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Upcoming Ninja Platformer ‘Shadow Blade’ Gets a New Trailer, Expected to Launch in February

sblogosblogoBack in August of last year (had to think about that one for a second), we first told you about Shadow Blade, a slick-looking action platformer that was in the works from developer Dead Mage. You play as a ninja doing all sorts of expected ninja-y stuff, like wall-jumping, throwing shurikens, and slashing things with your sword. As a huge fan of games like Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi back in the NES days, Shadow Blade looked right up my alley. Besides the actual gameplay stuff though, Shadow Blade really stuck out for me due to its dark but colorful atmosphere and excellent animations, all of which showed well in the game’s initial trailer.

That was quite a while ago, but over Christmas Dead Mage posted a brand new video for Shadow Blade, this time showing more than a minute of straight gameplay in one of the levels. Check it out.

Everything that drew me into the game initially still does so here, and looks better than ever, but something I didn’t notice before was how well the music is integrated into the gameplay. The strums as you pick up each of those green orbs adds to the atmosphere tremendously, and is a very nice touch. It looks like Shadow Blade is drawing near the finish line, with an expected release window of February. I’m very excited to get my hands on it, so check out the forums for more and we’ll bring you any new information leading up to its release.

Publicado por: TouchArcade - Continue lendo: http://toucharcade.com/feed/

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Uploads do Pirate Bay crescem 50% em 2013, apesar dos bloqueios

Autoridades e detentores de direitos autorais por todo o mundo tentaram matar o Pirate Bay, mas, como comprovam dados publicados do TorrentFreak, o site de compartilhamento de arquivos é um navio que não vai afundar.

Os uploads mensais de arquivos no Pirate Bay subirarm 50% em um ano, indo de 50.411 em novembro de 2012 para 74.195 no mês passado. O site tem agora links para cerca de 2,8 milhões de torrents.

Vale recordar que este crescimento impressionante continuou mesmo com os esforços monumentais para fazer o Pirate Bay desaparecer da terra. Como relembra o TorrentFreak, o site teve que mudar de domínio seis vezes durante o ano. Isto apenas sublinha os argumentos apresentados pelo Google e por outros, que dizem que derrubar links de torrents por todo o mundo é um jogo em que os defensores do direito autoral simplesmente não conseguem vencer. [Torrent Freak]

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Publicado por: Gizmodo - Continue lendo: izmoizmododohttp://feeds.feedburner.com/gizmodobr

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‘Dungelot 2′ Gets a New Teaser Trailer, Shooting for January Release

dungelot2logodungelot2logoJust about a year ago, Red Winter Software released Dungelot [$1.99 / Free], a simplified and approachable take on the roguelike, a genre that can sometimes be intimidating and overly-brutal to the more casual gamer. It totally worked, and Dungelot was a lot of fun for both long-time and new roguelike enthusiasts. Not long after release, the developer announced that a sequel was in the works. We first saw what Dungelot 2 was shaping up like back in March, but work has been moving along on the game all year, and it looks like we’ll finally be getting it in our hands in January. To celebrate, Red Winter sent along a brand new trailer for the game.

The visuals have seen a major upgrade, and a few of the mechanics have been tweaked, but at its core Dungelot 2 looks like it will offer the same sort of pick-up-and-play dungeon crawler as the original that felt like such a perfect fit for a mobile game. There’s plenty more discussion and more info from the developer in our forums, so be sure to check that out and we’ll keep an eye on an exact release date for Dungelot 2 sometime in the early part of next year.

Publicado por: TouchArcade - Continue lendo: http://toucharcade.com/feed/

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4,6 milhões de nomes de usuário e telefones do Snapchat vazam na web

Em um início de 2014 infeliz tanto para o Snapchat quanto para seus usuários, um site aparentemente publicou nome de usuário e número de telefone de 4,6 milhões de contas do serviço.

As informações vazadas pelo SnapchatDB vinculam números de telefone com nomes de usuários, e um vazamento com esses dados era apenas uma questão de tempo. Na semana passada, um grupo de pesquisadores que se dizem da Gibson Security não apenas publicaram quão fácil seria conseguir esses dados do Snapchat, como também detalharam todo o processo para quem quisesse tentar. Alguém tentou – e conseguiu.

Felizmente – bem, ao menos relativamente – as mentes por trás do SnapchatDB fizeram algumas restrições e borraram os dois últimos dígitos dos números de telefone para “minimizar abusos”. Eles estão oferecendo, no entanto, a lista completa “sob certas circunstâncias”.

A falha de segurança que permitiu o vazamento já foi corrigida, mas é impossível dizer se o Snapchat conseguiu fazer isso antes dos dados chegarem a mãos nefastas. O SnapchatDB também diz se preocupar com isso. De acordo com seus autores:

Essas informações foram adquiridas através de uma falha recentemente corrigida do Snapchat e estão sendo compartilhadas com o público para aumentar a conscientização sobre a questão. A empresa estava relutante em corrigir o erro até ficar sabendo que era tarde demais, e empresas para as quais confiamos nossas informações deveriam ser mais cuidadosas quando lidam com isso.

Para saber se o seu nome de usuário faz parte do vazamento, você pode usar este script – descoberto pelo TNW – que foi desenvolvido por Will Smidlein e Robbie Trencheny. Mesmo que seu nome não apareça, talvez seja um bom momento para colocar aquela resolução de ano novo em prática e proteger um pouco mais a sua privacidade em 2014. [SnapchatDB]

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Publicado por: Gizmodo - Continue lendo: izmoizmododohttp://feeds.feedburner.com/gizmodobr

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‘Tomb Raider I’ Review



Well, the review title pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? I guess I can sneak off for an early lunch now. Actually, I suppose since the original game this is ported from is 17 (!) years old now, I should probably elaborate a little bit. Tomb Raider I [$0.99], as it’s apparently called now, is a game I’m sure many readers know like the back of their hand, and maybe the front, too. If you are very familiar with the game and just want the brief, this is a port of Tomb Raider Gold, the PC re-release that included the Unfinished Business expansion. If you have a controller, you’ll be partying like it’s 1996 all over again, but if you don’t, you’ll be subject to virtual controls that mess up a movement system that hasn’t aged all that well in the first place.

Every gaming generation has its icons, characters and franchises that break through to the mainstream. A while ago I talked about Double Dragon and how it ended up falling between the couch cushions of history, but that might have been mercy compared to the Sonic-like roller coaster ride Lara Croft has experienced. For a while, though, she was a gaming star like few others. Interestingly, given the game’s SEGA Saturn roots, Tomb Raider was one of the big franchises that became connected in people’s minds with the first PlayStation, alongside Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy, Tekken, and Metal Gear Solid. It’s tempting to chalk that up marketing and trading on the character’s bizarre-in-hindsight sex appeal, but I firmly believe that the game itself was in the same league as those other greats.

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Time has been a bit more harsh to Tomb Raider than the other games I listed, but it’s important to remember the context it was created and released in. The polygonal wave had just begun, and game developers were still trying to get a handle on how to take previously popular genres into a third dimension. Analog sticks were far from standard equipment at this time, though by the time Tomb Raider released, Nintendo had just made the scene with the Nintendo 64. You had a lot of developers trying to come up with ideas to translate running, jumping, and fighting into a 3D space, all on directional pads that were woefully inadequate to the task. Tomb Raider‘s seemingly grid-based movement perhaps didn’t feel as smooth as players would have liked, but the controls did prove functional, which was more rare than you would think at that time.

The game was developed around controllers with eight buttons, and it used every one of them. A full half of those buttons were allocated to helping the player move around more easily. You had a roll for quick turn-arounds, buttons to sidestep left or right without turning, and a walk button that allowed you to move more slowly and carefully. These were all vital to positioning Lara for jumps, picking up items, or throwing switches. The controls also made use of a context-sensitive use button that allowed Lara to interact with her environment in many ways, though it was most frequently used for holding onto ledges. To make things easier, the levels in Tomb Raider were basically designed in cubes, with Lara’s hops, leaps, and steps covering a fixed number of cube-lengths.

These controls may not sound so amazing now, but for the time, Lara had a ridiculous amount of actions at her disposal. Developers Core Design made sure to put that repertoire to the test in the 15 levels that made up the game. Navigating the treacherous traps and hazards required increasingly-complex sequences of acrobatic moves. While later games in the series would tilt the balance slightly more towards action and stealth, the first game was overwhelmingly about examining the environment for a path, doing the necessary gymnastics to follow it, and having the reaction time to deal with the unexpected tricks that popped up en route. Oh, and try not to accidentally stumble off your foothold, lest you have to do the whole thing all over again.

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I’m no stranger to alternate control methods for this game. My first time playing through it was on the PC version, since I didn’t have a PlayStation yet and the Saturn version was a few weeks late. My only controller at that time had four buttons, so I played through using my keyboard. Ideal? No, but it worked. I can’t really say the same for the touch controls used in this iOS version of the game. Oh, they’re workable at first, when you’re running through the first few stages of the game. Barely workable, but you’ll get through if you will yourself to. I started getting really annoyed with the controls somewhere around the fifth stage, St. Francis’ Folly, and by the time I reached the tenth stage, I was ready to throw in the towel.

There are a lot of issues, but the biggest problem I was having was with Lara’s movement. After Super Mario 64 released and analog sticks became standard, Tomb Raider‘s tank-style controls, designed around the limitations of a digital pad, began to feel obsolete pretty quickly. The way Lara moved was so strictly designed around those controls, however, that switching things over to an analog stick never worked all that well. Being able to reliably hit the cardinal directions is extremely important in Tomb Raider, and you need to do it at a moment’s notice. A single misstep can undo a lot of hard work, especially in the later levels. Analog sticks made it hard to hit those cardinal directions, but a touch-based virtual pad is on a whole other level of awkward. Simply running Lara around in the directions you want her to go is a real problem here.

Adding to that is the way the extremely important walk button has been implemented. The walk button is the best way to get Lara where you need her to be without her diving off the platform to her doom. On controllers it’s usually mapped on a shoulder button, allowing easy access without taking your thumbs off the directional pad or main action buttons. In the iOS version, it’s a toggle button placed above the directional pad, right beside the toggle to look around. It’s easy enough to use in mellow moments, but there are times where you might need it in the heat of the moment, and jabbing it on and off is most likely going to result in Lara’s doom.

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While we’re on this side of the screen, I’m going to complain about that look toggle, too. Having it as a toggle is fine, but once you’ve pushed the button, you don’t look around by swiping, as you might expect. Instead, you have to use the directional pad, just like you would on a controller. Things like this make the touch controls feel like a badly-planned afterthought at times. The action buttons fare a little better, but like many games with too many virtual buttons, you will have occasional misfires, and things get dicey when you want to use more than one at a time.

The gun toggle button is wisely kept out of the way, presumably to prevent tragic deaths from whipping out pistols while you’re jumping, but in moving it out of the way, it takes a little more effort to draw and holster your weapons. As with the movement controls, this isn’t a problem in more calm situations, but when things heat up, the extra hassle can be fatal. There are a couple of extra options put in to try to alleviate touch control problems, like an auto-grab that can be toggled on and off, and they are useful, but on the whole, the control hassles leave the player ill-equipped to handle the challenges the game throws at them.

It’s a shame, because in all other respects, this is an excellent port. As I mentioned in the introduction, this port is based off the PC version of the game, so if you’re coming in with memories of the PlayStation version, you’re going to find a few pleasant surprises. The graphics are high resolution, and while that accents the low polygon counts of Lara and her foes, it still looks leagues better than the console versions. Unfortunately, the various pre-rendered cutscenes weren’t redone, so they’re kind of blown up and ugly-looking on sharp iOS displays. The environments in this game still have a certain wow factor to them, though. Some of the areas you need to traverse are huge, and they’re all very well-designed to appear organic while still being video game levels.

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Another nice bonus for players who only knew the console versions is that you can save anywhere, just like in the console versions of Tomb Raider II and beyond. The crystal system from the console versions would have been ridiculous on mobile devices, so I’m glad the developers made the right call here. Of course, you also get the expansion Unfinished Business here, playable from the very start. It’s fairly short, covering just four missions, but nobody’s going to complain about extra levels, I’d hope.

The menu interfaces have been kept largely consistent with the PC version, and they’re a nightmare for it. Once you figure out that your touches are basically corresponding with mouse clicks, it’s not so bad, but they really should have redone things for the mobile version. Trying to flick options on and off on the iPhone screen was sometimes an exercise in frustration thanks to a slight lag in response and the small hit box of each item.

So, bad controls, great port, but how does the game itself hold up? Fairly well, I’d say. The tank controls are definitely a relic of that period of time, and I’m not even going to try to defend them, but in all other respects, Tomb Raider is still a fun game. We don’t see a lot of games like this anymore, with large, intricately designed platforming challenges. Thematic successors like Uncharted have largely eschewed platforming puzzles in favor of shooting and set pieces, while the closest series in terms of gameplay, Prince of Persia, seems to be on a time out. Heck, even Lara Croft herself seems to have abandoned this style of game, with the recent reboot more closely following in Uncharted‘s footsteps.

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I’m not saying that to be an old man yelling at clouds or anything, because all of the games I mentioned are quite good. I only say it because I think Tomb Raider strangely feels more unique today than it already did when it first released. There’s certainly nothing quite like it on the App Store. You need equal parts good reflexes and sharp problem-solving skills to see the game through to its end. It’s really satisfying to eyeball your path out carefully and then execute it, and the abundant secrets reward players who think outside of the box a bit. The story is silly Indiana Jones-type stuff, but it works well enough and has enough sense to stay out of the way of the exploration for the most part. The game’s few attempts at making Lara say sexy things come off about as smoothly as a teenage boy trying to unfasten a bra, but Lara had yet to reach her status as history’s most confusing sex symbol, so those moments are very few indeed.

To sum this whole review up, it all comes down to whether or not you have a controller. If you do, then getting this excellent version of the game for such a low price is a steal. If you don’t, it’s not the most expensive curiosity, but that’s all it is for all but the most dedicated and patient. This is normally where I’d say that I hope things will be better if they do Tomb Raider II, but I’m not confident there’s any solution for the control woes with a touch interface.

Publicado por: TouchArcade - Continue lendo: http://toucharcade.com/feed/

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