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Thursday, May 7, 2009

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IMG Reviews Peggle Nights
6:27 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of one of the latest casual titles from PopCap Games, Peggle Nights. A sequel to the highly addictive Peggle, Peggle Nights adds new levels, a new Peggle master, and new powers. Here's and excerpt from the review:

The level design in Nights is far more intricate than in the original Peggle. There are moving pieces and barriers abound and there are a far greater percentage of levels that will take a handful of tries to pass. More than the challenge involved in the levels, though, is their artistry. The theme of the game revolves around the Peggle masters relating their secret dreams—one wants to be a rock star, another a painter, etc. This gave the designers a bit of room to play with how all the pegs are arranged each level. Layouts inspired by Munch’s “The Scream” or flames from a burning building or waves of seaweed near the ocean floor are pulled off with particular flair in Peggle Nights. It’s nice to sit back for a second and just look at the thought and construction that went into each level.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Peggle Nights
Peggle Nights
PopCap Games
Buy Peggle Nights

Commander: Napoleon At War Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld has published a new review of Slitherine and Freeverse's Commander: Napoleon At War. In the turn-based strategy game players enter the turbulent Napoleonic Era and try their hands at re-writing history. Macworld gave the game a score of 3.5 out of 5 mice.

From the full review:

The bigger scenarios stretch on land and sea, and require you to either guide the forces of the Coalition or France to victory by invading and conquering your enemy’s capitals. You guide units of infantry, line infantry, militia, cavalry, artillery, or ships. The grid map mandates that you only have one unit per grid area and the turn based combat is determined by factors including strength, location, weather, experience, and chance—thus giving Commander: Napoleon at War the feel of an animated game of Risk.

Despite my initial frustrations with the tutorial, I found it was pretty easy to pick up the rules of the game and engrossing to play. You raise units with production points which are either gained by capturing farms and cities or by protecting your shipping lines from the New World. The British have the best navy in the game, so they’ll constantly sink your trade ships if a clever French commander doesn’t send escorts.

Artillery is important to take out clumped troops or to break a city’s walls, but be sure to have infantry nearby because artillery is fragile—especially against cavalry. Certain units, like cavalry and frigates, can move further on the grid in a single turn than say a foot cannon regiment or a militia unit. For faster deployment, you can employ wagons to ship certain units to allied cities or have them load up in a seaport before deploying to a transport.
Click over to the link below to read the full review.

Macworld: Commander Napoleon At War
Commander: Napoleon At War

Day Of The Tiki Announced
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The creators of the video podcast Tiki Bar TV have joined forces with Secret Lab, an independent video game developer, to create video games based on the Tiki Bar TV video podcast. The first game coming from the partnership will be Day of the Tiki, a 3D platform game featuring the cast of the podcast in a "cocktail fueled story of intrigue and battles with communism." The game is scheduled to be released for Mac and Windows in Summer 2009, with an iPhone version coming later.

"Exciting things are happening in the Tiki Bar," said creator Jeff Macpherson, who stars as Doctor Tiki in the wildly successful, popular podcast Tiki Bar TV. "We are combining the power of video with the fun of game - we intend to call this exciting new medium the Video-Game. Gamers and drinkers alike will be thrilled to use Johnny Johnny like a puppet, and fling him into the face of danger," enthused the good doctor.

"Our audience has been requesting this for a long time and we're sure they won't be disappointed," added producer Tosca Musk. "This is the beginning of what we hope will be a long and adventurous collaboration." The first game to come out of the partnership, entitled Day of the Tiki, will be a 3D platform game initially available for Windows and Mac OS X, followed by a version for the iPhone. The game will be available for digital download.

Paris Buttfield-Addison, Producer at Secret Lab, noted that the project was a perfect fit for the team at Secret Lab: "We make our games with the same irreverent humor that pervades Tiki Bar TV. We are thrilled to collaborate with the ingenious team from the Tiki Bar."
A release date for Day of the Tiki is to be announced. Expected release date is Summer 2009.

About Tiki Bar TV
Tiki Bar TV is an award-winning video podcast and one of the pioneers of new media, consistently drawing strong audiences and bringing a new form of comedy and entertainment to the internet. Tiki Bar TV follows the adventures of Doctor Tiki, Johnny Johnny and Lala as they fight communism while still making time for happy hour.

About Secret Lab
Secret Lab is an independent game development studio based in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The company has a passion for developing innovative and exciting games for the desktop and iPhone, and is working on a number of top-secret projects. Recently declassified projects include Button Squid, an innovative Twitter-powered puzzle game, and Day of the Tiki, an incongruously comic 3D platform game based on the wildly successful and stylish podcast Tiki Bar TV.

For more information head over to the sites linked below.

Secret Lab: Day Of The Tiki
Tiki Bar TV: Day Of The Tiki

UDevGames 2008: Laserface Jones Postmortem Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

iDevGames recently posted a postmortem article examining work on Justin Ficarrotta's Laserface Jones vs. Doomsday Odious, the winning entry in the UDevGames 2008 competition. In the article the developer discusses the design of the game, what went right and wrong with the title's development, and the future of Laserface Jones.

The future looks bright for Laserface Jones. It’s got fans that are begging to see it on Xbox Live Arcade, or the iPhone. I have experience creating for XBLA (from working on the port of Marathon) and agree that’s where the fans of this type of game are. XNA is a similar option, with the advantage of not having to go through the greenlighting or certification process of XBLA, but with the disadvantage of requiring a complete code port to C#.

The iPhone is another very likely possibility. The market is huge, and many hardcore gamers own iPhones (even though it isn’t their primary gaming device.) And not to mention, the code is very similar to Mac. The porting is trivial.

As for the game itself, I have always intended Laserface Jones vs. Doomsday Odious to be free. It is a sort of short “pilot” episode to see how interested people would be in more. After the reaction it has gotten, it would be a shame to not follow it up. I’m already laying out the groundwork for “Laserface Jones vs. The Bullet Legion” which will be a commercial title, and I hope to turn it into a series, similar to a comic book or television show (as opposed to the “movie trilogy” approach many games seem to take toward episodic content.)

Stay tuned, because the world hasn’t seen the last of Laserface Jones!
Head over to the link below to read the full article.

iDevGames: Laserface Jones Postmortem
Laserface Jones vs Doomsday Odious

New Space Exploration Preview Version Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Metal Beetle Ltd has released a new preview version of Space Exploration: Serpens Sector, its upcoming sci-fi RPG. Based on classics games like Starflight and Star Control the game gives players the task of exploring the mysterious Serpens Sector. This update expands the role of the ship's crew, and the offers the choice to return to base for fuel.

In this new preview, your ship's crew play a much larger role. Crew members now have individual skills and morale levels, and many encounters have been rewritten to let you choose crew members for specific tasks. And instead of the time limit in dev 8, you can now return to Fleet Headquarters to ask for more fuel - the better you do in your mission, the more fuel you are awarded.

Space Exploration: Serpens Sector is a role-playing game based on classics like Starflight and Star Control. You are tasked with exploring the mysterious Serpens Sector after a long period of human absence. Each game has a different map and a different set of encounters, drawn from a large list. The base game will be free, and purchasable expansions will add further encounters for those who enjoy the game and want to see more.

The game is still under development, but preview versions are available for download, and player feedback is very much encouraged. While the basic elements of the game engine are present, the game is still being refined, and a lot of content is yet to be added. The next preview release, dev 10, will focus on improved space combat.
Space Exploration: Serpens Sector has been under development since late 2007 and is slated to be released in 2009. The first expansion will be released simultaneously. Check out the website linked below to learn more.

Metal Beetle
Space Exploration: Serpens Sector

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EVE Online: Apocrypha Reviewed6:00 AM
Luxor 3 Now Available6:00 AM
PopCap Releases Plants Vs. Zombies6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Fansite Q&A6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 6, 2009 on one page

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