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Plants vs. Zombies For iPhone Rakes In $1 Million In Nine Days

Popcap's Plants Vs. Zombies 2 will be released in late spring.

The sequel to everyone's favorite undead vs. vegetation game Plants vs. Zombies will include a bunch of new features, settings, and situations, designed to "delight the franchise's tens of millions of fans around the world."

No other details of the new installment in the franchise are available at this time, although Popcap did send over some jokey "quotes" from game characters. I put them under the "Read More" tag, if you're into that sort of thing.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

JACK LUMBER

iOS ($0.99 Launch Special Ends 8/19/2012)

We’ve been conditioned our whole lives to love trees. To protect them. To make sure nobody rips em outta the ground... until now. We’re talking about Jack Lumber, the newest game from Owlchemy Labs. You’ll be cutting down a bunch of lumber in this game, but we promise those trees totally deserved it. Jack’s a lumberjack -- shocker, we know -- and he’s out for revenge. You see, trees came around and crushed his granny, and now, Jack’s on a mission to take down those pine-jerks.

Jack Lumber offers an interesting twist on the swipe-to-cut formula we’ve seen in titles like Fruit Ninja: instead of objects in fluid motion challenging you to cut them before they leave the screen, Jack Lumber goes into slow motion to let you cut wood when you touch the screen. You only get one shot at creating a trail through each piece, it has to be a continuous trail (meaning lifting your finger off the screen ends the cut each round), and you can only slice the logs lengthwise.

At first, it’s a pretty simple task, but as the levels grow in difficulty, you’ll have to manage single-direction cuts, logs that require multiple passes, bombs, and avoiding innocent woodland creatures. Add in a funny (and solid!) story, hilarious power-ups, and non-intrusive IAP, and Jack Lumber is an easy shoo-in for one of this year’s best iOS games.

Read More »

Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

ORGAN TRAIL: DIRECTOR’S CUT

iOS ($2.99) | Android ($2.99)

Pretty much every older gamer out there has a special place in their heart for The Oregon Trail, a sim game that introduced legions of young schoolchildren to the perils of cholera, dysentery, snakebites, and fording rivers. Now, Organ Trail: Director’s Cut is out for Android and iOS... and it’s appealing to a new generation by replacing covered wagons with station wagons, and a trip to Oregon with a gruesome survival game featuring our favorite undead-izens: zombies.

There are a lot of elements that remain similar to the original Oregon Trail: a classic Apple II look and a delightfully old school soundtrack trigger the very best of PC gaming’s origins. You’ll still need to purchase supplies, keep your party from getting sick and/or bitten, and get your wagon from one side of the map to the next... but there’s a dark glee in Organ Trail that’s flat-out brilliant, and they’ve made some important changes to the game’s mechanics that prove distinct high points.

Other evils out on the road besides zombies also look to slow you down (or kill you). Bandits will sneak around and snatch supplies out of your station wagon as you travel the trail, and sometimes, they’ll even kidnap a member of your party, prompting you to rescue them. Bosses pop up on the shooting screen as you hunt down zombies, and jobs in towns can prove to be just as deadly as the rest of the trail. Your journey in Organ Trail is bleak, depressing, and often miserable -- but that’s what makes it so awesome.

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Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

Game Of The Week

Fieldrunners 2

iOS

Before everyone got struck with the angry avian flu, we spent our time taking down little army men, one massive wave at a time. The original Fieldrunners made throwing down turrets popular and spawned a whole new genre on the iPhone. But can the grandfather of mincing minions make a comeback after all this time? My near dead iPhone battery can certainly agree that Fieldrunners 2 improves on just about every aspect of the original.

Even if you’re one who likes to build mazes with cheap turrets or build out the gauntlet one piece at a time, there’s a little something for everyone in Fieldrunners 2. Every area gives you a little something new to play with such as the new medic units, environmental hazards, or little ramps that weave the men in and around the arena. Multiple modes such as Sudden Death that will kill you sooner or later; it’s only a matter of how long you can survive.

For anyone who has thrown down a turret and held his or her breath, you need to download this game immediately.

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Baldur's Gate Site Launches, Domain Owned By BioWare Vet

Interesting little tidbit about Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition: According to a tweet from Jay Oster, Creative Director on Baldur's Gate:Enhanced Edition, it will feature cross-play between all its platforms. So iPad users can play with Mac users and PC users can play with Android users.

Here's the tweet

#bgee will have co-op multiplayer and will work across platforms. iPad can play with Android, Mac and PC. On happy gaming family:-)

The iOS and Mac versions of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition will be released in September. The release date for the Android version has not been announced.

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Five iPhone Game Developers React To Apple's iPad Announcement

More reports are coming in that Apple plans to announce the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini in mid-September. According to reports posted on iMore, Apple is planning to show off the iPhone 5 at an event on September 12, 2012, with the release to follow nine days later. According to the site, "This information comes from sources who have proven accurate in the past."

The iPad Mini will supposedly be announced at the same event, although there's less information about when that device will hit the market (if it exists at all).

If you add this rumor to last week's similar iPhone 5 rumor, figure in Apple's release schedule for past improvements of the iPhone, and it seems pretty likely that we'll all be drooling over a new iPhone in September. On the other hand, these are all unsupported Internet rumors and might turn out to be utterly false, so take it all with a huge grain of internet-rumor-salt.

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Apple Patents Dual-Shock Style Game Controller -- Is Console Gaming Coming To iOS?

A patent filed by Apple has been discovered revealing the company's plans to launch their own device or software that would be able to control a dual-analog stick gaming controller with near field communication. The controller patent was filed in March and published today, July 26, 2012. There's only thing this could mean; it's time to speculate console gaming is finally coming to iOS!

The documents show a controller that makes use of dual-analog sticks. It draws close resemble to Sony's PS3 DualShock controllers. Also pictures are four shoulder buttons, four face buttons and what appears to be start and select buttons. An additional image shows the controller communicating with the iPhone.

But wait, there's more.

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Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition iPad Release Confirmed

The PC version of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition will be released on September 18, ending a gaming mystery that dates back several days. The iOS and Mac versions will be released in September. The release date for the Android version has not been announced.

Developer Overhaul games has also revealed some new details about Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition too.  We're talking three new characters, new adventures, and new enhancements.

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Baldur's Gate Site Launches, Domain Owned By BioWare Vet

A Baldur's Gate countdown clock has mysteriously appeared on the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition official site, leading to inevitable speculation that Baldur's Gate 3 will be announced. We'll have to wait until tomorrow for the news, though, that's when the clock reaches zero.

TheEnhanced Edition of Baldur's Gate was originally announced via countdown clock, and the game was scheduled to come out this summer, so it seems likely that the clock is counting down to the release of the game. Or perhaps an announcement of the release date. Or perhaps something else entirely. It's very hard to say, until the clock gets to zero.

I suggest you spend every moment between now and tomorrow morning staring at the clock and waiting; that's what I'm going to do.

The Walking Dead iOS Release Date Announced

The first chapter in The Walking Dead game is coming to your Apple iOS device this Thursday, July 26. According to developer TellTale Games, "A New Day" will set you back $4.99.

The good men and women of TT say they've spent a great deal of time integrating their new interface design to create an "even more intuitive experience" of exploring a zombie ravaged hellscape. You’ll have full control of Lee Everett's investigation points, actions, dialogue and decision making.

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Apple Announces iPhone 4S

It stands to reason that Apple is working on the iPhone 5, but today's rumor-from-the-internet narrows down the release window. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, quoted by MacRumors, the iPhone 5 will be released in September and the iPad mini will debut later in the month.

"iPhone 5 to debut in September. But due to in-cell touch panel and casing yield rate limits, ability to offset older models' shipments decrease will be moderate," Kuo writes in a research note.

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Jet Set Radio Confirmed For iOS And Android

Sega pegged the Dreamcast classic Jet Set Radio for an HD remake earlier in 2012, and now the publisher confirms that the upcoming release will be available for iOS and Android platforms in addition to the others that were already confirmed. The mobile version of Jet Set Radio will use the OpenFeint social platform for leaderboards and the like. It will also support Apple's Retina Display and will include a feature for converting photos taken with your device into in-game graffiti.

There's no release date listed, but the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network (PS3 and Vita), and PC versions were previously pegged for a summer 2012 release. The game is awesome and well worth your time if you haven't played it before. The question now is: which platform will you be getting it for?

Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The phone and tablet space is filled with incredible games that will keep you busy for minutes, hours, or even days -- we'll let you know what we're playing and why we're playing it. Here are our top five games this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

TINY WINGS 2

iPhone | iPad

The best part about Tiny Wings 2 is if you purchased the original, you now have the full, upgraded sequel on your iOS device. That’s right, Tiny Wings 2 is a fully free sequel disguised as an “update” from its creator, as a thank you to everyone who made the original such a success. Sure, if you want an HD version, you’ll have to pick it up separately, but that’s a-okay by us, for reasons we’ll get into later in this short review.

It’s a brilliant sequel, playing to the strengths of the first Tiny Wings without changing the game too much (or not changing it enough). You’ll still have access to the first Tiny Wings via “Chapter 1: Day Trip,” so you won’t miss out on the charm of the original, but the real fun begins when you head over to “Chapter 2: Flight School.” Now, you’ll be able to choose from four birds to race as, and the ones you don’t choose become your AI opponents, flying and bobbing through the land and air. The maps are far more uneven and interesting compared to the first game, and it makes for a far more strategic experience as you attempt to keep your bird flying high.

Any iPad owners wondering why they should drop the extra $2.99 for the HD version of Tiny Wings 2 will be delighted to hear the graphics look extra stunning on a Retina Display, and even more importantly, you’ll receive a special iPad-only local multiplayer mode (“Chapter 3: Hill Party”). And let us tell you, there are few things more fun that playing Tiny Wings 2 against a friend.

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The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Trailer #2 »


The good news: I got to play through the first few missions of The Dark Knight Rises on iOS last week. The bad news: I've been spoiled on the first few key events of the movie; such is the risk of games writing. The Dark Knight Rises’ design is still a bit of a rarity for iOS games, namely a fleshed-out open world experience.

It certainly doesn’t compare to Rocksteady’s console achievements with the Batman franchise, but this release by Gameloft does feature a high-production mix of free exploration, mission-focused adventuring, and close-up combat.

Batman may not have his Batpod available at all times (certainly not in the beginning of the game), but he is adequately mobile, thanks to both his grappling hook and gliding ability. Practically every edge of a building is fair game for the grappling hook, and the UI gives very visible indicators for these hooking points. That includes reeling in enemies from a distance for a discrete takedown.

At times I’d pull in a thug while he was in mid-conversation, though that didn’t seem to bother, let alone alert, the other guy. This was a preview build, though, so I wonder if Gameloft allotted themselves enough time to fix such bugs.

Read More »

Ouya

The first game coming to crowd-sourced game console Ouya will be an "episodic prequel" to upcoming indie game Human Element.

The news came by way of Twitter, like all news. Robert Bowling, the president of Human Element developers Robotoki, tweeted the following earlier today:

"Excited to announce Human Element's episodic prequel as the first @playouya 1st Party title!"

According to Ouya's page, this mean Ouya gamers will get first access to the "ravaged world of his post-zombie-apocalyptic game, Human Element."

Ouya, a console that doesn't exist yet, has raised over $5 million dollars from Kickstarter, from gamers who are anxious to see if the system will truly bring  "innovation, experimentation, and creativity" back to gaming. Check out Ouya's Kickstarter page for more information on the machine.  For the record, Human Element is planned for release in 2015.

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