When you've already created a browser-based interactive experience that lets players explore a 3D recreation of various locales spread throughout Middle-earth, how do you up your game? You add multiplayer. At least, that's what Google's decided to do. The company has updated its "A Journey Through Middle-earth" Chrome experiment with the ability for players to challenge each other to a bout of Hobbit-inspired fun.
Google developers designed the game using web technologies such as WebRTC and WebGL. As long as your device has a high-end graphics card, you should be able to share in the experience just fine. What high-end means here is relative, because A Journey Through Middle-earth is playable on Android phones and tablets alike, in addition to desktops.
Google Play Games has supported online multiplayer for a while, but now it's even easier to play against your friends who happen to be within gloating distance. Play Games now includes support for multiplayer with people who are physically near you.
In the Android Police teardown of the latest Google Play Services support app posted yesterday, Cody Toombs noted that the "Nearby Players" feature we've been spotting for a few weeks seems ready to go. And lo and behold, several users have seen the feature become active on their phones, heading to Google+ and our own tips box to spread the joy around. Check your own app to see if it's enabled, though the distribution seems somewhat random - we're seeing reports from players in Mexico and Italy at the moment.
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 a minimalist "multiplayer" twitch game, a sci-fi tower defense game, a strangely violent take on Angry Birds, and another Tin Man game book. Without further ado:
Make Them Fight
Ketchapp's simple but enjoyable games have won it a few fans thus far, and the latest one looks like the same kind of minimal fun.
Excitement over products like the Ouya, nVidia's Shield line, and even numerous gamepads proves that gaming on Android has entered the mainstream. Developers have been jumping at the opportunity to build games that work across many of the different operating systems; and thanks to the Cross-Platform SDK, they're able to integrate most of the Play Games services into their products on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Until now, this SDK has lagged behind the SDKs for Android and iOS on one specific feature: real-time multiplayer support. As of today, Google is rectifying this oversight and making a number of other improvements with updates to the Play Games SDKs, along with some new features in the Google Play Developer Console.
Air Hockey would be a lot more fun if it had multiple players. And crazy Tron-inspired colors. And guns. That seems to be the basic idea behind Futu Hoki (Future Hockey, if that was too subtle), a new game from the developer of the popular Glow Hockey 3D. The new game is essentially Air Hockey squared, or perhaps Hungry Hungry Hippos in reverse: as the super-glowy guns at all four corners of the board shoot out rolling balls, you have to defend your side in Pong fashion.
Of course the other three players will be doing the same, whether they're controlled by humans or AI.
The creators of Organ Trail: Director's Cut who brought us the wonder of "delicious Apple 2 pixel art" combined with the nostalgia of the Oregon Trail and zombies, have done it again, introducing Max Gentlemen to the Play Store.
Max Gentlemen is an "arcade style extreme manners simulator" in which you'll strive to prove your gentlemanliness by stacking hats. On your head. Also the hats can jump to avoid passing beer glasses, low-flying birds, or other such obstacles.
Players must choose a character, a hat, and a level, and see how many hats they can balance in the game's initial gameplay mode.
Many fans of the original PS1-era RE-VOLT were thrilled when a port was released on Android last year. The portable version included all of the goofy kart-style racing that made the original a sleeper hit... with one exception. Both the remastered version and the free-to-play edition lacked online multiplayer, which was a crucial part of the old game. Well, except for the online part. That's been addressed in RE-VOLT 2: Multiplayer, available now as a free download.
The same simple 3D graphics and amazingly tight controls return from the first game - seriously, these are probably as good as touchscreen controls get on Android.
The perennial trading card game from Wizards of the Coast made its Android debut last year, and it seems that the developers intend to give it regular updates, just like the PC version. Magic 2015 includes an expanded collection of cards that match the physical card game, though you'll have to shell out quite a lot of cash for the full set - not unlike the real-world counterpart. Magic 2015 is a free download, but you'll need at least 1.2GB of free space to hold it.
If you're familiar with the card game, you know what to expect: two players battle by laying down lands, collecting manna, summoning creatures, and casting spells.
Developer CD Projekt Red has something impressive in the works for fans of The Witcher in need of a mobile fix. Its upcoming game, The Witcher Battle Arena, is a multiplayer experience akin to DotA and League of Legends, but set in the rich medieval universe made popular by the PC/console video game series that's been around since 2007 (themselves based on a series of books). The game was demoed at this year's E3, and it looks awesome.
In each battle, six heroes enter the arena and compete over three conquest points, hoping to capture and hold them longer than the other side.