Now you can add "price" alongside "gameplay" to the list of aspects that separates Fable Legends from its forebears. That's because the game's launching as a free-to-play title on Windows 10 and gratis with an Xbox Live Gold subscription on Xbox One. What's it all entail? A lot of similar bits if you've paid attention to how free-to-play stuff typically works (microtransactions for cosmetic items, for example), but with a few unique wrinkles. The official FAQ stresses that you'll be able to play the game from beginning to end without spending any real cash, and that all quests and storylines will be free -- same goes for "everything that affects gameplay." There's a possibility that some customization options won't be purchasable with the in-game currency you earn, and with its rotating system for playable characters, you have the option to permanently unlock a favorite character with cold hard cash, too.
Finally, a game where the pricing structure is as clever as its mechanics. A Good Snowman is Hard to Build is an adorable puzzle game about a monster trying to make snowmen, from established puzzle-game designer Alan Hazelden, co-creator Benjamin Davis and composer Ryan Roth. It's charming, cute and surprisingly complex, and it's available for $8 right now, though that number will probably change tomorrow. You see, the game's price directly reflects the celsius temperature in London, Hazelden's and Davis' home base, from now through March 10. After such a rough winter for many people, A Good Snowman is Hard to Build offers a cool reason to be thankful for chilly temperatures.
What seemed so novel and strange about Kirby: Canvas Curse when it came out now seems almost quaint. Only one part of the screen can be touched at a time? There aren't gyroscope controls? What is this, an Android store launch game? Please. Just shy of its tenth birthday, though, Canvas Curse still feels like a pristine lesson in touch-control video game design despite its antiquity. It had the depth and challenge of a classic arcade game as well as a strange but clean, immediately understandable interface. Canvas Curse was a colorful dollop of fun that begged for a follow up. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is finally here, and we're playing it for the very first time today on JXE Streams.
It's odd to feel excited about the return of something that sounds as awful as "toejam," but here we are. The co-creator of ToeJam & Earl, a cult-hit dungeon crawler that launched on the Sega Genesis in 1991, is developing a brand new entry in the series, subtitled Back in the Groove. That's fairly adorable, considering the franchise involves a bunch of hip hop and funk. Creator Greg Johnson and his new team at Humanature Studios have gone full-on indie, currently seeking $400,000 by March 27 on Kickstarter. As of publication, they're more than a quarter of the way there, so things are looking groovy.
What do you do after co-founding a studio responsible for myriad massive successes? From Bejeweled, to Peggle, to the massively popular Plants vs. Zombies, former PopCap Games co-founder John Vechey left a wake of breakthrough gaming franchises. After 15 years, he took a brief break. And now, five months after his amicable departure from the studio, Vechey's taking his hit-making talent to a new medium: virtual reality. Today he announced Pluto VR, an augmented-and-virtual reality studio named after our solar system's most (loved) distant planet-like mass.
It wasn't long ago you needed to buy a set of purpose-made cans if you wanted a pair of gaming headphones. Thanks to how the PlayStation 4's and Xbox One's controllers are designed, though, that isn't the case anymore. For Xbox, all you need to use your favorite pair of headphones with Microsoft's latest console is a $35 adapter. So how does a company known for its high-end gaming headsets like Astro compete?
With the A40 Xbox One Edition. This $200 headset bests its adversaries, but faces stiff competition from an unexpected place: other Astro headphones.
Are you ready to get those nostalgic Final Fantasy memories rattled back to life? Well, grab your rose-tinted glasses, because Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, coming to the US on iOS and Android in the next few weeks, pulls together all the FF heroes (and a few villains), melding it with heavy dose of background music and familiar game vignettes in a free title that's (unfortunately) littered with in-app payments. (It's not $16, we guess.) The game plays out in SNES-era style, with active time meters filling up before you can make your pixel-based move, whether that's magic, summons, or just whacking something with a five-foot sword. It's surprisingly less on-rails than we feared -- if you recall the Scorpion boss from Final Fantasy VII, and you see that it's tail is up... just don't attack. Beyond the attack and defend flow, there's a dense amount of ways to upgrade your characters. It's definitely not a proper Final Fantasy game, but if you're looking for Chocobo-themed time sink, this could be it.
"Konami's latest coin-op hit bursts onto your computer screen. Beyond infinity lies the evil galaxy dominated by the forces of the despotic Salamander. A hero must persuade his compatriot to join him on a journey into hell and beyond. To defeat this devil they most overcome forces mankind cannot perceive in his wildest nightmares. Organic monsters of destruction, nuclear spiders, infernos burning like raging seas in torment, caverns of despair, demons beyond dimensions of our minds. You are that hero. Now is the time. Pilot your spacecraft on this lethal mission with skill and strategy to amass the weapons systems vital to your success. Screen after screen of exciting arcade action in this faithful conversion of Konami's follow-up to Nemesis. Sci-fi shoot 'em up at it's best. Salamander takes you a stage further."
Oculus VR has a challenge for aspiring game and app developers: Create something new and exciting for the Gear VR Innovator Edition, Samsung's Oculus-powered headset, and get a shot at a cash prize from a $1 million pool. The Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 kicks off on April 13 and ends on May 11, with sign-ups open now at ChallengePost. The Jam -- and the cash -- is split between two tracks, "Games" and "Apps or Experiences," with Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in each segment. The top Platinum Game gets $200,000, while the Platinum App or Experience snags $100,000. There are multiple winners for each of the remaining ranks, and prizes bottom out at $10,000 for each Bronze victor.