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Friday, January 23, 2009

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Spore Galactic Adventures & Creature Keeper Announced
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

More details about Spore Galactic Adventures have emerged with Electronic Art's official announcement of the expansion pack and other titles in its 2009 lineup for the evolution sim. The new expansion will feature the ability to beam down to planets, new mission-based adventures, and an Adventure Creator that will allow players to create their own missions and share them with others in the same way they share creatures and vehicles.

EA has also announced work on Spore Creature Keeper, a new stand-alone title designed for younger gamers. The game allows players to nurture, train, and play with creatures they have created. Creature Keeper features a variety of clothes, toys, and gizmos for the creatures, and the option to join play with others online.

“Last year was a very exciting year for Maxis with the release of Spore. We were overwhelmed by the massive response to the game from the millions of people that created, shared and played in the Spore universe,” said General Manager of Maxis, Lucy Bradshaw. “This year we’re going to experiment with new experiences that extend the powerful creativity tools of Spore to all-new audiences. With the universe as our backdrop, the only limit in the Spore universe is your own imagination.”

The next big bang for Spore on PC comes this spring with the deeply immersive and customizable expansion pack, Spore Galactic Adventures. Spore Galactic Adventures adds a tremendous amount of variety and depth to the original “space game” in Spore, allowing players to beam down to planets, play mission-based adventures and even create their own customized adventures for the first time. Each adventure has a unique reward to upgrade a space creature with special accessories – from an Energy Blade and Stunning Charm to a Jump Jet and more. Players can fight their way to victory as a Warrior, dance with new friends as a Bard, and much more. With an almost unlimited number of user created adventures, there’s more to play than ever before. The “adventure creator” in Spore Galactic Adventures gives gamers the tools to make their own missions and share them with friends via

Younger Spore fans will have a blast with the Spore Creature Keeper, a stand-alone PC game that has players nurturing, training and playing with their own personally-created creature. With lots of toys, clothes and gizmos to play with, players can pamper their pets to perfection! With Spore Creature Keeper, fans can play with their creation alone or have a play-date online for endless creature fun. Spore Creature Keeper brings all the fun of creature creation to a new level by adding nurturing, teaching and social components to the experience.
The announcement also revealed work on Spore Heroes and Spore Heroes Arena, game titles destined to arrive on the Nintendo Wii and DS, respectively. For more information about Spore and its related games click on the links below.

Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

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IMG Reviews Swarm Gold
10:17 AM | Marcus Albers | 1 comment

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the retro-shooter from Reflexive Entertainment, Swarm Gold. Boasting over 100 levels of gameplay, Swarm Gold is reminiscent of games such as Maelstrom or the classic Asteroids. Here's an excerpt from the review:

Swarm Gold's gameplay is extremely simple. You point in the direction you want to go, thrust, ram energy bubbles, and shoot anything that gets in your way. In all of the levels, there's nothing to do but that. There aren't any bosses, rescue missions, or even a single minigame. All you get are levels where you shoot and gather, levels where you just gather, and levels where you just shoot. The first level is the same as the last, only you have more enemies and more guns.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Swarm Gold
Swarm Gold
Reflexive Entertainment
Buy Swarm Gold

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Apple Games Features City Of Heroes, iPod Wonder Blocks
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games recently posted two new game feature articles. The first article enters the world of City of Heroes Mac Special Edition for an examination of the super hero themed MMO, while the second reviews the colorful tower building iPod title, Wonder Blocks.

The City of Heroes feature includes an overview of the game's features, comments from lead designer Matt Miller, a description of the archetypes available to characters, and a history of Paragon City. Apple Games' Wonder Blocks article provides an overview of the game's main features and a list of tips and tricks.

City of Heroes Mac Special Edition:

If you’ve read even a few superhero comic books, you’ll probably be tempted to emulate your favorite character. Miller and the rest of the development team know how you feel. “My influences started out very Marvel-centric, but once I started working on City of Heroes, I started reading some DC books,” he recalls. “Comic books have covered a lot of cool themes, and we try to do the same thing, but translated into game terms for the players.

“Take our Sidekick feature, for example. It allows a character who is lower level to actually fight at almost the same level as the character they’re sidekicked to, so players who have characters with radically different levels can still play together. You’ve got numerous examples of that dynamic in comic books.”

NCsoft also took a cue from comic books by calling its expansion packs “issues,” complete with numbers and titles. Each one grows the game world with new features, including zones to explore, NPCs and storylines, powers and items, and more. Three to four are scheduled each year — the latest one, issue 13 (“Power and Responsibility”), introduced several improvements, including day jobs, which grant your character bonuses even when you’re logged off.

When you install issue number 14 (“Architect”), you’ll have access to the new Mission Architect system, which Miller says “will allow our collective community to create more content than we ever could. We know we have a lot of creative players out there, and not only do we think that they will enjoy using this robust set of tools, but they will want to share their creations with other players.”
iPod Wonder Blocks:
While building a tower, place two or more blocks of the same color so they’re touching to create a combo and earn bonus points. The more blocks you connect, the more points you’ll score, and if you group four or more, you’ll earn a gold block that automatically sticks to any block in that combo, regardless of how it’s placed.

Combos also free bonuses that are occasionally trapped in blocks. Touch the floating bonus with your next block to unleash its power, which might be a reward of more time or extra points, the ability to change the current block’s color, an increase or decrease in the flood level, or the stickiness of a gold block. The bonus could also blow the blocks, making them difficult to place on the stack.
Click over to the links below to read the rest of both articles.

Apple Games: City Of Heroes Mac Special Edition
Apple Games: iPod Wonder Blocks
City of Heroes
iPod Wonder Blocks
Buy City of Heroes

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World Of Goo Soundtrack Available For Free
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

2D Boy's Kyle Gabler has released a free soundtrack for the unique puzzle game, World of Goo. The compilation features 27 tracks from the game and weighs in at 85 MBs. World of Goo is a puzzle title that challenges players to guide balls of goo through the game's obstacle laden levels by constructing items like ladders and bridges.

Thank you to everyone who emailed asking about a World of Goo Soundtrack. This is probably as close to an "official" soundtrack I'll ever make for the game World of Goo. I'm making it available here on my personal portfolio for free. I wrote much of this music specifically for the game, but many of the tracks were excerpts from music I had written previously for various small projects, or just for fun. This soundtrack includes the full versions of most of those songs, as best as I was able to recover them. Notes accompany the tracks below.

The majority of the instruments you'll hear are computer instruments, with a few live performances on top to add a bit of warmth. For the older music, I used one of those Sound Blaster cards that let you load samples into memory. More recently, I've been using the freeware sfz soundfont sampler. I have an m-audio keystation 49e midi keyboard for picking out melodies. Influences include Danny Elfman, Vangelis, Bernard Herrmann, Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, and all the big movie guys. I grew up listening to them, and they remain a big influence in everything I write.

Thanks, and enjoy the music!
Head over to the page linked below to read more and download the soundtrack.

World Of Goo Soundtrack
2D Boy
World of Goo

Cradle Of Rome Comes To Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Awem Studio has announced the release of Cradle of Rome for Macs. The game challenges players to build a Roman city from the ground up. To gain enough resources to construct the various buildings available players must complete matching puzzle games.

Use the chance to build Ancient Rome, the most legendary city of all time! One of the powerful capitals that have ever existed wants you to become its Emperor! Conquer 100 intuitively designed levels by swapping tiles and matching three or more in a row. Collect supplies and build 5 historical epochs.

You start at the beginning of Cradle of Rome game… First a village appears… Then you buy a fountain and a tavern… Will you choose the water mill or the blacksmith next?

Play more and watch your city grow into a vast and magnificent center of life, the heart of the antiquity! You'll be able to reconstruct masterpieces of Roman architecture, build the Coliseum to train gladiators, and even rebuild the Pantheon, the Temple of all the Roman Gods to bring you even greater luck! As Rome grows, the citizens who populate your city will proclaim you Emperor as a Head Priest considers a worthy tribute!

Rise from an emerging ruler to the most powerful name to cross the mouths of both mortals and gods. Do this, and solve the puzzles that will be put before you, and you will enter Olympus - the Home of the gods! The fabulous lands of Caesar open their gates in front of you in our new puzzle game: Cradle of Rome!

Features in the full version:
• More than 20 masterpieces of the Ancient Roman architecture to build!
• 5 historical epochs where you start from a small village and construct your way to the Golden Age of the Roman Empire!
• Build and conquer your way to the legendary Mount Olympus with over 100 levels sure to keep to wanting more!
• Challenging ranking systems that let you become the Emperor of the great Rome!
• 8 original bonuses, including lightning, shield, star, mixer, bomb and many others!

Cradle of Rome runs on Mac OS X versions 10.4 and 10.5. It requires a Pentium 1.83GHz processor and 512 MB RAM. A single-user license costs $19.95 (USD). More information about the game and a demo download can be found at the links below.

Cradle Of Rome
Awen Studio

Mac Games News for Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chocolatier: Decadence By Design Released Today6:00 AM
Hacker Evolution: Untold Demo Available, Full Version Soon6:00 AM
StarCraft Updated To Version 1.16.16:00 AM
Vespene Laughs! Comic Contest Offers StarCraft II Beta Keys6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, January 22, 2009 on one page

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