Of course it wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of last month's very best games. December, like most months, saw the launch of plenty of great titles. Checking out every last game that debuted in a month can take a long time, though (besides racking up a pretty hefty total). To that end, we have – as always – compiled a short list comprised of six of December's best offerings.
Time to grab the closest energy drink, sit down at your biggest, baddest, multi-monitoriest coding rig and get cracking on some game ideas, devs! Ouya has announced a 10-day competition that will challenge contestants to come up with an Ouya-compatible app from scratch. The shindig gets started on January 14th and from that point, participants will have until January 23rd to submit a playable demo of their original game.
The contest is being put on in partnership with Kill Screen, which will be reviewing the entries.
NVIDIA slipped a surprise into their CES press conference this evening: a short and sweet look at Dead Trigger 2. As the only technical demo for the screaming Tegra 4 platform, it looked mighty impressive - based on the streaming video, the graphics look just a little behind the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 level. The short demo video showed live game video of the player wielding an M4 machine gun to dispatch an enormous building-sized zombie.
The comings and going of ants are rarely fodder for a good strategy game, but when you think about it, they're tailor made. Ants have lots of natural enemies, a hive-mind social structure for you to command, and ants don't take crap from anyone (ever step on an anthill?). In Ant Raid, you take command of a group of anthropomorphized ants under attack from all sides. Snails, wasps, and all manner of other small-stature troublemakers are out to destroy the colony, and you're the only one that can stop them.
NVIDIA's jaw-dropping Tegra 4 and Project Shield demos showed off a lot of impressive hardware, but any gamer will tell you: it's all about the games themselves. To that end, they've revealed a few of the games currently in development and set to take advantage of both the Tegra 4 and Shield's console-style controls. We've already seen Madfinger's Dead Trigger 2, but on the shiny new Shield website, there are brief glimpses of other titles.
If you've been following PC gaming, you know that Valve has big plans for its Steam platform. NVIDIA wants to leverage the new "Big Picture" mode (a TV user interface, designed to make a gaming PC work more like a game console) with the brand-spanking new Project
Thor Shield mobile gaming device. At the CES press conference, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed off the Shield Hardware streaming live PC games from a local machine running a high-end GTX 680 graphics card.
If you've got fond memories of spending Saturday morning watching the antics of Peter Perfect, Penelope Pitstop, and Dick Dastardly (themselves based on The Great Race from 1965), then you should check out Steampunk Racing 3D. While it doesn't have the same abundance of personality as the Hanna Barbara classic, it's definitely got the cartoonish exaggeration down pat. In this full polygonal racer, you're tasked with navigating your steam-powered contraption through an Industrial Revolution setting while dealing with other racers, with varying degrees of prejudice.
Grand Theft Auto III, the car-stealing, open world game that came to Android in celebration of the series beginning ten long years ago, got a nice update today, bumping it to version 1.3. Besides the usual bug fixes, the GTA update expands the game's compatibility to ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer Prime and the Medion Lifetab, while also adding support for Gamestop's wireless game controller, and enhanced controls for other gamepads and Sony's Xperia Play.
Mobile companion apps for AAA PC and console titles have become popular in the last few months: see companions for Call of Duty and FIFA 2013 for examples. Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 is a surprisingly excellent addition to the shooter franchise, and it offers a companion app for its multiplayer component. But what makes this one different is that it includes more than the standard social/organization elements: playing the Outpost app can score equipment and upgrades for the main game.
Horror and adventure are a surprisingly potent combination for gaming - just ask anyone who's played TellTale's series based on the Walking Dead series. The niche is a little barren on Android, but has gotten a little less so with the release of Killer Escape. In this game you're a luckless protagonist captured by a serial killer, and you've got to use your wits to escape via a series of puzzles and exploring your dank surroundings.