25
Aug
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Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an interesting take on Advance Wars, an atmospheric puzzle game, and a Humble Bundle pilgrim. Without further ado:

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Mecho Wars

If Nintendo decided to make Advance Wars for Android and put Tim Burton in the director's chair, it might look a lot like Mecho Wars. Old-school turn-based strategy is mixed in with some outlandish character and environment design to make a game that's quite unlike anything available on the platform at the moment. It's also another game that relies on an old-fashioned play style but uses high-resolution sprites instead of "8-bit" visuals. Bravo. Single player and multiplayer is included.

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Mecho Wars is a turn-based strategy game set in a fantastic world created by Luc Bernard. Two factions are at war: the Winged Crusade and the Landians. Take control of either side in story-driven campaigns across multiple episodes. Or, take the fight online and face-off against other players!

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Kairo

Not to be confused with developer Kairosoft, Kairo is a freeform adventure game that's heavy on atmosphere and light on story, dialogue, combat, and just about everything else. You explore a strange world solving minimalistic puzzles as you travel around a series of abandoned megalithic buildings. Kairo is definitely not for everyone, but if you spend hours searching for new indie adventures on XBLA, it might be right up your dark alley.

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Enter the lost world of Kairo. Explore vast abandoned monuments. Bring strange and ancient machinery back to life. Slowly uncover the true purpose of Kairo and fulfill a great destiny. Kairo is an atmospheric 3D exploration and puzzle solving game. Developed by Richard Perrin the creator of the white chamber with music by Wounds (Bartosz Szturgiewicz).

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Pulse

Pulse is yet another game that's finally come to the Play Store after a debut in the Humble Bundle. It's also another zen puzzle game, wherein you tap a single circle and let the expanding ripple burst others in combination. Timing and strategy are necessary to get the best score. It helps if you've got a sense of rhythm - the circles generally correspond to the notes in the background music.

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Enter an absorbing world where players become part conductor, part note-captor, part multi-touch master. Tap speeding notes as they cross the radiant pulse to conduct gorgeous original melodies.

  • Nearly an hour of original music plus free updates with brand new levels and music!
  • Gameplay featuring an intuitive and original use of multi-touch!
  • Sleek, engaging design created specifically for touchscreens!
  • Easy to play, hard to master!
  • Whimsical particles in awe-inspiring palettes!
  • Eclectic soundtrack of varying genres!

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Be sure to check out our gaming coverage from earlier this week:

P.S. Allow me to do a little editorializing here. I had hoped that we as Android gamers had gotten over this, but I'll say it clearly and emphatically: if you like these games, buy them. One of our previous bonus round contestants, Gentlemen, has been pirated more than 50,000 times after selling less than 200 copies on Android. And some of our commenters wonder why game developers aren't all that keen on Android as a platform. The magic of digital distribution does not make piracy OK, so don't give me that cock and bull about the developers not losing a sale because you wouldn't have bought it anyway.

Come on, people, it's not as if these games are even that expensive. You're not sticking it to some faceless corporate entity when you pirate, you are quite literally stealing money from someone who's earned it. Cut that crap out.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Michael Ward

    Really interestred in Kairo. Anyone else given it a spin already?

    • Samuel Hart

      I've been looking at it a lot on Steam, now it's here I'll probably go for it next month..... I too want to know opinions!

      • atlouiedog

        I like it quite a bit. If you like atmospheric games that let you explore and solve environmental puzzles, check it out.

        I posted more in a separate comment, but the short version is if you buy it directly on the dev's website, it's $5 for DRM-free on Win, Mac, and Linux as well as a Steam key.

    • fzammetti

      Kairo actually looks *very* interesting to me, I love the idea of it... but almost $5 with only a 15-minute return window doesn't thrill me. I mean, it's not a lot of money on it's own, and I can certainly afford it, but it's tough... I have a game out on the store myself, and I know that pricing is a bitch... there's SO many really good and even great games for $.99, anything above that *by comparison* looks bad, even if the game is basically worth it. Seems like most devs wind up having to drop their prices before long, which is sad for devs, but good for us customers :) You almost have no choice as a dev but to put a price on it that's lower than you'd ideally want. Even when we're talking a few dollars, it's the comparison to other games that hurts.

      If and when Kairo hits $.99 I won't hesitate a moment... even $1.99 I'd likely hit that buy button without a second thought... anything more though and I run into the same mental roadblock that I think a lot of customers do in the mobile app age we're in (FYI, I've been writing mobile apps for well over 10 years, and I remember selling one app for $25 a pop back in the PocketPC days and actually making some real good coin from it... those days are long gone for all but a very small percentage of specialty apps, and probably never for games).

      • sean

        I'd pick it up for 3 easy.

  • Fadakar

    Obligatory: Luc Bernard is a jackass.

    • sean

      Why is he a jackass? Seriously. Who is he?

  • Anthony Restaino

    Read the last paragraph of this if you read nothing else. Pirating sucks guys.

    • Vince

      i think the reason the sales bad is the game is incompatible with Samsung devices, as Samsung is dominant in Android devices...
      So, the only way to play the game is download the pirated apk...

      • sean

        Vince has a point. I got frozen synapse off a humble bundle and it worked on my s4. The Play Store said it would not work. That is a lot for revenue being lost.

        • Matthew Fry

          Yeah, I never understood that. The humble bundle has very lax restrictions and I've only had one game not work (Toki Tori because Android 4+ broke it). It would be so easy to reach out to users (perhaps even through AP) to do some beta testing for devs for devices they don't own.

    • David Smith

      Pirating definitely has its place. The corporate scumbags like EA that create garbage titles that aren't even playable don't deserve my money. That being said, yes! Please! But the good ones. Support the small developers! I bought gentlemen! and it was well worth it. 2 bucks? C'mon

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        "The corporate scumbags like EA that create garbage titles that aren't even playable don't deserve my money."

        Right. When their games are bad, they don't deserve money.
        But when those games are bad, why would you bother and pirate them then?

        • Jdban

          If there's no demo, pirating to try it out for an hour feels justified.

    • Matthew Fry

      That needs a comma... that is if you aren't suggesting that pirating actually sucks guys.

  • atlouiedog

    If you buy Kairo directly from the developers website with the Humble Store widget it's $5. You get drm-free on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android as well as a Steam key. The Android .apk is available as a direct download and through the same app used for Humble Bundles which will be used to update it.. You also get a key for the game on Steam. Not bad for 9 more cents.

    I have no affiliation with the developer, but I got it through the Humble store at release and was pleasantly surprised when the Android version was later added. That's one of the reasons that I really like buying directly from the developer with the Humble store. I also believe that Humble only takes 5% as opposed to just about every other digital store out there which gets a 30% cut, so it's better for the developer. And, if you're like me and keep watch on Steam sales, the developers often match the price on their website.

  • Richard

    On the pirating question - yeah, pirates suck, of course...

    But if you actually read through their blog, rather than the breathless Kotaku report, it's nothing like as clear-cut as it seems. The developers *knew* it was a niche product, and the development was supported by a grant from a University - they say they 'only' aimed to sell 2000 copies, and they've sold around 75% of that so far, Android and iOS combined. They also make it clear that the *vast* majority of their pirated copies are in Russia and China, with a majority of them being in China - where there is *no paid Play Store*. In other words, not only are a large number of the pirated copies *potentially* not lost sales, a large number are *definitely* not lost sales, because they were pirated by users who cannot buy a copy.

    There are also some interesting thoughts on the engagement of the pirates. In short, give it a read: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/YannSeznec/20130820/198453/Gentlemen_Or_how_our_most_successful_game_is_also_our_least_profitable.php

  • Jerecho

    Quote from actual article:

    "rampant piracy, much of it coming from CHINA and RUSSIA."

    Oh, you mean those places that DON'T actually read AP and DON'T have access to the Play Store?

    I'm not getting into the "piracy is justified if you have no access" point. My issue is this:

    AP needs to SHUT UP WITH THE PREACHING. Until and unless reports are actually saying that the "rampant piracy" is coming from countries which have legal access to the game - and, coincidentally, which probably also makes up the majority of AP's readership (wow, gaiz, all that English) then seriously.

    You're preaching to the masses, and you're not converting them - you're just pissing them off.

    P.S. For the record, I *CAN'T* buy Gentlemen because it's not available for Samsung devices. (Yup, that oh-so-tiny and insignificant fraction of the Android market... NOT.) I came. I clicked. I COULDN'T. BUY. (And no, I wouldn't have thought to see if it was available elsewhere. AP provided links to only the Play Store and AppBrain; I don't have the time to search for alternatives for every single app that doesn't check out (Play Store error, incompatibility, etc) AP can't both tout the Play Store as being the only safe place to get apps from, then chide readers for not performing acrobatic maneuvers to obtain it elsewhere, so screw that.)

    So no, I'm not "sticking it to some faceless corporate entity"; I literally CAN'T "Cut that crap out", so stop tarring all your readers with the same "cock and bull" brush. It wasn't even a commenter here on AP - you took it straight from the first comment on the article on that OTHER WEBSITE.

    Lastly, I have every right to give the middle finger to developers who don't have the market smarts to at least cater for the biggest market segment, and then "aren't all that keen on Android as a platform" when they have shitty sales. Boo-hoo-hoo.

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Just because an app isn't available in your country or on your device doesn't justify stealing it, at least when it's paid. Contact the devs: each and every one of them has an email address on the Play Store. And yes, I read the information about China and Russia, but you can't tell me that a significant amount of Americans and Europeans don't pirate Android games. I'm constantly banning pirate APK spammers from the comments section, and they wouldn't be coming here if American readers weren't sending them traffic.

      Obviously I'm not implying that EVERY SINGLE AP READER is pirating every app we cover. To assume so indicates either extreme naivete or a guilty conscience on your part. But I know that some are - even some of my fellow tech journalists (whom I won't name, though none of them write for AP) have admitted to me that they pirate Android games. As someone who actively supports Android game developers and high-quality games in general, it is extremely frustrating.

      • Matthew Fry

        Actually, the Gamasutra post *is* implying that there's not a significant amount of Americans and Europeans pirating Android games. That's what "vast majority" means.

      • Jerecho

        Read what I originally typed:

        "I'm not getting into the "piracy is justified if you have no access" point."

        I specifically stated that I WASN'T justifying stealing an unavailable app, and further that that I did not want to engage in a debate on that particular angle. (But since you have, I might as well state that I have always been in agreement with your point that "unavailability" does not justify theft - I simply did not want to trumpet that opinion as I didn't want to detract from the point i was actually trying to make.)

        My angle, instead, was that:

        1. AP writers are free to express their opinions, naturally - but when those opinions take on a CHIDING, ACCUSATORY, FINGER-WAGGING tone ... it's irksome and makes me want to nip said finger. The emotion I'm feeling is annoyance; not guilt and certainly not naivete.

        2. Anyone who develops for Android without being cognizant of the OPENNESS of the platform and all of its accompanying pros and cons (fragmentation, piracy in countries with that kind of mentality - it's not like Apple's been spared; Google "app store piracy china") doesn't deserve a particularly sympathetic ear when they start whining about it NOW.

        Guess what? Piracy is a problem for Android because of China, Russia and India. Yeah, some of the countries whose populations probably outnumber both Canada and America put together. It's the nature of the platform, it's the culture of those countries, it's what-the-heck-ever but it very rarely is the fault of those people who are literate enough to follow AP. I would have had nothing to say to your opinion had it been written in either Chinese or Russian, quite frankly.

        Also. AP getting spammers for pirate APKs is a sign that AP readers must be pirates? Don't make me laugh. Just today alone I saw several spam comments advertising counterfeit LV bags on a DIY site? Why?

        ... because the DIY was on how to strengthen the seams of a BAG.

        It has nothing to do with "American readers sending them traffic" and everything to do with keyword linkages. Why is it so surprising to you that BANG OMG FAKE/PIRATED APKS POPPING UP ON MY MEGA-POPULAR ANDROID SITE!!?

  • Dave

    You always bring the best apps AP. Keep up the good work.

  • xnadax

    Kairo and Pulse in the same post made me think of the 2001 Japanese horror movie "Kairo", which in English got the title "Pulse".

  • Matthew Fry

    Jeremiah, I understand that you are appealing to the greater Android audience but I still find this a bit offensive. For one, the article you linked could have been given its own AP article and been a (although some might consider belabored) platform to discuss piracy in Android games. Secondly, you are editorializing to an audience of people who follow Android news. We're all stakeholders in the success of the Android platform (current owners, developers, future owners). We're not going around pirating games. Thirdly, the developer is pretty chipper about the whole thing and isn't looking to vilify or stereotype the Android consumer base.

    " It seems unlikely to me that people tried to buy it on Google Play, found it wouldn't run on their device, and then tracked down a torrent instead. It’s far more likely that the people who pirated the game have only one method of finding and installing apps, and that is through pirate sites."

    "At least then the pirates would have the opportunity to pay us a little something if they were enjoying it so much - the main problem is that most of these pirates probably exist in a commercial ecosystem where the Google Play store does not even exist, and it doesn't occur to them to buy any games from there at all."

    In fact, he gives us a compliment:
    "One small thing that really surprised us - Google Play users are far more likely to leave reviews in the store...and very positive ones at that! Nearly 10% of the people who bought the game on Google Play have left reviews, averaging 4.8 stars. On iTunes, it’s more like 0.01%, and we’re only averaging 3.3 stars. Awww! So there you go."