Tag Archives: facebook

GKick Review: Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Marvel Avengers Alliance | Available Now
PC (Facebook) | Publisher: Playdom, Inc. | Developer: Playdom, Inc.

Normally, we don’t really talk about Facebook games on this site. At least not from a review standpoint. But, one game in particular really stood out to me and I felt it was deserving of a little limelight here on GKick.net. The game is Marvel: Avengers Alliance. The game pits you in the role of an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., the espionage and law enforcement agency fronted by Nick Fury. As an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., you’ll need to form a band of superheroes to help defeat classic foes and wage PVP conflict against other Agents and their teams.

Like all Facebook games, Avengers Alliance is free-to-play with a pay-to-win backbone. In AA, the currency is simple. You can purchase Gold which can be redeemed for various types of in-game currencies or items which will allow you to expand your roster of heroes, buy upgraded items for your Agent, or various supplies and Iso upgrades for you or your heroes’ gear.

The game starts off simple enough, by putting you into basic team-up situations with other heroes as you accomplish different quests and expend your Energy, the artificial limiter the game uses to require you to either pay more to play more or to redeem using in-game gifts. As you progress, your Agent will gain levels as will your hero team, albeit the heroes earn levels at a much slower rate. By completing quests and redeeming rewards, you’ll earn enough currency to buy more heroes and train them to new levels appropriately.

Other parts of the game include a Flight Deck option that lets you ship your heroes off on side quests for a token amount of XP and a bit of silver (the basic game currency) to help you gear up and stock up; a Research mode which unlocks new gear and supplies from the Store at a price; and the true secondary mode of AA: PvP.

The PvP mode in Avengers Alliance uses the same basic combat engine as the missions do, but pit you and your two chosen heroes up against another Agent and their team. This 3-on-3 battle is influenced by the use of items added to your PVP Armory, which can include everything from basic consumables to special PvP items designed around the bonus to offensive and defensive stats. In addition, your roster of heroes - and their levels - also gives your team bonus stats heading into your matches. Depending on your heroes’ classes - Blaster, Bruiser, Scrapper, Infiltrator, or Tactician, the number of heroes you have of each class and their levels, you’ll gain extra base stats to improve your odds even further.

For a Facebook game, Marvel: Avengers Alliance is actually quite fun and surpringly deep. An extra perk is the volume of free gifts you can send and receive from your friends who also play the game, making it very easy to make a lot of progress in any area of the game.

Merlin: The Game Launches Into Open Beta

‘Embark on a magical adventure with your friends to become the hero of Camelot!’

The open beta for Merlin: The Game has finally launched. As someone who got to play this game during the Eurogamer Expo, I really do recommend it. If you’re interested in the background of the game and an interview I held with one of the developers of the game- please feel free to check that out here.

A magical, fantasy game based on the TV programme, Merlin really is a game for all ages. It’s RPG and turn-based, but the best thing about it is that it’s a flash-based Facebook game. So that means no downloading, no checking system specs and best of all- it’s free to play. So get your friends involved and get your teeth sunk into one of the games I believe will become a very popular game on Facebook.

Award-winning Bossa Studios plan to change your perception of what a social game can offer:

  • Merlin allows you and six of your friends to fight off hordes of monsters, complete quests and explore exciting new areas.
  • As you battle across Camelot, you gain experience points while levelling up and customising your character with the skills you would like to use.
  • Progressing through the game allows you to upgrade your gear from those pieces of the medieval era, to shining suits of armour and colourful robes.
  • Striking and exciting visuals allow you to dive into the world of Merlin and explore the lands of Camelot beautifully rendered in a new stylised environment.
  • Be part of the story in the action adventure game that will always have new content for you to explore.

Also, during the making of Merlin: The Game, the development team consumed enough pizza to cover an entire tennis court. Now, if the thought of Wimbledon covered in cheese and tomato pizza doesn’t make you giggle- then I have no clue what will.

To play Merlin: The Game, just head over to the official website at http://merlingame.com

GKick Interview: Mike Bithell From Merlin The Game

Another interview that I managed to get at Eurogamer was with one of the developers of the Facebook-based game Merlin. Based upon the TV series and also as a standalone entity, I spoke to Bossa Studios lead designer Mike Bithell- who was a lovely chap and I hope I get to talk to him more in the future.


Nickie: What platforms is Merlin being developed for?
Mike: It’s a Facebook game and is both browser and Flash based. What made us want to design a game of this type was the technology. What it allows us to do is that it enables us to design a game that is easily accessible and has a deep-rooted, social connection. Most people use Facebook these days, and I’m sure a lot of your friends do also- as opposed to designing a game that’s based on XBox Live Arcade. Again, with a social-based game, you’ve got to work hard to bring people in and get them involved in the game, where with Facebook you can immediately get people in, get them playing and having a good time with it.


Nickie: Being a popular tv series, what kind of things can fans of the show expect?
Mike: Okay, so we knew that we had to get this right and that’s why our closed Beta is only open to big fans of the show. We announced and showed off the game for the first time at Comic-Con to an audience of Merlin fans, so all of our closed Beta players are big Merlin fans. That’s crucial for us. What are we specifically doing to cater to them? We are taking the story and putting it there, front and centre. The people who love Merlin as a show and love all the excitement and adventure? We of course do all that, but the stuff I love the most and what makes the show is the relationships between the characters. Especially between Arthur and Merlin, and the friendship going through the show. So we’ve really tried to hold all that together. We want your to have interesting, character-driven relationships. So you discover fairly quickly at the beginning about Merlin’s secret, that he has these magic powers. You meet Arthur, who of course thinks that you’re an idiot because you’re just an out-of-town villager who’s rubbish. And slowly, you earn Arthur’s trust and respect. Merlin starts to become a little worried about you, because you have these strange powers of your own. It’s all about this evolving, character driven base to the game which is such a big part of the show. The idea is to bring the player into all that and expand on this involved universe.


Nickie: What were the main challenges of designing a video game based around a television series?
Mike: There was a lot really. Being truthful to the show was an important thing to us, but there’s a way it’s told on television which is obviously 45 minute to an hour- depending where you live in the world. It’s a story with a beginning, a middle and an end and then obviously a series arc as well. The game is a much more on-going experience where you can come and go and play it over time. Making it so it worked and made sense was hard to do that. What’s fantastic is that we can take things from the TV show that worked and we can build in that structure from the series to the game. Other than that, we have to work in the authenticity from the show to the game also,to make the game real and believable. Like should Merlin be doing every day things in the show like chores? Well, Arthur bosses him around and makes him do them in the show- so why not put that into the game also?


Nickie: When you were approached for making the game, were you a fan of the programme?
Mike: Oh absolutely, I had watched it before but there were members of the team who were much more life-long fans. What I love about it- is that it does that thing that Harry Potter did as well, where it’s aged with it’s audience in terms of maturity. So it’s started off very cheery, very almost child-like and it’s evolved into this darker more brooding type of show.


Nickie: How much creative freedom did you have when designing the game and how much influence did the BBC have?
Mike: Actually, Merlin is produced for the BBC by The Shine Group who we’re also a part of. So we actually have leads and awesome interactions with the show makers. We have the creators, the designers, the actors. Everyone’s involved, working on the game in some way. Even right down to little things, like our spiders making the right sound effects when they die- those kind of details. So basically, it’s been a collaboration. It’s been about extending the Merlin universe in a meaningful way, how can we take it further so of course both sides have a lot of opinions on how we create the game from this awesome mish-mash of content.


Nickie: With Merlin being a Facebook game and designed with Flash technology, would you ever consider making an HTML5 game in the future? Obviously, most software and hardware developers are starting to move away from Flash now and moving far closer to HTML5- what would you say about that?
Mike: Our rule has always been we will go wherever our players are and use the technology that they can use. HTML5 is awesome and it’s great for gaming, but at the moment the uptake and adoption of the technology is not quite where we want it to be. So, Flash is obviously installed on most computers but there is plenty of other engines- HTML 5 is great, Unity is great and all these other emerging technologies. We will jump straight on them when they become popular to give the player the best experience possible. For now, we’re actually pushing Flash fairly well. It’s stable, we can get 3D graphics and we know it will work on most computers. But the bottom line is, that we are absolutely agnostic on gaming technology and we will release on whatever platform. Whatever we need to do, we will do.


Nickie: What genre would you put this game in? Eg, RPG, strategy, etc…
Mike: It’s a Fantasy RPG style strategy game. What’s great about this game is that if you’ve never watched Merlin on TV, you still know who Merlin is. The entire Western world knows this mythology, knows these characters. And there’s a great history with it as well. The story has evolved over the years and every generation has tweaked it to include their views and opinions and politics. It’s nice to be a part of that history, that lineage and Merlin is definitely a show that does that.


Nickie: Would consider making any other games from popular BBC programmes in the future? Such as maybe every geek’s favourite- Doctor Who?
Mike: Yeah of course, never say never. We don’t have any immediate plans, but yeah we always want to make cool games that people want to play. So if the opportunities come along, we will absolutely jump on them.


Nickie: How does this game relate to the legends of Arthur?
Mike: I think that there has been a really cool thing, and when you talk to the creators of the game and the show- they’ve always pulled from this amazing web of stories and bring in characters from the vast Arthurian legends. But also pulling from the folklore of Britain. And because we are trying to extend beyond the boundaries of the show, we had to do that as well.

Deck Tease, Episode 9 - Persona Non Grata

How much does one’s reputation matter?  That’s the question that is on Oestrus’ mind as she tells a story about an incident that took place at GenCon which she just can’t seem to stop obsessing about.

After that, she talks about the suggested protocol for apologies (both giving and receiving them), the difference between liking someone and respecting them, and the different ways in which you can like someone.

Oestrus tops things off with a rant about her reputation, the reputations of others, and how important she feels your reputation should be to other people.






Find Your Inner Chakra on Facebook with Yoga Retreat

You see it all the time; people making it “Facebook official”, tens of “Likes” on that new Courage Wolf meme, and being invited to the 2012 Zombie Apocalypse event. Did you accept your invite yet? No? Alright I guess I won’t be seeing you there then— it’s casual.

The wave of Facebook application bars is being raised to the next level though when Finland based social games development studio, Gajatri Studios, formally announced today its debut title, Yoga Retreat. Available to the masses starting August 6th, players will find an avatar in their likeness with which he or she practices and teaches yoga to resort customers in return for virtual currency. Players will learn and unlock genuine yoga techniques in the hatha tradition, all of which can be transferred over to players’ day-to-day lives, as well as items and facilities to create the idyllic tropical wellbeing resort.

The brains behind the operation? Well that would be none other than Gajatri Studios founder Tiina Zilliacus, a certified yoga teacher with over 200 hours of training along with 14 years professional background in games, online and mobile. In an attempt to bring fitness education and gaming in perfect harmony with a social media platform as its base I’m very excited to try this first hand when available.

I suppose my farm in Farmville will soon become a famine, and my mafia in Mafia Wars will disown me, but hey— can they do a Half Lord of the Fishes pose? I think not.

For more information on Yoga Retreat, check out their fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/yogaretreatgame

E3: SimCity Social Announced as New Facebook Title from EA

After the release of their latest Sims Social title, EA has announced the release of SimCity Social, a Facebook-ready version of the popular city building game before the latest version of the full-fledged PC title hits store shelves next year.

“Facebook gamers have been waiting a long time for the original and best city-building game to come to the platform,” said Jami Laes, Vice President of Global Studios for Playfish, the company working with Maxis on the project. “This isn’t your typical drag and drop city-building game. Players don’t just build a city - they choose the kind of city they want and watch its soul come to life as it grows and reacts to their decisions. With SimCity Social, we’ve taken the best in social gaming design and married ti with  unprecedented depth to create an all-new deeply social experience.”

According to the company’s press release, the game will play very much like it’s PC ancestors, putting players in the role of Mayor as they evolve their cities, deal with issues like crime, fire and pollution, and making crucial decisions to how their cities will take shape. Social interactions in the game will also go beyond just visiting friends’ cities and will let players form friendly relationships or rivalries with other cities in systems that have yet to be fully detailed.

SimCity Social is currently in closed beta. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/simcitysocial.