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Flappy Bird creator's new game is vertically challenging

Apparently solving the equation "Flappy Bird + Y axis," creator Dong Nguyen has unveiled the follow-up to his mobile phenomenon, and it's Swing Copters. As Touch Arcade reports, Swing Copters features the same visual style as Flappy Bird, but this time the idea is to move vertically rather than horizontally. You control another little critter, this time with a rotary wing attached to his helmet, and the aim is to float up into the skies. A tap sends your beady-eyed chopper left or right so you can avoid the girders and swinging hammers, and a single hit results in game over.

If it sounds familiar, check out Touch Arcade's gameplay video below the break. Curiously, Swing Copters doesn't look like the "next game" Nguyen teased a few months ago, though he did say in March he had three different projects in the pipeline, so to speak.

When Swing Copters launches on iOS and Android this Thursday, August 21, it'll be a free download with a sole in-app purchase of 99 cents to remove the ads. Whether or not it'll beat the clones to the chase remains to be seen.

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Super Meat Boy dev teases 'A Voyeur for September'

What to make of this, hmm? Super Meat Boy and Mew-Genics studio Team Meat is teasing a new "live-action stealth game" called A Voyeur for September, which in and of itself is a bit weird. Let's face it, live-action stealth... whatever that is... would be a seismic departure from what we're used to from the team of Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes.

Is there another explanation? Smarty-pants online sleuths reckon so, having discovered A Voyeur for September just so happens to be an anagram of Super Meat Boy Forever. That does sound more plausible, although we've discovered the title's also an anagram of Tea Proves Beefy Rumor. Does that mean the answer's in the tea? Somebody, put the kettle on!

Check out Team Meat's mysterious teaser trailer below the break.

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Joystiq Deals: Game development tutorial bundle

This edition of Joystiq Deals is aimed at the budding game developer, with a massively-discounted seven course bundle designed to train even the most oblivious neophyte on how to develop games for iOS, Android and the PC.

Included in the Ultimate Game Developer Bundle are over 30 hours of instruction on topics ranging from iOS and Android development to crafting your own Flappy Bird or match-3 style game. Normally the bundle features a $989 price tag, but for a limited time you can grab all of this instructional material from Joystiq Deals for only $49.

If you're interested in taking advantage of this offer, you'd better hurry. When we said "limited time" we meant it: This deal is only available for the next 24 hours.

Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

2K launches WWE card game for iOS, Android

2K unveiled a new game today that puts pro wrestling and trading cards in the same ring, WWE SuperCard. The game is available now on iOS and Android via Google Play for free, and has players building teams of WWE superstars to compete against other players' decks in exhibition and King of the Ring matches. The card battler features somewhat humorous animations in which two trading cards twirl and body slam one another after a simple comparison of their power, charisma and other skills.

Developed by Cat Daddy Games, WWE SuperCard also features the combining and training of cards in order to build players' stables of wrestlers, in addition to paid card packs. By purchasing in-game credits at a minimum rate of 200 for $1.99, players can pick up Superstar Packs that offer one random card of "common" or "epic" rarity for roughly one dollar. The most expensive bundles are Epic Packs, which cost 2,500 credits ($25) and dish out one random superstar card of "epic" or "legendary" rarity.

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Bite-sized Minis figures invade Skylanders Trap Team

Activision is preparing to launch an army of adorable miniature Skylanders toys alongside Skylanders Trap Team later this year, giving players the chance to send pint-sized versions of their favorite characters into battle.

Trap Team's "Minis" characters boast the same abilities and upgrades as their full-sized counterparts, but they have one advantage: They're cute as heck. Sixteen Minis figures will be available after Trap Team's launch, including Spyro's miniature cousin Spry, a tiny Gill Grunt named Gill Runt, and the Trigger Happy variant Trigger Snappy.

You can see the Minis in action via the galleries below. Skylanders Trap Team launches for consoles and tablets on October 5.

[Image: Activision]

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Joystiq Deals: VPN Unlimited, PSN Anime Sale

Today, Joystiq Deals is giving your online security a boost with a three-year subscription to VPN Unlimited. When you're connected to a virtual private network on a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine or an iOS or Android mobile device, your Internet traffic is encrypted and anonymous, keeping you safe from hackers and other online threats. A $65 value, VPN's three-year package can be yours today for just $19 through Joystiq Deals.

If you're on the lookout for under-the-radar hits on the PlayStation Network, you can score some sweet deals during this week's Anime Sale. Featured games include the manga-based beat-'em-up One Piece: Pirate Warriors for $10, RPG dual-pack Tales of Symphonia Chronicles for $14.99, and action-RPG compilation Ys: I & II Chronicles for $10.79. PlayStation Plus members get an additional discount on top of listed sale prices through August 18.

Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Skylanders: Trap Team bridges the gap between console and tablet

Skylanders: Trap Team will be revolutionary, for both the series and potentially for Activision's entire publishing operation, when it releases on October 5th. It doesn't dramatically change the central play of Toys For Bob's popular action figure adventure games. Catching villains in teensy crystal toys like sinister Pokemon isn't, in practice, so different than just using a regular Skylanders action figure even if it is a charming shift in the fiction. What is a dramatic change, however, is that Trap Team will be available on iPad and Android tablets the very same day it hits PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Not a spinoff, either. Activision's bringing the full console game to mobile devices.

Playing the game on an iPad Mini, Trap Team is a handy demonstration of just how far mobile game development has come in the past five years. While it may not have the graphical flash of the PlayStation 4 version of the game Activision showed Joystiq shortly before San Diego Comic Con, the exact same level plays just as smooth and looks every bit as nice as a polished Xbox 360 game. New character Snap Shot pops into the stage when you put his figure on the Skylanders portal and fights off a soda-swilling monster with the same aplomb. Developer Vicarious Visions, a studio with a long history of adapting Activision's big console games to portable devices, has brought Trap Team to tablets with no sacrifices to the action.

But it's the touchable technology surrounding tablet Trap Team that's most impressive.

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Goat Simulator makes big bucks with 'almost 1 million' sales

Of all the many "simulator" games, Goat Simulator stands out as one of the silliest and craziest to catch heat. That's reflected by the game's sales to date of "almost 1 million," as announced by Coffee Stain Studio's Armin Ibrisagic at GDC Europe this morning. It's no surprise, then, that the studio's now working on bringing the game to iOS and Android.

To ram those figures home, Ibrisagic said Coffee Stain made back the money it invested into Goat Simulator in "ten minutes." Perhaps crazier, the game generated more revenue in four months than the studio had made in the previous four years.

Goat Simulator represents a surreal and unexpected success for the Sanctum studio, which, as Ibrisagic explained, approached the game as no more than a light-hearted change of pace after working on a far more serious tower-defense series for years. The moment Coffee Stain realized it had to make Goat Simulator into a real game was when its debut trailer racked up a million views. The studio diverted all employees to working on it and rapidly started adding content to it ahead of its - no kidding - April 1 release. That extra content included a giraffe - after all, according to Ibrisagic, all animals are goats.
[Image: Coffee Stain Studios]

Wings! Remastered Edition touring prettier skies in 2014

Cinemaware's World War 1 bomber is circling over PC, Mac, iOS and Android for a second round as Wings! Remastered Edition. The update will retain the top-down gameplay from Wings!'s 1990 debut on the Amiga, but HD polish, new sound effects and a redone soundtrack will help freshen up the experience. A press release notes pilots will join the 56th Squadron for "over 230 diverse missions taking place between 1916 and 1918." Surely most of those conflicts will be resolved with subdued diplomacy ...

Wings was meant to be revisited via Kickstarter in 2012, but Cinemaware's campaign for Wings: Director's Cut only managed to gather a sixth of its $350,000 funding goal.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

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Award-winning Monument Valley recouped costs in one week

Monument Valley, winner of an Apple Design Award and an all-around beautiful brain-buster, made back its development costs after just one week on the App Store, Lead Designer Ken Wong said during a presentation at GDC Europe. Even though it's a $4 app and it launched alongside other premium games, including Hitman: Go, FTL and Leo's Fortune, Monument Valley crested 1 million sales within four months.

"Now, that doesn't make us rich by any measure, but we made our money back and it means that the team can stay together and make another creative, crazy project with complete creative freedom," Wong said. "This is all we ever really wanted, not to get rich, but to be sustainable."

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Surgeon Simulator plays doctor on Android tablets next week

Come August 14 - two days after its PlayStation 4 debut - Bossa Studios' hilariously gory Surgeon Simulator will spill blood on Android tablets, according to a new trailer.

If you've yet to experience Surgeon Simulator, think of it as a light-hearted glimpse into the daily life of the world's worst surgeon - you. Ostensibly the game simulates proper surgery, only thanks to overtly uncooperative controls, players portray a doctor who is either drunk, supernaturally clumsy or thinks blood-stained scrubs are a solid fashion statement. Most virtual doctors will kill more patients than they save, but performing surgery with the manual dexterity of a toddler is surprisingly engaging and a solid complement of in-game challenges keeps things fresh.

So far there's no official word on how much Surgeon Simulator will cost on Android, but if it falls in line with the iOS release, expect the game to feature a $6 price tag.
[Image: Bossa Studios]

Crazy Taxi: City Rushes to Android

Hot on the heels of its iOS counterpart, the mobile-exclusive Crazy Taxi: City Rush is now available on Android devices.

Designed by Crazy Taxi creator Kenji Kanno, City Rush has been built specifically for the touchscreen interface found on mobile devices. Though the game still centers on racing through a city, gathering pedestrians and delivering them safely to their destinations, Crazy Taxi: City Rush also includes new characters, new cabs (including a tank) and new jobs spread throughout the sunny streets of Bay City.

Crazy Taxi: City Rush can now be found on Google Play. It's a free download, but the game does feature numerous in-app purchase options.

Edit: This article originally stated that the Android version of Crazy Taxi: City Rush offers support for custom soundtracks. That feature is, in fact, exclusive to the iOS version.
[Image: Sega]

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Ouya tutorials help you make a game in 20 minutes

With the right tools, Ouya says you can program and publish an Android game in just 20 minutes, and it's offering the online and in-console tutorials to make that happen. Ouya offers a how-to video on the console, accompanying instructions online, and the AIDE app for Ouya, which provides basic Android coding lessons.

"Most gamers have, at one point or another, considered making their own game – but don't follow through," Ouya developer relations head Kellee Santiago writes. "The process can be daunting due to lack of proper how-to information, they are intimidated by coding, or they just think it's just too hard overall. But it's not! Your friends at Ouya are here to show you that creating your own game is way easier than you think – and you can pick up valuable programming skills in the process."

The promise of developing and publishing your first game in less time than an episode of Bob's Burgers is bold, but apparently doable. We'll prep the headlines now: "The Next Big Game delayed by 20 minutes so developers can start and finish it."
[Image: Ouya]

Humble Mobile Bundle 6 offers up Threes, Eliss Infinity, and more

Humble Mobile Bundle 6 is now live with a collection of six Android-compatible games, including Asher Vollmer's number-sliding puzzler Threes and Little Eyes' planet-fusing action game Eliss Infinity.

Pay any amount you wish for the pack and you'll get copies of Eliss Infinity, The Game Bakers' brawler Combo Crew Special Edition, and Kumobius' newly launched Duet. Beat the average (currently $3.56) and you'll also unlock Threes, Crescent Moon Games' mining-themed RPG Mines of Mars, and BulkyPix's episodic action-adventure game Lone Wolf.

Bundle proceeds benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play. Humble Mobile Bundle 6 is available through August 19.

[Video: Humble Bundle]

Artist sues pet toy company over Angry Birds licensing profits

Seattle artist Juli Adams has filed suit against pet product manufacturer Hartz, alleging that the company denied her profits when it ditched her trademarked "Angry Birds" toy line in favor of licensed products based on Rovio's mobile hit Angry Birds.

Adams' own "Angry Birds" lineup of catnip-filled toys predates Rovio's franchise, originally launching in partnership with Hartz in November 2006. As part of the agreement, Hartz received limited licensing rights, allowing it to sell the toys in pet stores while forbidding the licensing of Adams' intellectual property to third parties. Adams retained full intellectual property rights in the partnership.

After the Angry Birds mobile game debuted in 2009, Hartz began distributing Rovio-licensed toys while its partnership with Adams was still in effect. Adams' representing attorney Anthony Shapiro claims that Hartz subsequently earned "tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars from sales of the Angry Birds pet toys," without legal property rights to the trademark. The suit alleges that Hartz later informed Adams that she could no longer use the "Angry Birds" name due to a licensing conflict.

While Rovio had trademarked the Angry Birds name for licensed children's toys, clothing and other products, it specifically excluded pet toys from its attempted trademarks, deferring to Hartz' trademark that it established in partnership with Adams. Hartz is the sole named defendant in Adams' case; Rovio is not targeted in the suit.

Adams' complaint seeks "disgorgement of all of Hartz's ill-gotten gains, a reasonable royalty as owed to her under the Agreement, and an accounting, as well as a return of her Intellectual Property, including all associated trademarks and copyright registrations for 'Angry Birds' pet toys."

[Image: Hartz / Adams / Rovio]

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