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Thursday, January 1, 2009

iPod: Crystal Defenders, Chinese Checkers, Trivial Pursuit
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Three new game titles for Apple's iPod multimedia devices have been added to the iTunes store. The offerings this time include Crystal Defenders, Chinese Checkers, and Trivial Pursuit.

Crystal Defenders:

The premise of Crystal Defenders is simple: deploy popular units from Final Fantasy Tactics A2 to fend off encroaching enemy hordes and prevent them from stealing your party's crystals. Players can experience more than 200 stages of action in one of two different game versions: W1 and W2. In W1, players can learn game basics and hone their skills. In W2, players will face bigger, meaner mobs, while the introduction of power crystals opens new doors, allowing for deeper, more detailed strategies. Easy-to-learn controls and up-tempo play make Crystal Defenders accessible at home and on the go.

• Deploy units on the area map to protect crystal reserves from approaching monsters
• Make critical decisions about when and where to deploy units - from melee specialists to magic experts
• Monsters march until they are defeated or reach an exit, at which time they will steal one or more crystals
• A wave is cleared if crystals remain after all monsters have been defeated or have escaped the area
• Two game versions (W1, W2) provide challenges across more than 200 unique stages
• Featuring units, monsters, and areas found in Final Fantasy Tactics A2; players can revisit the magical world of Ivalice
Chinese Checkers:
Play Chinese Checkers on the go and enjoy the original board game you grew up with. Featuring stunning graphics, easy-to-use Click Wheel controls, and pass-and-play multiplayer with up to five friends. Quickly start a game and choose from a variety of board themes and backgrounds to fit your style. Adjustable difficulty levels make the game accessible for the whole family. Chinese Checkers has never been more fun in this modern version of a classic!

• Adjustable play levels - easy, medium, hard - make Chinese Checkers accessible to the whole family
• Enjoy pass-and-play with another friend
• Request a hint to improve your play or undo a move you've made
• Choose from a variety of detailed Chinese Checkers boards and marbles
• See the game come to life with vivid animations and realistic sound effects
• Hop marbles quickly and easily with intuitive Click Wheel controls

Trivial Pursuit:
Play for the pursuit of happiness with Trival Pursuit on your iPod. Use simple, Click Wheel controls to choose categories and answers. Challenge yourself with up to 1,000 questions on entertainment, geography, history, and more. Dazzle your sense with rich visuals, animation, and sound effects. Collect wedges and fill your pie piece in Classic mode or play against your iPod in a series of fast-paced levels in Pursuit mode. Use the pass 'n' play feature to play with up to three friends. Start collecting wedges now!

• Use your iPod's Click Wheel to easily choose a category and answer questions
• Answer up to 1,000 questions on entertainment, geography, history, and more
• Answer questions to collect wedges in Classic mode or answer a series of fast-paced questions in Pursuit mode
• Enjoy Classic and Pursuit modes with up to three friends in pass 'n' play mode
• Track games, scores, and statistics
• Dazzle your senses with rich visuals, animation, and sound effects

Crystal Defenders and Trivial Pursuit cost $4.99 each while Chinese Checkers is available for $0.99. The games are compatible with 3rd and 4th generation iPod nanos, iPod classics, and 5th generation iPods.

iTunes Store: Crystal Defenders
iTunes Store: Chinese Checkers
iTunes Store: Trivial Pursuit

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EV Nova Goes Universal
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Ambrosia Software recently announced an update to its popular space-based strategy shooter, EV Nova. EV Nova 1.1.0 is now a Universal Binary that runs natively on Intel Macs, and continues to work on any Mac running Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The update also includes a handful of bug fixes and enhancements.

EV Nova 1.1.0 features the following changes changes/enhancements:

-- Universal Binary
-- Compatibility with MacBook and MacBook Air systems with an Intel GMA X3100 video card
-- Bug fixes & enhancements
More about EV Nova:
EV Nova is the third game in the Escape Velocity series, and is by far the most ambitious installment to date. EV Nova thrusts you into a sprawling universe dominated by a myriad of warring factions, each sharing a common bond, but so philosophically different as to make conflict inevitable.

It is within this maelstrom of territorial contention that you find yourself, like a pebble tumbling aimlessly between the tectonic fault lines that uncomfortably separate these divisions of humanity. Welcome to EV Nova. Will the pebble become an avalanche?
Click over to the site below for more information.

Ambrosia Software
Escape Velocity: Nova

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Pirates Of The Caribbean Online Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Macworld has posted a new review of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online. The game allows players to experience the adventures made famous in the films and explore beyond those boundaries in a quest to become the most legendary pirate on the high seas. Macworld gave the game a score of 3 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

The sailing is perhaps the best realized of the game’s many aspects. You can pirate and crew your own ship, gradually upgrading it through experience and money, or you can take part in someone else’s crew and man the cannons. Crews that go into combat together get combat bonuses and so there’s an incentive to play cooperatively with other players online. One of the best thrills of the game is captaining a ship and ordering your fellow players to give a full broadside, watching with glee as the enemy ships goes down in a hail of cannon fire. You can also get a group together to board an enemy capital ship and take on its crew.

Later, you’ll learn teleportation techniques to cut down on the time-consuming sailing between islands. While sailing, you’ll regularly encounter British Navy, ghost pirate, and East Indian Trading company ships, along with your fellow online players. Player-versus-player experiences are limited; with sea engagements, you can have crew battles or do the Spanish/French side quests, while land engagements involve joining sparsely populated battle servers that require you to take on an undead form (wouldn’t want the kids to be scared by human-on-human violence!).
To read the full review follow the link provided below.

Macworld: PotCO Review
Disney Online
Pirates of the Caribbean Online

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Apple Games Features Petz Sports, iPod Slyder Adventures
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games recently published two new articles covering Ubisoft's Petz Sports and Sandlot Games' Slyder Adventure for iPod. Petz Sports gives players the chance to train a puppy to compete in a variety of challenges, while in Slyder Adventures players navigate a colorful series of levels in a quest to collect food and beat the clock. The articles include overviews of the games' features as well as tips and tricks for success.

From Petz Sports article:

The games, which become available after completing your first set of races in the Street Cup, consist of jumping rope and playing fetch. During the former, you command your dog to jump to the beat of the music, performing special moves when indicated. In the latter, you use a slingshot to hit targets with a tennis ball; successful strikes result in your dog leaping through the air to catch the ball.

When teaching tricks to your pet, pick up a treat and guide it along the path, turning it when necessary — if you stray too far outside the lines, your dog will eat the treat and you’ll have to start over. Complete that task three times to teach your new dog old tricks; teach your dog a routine by quickly completing several tricks in succession.

You’ll need to move between races, tricks, and games as you build up your dog’s skills; you must complete all of them at a certain level of difficulty to unlock the next one. The strength and stamina your dog accumulates from tricks and games come in handy during races, where he must slalom through series of poles, leap over hurdles, circle cones, cross narrow beams, and jump across sandpits. You’ll compete in four racing cups: Street, City, National, and World — the final one takes place in a sold-out stadium with thousands of cheering fans.
From Slyder Adventures article:
Guide Slyder and three of his friends — Boffo, Sparky, and Unger — through over 150 levels spanning four worlds. In Exploration mode, play at your own pace, discovering all a level has to offer. Chomp on food, such as cheese, milkshakes, and ice cream cones, for points. In Timed mode, race against the clock to reach the goal before time runs out, or lose a life. Scarf up cherries for points and look for clocks that each add two precious seconds.

Of course, you won’t get to the end of each level without having to navigate past a few obstacles. Collect keys that open like-colored doors and press switches that open others, but only for a few seconds. Various types of goo slow you down, while spinners produce a disorienting effect if touched. Steam and fire vents, electrified walls, lava, and robots of various types take away a life if you make contact. You start with three lives and earn a new one every 10,000 points, so it’s important to collect as many goodies as possible.

In the end, Slyder Adventures proves an adage that’s nearly as old as gravity: The simplest concepts often make the best games. Once you give this one a whirl, we bet you’ll agree.
Visit the pages below to read the full articles.

Petz Sports
iTunes Store: Slyder Adventures

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The Benefits Of Making Games For Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A recent post on Wolfire Software's blog explains why supporting Mac OS X and Linux provides a larger benefit for developers than the market share might suggest. Wolfire is the developer of the unique martial arts action title, Lugaru, as well as the game's upcoming sequel, Overgrowth.

Last I checked, Mac OS X had around a 5% market share, and Linux had much less than that (among consumers). I can feel that many PHBs look at this small number and think “5%? Why should I support a whole new platform when I could just blow some more money on brand advertising?”

Obviously supporting Mac OS X and Linux means you tap into another platform and expand your potential market base. That much is clear. But surely adding an extra 5% is negligible, right? Wrong. Not all five percents are created equal. I’m not an economist, just a humble engineer, but let me take a stab at an explanation.

From a short sighted, graph reading viewpoint, supporting Mac OS X and Linux directly increased sales by around 122%. However, this seemingly unbelievable number is actually understated.
Click over to the site linked below to read the entire blog post.

Wolfire Blog: Why You Should Support Mac OS X And Linux
Wolfire Software
Buy Lugaru

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