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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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Games and Twitch at the heart of Nvidia's Shield Tablet

Nvidia believes the market is ready for a specialty tablet that can run Unreal Engine 4 with ease, play your PC games remotely and broadcast your every demise in Spelunky. Built around its Tegra K1 processor and partnered with a wireless controller, Nvidia's Shield Tablet is that specialty product. It plays native Android games, streams your large Steam library (aren't they all inevitably large?) and offers a quick route to Twitch.

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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]

RuPaul's Drag Race: Dragopolis 2 goes mobile soon

Throw shade to block the sun when RuPaul's Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 arrives on the App Store and Google Play soon.

Featuring queens like Jinkx Monsoon, Shangela and Sharon Needles, the snatch game features 45 levels of eleganza. There are also fashion challenges from the show to outfit and accessorize each lady.

Sadly, it does not include a "Lyp Sync for your Life" minigame that requires users to play it on their city's public transportation network.

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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]

Google won't call games with in-app purchases 'free' anymore

In an era where video games can be sold as "free-to-pay" and/or "freemium" products, it's important to know what "free" really means. A "free" game might actually cost you nothing and generate revenue purely through in-game advertising, or it might be free to download, but in-game purchases can set you back quite the hefty sum. As they say, freedom isn't free. Thankfully, Google is here to help clarify the distinction.

Engadget reports that after the European Commission requested Google change the way it markets the apps shown on digital storefronts such as its Google Play market, the company responded that it would take several initiatives to keep consumers informed, including no longer allowing apps with in-app purchases to label themselves as "free."

Google said it would also implement guidelines for games and developers so that children would not be encouraged to buy items once in-game. Kind of makes you long for the days when kids would sneak some cash out of the parental stash to buy a phosphate from the drug store soda jerk, huh?
[Image: Google]

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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Final Fantasy Record Keeper relives the series' battles for mobile

Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy Record Keeper today, a new mobile game that remixes memorable battles from the popular RPG series. The game is in development by DeNA for iOS and Android, and has players clearing dungeons that represent individual games in the Final Fantasy series.

The game stars Deci, a worker in Dr. Mog's history department, according to Siliconera. Thanks to Dr. Mog's magical abilities, Deci is able to dive into paintings to clear the 16-bit-style dungeons from games in the series, eventually unlocking characters from those games, such as Final Fantasy 7's Cloud. After unlocking the familiar heroes, players can bring the companion of their choice into other dungeons, equipping new weapons and abilities along the way. Final Fantasy Record Keeper will launch this summer for free in Japan, and will support microtransactions.
[Image: Square Enix]

Hyper Light Drifter dev debuts Scrabble/DDR hybrid Alphbeats

Hyper Light Drifter developer Teddy Diefenbach has launched Alphabeats, a stylish word puzzler for iOS featuring Dance Dance Revolution-styled rhythm gameplay.

In Alphabeats, players slide a paddle across the bottom of the screen that grows in size as it catches falling letters. Captured letters can be strung together to form words, which translate to points tallied at the end of each track. Fez composer Disasterpeace and Threes' Big Giant Circles headline Alphabeat's electronic soundtrack, with additional songs available via in-app purchases.

Alphabeat is priced at $1.99.

[Image: Rad Dragon]

Free-to-play Assassin's Creed Memories announced for iOS

Ubisoft revealed today that a new free-to-play entry in its Assassin's Creed series is coming soon to Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in collaboration with mobile publishers GREE and PlayNext.

Boasting gameplay that mixes "RPG, strategy and card battle elements," the upcoming Assassin's Creed Memories takes place across multiple eras featured in previous Assassin's Creed games, including Colonial America and Renaissance Italy. Memories offers detailed character customization mechanics, and features a single-player story mode in addition to a multiplayer component that supports up to 20 players per team.

A release date for Assassin's Creed Memories is not yet known.

[Image: Ubisoft]

Magic 2015 now available on Steam, Xbox 360, Android, Kindle

Following last week's iPad debut, virtual collectible card game Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers has now arrived on Steam, the Xbox 360, Amazon's Kindle Fire and Android devices.

The 2015 installment of this annual series offers the typical sort of high-fantasy plotline fans have come to expect: "Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers challenges players to 'Hunt Bigger Game' and confront the deadliest hunter in the Magic Multiverse – Garruk Wildspeaker," reads the game's official description. "Players must attempt to stop Garruk as he turns his instincts away from beasts of the wild to a new quarry - you, his fellow Planeswalker."

More crucially, Magic 2015 is the first entry in the series to offer players a "full deck-building experience." Prior Magic games only allowed players to modify pre-built decks, a baffling design choice that removed one of the most crucial aspects of the series' card game inspiration. Whether this inclusion was inspired by the overwhelming success of Blizzard's similar, more fully-featured Hearthstone is unknown, but it's nice to see the virtual Magic franchise finally live up to its full, addictive potential.

Both the Xbox 360 and Steam versions of Magic 2015 bear $10 price tags, while the Android and Kindle incarnations are free-to-play games supported by in-app purchases.
[Image: Wizards of the Coast]

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Hearthstone's Naxxramas expansion begins July 22

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft single-player Adventure Mode, Curse of Naxxramas, will unleash the hounds on July 22. The 30 new Death Rattle-focused cards will be available over five weeks as sections of the game open.

The price per wing is 700 gold apiece, but there are also real-money options available. The expansion will go live globabally on PC, Mac and iPad. Are you prepared?
[Image: Blizzard]

Walking Dead S2 Episode 4 gets release dates, trailer

Telltale Games revealed this morning that the snuggle-huggle fest known as The Walking Dead: Season 2 will return later this month with episode four.

The current release schedule:
PC and Mac worldwide, PlayStation 3 and Vita in North America: July 22
Xbox 360 worldwide and PlayStation Europe: July 23
iOS: July 24

We've placed the spoiler-containing trailer for the latest comforting episode after the break.

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Pridefest is the gay pride parade simulator from Atari

Pridefest is the new social-sim game from Atari where players create and launch their very own gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pride parade. This is the "first" of LGBT-themed games from Atari.

"We will continue offering a variety of games that are inclusive for all Atari fans and Pridefest is another example of how we are doing that," said Atari Chief Operating Officer Todd Shallbetter.

The game will allow players to design and customize floats, solve challenges to unlock new festival and parade supplies and "each building has a fun capacity and once it is filled, the building upgrades and draws even more city-folk to the party."

We have no images, examples of gameplay or release date. Let your imagination run wild.

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