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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Braid Released For Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 16 comments

Hothead Games has announced the release of the Mac version of Jonathan Blow’s Braid. The launch of Braid represents one of the first collaborations between Hothead and independent developers to bring award-winning titles to new gaming platforms. In the unique puzzle titles player manipulate the flow of time as they quest to rescue the Princess.

Explore the human condition and manipulate time in the lush, painterly world of Braid, a puzzle-platformer that takes you from a house in the city on a journey through a series of worlds to solve puzzles and rescue the princess. In each world, you have a different power to affect the way time behaves, including the ability to rewind, create parallel realities and utilize time dilation. There is no filler in this game; every puzzle shows you something new and interesting about the game world.

Key features:
• Untraditional platforming. You can never die and never lose, but challenge is always present and focused on solving puzzles, rather than forcing you to play and replay tricky jumps.
• Puzzle-rich environment. Travel through a series of worlds searching for puzzle pieces and solving puzzles by manipulating time: rewinding, creating parallel universes and setting up pockets of dilated time. The gameplay is always fresh and new and the puzzles inspire new ways of thinking.
• Aesthetic design. A painterly art style and lush, organic soundtrack complement the unique gameplay.
• Non-linear story. A nonlinear fiction links the various worlds and provides real-world metaphors for your time manipulations; act out real-world themes at your own pace, exploring playful “what if” universes.
• Forgiving gameplay. The game doesn’t force you to solve puzzles in order to proceed. If you can’t figure something out, just play onward and return to that puzzle later.

System Requirements:
• Operating System: Mac® OS X 10.4/10.5 with latest updates
• Processor: PowerPC® G4, G5 or Intel® based Mac 1.0 GHz or better
• Graphics support: ATI Radeon(TM) 9500 or better, NVIDIA GeForce(TM) FX 5900 or better, Intel® GMA 950 or better
• Memory: 512 MB of available system memory
• Controller Support: OS-supported keyboard and mouse
• Audio: OS-supported sound card
• Hard Disk Space: 185 MB of available hard drive space
• Registration: One-time Internet connection required to activate
Braid costs $14.95 and has has been rated E 10+ for all platforms by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Click over to the links below to learn more.

Hothead Games
Buy Braid

Jeff Vogel Considers The Potential Demise Of Spiderweb
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

On his blog, The Bottom Feeder, Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel has focused his musings on what might cause the demise of a small independent game company. The two part article includes a variety of doom and gloom scenarios ranging from bad economic times to the possibility of a complete collapse of the internet.

The Destruction of the Internet -
The Internet was not made to be this mega-global network used by everybody. As time goes on, more flaws show. When e-mail was new and exciting, we didn't see what a horrible mess spam would make of it. Maybe a series of viruses or other new hacker trickery might make the network unusable. And then I am screwed.

Likelihood - Very, very low. It's hard to imagine a hacker trick that could defeat everyone else on the Net. But it is very helpful to remember that the health of my business is inextricably tied with that of the Internet.

The Macintosh Dies -
People have been predicting this for years and years. And the Mac is half my business. If it goes away, I probably will too.

Likelihood - Once high. Now low. Whatever I might think of Steve Jobs, his revitalization of the Macintosh brand has been crazy good for my business.

Piracy Becomes So Trivially Easy and the Recession Becomes So Intense That Hardly Anybody Buys Games Anymore -
Pretty self-explanatory.

Likelihood - Again, this has already happened. Recent estimates put the PC piracy rate at around 80-90%. Even I am not cynical enough to believe that the percentage of honest people around here will drop below ten percent. And yet, that tiny minority of virtuous people is enough to keep me in business.
Once, I actually worried about something like this would happen. And then it did. And yet, business is strong. I think this shows that even nightmare scenarios can be surprisingly survivable. In other words, predict and prepare, but don't panic.

Check out the full blog posts at the pages linked below.

The Bottom Feeder: Guess What Is Going To Kill Me 1
The Bottom Feeder: Guess What Is Going To Kill Me 2
Spiderweb Software

Plants Vs. Zombies Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has published a new review of Plants Vs. Zombies, PopCap Games most recent entry in the casual games market. The tower defense title challenges players to make use of a variety of plants to defend their home, and their brain, from a horde of hungry zombies. GamersInfo recommended the game to fans of tower defense and casual games.

From the review:

Apart from the garden variety zombie, there are some that use buckets as helmets and screen doors as shields, and even a dancing zombie spoofing Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Every zombie has a particular weakness that is matched by a particular plant, adding an element of strategy into the mix.

As the game’s Adventure mode progresses, the difficulty is ever so slightly increased from level to level but never so much that it becomes daunting. As you face a greater number and variety of zombies, the game unlocks new plants and abilities to even the odds. All the game elements combine into a game that hooks you in right at the first level and doesn’t let you go until you conquer the final map.

Only after you finish Adventure mode do you find the real value in the game. Where so many other games have fallen short, Plants vs Zombies succeeds in offering extras and minigames that are actually just as meaty and compelling as the main game. One game switches the roles, letting you command a squad of zombies and challenging you to get through levels filled with plants. Another starts you with a lawn filled with vases. Some vases contain plants, some contain zombies, and you don’t know which. Break open all the vases and kill all the zombies to win.
Head over to the link below to read the full review. Plants Vs. Zombies Review
PopCap Games
Plants Vs. Zombies

Click to enlarge
Defending The Cartoon Network In FusionFall
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has published a new review of FusionFall, Cartoon Networks' child friendly MMO. The online game puts players in the role of a kid in a re-imagined Cartoon Network universe where they team up with other players and Cartoon Network characters to defend it from an alien invasion.

From the review:

Unlike most MMORPGs, there are no stats in FusionFall; there is a level but it only denotes how many Nanos you can carry. If a level 20 and a level four both remove their armor they'll have exactly the same skills. This is particularly useful for those playing in groups in different areas of the world. Everything is based upon loot, so you simply downgrade or upgrade your armor/weapons as needed and simple as that, everyone is on an even playing field.

Key to what makes all of this fun is the environment. The game I've been describing is the free-to-play area: the first four levels or Nanos. I've been playing with my children since launch and I would happily pay for a subscription but we've not found a reason to leave. My kids wanted to see Samurai Jack and we have! There are more than enough missions to keep us busy and because their interest waxes and wanes faster than the phases of the moon, the more than 90 hours we've invested have gone by quickly. But, as I started to say, this is largely because the environment is simply so fun.

To reach the floating Treehouse of the Kids Next Door I've got to bounce on an electric spring hundreds of feet in the air. Getting down requires the use of a zip line. When a friend happened upon some power lines, he decided to check and see if he could climb the girders. He could – several hundred feet up. While travel requires the expected "you must visit point A and point B before you can use the magical transport system" I never expected one of the transport systems to be by monkey Waypoint. For a few Taros (the in-game currency), a monkey will pick me up and take me to my destination, my feet dangling in the air. I could even see other players travelling by monkey behind me.
Visit the page below to read the full review. FusionFall Review

Mac Games News for Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Freeverse Updates Commanders Series6:00 AM
Myth World Cup 2009 Accepting Registrants6:00 AM
Wolfenstein Composer Discusses Creating Music For Games & TV6:00 AM
World Of Warcraft 3.1.2 Patch Adds Equipment Manager6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, May 20, 2009 on one page

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