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Monday, June 2, 2008

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Safari Sketch Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Red Rover Games recently announced the release of Safari Sketch, a new match-three puzzler that transports the player to exotic locales to view endangered species from around the world. Red Rover also announced a donation of $2 US for each sold copy of the game to the nonprofit Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

"Red Rover Games wants to make a contribution to the conservation of the beautiful creatures from around the world that inspired the creation of Safari Sketch™," Roger Nall, president/founder of Red Rover Games and 11:11 MediaWorks. “By partnering with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we will be able to support the conservation of wildlife the world over.”

"The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is grateful for the support of Red Rover Games," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Safari Sketch™ will not only educate people about endangered species conservation, it will also generate real support for the important wildlife conservation work of accredited zoos and aquariums.”

In Safari Sketch, adventurers can gather beautifully hand-rendered likenesses of more than 50 exotic and endangered species of plants, animals and insects, including the Giant Panda, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, and the world's rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect.  Players enter jungles, reefs, snowy mountains, archipelagoes, and other locales as they are challenged to find matches and clear the puzzle board before the “daylight” fades.  The game keeps a journal of the illustrations the player has collected along with an entry containing interesting facts about each creature presented in Safari Sketch.

Key features of Safari Sketch include:
• Unlock sketches and illustrations of over 50 endangered and exotic species
• Challenge over 100 puzzles with both obstacles and helpers
• Travel to 12 unique locations around the world
• Enjoy beautiful illustrations, themed music, and magical sounds and effects.
• Play against time in "Safari" mode and collect entries for your journal
• Wind down in the no-time-limit "Relaxed" mode
• Discover interesting facts and view full-color illustrations of each of the species in Safari Sketch
Safari Sketch will cost $19.95. A trial version is available for download at the website below.

Safari Sketch
Red Rover Games

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Eschalon: Book II Details
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Basilisk Games has again revealed some early information about the second game in the Eschalon RPG series. Although Book II is not yet officially announced, it is apparently in an early planning phase. It will again feature a single controllable character and will introduce the ability to choose a gender, and possibly a race other than human, for the protagonist.

The storyline is already in place (as it has been for about 3 years) and I have worked out most of what the main quest would include already, but I have zero side quests designed yet. Actually, very little has been done on the production side of Book II yet- we've just been doing conceptual tests and some modifications to the engine. Hopefully we can make an announcement soon to officially confirm that Book II is "in full production". We are working out the last details of that now- ensuring we have the resources to move ahead with production and actually see it through to the end!
For more information follow the links below.

Basilisk Forum: Eschalon Book II Quest Discussion
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

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Tomb Raider Anniversary Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Applelinks recently posted a new review article examining Tomb Raider Anniversary. The action adventure title revisits the territory of the original game using today's technology to give players a new experience. Applelinks gave the game a score of 5 out of 5.

From the review:

The first thing fans will notice is that Lara looks better than ever. I'd even go so far as to say she looks better than Angelina Jolie in the movies, but that'd be 1.) tremendously geeky, and 2.) tremendously disturbing. But the game does look great. Not just Lara (the water details are fantastic, and her clothes actually get dirty as the game progresses), but the environments as well. Although they're still stuck with the green/grey/brown color palette, the amount of detail makes them feel much less drab. There are some excellent lighting and fog effects, too, which are very important in a game that places so much emphasis on location. Gone are the blocky environments that previously felt like hallways with fancy textures, replaced by more organic environments that force Lara to use them instead of just run through them.

What's most amazing about this is how well the game plays considering the quality of the graphics. My review computer was just above the minimum requirements (albeit with a much better graphics card), and I was able to completely max out the graphics settings with barely a performance hit. The game would slow down a tad when loading up a new environment and sometimes during heavy action, but not enough to really harm the gameplay. And although Feral states the game isn't playable on Intel GMA processors, postings in a few forums I visited stated that some users were having success playing the game on MacBooks. Regardless, the gang at Robosoft did a fantastic job porting Tomb Raider Anniversary to the Mac, and I hope their relationship with Feral is a long one; they really know what they're doing.
Check out the full review at the link below.

Applelinks: Tomb Raider Anniversary Review
Feral Interactive
Tomb Raider Anniversary
Buy Tomb Raider Anniversary

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New Empyrean Age Trailer Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

CCP Games has released a new trailer for Empyrean Age, the upcoming expansion for the sci-fi MMO EVE Online. The expansion will introduce a faction ranking system, new militias, fresh agents pertaining to the massive conflicts, a dynamic new structure of system occupancy, and a whole new region in space: "Black Rise."

The second trailer for EVE Online: Empyrean Age is now available on the expansion features page. It contains more Scope News coverage of the escalating tensions between the four factions, and brings New Eden one step closer to total war.

In this glimpse into the EVE Universe, the CONCORD bureau station in Yulai faces down a mysterious fleet composed of both Republic Fleet and Thukker Tribe vessels.
The Empyrean Age expansion is scheduled for a June 10th release. Head over to the site listed below to learn more.

Empyrean Age Features Page
CCP Games
EVE Online

Mac Games News for Friday, May 30, 2008

Depths Of Peril Demo Available, Full Version Coming Soon3:11 PM
Cooking Academy Released For Mac2:52 PM
IMG Reviews Fable: The Lost Chapters8:03 AM
Custer Knights Another Desktop6:00 AM
Flash Vulnerability A Potential Danger For WoW Players6:00 AM
New Nations For Dominions 3: The Awakening6:00 AM
New Spore Movie & Screenshots Available6:00 AM
Sid Meier Listed In Guinness World Records6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, May 30, 2008 on one page

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