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Device 6 dev Simogo politely teases The Sailor's Dream

Knowing that its fans would be wondering what's become of The Sailor's Dream after Simogo - the studio behind the elegantly crafted mobile hit Device 6 - first mentioned the game, the developers have written an explanation.

"We'd like to explain a bit about the reasoning for us being so quiet about the project – because it's been a very deliberate choice from our side," states the blog entry. "We have a lot of fun features and elements in The Sailor's Dream, which we believe are unique, and exciting. And as much as we'd like to shout about how exciting we think they are, we've made a (tough!) decision to not talk about them before the release."

Why? According to the blog entry, the developers at Simogo don't want to rob their fans of the wonder of discovering the game's quirks for the first time. They don't want to explain each last facet before players can see it for themselves. Still, the studio is not heartless. It hears the cries of fans yearning for more information, and has responded with the one-minute video found beyond the break.
[Image: Simogo]

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Indie Fund goes for artistic award-winner Gorogoa

Gorogoa is heralded for its intricate, hand-painted art and unique approach to puzzle gaming, aspects that have earned it the top prize from the Good Game Club in 2013 and an award for Excellence in Visual Art from the 2014 IGF. These have also helped make Gorogoa the next game to receive support and financial assistance from Indie Fund. With the Indie Fund backing, Gorogoa is due out on PC and Mac in early 2015, with a mobile launch to follow.

Gorogoa is the first major release from developer Jason Roberts. On the surface, the game appears to be a straightforward point-and-click puzzler, but it becomes more complex as players pull scenes from one panel into the others, crafting tightly woven stories as they go.

"Gorogoa is just jaw-droppingly beautiful, and this is especially remarkable because it's one person doing the programming, design and artwork," Indie Fund partner Aaron Isaksen says. "If this was a children's book it would win the Caldecott Medal. The gameplay is also quite intriguing; the connections that you make between locations, objects, and visuals is deliciously non-linear in a way we don't experience in the real world."

Download a demo of Gorogoa on the game's official website.
[Image: Jason Roberts]

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Fruit Ninja to see major overhaul in next mobile update

Hit produce-gutting action game Fruit Ninja will soon see a major update across iOS and Android platforms adding several new gameplay elements and unlockables, developer Halfbrick announced this week.

"The team has thrown away the tired menu and UI designs, ensuring the steps between playing, equipping new gear, and using social features are all streamlined," Halfbrick said in a recent statement. "Now, almost every item will have a unique effect on gameplay, which has effectively broken the score ceiling and added an exponential amount of depth and strategy to slicing."

The update allows players to pair unlockable Blades and Dojos for various game-altering effects, similar to the gameplay structure adopted by the studio's endless runner Jetpack Joyride. The new "Great Wave" dojo spawns large groups of fruit during each session, for instance, while the Autumn Blade summons a screen-clearing tornado after players slice a pineapple.

Fruit Ninja's update is slated to launch in October.

[Image: Halfbrick]

Goat Simulator gets 100,000 sales on iOS, Android

Coffee Stain Studios has sold more than 100,000 copies of Goat Simulator across Android and iOS, after launching on those platforms five days ago. That's not baaah-d. Sorry, we really rammed that joke in there, didn't we? We kid, we kid.

"It feels really amazing that so many people like our game!" designer Armin Ibrisagic writes on the Coffee Stain blog. "We're also really happy that we can now reach out to even more goat fans, and that people without a computer can now also enjoy the life of being a goat!"

In terms of updates, Coffee Stain is currently focused on squashing any crash bugs on mobile. The studio is aware of the issues on Android devices listed here. "While we realize you might be super curious of our future plans, the truth is actually that we don't plan much ahead at all [....] But after a couple of weeks we'll see how it goes! Hopefully we'll be able to give you more information then."

Goat Simulator hit "almost 1 million" sales in August, and Coffee Stain recouped the game's development costs within ten minutes of launch on Steam (on April 1, of course).
[Image: Coffee Stain Studios]

Project Scissors is a spiritual successor to Clock Tower

Nude Maker, a Japanese developer led by Clock Tower series creator Hifumi Kouno, has begun development on a new horror-focused franchise. According to the studio's press release, Project Scissors is meant to be a spiritual successor to Clock Tower, and will involve Masahiro Ito, creature designer for the Silent Hill series, Takashi Shimizu, director of the Ju-on films, and other "well known talents in the Japanese game industry" that will be announced later on.

In Project Scissors, a luxurious cruise ship has a murder mystery problem. Once enough of the crew fall victim to the killer, the ship is essentially adrift at sea, leaving passengers to share an inescapable space with whatever is keen on knocking them into the afterlife. Solving the mystery is the player's focus, although the increasingly-difficult goal of not dying is of comparable importance.

Project Scissors will eventually welcome aboard iOS, Android and Vita owners, but a release date and a glimpse of the game itself are currently as elusive as Project Scissors' killer.
[Image: Nude Maker]

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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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.

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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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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