In the mid 60s, a man named Harold P. Warren set out to prove that making horror films is not difficult and, with a budget of $19k and a script written on a napkin, he got to work. What followed is, far and away, one of the worst pieces of cinema ever to be recorded. Yes, worse than Gigli or Cool As Ice. You think those are bad? Amateurs. While the film not only bombed in 1966, it continues to bomb to this day. An appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000 prevented this atrocity from disappearing into obscurity, and since then the fandom hasn't stopped, as evidenced by what might just be the greatest platform game since the original Mario Brothers.
The life of a racehorse trainer is no bed of wood shavings. It's a dirty, thankless job, with high risk to both money and person, and a big win can be years in the making. So what better vocation to make a sim game out of? Android gaming favorite Kairosoft is up to the challenge - after all, they managed to make both real estate and tailoring fun - with Pocket Stables. Surprisingly, they've also gone back to their old price model: the game is $4.99 with no ads or in-app purchases.
You are a tiny, pixelated owner/breeder/trainer trying to make a living in the cutthroat world of high-stakes racing.
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Catch The Candy
Today's roundup is sponsored by Catch the Candy from Herocraft. Good God, this thing is so cute it makes me sick.
To call this game "Tetris on a sphere" would be a bit disingenuous. It's far, far more complicated than that. Tetris merely requires you to place falling pieces such that they create solid, dissolving rows and thus abate, if temporarily, the peril of becoming overwhelmed by the steady stream of burdens in what I can only assume is a clever metaphor for adulthood. Globulous, on the other hand, has a clear goal: clear out layers of the sphere and reach the prize inside. It's the method that gets complex.
The gameplay is a little difficult to grasp at first (as is any puzzle game that operates in 3D), but thankfully there are plenty of tutorials.
If you subscribe to the vastly-oversimplified concept of a multiverse, then you must believe that, given an infinite set of potential universes, all possible things can and must occur in at least one world parallel to our own. Which means that somewhere, on some alternate version of Earth, Super Mario Bros. stars a textured-yet-pixelated biker named Manley who is trying to track down his kidnapped motorcycle. Kidnapped, that is, by aliens.
To the game's credit, it's completely up front about what it is: "This retro platform game pays tribute to, and parodies, classics such as Super Mario Bros., CastleVania and Mega Man, in style!" It doesn't try to hide behind feigned originality.
Gamers in the mid-90s might remember spending hour upon terrifying hour playing Hexen: Beyond Heretic. The technology might have changed, but now you can get reacquainted with the realm of Cronos in this port from the same developer that brought us the Doom and Heretic ports. However, this game only comes with demo files – you have to provide the genuine article.
Hexen GLS is still the game you remember, but it's been cleaned up a little around the edges. It supports high-resolution screens, dynamic lighting, enhanced particle effects, and controller/Xperia Play input. The dev also plans to keep adding improved graphical effects in future releases.
The term "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" (MOBA) is a relatively new way to refer to an old idea: a multiplayer, somewhat symmetrical game, in which teams of players face off against each other. It's the bread and butter of online shooters and racing games, but up to this point hasn't enjoyed much success on Android, just because mobile controls aren't well-suited to the ultra-twitchy competitions that comprise most of the genre. Developer Overdose Caffeine is trying to change that with Pocket Fleet, a free space-based MOBA.
At its heart, Pocket Fleet is a space shooter in the vein of Asteroids. You get a single, relatively small ship, two weapons, and a 2D arena.
Last week, we took a look at the nominees for Ouya's 10-day developer competition, Create. Today, we have the winners! These game devs will receive some undisclosed amount of money (out of a pot of $45,000) and almost certainly end up on the launch version of the Ouya console. So, what are they? Well, let's break them down by category.
"Pop Your Eyes Out" Award: Pipnis
We covered this one in our roundup last week, though we're at a loss to explain how it didn't win the "Best Couch with Friends" Award. This is the game that requires two players to share a single controller.
As promised, Pixowl has launched their iOS hit The Sandbox on the Play Store. It's a free download for anything running Android 2.3 or later. Not to be confused with the open world sandbox genre (Grand Theft Auto and the like), this game is an almost literal sandbox. You're an apprentice deity, with the goal of combining elements into different pixelated constructions. Then go Old Testament and blow it up. Anyone who's ever built a domino tower just to knock it down will understand the appeal here.
While the construction and combination elements are fun, there's also reason to temper your excitement.
Ultima has been around forever. So it's only appropriate that the series' new mobile push incorporate the fact in its title... even if it is a bit on the nose. Ultima Forever: Quest For The Avatar is an upcoming top-down dungeon crawler set in the familiar Ultima universe, complete with online play and a massive amount of game time. According to a Polygon interview with the game's producer, getting to level 15 will take 200 hours, while getting to the end with everything will take closer to 400.
The game is based on the battle system of Ultima 4, with a more real-time action component.