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Minecraft: Pocket Edition gets a facelift with update 0.10

Minecraft: Pocket Edition was patched to version 0.10 this week, an update that brought with it not only the usual bug fixes and general improvements (baby animals can now swim instead of sinking like rocks to a watery grave, for example), but visual enhancements as well.

A graphical update may sound strange for a game where the entire aesthetic design is based around low-resolution blocks, but the differences should be noticeable. As described by the official Minecraft: Pocket Edition Twitter account, there is now "more watery-looking water," "foggier-looking fog," "even more particles," and "tinted lighting on terrain and mobs."

Of course, it's fine to be happy that you won't be murdering some poor baby animal just by setting it in water anymore. That's okay, too.
[Image: Microsoft]

Far Cry 4 Arcade Poker, Arena Master apps now in the wild


Far Cry 4 has a pair of companion apps awaiting iOS and Android users, provided they're up for a round of poker or controlling deadly arenas on the go. A press release from developer Ubisoft notes that both the Far Cry 4 Arcade Poker and Far Cry 4 Arena Master apps launched this week to complement Far Cry 4's high-elevation adventure.

In Arcade Poker, players make hands out of a set number of cards that gradually fall to the bottom of the screen. Each card can be repeatedly flipped into a new suit and value, but if they reach the bottom before the desired card is found, they'll slide into a playing hand as-is. Hands must meet demands tied to objectives, such as making a two-pair or a flush in one hand. Victories are rewarded with in-app currency, with progress eventually leading to cash-outs for money to use in FC4.

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Real Racing creator developing Need for Speed: No Limits for mobile


Electronic Arts has tapped Melbourne-based developer Firemonkeys for its upcoming mobile-exclusive Need for Speed sequel Need for Speed: No Limits, the publisher announced this week.

FIremonkeys (formerly Firemint) established itself in the mobile marketplace with its sim-styled Real Racing series, later producing iOS and Android ports of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Electronic Arts acquired the studio in 2011, acting as publisher for the 2013 free-to-play sequel Real Racing 3.

Need for Speed: No Limits is due to launch next year for iOS and Android devices.

[Video: EA]

Joystiq Deals: Touchscreen gloves, Bluetooth beanie

Looking for some warm and tech-friendly apparel this holiday season? Joystiq Deals has the stylish solutions you need. First up is a pair of TRNDlabs' knitted touchscreen gloves, which will keep your fingers warm and nimble while you use your smartphone in wintry weather. Normally priced at $49, these special mitts are available through Joystiq Deals for $19 this weekend only.

You may also want to check out our Bluetooth Audio Beanie, a unique piece of headwear fitted with a fully functional Bluetooth receiver and speaker that allows you to listen to music and make phone calls while keeping your noggin toasty. The beanie is available this weekend for only $24.99, so grab one while you can.
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.

Game of Thrones teaser offers a Stark reminder: Cersei is evil!

In fairness to Cersei Lannister, you could argue most of the characters in HBO's Game of Thrones would register 6.0 or higher on the Richter scale of Pure Evil. Yet when it comes to House Lannister's leading lady, every word drips with ice-cold vitriol, and every sentence veils her poisonous cunning. In other words... she's evil. Evil!

All of which makes her perfect to introduce the first official teaser for Telltale's Game of Thrones adaptation - you'll find the video below the break. As it suggests, actress Lena Headey reprises her TV show role in the upcoming game series, as does Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow. And of course, Peter Dinklage ghosts in as Tyrion near the end, confirming we'll see at least one other Lannister in the game.

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Apple changes 'free' button to 'get'

The Apple iTunes and Mac App Stores have converted from labeling games with in-app purchases as "free," instead inviting you to "get" them. As TechCrunch reports, this follows a similar change by Google under pressure from the European Commission.

There is an odd inconsistency to the change. First-party Apple apps appear to still be "free," while all other free apps, whether they have in-app purchases or not are "get." Under the "get" button there is a notation if there are in-app purchases.

Four years and $11K: Glorkian Warrior's crippling mistakes

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork took Pixeljam four years to create, first Kickstarted in 2010 with $11,200 and finally released on iOS in March 2014. An argument could be made that Pixeljam co-founder Miles Tilmann has spent enough time thinking about that little pink alien with the weird name, but he's not done yet. In a post on Tilmann's new personal blog, he outlines the mistakes Pixeljam made during those four years, presented with the perfect vision of hindsight.

Before diving into the post itself, Tilmann tells Joystiq that this isn't the happy-ending success story many independent developers may dream about.

"Glork hasn't really made much money at all," he says in an email. "None of our games have, actually! We had our best week of sales when we launched Glork on mobile earlier this year, but after the Apple featuring ended, sales went down to pretty much nothing. The Mac / PC release has been much less successful than the mobile version. Pixeljam doesn't actually pay its employees anymore, since it can't support itself based on our existing sales. We make money doing non-Pixeljam-related things these days."

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Angry Birds Go tops 100 million downloads, adds team multiplayer

To celebrate more than 100 million downloads of its free-to-play avian kart racer Angry Birds Go, the development team at Rovio has added team multiplayer functionality to the game's latest update.

Though Rovio's unveiling is light on details, we know two crucial things. First, the game now supports races that pit teams of three players against one another. Second, unlike the vast majority of features available to players of Angry Birds Go, this new team multiplayer mode is not an in-app purchase, and is actually, legitimately free. Alongside the new team multiplayer mode Rovio has also added night racing to Angry Birds Go, for those who prefer their unrealistic motosports under the cover of darkness.

Beyond the break you'll find footage of the new team multiplayer racing in action. If any of that sparks your interest, you can grab a fully updated copy of Angry Birds Go from Google Play, the iOS App Store or whatever other distribution service your mobile device of choice relies upon.
[Image: Rovio]

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Joystiq Deals: NES30 Bluetooth controller

Today, Joystiq Deals takes you back to the past with the NES30, a wireless controller for PCs and mobile devices modeled after Nintendo's classic NES control pad. Featuring compatibility with iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS, the NES30 connects via a USB cable or a Bluetooth signal, ensuring hours of retro-inspired fun across all of your supported devices.

Retailing for $40, the NES30 is available through Joystiq Deals today for just $29.99. The package also includes a commemorative key chain and a stand for your touchscreen devices. Our offer expires next week, so act fast if you want to secure an NES30 for your next retrogaming binge session.
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.

The Witcher Adventure Game's video tutorial explains the race for Victory Points


As is the case with most fantasy adventures, digital (and real-world) board game The Witcher Adventure Game gets complicated. Thankfully, series developer CD Projeket RED has put together the in-depth introduction above, which familiarizes would-be heroes with its card types, status ailments, battle system and general progression.

While the tutorial is dense in useful information and examples, the simplified take is that two to four players race to finish main quests before their fellow players. Once a player's third main quest is completed, the game ends after one more turn from all other players. Glory is granted to whoever holds the most Victory Points at the end, a form of score earned by completing sidequests, investigating leads, besting monsters or performing other actions.

The Witcher Adventure Game will let dice fly on PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices in 2014 and is currently available for pre-order at Good Old games for $8.99. A physical version from Fantasy Flight Games is also expected to ship later this month.

Android devices may now open The Last Door Collector's Edition

Halloween may be over, but you can still relive the good old spooky days on your Android device with The Last Door Collector's Edition, which is now available via Google Play. A related press release and Facebook post also lists the game for iOS, but that version is currently absent from many regions' storefronts, including North America and Europe.

Whichever system you opt for, the game is free to download, and the first chapter of the story is free to experience. If you want the whole story, episodes two to four will cost $3.99 (that's total, not apiece). Unlocking the full version also grants access to four "minisodes" of content, as well as achievements.

Originally released in episodic format for PC starting in 2013, The Last Door is a pixelated point-and-click horror adventure set in Victorian-era England, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Along with remastered sound and enhanced graphics (though again, the style is deliberately low-res), the Collector's Edition version adds exclusive scenes and puzzles.
[Image: The Game Kitchen]

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Monument Valley gets eight new levels on iOS today

Pretty puzzler Monument Valley received a new set of levels today called Forgotten Shores. The pack is available as a $1.99 in-app purchase for iOS, opening up eight additional levels for players to solve. The new levels slot between the game's original final two acts, operating as a "director's cut" of sorts, executive producer Dan Gray told Wired.

Forgotten Shores explores a few new gameplay ideas that developer Ustwo didn't fit into the original 10 levels, resulting in more steps to complete the latest puzzles. As designer David Fernández Huerta put it, the developer is "asking the player to think ahead a bit more" in Forgotten Shores. Gray also noted that Monument Valley recently celebrated 1.4 million downloads since its April launch, a steady climb since it hit one million downloads in July. As for Android players, the Forgotten Shores update will be available "very soon," Ustwo noted on Twitter.
[Image: Ustwo Games]

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Candy Crush follow-up Soda Saga premieres worldwide

Mobile developer King has launched Candy Crush Soda Saga, an iOS and Android follow-up to its hugely successful matching puzzler Candy Crush Saga.

Soda Saga features 140 levels across multiple modes, including the new Soda, Frosting, and Honey variants. The sequel also introduces new gameplay elements like Swedish Fish and Coloring Candy that reward large matching chains.

Like its predecessor, Soda Saga is free to play, with additional turns and lives available via in-app purchases. Candy Crush Saga regularly ranks among the highest-grossing apps in both Google's and Apple's mobile storefronts, and publisher King pursued up to a $7.6 billion IPO valuation earlier this year before seeing a per-share downgrade afterward.

[Image: King]

Game of Thrones confirmed for Xbox One, PS4; story details

Telltale's Game of Thrones series will launch with episode one on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC, Mac and iOS "soon," Telltale says in a blog post. The game was previously announced for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, though today's post notes that additional platforms will come later.

The game picks up near the end of season three of HBO's Game of Thrones television series, and will end right before the beginning of season five. It uses the world created by Game of Thrones, rather than an original take on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels written by George RR Martin. The story focuses on House Forrester, and throughout the season, players will embody five members of House Forrester, either as direct family or servants of the House.

"Playing as five characters not only reflects the epic scope of Game of Thrones, but is also something that the player needs to be mindful of," Telltale writes. "This is because the actions of one character can ripple out to affect the rest of House Forrester. Multiply the actions of one character by five, and you're truly playing the Game of Thrones ... where you win, or you die."

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Ex-Riot Games devs' Vainglory makes MOBAs mobile on iOS

Thought you were safe from the MOBA craze just because you prefer to game on mobile devices? Think again: developer Super Evil Megacorp is bringing their MOBA, Vainglory, to iOS devices this month.

Vainglory simplifies the typical MOBA formula by reducing team size to three (instead of the more common five) and limiting matches to 20 minutes long (not unlike the Crytek MOBA Arena of Fate). There's also only one lane to push against, and the game's controls are based around the touchscreen interface. For more information, there's a basic overview video after the break.

Those living in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand can already download the game for free, while Europe will gain access on November 13. The North America, South America, Middle East and Africa App Stores will get their versions on November 18. China, Japan and Korea have no announced release date. No matter where you live, you'll need an iPad 2 or later or, if you're playing on your phone, an iPhone 5S or later.

Vainglory is Super Evil Megacorp's first game, the studio itself being comprised of ex-Riot Games, ex-Blizzard and ex-Rockstar developers.

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