Welcome back to Digital Blend, our weekly look at the world of downloadable video gaming that exists at the fringes of the mainstream. That means we look at the hottest new mobile game releases, downloadable content drops on consoles and PCs, indie darlings that deserve your love and attention, and the best gaming values under $20.
Keep your comments and feedback coming. We want to hear from you! Did you try something you read about here and enjoy it? Is there a particular game you think we’ve overlooked or news you want to share? Any questions you are dying to ask? Let us know! Your thoughts, feedback, suggestions and (constructive!) criticism are welcome, either in the comments section below or directed at yours truly on Twitter, @geminibros.
* This week, gamers got their first look at Epic’s upcoming Infinity Blade spinoff, the Diablo-esque Infinity Blade: Dungeons. The first gameplay made its way online and… well… it looks like Diablo! Imagine that! There’s still no release date for this one, but you can bet it’ll be making an appearance at E3 2012 in a couple weeks, probably with a launch date (or at least window) attached. [via Joystiq]
* Telltale Games has a pretty hot property on its hands in The Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman’s comic book series has already proven that mass audiences like zombie fiction, with the AMC TV series becoming one of the most-viewed cable programs of all time. Now episode one of Telltale’s five-part series is mirroring that success, with The Walking Dead – Episode One breaking the million-sales barrier in its first two weeks of release.
* Prepare for some solid sales next week on smaller-scale games. “Because We May” is an industry-wide effort that will see developer’s offering their games at “deeply discounted” prices between May 24 and June 1. The sale covers the indie scene for the most part, and it’s meant to make the point that developers should be able to choose what to charge for their own games. The sale will run across a number of digital storefronts, including the iOS App Store, the Mac App Store, Google Play, and Steam. Follow the link above and click each store link for a rundown of what will be discounted.
* At long last, the BBC has a confirmed release date for the PlayStation brand-exclusive side-scroller, Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock. After a couple of delays and mysterious disappearances from public view (maybe it was time traveling?), we now know that The Eternity Clock will be available for download on PSN starting next week on May 23. A PlayStation Vita version will then follow on June 13. [via Official Eternity Clock Twitter]
* Sony continues the process of getting older games onto the new PlayStation Vita hardware with the confirmation this week that an assortment of PSP games and PS Minis are now compatible with the handheld and available for purchase in the PS Store. There’s still no PSOne game support, but Sony at least looks to be upping its focus on getting legacy content up-to-date with the new platform. [via PlayStation Blog]
* Nvidia is stepping into the cloud gaming… uhh… game, with the company announcing the coming launch of Nvidia GeForce Grid this week. It’s an OnLive/Gaikai competitor that is supposed to stream top-shelf games “to virtually any device.” TVs and PCs of course, but also Android/iOS smartphones and tablets as well. There’s not much more to be said at this point, but Nvidia is certainly well-equipped with the right contacts in the gaming world to get something like this off the ground.
Top buys for the week…
Gratuitous Tank Battles :: PC :: $19.99 (currently $17.99 on Steam)
Positech Games, the creator of the Gratuitous Space Battles RTS game, is back with another gratuitous helping of warfare in Gratuitous Tank Battles. Built around the idea that World War I never ended, and unfolding around a 200 year war that brings players right up to the age of mech warfare in 2114, GTB offers something new rather than repeating the success of Space Battles. The newer game is more of a tower defense/RTS hybrid where you can choose to either be the attacker or the defender.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 :: XBLA / PSN / iOS / Android :: 1200 MS Points / $14.99 / $6.99 (iOS/Android)
There’s a huge price disaparity between the console versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2 and the mobile versions even though the game remains the same no matter which platform you choose to play it on. The question you need to ask yourself is: is a proper controller and Achievement/Trophy support enough to merit spending double on the console version? The only thing that’s 100 percent clear: this is yet another great Sonic game, and fans of the speedy blue hedgehog will want to pony up some cash for at least one of the options.
Pixeljunk 4am :: PSN :: $9.99
You can’t really call Pixeljunk 4am a game. It isn’t one. It’s a little bit electronic music composer, a little bit PS Move tech demo, and a little bit experiential sound collage maker. You wave your Move-holding hand around to produce a variety of different audio effects. It’s difficult to explain, but mesmerizing to play with. Check out our GDC preview for more details. If the idea of creating music with waves of your hand has any interest to you, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.
Scotland Yard :: iOS :: $4.99
The classic board game Scotland Yard is now available on your iOS device of choice. If you know of and have played the Ravensburger game, then you know why this is awesome news. And if you haven’t, maybe you’ll appreciate the game’s focus on having players work together as agents in pursuit of the nefarious Mister X (who is himself played by another player). The iOS version supports 3-6 players and it looks pretty swell overall.
Bejeweled HD :: iPad :: $3.99
Bejeweled is already available on your iPhone, but PopCap’s popular match-three gem game now has a new entry in the iOS App Store that is specifically meant for iPad users. There’s not much to say about Bejeweled HD that hasn’t been said about it’s iPhone sibling. They are the same game, only one is meant for a larger screen and the other is meant for a smaller one. It’s kind of lame that PopCap didn’t deliver this one as a universal app, but such is the way of business in the iOS App Store.
KOTOMON :: iOS :: $3.99 ($2.99 until June 1)
Fans of Rez, Lumines, and Child of Eden: this one’s for you. KOTOMON comes to us from Monstars, Inc., a studio founded by Osamu Kodera, the programming lead on the three above-mentioned rhythm-based games. In this new game, you slide your finger around on the screen to capture friendly monsters and then tap to shoot them at enemy monsters. And as you would expect from a game with this pedigree, there are some lovely visuals and a catchy soundtrack that works in tandem with the gameplay.