An interesting new trailer crossed our news desk today, and the more I watch it the more it makes my brain hurt. But in a good way. It’s for an upcoming puzzler called Bloki from developer Junkhive, and I think they do a pretty good job of succinctly describing it here: “Bloki is a minimal, clean and mind-bending game with a simple goal each level – twist, turn, and build the structure to place the blocks on the points that match their color. With additional elements, like color switching tiles or obstacles, the game gets more and more interesting as it progresses. It also helps you train your spatial intelligence, as well as visualising and manipulating three dimensional space in your head.” Here’s the trailer.
Using the touchscreen, you’ll be able to rotate and position the group of blocks to your liking, as well as add on blocks as needed. The goal is to get the floating colored points aligned with the same colored blocks of the little structure you’re building. But that’s not all! “Some levels have tiles that change the colors of the blocks, some have points which must remain empty, and others have obstacles which restrict your movement.” It all sounds like some masochistic twist on the Rubik’s Cube, which is music to my ears. If you enjoy these types of challenging puzzlers that force you to think in three dimensional space, then look for Bloki to launch on iOS in mid-May for just 99¢.
If you were following our mountain of GDC coverage from last week, you might recall seeing us post some hands-on video from a game called Vandals by developer Cosmografik and publisher ARTE France. You might also remember me saying that it was one of the best games I had seen all week, and that I was incredibly excited to get my hands on the final product whenever it should release. Well, if you felt the same as I did, then good news! Vandals now has a release date of April 12th on iOS, Android, and Steam. The easiest way to describe Vandals is that it’s turn-based stealth puzzling similar to Hitman GO but with this awesome graffiti-spraying mechanic that lets you draw your very own graffiti right on the touchscreen. Check out this teaser.
If you’re planning on getting Vandals on iOS and you’re into the whole pre-ordering thing, then you can click this link on an iOS 11 device to be taken to the App Store where you can pre-order the game for $ 3.99. Then, once the game releases you’ll get a push notification and it’ll just auto-magically download right to your device, ready to be played and enjoyed. If you missed our previous coverage of Vandals, be sure to give that hands-on video a look to see why this is one of my most highly-anticipated games, and be on the lookout for the official launch next month.
Death Squared [$ 6.99] is a perfect example of how I believe the Switch/Mobile dichotomy can positively affect the App Store. While at its heart a relatively straightforward puzzle caper, Death Squaredexuded charm in every detail, and conjured up an impressive Portal-esque feel with its presentation and polish. However, while the game achieved significant success on the Switch, its premium mobile release has proven to be slightly less profitable. Even though its $ 6.99 price point was still a substantial saving on its console brother, Death Squared failed to make a splash when it launched on the App Store in February. In an attempt to reach an even greater audience with their latest creation, developer SMG Studios has announced that an Android version of Death Squared will launch this weekend, which will coincide with a $ 3.99 sale for the title across its mobile platforms.
I’m a huge fan of SMG’s content across all platforms, with the likes of Thumb Drift [Free] and One More Bounce [Free] nailing the compromise between a successful free-to-play monetisation with enticing and substantial gameplay. Death Squared really felt like a huge step up for the studio, and so seeing it not perform as well as the developers may have hoped is disappointing, if somewhat predictable. I really hope that SMG manage to keep up their impressive run of essential App Store titles in the future, even if they take a guise similar to their slightly older releases. The co-op puzzle action of Death Squared is a lot of fun, whether on iPhone, Switch or soon to be Android, and at a $ 3.99 price point I can definitely recommend giving the game a look, especially for anyone lamenting the steady demise of free-to-play mobile games. Check out Death Squared on Android later this week, and let us know your impressions of any version of the title on our forum thread.
Stampede Games may sound familiar thanks to their previous release Evo Explores, which happens to look and play a lot like Monument Valley. Well, it would appear that the developer has released an all-new puzzle game for Android called .projekt, and I have to say it’s quite striking. But even if you ignore the well-thought-out art direction, the puzzle-based gameplay holds its own while offering up a solid challenge worth the asking price.
During PAX West this past September, Eli and I stumbled across a bank of kiosks featuring upcoming Steam games, and one in particular caught our eye with its really neat art style. That game was Plunge from developer Spooky Buns Games, and it’s a rogue-lite dungeon crawler with an almost board game-like isometric viewpoint. It combined “slide until you stop” block-pushing puzzle mechanics with more traditional dungeon crawling, and it looked really awesome. Lucky for us, when we stopped to chat with the developers they mentioned that Plunge was indeed destined for mobile in addition to desktop. Here is a fairly recent and lengthy gameplay video showing Plunge in action.
This week we learned that Spooky Buns will be at GDC showcasing Plunge at the Indie Megabooth, and since we’ll be at GDC covering the event like we usually do, we’ll make a point to stop by and check in on the game’s progress. No pricing has been decided and there’s no solid release date set just yet beyond sometime in “mid-2018” but I’m curious to see how the game has come along since we saw it last September. If you’re liking the look of Plunge as much as we do, then keep your eyes on TouchArcade for our GDC coverage starting March 19th for an updated look at this promising upcoming game.
There was a time in the App Store when you couldn’t avoid seeing a physics puzzler at every turn, which is fine and all, but once a genre gets overly-saturated like that it’s hard to get excited for each new release. Well like many of the most overdone genres on mobile, there also comes a point where enough time has passed and you’re actually in a mood for one of those games again. That’s how I felt when I saw the trailer for Polar Rollout from developer Blue Evolution. Your job here is to draw a path using the touchscreen that your character can roll along destroying any enemies in its path and making it to the goal. Here’s a trailer.
Polar Rollout will include 120 levels across 6 different worlds and will come with multiple playable characters to unlock and a host of unique special abilities. It looks cute and well-designed, and like I said before I’m actually in the mood for a new physics puzzler at this point in my mobile gaming life. If you feel the same then you can actually pre-order Polar Rollout ahead of its planned April 18th release date. Just click this link on an iOS 11 device and be magically whisked away to the App Store where you can pre-order and then the game will similarly magically automatically download to your device when it arrives. For more you can drop by the forum thread which has been chugging along for more than two years as the game has been in development.
Heavily inspired by classic children’s literature, PAPER Anne is UsFun Games’ new puzzle platformer which transports you into a papercraft world of mystery and fairytales. With nods to the Nut Cracker, Alice in Wonderland, and more, PAPER Anne has finally unfolded its way onto the App Store.
PAPER Anne’s whimsical tale begins when the eponymous Anne finds herself swept up in a familiar tale, told in a very unfamiliar way. Set in a papercraft world where Alice is a no-show and the wickedness of the evil Queen of Hearts has taken hold, it’s down to you as the titular Anne to save the day by solving the game’s many hand-drawn puzzles and piecing its story together.
Michal Pawlowski of Hamster On Coke Game Lab, developer of such lovely puzzle experiences as Zenge [$ 0.99] and Art Of Gravity [$ 0.99] and co-developer of the oddly satisfying button-pushing puzzler PUSH [$ 0.99], has announced his new project called Scalak and is currently looking for some more beta test participants in our forums. Like his previous work, Scalak utilizes simple game mechanics but layers them together to create an increasingly deeper experience, and of course it’s all wrapped up in really striking visuals and sounds. In this case the mechanics revolve around placing shapes into gaps on cube-based objects, rotating the object and even combining multiple pieces to find the right place for everything. I’m bad at explaining it but it’s pretty clear how Scalak works in the following trailer.
What I love about Hamster On Coke Game Lab (besides the deliciously absurd name) is that they’re putting out games that have a solid gameplay foundation that would be fun just on its own, but they take the time to make sure the whole experience has something to offer besides just working out your brain. Zenge could have been a great Tangram-like sliding puzzler with just level after level of blank shapes, but instead you actually piece together parts of these gorgeous images that paint a larger story for the game. Or Art Of Gravity would have been just fine if all you did was figure out how to complete each level, but instead there’s these almost hypnotic explosions of tiny voxels as each piece blows apart in an elaborate sequence. And PUSH, well, it’s just stupidly fun to push buttons. I feel like Scalak will follow in these same footsteps, so look for it to arrive sometime in April or May for $ 2 with no ads or IAP on iOS, Android, and PC.
It’s a good day for good news in the world of Android gaming, as not only is the long-awaited Android version of Street Fighter IV: Champion Editionnow available but today NEXT Studio has announced that they’ll be bringing their critically acclaimed puzzler Death Coming to Android in addition to iOS. We first learned that Death Coming would be getting a mobile version in early January following its well-received launch on Steam the previous November. Originally planned for release this month on iOS only, NEXT Studio needs just a bit more time to finish up the port and so the iOS version will be pushed back to some point in March. This extra time also allows them to work on the Android port which will follow not too long after the iOS release in the second quarter of 2018.
Death Coming is a dark puzzle game that sees you starting the game with your own demise and then being given the position of Death’s assistant. This means you need to facilitate the deaths of other people to collect souls for your new boss, but you can’t just go murdering people outright. You’ll need to make it look like some sort of freak accident, which means manipulating objects in the environment to create a hazardous and deadly situation for whatever hapless folks might be milling about. It’s a pretty morbid premise and I mean that in the best way possible. I love the idea of setting up some elaborate course of events that leads to a Final Destination-style complex death scene. A more specific release date and pricing information should be coming soon but for now just keep an eye out for Death Coming on iOS sometime in March and on Android in the months that follow.
After bringing out tons of mobile hits like Thumb Drift, Over The Top Tower Defense, and the One More Line/Jump/Bounce series, Australian developer SMG Studio entered the console realm last year with the release of Death Squared on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Death Squared is a block-moving puzzler not unlike many we’ve seen before, except here you’re moving multiple boxes simultaneously and you’ll need to do so in a way that doesn’t trigger a sudden death trap that will destroy one of the blocks, rendering a level failed. On its own Death Squared is a clever and challenging puzzler, but where it really shines is in its cooperative multiplayer for up to 4 players. This was especially true of the Nintendo Switch version with its detachable controllers and tabletop mode. Well, it’s been close to a year since Death Squared first launched and SMG is bringing things full circle with a release for iOS. Check out this extremely high-budget trailer touting the virtues of Death Squared on iOS. These guys spared no expense!
Content-wise everything from the console version of Death Squared is making its way to the iOS version, including more than 80 levels of story-driven (and fully voiced!) campaign mode as well as 10 additional levels in the Vault Mode which “are almost too hard for human consumption.” One thing that isn’t making its way over, which isn’t that surprising, is the 4-player mode. However, Death Squared on iOS will still retain an element of multiplayer as you can easily play with two players on the same device, since on each side of the screen is a virtual stick that will control one of the blocks. SMG even recommends “snuggling up close to your +1 and playing together” and with the iOS version set to launch on February 14th, aka Valentine’s Day, that sounds like quite the romantic idea. Android folks don’t have to feel left out as a version is planned for that platform too, but it’s currently still in the works. iOS folks, though, find yourself someone you can get intimately close to and try not to destroy each other when Death Squared hits the App Store February 14th.