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Category Archives: GDC 2018

GDC 2018: 'Calamari Kid' is an Arcade Diver with a Surprising Amount of Strategy from 'Bean's Quest' Developer Kumobius

Some of my all-time favorite mobile games have come out of Australian developer Kumobius. Games like Bean's Quest [$2.99], Bean Dreams [$2.99], Time Surfer [$0.99], and of course the mega hit Duet [$2.99]. So of course I'm always thrilled to see what's next from them. In an interesting twist, I'd actually seen their upcoming title Calamari Kid back at last year's GDC when it was in just a very early state, and remember thinking to myself that it had a lot of potential. Fast forward to this year's GDC and that potential is being realized to its fullest in the build that I was shown. You play as an adorable squid diving down a series of pre-designed levels, avoiding a host of underwater hazards as you try to make it to the pile of treasure sitting on the ocean floor. The control mechanics are really interesting, as your squid is always rotating counter clockwise but when you touch the screen he'll rotate the other direction, so by using feathering taps you can get the squid to move straight down. This control method is super fun in practice and Calamai Kid hides a lot of strategy in its mechanics, as you'll see on display in our hands-on video below. We should hopefully all get to experience this charming game in the next couple of months or so...

GDC 2018: Fulfill Your Desire for Childish Mischief by Blowing Up Toys in 'Firecracker Fight'

Many kids of a certain age group get these wild desires to destroy stuff. Whether it's Dennis the Menace with his slingshot or Bart Simpson with… his slingshot, there's some sort of primal desire to cause destructive mischief when you're little. And maybe when you're big, too. That's sort of the premise behind Firecracker Fight, the first mobile game from developer Low Five Studio. You'll be tossing firecrackers (and eventually other, even more explosive items) towards waves of different toys in an effort to blow them to smithereens. The launching mechanic is really satisfying as you'll simply pull back on the explosive and release it when the aiming line is where you want it, but it has that element of leading your shots to line up with the moving vehicles, sort of like being a quarterback and leading a pass to a receiver. It just feels GOOD when you nail it. Also, being that these are firecrackers with fuses, you can't take all day to aim your shot, so there's some urgency that comes into play to keep you on your toes. Check out our hands-on look at Firecracker Fight below and look for the game to launch in the next month or so...




GDC 2018: 'Dawn Break: The Flaming Emperor' is an Action RPG with Great Visuals that's Out Right Now

While we're typically looking for what's upcoming in the world of mobile games at a conference like GDC, sometimes it's nice to meet up with developers who have already released their game and just want to make sure it gets our attention. That's pretty much the case with Our Game Entertainment and their game Dawn Break: The Flaming Emperor [Free] It actually released just a few months ago so it's still relatively new, but it's certainly one that slipped under my radar when it came out. That's mostly due to it being a free to play action RPG, a genre that's SO saturated it's hard for any of them to stand out from one another. With the closer attention I was able to give Dawn Break during our meeting at GDC 2018, I could see that this is definitely one you want to check out if you're a fan of the genre and its art style and overall polish definitely feel a cut above the usual fare. Check out our hands-on video of Dawn Break below and if it piques your interest I'd definitely recommend giving this free game a shot using the link below...

GDC 2018: Ogre Pixel Shows Off 30-Second Metroidvania 'Jumper Jon' and One-Handed Runner 'Pixel Stars'

I have been a big fan of developer Ogre Pixel for a number of years now, with such great mobile game releases as Warcher Defenders [Free] and Swipe Casters [Free]. So I was pretty excited to finally meet face to face at GDC 2018 and check out two of Ogre Pixel's upcoming games. First up is a game I feel has enormous promise as it's a concept I haven't seen done anywhere before. The game is called Jumper Jon and it's a Metroidvania style platforming adventure, but with one huge twist: You play the game in 30-second chunks. Each time you start a game you're given 30 seconds to explore and collect whatever you can, and when that time runs out you're dead. Luckily you'll get to keep whatever items you obtained, so for the next 30 second chunk you'll be able to get just a little bit further than before. I'm probably doing a bad job of describing it but when you see it in action in the following video you can see just how novel an idea it is. Ogre Pixel is hoping to launch Jumper Jon sometime this year...

GDC 2018: 'Dr. Schplot’s Nanobots' is a Super Polished Matching Game Battler with Character Collection

What do you do when you're a doctor who has created a series of life-saving nanobots to fight off ailments and diseases right from inside the human body, but then those nanobots malfunction and start causing harm instead of good? Well if you're Dr. Schplot, you'll play a super fun matching game in order to battle against the rogue nanobots and convert them back into the life-saving little machines they were intended to be. That's the premise behind Dr. Schplot’s Nanobots from Middle City Games, and we were able to sit down at GDC 2018 and get a hands-on demo of the game in action. I know matching games can elicit a sigh out of many mobile gamers due to the sheer number of them, but Dr. Schplot’s Nanobots features a really awesome battling mechanic and an extensive character collection and upgrading system, so I think if you're the type that typically enjoys matching games with RPG mechanics then you'll find a lot to like here. Dr. Schplot’s Nanobots should be launching in the next couple of months and you can see it in action in the video below...

GDC 2018: Highly-Anticipated 'Exiles of Embermark' Continues to Look Fantastic

Since its original announcement in early 2016, we've been following along with the development of PvP battling game Exiles of Embermark from developer Gunslinger Studios with great interest. Whenever a game's development runs multiple years it's pretty inevitable that we see it at multiple GDCs, and Exiles of Embermark is no exception. This is now our third GDC in a row meeting up with Gunslinger to check out the progress on the game, and each year it continues to look even more polished and more promising. Would I like the dang game to release already? Heck yes! But I also can see their vision for Exiles and would never want them to rush the process. So, without further ado check out our latest lengthy look at Exiles of Embermark and look for a closed testing phase to start up sometime later this year with a tentative release window of early 2019...

GDC 2018: Arte France is Publishing Two Stellar Looking Games, 'Vandals' and 'Homo Machina'

During GDC 2018 this week we were able to sit down and check out two upcoming games that are being published by Arte France, and as it so happens these have been two of my very favorite games of the show. First up is Vandals which is being developed by Cosmografik, who you may remember as the developer of the clever platformer Type:Rider back in 2013. The easiest way to describe Vandals is that it's turn-based stealth puzzling similar to Hitman GO but with awesome graffiti spray painting elements like something you'd see in Jet Set Radio. The touchscreen serves as a perfect input method for creating cool graffiti, and Vandals just oozes a gritty street style. Check it all out in action in the below hands-on preview and look for Vandals to launch next month...

GDC 2018: The Lovely Mini Golf Game 'Vista Golf' is Getting a Level Editor Soon

Developer Shallot Games released Vista Golf [Free] back in July of last year, and it stuck out in the sea of similar mini-golfing games with its clean visuals, smart controls, and weekly rotation of new courses. Unfortunately, being the work of a lone developer, real life obligations meant that contract work put off some of the plans they had for Vista Golf for some point in the future. Now with some more free time to work on the game, Shallot is readying a significant update to Vista Golf which will include a very user-friendly level creator. Players will be able to create and share levels online for potentially limitless mini-golfing fun. Check out our hands-on demo of the Vista Golf level editor and look for a forthcoming call for beta testers soon and for the update to go live most likely this summer...

GDC 2018: 'Shift Quantum' is an Extremely Stylish Puzzle Platformer Coming to Nintendo Switch

During GDC 2018 this week we got something of a blast from the past as we checked out Shift Quantum from Fishing Cactus, which is set to be published by Red Panda on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. The origins of the game date back to over a decade ago with the original Shift Flash game, which you can still play today. The main hook is that each level is made up of black areas and white areas, and pressing the shift key would switch which area would be the "active" one. So say the ground was black and the sky was white, hitting the shift key would flip things so the white would become the ground and the black become the sky. This is used to solve various puzzle platforming levels, and that original Shift even made its way to iPhone way back in 2009 and was a perfect fit for the touchscreen. Shift Quantum takes that defining shifting mechanic and builds it out with new levels, a fantastic new art style, a compelling narrative, and even a fully featured level editor. While sadly a mobile version of Shift Quantum isn't in the cards, it's at least coming to the Nintendo Switch as well as the other major consoles and PC, so check out our hands-on time with the Switch version below and look for a launch in the next coming months...

GDC 2018: 'Safari Central' Uses Real-World Data to Put Safari Animals in Your World to Track in AR

Internet of Elephants is a development studio based out of Kenya who focuses on making digital experiences that help people learn about and make connections with animals in hopes of raising awareness about animal conservation. In August of last year they released the app Safari Central [Free] which allows users to interact with a handful of protected safari animals in augmented reality and do things like take photos or learn more about them. It's definitely an "app" and not a "game" but that's where GDC 2018 comes in. We met up with Internet of Elephants to see their future plans for Safari Central, which right now is considered just a limited preview. The real goal is to create an almost Pokemon GO-like tracking experience through AR. What's really cool is that the studio has many partners in Kenya who are able to provide real-life data on all the featured animals, and coupled with the impressively animated 3D models it really has the potential to bring real awareness and knowledge to people who use Safari Central. You can find much more information about Safari Central and Internet of Elephants at their official website, and you can see a brief demo of the new AR mode in the video below. It's in a VERY early state right now but already looks really cool. And of course if you want to check out the limited preview version of Safari Central, you can do so with the link at the end of this article. ..

Finnish developer Sulake made their name with the incredibly popular social network/game Habbo Hotel, now just called Habbo, which has ammassed nearly 300 million users since its humble beginnings as an online portal in the early part of the century. After maintaining the service for so long and even bringing it to iOS in the form of Habbo - Virtual World [Free], Sulake is now set to bring out their most major release since. It's called Hotel Hideaway [Free], and while it's technically still in "soft launch" it's been available in App Stores in all sorts of regions around the world for a couple of years now. With the "official" launch happening soon, Sulake sat down with us at GDC 2018 to show us what Hotel Hideaway is all about as well as demo the very interesting upcoming AR mode. Spoiler alert: There is a lot of twerking. If you enjoyed Habbo or are just intrigued by Hotel Hideaway, you can check it out right now for free...

GDC 2018: Hidden Gem Logic Puzzler 'SiNKR' Getting a Portal-Filled Spinoff this Year

It's no secret that the App Store gets bombarded with new games at a pace that's pretty out of hand, and try as we might to keep up with everything it's fairly common for great games to slip through the cracks now and then. One such game that's flown mostly under the radar is the logic puzzler SiNKR [$0.99] from developer Wahler Digital. It only launched about a month ago, so it's actually still quite new, and those who have discovered it in our forums have enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a tricky game to explain, so I'll go ahead and let the trailer for SiNKR do the explaining for me...

GDC 2018: 'Enchanted World' Turns Block Sliding Puzzles up to 11

One of the amusing parts about the App Store is how when a particular type of game has been done a million times before, the only room left for developers to explore inside of that particular universe of games is by ramping production values up to absurd extremes. That's definitely the case here in Enchanted World, which is among the most beautiful block sliding puzzles we've seen so far:..

GDC 2018: 'Playing for a Better World' and 'Rainbow Puke 2' from Mybox Game Studio

Mybox Game Studio from Uruguay is here at GDC 2018 showing off a couple of their upcoming mobile games, and as we are known to do, we sat down with the team to check them out. You may be familiar with Mybox by way of their most recent release, the adorable logic puzzle game Kuros Classic [Free] which launched in November of last year. The first upcoming game they showed us is something that's more kid-focused, but still could appeal to fans of cute art and fun mini games. It's called Playing for a Better World and its aim is to teach children about conservation efforts like using solar energy and recycling. It should be arriving in about a month or so. ..

GDC 2018: 'SneakOps' is an Endless Sneaker from Noodlecake

It wouldn't be GDC without the guys from Noodlecake bringing an overwhelming amount of games to the show. They're operating on all cylinders when it comes to publishing lately, and the first game they showed us this year is SneakOps. It's effectively an endless sneaker, and using all sorts of stealthy mechanics you likely already know from Metal Gear and other similar games you see how far you can sneak...

GDC 2018: Vivid Games Shows Off 'Space Pioneer', 'Metal Fist', and 'Gravity Rider' All of Which Are Launching this Summer

Vivid Games is here at GDC 2018 and they have quite a full lineup of new mobile games launching in the next several months. They stopped by our meeting area to show off three of them, and funnily enough all three games have been in soft launch so it's possible you're familiar with them in some capacity already. First up is Space Pioneer, which we looked at last July when it went by the name Outer Pioneer. It's an isometric shooter with a really cool art style and TONS of stuff to loot and upgrade. That one will be launching globally in May. Then we check out Metal Fist which is a platformer/fighting game hybrid that's just a little bit like something like Super Smash Bros. The cool cast of characters and the interactive environments are the star here, and you can look for this one to officially launch in June. Finally we saw Gravity Rider which is a Trials-esque side-scrolling motorbike game that uses some really cool shifting camera perspectives and is filled with physics-based stunt fun. That one will launch in August, and you can see all three in action in the following hands-on video from GDC 2018...

GDC 2018: Drift Forever in 'Absolute Drift'

With Fortnite and PUBG on the App Store, it feels like we're in a golden age of mobile ports. Noodlecake is continuing that trend by bringing Absolute Drift to mobile, a drift racing game that's already been launched on Steam as well as consoles. I really dig the minimalistic top-down style of this game, and we got a quick look at GDC:..

GDC 2018: A Quick Look at 'The Messenger' on the Nintendo Switch

The game everyone seems to be talking about at GDC is The Messenger, a Switch platformer that loads of folks on Twitter keep comparing to games like Shovel Knight, Owlboy, and others. (Which is very good company to be in.) We got a quick look at it, and the way they game blends Metroidvania style equipment unlocking and swapping back and forth between both 8 bit and 16 bit graphics as a game mechanic has me over the moon for The Messenger...

GDC 2018: 'Disco Road' is a Multi-Lane Musical Runner

Ever since I first fiddled around with Audio Surf ages ago, I've been fascinated by the potential of using music to generate content inside of games. Despite having access to the music library on the iOS device for years now, very few developers have used this functionality to do anything that cool. Disco Road is the latest title to take a crack at using your music to craft gameplay, in this case, via a multi-lane runner...

GDC 2018: Another Look at 'Seldom Falls', a Super Clever Puzzler

Last GDC, we took a long look at Randy O'Connor's Seldom Falls. As an indie developer, he comes up with some super clever game concepts but he is sort of notorious for taking his time building his games. (Good things come to those who wait, and all.) Seldom Falls is a really cool blend of town building and a block stacking puzzler which we're really looking forward to:..

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