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Gold Rush-era empire builder 1849 strikes paydirt on May 8

While normally you'd need a mule and scraggly beard to properly reenact the California Gold Rush, developer SomaSim's upcoming 1849 will allow players to build a mining empire from the comforts of their own home.

Slated to debut on PC, Mac, iPad and Android tablets on May 8, the simulation drops players into one of 20 virtual cities, each based on a real Gold Rush-era boomtown. SomaSim cites SimCity as a direct influence on 1849 and claims that players will need to build mines, attract workers, find ways to keep said workers fed and entertained, and establish trade networks to ship ore out of the wilderness. SomaSim promises a campaign consisting of 20 distinct scenarios designed to test different aspects of a player's mining talents, alongside an endless sandbox mode.

If you'd rather not wait until May 8 to kick off your mining career, 1849 is currently available in Early Access form from Indie Game Stand and the Mac Game Store. The former offers both PC and Mac versions of 1849, while the latter strictly features OS X software. Both sites are offering 1849 for $10, and each will be updated with new content as the game nears its official launch.
[Image: SomaSim]

Season 2 of The Walking Dead haunts Vita next week

While the Vita still lags behind its console and computer counterparts, fans of Telltale's critically beloved The Walking Dead won't have to wait much longer for the second season of the emotionally charged zombie adventure.

Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, The Walking Dead: Season 2 will make its Vita debut on April 22. To make up for the delayed release, Telltale has opted to launch both Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the new season simultaneously. Come April 22, both episodes will be available from the PlayStation Network Store at a price of $5, though if you plan to eventually play through all five planned episodes of Season 2, you'll find that the $15 Season Pass offers a 20 percent discount over purchasing each episode individually.

Additionally, Telltale has announced that The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is now available on Android devices including the Nvidia Shield, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Kindle HDX.

Eufloria Adventures hits PS Mobile this week

Omni Systems brings its latest project to the PlayStation Vita and supported Android platforms this week with the release of Eufloria Adventures, a PlayStation Mobile-exclusive follow-up to its ambient real-time strategy game Eufloria.

Eufloria Adventures puts players in control of a single floating Seedling Ship for a series of exploration-based challenges, contrasting the strategic, troop-swarming gameplay of the original Eufloria. Levels are procedurally generated, and players can choose to specialize in Speed, Strength, or Energy attributes as the difficulty ramps up at lower depths.

Eufloria Adventures includes both a casual mode focusing on low-key exploration and a roguelike mode for hardcore players. The game is available from the PlayStation Store for $7.99.

[Image: Omni Systems]

Humble Mobile Bundle 5 explores The Room 2, The Cave, and more


Humble Bundle is back with another serving of high-profile Android games, featuring Double Fine's The Cave, Fireproof Games' The Room 2 and other standout apps in the newly launched Humble Mobile Bundle 5.

Pay at least $1 and you'll get Crescent Moon Games' action-RPG Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Hidden Variable's grocery-bagging puzzler Bag It!, and an Android port of Irem's classic arcade shooter R-Type 2. The Room 2, The Cave, and Carcassonne are available for buyers who beat the bundle's average purchase price (currently under $4), and more games will be added at a later date.

Humble Mobile Bundle 5 will be available through April 29.

[Video: Humble Bundle]

Microsoft announces Age of Empires: World Domination for mobile


We've known since last summer that Microsoft was looking to bring its Age of Empires series to mobile, but earlier this week we were given an official announcement and title. The game, which is being developed by KLab, is called Age of Empires: World Domination. It's coming to iOS, Android and Windows devices this summer. You can check out the announcement trailer above.

Unfortunately, there's not much else to go on at the moment, other than the game will feature Celts, Huns, Vikings and Franks. It's not clear if gameplay will follow in the series' traditional real-time strategy footsteps or be something else, but the trailer promises "an all new battle system reimagined for mobile."

Cry havoc and let slip the fingertips of war.
[Image: Microsoft]

OnLive cuts price of CloudLift subscription fee nearly in half

OnLive launched CloudLift last month, a service that lets users stream its selection of games from capable machines to devices that wouldn't normally be able to play them - think tablets and underpowered computers. CloudLift used to cost $14.99 a month, but that subscription fee has been slashed to $7.95, presumably because price drops are awesome.

Saints Row 4, Batman: Arkham Origins and The LEGO Movie Videogame serve as highlights among Cloudlift's offerings, all of which can be streamed from Steam if you own copies of the games there. Given that your interest in Cloudlift likely depends on whether the service stands up to your expectations, you can try a free 7-day trial by finding CloudLift in the OnLive application's Market.
[Image: OnLive]

Harmonix's free-to-play Record Run planned for May release

Record Run, Harmonix's free-to-play, rhythmic runner that builds stages from the music library on a player's device, was announced yesterday at PAX East 2014. According to Polygon, project director John Drake announced today that the mobile game will reach Australia and Canada within a few weeks, with a wider launch on Android and iOS devices following in May.

As a song progresses, players will switch between lanes of pavement to snatch up levitating discs of vinyl. Aside from accumulating a massive record collection, Record Run-ners can take on missions with more specific objectives, like collecting a certain amount of records or points. Weekly leaderboards are planned as well, but all-time scores will also be viewable.
[Image: Harmonix]

The Internet is your storytelling campfire in Storium [Update]



Ever tell ghost stories around a campfire? Or recount your life's adventures at a party? Storium by Stephen Hood aims to recreate those experiences, with the Internet acting not only as your audience, but your collaborators. You begin by choosing a world with a unique setting and history, and from there, create your own tale to tell within it. Other players can then join in on your story, contributing their own characters and actions.

The game is focused on writing, but mixes in game mechanics such as cards representing characters, items, obstacles and goals to keep players focused and the story moving forward. Think of it like a session of Dungeons & Dragons where the focus is less on killing monsters and more on acting out a scene.

The game has already been funded via Kickstarter, though more funding means more worlds for users to play in. So far, Storium is supporting worlds and settings like Bram Stoker's Dracula, a Red Dawn-like world where Russians invade the US, post-WW2 Los Angeles, and a near future where criminals and law enforcement alike alter their genes to become superhuman. There are no solid release windows or platforms given on the game's Kickstarter page, but it is advertised that players will be able to access Storium "with just your computer, tablet, or smartphone."

Update: Joystiq reached out to Storium creator Stephen Hood for more details, and he has responded. While backers who donate $10 or more gain instant access to the Storium beta, the public launch is expected in November. Storium is also browser-based instead of a standalone client, so any compatible browser, be it on your smartphone, tablet, PC or other device, should work.
[Image: Storium / Stephen Hood]

Magic 2015 deals in Xbox One, out in the summer


This summer, Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers brings the collectible card game series to Xbox One for the first time, but it looks like the game isn't coming to PlayStation platforms in the near future. Wizards of the Coast announced Magic 2015 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Steam, iPad, Android and Kindle, with PS3 and PS4 conspicuously absent from the deck; previously editions have traditionally come to PS3 at launch. As for the summer due date, that's only specified for Xbox One, and Wizards of the Coast notes its releases may vary from platform to platform.

Talking of decks, you'll be able to build customized ones in Magic 2015, and Wizards of the Coast promises "more robust" deck-building features to boot. Meanwhile, the story pits players as the prey of primal hunter and generally deadly dude Garruk Wildspeaker.

Of course, we might be seeing Magic: The Gathering on bigger screens in the future, after 20th Century Fox's purchase of the series' screen rights earlier this year. We look forward to the inevitable video game based on the collectible card game based on the movie based on the collectible card game.
[Image: Wizards of the Coast]

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Harmonix announces 'rhythm-runner' Record Run for mobile

Harmonix announced the development of a new free-to-play game at PAX East in Boston today called Record Run. Described by the developer as a "rhythm-runner," the game is "coming soon" to as-yet-undetermined mobile platforms.

Record Run features gameplay that compares to Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip series, according to Harmonix head Alex Rigopulos. The game uses songs from players' mobile devices as the backdrop for its levels, which features a character running down a sidewalk, avoiding obstacles and collecting music records, all seen during Rigopulous' presentation. He noted that Harmonix has "lots of other irons in the fire on mobile" aside from Record Run.
[Image: Harmonix]

Humble Weekly Sale: Guacamelee, Surgeon Simulator, State of Decay



The Humble Weekly Sale features a lineup of PewDiePie-approved games, with sales helping out the Save the Children charity. Available for anything you want is Surgeon Simulator 2013, Guacamelee Gold Edition and QWOP for Android. Up for $6 or more is SpeedRunners on Early Access and Garry's Mod, at $10 or more unlock Probably Archery, and for $15 or more you'll receive State of Decay.

All games are on Steam, except for "QWOP for Android." That one's on – wait for it – Android.
[Image: Humble]

That Dragon, Cancer documentary follows a year of development, heartache



Thank You For Playing is a documentary about the development of That Dragon, Cancer, the low-poly adventure game from Ryan Green. The game tells the Green family's heart-wrenching story as their young son, Joel, battles terminal cancer. Joel died in March at age 5.

The documentary covers the past year of development, delving into tense family moments, following Joel to the hospital, and covering That Dragon, Cancer at shows such as PAX and E3. Thank You For Playing comes from veteran filmmakers David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.

Ryan Green posted about the documentary for the first time on his blog today:

"You wouldn't think it so, since our family has been so public and in the news about sharing the game, and we've been part of a web-based documentary before, but letting a film crew in to our personal, creative and professional lives was a little scary. We are not the producers of this film. It is independent of us. Before this project, we did not know David and Malika, but we decided It was important that people see the parts of our lives in-between the scenes of the game. Life happens in the middle and so does death. David and Malika were with our family the three days leading up to Joel's passing."

Thank You For Playing is currently in production, as is That Dragon, Cancer.
[Images: Osit and Zouhali-Worrall]

Hitman Go launches April 17 on iOS, Android 'shortly after'

Square Enix Montreal will launch mobile strategy game Hitman Go on iOS on Thursday, April 17. Based on the publisher's popular Hitman series, the diorama-style, turn-based game will cost $5 (£3 / 4.50 euros). Announced in February, the first game from the developer has players navigating fixed, grid-like spaces while using familiar tools from the series, such as Agent 47's Silverballers.

Hitman Go will include eight special "Curtains Down" levels based on Hitman: Blood Money. While Square Enix didn't set a release date for it, the Android version of the game will arrive "shortly after" it launches on the App Store.
[Image: Square Enix]

Minecraft Pocket Edition chips off 21 million copies

Minecraft Pocket Edition has sold more than 21 million copies, developer Jens Bergensten says in a tweet. To celebrate this ridiculously large number, the Minecraft mobile team will host a live panel broadcast from Mojang offices on Monday, April 14, allowing fans to ask them anything. Whether they'll answer anything is up to them.

Players can submit questions to this reddit thread. Mojang will pick the best ones and address them live online – there's no specific time for the stream yet, but it will be archived. Mojang says to check the site for more info as it comes in.

"We're extremely grateful to all players for your dedication and creativity," Mojang writes. "Without that, Minecraft wouldn't be anywhere near as significant as it is today."

Minecraft recently passed 12 million sales on Xbox 360 and 14 million on PC. In its first month on PS3, Minecraft hit 1 million sales. In total, Minecraft has sold roughly 576 squidillion copies across all platforms.
[Image: Mojang]

Humble Bundle PC and Android 9 adds three games

Humble Bundle PC and Android 9 received three more games this week, bringing the total number of games (appropriately) to nine. Those that spend more than the average sale price for the bundle, which is currently $3.89, get The Shivah, Savant Ascent and Syder Arcade in addition to the six games originally announced for the bundle. Each game is available through Steam for PC, Mac and Linux, via DRM-free download and on Android.

Created by adventure game developed Wadjet Eye Games, The Shivah follows Rabbi Russell Stone as he surprisingly receives a generous sum of money to keep his synagogue open. Savant Ascent comes from D-Pad Studios and blends enemy-thrashing with the music of electronic musician Savant. A PS4 version of the game was announced in March. Lastly, Studio Evil's Syder Arcade is described as a "free-scrolling, multi-directional shoot em' up." Humble Bundle PC and Android 9 will end on Tuesday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.
[Image: Wadjet Eye Games]

Game of Thrones: Ascent studio developing strategic mobile Star Trek game


Disruptor Beam, the developers behind Game of Thrones: Ascent, announced the development of Star Trek Timelines today. Published by CBS, Star Trek Timelines is a story-driven strategy RPG for iOS, Android and browsers in which players explore galaxies and resolve conflicts through diplomacy, combat and science. Players will build a starship and crew and go on missions with characters from the many series of Star Trek TV shows and movies.

The studio's CEO, Jon Radoff wrote a blog on the developer's site detailing its vision for the multiplayer game, comparing it to Game of Thrones: Ascent. While Radoff said the game will be familiar to Game of Thrones players, Star Trek Timelines will feature a "more immersive exploration system" as well as "a more detailed tactical system" for conflict resolution. Disruptor Beam currently doesn't have a release schedule for the game.
[Image: Disruptor Beam]

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Cartoon Network publishing Kickstarted Zelda-like Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Indie developer SleepNinja will get a little help to bring Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake to Steam and mobile devices later this year, as it agreed to a publishing deal with Cartoon Network Games, the publisher confirmed to Joystiq. The developer earned $26,091 on Kickstarter in February 2013, enough to reach a stretch goal that will bring the game to Android in addition to PC, Mac and iOS.

"Cartoon Network have been great to work with and have definitely kept our backers in mind," SleepNinja Creative Director Justin Baldwin said via email. "Our publishing deal with them will not affect our backer's rewards; everyone will still be getting what was promised, and the game they were promised."

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is an "environmental puzzler" in the same vein as Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series that features a colorful 16-bit aesthetic that "doesn't rely on pixel art." While Cartoon Network Games primarily focuses on games related to its current properties such as Adventure Time, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake will be its first original IP on Steam. Cartoon Network said it plans to publish "more than 10 mobile titles and at least four on Steam."

Telepathic crime and noir stealth due in spring with Third Eye Crime

Third Eye Crime, the telepathic stealth game from a team of former Bungie developers at Moonshot Games, is due out in spring for mobile devices from publisher gameblyr. Moonshot will have a playable iOS build at PAX East later this week.

Third Eye Crime stars Rothko, a criminal with the ability to predict the moves of his enemies – Rothko must use his telepathic powers to set up false leads for the authorities, allowing him to get away with nasty deeds. It's top-down puzzle and stealth in a noir setting, and it was almost a completely different game.

Moonshot Games entered the indie industry with Fallen Frontier, a downloadable co-op shooter for consoles, but funding fell through. Moonshot switched up its business plan, targeting the mobile market, and until now it funded Third Eye Crime from the team's own pockets.

"Post-PAX [2011] we came to the grim realization that the market had shifted pretty substantially since we first started working on the game," Moonshot co-founder Damian Isla said in 2013. "The console downloadable platforms had plateaued somewhat, and publishers were less excited about investing there. A game that had sold itself easily the first two times all of a sudden became a much harder sell the third time. By that time, the real interest and the accompanying dollars seemed to had moved on to mobile and social."

We'll see if Moonshot is still on the right path with Third Eye Crime in spring.
[Images: gameblyr]

Hitpoint's #Dungeon to start building rooms from tweets on July 4

#Dungeon, the roguelike that will build labyrinths by converting tweets into monster-filled chambers, will start its social media adventure on July 4 on PC, Mac and Android. The date was tweeted on the game's official Twitter account, paired with hashtags that make us wonder what sort of room a release date tweet would make.

If you're a little too eager to wait that long, developer Hitpoint's recent post to Indie DB notes that a closed alpha should be "happening soon." Further details will be made available on the #Dungeon Twitter account, so keep an eye on that if you're dying to know what a series of #swag tweets will build. Considering #Dungeon is slated for July 4, we're pretty curious about what the #Murcia sections will look like, too.
[Image: Hitpoint Games]

Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff destroys Quahog next week



Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is due out for iOS and Android devices on April 10. It's free-to-play and comes from FOX Digital Entertainment and TinyCo.

The story (yes, there is a story) follows Peter and other Quahog residents as they attempt to rebuild the city after Peter destroys it in a fight with the Giant Chicken. You can make a living in Quahog and send characters on "ridiculous adventures," TinyCo says. Given it's a Family Guy game, the "ridiculous" part is a tad redundant.

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