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Trine developer launches iOS platformer Splot


Frozenbyte, developer of co-op platformer Trine, has created one of the most mobile-looking mobile games in Splot. The platformer is available today on the App Store for $3.99 (€3.59 / £2.49) and features a blob that must capture "birdlings" within a time limit. It's the fast-fingers type of game that's better suited for pretending you're watching reality television than on the morning commute.

The game includes 56 levels and over 150 Splots to collect, as well as seven types of worlds to bounce around in. The developer has certainly shown it has chops when it comes to making platformers, as the Trine series has over 7 million sales.

Civilization: Beyond Earth review: Buy-in Alpha Centauri

Viewed through the idea that it's a standalone expansion to Sid Meier's Civilization 5, Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth streamlines gameplay in the long-running strategy series to enhance the pace of the historically-strapped franchise. As a spiritual successor to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, however, it's a cut-rate disappointment.

Beyond Earth is best described as an epilogue to the events of Civilization 5. Humanity has ruined the planet and must commit itself to starting all over again on another rock and potentially making the same mistakes. And so, various nations make conglomerate factions and shoot for another spherical mass to strategically explore, expand, exploit and exterminate (4X) one another.

Why I wish Firaxis had never mentioned Beyond Earth as a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri is that this game doesn't look like it was given the financial resources to kick off a new franchise. It feels like it had the budget of a Civ 5 expansion, where asset creation went into making a visually interesting game world, but not its overall presentation. The characters are painfully dull and inarticulate. The tech and wonder voiceovers are all done by one person, but in many cases are attributed to faction leaders within the game (who do have their own voices). The experience doesn't feel luxe. Firaxis has been the benchmark in accessible strategy games and it's owned by triple-A publisher Take-Two Interactive, but I've seen stronger production values from independent European competitors.

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Minimalistic Tennnes is a team sport at $20

Jan Willem Nijman, one half of the Nuclear Throne development duo Vlambeer, is now selling local multiplayer game Tennnes as a stand-alone download on his site. Originally part of NYU Game Center's No Quarter exhibition in 2012, the game is now available for a minimum cost of $20. The price may seem a little steep to some, but it comes with a bonus: Buyers will be able to distribute the game to their friends for free.

Tennnes is a minimalistic tennis game that was previously gifted to backers of the Sportsfriends Kickstarter project, which concluded in December 2012. The friendly pricing structure makes sense for the game, as those with two controllers will get the most out of Tennnes. Nijman's disclaimer for the game notes that the PC game "can be played by/against AI, but that's absolutely not the intended experience."
[Image: Jan Willem Nijman]

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Titanfall update gets cooperative, adds ranked play

The next major update for Titanfall will land tomorrow on Xbox One and PC, Respawn announced today. The patch is the "biggest update ever," according to the developer's blog, which revealed the inclusion of new modes in the update. For starters, Titanfall players will have a new "Frontier Defense" cooperative multiplayer mode in which teams of four stand their ground against waves of AI enemies, getting assistance from stationary turrets and loadout crates.

The other major addition is ranked play, which will be in beta through the end of the month. Respawn's dedicated discussion on its ranked play system for Titanfall notes that players will receive "Rank Chips," which act as "expensive pedometers" that measure players' prowess in the game. Players will have the ability to turn off their Rank Chips as well, so ranked play in Titanfall won't boil down to a separate set of maps or playlists. The update will introduce a multitude of other fixes and improvements, such as the ability to go full-screen with the mini-map, a "sudden death" addition to Capture the Flag mode and seven new Titan insignias.

Lords of the Fallen dev addresses complaints about slow-moving characters



Lords of the Fallen, the Dark Souls-ian role-playing game from Deck 13 and City Interactive, has had trouble communicating what it's all about to potential players ahead of its release on October 28. Looking to better explain his game, Tomasz Gop of City Interactive released a video detailing the different ways Lords of the Fallen can be played.

Following a number of YouTube videos and live streams of the game, Gop moved to address criticisms that characters move too slowly. "The first thing I wanted to talk about it movement speed," said Gop. "We don't believe the game is too slow or too fast for anybody because you can adjust quite easily the way that you move."

He goes on to explain how weapon and armor choice significantly change the speed with which your chosen character can dodge and block attacks. Gop also reiterates that the game will take approximately 50 hours to complete, and that as with nearly all role-playing games characters change dramatically over that time.

Joystiq's own time with Lords of the Fallen during preview sessions at E3 demonstrated how difficult it is to get a sense of the full range of character options with just a short time with the game.

[Images: City Interactive]

Ghost ship mystery Return of the Obra Dinn waves in a demo

Return of the Obra Dinn is the first-person ghost ship mystery game with 1-bit rendering from Papers, Please creator Lucas Pope. Whatever else it is, you can find out right now with an early demo, downloadable for PC and Mac.

The demo covers the first 15 minutes of the game. "It's still very rough and very untested," Pope says. "For such a low-res game, performance is not great on a 2011 Macbook Air running BootCamp. Hopefully it runs OK on most machines. The core mechanic is only lightly touched on, but you should be able to mentally extrapolate out what's here to a full game."

Papers, Please, Pope's breakout game, swept the IGF awards this year, and Pope had planned to submit Return of the Obra Dinn to the IGF for 2015, but he says the game isn't quite ready: "That deadline was pretty useful in getting me through these past few weeks of crunch, but in the end I've decided not to submit the game as it is. Maybe next year."

In Return of the Obra Dinn, a ship declared missing in 1802 suddenly returns to a London port six years later, badly damaged and with no visible crew. Players are the insurance adjuster for the East India Company's London Office, and must board the ship and recover the Crew Muster Roll book. It wouldn't be a game from Pope if it didn't involve official documents, after all.
[Image: Lucas Pope]

Brutal Legend PC limited edition coming soon from IndieBox

Indie game distributor IndieBox revealed that it will soon ship a Limited Edition version of Double FIne's heavy metal action-RTS Brutal Legend to subscribers, celebrating the game's fifth anniversary and marking the first time its PC version has seen a physical release.

Launched earlier this year, IndieBox ships out physical versions of standout indie games to subscribers on a monthly basis, bundling featured titles with exclusive bonus material. The contents of Brutal Legend's Limited Edition were not announced, and will not be revealed until the package hits subscriber mailboxes.

Buyers can reserve a Limited Edition package for Brutal Legend by placing an order with IndieBox by 11:59 p.m. EST tonight. New subscribers can enter the promo code ROCKTOBER25 for a 25 percent discount. If you miss out on getting Brutal Legend via IndieBox's subscription service, standalone copies will be available soon at the company's official store.

[Image: IndieBox]

Battlefield 4 class action lawsuit dismissed on 'puffery'

42-15392482| RF| ¿ Royalty-Free/CorbisAtlantic Puffins, One Gaping, Newfoundland, CanadaAtlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica)
No, not puffinry. Puffery.

A class action lawsuit levied against Electronic Arts for allegedly misleading investors over the performance of Battlefield 4 was dismissed this week, with U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Susan Illston labeling the publisher's promises as pre-release "puffery," rather than intentionally misleading hype.

The lawsuit was filed late last year, accusing Electronic Arts of misrepresenting "the development and sales of the Company's Battlefield 4 video game and the game's impact on EA's revenue and projects moving forward." Battlefield 4 suffered numerous issues upon its launch in November, leaving many players unable to access its online multiplayer component. Fixes arrived months after the game's initial release, leading EA CEO Andrew Wilson to later describe the debacle as "unacceptable."

EA argued that its pre-release statements had no direct bearing on the plaintiffs' decisions to purchase company stock. In addition, the publisher noted that five of the eight company-issued statements labeled as misleading in the suit were made after plaintiffs had already purchased EA stock.

"Defendant [CFO Blake] Jorgensen's Oct. 29, 2013 statement comparing 'BF4' to a World Series ace pitcher is puffery," Judge Illston wrote. "Defendant Wilson's Oct. 29, 2013 statement explaining that EA 'worked more closely with Microsoft and Sony throughout the entire process' resulting in a 'launch slate of games that are the best transition games that I've ever seen come out of this company' is an inactionable opinion, as well as a vague statement of corporate optimism."

Illston's response does not represent a total dismissal of the case. Lead plaintiffs Ryan Kelly and Louis Mastro must revise their statements by November 3 to continue the suit.

[Image: Getty]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare PC requirements

Turns out, your PC only needs to be a little advanced to run Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The minimum PC requirements for Advanced Warfare call for 6GB RAM, DirectX 11 and 55GB of hard drive space. See the full minimum PC specs below.

Console players can upgrade the digital version of Advanced Warfare from Xbox 360 or PS3 to Xbox One or PS4 for free through March 31, 2015. Advanced Warfare is a futuristic Call of Duty entry with jetpacks, a shiny new character exoskeleton and a vibe that recalls Titanfall, though with a punchy rhythm, as we outlined in our August preview.

"Increased life expectancy isn't the only thing enmeshed with science-fiction in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare," we wrote. "The move to the future has divorced the game from some of today's real-world violence, dressing soldiers in unrecognizable power armor and granting them laser guns that seem too fun to be true."

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PSA: There is no beta for GTA5 on PC, PS4, Xbox One

Heads up: if someone claiming to represent Rockstar offers you beta access to the upcoming PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One versions of Grand Theft Auto 5, they're trying to scam you. Rockstar has officially stated that it has no plans to offer a public beta test in the weeks leading up to GTA 5's next-gen console debut.

"Please note: There is no pre-release 'beta' test for Grand Theft Auto 5," the developer's statement reads. "If you see ads or solicitations to join a beta program, beware as this is likely some type of online phishing scam."

It's an understandably tempting offer, and scammers are likely hoping that the game's notoriety will cloud player judgment. Stay safe out there, folks. Grand Theft Auto 5 will hit the Xbox One and PS4 on November 18, and a PC release is slated for 2015.

[Image: Rockstar]

Praise the sun: Dark Souls PC moving from GFWL to Steam next month

The Windows PC version of Dark Souls will transition from the moribund Games for Windows Live platform to Steam next month, publisher Bandai Namco Games announced this week.

Starting in November, players who purchase Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition will be able to redeem their Games for Windows Live Tokens on Steam. Existing save data and achievements will also transfer over to user Steam accounts during a brief migration period next month, though Games for Windows Live Rankings will not survive the trip.

Bandai Namco notes that Dark Souls' transition will kick off "sometime in November 2014 with more specific dates to come."

[Image: Bandai Namco]

Alien: Isolation goes into Corporate Lockdown next week

Corporate Lockdown, the first of five planned DLC additions to Alien: Isolation's Survivor Mode, arrives on October 28.

Corporate Lockdown focuses on a Seegson executive named Ransome as he attempts to swipe classified data from the company and make his getaway aboard the Torrens. As with all things in Alien: Isolation, that plans goes awry when a horrible space monster appears, and Ransome's corporate espionage attempt quickly becomes a fight for survival.

Come October 28, Alien: Isolation owners will be able to purchase Corporate Lockdown on their platform of choice for $8. Alternately, the $30 season pass offers access to Corporate Lockdown as well the four DLC episodes to follow, all of which publisher Sega claims will be available by March 2015.
[Image: Sega]

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No one man should have all that Power of Shadow Middle-earth DLC

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor received a free DLC pack today that adds three new runes and a playable character skin to the game. The Power of Shadow add-on introduces the Black Hand of Sauron skin for protagonist Talion. Players can also toy with the One with Nature, Ascendant and Elven Grace runes.

One with Nature grants players immunity to poison attacks from Uruk captains and Ghuls. Likewise, players get double focus time for ranged combat with the Ascendant rune. Finally, Elven Grace increases players' defense, cutting the damage taken by enemy strikes in half. Monolith recently introduced a new photo mode to the game via an update. Shadow of Mordor will get a few other content packs as part of its season pass program that add new story missions.

The Stanley Parable sells one million copies

The existential horror of The Stanley Parable has sold over a million copies. The announcement came from Davey Wreden, the architect of Stanley's prison, who spends his days waiting for Godot... and, likely, creating a new game.


Stanley contemplated if this milestone meant that a million people had taken sadistic pleasure in his torture, but he took solace in knowing his pain brought accolades. He observed the virtual trophy on his screen and a sense of serenity washed over him. He struggled with this feeling. Was it complacency or happiness?

Uber axes Human Resources Kickstarter campaign

Planetary Annihilation developer Uber Entertainment canceled its Kickstarter campaign for Human Resources, the developer's human-harvesting, apocalyptic real-time strategy game. "Every Kickstarter prediction model is showing that we will come up woefully short of our goal," the developer wrote in an update on its funding page, adding that it can't continue spending time and money on a project that won't get funded. "One thing is for sure, Human Resources, as pitched in this Kickstarter, is over. But we adore the world of Human Resources and will endeavor to do what we can to bring it to life in some form."

The developer raised $384,358 of its $1.4 million goal on the funding platform. The lofty goal would have been difficult for any aspiring developer to overcome; just four of the 341 Kickstarter games tracked in our one-year Crowdfund Bookie research series earned that much money in their campaigns. Even the $844,127 hauled in by Harmonix for Amplitude in May was an anomaly in a funding space that scarcely supports big-budget projects like it once did. Human Resources was planned to end in two weeks on Tuesday, November 4.
[Image: Uber Entertainment]

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