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Sonic Jump Fever has spread to iOS and Google Play


Sonic Jump Fever has arrived on both iOS and Google Play, Sega has announced. The game follows up on the Blue Blur's previous mobile outing, Sonic Jump, and it promises even more of the rodent's famous, signature talent: jumping. Players jump and bounce as high as possible, collecting lots of goodies along the way to increase their score.

The big addition to Sonic Jump Fever is the ability to compete with friends and earn prizes. In fact, duping ... er, gently convincing your friends to play will reap rewards, as "the more friends players have, the more elite the prizes up for grabs." The game is free, though there are plenty of microtransactions available if you feel like feeding the Sonic fever.

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Game development is better with friends at Finji

Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman founded Finji, a collaborative development studio, in March. Finji offers publishing and other services to developers, and it runs on revenue share for each project – for Saltsman's new apocalyptic survival game, Overland, this means each of the four development team members will split revenue from the game "basically forever" once it's released.

Finji works with other developers on their own games, such as Infinite Fall's Night in the Woods, and Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga's Panoramical, which is also backed by Polytron Partners. So far, the collaboration is going better than he'd hoped, Saltsman says. Developers use a combination of text messages, Skype and Google apps to get their work done, and they're figuring out the kinks among everyone's schedules. Most of the team is local to Austin, Texas, but they do have to deal with some time zone confusion and melding different work habits.

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Fluffy platformer Leo's Fortune rolls to Android

Leo's Fortune, the tablet-based platformer from 1337 & Senri, is now available on Android. The game first launched on iOS in May, and stars a mustachioed blue ball named Leopold, who is on the hunt for his missing gold. Players must leap and glide through levels with switches and spiky traps, collecting Leo's gold coins and toppling record times to perfect each area along the way.

Our review of the game praised its touch-based controls as well as its creative, contraption-like level design, though Leo's Fortune is a little on the short side with only a few dozen levels to complete. The game costs $4.99 on Google Play and supports controllers and gamepads made for Android devices as well as leaderboards, achievements and cloud save support.
[Image: 1337 & Senri]

Overland: A lonely game filled with monsters

Overland is not a zombie game. It's a turn-based survival story set in an apocalyptic wasteland filled with monsters, and it plays out as if action figures from Half-Life 2 and Stephen King's The Stand were on a road trip across a chess board, creator Adam Saltsman says. It is a horror game, in a sense.

"It is intended to be scary or unsettling or lonely, but I don't think it will be compared to Resident Evil or Amnesia," Saltsman tells Joystiq. "The thing I'm most interested in right now is, what if the people in a roguelike-type scenario weren't heroes and could not become heroes ... how do they manage? I like that feeling of vulnerability more than the feeling of 'horror' exactly. As a team we're definitely investigating things that are lonely and vulnerable and beautiful more than 'scary' so far, I think."

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Nosgoth founders program incentives get cheaper July 22

The founders program for Nosgoth is undergoing a few changes, Square Enix announced today. The program, which arrived when the game entered its closed beta phase in late February, includes founders packs that give players bonus in-game items and boosts. Those packs will see adjustments come July 22 in terms of their price and contents.

The Veteran-level pack, previously a $20 pack that included 4,000 "rune stones," will now include 1,500 in-game gold and a 30-day "Major All Booster" that ups players' XP and gold production by 50 percent, all for $5 (while still including a Veteran badge and early access to the game). Three of the other founders packs have received similar adjustments, with the Warlord pack dropping from $35 to $13, the Warband pack from $50 to $20 and the most expensive one, the Immortal pack, moving from $150 to $50. The Nosgoth site provides a clear look at the changes between the former founders packs and the new, cheaper ones.

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FTC sues Amazon over in-app purchase practices

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued online retailer Amazon for refusing to change its framework for purchases made within its hosted mobile apps, according to a Reuters report.

The lawsuit is an expected result of Amazon's denial of FTC-issued requests to change its in-app purchase policies. To meet FTC guidelines, Amazon would need to add another layer of password protection and overhaul its refund policies in order to curb in-app purchases made by children without parental permission. In a recent letter to the FTC, Amazon noted that it prefers to "defend our approach in court," rather than change its policies.

The FTC's lawsuit seeks refunds for affected customers and a ban on unlimited purchases within Amazon apps. Apple issued more than $32.5 million in refunds to App Store customers following a similar FTC complaint earlier this year.

[Image: Amazon]

10 Years, 10 Great Games: Anthony's picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite - not "best" - games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

For his number one selection, Community Manager Anthony John Agnello reminds us of a beloved RPG franchise from Square Enix that isn't a Final Fantasy.

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Battlefest starts this weekend with bonus Battlefield 4 XP

Just in time for the July 15 debut of Battlefield 4's Dragon's Teeth DLC, EA kicks off Battlefest, a month-long promotion designed to reward those loyal virtual soldiers who've stuck with the shooter despite its infamous track record.

Battlefest begins on July 12 with a two-day, double experience point bonus for all players. From there, EA will offer new content on a weekly basis, including free camo unlocks and Community Missions that force players to work together to reach a formidable goal. Assuming players complete the mission, everyone who logged into Battlefield 4 during the event will receive a free Gold Battlepack.

Finally, EA is launching a month-long stunt competition. If you've got awesome footage of ramping a motorbike off a pile of rubble into a helicopter like some poorly planned Die Hard sequel, send it in to EA. The top three most impressive clips will be awarded what EA calls, "a massive prize."

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Hellraid: The Escape makes a break for it on iOS


Before Techland properly introduces players to the dark fantasy world of Hellraid next year, developer Shortbreak Studios offers a tour of the world via the iOS puzzle game Hellraid: The Escape.

Officially described as a "visually stunning action-adventure mobile game," Hellraid: The Escape casts players as an amnesiac who's been locked in a cage by a sorcerer for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Like all the best cages, this one is guarded by demons, and our protagonist will have to explore his prison and solve puzzles in order to make the titular escape.

Hellraid: The Escape is available on the App Store at $2.99. It features no in-app purchases, but Shortbreak plans to release periodic, free content updates for the mobile game.
[Image: Shortbreak Studios]

Mario dons the stars and stripes for Smash Bros. alternate

Though Mario now spends his days jumping on turtles and racing go-karts throughout the Mushroom Kingdom, he's a boy from Brooklyn, and this latest Super Smash Bros. costume demonstrates his patriotic spirit.

Unveiled by the Japanese Super Smash Bros. Twitter account, the above costume is a Yankee Doodle homage to the duds Mario is seen wearing on the cover of classic 8-bit golf game NES Open Tournament Golf. Though that is a wildly esoteric reference, it provides a nice contrast to Mario's staid red and blue overalls.

Why this image is appearing now and not, say, six days ago is a mystery.

Report: 80 percent of App Store apps aren't visible

Mobile analytics company adjust uses the term "zombie apps" to describe those that aren't visible on the App Store – to be visible, an app must "rank on any of the 39,171 App Store top lists on two out of three days over the month." That's a fairly low bar, but still, last month just one-fifth of apps were visible. The number of zombie apps is climbing – in June 2013, the zombie rate was 70.4 percent, but that rose to 75.2 percent in December, and in June 2014, it reached 79.6 percent (953,387 apps out of 1,197,087), adjust says.

Games are the largest category in the App Store, with 237,389 apps added in the past year, and 65,643 (21.7 percent) of those were removed voluntarily by developers or because they violated Apple's rules. In 2013, the App Store saw 453,902 new apps, and almost 15 percent of those were pulled. Books had the highest rate of pulled apps, at 27 percent, the company reports.

Adjust predicts the App Store will receive 578,000 new apps by July 1, 2015. More than 1.6 million apps have been uploaded to the App Store since its launch, and 350,000 (21.8 percent) have been pulled, adjust says.
[Image: EA]

Gibeau: EA 'innovated too much' with Dungeon Keeper

EA's reboot of Dungeon Keeper rubbed new and old fans the wrong way with an aggressive approach to monetization – it's a free, mobile app heavy on microtransactions and shifty five-star rating schemes. The original game's creator, Peter Molyneux, dubbed the reboot "ridiculous," and in June, EA CEO Andrew Wilson called the situation "a shame."

EA Mobile head Frank Gibeau this week told GamesIndustry that EA didn't do a good job marketing the game or communicating to fans what they could expect from a new Dungeon Keeper.

"Brands ultimately have a certain amount of permission that you can make changes to, and I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren't ready for," Gibeau said. "Or, frankly, were not in tune with what the brand would have allowed us to do. We like the idea that you can bring back a brand at EA and express it in a new way. We've had some successes on that front, but in the case of Dungeon Keeper, that just didn't connect with an audience for a variety of reasons."

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Microsoft CEO wants to make Xbox part of a mobile future

Microsoft's recently appointed CEO Satya Nadella has issued an open letter to Microsoft employees and the general public, affirming his commitment to the Xbox brand while also hinting at a potential shift in company priority to mobile devices.

"The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming," Nadella said. "We are fortunate to have Xbox in our family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation. [...] Bottom line, we will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft."

"While today many people define mobile by devices, Microsoft defines it by experiences," Nadella continued. "We're really in the infant stages of the mobile-first world. In the next few years we will see many more new categories evolve and experiences emerge that span a variety of devices of all screen sizes. Microsoft will be on the forefront of this innovation with a particular focus on dual users and their needs across work and life."

Nadella additionally noted that Microsoft's gaming innovations will continue to inform and shape its productivity-focused technology, citing Skype speech recognition and the Kinect camera as crossover efforts benefiting both divisions.
[Image: Microsoft]

Dragon Age Inquisition: Eight romances, no deadly war hounds

Following a lengthy Raptr Q&A session hosted by the developers of Dragon Age: Inquisition, we've learned a number of new things about BioWare's upcoming roleplaying epic.

While combat has been expanded to add new abilities and spells, and to grant the use of bows to all rogues, fans should not expect to fight alongside the noble mabari. According to BioWare, the faithful war hounds will not appear in combat in Inquisition. The game will feature numerous chances for amoré, however: eight in total, two of which require players to meet race restrictions. For those who feel that dipping one's pen in the party's virtual ink is strictly verboten, you can seek affection outside of your crew of like-minded heroes as BioWare is including "at least one" relationship option outside of your companions.

Games.On.Net has a bullet list round-up of the remaining information. There's a lot there, and while it qualifies as "miscellaneous" at best, and offer no details on the game's plot, it should prove informative to fans of the series.

Joystiq Discovers... What's in the box?!


Earlier this afternoon we received a chest. We had no idea how to open the box, so we started a stream on our Twitch page and asked the Joystiq biomass if they knew a clever way to get inside the puzzle case. Above you'll see the results from Alexander Sliwinski, with assistance and quiet voice (sorry about that!) of Richard Mitchell.

If you want to skip ahead to the reveal, it happens after about 13 minutes and many tribulations of tools later.

Spoiler after the break...

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