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Final Fantasy series developers unveil Zodiac for Vita, iOS


French developer Kobojo has assembled a team of Final Fantasy series veterans for Zodiac, an upcoming multiplayer online RPG for iOS platforms and the PlayStation Vita.

Taking place in a persistent online world, Zodiac features gameplay that spans side-scrolling 2D environments interspersed with turn-based battles. The project boasts the involvement of Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 10 scenario writer Kazushige Nojima and Final Fantasy Tactics composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, among other creative talent.

Zodiac is due to launch in 2015.

[Video: Kobojo]

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Most Hearthstone players remain above Rank 15

Those of you perpetually stuck at Rank 23 in Blizzard's hyper-addictive faux card game Hearthstone shouldn't get too discouraged. Not only are you not alone, you happen to be in the same position as the vast majority of other Hearthstone players.

According to an infographic revealed by the developer (which you can find below the break), 75 percent of all Hearthstone players fall somewhere between Rank 25 and Rank 15 - a far cry from the envy-inducing upper echelons of the game's leaderboards. Furthermore, 17.5 percent of Hearthstone players are located somewhere between Ranks 15 and 10, 5.5 percent are found between Ranks 10 and 5 and a mere 2 percent can legitimately claim to have placed within the top five ranks. The number of players who have reached the rank of "Legend" is almost too small to mention, as it represents only 0.5 percent of all Hearthstone players.

If you're hoping for a noble, academic use for this data, sorry, but Blizzard is seemingly sharing these figures purely to bolster player morale. "Whether you're a Legend or an Angry Chicken or anywhere in between, Hearthstone players are passionate about the game, creative in deck-building, and best of all – a part of the ever-growing Hearthstone community," reads a message from the developer. "If you ever feel that your Rank in Ranked Play is the end all, be all of Hearthstone, don't worry – you're doing better than you think!"
[Image: Activision Blizzard]

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Just Dance Now grooves on mobile devices later this month

For all those moments when you desperately need to bust a move, but the nearest dance floor (virtual or otherwise) is inaccessible, comes Just Dance Now, the latest entry in Ubisoft's hit rhythm game franchise.

Unlike its console predecessors, Just Dance Now is the first Just Dance sequel exclusively available for mobile devices. As it result, it boasts a few unique features. Gameplay is largely the same, with players keeping rhythm to a popular tune alongside a virtual dancer, but in lieu of a controller players use their smartphone or tablet to control the game while watching the action as it is projected onto the nearest wifi-connected television.

According to Ubisoft's official announcement, Just Dance Now will make its iOS and Android debut on September 25. Unfortunately, the publisher offers no information on what price will be attached to the mobile rhythm game.
[Image: Ubisoft]

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NHL 2K series returns to mobile this fall

2K announced the return of its NHL 2K hockey video game brand today with the aptly-named NHL 2K. The game is in development for iOS and Android devices as a "premium mobile game" slated to launch this fall for $7.99. Players will take to the ice in classic NHL Winter Classic, Free Skate and Shootout modes, a three-on-three Mini-Rink mode, a "detailed" My Career mode and turn-based multiplayer shootouts.

NHL 2K is the first entry in the series to surface in four years, the last being 2010's NHL 2K11 for Wii and iOS. The latest game is the result of a cooperative effort between NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts and Virtuos Games, the same studio that lent a hand to Square Enix with Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster in January. NHL 2K will include iCloud support on iOS devices, NHL GameCenter Live connectivity and MFi controller support.

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Goat Simulator gives us the billies on iOS, Android

Goat Simulator puts the dumb into smartphones starting today, and it's available to purchase on iOS and Android now. The ports of Coffee Stain Studios' ridiculous phenomenon are priced $5, and the studio proudly proclaims they include "all the bugs from the PC version."

Goat Simulator can be boiled down to causing as much physical destruction as possible with a goat... or other animals which Coffee Stain claims are goats too. The Sanctum dev admits it's a "completely stupid game" with "millions of bugs," but it's also a game with almost one million sales, largely thanks to an inspired marketing campaign that riffed on Dead Island's own viral trailer. The buck doesn't stop with the mobile ports, because Goat Simulator is also flying onto Xbox One, courtesy of LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developer Double Eleven.
[Image: Coffee Stain Studios]

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX going free-to-play on iOS

An iOS version of Bandai Namco's high-octane Pac-Man remake Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has soft-launched in New Zealand, suggesting that a worldwide App Store release is imminent.

Released as a downloadable title for consoles in 2010, Championship Edition DX retrofits Pac-Man's classic gameplay with chain-based scoring mechanics and mazes that continually evolve throughout each play session. The iOS edition is free-to-play, and introduces an energy-refilling mechanic that limits the number of available lives and bombs before requiring players to either wait or pay to recharge.

A worldwide release date for the iOS version of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is not yet known.

[Image: Bandai Namco]

A peak at one of Monument Valley's new levels

Yes, that is a pun in the headline. Thank you for noticing.

Monument Valley is getting new "lost scenes" designed to double the average gameplay time of 90 minutes, and this is one of those levels. Well, it's part of one of those levels, as this one appears to be fairly grand. Developer ustwo shared the photo on Twitter (view it in full below).

There's no word on a launch window for the new levels. Monument Valley recouped its cost of development in one week, reached 1 million sales in four months and won an Apple Design Award since launching in April.

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Joystiq Deals: Mobile game dev training, Steam week-long sale

The School of Interactive Design offers a comprehensive training plan for up-and-coming mobile game developers through Joystiq Deals this week, bundling eight professional-quality courses for only $99.99. No prior coding experience is required, and you can produce playable results in just a few hours after starting the program. The course covers game development for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and PC platforms, so if you've ever wanted to make your own game, this is a great place to start.

PC gamers, meanwhile, can pick up a collection of cheap games on Steam this week, including Crimzon Clover: World Ignition for $7.49, Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut for $5.99, Avadon: The Black Fortress for $1.99, and Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition for $1.49. The sale also features several games priced at under $1, including Two Worlds, Desert Gunner, and Postal. Sale prices are effective through next Monday.
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.

Hearthstone is a 20 million-player game of cards

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has dealt in 20 million players around the world, the game's official Twitter account announced today. The tweet reads, "Thank you all for joining us in #Hearthstone! We're going to need a bigger tavern!"

Hearthstone is Blizzard's free, strategy card game based on Warcraft lore for PC, Mac, iPad and Windows 8 Touch devices. Android and iPhone versions of the game are due out before the end of the year, Lead Designer Eric Dodds told Joystiq at PAX Prime.

Xbox chief: Minecraft will continue on PlayStation, mobile


When word spread last week that Microsoft was considering a purchase of Mojang and its gaming titan Minecraft, fans were concerned about the game's future. Would Minecraft become an Xbox exclusive? Would it be locked to Windows Phones going forward? In a video discussing the acquisition, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that Microsoft would continue to help develop Minecraft on all the platforms that made it a $2.5 billion brand in the first place.

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Surgeon Simulator dev expands curriculum in Twelve a Dozen

Would you trust Bossa Studios, developers of the questionably-medically-accurate Surgeon Simulator, to teach basic math skills? Educational organization Amplify did, and the result of their collaboration is Twelve a Dozen, a puzzle-focused platformer that subtly teaches simple calculations and the order of operations.

In Twelve A Dozen, players guide Twelve and her companion Dot in an effort to save Twelve's family as a disaster descends upon Dozenopolis. Twelve's lesson plan spans 30 levels' worth of puzzles, with more coming in an eventual update. The App Store description notes that Twelve A Dozen is meant to support the curriculum of those aged 10 - 14, but all iPad users can brush up on the basics for $4.99 (£2.99).

Just ... don't go thinking you're a few hours away from practicing heart surgery once you can do algebra in your sleep.
[Image: Bossa Studios]

Mobile game HipstaFox is everything its name promises

And now, a scene from the Joystiq documentary, "What Does The Fox Play: Games Starring Foxes":

The red fox (vulpes vulpes) is a solitary creature that cares little for what other creatures in the animal kingdom think about it. In HipstaFox, we see one trouncing through the forest, collecting flowers to the beat of piano music. A ritual for his kind.

He's collected quite a few, but he'll have to add some flair to his run if he hopes to attract a mate before the winter season.

Luckily, our red-furred friend can trade in those flowers to purchase bowler hats, bow ties, thick-rimmed glasses and other fashionable accessories to make himself stand out as the biggest and best hipster fox in the forest. His journey, available on iOS and Android, is far from over.
[Image: Fluffy Wiggle]

Guide a jellyfish swarm under the sea in Jelly Reef

How do you guide a bloom of jellyfish to the ocean floor if you can't actually speak their language? You inherit the power to guide oceanic currents and push them to safety using the water around them. The thought of a life-defining force bending to the finger swipes of an onmiprescent higher power may terrify some, but that doesn't seem to be the case in Game Oven's Jelly Reef. Look at their peppy little faces – they're just happy to be here!

In Game Oven's stark departure from its ballet-supplementing Bounden, players will dodge hazards, dive into secret paths and gather jelly eggs spread through 26 levels. Their jellyfish swarm will cross paths with non-aggressive forms of sealife as well, with creatures like a crab, starfish and manta ray awaiting help with their own mini-stories.

Jelly Reef is due to take a dip on Windows Phones by the end of 2014, with a release on iOS and Android following sometime next year.
[Image: Game Oven]

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Fotonica is dashing into the distance on iOS right now

After getting a running start on PC, Mac and Ouya, Fotonica has leaped to iOS devices to continue sprinting through wireframe environments at a breakneck speed. At $2.99, developer Santa Ragione's one-button runner is a reasonably-priced chance to fry your brain trying to jump, glide and dash through Fotonica's seven levels. If you need something beyond personal bests to conquer, you can also share half your screen with a friend for Fotonica's two-player mode.

Staring at still images of Fotonica doesn't quite get its sense of speed across though – check its iOS launch trailer after the break to fully realize its blazing pace.
[Image: Santa Ragione]

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Spider-Man: Unlimited is an endless web-swinger

Face front, true believers! Or rather, face your smartphones and tablets, because that's where you'll see your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man sprinting, swinging and wall-crawling in Spider-Man: Unlimited, a new endless runner from Gameloft.

The game is more inspired by the Marvel comics than the recently-released movie, and features a cel-shaded art style to compliment the webhead hero. Gameplay is divided into virtual comic book "issues," each centered on a member of the Sinister Six - a supergroup of Spidey villains. So far, players can face down Green Goblin and Vulture, with more issues to be released in the future.

Spidey is bringing his trademark style and jokes to iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, meaning he'll swing (just about) wherever a spider can.
[Image: Gameloft]

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On my iPad: 80 Days

Posted on Aug 7th 2014 1:00PM

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