter has a great cooperative multiplayer mode, played over a local WiFi network. You, and up to three other players, can join together to tackle quests as a team. This is all in real-time – you’ll all see each other on screen, and can interact with each other and with the monsters you’re attacking. Against some of the harder monsters, this becomes an almost essential way to play.

Street Fighter IV Champion Edition

A fighting game might not be the most romantic multiplayer game out there, but damn if it isn’t a lot of fun to play. I’m not going to get into a lengthy description of Street Fighter IV – you all know Street Fighter. Everyone knows Street Fighter. Even kids who’ve never played Street Fighter somehow know Street Fighter.

Street Fighter IV iOS

The iOS port of Street Fighter IV is a competently made, stripped-down version of the console version. The 3D graphics are flattened down to 2D sprites, which makes for an experience somewhere between the modern 3D games in the series, and the classic 2D releases. More importantly, it has all the multiplayer features you’d expect for a fighting game. And it works great with the Gamevice – which is not surprising, considering we made a special-edition Street Fighter Gamevice to promote the iPhone release.

Featured image for post Trap Adventure 2 is Oddly Addicting and Worth a Download

Trap Adventure 2 is Oddly Addicting and Worth a Download

When I first saw footage of Trap Adventure 2 shared on Twitter, I assumed it was a joke. It seemed like a parody of the tough-as-nails platforming genre, made by some indie developer for other indie developers to laugh at. The reason why: even though this is a genre where the focus is on building incredibly-difficult levels, the player should never feel cheated, but should always feel like if they were quick and observant, they could succeed.

That makes this “game footage” a pretty clever joke, if you’re a developer who is focused on carefully crafting levels to meet the rules of the genre. Skilled play seems to be irrelevant here, with the game killing you in unexpected and cheap ways which violate the previously-established rules of the game. It does everything a good developer is supposed to avoid doing, subverting genre expectations. Which is the footage was retweeted hundreds of thousands of times, and got good laughs in the game dev community.

Well big surprise; it turns out Trap Adventure 2 isn’t a joke at all, and is an actual game you can buy right now on iOS. What’s more, it even has full Gamevice support! And after playing it over the weekend, I’m happy to say there’s a lot more going on here than first appears.

Let’s get one thing clear: Trap Adventure 2 is not a bad game. It is not an intentionally-bad parody of platforming games. It is also not an unfair game. Yes, you will die a bunch of times on your first attempt at each level, as the game seems to know exactly where you’re going, and reveals a surprise obstacle in your way. But here’s the thing – after your first death on each obstacle, you know exactly where that obstacle is. At this point, passing the level becomes a game of skill, just like any great platformer.

After you do pass a level, you get a checkpoint before the next level. Subsequent deaths only send you back to the start of the level you’re on, rather than requiring you replay the entire game. At least until you’re out of lives.

Even the life system has been cleverly thought out. You start out with a handful of lives, which you’ll probably burn through pretty fast on each level. When you’re out of lives, you have to start the game over again from the beginning. But here’s the nice thing: every time you play, you gain experience points. When you finally run out of lives, your experience points are cached in. Gain enough points to level up, and you gain even more lives for subsequent plays. Thus, even though you’ll be restarting the game often, the game makes it easier for you to progress by giving you more lives. It’s a clever bit of balance, and one that belies the thought that went into such a superficially haphazard-looking game.

So yes, if you’re looking for a difficult game, but one that will put a smile on your face with the way it toys with your expectations, give Trap Adventure 2 a download. I’ve been playing it off-and-on for the past few days, and enjoying the heck out of it. The surprise obstacles almost become something that tells a story about the nature of platforming games, and our preconceptions when playing them. And considering that I completely skipped over this game when it was released two years ago, it’s a lesson to me to not judge a book by its cover – or a game by its screenshot.

Featured image for post Square Enix hires Sonic mastermind Yuji Naka

Square Enix hires Sonic mastermind Yuji Naka

Huge news from legendary game designer Yuji Naka:

Just a quick note to let you know, I joined SQUARE ENIX in January.
I’m joining game development as before, and strive to develop games at SQUARE ENIX.
I aim to develop an enjoyable game, please look forward to it.
Source: Twitter

Yuji Naka is an incredibly important video game designer, being the head of the legendary Sonic Team studio during the ’90s, and lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game series.

After leaving Sega in 2006, he started Prope, an independent studio. Prope has developed numerous mobile games, and although they a lot of them feel like proof-of-concepts, I have a soft spot for Prope Discover, which played like an expanded version of Epic Citadel.

While it’s too early to know what he will be making at Square Enix, it certainly is an exciting development. Square Enix (separately and together) were responsible for some of the most important RPGs of all time, and continue to make world-class games for console and mobile. Yuji Naka’s Sonic games are all on mobile, Square Enix’s classic RPGs are on mobile, and Yuji Naka’s last development studio was focused on mobile gaming, I’d say there’s a good chance whatever they design together will be coming to mobile.

Featured image for post Crescent Moon Games Teased Sequels to Skyfish, Ravensword, and Paper Monsters

Crescent Moon Games Teased Sequels to Skyfish, Ravensword, and Paper Monsters

Great news for fans of premium mobile gaming: it looks like Crescent Moon Games is preparing to develop new sequels to some of its biggest franchises!

From Crescent Moon on Twitter:

So its highly likely that we could be getting a new Paper Monsters, Legend of the Skyfish, and a new Ravensword by the end of the year. As crazy as that sounds :p

And later

Official development starts on Legend of the Skyfish 2 and Paper Monsters 2 next week!

If you missed out on the earlier entries in any of these series, they’re all important mobile releases. Ravensword was easily the most ambitious RPG of its era, bringing a stripped-down Morrowind-style experience to mobile. Legend of the Skyfish is a Zelda-style top-down puzzle platformer, with an incredible degree of polish. Paper Monsters is a beautiful 2.5-D sidescrolling platformer, full of personality and clever level design, and available in a remastered “Recut” edition.

Sequels to any one of these games would be a major story. Crescent Moon has consistently made some of the best, most polished, and most complete premium games on mobile. Sequels to these three games would catapult themselves far up my list of most anticipated games. It seems possible that for Legend of the Skyfish and Paper Monsters, at least, sequels could be coming sooner, rather than later.

Featured image for post Yes, Gamevice is Fully Compatible With iPhone X

Yes, Gamevice is Fully Compatible With iPhone X

We continue to get a lot of questions about compatibility with iPhone X. I want to set the record straight with this post, and hopefully answer any questions you may have. Yes, the iPhone X works excellently with the Gamevice. It is fully compatible and makes for an amazing gameplay experience with iPhone X today.

Before the iPhone X was released, we didn’t know how the iPhone X’s new shape would fit within the design of the Gamevice. We couldn’t promise compatibility before trying things ourselves. As soon as the iPhone X hit stores, we tested it with Gamevice. As we’d hoped, the iPhone X works perfectly with the Gamevice. It is not significantly longer than the iPhone 8, or thicker than the iPhone 8 Plus. As a result, Gamevice was already designed to work within the dimensions of the iPhone X.

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Treat your iPhone X with Gamevice the way you’d treat any non-plus-sized iPhone. Set the Gamevice’s adjustable bridge to its most compact setting. Then plug your iPhone into the Lightning port side of the Gamevice. Then pull the left half of the Gamevice in the opposite direction, until there is enough room to fit the iPhone. Then push your iPhone into the opening, release the Gamevice, and you’re good to go. It’ll be a slightly tighter fit than it would be with a standard iPhone, but it still works great.

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Once you’ve connected your iPhone X to your Gamevice, everything works as well as you’d hope. The Gamevice covers about a two millimeters of the corners of the iPhone X’s edge-to-edge display – certainly not enough to obscure anything important in any game I’ve ever seen, and in fact won’t show up at all for any game not specifically optimized for full-screen. None of the iPhone X’s sensors are obscured by the Gamevice in any way – Face ID works perfectly, the stereo speakers sound great, and there’s plenty of room to swipe to go home.

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If you’ve been holding out on grabbing a Gamevice out of concerns that it won’t work properly on your iPhone X, don’t worry about it – this is is a first-class gaming experience. It’s how I usually game, myself, and I can recommend it without hesitation.