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Rymdkapsel – Space Strategy Game

rymdkapsel

Everyone should get ready for the game Rymdkapsel – simply one of the best indie-casual games released for a while. In Rymdkapsel you take the command of a space-station and its minions. You have to open monoliths and defend yourself against aliens – making this a mix of a spacial strategy game and a tower defense sort-of game.

What this game makes so special, is the game-balancing . It’s been a while since I’ve seen such an extraordinary game-balacing. This game has a slow pace – a round usually takes between 40 and 70 minutes. Strategic failures can lead to the loss of a 40 minute play – so you have to think ahead oll of the time.

There are two small enhancements I can think of, to make this a really perfect game:

  • 1. The music get really a little bit of loopy after some while. The good thing is: the game has a feature to turn background music off.
  • 2. It would be cool to have a second or even a third level, when finishing all three missions. Like having different maps to start with.

But this are really small issues. Simply get this game Rymdkapsel made by grapefruit games. You will enjoy it!

Mag Max – Arcade (1985)

Another obscure videogame-finding. Mag Max is an arcade game from Japan, made in 1985 by Nichibutsu. It’s basically a shooter-game. The graphic-style is interesting: it has some soft of pseudo 3d and an “over- and underworld”. Also some weapons are some sort of strange.

Jillian Aversa – Atlantis Awakening Kickstarter

Jillian Aversa is a game music vocalist singer and you maybe already know her voice from the remarkable Zircon-Album “Identity Sequence“. She now wants to produce an own album – a concept album with little about atlantis, “self-awakening” and such things.

Maybe the music sounds a little cheesy and esoteric at the first listen. I also though so about at Zircons “Identity Sequence”. But from my experience this impression leaves after some listening. It did at least at the Zircon album with I really listened heavily to.

The project got completely funded after just 12 hours – now bonus-programs are offered if the Kickstarter reach higher points, like Orchestra recordings, videoclips or remix-album.

Retro Game Crunch

Retro Game Crunch is an interesting project, that can be backed on Kickstarter. It’s for people who a) love retro-styled games and/or b) like to influence the game design process. And have six instead of just one game!

The team around the Retro Game Crunch wants to make a new game every month. The people who back, can give the theme / topic of the new game to make – and they can debate and make critics. In order to get something great done. In the end there hopefully will be six nice looking fun-arcade games.

Well, at the Kickstarter page, the game creators say with a smile, that “biggest challenge will be burnout”. They “promise to take regular breaks, drink plenty of water, and remain functioning members of society.” So stress or back – in the end enjoy!

Reaching Finality – Small Zelda-like browser-game

reaching_finality

A neat small browser-game for people who are into, zelda-clones and nice pixellated graphics. This game called Reaching Finality was made by Cory Martin in two weeks for the Stencyl Jam 2012 competition on Newgrounds.

The game itself doesn’t add anything innovative, but there is something really well balanced, that makes this game fun to play. It’s the dose of the enemies, the music and sound effects – even the used colors of the pixel art. A great game to fiddle away 30 minutes of time!

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Cargo Bot for iPad

Cargo Bot is the first game “that was ever made entirely on the iPad”. It used the “Codea” Lua-Scripting environment, where you can code and run scripts directly on the iPad (which I recommend much!). Cargo Bot was made by Simeon Nasilowski, the guy behind “Two Lives Left”, who also made Codea itself.

And like Codea the quality of this game really matters: in Cargo Bot you use simple commands to program a cargo-lifter in order to solve simple tasks. You can build loops and little if-statements. In fact, this game is pretty close to programming (assembler for example), but it is still a very fun experience. This game is really fun and addictive as well – and it teaches you programming logic at the same time. Unfortunately only available for iPad, it is still an instant download, because the game is free at the moment as well. So don’t miss it!

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Trip – Audio-Visual Experiment

Lately there was “Trip” coming around the corner. It is an audio-visual experiment made with Unity, that looks like a psychedelic game at the first glance – but that does not have any gameplay at all. Except wandering around and exploring this strange colorful world. And you can collect items. It is more like a 3d-exploration artwork, than really a game. An interesting work and a direction of making artworks, that really can be explored much more. With all this colors and things circling around “Notgames“. Some will remember Trip on the game Fract.

And while we are at, if you are able to read or translate German: the blog Superlevel made an interview with the Trip-creator Axel Shokk.

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Syder Arcade – Shoot’em Up

Syder Arcade is a shooting-game in the style of a really classical vertical shooter, developed by Studio Evil. The game does not only have a clean gameplay, but also very polished graphics. This is how classical shooting games from the Amiga-times would look like today. As a special feature, the game offers some “graphic filter”, that lets you select very strange in-game color-schemes. You can select for example, to play the game in color-schemes “Apple II, C64, Amiga HAM or gray2bit“. And since there is a decent lack of good shooting-games on Mac OS-X, consider this a gaming suggestion! (The game is also available for Windows)

(via)

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Piksel Bacteria – AR game concept

piksel-bacteria

The art and research group “And-Or” from Switzerland released another interesting concept-game. Piksel Bacteria deals with Augmented Reality and the real world.

The concept is easy (and maybe not a game at all) – your mission is to “infect” as many pixels as possible with the “bacterium pikselum”. The bacteria breed, by looking at them with the iOS-camera. Give them food by taking them to an edge and start moving the camera along the edge. What I like about this concept is, that you do not need any QR-Codes or something other prepared, to step into the “Augmented Reality”-world, but that the “game” plays instantly from any phone in any environment.

Before “Piksel Bacteria” And-Or raised gameplay and reality questions in works like “Gamescape“, where the players input of the game results in architecture. Or Discrimination Pong, a work that raises questions about gameplay modifiers, asymmetric gameplay and discrimination.

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Square: Experimental Casual Game

square-game

Square is a small experimental flash game made by Etienne Perin. A little variation of the “Snake-game” category. In Square you do not fight against the length of your own tail like in Snake-games, but against black blocks on the field and time constraints. A well executed and fun to play game. Just check it out.

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Krystian Majewski’s Trauma – finally out!

Monday, 8th August 2011 – this is the day, the game Trauma from Krystian Majewski will be finally available in the public! I already played the game and enjoyed this unconventional gaming experience very much. And I think you will do as well.

We continue with the good news: The game Trauma is available for Win PC, Mac OS-X and Linux systems. The game is available in Steam as well (including Mac). And the game is available for only 5 Euros and with no DRM. That sounds like a fair deal!

Here is the official website traumagame.com, Twitter-Account @traumagame and a little bit of pre-release chit-chat at Krystian’s GameDesignScrapbook-blog.

PS: You can experience this game at the Notgames Festival on the 15. / 16. August 2011. In the CologneGameLab, just at the same time the GDC Europe and Gamescom is in town!

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Björk – Biophilia iOS App

bjoerk biophilia ipad

Just in case that you missed this app: don’t miss this app! It’s the newest artistic approach from Björk, who decided to walk new ways once again. Not only musical, but also in the format of choice: The new album “Biophilia” comes as a whole iOS app (so iPhone, iPod and iPad). It tells a story about the universe, the creation of it and is very strange and unique. The app itself is something like a 3d-browsable small universe, where you can visit stars and planets that represent the single tracks from the album.

But there is more to it! Every track has lots of information like lyrics, background text, a visual music score with lyrics (!) and also a music score of each single track to play along (!!). On top, there will be a special-made mini-game or interactive animation for each single track. The app comes with one initial track for free. All other tracks will be available by in-app purchases. There is the option to pre-order all tracks and mini-games for 7.99 Euro as in-app purchase.

bjoerk iphone

bjoerk biophilia minigame

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FRACT beta

Just in case you missed the beta of the game FRACT: just don’t miss it. FRACT is a somehow abstract adventure game, that plays in a virtual world, reminding of TRON or something like The Sentinel, Rez or Darwinia. It is not only the look, but excellence also comes from the sound-design. Extremely well made sounds totally support the games experience. (The game was selected as one of the Independent Games Festival student showcase winners as well.)

For my opinion the riddles are a little too abstract, but walking through this designed landscape alone is worth the try. The beta is available for download the the FRACT website, is available for Mac or PC (and is about 170 Megabytes, just in case you ask). The game was made by Richard E. Flanagan, linger in his portfolio as well!! (via)

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Next Level Conference 2 – art and culture of digital games

next level conference 2

Once again Cologne, once again “digital games meets art, culture and business”: In November 2011 the second edition of the “Next Level Conference” will take place at the Abenteuerhallen Kalk – a very nice locations, that hosts the demosceneparty Evoke as well, the Gloria Theater and the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum. In panels, performances and workshops you will learn lot about games, art, sound, teaching with games and the business around games as well. Next Level is about connecting creatives and supporting artful use of the medium game. One partner this year is the SoundTrack_Cologne, who care about music and sound in films and games. Read all about the festival-program at the opulent Next Level Conference Website.

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CityHero: Real-urban gaming for iPhone!

CityHero

CityHero, the game that you play with your friends and your city, is finally available in the AppStore! The game is a little like a mix of Foursquare (checkin-based stuff), Monopoly (become the greatest and richest) and Sim City (build the most interesting town). One of the main goal is, to build the city with the highest value. You also play with your friends: if with them or against them – this depends on your choice! There is a global hiscore-list and a hiscore-list of your friends.

Gameplay: You basically do checkins at real places to earn virtual money: the so called coins. With that coins you can buy yourself real-places in the city, that go directly into your personal virtual portfolio: displayed as iso-view. Now every item in your city has a coin-value – calculated upon the number of actual checkins. So the price of each item in your portfolio changes every day! At the same time: if somebody checks-in at a place you own, you will earn some money automatically. So having popular places is the key, to get successful in the game.

Socialize yourself: CityHero is also a social tool. You can use CityHero, to check-in at Facebook Places, Foursquare or post your checkins to Twitter. You can browse your surroundings and get dynamic information, i.e. from Facebook. You can also use CityHero to check, if your friends are nearby. So lots of stuff to explore!

I am one of the developers and co-founders of CityHero, so there is a very good chance, that you get exclusive and news early on CityHero on this blog Digital Tools – besides the CityHero-Website, CityHero-Twitter or the CityHero-Facebook page.

Right at the moment, the app is currently available only with a German UI. That means, that you can play the game on the whole world, but the UI is in German. But we are already working on the localisation of the UI in other languages.

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Gameduino: Arduino-based embedded game-controller

Gameduino is currently a Kickstarter-funded-project. It is a game-controller concept, that is build upon the open-source Arduino microcontroller-platform.

“Gameduino connects your Arduino to a VGA monitor and speakers, so anyone who can write an Arduino sketch can create video games. It’s packed full of 8-bit game goodness: hundreds of sprites, smooth scrolling, multi-channel stereo sound.”

This sounds great. You can still support this project by spending funds at Kickstarter.

(via)

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Spent: A serious game

Spent is a serious game made for the Urban Ministry of Durham, that want to teach about homeless people and the stuff the Ministry does. In the game you ran out of money and have to get through it, without getting homeless or loosing all your cash. This flash-game takes the approach of an interactive text-adventure, where you are bound to make choices all the time. Although the clean style and the interesting idea, the game itself unfortunately feels a little bit too serious in my eyes. All choices you make in the game, can be reflected too easily through the eyes of “not spending to much money“. On the other hand, this game tells a story about living at the border, so why not have a try? Somehow a counterpart could be Queue, that is about standing in an social welfare waiting line. Cool ideas for games I guess, but please put a little more fun into it! (via)

Takara Tomy Sound Toy

This toy brings everything on a new level: social interaction, music instruments, composition, sound games… In the end this is a real social game. (via Althausen, thx!)

Flee – Game for Android

Flee is a neat game for Android-devices, that I want to call the “most complete LCD-handheld emulating game” that probably ever was. You use the touch-display to control a LCD-Handheld game. There is almost nothing to report about the…

Oozy and the Tower of Wulu

Oozy and the Tower of Wulu is a nice casual game, that throws a couple of game-mechanics into a jar, to make them a cool mix of fun, arcade and puzzle. Some elements remembers on Sokoban, other on arcade-classics from the 1,5 birds-eye perspective.

The aim of the game is, to explode energy-bubble with slime. To do so, you have to first throw worm-slime. Not on all fields it’ll explode. That’s why you will have to build longer slime-explode ways with stronger energy sometimes, otherwise the energy-bubbles won’t burst. Best try a round, then do the tutorial level. Cool and convincing game, like it!

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