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Hands-On: Xing The Land Beyond Is An Atmospheric VR Puzzle Game About The Afterlife – UploadVR

If youre a living, breathing person on the planet Earth, then youve probably found yourself wondering about the afterlife. What happens when we die? has been a popular philosophical, scientific, and religious question for centuries. Xing: The Land Beyond doesnt claim to have all the answers, but it does endeavor to make you scratch your head and think a bit.

Instead of focusing on intense combat or fast-paced gameplay, Xing is a more introspective and deliberate VR game. Fans of classics likeMyst and modern titles such asObduction and other puzzle-focused adventure games will likely find a lot to love here. With the game less than a month away from release we got the chance to go hands-on with the latest Steam version of the build using an HTC Vive and came away very impressed with the games direction.

You can see some footage from our demo right here:

The first time I played Xing was all the way back at Sonys 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC) showcase. Interestingly its now slated to drop on Steam for Rift and Vive first, but thats just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Luckily the wondrous beauty and thoughtful design is still intact and Xing is shaping up to be a real treat for genre fans.

In Xing you experience everything from the first-person perspective and spend your time exploring environments such as the one pictured below and shown above in the gameplay video. One of the things that really struck me with Xing is just how beautiful it is. From the moment you step foot in its magical world the sights and sounds are tantalizing and it makes you want to walk around and explore everything just for the sake of it.

During the first 20 minutes I played of the game for this hands-on article the puzzles were pretty simple but showed good evolution and should be a clear indication of the thought and care that went into the games development. In one situation I had to press a button to rotate floating platforms before I could cross a pond. Some platforms only rotated during the day and some only rotated at night so I had to also toggle the time of day as well as rotate the platforms themselves. It was a clever way to iterate on the basic platform rotation puzzle Id seen earlier in the demo.

Simply stopping to watch as the world around me changed when the moon was rising would alone be enough payoff for a job well done in other VR games but its just part of the experience in Xing. I cant wait to see what the other worlds look like and how their themes are utilized to make the challenges as memorable as possible.

The only real issue I ran into while playing my demo of Xing is that the movement system was a bit unclear at first. I was playing on Vive and as it turns out I needed to point the left controller (represented as a pseudo-wand of sorts in the game world) in the direction I wanted to go while holding down the track pad. My first instinct was to press my thumb on the directional area of the track pad I wanted to go (such as in Onward) but I got the hang of it eventually.

Interactions were simple and limited to pointing, clicking, and moving things around. But that is to be expected as the point-and-click adventure games that inspired Xing most directly all featured similarly basic gameplay mechanics in favor of a richly detailed world and thought-provoking puzzles. Its shaping up to follow precisely in those footsteps.

Xing: The Land Beyond is releasing on Steam for Rift, Vive, OSVR, and non-VR PCs next month on September 18th, 2017 and will be coming to PlayStation VR (PSVR) shortly after that. You can read our detailed Q&A with the developers right here in preparation for its release in less than a month.

Let us know what you think of the game so far down in the comments below! Do you plan on picking it up in a few weeks?

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Hands-On: Xing The Land Beyond Is An Atmospheric VR Puzzle Game About The Afterlife – UploadVR

ChromaGun Review Color Me Happy – DualShockers

Puzzle games are something that can either be done incredibly well or monstrously terrible. Theres usually no in between. You either make a challenging puzzle game that can engage the player for hours upon hours, or you make a game thats tedious, repetitive, and boring. So many games fall in line with the latter; its rare to find a truly great puzzle game nowadays. That being said, I am happy to say that not only is ChromaGun one of the most fun puzzle games ever created, but it may just be one of my favorite games of the year.

The premise behind ChromaGun is simple: youre tasked with moving droids around rooms and objects in order to progress through the level. In order to do so, youll need to use your gun to paint walls, droids, or both certain colors in order to activate pads and other devices. For example, a blue droid is going to be attracted to a blue section of a wall.

Players are also able to mix colors a feature which (Im sure that everyone who has passed kindergarten will know) will create brand new colors. If I want a droid to stand on top of a pad that had a green wall behind it, then I know to shoot the droid with both blue and yellow paint. This comes with a twist however: if you mix too many colors, then the wall or droid will become grey, which makes it lose its attraction properties.

Right off the bat, the game should be commended strictly on the fact that it brings something creative and fresh to the board. While I dont mind when games, or any of type of media take inspiration from something else, Im always impressed when a title does something original and man, does ChromaGun do just that. I personally have not seen a title with such a unique gameplay mechanic.

Not only that, but the puzzles themselves are satisfyingly difficult. I sat staring at one puzzle for an hour, simply trying to figure out how to get a certain WorkerDroid from one side of a room to the other, and I wasnt frustrated at all, which, in my opinion, is key to making a good puzzle game. I knew the answer was right in front of me, I just couldnt see it.

The developer Pixel Maniacs likes to make fun of the fact that ChromaGun is similar to the Portal franchise but, honestly, the only thing comparable to Portal is the games setting, which is a testing facility. Beyond that, the game is incredibly unique and stands on its own. In fact, the puzzles arent even remotely similar to the ones found in Valves popular series.

Right off the bat, the game should be commended strictly on the fact that it brings something creative and fresh to the board.

The story itself can be a bit lackluster at times, however the lines of dialogue that play through the speakers were enough to keep me entertained during my time with the game. If ChromaGun were to ever get a sequel, I love to see more of an emphasis on a narrative, but the story presented in this game is fine. Your character doesnt have a name, but honestly, you dont really need to know.

The controls themselves are intuitive as well. When it comes to a puzzle game, the simpler, the better. Changing colors is easy, only requiring the push of one of the face buttons. In fact, the lightbar on the DualShock 4 will change depending on what color your gun is set to, which I found incredibly helpful at times.

My only complaint is that on the PlayStation 4 there seemed to be a small delay that occurred when you moved the right stick versus when the character on screen turns his body. Its a very small problem, and its incredibly easy to get used to, however its worth mentioning.

In terms of music, there is so little in the game that its almost not even worth mentioning. Aside from a bit of elevator-type music, youre time in ChromaGun is going to be a quiet one.

Theres not much I didnt like about the game, however theres one major thing thats worth noting: its length. The game clocks in somewhere between six and seven hours, which may be a good length for some people who get easily stressed by puzzles, however I wanted more to do than just the normal levels.

This leads me to my next point, the game is unfortunately hindered by a lack of community maps in the PlayStation 4 version. Now, the Steam version of ChromaGun already has this feature, adding substantial replayability to this budget title. As far as Ive seen there has been no mention about whether or not this feature will come to consoles, which greatly disappoints me. I hope that Pixel Maniacs decides to add this feature into the console versions sometime soon, because I could play this game for months if it did.

The game clocks in somewhere between six and seven hours, which may be a good length for some people who get easily stressed by puzzles, however I wanted more to do than just the normal levels.

ChromaGun is the absolute standard of a puzzle game done right. While its not on the same level as Portal 2 or The Witness, it is an absolutely solid puzzle game. Its fun, its challenging, and its not frustrating, which is something that a lot of puzzle games do wrong. It is an absolutely terrific piece of art that deserves to be played by anyone that even remotely enjoys puzzle games. At $14.99, youll be getting the game for a steal, and I would absolutely recommend it at that price. While the game may fall a bit short in the story and replayability department, there is no denying that ChromaGun is one of the finer games in pool of bad puzzle games.

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ChromaGun Review Color Me Happy – DualShockers

Can YOU name these classic computer games? Use the photo clues to name all 22 favourites – The Sun

THIS is the latest viral challenge to sweep the web, and it promises to test gaming geeks to their limits.

The picture puzzle features no fewer than 22 cryptic clues, all relating to the name of video games past and present.

SWNS:South West News Service

Veteran nerds will clock clues from games dating back to the 1970s, when arcade machines were the future and Pong had cutting edge graphics.

But younger gamers don’t need to worry: there are also clues pointing to more modern titles dotted around as well.

And if you’re completely stuck, don’t rage-quit: just check out the list of games you’re looking for below.

The puzzle was created to celebrate Britain’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia, which will be on at Birmingham’s NEC arena between 25-28 August.

Insomnias spokesman said: Video games are one of the biggest draws in entertainment these days, with eSports and gaming tournaments drawing millions of fans.

And we thought it would be a great idea to create a mashup of some of the biggest games in history and some of the biggest upcoming releases in one tricky puzzle.

The games you’re looking for

This latest puzzle comes after we shared a fiendish viral challenge, which asks viewers to count the number of legs in a sketched picture of an elephant.

People are being left baffled over how many legs the majestic beast has, since they all seem to merge into one another.

DEAR DEIDRE I live with my best mate and his wife… who I’ve fallen for after having amazing sex whenever he goes out

Double trouble Jeremy Kyle viewers can’t contain their surprise when the age of these twin sisters is revealed

THRONE TOGETHER? Game of Thrones fans have noticed some gaping plot holes in the latest action-packed episode

WARNING LINE Warning over black line on nails after ‘beautician spotted it on client now diagnosed with cancer’

LOST LOCKS Mum forced to shave two-year-old’s head because the tot can’t stop pulling out her own hair

We also previously asked readers to spot the camouflaged creature lurking in this stunning photo of a coral reef.

And previously wesharedthe amazing illusions which will reveal the hidden workings of your brain.

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Can YOU name these classic computer games? Use the photo clues to name all 22 favourites – The Sun

Video Game News Recap – GeekDad (blog)

Image by Dave Banks

Welcome to our video game news for week 33. I was supposed to head to GenCon 50 this past week but some real-life things got in the way of that. So I did what any sad panda would do when she cant play tabletop games with all her nerd friends. I played video games with other nerd friends! I also combed the net looking for interesting new gaming news to share with yall. Well take a look at the newStar Wars Battlefront 2gameplay trailer that dropped and then finishes up with a recap of GeekDad and GeekMom articles written about video gaming as well as what weve been playing lately. Oh, and theres lots of other stuff in between.

Star Wars Battlefront 2

EA dropped a new gameplay trailer over the weekend. This one shows Starfighter Assault mode. Yoda goes PEW! PEW! PEW! Oh, take some motherly advice here and do not read the comments on this video. Apparently, the female pilot voice in this trailer has ticked some dudes off.

StarCraft: Remasteredreleased about a week ago. For $14.99 you can upgrade and modernize your current StarCraft experience. According to a recent press release from Blizzard, the following key features are included in this update:

Blizzard has finally given up on this strange desire to rebrand their online gaming service. In a recent press release, they simply requested when writing about it refer to it as Blizzard Battle.net. Ill do my best. The above heading aside, of course. And here is the logo they loaded into the press kit:

Thank goodness that silliness is over because I can assure any Blizz reps reading this none of us stopped calling it Battle.net.

Pre-orders just opened up Sunday for the November 7th, 2017 release of the new One X. You can order it on the Xbox website for a limited time.

A full list of the new releases coming up next week shows six new games coming out this week can be found on the Xbox News page. Here are a couple highlights from the list of 20 coming out next week:

Though this game has been out for a few years, it is just now available on Xbox. Does it get much creepier than an old creaky cabin in the woods at night? Are you as mesmerized by the way they walk in this game as I am?

Are war games more your style? How about tabletop style games gone digital? This one should be right up your alley. Again, not a new game per se, but new to Xbox this upcoming week.

Current Games with Gold are Trials Fusion(08/16 09/15), Red Faction: Armageddon(08/16 08/31), andSlime Rancher(08/01 08/31)

You can check out the games on sale right now on the Deals With Gold page.

Minecraft: Story Mode hits the Nintendo Switch 08/22/17. No new features or anything but will now be available to play on Switch. Somehow Id gone all this time not realizing that Corey Feldman does voice work in this game. Now theres a blast from my adolescent past.

New details were recently revealed by Nintendo. The game releases in November 2017 but the ever-hungry Pokmon fans have already viewed the video featured in the press release August 18th, 2017 over 1.2 million times. Now you get to watch it, too! You can get all the details on gameplay and characters in the press release if you prefer.

This weeksThe Drophighlights 23 new releases in the upcoming week. Check out the blog entry for the full list but here are a couple that caught my eye:

From Keen Vision, check out this artistic puzzle game, available on PS VR this week.

Ive heard such great things about this game from my friends. I havent tried it yet but seeing this latest release trailer got my attention again and I think I may have to buy it soon. The game will be available on PS4 this week.

PlayStation Plus includes free games. Currently available are Just Cause 3, Assassins Creed: Freedom Cry, Super Motherload, Snakeball, Downwell,andLevel 22.

New releases and upcoming releases are available on the Steam Games page.

Current pricing specials can be found on the Specials page. This page is updated frequently so check back often.

GeekMoms and GeekDads often write about video games and related items. Here is a list of all the video gaming related articles from the blogs since I last recapped things:

For more gaming news, or to share your love of video games with me, please follow @samanthafisher on Twitter.

Samantha (aka Sam) lives in the midwest and likes it that way. She works at IBM and is the mother to one geekling. When not working she spends too much time playing games, watching television, or reading novels and not enough time cleaning. Don’t get her started on the horror that is doing laundry.

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Video Game News Recap – GeekDad (blog)

5 new restaurants and retailers coming to The Greene – Dayton Daily News

Puzzle Plus, a family-owned puzzle store, sells jigsaws, brain teasers, puzzle books and games. The store carries games and puzzles for all ages and skill levels. The puzzle store opened in 1995 in Beavercreek, but just moved to a new location at The Greene at 4465 Glengarry Drive. READ MORE

The gist of the program is that someone will be able to utilize a finished out space that is already fully fixtured for a week at a time. I think that the thing that is really appealing about this is that the businesses will only be required to pay us a small fee for each day they are actually open for business not all the days of occupancy. This has been very appealing so far. There are no other fees involved to operate in the space, Willshaw told this news organization in an email. READ MORE

3. A new restaurant is filling a vacant space.

A sign has been posted in a vacant restaurant space at The Greene: Everyone loves a surprise! New tenant coming soon. The space was formerly occupied by Crazy Mango, which shut down in July 2015. The space has been vacant ever since.

La Puf Sweets caters candy buffets, cotton candy bars, smores bars and popcorn stations for parties. The business has been offering catering services in the Miami Valley since 2016, and recently made the decision to move to The Greene. READ MORE

JaeLuxe Shoetique has started renovating its 1,500-square-feet retail space on Magnolia Lane next to the Pandora store. Owner April Polk said there is no definite opening date. READ MORE

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5 new restaurants and retailers coming to The Greene – Dayton Daily News

This Is The Only Type Of Brain Training That Works, According To Science – Fast Company

There are dozens of apps and online courses that claim their brain training can make you more mentally agile, but theres usually little scientific evidence to back up those claims. While the FDA does approve certain brain training programs aimed to treat specific medical disorders, such as Alzheimers, and the FTC goes after false advertising claimsas it did when Lumonsity made claims not supported by sciencetheres also no industry body that certifies brain training programs, which is a problem for both the field and consumers, according to Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science.

Right now, theres no group that specifically reviews brain training programs and says based on the science, these ones have been shown to work in these ways, and these other ones have not been shown to work, says Mahncke. It would be very helpful to people to have this kind of resourceits challenging for a lay person to wade through the hundreds of scientific papers and figure out which brain training programs are evidence-based and which arent.

Thats why a group of Australian scientists undertook a systematicreview of what studies have been published of commercially available brain training programs in an attempt to give consumers and doctors credible information on which brain training programs are actually scientifically proved to workif any. Unfortunately, of the 18 different computerized brain training programs marketed to healthy older adults that were studied, 11 had no peer reviewed published evidence of their efficacy and of the seven that did, only two of those had multiple studies, including at least one study of high qualityBrainHQ and Cognifit. And of those, just one had multiple high-quality studies: Mahnckes BrainHQ program.

That study, along with other similar ones, shows that most brain training only make you better at the exercises themselves, and dont carry those gains over to your real-world concentration, productivity, or mental acuity.

But there is good news. Science does show that some brain training programs do work. So which ones? As the Australian study showed, Mahnckes BrainHQ and competitor Cognifit actually do have a real benefit. Because both are based on brain training that is focused on improving processing speedthe speed and accuracy with which the brain processes information. Mahncke says this type of training focuses on the visual system: You see an image in the center of your visionfor example, either a car or a truckand at the same time, you see another image way off in your peripheral vision. The images are only on the screen for a brief period of timewell under a second. You then have to say whether you saw the car or the truck in the center of your vision, and then you have to show where you saw the image in your peripheral vision. This challenges the speed and the accuracy of your visual system. And as you get faster and more accurate, the speed increases and the peripheral vision task gets more demandingpushing your brain further.

As your visual system is continually challenged by these specific tests, your brain will adapt through a process known as neuroplasticity. At its core purpose, the brain wants to resolve things. It is constantly moving from the particular to the big picture and back again, Mahncke says. As the brain works to put the big picture together it goes through neuroplastic changes in order to do so (neuro = brain, and plastic = the ability to undergo structural changes).

These plasticity-based changes actually form new neuropathways in your brainliterally changing its shape. The new neuropathways can then be called upon to help you process stimuli beyond just the specific methods used in the brain training exercises. This is why brain training that results in neuroplastic changes works much better than simple memory brain training games, which may help you remember where, for example, the red card is hidden, but wont help you remember the details from that last meeting with your client.

We know that the brain is more plastic when brain chemicals are activated, so the design of these exercises also incorporates attentional demands, novelty, and rewards to activate those chemicals and drive the chemical and physical change that produce the better functional results, says Mahncke. Those brain chemicals also impact mood and learning rates. If you think about it, what you do, pretty much every waking moment, should be positively affected by a faster and more accurate brain.

The result, as the science has shown, says Mahncke, is that people who undertake plasticity-based brain training programs notice feeling sharper, quicker, and more able to notice the important details of everyday lifelike what someone says in a noisy restaurant, or whats happening at the edge of your peripheral vision, or what all seven digits of that phone number were.

But what if you dont feel like undertaking scientifically proven brain training programs like BrainHQ and Cognifit? Mahncke says that you can prime your brain for and spur it into plastic changes by challenging yourself in everyday life. Here are his four tips how to do that:

Just doing the same old stimulating thing over and over again doesnt challenge the brain to rewire itself, Mahncke says. If youve been doing crossword puzzles for 10 years, pick something newand really differentand work at it 2-3 hours per week, even though it will be hard. My mom started harpsichord lessonsand practiced a lot! It was great for her brain: the speed and accuracy of listening and finger movements are a good form of brain exerciseand everyone in my family enjoyed having music in the house!

Dont want to switch up your hobbies or learn a new musical instrument? No problem, just get out there and travel. Travel is a great way to challenge your brain to learn and changeeverything from buying a loaf of bread to finding your way home is new and different. But if you cant afford to jet to Italy as a form of brain training, then take new paths in your own neighborhood, Mahncke says. Find a new way to the grocery store, or the long way to your favorite park. Focus on noticing new landmarks, different sounds (and smells?) and putting together and more detailed mental map of your own neighborhood. As soon as a route gets familiar, find a new oneevery few days. This engages your brains hippocampusthe seat of learning and memory.

Finally, dont forget your body. The National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine recently reviewed the data and suggested three things as supported by scientific evidencebrain training (from ACTIVE specificallynot just brain games), physical exercise, and maintaining healthy blood pressure in middle age, says Mahncke. In other words, its going to be harder to maintain a sharp brain if your body is diverting its energy to fighting other elements in your body, like high blood pressure. So avoid consuming too much salt and get out there for a walk or a runand if you want to work in exercise and brain training in one go, adjust your runs every few days to let your brain discover new paths and routes around your home.

We are at the beginning of a paradigm shift in how we think about brain health. As with any major paradigm shift in science, things may seem confusing for a while. Headlines will scream about some major breakthroughs in cognitive performance from plasticity-based brain training. This will seem to be followed within the month by headlines screaming about some other study seemingly showing the opposite. In fact, what you are experiencing is scientists rather messily trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, says Mahncke.

Some brain training has been repeatedly shown to work. If you sort through it, youll find that is a plasticity-based brain, training developed by knowledgeable and reputable experts. Other brain games have been rushed to market to make a buck, and will fail in serious trials. Its important to realize that not all brain training is the same. Look for products designed by real experts and subjected to peer-reviewed studies, and be wary of those that spend more money on advertising than on research.

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This Is The Only Type Of Brain Training That Works, According To Science – Fast Company

Tiny Bubbles Coming Soon – DVS Gaming (registration) (blog)

Tiny Bubbles is a new puzzle game, with gameplay not seen in classic puzzle games like Tetris and World of Goo. In Tiny Bubbles, you inflate bubbles with colored smoke and strategically reshape the cluster. Break bubbles to combine neighboring colors to mix and create new colors. Save the bubble bound creatures by creating a chain reaction and power up new moves to save bubble bound creatures and fend off greedy Jelly Crabs.

Developed by Stu and Paulette Denman, the game is inspired by Stus personal experiences with his grandfather, who was an MIT professor and a lead scientist on the Manhattan Project. Stu created the custom physics for Tiny Bubbles based on his grandfathers research with soap bubbles. After working with the physics for a couple of months, Stu figured out how to simulate realistic soap bubbles like in his grandfathers experiments. In honor of his grandfather, they have strived for accessibility by creating an innovative colorblind mode in the game.

Set in a microscopic aquatic world, Tiny Bubbles is a mesmerizing organic puzzle game about playing with clusters of soap bubbles. Pop the bubbles by matching four or more colors and create cascading chain reactions. Fill bubbles with colored smoke to inflate them and push around other bubbles. Mix them to make new colors. Break a bubbles edge to pop it or combine with neighbors.

Choose from two different modes to play, puzzle mode and arcade mode, and save the bubble bound creatures from the Jelly Crabs.

What do you think about Tiny Bubbles?Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter, and join our Discord for game chat and more!

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Tiny Bubbles Coming Soon – DVS Gaming (registration) (blog)

FSU institute contributes to Global Council on Brain Health recommendations – Florida State News

Neil Charness, FSU William G. Chase Professor of Psychology

Florida State Universitys Institute for Successful Longevity was among a number of scientific sources the Global Council on Brain Health relied upon in drafting its new recommendations on enhancing brain health.

In its release of the recommendations, the council, established by AARP and the British organization Age UK, also weighed in on the question of whether brain-training games and software can lead to general improvement in cognition. In a consensus statement released by AARP, the council asserted, There is insufficient evidence that getting better at brain games will improve peoples overall functioning in everyday life.

The consensus statement is consistent with findings reached by institutes director, Neil Charness, and ISL Faculty Affiliate Walter Boot in their critical analyses of existing research.

Charness, FSUs William G. Chase Professor of Psychology, was one of 13 scientists who formulated the recommendations for the Global Council on Brain Health.

These recommendations can be used by individuals, caregivers and health professionals to guide their decisions on what activities and practices can enhance brain health, Charness said.

Based on the scientific evidence, the Global Council on Brain Health concluded that:

These recommendations are strongly supported by scientific research, Charness said.

The council suggested an array of cognitive stimulating activities. It encouraged individuals to:

We want people to find activities that work for them and make those activities a part of their daily lives, Charness said. Brain games can be fun, and it is OK to play the games, but people need to do other activities that research shows make a difference in brain health.

Such activities include pursuing new hobbies and developing new skills. The global council also recommended returning to activities from ones earlier years, such as playing a musical instrument.

Physical activity is equally important, Charness said. If people do nothing else, they should get regular aerobic exercise. It is good for the brain, as well as for general health.

The full recommendations of the Global Council on Brain Health can be found at http://www.globalcouncilonbrainhealth.org.

FSUs Institute for Successful Longevity conducts research into how to live longer, stay active and be fully engaged in life. You can learn more about the institute at http://www.isl.fsu.edu.

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FSU institute contributes to Global Council on Brain Health recommendations – Florida State News

Game Day: Pigeon Wings – MacStories

Pigeon Wings is a hyper-fast, racing game with shoot em up elements and a lot of personality. You play as Pigeon, a pigeon-pilot tasked with saving Megalopolis from the evil Duke Dexter. The backstory immediately sets a light-hearted, humorous tone for the game that doesnt get bogged down in long cut scenes explaining whats happening. What sets Pigeon Wings apart though, is its tilt control steering system. The controls work flawlessly becoming second nature so quickly that they fade into the background making it easy to get lost in the games short races.

At its core, Pigeon Wing is a racing game interspersed with shoot em up levels where you battle Duke Dexters pilots. Each of the 50 levels is relatively short making it easy to dip in and of the game when you have time. Touch Arcade reports that another 20 levels and an endless mode are on the way. As you complete levels, youre awarded up to three coins that can be exchanged for items like better engines for your airplane.

The most surprising aspect of the game though is its controls. The tilt controls of most games Ive played have been disappointingly imprecise or laggy, but not Pigeon Wing. It took just a couple short races to get used to how much I needed to tilt my iPhone to move Pigeons plane up and down to avoid obstacles. Acceleration is controlled by holding your thumb down on the left side of the screen. Firing weapons and boost are controlled by tapping the right side of the screen.

The racing levels are challenging. The landscape rises and falls as you fly requiring you to navigate your plane up and down to avoid hitting things and having to restart the level. At other points in the game, the obstacles are blocks that require quick shifts up and down. The shoot em up levels require you to shoot down Duke Dexters pilot while dodging incoming fire and add welcome variety to the game.

The soundtrack of Pigeon Wings fits perfectly with the design of the game. The music is just as fast-paced as the action, which adds a sense of urgency to the races. The design is excellent too. The big pigeon in a tiny red airplane complements the whimsy of the storyline.

Ive been playing a lot of puzzle games lately, and Pigeon Wings has been a fantastic break from them. There arent many games that get tilt controls right, but here, they get out of the way leaving you with pure, fast-paced fun.

Pigeon Wings is available on the App Store.

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Game Day: Pigeon Wings – MacStories

Evergrow for iPhone proves matching-based puzzle games are actually super exciting – Macworld

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a gameYou Should Play.

When I first downloaded Evergrow, I thought I knew exactly what the game was going to be: A minimalist puzzle game that hinged on one or two clever mechanics, possibly with a decent soundtrack.

But I was wrong.

This isn’t your typical casual puzzle gamenot at all. It might start out that way, but it quickly becomes an exciting, action-based puzzler that will have you frantically multitasking as you fling blocks haphazardly around the screen. It’s also got a semblance of a storyline, which is kind of neatit adds some character and drive to each level, and you don’t feel like you’re just rushing to complete the game for no reason.

It looks simple, but it’s surprisingly intense.

In short, Evergrow is a polished, clever, and surprisingly addictive physics-based puzzle game. Here’s why you need to check it out:

It grows on you: Like many casual iOS games, Evergrow starts you out very slowlyin fact, it starts you out with a quick tutorial where you’re introduced to the main “character” (a “Chromaroid”), as well as the initial game mechanics. These initial mechanics are pretty simpleall you’re doing is dragging your finger across the screen to propel colorful blocks toward or away from your Chromaroid. Blocks of the same color are good and will attach to your Chromaroid to make it grow larger; blocks of different colors are bad and will hurt your Chromaroid. To add a same-colored block to the Chromaroid, tap and drag it until it touches (it will slide into place). To repel different-colored blocks, tap and flick them away from your little dude.

Pick a color gem and drag it to the middle to wake up your Chromaroid.

If this seems a bit overly simple, that’s because itis. The game starts out with these very basic game mechanics, and the first few levels are a bitboring.

After the first few levels, things start to get exciting. And yesyou can die.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, because once you’ve cleared the first few levels the game picks up pretty quickly by introducing new block types (various special blocks that do things like shield your structure from harm or zap offensive blocks into oblivion) and new enemies (hurtling cannons and explosive mines), not to mention environmental hurdles and increasingly difficult completion goals. Fight through the first few levelsit’s worth it!

It looks great: Evergrow’s graphics are simpleyour character is literally a two-dimensional boxbut that doesn’t mean the developers skimped on artistry. The game features some interesting physics dynamics: The blocks slip into place when they’re the same color, but bump and jiggle across the surface of your Chromaroid’s block-enclosure when they’re different. In addition to dragging loose blocks too and from your structure, you can also drag your Chromaroid around the screen (to do thing like collect coins or simply avoid obstacles), and so your Chromaroid also moves with the physics of the game.

What’s impressive here is how smooth everything looks, even as just about every object on the screen is tumbling about. The Chromaroid may have a retro-cutesy look to it, with its expressive 16-bit face, but there’s nothing retro about the game’s overall graphics.

There’s plenty to do: The game’s basic goal is pretty simple: Drag and attach colored blocks to your Chromaroid to help it grow. Each level offers guidelines for how big your Chromaroid needs to grow, and you’ll want to attach blocks in a somewhat orderly fashion or you’ll end up with big holes in your structure. But building a giant, solid block of color isn’t the only thing to think about in this game.

You always want to grow, but that’s not the only thing you want to do!

Each level also has a star ratingbut unlike most of the star ratings you’ve seen, these stars aren’t earned by completing the level “perfectly.” At the beginning of the level, you’ll see the criteria needed to earn each starsometimes it’s pretty typical (such as “become bigger”) and sometimes it’s not (such as “fill a difficult gap” or “make it spin more than 360 degrees”). You won’t be able to earn a three-star rating on every level without carefully going over these criteria, and that definitely keeps things interesting.

On top of the star rating there’s also an in-game currencydiamond-shaped coins that you can collect by dragging your Chromaroid around the board. Collecting these coins is surprisingly tricky, since the board also features blocks flying at you from every angle and exploding obstacles (like mines), plusyour Chromaroid isn’t exactly a Mercedes when it comes to handling. These coins can then be exchanged in the game’s workshop for upgrades to special blocks, new blocks to put in your “bucket” (a storage space where you can save special blocks for when you need them), and upgrades to your character.

Developer:ImagilityPlatform:iOS(iPhone, iPad, and iMessagel)Price:$3

Link:
Evergrow for iPhone proves matching-based puzzle games are actually super exciting – Macworld


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