Opinion
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Blizzard silenced Hearthstone players, and it made the game amazing

A well-constructed Mage deck in Blizzard’s free-to-play collectible card game Hearthstone has the satisfying ability to take the enemy’s figurative arm over your knee to snap the bone in two.The Polymorph card allows you to turn any minion on the board into a sheep that can only hit for one damage, with one unit of health. It can take out some of the biggest threats from your opponent. The Fireball card costs four mana and deals six points of damage to whatever it hits. But the Mage's holy terror of doom is Flame Strike. It’s not a complicated card. You don’t have to set it up in order to bring destruction on your enemy. You don’t have to build your deck around it. It costs seven mana to cast, and deals four damage to every enemy minion on the board. It all but destroys...
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Doctor Who: Legacy first major update will add more than 20 hours of gameplay

Doctor Who: Legacy, Seed Studio and BBC Worldwide's free-to-play puzzle role-playing game, will receive more than 20 hours of new gameplay inspired by the show's fifth season, the developer announced today. In Legacy, players travel through time to put together a team of characters from the show and solve gem-based puzzles. Doctor Who: Legacy Version 2.0: Rise of the Master, the game's first major update, introduces a new perk system, expert level modes and new abilities, in addition to new allies and enemies. With the game's perk system, players unlock additional abilities for their allies. Players will have access to four more forms of the Doctor: the First, Second, Ninth and War Doctor. "The Season 5 story arc, Rise of the Master, sees the most recent incarnation of the Master, as...
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Candy Crush maker King settles trademark disputes with The Banner Saga developer

Social and mobile game developer King has settled its trademark disputes with The Banner Saga developer Stoic Studio and CandySwipe developer Albert Ransom, according to statements both developers recently released. "Stoic is pleased to have come to an agreement with King regarding Stoic's The Banner Saga trademark, which enables both parties to protect their respective trademarks now and in the future," the developer wrote on its website. CandySwipe developer Albert Ransom, who has previously accused King of being overly litigious with its candy-related trademark filings, posted a similar note to his website yesterday. "I am happy to announce that I have amicably resolved my dispute with King over my CandySwipe trademark and that I am withdrawing my opposition to their mark and they...
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Hitman Go trailer heralds its iOS release today

Hitman Go, Square Enix Montreal's turn-based puzzle game, arrived on iOS today for $4.99, and Square Enix released a trailer to celebrate. Check out the video above to see the game's diorama-like style, which places Agent 47 and his adversaries on board game-inspired levels. Alongside the series longstanding protagonist, Hitman Go also includes his established stealth tools like disguises, distractions and hiding spots and will allow players to complete levels with stealth or force. You can download Hitman Go in the iOS App Store and play it on iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPhone 4, iPod Touch fifth generation and newer devices. For more on the game, be sure to read our interview with its developers from PAX East 2014.
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Why Square Enix uses DRM

Square Enix uses digital rights management to earn profits and protect its intellectual property, Square Enix America's senior manager of business and legal affairs Adam Sullivan told TorrentFreak. Square Enix has "a well-known reputation for being very protective of our IPs," Sullivan said, and it employs DRM to further that goal. "The primary benefit to us is the same as with any business: profit," he said. Though he acknowledged that some players have problems and there is "no perfect solution yet," DRM also has other benefits that help developers. "When F2P began trending, lots of people thought it would be the death of DRM. I remember talking with one F2P developer who couldn't imagine why hackers would want to attack his game, since it was free and all. Two months later they...
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FarmVille 2: Country Escape launches on mobile today

It was hard to imagine FarmVille 2 on mobile. The web version, which launched in 2012, was designed with the mouse cursor in mind. It played like a simulation and real-time strategy game. There may not have been enemies or beasts to slay, but there were things to move on a game board, crops to plant and items to craft. The cute farming exterior was, in some ways, deceptive, because if players wanted to get strategic and competitive with their farms, they could. In bringing FarmVille 2 to mobile, developer Zynga had to redesign the game to be "mobile first." Porting the web version to mobile devices wouldn't have worked for a number of reasons. The web version relies on mouse input; mobile devices use swipe inputs. Web players are likely to spend more time with the game during play...
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Smash Bandits Racing comes to Android

British-based Hutch Games launched its mobile racing game Smash Bandits Racing onto Android this week, following a massive update that will drastically change the gameplay of the original Smash Bandits release. Smash Bandits Racing adds a new racing mode with 25 unique racing levels that pit you against three AI opponents. Successful races also give players the chance to unlock "gold" versions of vehicles. Players can still choose to play the standard Smash mode, with racers attempting to outrun the cops for as long as possible. A new attack helicopter will also be added to this mode at higher levels, as well as two new vehicles: the Hot Rod and Hummer. Smash Bandits Racing does away with the earlier timer mechanic, while in-app purchase prices will be reduced overall. As a result,...
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Candy Crush Saga to be distributed in China by Tencent this summer

Candy Crush Saga publisher King Digital Entertainment is bringing the sugary sensation to China this summer with the help of Chinese internet and media firm Tencent, King announced today. Tencent will distribute a Chinese version of Candy Crush Saga on its Mobile QQ and WeChat services. Candy Crush Saga is already available elsewhere in Asia — last year, King released the game in Japan and South Korea. "I am thrilled to be launching Candy Crush Saga with Tencent in China," said Riccardo Zacconi, CEO of King, in a press release today. "Tencent has the largest mobile social network in China and is a great partner to work with. I look forward to working together to make Candy Crush Saga as popular in China as in the rest of the world." "Tencent always hopes to bring global premier...
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Anki Drive getting two new cars, two new tracks, Race Mode

Anki Drive, the robotics-based video game that takes place in the real world, is being expanded with new cars, new tracks and a new mode, developer Anki announced today. The $199 game ships with two cars, and one track that features a slightly tweaked oval layout. Two additional tracks will be available May 6: Crossroads (image above), which features an intersection, and Bottleneck (image here), where the track narrows to a single lane in two different spots. Each additional track will cost $99. Anki is launching two new cars today, which will bring the game's lineup to six vehicles. Corax supports multiple weapons, while Hadion is a speed demon that comes with the Turbo Boost upgrade pre-installed. Each of the cars costs $69, the same price as the existing add-on cars, Rho and...
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'Platformer-without-platforms' Magnetic by Nature coming to Ouya first in May

Team Tripleslash's 2D "platformer-without-platforms" Magnetic By Nature will launch in early May on the Ouya Android console as a timed exclusive, developers announced today. The title is a redesign of Magnetic By Nature: Awakening, a short game the team created and released through Xbox Live Arcade in April 2013. The game is reminiscent of a platforming but contains very few platforms for players to utilize, according to developers. In Magnetic by Nature, players will control the last surviving robot exploring the ruins of an ancient civilization. The robot's magnetism can be used to attract and repel objects, propelling the robot against and away from other magnets to navigate through the labyrinthine environment. Magnetic by Nature is single-player only and includes more than 100...
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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft now available worldwide on iPad (update)

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment's free-to-play card battle game, is now available worldwide on iPad in the App Store. Blizzard originally released the title on Mac and Windows PC in March, after beginning an open beta in January. The company soft-launched the iPad version in Australia, Canada and New Zealand earlier this month. An Android version is also in development. During a recent press event, producer Bryan Chang told Polygon that the iPad version of Hearthstone is designed to be consistent with the play experience on computers, aside from the touch-based interface. According to Chang, feedback Blizzard has received on the iPad version suggests that "people find it to be the ideal way to play." "Overall, we've tried to maximize the capabilities of...
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Narrative fitness title Zombies, Run! 3 now available on iOS and Android

Zombies, Run! 3 — the third installment in developer Six to Start's mobile narrative fitness game — is now available on iOS and Android, the company announced today. Zombies, Run! is currently available for $3.99 on iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices, with Season 3 available as a free update for current players. The season includes a graphic redesign and will receive three new missions per week throughout the year, for 60 new missions total. Players who purchase Zombies, Run! for the first time will receive access to 40 missions from Seasons 1 and 2. The update will also collect more detailed statistics on players' runs and feature upgraded interval training options on iOS. Players can get Season 3 missions as they are released by purchasing the Season 3 Season Pass. This...
12 Comments

Toys for Bob and the story behind Skylanders

Beasts are peeking out of every nook and cranny in the office, a crazy infestation of plastic chaos.The figurines sit on shelves, hang on walls, tumble on desks in states of unpainted nakedness, dismantled and incoherent. They gurn, snarl and claw in an infinity of static poses. This is the place where the little plastic creatures of Activision's breakout monster hit Skylanders are conceived and birthed, the headquarters of Toys for Bob, a tiki-pirate-ship-themed ex-aircraft hanger in Marin County, California. Since its introduction back in 2011, the Skylanders video game and toy series has generated upwards of $2 billion in lifetime sales. It is one of the top 20 game franchises of all time, with 175 million toy sales. The Skylanders monsters have captured the imaginations of...
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Eufloria Adventures out on PS Mobile this week

Real-time strategy game Eufloria Adventures is hitting PlayStation Mobile this week, according to a post on the PlayStation Blog. The title is a new game set in the Eufloria universe from developers Brian Grainger, Rudolf Kremers and Alex May. In the game, an entity called the Mother Tree has sent you — a Seedling Ship — to investigate a set of alien environments, scouring for resources and artifacts to use. Players will be able to evolve a single Seedling Ship in a variety of different ways, assigning it new attributes and honing its speed, strength and energy levels. Along the way, players can also rescue lost seedlings, defeat enemy seedlings and discover records left by the seedlings that came before. Eufloria Adventures includes both a casual mode and a roguelike mode, for...
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5 Comments

Humble Mobile Bundle 5 includes The Cave, The Room Two

The latest Humble Bundle, the Humble Mobile Bundle 5, is available now and includes six games at pay-what-you-want prices. Buyers who pay below the average will receive DRM-free copies of Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Bag It! and R-Type 2; those who pay more than the average (currently around $4.70) will also get Carcassonne, The Cave and The Room Two. More games are expected to unlock in the future, which will also be available for those that paid more than the average. Games are available for Android devices; check out the trailer above for a quick look at each game. Those who purchase bundles can choose to split their contribution between game developers, bundle organizers and charity organizations. The Humble Mobile Bundle 5 will be available until Tuesday, April 29.
7 Comments

Mobile AR game Run An Empire brings strategy to the streets

Run An Empire offers mobile gamers the opportunity to turn their local neighborhood into their own fiefdom, by the simple expedient of jogging and a little strategic thinking.It's a GPS-fuelled alternate reality game that passed its recent £15,000 ($25,000) Kickstarter target with ease. Players take their phone out for a jog, and the route becomes the boundaries of their own empire. Until, that is, some other jogger invades and starts to carve up their own little slice of the world. Players can protect their own areas by running its borders over and over again, or by completing the run in faster times than competitors. "We want to bring the competitive challenge of strategy games to the physical world around us," said co-designer Sam Hill (pictured below, right). He called the game a...
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