Crack Attack Updated, More Eggs At Risk

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Good news, Crack Attack players – version 1.3.2 of the game went live on the iOS App Store this weekend! Amongst other things, this update adds improved tutorials and menu layouts, bug fixes and some tweaks to make some earlier levels a bit easier, based on feedback from players. You can get hold of the update by visiting the app page here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id900352568

If you haven’t yet given Crack Attack a go, it’s a fun and absorbing puzzle game available for iPhone and iPad (other platforms coming soon!). Best of all, it’s completely free to download! You can find out more here: http://www.eggboxinteractive.com/2015/04/crack-attack-launches-on-ios-eggs-no-longer-safe/

Letting Players Do Less for More

Please note: This article includes a few minor spoilers for Axiom Verge.
Tom Happ's Axiom Verge

Playing Tom Happ’s excellent Metroid-channelling Axiom Verge recently reminded me of a gaming move I’d almost forgotten I had in my repertoire, the ‘jump/move/shoot shuffle’, also known less catchily as ‘dealing with enemies who are a pixel or two above or below the angle at which I can fire’. Axiom Verge uses a digital-style aiming system that only allows you to aim and fire in six directions (the eight compass points minus down-left and down-right), and in certain situations, the combination of the environment layout and enemy positioning conspire to mean that there’s no ‘good’ place from which to stand and shoot in order to eliminate them. Instead, the player has to jump, move and shoot all at the same time in a way that always feels slightly awkward.

On the face of it, this might seem like a minor annoyance, yet Axiom Verge is smartly designed enough to develop this limitation into a mechanic of its own. As the game progresses, the player picks up weapons with different fire modes – area-effect missiles that can be detonated at will, for instance, or a gun that can shoot a short distance through walls – which gradually expand their reach. With these weapons, seemingly awkwardly-positioned enemies become not an irritation but a satisfying challenge for the player, as taking a moment to pick out the right tool for the job makes for a much safer and less awkward fight than deploying the jump/move/shoot shuffle.

This aiming system demonstrates a useful rule of game design – that games are defined as much by what the player can’t do, as they are by the things they can. What initially appears to be a frustrating limitation becomes a mechanic ripe with possibilities, giving the player an interesting choice each time they encounter it.

Many games create engaging experiences from the limitations they put on the player. The maximum of two weapons the player is allowed to carry at any one time in Halo: Combat Evolved initially seems mean-spirited. Yet this limitation transforms scouring a battlefield post-gunfight to locate discarded weapons and ammo from a process of hoovering up everything the player can find into an agonising series of choices, as the player weighs up which two weapons they should carry forward into the next area.

In both cases the limitations are far from arbitrary – they work because the rest of the game design is not only sympathetic to them but actively works to balance them out. So the aiming in Axiom Verge avoids becoming an irritation because it is exploited only sparingly early on, and the player quickly gains access to weapons with different fire patterns to give them more choice. Similarly, in Halo: CE Bungie carefully balanced the player’s gun, grenade and melee abilities to be equally powerful, ensuring that any situation in the game is manageable with any weapon combination – albeit from different ranges.

Every game places limitations on the player at some level, but Axiom Verge and Halo: CE demonstrate what’s possible when the things the player can’t do are given as much attention and thought as the things they can.


Axiom Verge was developed by Thomas Happ Games LLC http://www.axiomverge.com

Halo: Combat Evolved was developed by Bungie, Inc and published by Microsoft https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-gb/games/halo-combat-evolved/xbox

Crack Attack Launches on iOS, eggs no longer safe

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Crack Attack is the latest game from the award-winning Crash Lab team and features, I can say with some certainty, some impeccable egg-related humour. It’s a matching/puzzle game that’s incredibly easy to pick up and is available now for free on the iOS App Store.

The game features 150 varied levels across 4 gorgeous worlds, each of which features 10 unique creatures for you to find and collect. Or, if you’d prefer your description in annotated screenshot form:

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Eggbox Interactive provided programming and design services to Crash Lab for the game, so please help us out by downloading it and, if you enjoy it, sharing it with your friends and giving the game a review on the App Store!

You can get cracking (sorry) right here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id900352568

Snowman Feature Fun

A couple of minor updates from the Christmas break – firstly The Snowman and The Snowdog 2014 was shortlisted by The Guardian as one of their best Android apps for kids of 2014!

Secondly, the game received a a festive feature over Christmas on the front page of the iOS App Store (see screen grab below). This goes nicely alongside the feature for the game in the Windows Phone store just before Christmas.

If you’ve not played The Snowman and The Snowdog 2014 yet, it’s available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows Phone devices, and you can read more about it here.

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(This was in addition to a feature on the Windows Phone App store before Xmas).

The Snowman and The Snowdog 2014 is Out Now!

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Yes, in what can only be described as a startling break from convention, the follow-up to 2012’s (#1 and multiple awardwinning) The Snowman & The Snowdog is… The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014!

Once again, Eggbox Interactive provided the cracking folks at Crash Lab with programming services for the project, which is available for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows Phone.

The Snowman & The Snowdog 2014 is once again a great festive experience for all the family, and sees the Snowman flying to the United States, Japan, China and Australia on his way to the North Pole, which suggests he’s a lot better at defying gravity than he is at reading a map.

Please check out the links below to purchase and enjoy the game today!

iOS

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-snowman-the-snowdog-2014/id940397955?mt=8

Android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.channel4.crashlab.snowman2014&hl=en_GB

Windows Phone

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-gb/store/app/the-snowman-the-snowdog-2014/2c8c18d8-b0c9-43f8-8e88-68697650d806

Kindle Fire

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Snowman-Snowdog-2014/dp/B00QKFOLH2