Simple ideas are often the best, and Biome is onto a winner. As I walked through the Leftfield Collection during the first day of EGX Rezzed, having experienced the oppressive horror of Alien: Isolation and reeling from Oculus Rift simulation sickness, I was suddenly and inexplicably drawn to a distant monitor on which beckoned a lonely little low-poly cube.
Upon further investigation, it was a chunk of nondescript land suspended in space, with only a cursor acting as a clue of what I was supposed to do. I clicked it, and the terrain deformed around my cursor, thrusting hills and mountains upwards as I continued to click around. Seawater rushed in to fill the gaps, creating lakes and levees, all while rain and clouds swooped in. Grass gave way to rocky crags, then lava, oceans and ice, all responding to my simple inputs. I was mesmerised, in fact, I could have happily sat there all day.
Biome is a fascinating little curio, then, an addictive timewasting distraction and streamlined god game rolled into one - and doubly impressive considering that it's being developed by a clutch of university students.
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We were all pretty excited about these new-fangled consoles, but it looks like we're going to be busy next year. Sorry.Click here to read more...
Spiderweb Software have released a new trailer for Avadon 2: The Corruption, their upcoming retro-styled RPG due out in Autumn. Players will attempt to rebuild Avadon Fortress after its attacked, deciding whether to go back to the old ways or create a new world as they do so. Expect text-heavy dialogue and tactical combat.
Be in no doubt: this will almost certainly be excellent. We awarded Spiderweb's latest project 8/10 in our Avernum: Escape From The Pit review, and it's just one of many.Click here to read more...
Just a quickie: the iPad version of Frozen Synapse is out now, allowing players to access the tense turn-based battles while out and about (or lounging idly in front of The Apprentice). Full cross-compatibility with the PC version means that games can be continued across both platforms, including the full singleplayer campaign and every multiplayer gametype.
Considering that we handed out a perfect score in our Frozen Synapse review, this is probably worth checking out if you've got a fiver to spare. As far as I know, an Android tablet version is planned - release date TBA.
Frozen Synapse is coming to iPad on May 16th, and we're rather excited about it. First of all, we awarded the original game a perfect score on PC for its blend of fast, fun yet deeply tactical asymmetrical battles, but it will also support cross-play functionality across both platforms. Mode 7 Games' Paul Taylor has released a new video demonstrating how PC and iPad will work in perfect harmony, with players able to pick up their battles on either device.Click here to read more...
Spiderweb Software, Jeff Vogel's indie outfit who specialise in exceptional old-school RPGs, have revealed a sequel to Avadon: The Black Fortress. Avadon 2: The Corruption will let players return to the black fortress after its nigh-destruction by a new threat, challenging us to explore an "enormous world full of secrets" and see our coices reflected in numerous multiple endings.
If you pine for the Infinity Engine days, you'll probably get a huge kick out of this. More details and screens after the break.Click here to read more...
Beamdog have released a new trailer for Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition to foreshadow its November 28th launch on PC and iPad. It'll contain a new adventure (The Black Pits), new characters and "over 400 improvements" compared to the original game - plus some new voice acting if the (slightly messy) audio is anything to go by.Click here to read more...
The all-conquering Bastion is now available for iPad, weighing in at an attractive £2.99 on the App Store. Gameplay, narration and artwork remains unchanged, while new touch controls have been added to the experience. Note that it isn't compatible with iPhones since Supergiant didn't think that Bastion would work on a smaller screen, and the first-generation iPad has been excluded for "technical reasons."
Just in case you don't know, Bastion is one of this generation's 'must-play' games, providing superb action gameplay with non-traditional storytelling, a wonderful soundtrack and a plot that stays with you for months. We heralded it as a "triumph" in our 9/10 Bastion review. Watch the trailer after the break.Click here to read more...
Magic: The Gathering has a lot to answer for. A pioneering collectible card game, it both paved the way for hordes of imitations, and rudely scuppered most of their chances by being far too good in the first place. But Ubisoft have clearly decided to eschew the path of straight imitation for one that strives for a little more individual invention.
They managed it with Assassin's Creed: Recollections and now, in what seems to be an attempt to pimp the Might & Magic franchise out into as many genres as possible, Duel of Champions is on its way.
The main objective will be instantly familiar to genre fans: the aim of the game is to whittle your opponent's health from 20 down to 0 through a combination of maruading Creatures, dazzling Spells, and benefit-bestowing Fortunes - all of which are represented in card form.
Might & Magic: Duel of Champions sees a return to the more traditional turn-based approach to such games, after the somewhat divisive real-time mechanics featured in AC:R, but there are a few rather key differences to note when placed alongside the mighty Magic: The Gathering. After selecting your starter deck from one of three factions - Haven, Necropolis, or Inferno (the Stronghold barbarians will be unlocked further into the game) - you're greeted by a tutorial that eases you into the game.Click here to read more...
I've been playing something of a classic of late. More so than any other game in the past month, the last week or two has been utterly dominated by furiously engaging in duplicitous hacking activities, crippling multinational conglomerates, ruthlessly emptying bank accounts on the other side of the world, and placing the blame for my nefarious activities on the shoulders of my peers and colleagues.
Introversion finally ported Uplink to the iPad, and it's still just as good as it was over a decade ago.
It's a triumph of functional design, you see - a high concept game that has you taking on the mantle of a bedroom hacker, breaking your way into computers systems of one company on the orders of another in return for large sums of cash that can be used to upgrade your own software and hardware, and allow you to take on bigger targets.
Much like rotoscoped films and Jet Li, Uplink doesn't seem to have aged. It is, in fact, a whole paradoxical bundle of timelessness, with its economic interface and constant telephone bleeps a retro throwback to the early days of the internet and dial-up hacking, yet set in a 2010 future that sees 8-core CPUs (pretty realistic) running at 200 GHz (hahahahaha), with quantum units of memory that we can't really fathom yet.Click here to read more...
If you have an iPad, you really ought to buy this one. Sid Meier's Pirates! is a classic, and the modernised version translates to touch countrols effortless, with zipping around the Caribbean as a swashbuckling privateer with your thumbs proving to be an utter delight. And now it's under a quid-fifty. Do it. Do it now.
Oh happy day! One of the finest strategy games of yesteryear - Digital Reality's Imperium Galactica II - has returned, for a fresh release on the iPad. A fantastic mish-mash of real time tactics, real time strategy, empire building and 4X gameplay, Imperium Galactica II is still an absolutely cracking game, and a must for anyone who, like me, was obsessed with 90s/early-00s strategy titles.
It costs £2.49, and you can (and should) buy it right now. Because it's excellent.
Overhaul Games have announced that the upcoming Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, which will see BioWare's exceptional RPG re-released using an upgraded and enhanced version of the Infinity Engine, will be coming to iPad as well as PC.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC (reviewed) | iPad
Developer: Telltale Games
Law & Order is one of the truly great crime series of all time. One of the truly great television series, even. Throughout its 22 year history and multiple spin-offs, the franchise has treated us to an uncompromising look at the law in all of its blind, seedy glory: from the cops on the beat to the courtroom machinations necessary to put killers, rapists and thieves behind bars. With so much lore to draw on and classic characters to use, it's small wonder that Telltale Games have finally optioned the license, crafted some nuanced cases and marshalled a dream team of detectives including Lenny Briscoe, SVU's Olivia Benson and Rey Curtis. I'm a huge fan of the show, and I've been champing at the bit for some time.
However, as I mentioned in last year's Jurassic Park review, I have to wonder whether Telltale's aggressive pursuit of licenses may be causing them to fall prey to cookie-cutter game design. I'm afraid that Law & Order: Legacies does little to ease my concerns.
What Legacies gets absolutely spot on is the structure and style of the seminal series. Each of the seven parts - three of which are available at launch - is a self-contained episode in its own right; starting with a short introduction and one-liner, moving onto an opening credit roll featuring the familiar theme music and punctuated with the classic "donk donk!" audio stinger as new scenes are introduced. The first half of each episode casts you as one of the detectives who has to interrogate witnesses and collect evidence, with the latter half taking place in the courtroom as you counter arguments, sway the jury, cut plea bargains and attempt to secure the most punitive sentence possible. Outstanding scripting and some seriously dark themes help to seamlessly immerse you in the story, and it feels like a bona fide addition to the show rather than a transparent cash-in.Click here to read more...
Developer: Futuremark Games Studio
Unlike many of my fellow critics, I don't roll my eyes, reach for strong spirits or rend my garments in twain every time I hear that a new tower defence game is headed to the digital marketplace. Quite the opposite, in fact, since the genre has enjoyed a radiation and renaissance over the last year thanks to quality hybrid titles like Revenge Of The Titans, Dungeon Defenders, Orcs Must Die! and Defender's Quest. Tower defence certainly has more to give and legions of new followers to attract when married with exciting new gameplay elements, but Unstoppable Gorg is definitely one for the fans: an old-school build'em up that packs enough unique charm and dynamic features to stop the familiar mechanics from overstaying their welcome.
What's more, it's also one of the most impeccably-realised B Movie homages we've ever seen.
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Ever been forced to finish a Nazi Zombies session because work, school or whatever other interfering nuisance was to be attended? Well, now you can fend off the undead hordes on the go as well as at home, as Activision have released Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies on the App Store for iOS-equipped devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Boasting quality visuals - better on the iPad, of course - support for three other players who you can communicate with via Voice Chat, Black Ops Zombies recreates Treyarch's iconic Kino der Toten and fifty levels from the Dead Ops top-down arcade twin-sticks shooter - gasp! - all for just $6.99 from the App Store. Check out the trailer for a little idea of what's in store. [App Store]
Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD brings a tyre screeching experience to whichever touchscreen Apple device you may own, and it'll also show off the graphics capabilities of the iPad 2 if you're lucky enough to have purchased one. You'll have your pick of Bugatti Veyrons, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Pagani Zondas, to face off against the other racers in, across a variety of different tracks. The price drops to 59p tomorrow (14th April) and the deal lasts until Friday (15th April), so you'll need to be quick to take advantage of this one. Thanks to Dokko @ HUKD.
NB. It's also worth noting that the iPad version of the game is still selling for half price at £2.99.
PopCap games are fiendishly addictive. There, you've been warned. Stuffed with levels and bonus modes, shining and shimmering in glorious HD, recipient of ore awards than we can count, PvZ is a game that no Apple gadgeteer should really be without. There's simply no excuse at these prices. True, it doesn't quite have all of the features of the PC/Mac versions, but you'll easily clock up 10+ plus hours revisiting it on long journeys, lunch breaks and hospital visits. If you haven't got it yet, you need to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, check your pulse and do it anyway. Thanks to Stejay at HUKD.
PopCap have expertly crafted some of the finest casual games out of pure happiness, rainbows and a copious amount of crack- and they've slashed their iTunes prices to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Peggle, Bejeweled 2, Bookworm and Chuzzle are now all 59p for the day- which essentially means that there's no escaping the addiction. You'll doubtlessly know about Peggle and Bejeweled, but Bookworm challenges players to engage in lexical challenges and chuzzle is... well, Bejeweled with hairballs. 59p will net you some serious gameplay here. Thanks to fizz at Hot UK Deals.