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Thursday, January 3, 2008

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Hitman Programmers Release Deep Blue Sea
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

Former programmers for the popular Hitman game series have launched their first casual game, Deep Blue Sea for Windows and Mac OS X, from their new game studio, The Game Equation.

Deep Blue Sea is a match three title with a storyline set in an underwater world. Players must solve the mystery of the aquative people of Avalonia as they uncover fragments of their Sacred Amulets during the game. The game features 130 levels, 7 magical amulets to collect, and five original pieces of music.

The hit game, Deep Blue Sea, is the first release from the brand new game studio, The Game Equation. "After working on top-rated shooters for years, we were ready to work in a smaller company and make smaller games. We started to notice how people with our background were making top hits in the casual games industry," explains Brian Meidell, co-owner of the Copenhagen based company, The Game Equation. "We realized that the high end of the casual games industry was within our reach, and that the shorter product cycles and smaller company setting was exactly what we wanted. These are games that remind us of the ones we played when growing up," he smiles.

"We studied the different options, and decided on the match-3 genre for Deep Blue Sea,Ē explains Bo Cordes, co-owner of The Game Equation. ďOur goal was to apply our knowledge and experience towards creating a casual game with totally smooth and responsive gameplay or, 'tight' gameplay as we call it." Deep Blue Seaís initial sales and feedback indicate that they have accomplished just that.

One challenge was creating an original soundtrack that sets the mood throughout the game. "We knew from working on the internationally best-selling 'Hitman' series that the gameís sound and music mean a lot for its enjoyment, yet this is often the most overlooked element," Meidell clarifies. To this end, The Game Equation contracted a Danish composer, Rasmus Hartvig with years of experience creating music for films and theatrical productions, to create an integrated music and sound design for Deep Blue Sea.

"Making music and sound for computer games is a very different challenge from making music for films - you have to consider unusual factors like, 'would this be annoying to listen to after four hours,' and, 'what if these sounds are played simultaneously?' But I'm always up for a new challenge," says Hartvig.
Deep Blue Sea is available for $20 and requires Mac OS X 10.4, a 1 GHz PowerPC G4 or Intel CPU, and 512 MB RAM.

The Game Equation
Deep Blue Sea
Buy Deep Blue Sea

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Apple Games Features Hordes Of Orcs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

Apple Games' latest feature examines the orc filled tower defense title, Hordes of Orcs. Recently released by Freeverse, the game challenges players to fend off the rampaging monsters using a variety of towers and walls. The article also includes a brief history of orcs and some tips and tricks to help players succeed in the game.

Your defenses include towers and walls you can place anywhere on the map, along with spells that slow their relentless march across the screen. Your supplies of gold and mana fund your building activities and spellcasting, respectively. Mana regenerates automatically, while you receive gold when you kill orcs. Choose from four spells: teleport, which sends all affected orcs back to their starting position; fog, which slows down all orcs for a short period; bait, which tempts all nearby orcs with goodies that keep them from going any further; and weaken, which reduces the defenses of all affected orcs.

Sell your towers if you need some quick cash, and donít forget to upgrade them with stronger defenses as soon as possible. You can even set a specific strategy for each tower, telling it to target the fastest enemy or the first one it sees, for example. There are five types of towers: arrow, fire, ice, lightning, and radiation. Each kind of orc is resistant to a different form of tower, so mix your defenses for optimal results.
Check out the full review at the link below.

Apple Games: Hordes Of Orcs
Hordes of Orcs

Sonic The Hedgehog Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld's Game Room has posted a new review of Sonic The Hedgehog for iPod. The game brings the well known sidescroling action hero to Apple's multimedia device. The Game Room gave Sonic for iPod a score of 2 out of 5.

From the review:

Sonic employs two different control schemesóScheme A, as itís called, is a two-handed method that requires you to get both thumbs on the Click Wheel and actually click the buttons in order to make Sonic run and jump. Scheme B, a one-handed scheme, uses touching instead of clicking. Neither scheme works particularly wellóneither has the precision or control of a d-pad with a separate button.

That, unfortunately, kills Sonic on the iPod for me. Itís not unplayable, but itís incredibly frustrating. And the last thing I want to do is be frustrated while Iím playing a game because of wonky controls, something that I, as a player, have no control over.

Please donít get the impression that Sonic is poorly developed. In fact, it looks and runs fabulously, lets you save at the beginning of any stage you reach, and provides you with an unlimited number of continues, so you can keep playing as long as you like. A tutorial will help you get started, and the game includes all six worlds youíll find in the original console cartridge version. And itís clear that the developers sought to overcome the gameís most basic problemóits control system being designed for a fundamentally different device. But unfortunately, their creativity in doing so doesnít work around the iPodís shortcomings in this area.
The full review is available at the link provided below.

Macworld's Game Room: Sonic The Hedgehog Review

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Aquaria Wins Indie Game Of The Year Award
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Bit Blot's side-scrolling underwater action adventure, Aquaria, has been announced as the 2007 winner of Game Tunnel's Independent Game of the Year award. The award is given each year to the most outstanding Independent Video Game. The game also won in the graphics, sound, and adventure game categories.

The Independent Game of the Year awards have been established to honor ingenuity, innovation and excellence in Independent Games. This year's awards began December 11th with the Sports Game of the Year award and have continued through 3 weeks and 13 categories finishing with the Top 10 Independent Games of the Year and Aquaria taking the top spot.

Previously a winner at the Independent Games Festival, Aquaria's visual style captivated reviewers at Game Tunnel almost as much as the innovative gameplay. Featuring a spacious underwater world of striking beauty and haunting music, Aquaria is a unique experience that embodies all for which Independent Games are recognized.

"Independent Games are known for pushing the boundaries of gaming, providing an experience that is singular and different," said Russell Carroll, Editor-In-Chief at Game Tunnel. "We are excited every year for the opportunity to play these wonderfully original and inventive games and are happy to award winners in multiple categories to celebrate their achievements."
The Mac version of Aquaria is still in progress and will be released by Ambrosia Software. Follow the links below for more information.

Game Tunnel: 2007 Independent Game Of The Year
Ambrosia Software

Mac Games News for Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Inside Mac Games Reviews Championship Manager 20088:33 AM
Creating Virtual Worlds One User Made Tree At A Time6:00 AM
Make Bouncy Bouncy Released6:00 AM
Phase On Gamasutra Best Of '07 List6:00 AM
WoW Idol 2008 Begins6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, January 2, 2008 on one page

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