The big deal with Popcap's latest big entry into the App Store, Bookworm Heroes, is that it's social. It's a version of the company's popular wordfinding game given a social twist, so that you can play against your friends, neighbors, or just random people online. But here's the thing I most don't like about Bookworm Heroes: It's social.
Yes, the thing that might most appeal to you about this one is the thing that makes it least appealing. Bookworm Heroes isn't a bad game. If you love the Bookworm series (the first version of the game has been on the App Store for a while), Heroes shows off the same polish and excellent gameplay that the other titles offer. But Heroes is only social, which means that to play, you've got to wait for your opponent to pass a turn back. And if you don't have anyone else interested in playing (like me), you have to stick with random opponents, which just weren't very successful for me -- either I forgot about their games and ended up forfeiting, or they forfeited the game for me.
At any rate, Bookworm Heroes is excellent -- if you have friends to play with (or kids interested in playing with you). It's available as a free download right now. As for me personally, I'm looking forward to an iOS port of Bookworm Adventures. I'd much rather play a full game against the computer than a half a game against someone else across the Internet.
Daily iPhone App: Bookworm Heroes takes Popcap's wordfinding classic social originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 25 Apr 2013 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
PopCap has made an announcement that will be music to the ears of flower-planting undead fighters everywhere: Plants vs. Zombies is getting a sequel, due in spring 2013. Unfortunately, no details have been announced yet; PopCap says that the game will have "new features, settings, and situations" but that's about it. That's probably not a problem, however, as fans will probably be happy with any new PvZ content they can play.
Another thing that hasn't been announced yet is platforms. Traditionally, PopCap has launched its titles on PC first then, as it did with Plants vs Zombies, release them on other platforms such as iOS and gaming consoles. But Plants vs. Zombies has been a huge hit on mobile. PopCap, as part of EA, has also been increasingly focusing on mobile as a way to sell its mass-market casual games. So hopefully it won't be long before we see this title on iOS -- with luck it might be on release day.
Plants vs Zombies 2 coming next year originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 20 Aug 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Zuma's Revenge is a nice game from PopCap. It's a colorful, casual, action/puzzle title, with a simple mechanic that's easy to understand. But don't get too comfortable, as Zuma's Revenge gets difficult quickly. It's existed as a PC title for a while, and is finally ready for iOS.
Shooting little colored balls into each other is fun, and the game's great Aztec-inspired theme adds to it. It's a deep game despite the simple mechanic. You can fire balls into a gap for bonus points and figure out how to finish off the line of orbs as quickly as possible.
Zuma's Revenge HD is a no-brainer as a great game from a company with a shining reputation for games just like this. The only concern (other than the lack of Retina graphics -- at least I don't think they're in there yet, and I don't have a new iPad to check) might be the price. It's US$4.99 for a universal app. That's not actually too high for a PC game like this, PopCap's parent EA often has sales, so odds are that we'll see this a little cheaper before long. Whether you wait or not, however, you'll probably like picking this one up eventually anyway.
Daily iPad App: Zuma's Revenge HD arrives on iOS from PopCap originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 16 Mar 2012 11:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
PopCap has updated the Plants vs. Zombies iOS app with a few new game mode options, purchaseable with the in-game currency at Dave's crazy store. The modes are all different and available in purchases of three each, featuring everything from a mode where you fight invisible zombies to a special bowling mode, and even a variant of PopCap's own Bejeweled called "Beghouled Twist." If you don't want to earn the in-game currency yourself, PopCap's also offering in-app purchases for in-game coins that will unlock each of the modes, so that's another way to go.
Elsewhere on the App Store, EA has released Snood Free, a free version of the popular Bubble Bobble-style game (along with Snood Free HD for iPad). This version leaves multiplayer out and contains ads, while the original paid versions of the game are still online. Disney has also launched a lite version of the popular JellyCar 3, so you can now try that one out without any additional cost.
And finally, Illusion Labs' Touchgrind BMX app has gone universal, so anyone who owned the iPhone version can now download the iPad version for free.
Plants vs. Zombies updated, and a few other app deals originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 08 Sep 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
You may remember the story of Owain Weinert, a 9 year-old diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, who got invited to PopCap Games via the Make-a-wish foundation to help design and release a brand new iOS game. That title, eventually called Allied Star Police, is available now for free on the App Store. It's available through PopCap's experimental 4th and Battery studio, and I have to say -- it's pretty darn good. The game plays kind of like a more dynamic version of Plants vs. Zombies, where you summon various types of shooter ships to fly down lanes of attackers, eventually fighting their way over to blow up an enemy base.
There are some good game design ideas here, too -- as you earn money for destroying enemy ships, you can slowly build up to more and more powerful weaponry, eventually leading an army of destroyers to take out your enemy. I like it a lot, and Plants vs. Zombies fans will probably enjoy it as well. Kudos to Owain on his work (and PopCap for their help, I'm sure), very nice job.
Owain also gets the honor of helping PopCap release their very first game after the recent EA takeover, so congrats on that one, too. Once again, you can try it out for yourself: it's a universal app available for free.
Make-a-wish game, Allied Star Police, out now on the App Store originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 25 Jul 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Whispers about this started a little while ago, but it appears the rumors are true: EA is acquiring casual game developer PopCap Games for $650 million cash plus another $100 million in stock and incentives.
That's a huge deal, and surprisingly cheap, given that PopCap's value has been estimated as high as $1 billion. PopCap of course made its name on casual PC games like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, but in recent years those titles have become mobile juggernauts, and the iOS platform is currently the company's crown jewel.
EA also has been working hard on the mobile front (recently acquiring iOS developer Firemint, among a few other big deals), so combining PopCap's library and talent for casual gaming with EA's marketing and distribution arms should make the two a lot of money going forward.
PopCap's CEO says it plans to work with EA to "scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience." As for us, we're just hoping Plants vs. Zombies 2 is somewhere in those plans. Oh and Bejeweled 3 for iOS please. And more stuff from the 4th and Battery mini-studio, too. More of everything, really -- thanks!
EA buying PopCap Games for $750 million originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 12 Jul 2011 16:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
As expected, the second game from PopCap's sub-studio 4th and Battery hit the App Store last week, and I like it a lot more than I did Unpleasant Horse. Candy Train is actually an older PopCap title that was originally posted online, and it's been brought back as a free universal app for iOS. It's an interesting if simple puzzle game -- the idea is that there's a train rolling down a track, and you have to tap tiles to line them up so that the train has somewhere to go. Along the way, the train can pick up candy cars, and if you collect enough of those and a caboose, there's a station that you can pull into to clear the chain and "level up" into the next score bracket.
It's the kind of game that starts out pretty slowly and gets frantic fast, but there's just enough depth to it to keep you coming back to try again and keep that train going further. Yes, you can see why this isn't a full PopCap title (instead, it's just a 4th and Battery experimental game), but it's fun nevertheless.
And while there's sadly no Game Center integration or any extras to speak of (there's just one mode, on two different difficulty levels), the price is right at the cost of free. Definitely give this one a download.
All right, so maybe Unpleasant Horse wasn't quite the success that 4th and Battery would have liked to kick the new PopCap sub-studio off with, but that's kind of the point -- the idea of 4th and Battery is for the company to experiment a little more, rather than having every single game they release live up to the PopCap reputation. And that means faster releases as well. The company's second game is due out on the App Store this week, and it's called Candy Train.
This is actually an older game -- it was originally released as a Flash title on PopCap's website and pulled soon after, to players' chagrin. But a few developers decided to revamp it for iOS, and it's coming to the App Store as a free download. The idea, as you can see above, is that you need to rotate small pieces of track to keep a train running, and it seems fun enough.
4th and Battery also has a third game on tap, which will also be free, and we're supposed to see it later on this summer. Exciting!
The game was put together in a 24-hour game jam session, and as much as it pains me to say this about a game essentially put together by PopCap developers, this rushed development schedule shows in Unpleasant Horse. You play a horse jumping through the clouds with a few wrinkles in gameplay, like "pleasant horses" that you need to drag down as far as possible to earn points, or birds that give you an extra mid-air jump. It's all pretty straightforward -- you jump from cloud to cloud for as long as you can. I'd like to say the game feels like Tiny Wings, but it's not quite that elegant, despite some colorful art. There are no real extras either, with no other game modes and no Game Center integration.
Still, PopCap started 4th & Battery because it wanted to experiment with some edgier ideas, and since the game is being given away as a universal version for free, I can't really complain too much. Here's hoping PopCap finds what it set out to find with 4th & Battery, and then gets back to making the well-crafted games that it's known for.
Here's some good (if obvious) news to kick off your weekend right. PopCap Games' Garth Chouteau says in a recent interview that yes, in case you were wondering, they will probably bring Bejeweled 3 to iOS. The latest version of the original gem-matching masterpiece was released on PC a while back, but many players held off in order to buy it on iPhone and iPad. Chouteau says that while "we're traditionally somewhat slow to adapt our games to other platforms after launching them on PC/Mac... Bejeweled 3 for iPhone/iPad is probably something we'll do...eventually...!"
I can't say I blame PopCap for taking its time -- of course they want to sell copies of the desktop app, and with a game as simple as Bejeweled, I'd imagine most people would rather play it in a mobile form. But even though they go slow, PopCap eventually hits as many platforms as possible, so we'll see Bejeweled 3 on iOS at some point.
The company is organizing a meetup at the Game Developers' Conference in San Francisco later this month so perhaps "eventually" will be sooner than we think. I'll be there in person, and if there are any new iOS games to speak of you'll be the first to know.