Let’s take a look at … – Game Corp DX

Game Corp DX is a causal business simulator from Endless Loop Studios about running a game studio. After the successes of an original flash version, that to-date has over 5 million plays, Game Corp DX is a full rebuild with full screen support, faster performance, steam integration, and a boat-load of polish. Let’s take a look.

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Game Corp DX starts with a tutorial covering the game’s mechanics, though there’s really not that much too it! You have a game studio under your control, and it’s your task to make as much money and games as you can. If you’ve played Game Dev Tycoon, Game Corp DX is like a much simplified version.

You can hire staff, fire staff, train them up, plan multiple projects and create the best games possible. Each game you create has a star rating assigned that is determined by the skill of your workers. As they build games their skills increase and so does the quality of the games created, and the revenue returned.

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Each worker can also specialise in a certain area of development: Art, Sound, Code and Writing. Each skill has multiple levels, and the higher the level of the skill, the better software that employee can use, netting a better start rating for the title. Be careful though! As your employees gain levels and skill their wages increase! I spent all my money upgrading their skills, ready to make the most badass game possible, then all their wages shot up and I went bankrupt. Lesson learned.

There are a few ways in which the games you make can be customized. For one, you build games based around a team size. For example, a micro game requires only 2 staff, and is cheaper to produce, while a medium game required 10, is more expensive, but will get a much higher rating! There are also a number of pre-set game types to choose from, with each having a varying emphasis on the different design stats, so choosing the right employees for the job drastically changes the score your game will get. Each game is given a star rating, and the higher the rating, the more money the game will make!

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Aside from control over what games you make, you have control over the space in which you work. Walls can be knocked down and re-built to build your office how you like, decorations and equipment can be purchased, along with necessities such as fridges and water coolers. The employees in the studio react to your environment, so the nicer it the better they work.

Game Corp DX definitely feels ‘flashy’, with the aesthetic being inherited from its flash-based predecessor. The music and sound effects are nothing to write home about either, and blend into the game nicely. All-in-all it’s a fun, little, casual business sim. It’s not bogged down in numbers, and you just get on with it. The downside of this is that it doesn’t offer much depth. You make games, increase your skill, and make better games. Rinse and repeat.

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Tl:dr – For £1.99 Game Corp DX offers a fun few hours for those looking for a casual sim experience. Don’t go into it expecting deep mechanics and you won’t be disappointed. Its aesthetic throws back to its flash predecessor, but with the addition of full screen support, trading cards, and lots of polish, the £1.99 for the updated Steam version is worth it in my book!

Rating – 7/10

Purchase – Steam £1.99/£2.99

Trailer –

Indie Showcase … – Alchemic Jousts

Alchemic Jousts is a casual strategy game from Player 2 Game Studios. Their debut game, it’s currently on Steam Greenlight and looks like it could be fun. It’s a strategy game where you send a line of your enemies into a line of your opponents, and the strongest enemies break through. Your units are elements, so choosing the right element at the right time is crucial. Send fire elements into your opponents water units and you’re going to have a bad time!

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Water beats fire; fire beats earth; earth beats water, and air flies. From here things get more complicated. As elements mix they form new elements that bring with them fresh abilities and spells to help your own elements, or harm your opponents. With 180 combinations to be found, and a number of different game modes available, Alchemic Jousts looks like it could a fun little casual title.

The game will feature the following once released:

  • Single Player and Player vs Player modes, including local PvP with a single copy of the game (connecting a second mouse to your computer).
  • Strategic combat system where selecting the correct build is as important as playing it correctly. Button smashing won’t win the game.
  • Discover new Skills by combining the ones you already know. Starting with the 4 basic elements and having more than 180 to discover, it will take you a while to find them all.
  • Unlock passives to improve your active skills and your tower capabilities.
  • Strategically create your build for each game, depending on your discovered skills, your play style, the game mode and its Global Effects. There are millions of possible builds to try.
  • Each game will have a chance to have randomized Global Effects on it, which will enormously change the game conditions for both players. You will be able to see them before starting the game, and adapt your build and strategy in consequence.
  • Several game modes, each one with different objectives and strategies, including Combat, Endless, King of the Hill, Attack, Capture… and more to come.
  • Each game will feature an enemy with a randomized skill set and randomized Global Effects, no game will be the same.
  • Adjust the difficulty according to your needs. Select easy games for a more casual gameplay or hard ones to get better rewards and a challenge suitable for a Hardcore gamer.
  • Smart resource system which will automatically distribute the resources you generate will allow you to forget about resource management and focus on the action.

Here is the game trailer so you can see it in action.

Alchemic Jousts looks like it could be a fun little title. It’s a fairly uncommon genre, I don’t know of any games like this off the top of my head, and looks like it would be a lot of fun to play with friends. With 180 combinations, there’s also scope for those players that want to master the strategy.

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If you like what Alchemic Jousts could bring, then be sure to head over to the Greenlight page and cast your vote!

Let’s take a look at … – A-Maze-In

A-Maze-In is a very polished, casual maze game from MAROBI Entertainment Inc. You play as Mino, a teenage Minotaur, and have to use his special abilities and potions to progress through many mazes, overcoming a range of enemies and obstacles as you do so. It’s currently available on IOS and is a free pickup.

A-Maze-In looks great and has quality production value. I love the cartoony-feeling art style and the sound quality is just as good. You can really feel that time and effort has been put into polish and as a result it feels nice and solid. The main menu has a couple of simple settings for sound and some social media buttons.

The game starts with comic book style narration that outlines the premise of the game. You’re Mino and your princess Mina gets kidnapped by another evil Minotaur and your adventure is to save her. It’s a neat way of introducing the player to the game; it’s much more engaging that a wall of text.

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And now we’re into the main screen of the game, the map, and it’s huge! There’s over 110 unique mazes in the game so there’s plenty of content to go at. My first nit-pick with the game comes here though and it lies in the ad. At the bottom of the map screen there is an ad and I think it’s a shame it’s there blocking the nice graphics.  It’s also there every time you view the screen which is a bit of a pain, I feel there’s other places it could be placed that’s less in the way.

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Gameplay is a very traditional maze game; work your way through each maze, find the key and get to the end. No awards for innovativeness but it’s certainly a solid implementation of the genre. As you progress through the levels there’s continuing running dialogue from Mino and cast which ensures the story doesn’t get lost along the way.

The controls feel great. I was worried when I saw the virtual D-pad as I’ve played games with a pretty awful implementation of it, but A-Maze-In’s is nice and fluid. Abilities and potions are used via 4 icons in the bottom left which is nice and simple and the quality of art is consistent with the rest of the game.

There are various enemies and obstacles throughout the levels that you can either avoid or fight and various pickups that give you score. Each level also has a number of objectives that you have to accomplish to get a maximum of three stars on each. I also believe there’s a number of unique bosses that you fight after X levels. I didn’t reach one myself, however I’ve been informed they add some interesting variety to the game and the screenshots I’ve seen certainly seem to hint at this. A-Maze-In is fun, but is certainly designed for a casual gaming audience. I think the gamers out there looking for a real challenge would be left somewhat short-changed.
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My main problem with A-Maze-In lies in the fact that once you run out of lives you have to either buy more, ask friends on Facebook or simply wait for 30 minutes; the whole social-coupling and pay-to-play game model. It’s a tricky subject. You can’t say ‘You wouldn’t have to buy lives for [insert AAA title here] so you should here”; they’re different markets. You don’t spend millions on an IOS title and making money in such a saturated market is hard and these are tried and tested techniques that have become a common feature in this type of game. I do however think that neither in-app purchases nor social integration should hold-back gameplay and in this case it does. If you want to add those things to extend gameplay to those willing to pay then fine, I’m still not a fan but I understand. I think however when it actively stops you playing the game a line has been crossed.

One item in the app-store I do like is the ability to remove ads. I like the fact that the game is free to attract an audience then you have the ability to pay and remove ads. That’s a good way of gaining an audience as opposed to having separate free and paid versions of the app.

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I’m going to give A-Maze-In a solid 8/10.  If I were to change my ways and become a social gamer A-Maze-In would be one of titles I’d download. As it currently stands however it’s a bit casual for me. Production value is there, it’s definitely a quality app, just I’m not a huge fan of social-media coupling and pay-to-play mechanics interfering with gameplay so directly.

Let’s take a look at … – Spandex Force: Champion Rising

I must say I was very, very impressed with ‘Champion Rising’. It was like the time Charlie found the golden ticket in the chocolate bar, totally unexpected. As soon as the game started up I instantly fell in love with ‘Champion Rising’. It has everything a good puzzle/RPG game should have. Fun puzzles, Story lines and Quests. Even the shady looking characters are pretty cool.

Champion Rising is a really fun game that people from any age group would like, and it keeps you entertained for as long as you want it too. I enjoyed every second of the game, from character creation through to the quests. The storyline is one of those cheesy set out story lines that you like for no apparent reason.

The control and gameplay was very straight forward that even my mother; whom doesn’t even know how to use a TV remote, would of understood it perfectly fine. There is no confusing mechanism that you need to remember to play the game or to even understand what is happening. It is a very simple game and sometimes it is the simple things that make a game work.

The graphics were very nostalgic and reminded of a few games I played on my old Sega console as a kid. The graphics are very cartoonish with lots of detail. Sometimes, it kind of bugged me how much detail went into the cartoon graphics but I learned to accept that I’m a writer not a game developer so hey, who am I to judge. Overall though I was impressed with how they set the game and graphics out. The music was definitely on the superhero side of things and fitted in very well with the theme of the game.

I must admit I really enjoyed playing ‘Champion Rising’ a lot and I did not find too many downfalls to say I don’t like the game; in fact I actually love it. If your looking for a fun puzzle game that will keep you amused for long periods of time and doesn’t need to much attention to play, we’ll this game is definitely worth a shot but I’m not saying this game is for everyone. It is currently available on android and windows PC, it is set to be released on the mac soon.

I would rate it 6.8/10 as an android game.

Ben Duncombe

Twitter:  @H2Omate