Welcome to the latest edition of Jeremy’s 5, my latest quick roundup of 5 interesting little things that aren’t big enough for full articles, but are still worth sharing with you.
My first edition of 2016 looks at two separate topics related to this week’s 2016 CES: first, Apple’s continued absence from the show, and second, the annual event’s seemingly declining interest to Apple fans. I also wanted to share some additional thoughts on Apple’s Remote Loop for the new Apple TV’s Siri Remote, the classic (but ever-evolving) iOS app Akinator the Genie, and the continued scourge of free-to-play games…
A new Star Wars game from the now Disney-owned LucasArts is landing on iPhones and iPads, and it’s a free-to-play combat strategy game (which won’t be free for too long if you don’t have the patience to wait real time for your structures to be built). The game is called Star Wars: Commander, and while it’s only today reaching the US, it has been available in at least one other country for a little while and has received some great reviews.
The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has today published its final “principles” for free-to-play games, after starting an investigation back in April last year. Publishers have until April 1st to comply to the regulations or their titles breach UK consumer law and may result in legal action …
EA already said that Plants vs Zombies 2‘s July 18 release date would be delayed slightly until later this summer, but today PopCap announced that it is kicking off a soft launch today in Australia and New Zealand to fine tune the experience. In fact, the game is already available on the App Store in both Australia and New Zealand (and of course any user can access the download with an Apple ID associated with one of those locations).
we are launching the game a bit early in Australia and New Zealand to help us test out all of the new systems and features we’ve built into the game. We’ve added a bunch of new features that allow us to take advantage of new technologies to make a better experience for our players, and those innovations require us to perform some large tests to make sure we are ready for our worldwide audience to play.
PopCap already announced that the game would be a free-to-play experience, but today noted that it will “be testing all sorts of different aspects of the game’s functionality, pricing, stability, etc.”
A break down of new game features from iTunes below:
NEW PLANTS! NEW ZOMBIES!
Meet B**k Choy, Bloomerang and Lightning Reed: Just a few of the powerful new plants that will defend your lawn through time. Go toe-to-missing-toe with dozens of new zombies including Ra Zombie in Ancient Egypt, Swashbuckler Zombie on the Pirate Seas, or Chicken Wrangler Zombie in the Wild West. In every new world, clever new zombies and brain-teasing challenges will test your zombie-zapping skills.
AMAZING NEW WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR BRAIN
New Plant Food and power-ups will take your game to new dimensions. Plant Food will supercharge your plants when you need it most. Use your fingers to pinch, flick and zap zombies off your lawn.
LOOK OUT! ZOMBIE CHICKENS!
NEW LEVELS OF EXCITEMENT
Battle the fun-dead on land, on sea and… on the rails? Unlock ultra-challenging (and ultra-fun) endless levels — Pyramid of Doom, Pirate’s Booty and the Big Bad Butte.
THE FUN NEVER DIES
Gather keys to unlock brain teasers and new plants. Collect coins to purchase potent power-ups. Earn stars to take you to new worlds. Survive long enough and you’ll be rewarded with piles of prizes and achievements. And that’s just the beginning! The future holds many mysteries. Also, zombies. Lots and lots of zombies.
According to a report from Nikkei (via Reuters), Microsoft has signed up Japan-based game developer Klab Inc to bring some of its console and PC games to the iPhone and Android devices. There aren’t many other details, but the report claims Microsoft’s next title to arrive on smartphones will be a free-to-play version of Age of the Empires:
Microsoft’s “Age of the Empires” will be available as a free-to-play game worldwide on smartphones by the end of the fiscal year 2013 and other titles will follow, the report said.
KLab is behind a few titles already on the App Store and Google Play, including Arcadia, Gigabot Wars, Eternal Uprising, and Lord of the Dragons.
It actually wouldn’t be the first game that Microsoft has published for iOS devices as it recently brought its previously Windows Phone only title “Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin” to the App Store for both iPhone and iPad.
We already knew that the highly anticipated second instalment of PopCap’s popular Plants vs Zombies franchise was on its way, but today the developer has posted a new launch trailer for the game and officially announced a release date.
From PopCap’s press release it sounds like Plants vs Zombies 2 is only coming to iOS, at least initially, while the company also plans an invitation only beta that will launch next week during E3. For everyone else, the game will be available on July 18 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Unlike the original title, which is currently available for 99 cents on the App Store, PopCap is making the new game entirely free to play with some in-app purchases available, but not necessary to enjoy the full game:
Free to download, Plants vs. Zombies 2 will expand and extend the classic gameplay of the original and provide players with dozens of all-new levels, plants and zombies across multiple worlds at no cost. While the vast majority of the game will be entirely free to play (players can face every zombie and access every level in every world at no cost), Plants vs. Zombies 2 players will also be able to purchase upgrades and other in-game items.
PopCap adds that “New worlds with new levels, plants, zombies and new ways to play will be released on an ongoing basis.”
Designed from the ground up as a live service, the ever-expanding universe of Plants vs. Zombies 2continues the epic struggle of plants defending your brainz against zombies from your backyard through the vast reaches of time, both past and future. New worlds with new levels, plants, zombies and new ways to play will be released on an ongoing basis. Leveraging the touch interface of Apple’s popular mobile devices, Plants vs. Zombies 2 includes all-new touch-screen power-ups that enable players to “break the fourth wall” and interact with zombies directly, as well as via plant defenses.