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.

gamevice-attachment-web

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.

gamevice-oceanhorn-web

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.

gamevice-disconnected-web

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.

Featured image for post We May Not Have Monster Hunter World, but We Still Have Monster Hunter

We May Not Have Monster Hunter World, but We Still Have Monster Hunter

The latest game in the Monster Hunter Franchise, Monster Hunter World, launched a few days ago, for Xbox and PS4. The reviews have been stellar, which is great news for the millions of fans of the series.

Thankfully, mobile gamers aren’t completely left out of the loop. Even though the latest Monster Hunter isn’t on iOS or Android yet, the excellent Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is available on iOS right now, and has full Gamevice support!

Monster Hunter Graphics Screenshot

If you were previously unfamiliar with Monster Hunter, you’re in for something special here. Monster Hunter is an insanely popular game, and one of the most beloved games of its generation. It was such a massive hit in Japan, it was partly responsible for saving the PSP from an early grave, ultimately selling over 6 million units.

The iOS release of Freedom Unit is not a stripped-down mobile edition. This is the real, full-fledged PSP Monster Hunter, improved and upgraded for the far-more-powerful iPhone and iPad hardware. It has been updated with vastly improved graphics, significant resolution boosts, enhanced performance, and full Gamevice support.

Monster Hunter Gameplay screenshot

So yes, while our console brethren enjoy the new Monster Hunter today, now is a great chance for you to treat yourself to a classic Monster Hunter experience on iOS. This isn’t just an important release in the history of mobile gaming – it’s still a damn great game.

Featured image for post Rocket League Gains Cross-Platform Multiplayer

Rocket League Gains Cross-Platform Multiplayer

Interesting news for PC and console gamers:

From Hope Corrigan at IGN:

It looks like the popular vehicular soccer game Rocket League is set to see cross-platform party support in 2018, building off of its cross-platform play functionality.

When asked on Twitter whether the feature was coming, the official support account for the game replied, saying “We’re actively working on cross-platform party support for a 2018 release.”

Cross-platform play is great, but of more interest to mobile gamers is the question: “when will Rocket League finally come to mobile?”. Rocket League has been ported to pretty much every console under the sun, but sadly, we’re still waiting on this one last platform. We’ve reached out to the developers, and we’re hoping for good news!

In the mean time, mobile gamers have the similarly-structured Turbo League, available for iOS and Android. It’s not a bad game – it plays well with Gamevice, has real-time 3v3 online multiplayer, and even supports cross-platform play between iOS and Android. But still… it isn’t the same as the real deal.

Of course, if you already own a PS4 or a Nvidia-powered gaming PC, you have other options. Thanks to the magic of streaming, PC gamers can use the excellent Moonlight app to play Rocket League with your Gamevice today, on iOS or Android. PS4 gamers can use R-Play to stream the real Rocket League direct to iOS.

Featured image for post Oceanhorn 2 Development Update

Oceanhorn 2 Development Update

Cornfox & Bros shared a progress update on their sequel to their RPG classic, Oceanhorn.

Oceanhorn 2 city walking

From the Cornfox & Bros blog,

It has been too long since we gave you guys an update on the development of Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. Well, all five of us have been focusing on the game, and when you’re really concentrated on your work, the time flies!

So, what have we been up to? We have been building an adventure! More gameplay, more story, more levels, more worlds. A city. Capital is one of the central locations of Oceanhorn 2’s story and it offers tons of open-ended exploration for curious adventurers. In the heart of the city is the gigantic machine Grand Core.

Oceanhorn 2 industrial city screenshot

Oceanhorn hit the App Store 4 years ago, but it still ranks among the best mobile games available. In the years since its launch, it has received countless updates, and been ported to every platform under the sun. Just recently, the iOS version was updated to support the iPhone X’s new screen size.

The Original Oceanhorn played like a love letter to the classic Zelda games. This sequel seems to be keeping closer to the style of more modern, 3D RPGs. As long as it brings the same level of quality and polish to its new presentation, we could be looking at something truly special.

Oceanhorn dungeon screenshot

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid picking up the original Oceanhorn before now, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try. I can’t think of a better game to spend my time with while I wait for Oceanhorn 2’s eventual release.

Featured image for post Rockstar Does Not Have Any iOS Releases Planned for This Year

Rockstar Does Not Have Any iOS Releases Planned for This Year

Sad news, via TouchArcade.

Unsurprisingly, loads of speculation began circulating about a potential Rockstar release, as they’ve been pretty regular with blasting out iOS ports this time of year. Last year we got Bully: Anniversary Edition (which we also reviewed), but there won’t be any Rockstar iOS ports this year.

Rockstar usually has a great game release planned for this time of year. Last year, it was the excellent Bully. The year before, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, one of my personal favorites.

I’m disappointed that we won’t be seeing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, L.A. Noire, or Grand Theft Auto 4 any time soon. Maybe next year.

Featured image for post The Brief Story of Cuphead’s Surprise iOS Release

The Brief Story of Cuphead’s Surprise iOS Release

If you were following anyone in the iOS gaming community this morning, you probably saw some interesting news: Cuphead was – apparently – released on the App Store.

Sadly, this was too good to be true. The release was a scam app. It re-used fake assets from the PC version of Cuphead, re-packaged them into a bundle that looked official, and slapped a $4.99 price tag on it. This was a sophisticated job, though – TouchArcade fell for it, and they’re usually good about spotting fakes.

Scam apps like this are nothing new – see the multitude of games called “Minecraft 2” that briefly climb the App Store charts before being pulled – but I’ve never seen a scam app release that looks this polished. The level of detail in the store description is superior to many real releases from major developers.

Be careful out there. For all the talk about App Store rejections, Apple doesn’t actually do much to police their store.

Featured image for post You Can Now Control Your Very Own R2-D2, BB-8, and BB-9E with Gamevice

You Can Now Control Your Very Own R2-D2, BB-8, and BB-9E with Gamevice

This is pretty awesome news for owners of Sphero gadgets: they just released a brand new app for controlling the various Star Wars Sphero products with the Gamevice.

The original Sphero has supported the Gamevice for years, but before now, the Star Wars versions have been notably lacking in support. With this new app, the Star Wars droids gain feature-parity with the original model.

One thing to be aware of: certain functions still require the touch screen. You can use the Gamevice to steer the droids, and to engage certain basic functions. Some of the more advanced functionality will still require touching the screen. We’re hoping controller support is expanded in the future, but even in its current form, the experience of using these droids with the Gamevice is far better than only having the touch screen.