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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 mobile 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

GHOST TRICK: PHANTOM DETECTIVE

iOS (Universal)

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is the stuff iOS masterpieces are made of: an excellent story, unique gameplay mechanics, and double helpings of style. The game opens on the cold, dead body of Sissal (that’s you). Being murdered is usually pretty terrible news to the recently deceased, so you’ll have to use Sissal’s newfound ability to navigate between the realm of the living and the dead to discover who you are, how you died, and who killed you. I hesitate to give away any of the plot, since it’s a great murder mystery with some really cool twists and funny turns throughout.

Sissal’s soul is able to transfer to inanimate objects, which can then be manipulated in some way (a “ghost trick,” the title’s namesake) to help alter the course of time. A lot of the puzzles have a time limit on them, so it can definitely be a challenge in certain chapters to figure out just what to do before the timer runs out. Fortunately, you can restart chapters as often as you like if you mess up. And it’s so much fun to figure out each puzzle.

I thought a lot about how to write this review: to serve the people who love text-heavy, linear titles like Ghost Trick and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, or to serve mobile gamers as a whole. If you’re the former, this is a perfect game; if you’re the latter, it might not be for you (but you should give the first two chapters a try, since they’re free). It hits every note its target audience is looking for, and doesn’t apologize or compromise for it.

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Mass Effect: Datapad And Mass Effect Infiltrator: Our First Look

Electronic Arts descended on New York City earlier this week with one of its semi-frequent preview showcases. Some new Mass Effect 3 content was revealed, as you'll learn soon enough in our hands-on look at the game's early mission to Mars. That's not all though. EA also had two of the mobile offerings connected to the upcoming game on display for a hands-off preview demonstration: the Mass Effect: Datapad iPad app and Mass Effect Infiltrator, a third-person action game coming first to iOS and later to Android devices.

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Tags: iPad, iPhone, Mobile

Valve's Steam app for the iPhone and Android is free and available now for download. In the video below, Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb check out what a mobile Steam store means for the increasing prevalence of digital distribution. Check it out by clicking "play."

Valve's Steam App for iPhone and Android »


 




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Today on X-Play

Tune in tonight at 6:30PM ET on X-Play as we'll review new shooter NeverDead and get an early look at the Yakuza developer's upcoming Binary Domain. We'll also get the lowdown on Valve's Steam app for iPhone and Android, and get pro gamer Tsquared's tips for total Halo "High Noon" map domination. Full show details below:

  • NeverDead Review
    In supernatural shooter NeverDead you might get torn apart, beheaded, or both, but you won't die. You'll just have to find a way to play on. We'll weigh in on the action with our review.
  • Valve's Steam App For iPhone and Android
    Valve has a new Steam app out now for iPhone and Android, and we'll take a look at everything you need to know.
  • Binary Domain Gameplay Preview
    We'll get an early look at Binary Domain, the upcoming third-person shooter from the developers of the Yakuza series that blends in a morality system and voice commands into a story that's all cyberpunk.
  • Face Time: Michael Winslow and Wizard Ops
    Police Academy and Space Balls legend Michael Winslow has a new game out, Wizard Ops, in which he performs all the sound effects. We'll get face time and check it out.
  • Collector's Edition - The Metagame
    The Metagame harnesses the debate over the best video games and consoles into a competitive card game, and we'll play a few hands.
  • Tsquared's Pro Tips - Halo "High Noon" Map
    Pro gamer Tsquared has plenty of tips and tricks for mastering the Halo "High Noon" Map - he's been playing it for over a decade.

Watch X-Play weekdays at 6:30PM ET, only on G4!

Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The mobile 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

SUPER CRATE BOX
iOS (Universal)

At first glance, Super Crate Box is one of those mobile games that’s the equivalent of a one-night stand. You get your arcade fix, and move on to the next... right? Wrong. SCB quickly sucks you in, and you find yourself coming back to it over and over for new play sessions. It evokes memories of the original Mario Bros. with its single-screen levels, and throws in crate collecting that reminds me of Muffin Knight.

As mentioned, our hero hops around the screen to collect boxes. Each crate holds different weapons that auto-equip when you pick one up, and you’ll have to grab as many crates as possible before dying to the monsters pouring out of the pipe at the top of the level. Those weapons help you out, though; from flamethrowers to revolvers, you’ll have a great time blowing bad guys to smithereens.

Super Crate Box is a shining example of what mobile gaming is all about: simple, minimalist design, solid yet simple controls, and super-addictive gameplay all melted into a singularly amazing experience on your iOS device. It’s retro without being gimmicky or stale, and that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.

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Sneak Peek To X-Play's Exlcusive Seamus Blackley Interview »


The co-creator of the Xbox, Seamus Blackley, has announced his plans to launch a mobile-games studio, Innovative Leisure. Aided by a team of famous designers from Atari, he hopes to change the industry with iPhone and iPad games. Blackley will bring everything you loved about the arcade to the iOS.

“We are looking at the new arcade, and 99 cents on the iPhone is the new quarter,” said Blackley in an interview with VentureBeat.

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Ghost Trick Gets An iOS Release

Capcom turned out a totally sweet Nintendo DS puzzle/adventure game in last year's Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (technically a 2010 release, in Japan). Those who never got around to playing it now have another opportunity thanks to today's iOS release of the game in North America.

Ghost Trick has been in Japan's App Store since December 2010, so it's not exactly brand-spanking-new. That's good though; any post-release bugs should have long since been worked out by now, right? The app is a free download to start with, letting players go through the first two chapters before forcing them to make an in-app purchase for the rest.

Let's just say that again, to be clear: FREE awesome iOS game alert, with the added bonus of higher resolution graphics than your old DS copy. Go download Ghost Trick. Now.

Source: iTunes

 

Magic: The Gathering Toolbox Coming To iPhonesHey, Magic: The Gathering fans: I've got an app for you. Magic: The Gathering Toolbox is the perfect way to build killer decks, research strategies, and find events. It also serves as an advanced life counter for your Magic games. I'm sure you'd pay over $65 dollars for an app of this quality, but there is no need: It is FREE,  but as new card sets get released, players can pay a small fee to update the deck builder with the latest content.

The app is now available in the iTunes store for iPhone and iPod, and iPad-enhanced and Android versions are coming soon. You can download the Magic: The Gathering Toolbox app here.

Are you guys into Magic? Or is your gaming strictly digital?

The best mobile video games can be hard to find, simply because of the sheer amount of titles out there. But, worry not! Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The mobile 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's our top five games this week.

GAME OF THE WEEK

UNSTOPPABLE GORG
iOS (Universal) $4.99


Where do I possibly begin with the greatness that is Unstoppable Gorg? From the very first glorious retro sci-fi cutscene (gorgeously depicted in true serial fashion), I was hooked. And if you think the gameplay can’t possibly live up to the pretty face it presents up front... well, think again, because UG is one of the finest tower defense games I’ve played on iOS.

You’ll be defending the space station from King Gorg’s legions of extraterrestrials, placing different types of satellites on the rings of orbit surrounding the base to gain money, earn tokens, and shoot down the bad guys. My favorite game mechanic is the ability to rotate each individual orbit ring, changing your pew pew range (or shielding your research satellites) for oncoming UFOs. It’s a really cool feature and adds a little twist to each wave of attacks.

It’s nearly impossible not to love Unstoppable Gorg; in fact, I’d argue that it embodies everything that’s great about iOS games, and accomplishes that feat with a gorgeous look and B-movie swagger.

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The best mobile video games can be hard to find, simply because of the sheer amount of titles out there. But, worry not! Welcome to G4's Knuckle Up, where we bring you a byte-sized view of our five favorite mobile games every week. The mobile 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's our top five games this week.

GAME OF THE WEEK

CAVERNS OF MINOS

iOS (Universal)

Caverns of Minos takes its cues from the old Atari classic Caverns of Mars. In the retro original, you would control your spaceship and navigate vertically downward through a twisting map in order to pick up a bomb at the bottom. When you grabbed it, you had to speed up and out of the map before it exploded. It was a pretty fun game, and Jeff Minter’s interpretation/homage Caverns of Minos delivers the same super fun gameplay with his uniquely bizarre twists.

You’ll still be piloting a spaceship, but instead of evacuating a bomb, you’re tasked to pick up a variety of items (underwear, cheese, and fantastic savings, to name a few), and deliver them to the mothership... which is a sheep head. It’s just as strange and whimsical as his previous title Goat Up (another of my iOS favorites), and the controls are precisely executed, making Caverns of Minos a must-have if you love retro shooters.

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CES 2012: Swanky iPhone And iPad Cases From T-Tech From Tumi

Some guys fetishize cars, reading Road and Track and dreaming of a Maserati, where others are into their computers, lovingly replacing graphics cards and processors to squeeze a bit more power out of them. But there's a certain breed of dude out there who is very, very into luggage.

Bag-heads (as I call them) tend to feel very strongly about the products that come from a company called Tumi. A Tumi representative at CES 2012 described it to me like this: "Tumi is like Coach for the discerning traveler."

Or how about this example:  A certain G4 executive, who I won't name for fear of losing my job, told me that he's been known to take aimless trips to high-end retailers in order to just gaze at Tumi bags. No intention of buying a valise or anything, mind you. He just wanted to look. Whatever turns your crank, I guess.

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iPad 2 Announced

Whatever the rumors say, there is little doubt in anyone's mind that Apple will be releasing its next-gen iPad in the coming months. Word comes now from Bloomberg via "three people familiar with the product" the production has begun on the iPad 3. A few technical details emerge as well, and they fall right in line with what the common expectations are.

The iPad 3 will hit the streets rocking a new quad-core processor from an unspecified manufacturer. The iPad 2 is powered by a Samsung chip, but it's possible that a new manufacturer will be used for the next release thanks to the ongoing legal battle between the two companies. Forbes' sources also indicate that the device will sport an HD screen, as well as support for LTE wireless data networks.

We won't know anything for sure about the iPad 3 until Apple formally announces it, but competing tech essentially demands that all of the above is brought to the table with the next release. A quad-core CPU of course means an improved gaming experience, so you might want to start saving up, just in case the March rumors are true.

Source: Bloomberg

Tags: iPad, Videogames

If you've ever played any iteration of a Mario Kart game, then when you watch the following trailer for Mole Kart by developer Taomee, you might notice that the games look almost exactly the same. Mole Kart is an iOS title that's currently unavailable on the App Store, probably due to the complete obviousness that the company stole the idea from Nintendo, power-up boxes and all.

As shameless as it is, Mole Kart looks pretty fun, don't you think?

Call of Duty Elite iOS App Released With Android App Due Next Week

Activision has finally made it possible for Elite users to take all of that hot Modern Warfare action on the go with the Call of Duty Elite app for the iPad and iPhone.

The COD Elite app, which will be available for Android devices next week, lets users access in-depth stats and edit their custom classes. All changes made in the app will push to the live game as soon as you boot it up.

But wait! That's not all! The Elite app will also allow you to track challenge progress, review recent matches, and analyse performance over the course of your career to help you improve your game. Either that, or you could just stop dying so much and kill some more people. It's simple really.

The Call of Duty Elite app is free (you need to have Elite access to make it work, however) and available now in the iTunes store. Android users will have to wait until next week to get their hands on it. Blame Steve Jobs's ghost.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition Plans Include Crafting, Mobs, Actual Game Stuff

Android and iOS smartphone users were thrilled last year when Mojang finally released a mobile version of its blocky world-building game, Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Fans of the PC version quickly learned that Pocket Edition offered a very stripped-down take on Minecraft, and they wanted more.

Mojang recognizes this and has been working on giving you more. The problem, as a new blog post from the developer confirms, is that Pocket Edition wasn't originally designed to include things like crafting and monsters and resources and the like. So a wholesale code re-write is necessary. It's happening too! But it's going to take some time.

The Mojang post confirms that the team is shooting to submit the first of a series of script-changing updates on February 8. Crafting won't be in yet, as interface tweaks are required for that, but fans can expect to see "neat looking animals and new blocks" as the update lays the "foundation" for Survival mode.

Source: Mojang

Tags: iPad, iPhone, Mobile

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