Tagged: mobile

Sony’s Unties label brings Indie games to Mobile, Consoles, PC

Sony's Unties label brings Indie games to Mobile, Consoles, PC

Here’s a little morning irony for you: while one arm of Sony refuses to budge on cross-platform online play in games like Rocket League, another arm is helping bring indie titles to mobile devices, PC, and even the “rival” Nintendo Switch. How’d this all happen? USgamer’s Mike Williams summed it up pretty well this morning:

“Sony Music reached into its animation subsidiary Aniplex to create and publish to [sic] mobile games in Japan: Fate/Grand Order and Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story. The former is a smash hit in Japan and just launched in North America a few months ago. The latter title is also doing really well for Sony Music.”

That surprise success has spawned a new publishing label for Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Unties. The group’s goal is to find and release unique independently-developed games on an array of platforms and not just PlayStation.

“The name ‘Unties’ comes from the thought ‘to unleash the excellent talents of unique game creators all over the world’,” reads the press release translated by Gematsu. “And setting creators free from the various shackles of game publishing, named from the intention of realizing publishing that is freedom of production without restraints.”

It all looks and sounds very fallopian to me and I’m going to have to delve into that through therapy some day but despite my personal hangups, the lineup makes for a diverse start. There’s Tiny Metal, a colorful RTS game reminiscent of Advance Wars which is fitting as it’s the one title announced for the Nintendo Switch as well as PlayStation 4 and PC.

Sony's Unties label brings Indie games to Mobile, Consoles, PC

There’s Deemo Reborn for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, an expansion of the recent Nintendo Switch version which itself is based on the 2013 mobile rhythm game. Last Standard looks to be a one-on-one fighting game played from the third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective with an emphasis on learning how each weapon functions and how best to dodge, parry, and counter it. No platforms have been named yet but given the action in this brief trailer it could work just as well as a touch-based phone game as a console fighter. Finally, there’s Merkava Avalanche which has been on Steam Greenlight since last November. It’s a peculiar one, looking like a 3D brawler where teams of gold plated, two-wheeled, robotic centaurs grapple and joust against one another in vast environments.

All of this is happening in Japan to start so the details are a little hard to discern at the moment. But the news of Sony publishing games on non-PlayStation platforms couldn’t go unreported, even by this dormant blog.

Slick Mobile Snowboarder, Alto’s Adventure, comes to Android Feb. 11th

 

Alto’s Adventure, one of my first picks from this year’s ongoing IGF examination, is coming to Android on February 11th.

And it’ll be free.

Because piracy on Android is absurd.

I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it since I play absolutely nothing on my phone these days but I can’t ignore how pretty it looks. The gameplay reminds me a little of OlliOlli but, hopefully, without the complex trick and score system this time around. I’m not looking for a challenging and meticulous combo system on a phone. Sliding through mountainous landscapes, jumping and flipping just to see the sights is plenty enough of a mobile game for me.

Of 2015: The Mobile Games

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Bad as my eyes are these days I did play some actual mobile games in 2015. Most of them were free, only a couple were on my phone and some were barely games at all. In the course of dilly-dallying on this post I also came up with these crude ASCII symbols for each handheld so enjoy those as well.

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Early in the year I finally hopped on the crazy hype wagon for Crossy Road. Sure enough, it was a fun Frogger-like with voxel graphics and a bunch of goofy skins. Quick and fun and sometimes infuriating, I poked at it for a few months. Much, much later I happened upon Horizon Chase thanks to digging up news for OSV. It excels as an update and homage to classics like Top Gear and they even pulled in Barry Leitch, the original composer, to revisit the music. It’s fabulous looking, fast and fun to play but I think I’m going to hold out for the upcoming PS4 release to really dive in.

Honorable mentions go to Tori Watch and Neko Atsume!. Both are similarly peculiar Japanese phone “games” that simulate sitting outdoors and waiting for birds and cats, respectively, to wander into your yard. There isn’t much that you really do but they were both cute and free and very, very Japanese-y.

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Thanks to PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Mobile, the Vita continued to get frequent use through the first part of the year. OlliOlli 2 brought more 2D twitch skateboarding but even though it’s vastly improved from the original it didn’t grab me as strongly. The same month, Flame Over debuted exclusively on the Vita and I spent a few weeks throwing myself against its challenging mashup of firefighting and roguelikes. I’ve since picked it up on Steam where I enjoy it much more but I was happy to support the game early on.

Finally was Oh Deer! Alpha which has the distinction of only being available to buy for a few short weeks. It was one of the last releases to Sony’s Android-powered PlayStation Mobile marketplace which was home to all kinds of cheap, knock-off, and illicit apps and games over the years. As an alpha, Oh Deer! is a basic game, one that apes the art and gameplay of OutRun but replaces the Ferrari with a station wagon and traffic with deer. Lots and lots of deer waiting to be mowed down or avoided. It’s up to you and the game’s music — marking a return to the scene for Motohiro Kawashima — changes in intensity depending on how you play. I’m still hoping it becomes a full game some day.

 

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Serving as experiments in Free-to-Start design, and to tide people over until a proper sequel, Nintendo went nuts with free Pokemon games in 2015. I skipped Pokemon Picross because I will never understand picross in a way that makes me feel good playing it. Instead I kept up with Pokemon Shuffle and Pokemon Rumble World for a while.

Pokemon Shuffle is an oddball matching puzzle game with almost no rules and a lot of grinding if you want to catch and train all the ‘mon. On the game board you can move pieces just about any which way to make matches while daily energy limits introduce the “challenge”. Without paying real money there are few Pokemon you can catch so I just poked at its fun and colorful fringes before bed for a while.

Pokemon Rumble World is a Free-to-Start iteration of Nintendo’s long running but mostly overlooked Pokemon action series. It’s a little like Dynasty Warriors in that the fun comes from demolishing hordes of simple-minded fodder on the way to slightly tougher boss battles. I was hoping this would be the Rumble game I finally got into but I ditched it even before grinding up against its microtransaction wall.

Finally is Nintendo Badge Arcade which I’ve somehow spent the most time with. It’s simply a nefarious arcade claw game that desperately wants you to pump real money into it for a chance to grab Nintendo branded trinkets. You then stick these badges on your 3DS Home screen… to look at. That’s it. I have more to say in my Dailies of 2015 post but I’ll sum it up again here: it’s so well designed that it makes you feel great even when you’re scamming it for free plays every day.

Beat Bop brings Interactive Music and Management to the Clicker Genre

I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of “clicker” games, the growing genre where you tirelessly click on things to slowly, but exponentially, increase your income until numbers in the millions are flying out of everything on screen. They’re usually too mundane for me but set one up about music with a soundtrack that changes based on your clicking speed and suddenly I’m interested. That’s the concept behind Beat Bop, a new clicker game coming to Android and iOS in August from the Australian studio, Fliptus.

In the free-to-play game you start out as a lonely, hopeful street musician plucking away on a street corner with big dreams of superstardom. As you click to collect coins you’ll soon be able to pick up new band members, buy out promotions, start selling merch, and deal with broken instruments and media scandals. Of course, there’s a huge array of costumes and gear to buy as well to customize each member of your band. All this tapping action is set to unique music that changes with each venue which evolves as you add members (and instruments) to your band.

There isn’t a lot to hear from the game just yet but the above gameplay trailer gives you a glimpse at how it will sound and play when it’s released later this month. With an interesting hook I might actually give this one a shot and at least report back on the interactive music portion.

Gawp at the Smoldering Remains of PlayStation Mobile

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If you were wondering what would happen to the PlayStation Mobile marketplace the day after its July 15th execution, all you need to do is look above. The “PlayStation Mobile” button remains on the Vita storefront (presumably until the next firmware update) but it only leads to this stripped down store page with some unceremonious text.

Thanks to everyone who developed, shopped and supported the PlayStation Mobile marketplace. It was fun and weird and probably not all that successful for anyone involved but it was great that it ever existed.