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PAX 10 spotlights Framed and Duet

This year's PAX 10, a collection of games from independent developers, has been determined and will be highlighted at next month's PAX Prime convention. The ten games were hand-picked by 50 industry experts, starting with Duet, Kumobius' elegant arcade-style action game for iOS. Duet is joined by LoveShack's Framed, a narrative puzzle game trapped in a comic world. Both Duet and Framed received attention earlier this year when the games were among six total mobile titles in the PAX East Indie Showcase.

Those two games are joined by an abstract 2D PC platformer from DigiPen's Neat Snake known as Flickers. Infinity Monkeys' Life Goes On is also in the mix, in which players set out to find the Cup of Life by ironically sacrificing knights to the game's deathly contraptions. Untame's amorphous puzzler Mushroom 11 will be included in the showcase, as will Funktronic Labs' sci-fi, turn-based adventure game Nova-111.

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Device 6 developer drops anchor on The Sailor's Dream



The Sailor's Dream is a melancholic, introspective game that features a lot of writing – most likely good writing, considering developer Simogo's previous work – the open seas, a series of islands and a splintered story that you piece together in whichever order you see fit. The Sailor's Dream is in the same vein as Simogo's most recent games, Year Walk and Device 6, but the studio says it's softer and carries less of a classic challenge.

"We're throwing out some more traditional game challenge-elements; in fact, The Sailor's Dream won't feature any puzzles at all," Simogo writes. "That doesn't mean you won't find playful things in the game, though – there are plenty of things to touch, play and tinker with. And it definitely doesn't mean that we want it to be easily digested! We hope it will leave you pondering and wondering and find reasons to talk about it with friends, and hopefully even return to it. It's a fractured story told in different ways, from different perspectives. When it comes to telling the story, we're drawing inspirations from both books, radio plays and even musicals."

The trailer for The Sailor's Dream shows navigational coordinates over beautiful, seemingly hand-painted landmarks on an open sea, and a series of interactive objects. Text mentions a lonely girl exploring the ocean and perhaps a bit of love lost, but not forgotten: "Seal our love in ink forever, on my heart and on his arm." The final touch of gramophone music in the trailer is haunting.

The Sailor's Dream launches on iOS in late 2014.

Guardians of the Galaxy Pinball dated for all systems



This past weekend the Guardians of the Galaxy pinball table was announced, bringing the crazy crew to Zen Pinball 2 in addition to their appearances in Disney Infinity 2.0 and Marvel: Avengers Alliance. The table was revealed for PS3, PS4 and Vita, available for $2.99 on July 29.

The table will also be available on the following platforms and dates:
  • Steam, Xbox 360 - July 30
  • Xbox One, Android, iOS and Amazon - July 31

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Kasedo's strategy-RPG Crowntakers launching for PC, tablets this year


Kalypso's digital-only label Kasedo Games announced that it will release the procedurally generated tactical RPG Crowntakers for PC and mobile platforms later this year.

In Crowntakers, players hire a party of mercenaries with unique abilities and travel through eight randomly generated environments, fending off enemy soldiers and wildlife in turn-based battles. Crowntakers also includes crafting and character-leveling components, and the quest features multiple endings, giving players an incentive to finish their battles quickly as they rush to save a kidnapped king.

Crowntakers will launch for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS and Android tablets in 2014.

[Video: Kasedo Games]

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Beatbuddy paddling, grooving its way to iOS in September


Beatbuddy's rhythmically-accented adventure will follow along to iOS' beat in September, developer Threaks announced this week. A related press release notes the version has been "completely redesigned for touch," but judging from the above demonstration, it looks like the logical extension of the Steam version's follow-the-cursor gameplay.

If you've yet to swim through the journey's channels, Beatbuddy's musical world of Symphonia is plagued by the vain, detestable Prince Maestro. In order to ensure his nails-on-a-chalkboard-tier music spreads through Symphonia, Prince Maestro kidnaps Melody, a spiritual being from which a component of Symphonia's life-sustaining music stems from. Beatbuddy is faced with undoing this injustice and knocking Prince Maestro down a peg, solving puzzles that incorporate the game's soundtrack along the way.

To get a better sense of just how vital music is to Symphonia and the Beatbuddy experience, you can read our review.
[Image: Threaks]

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Kamcord 2.0 is like Instagram for mobile gameplay videos

Kamcord is a 17-person startup company specializing in mobile technology. It is also the name of said company's app for iOS devices, which as of the recently-released update 2.0, now functions like a social network based around the recording and sharing of mobile games. Through the app, users can chat with and follow other players, as well as post comments on the videos they watch.

TechCrunch reports that users are currently uploading one hour of gameplay every minute to Kamcord, and that the sevice hosts roughly 14 million videos so far. The game with the most videos? My Talking Tom, a game where you interact with a virtaul kitty has, as of this writing, more than 5.5 million videos shared.

No matter where you go, cats on the internet will find you.
[Image: Kamcord]

TMNT movie tie-in mobile game out now, created by Combo Crew dev

Normally we'd ignore a movie tie-in mobile game, except that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was developed by a notable up-and-comer. First spotted by PocketGamer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created by The Game Bakers, who created the enjoyable Combo Crew and colorful RPG Squids.

"The violence feels robust and chunky," PocketGamer says of the $3.99 premium app. The game is based on the movie, which is based on the show, which is based on the comic, which is based on thoughts conceived when someone mixed Fresca, Tab and pepperoni pizza in the 80s.

[Image: Nickelodeon]

Alternate 1980s RPG Majestic Nights is one big conspiracy


Some choose to believe the Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969 was a hoax, or that the United States government is keeping extraterrestrials in a hidden building somewhere in the Nevada desert. Epiphany Games is playing off these types of conspiracies with its freshly-announced episodic game, Majestic Nights, which will debut in September. In the alternate 1980s game, these sorts of conspiracies aren't just theories, but are "truths." Players guide an intelligence operative known as Cardholder and a private investigator named Cal in the isometric RPG, uncovering clues to the criminal cover-ups and world-breaking facts about events like alien abductions.

The first season of Majestic Nights includes six episodes and kicks off with a "Chapter Zero" prologue for free in September, which dives into the aforementioned moon landing. Majestic Nights' subsequent chapters will come at a cost; the first is expected to arrive in October, with the season's conclusive sixth episode currently slated for April 2015. The game is in development for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, and while Epiphany didn't put a price to each chapter, season passes will be available for players to guarantee access to the whole shebang.
[Image: Epiphany Games]

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Allons-y! Doctor Who: Legacy gets new companions, levels

The fabric of space-time gets a little wibbly-wobbly today, when The Doctor from the BBC's Doctor Who invades multiple comic books and the mobile Doctor Who: Legacy game. Well, actually it's not The Doctor who we're surprised to see, but two of his companions: Gabriella Gonzalez and Alice Obiefune. These new characters will simultaneously debut in Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #1, Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #1 and Doctor Who: Legacy.

Legacy players looking to add the companions to their roster of allies will have to pick up copies of the new comics, each of which contain an exclusive link to a code used to unlock Gabriella and Alice, as well as new levels and enemies taken from the comics. Copies should be available either through your local comic shop or online via publisher Titan Comics.

"It's a real delight for us that Gabby and Alice can now go on new adventures with the Doctor in between issues – and we look forward to sharing more comics-driven content through Legacy in the future," Doctor Who comics editor Andrew James said in a related press release.
[Image: Titan Comics]

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Live Look: Hearthstone Curse of Naxxramas


If you've been interested in Blizzard's collectible card game Hearthstone, but the whole idea of competitive multiplayer is a turn-off, it's time to take another look at the title with the Curse of Naxxramas single-player expansion. Launched late yesterday, we did a quick little walkthrough of the new content this morning on our Twitch channel. Skip ahead to the seven minute mark for the start of gameplay.

We got a little confused about the pricing of the expansion on the stream, so we've placed those details after the break for easy reference. The first wing of Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas is available free-to-play now on PC and iPad.

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The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 4 review: Life and Death

This review covers the latest episode in an ongoing season, and may contain minor spoilers.
Death is better than zombification, but life is the best option of all. Even in a hellhole of a world; even with rotting corpses hunting you down every path, salivating for your flesh; even when you have to kill your friends every day – life is the better option.

That's what "Amid the Ruins" teaches us. More than any previous episode of The Walking Dead, it throws the importance of life in our faces – the fragility of breathing, the futility of fighting, the need to do it anyway – and it makes us wish for life harder than we ever have. Not necessarily our own lives, either. Clementine, for her part, is capable and in charge in this episode. She's rarely in direct danger herself (at least not in any way she hasn't already conquered 50 times before), but she bears witness to the potential deaths of many others, multiple times over. She saves some people. She kills some people. And she survives.

She lives.

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Modern Combat 5 cracked, pirated by contest winner

Pirated copies of the mobile first-person shooter Modern Combat 5: Blackout flooded torrent websites this weekend, reportedly originating from a copy of the game distributed by the developer as part of a contest.

Gameloft held the giveaway recently, inviting players into the game early. "One of the winners cracked and uploaded it," Touch Arcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp tweeted. Thousands of players are already online, he added.

"As you can imagine I am really pissed off," Gameloft community manager Florian Weber wrote in a message on a Modern Combat Facebook group HUB page. "To anybody who got MC5 already, shame on you! We are making games for you and all you can do is pirate them? Anybody which is talking to me and shows in some way that he already has MC5 will get an instant ban."

In a separate statement, Gameloft said it has activated its anti-piracy measures in the game and that all "illegitimate users on a non-official version have been incapacitated." Modern Combat 5 officially launches for iOS, Android and Windows 8 devices on July 24. "We will continue to stay alert and respond adequately to all hacking attempts," Gameloft further promised.

[Art: Gameloft]

Overkill 3 shifts to third person shooting on mobile devices


Overkill 3 pulls back from the series' fondness for staring down gun sights, focusing on third person, cover-focused gameplay. Developer Craneballs Studios released the above teaser this week, giving fans snapshots of the locales, infantry and vehicles they'll riddle with bullets on their Android and iOS devices in Q3 of this year.

Serving as Craneballs' first project developed with Unity, Overkill 3 will spread more than 50 unique levels and a dozen boss fights across 10 environments. There should be a noticeable uptick in visuals too, as Overkill 3's opposing forces have "6-10 times more polygons" than the targets found in its predecessor.
[Image: Craneballs]

More than 1 million sales are comin' round Monument Valley

Monument Valley, an Apple Design Award-winning game that twists player perspective like an MC Escher painting twists stairs, has surpassed more than one million sales. We're not sure what that number means to a game that cares nothing for the laws of physics, but developer ustwo seems pleased enough to start planning for post-release content.

Producer Dan Gray told TechCrunch that the team plans to double the average gameplay time of 90 minutes with additional "lost scenes" for the game. Gray wasn't sure if these scenes would be sold or free to download, but either way they'll take place outside of the main story. Ustwo is aiming to release the extra levels sometime in the fall.

If you're not sure what all the fuss is about, Monument Valley - along with its fellow Design Award winners - is on sale in the iTunes store.
[Image: ustwo]

Europe wants better safeguards on in-app iOS purchases

It appears the European Commission isn't thrilled with Apple's slow movement to provide more safeguards from accidental in-app purchases made on its devices. The administration issued a press release today discussing joint action from the firm and member states to enforce better protection for consumers in regards to incidental purchases, praising Google's proposed solutions to the issue.

"Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation," the European Commission wrote, noting that Apple said it will address the issues in due time, though it did not provide a time-frame for the changes. An Apple spokesman told Reuters that "over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked," and that it will "continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns."

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