Digital Blend: Awesomenauts channels the Saturday mornings of your childhood

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood logo

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.

Making headlines…

* Rock Band fans had a scare earlier this week when a pop-up appeared for all of the iOS app owners stating that the game would “no longer be playable on your device” come May 31. With Harmonix and EA no longer partnered on the rhythm game franchise, many speculated that that was the cause. It turns out, however, that this was all a big misunderstanding. EA stepped up and admitted that the warning was issued “in error,” and that more news will be shared when someone gets to the bottom of exactly what caused the problem. [via Joystiq]

gaikai and wikipad try to bridge the mobile console gap with gaming tablet gaikaiwikipad* Gaikai is going mobile. The video game-streaming OnLive competitor scored a big victory in nailing down a partnership with Wikipad, which will offer a glasses-free 2D/3D tablet. While OnLive already offers touch-based game controls for tablet streaming, Gaikai steps things up by offering a special analog stick-and-button-laden controller attachment to better enable the playing of high-end games. There’s no launch date yet, but we’ll be watching this one closely.

* While Zynga works on a way to integrate advertising dollars into its wildly popular Draw Something app, a report indicates that usage of the game is on the decline. Daily Facebook usage statistics apparently dropped from 14.3 million to 10.4 million between April 2 and May 2. This comes not very long after the social game publisher acquired Draw Something creator OMGPOP for $200 million. The report, which comes from WebMediaBrands via the BBC doesn’t account for all users, since it’s possible to play without using Facebook. That’s still a dramatic drop for such a new purchase though.

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood super meat boy ios* The upcoming iOS version of the infernally challenging console platformer Super Meat Boy from Team Meat is not going to be a straight port. Edmund McMillen had revealed that much already, but now he’s filled in a few more details. The hit forever-runner Canabalt is apparently a big inspiration on this iOS Meat Boy, though in a way that is less “surface-level” than the other game. McMillen told Polygon, “[The original] Meat Boy was a twitch-based game about memorizing things. [iOS] Meat Boy is the opposite. That’s the foundation of its design. But it’s also on a touch device, so there’s that as well. We want to make a twitch-based platformer that’s not about memorization.”

* Harebrained Schemes Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun Returns has concluded with just shy of $1.9 million in contributions. That’s considerably more than the original $400,000 target. In other Kickstarter news, the stealth game République from Camouflaj and Logan just confirmed the addition of noted voice actors David Hayter (Metal Gear’s Solid Snake) and Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect‘s FemShep) to the cast. It unfortunately may be too late for the ambitious project, however; with just six days remaining in the funding period, the almost $225K pledged so far falls far short of the $500,000 target. The way Kickstarter works, none of the funding goes through if that goal isn’t hit. Check out or interview with the Camouflaj’s Ryan Payton for more on the game’s development. 

* The Internet is now home to a Flash game based on the ’80s sitcom Perfect Strangers. It’s simply, entirely free to play, and will take you only as long as the length of the show’s theme song to try out. You literally have nothing to lose here. Just go play it.

Top buys for the week…

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood fable heroes lineupFable Heroes :: XBLA :: 800 MS Points
Kudos to Lionhead for trying something different with Fable Heroes even if the game isn’t all that it could have been. It’s basically a Castle Crashers-style brawler featuring cutesy renderings of characters, monsters, and locations in Fable‘s Albion. There are some good ideas that fizzle out over many hours of play, but Fable Heroes is nonetheless an okay game that could go over well at parties. Check out our full review.

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood gameplayAwesomenauts :: XBLA / PSN :: 800 MS Points / $9.99
All you need to know about Awesomenauts is right there in the title: it’s awesome. A 2D online battle game for 3v3 match-ups, it feels like a bizarre and frequently surreal adaptation of a Saturday morning cartoon that never was. That’s totally intentional. There are plenty of games like this out there already, but it’s Awesomenauts‘ unique sense of style that stands as its biggest selling point.

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood king fighters i 2012King of Fighters-i 2012 :: iOS :: $6.99
Your appreciation for King of Fighters-i 2012 will depend largely on how will you are to put up with virtual controls on a touch screen. Fighting games demand a high-level of control accuracy, and that’s one arena where virtual controls consistently fall far short. It’s an update on last year’s game; if you were a fan of the first one, and if more characters and new features like competitive match-ups over Wi-Fi sound like good things, you’ll probably want to give this one a look.

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood brainsssBrainsss :: iOS :: $2.99
Lonely Few’s iOS title Brainsss flips the script on zombie action. Instead of surviving an onslaught of the walking dead, you are in control of that onslaught. It’s like zombie-fueled, touch-based real-time strategy. Why no one thought of this sooner is a mystery.

digital blend awesomenauts channels the saturday mornings of your childhood my little heroMy Little Hero :: iOS :: $0.99 (limited time pricing)
NCsoft brings its heavy hitter status to a mobile platform with My Little Hero. It’s an adorable 3D action game in which you control a little boy who steps into an open fantasy world armed with only a wooden sword and a cardboard helmet. There are collectibles, bosses, an inventory system, upgrades.. just the sort of deep gameplay a serious gamer might be looking for on a mobile platform. And for that price, how can you really go wrong?

Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Gaming

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.
Gaming

Struggling to survive 'Battlefield 5?' Our boot camp will keep you in the fight

Battlefield V's multiplayer component can be overwhelming, but you can succeed against the enemy with a little help. These are the tips and tricks you need to know to win in Battlefield V.
Gaming

What games were nominated for the The Game Awards 2018? Find out here

The Game Awards returns to Los Angeles for its fifth show this December. Here is everything we know about the event, including its location, where you can watch it, and games that were nominated.
Product Review

'Hitman 2' goes in for the kill with more of everything you love

IO Interactive and Warner Bros introduce us to ‘Hitman 2’, a sequel that embraces what made the series so unique and exceeds at delivering a more polished and complex experience.
Gaming

How to Install an SSD in a PlayStation 4 or PS4 Pro

SSDs are much faster than mechanical hard drives, which is what the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro come with. Here, we show you how to replace it with an SSD, which will allow you to boot to the OS faster and load games quicker.
Gaming

Faction-based PvP, new Vault openings coming to ‘Fallout 76’ after launch

Bethesda is already hard at work on post-launch content for Fallout 76, which launches November 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Faction-based PvP is in the works, and new vaults will open over time.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Anthem', including new details on Javelin classes

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.
Gaming

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Gaming

‘Tetris Effect’ makes the undying classic feel new again

Tetris is a game that everyone knows. The classic puzzler has appeared on just about every device since 1984. With music and visual flourishes, Tetris Effect remarkably manages to elevate the iconic game to new heights.
Gaming

Hacker finds Steam bug that unlocks free games, collects $20K for reporting it

Security researcher Artem Moskowsky discovered a Steam bug that allowed him to generate infinite free keys for any game. Instead of abusing the exploit, Moskowsky reported it to Valve, which gave him a $20,000 reward.
Gaming

‘Overwatch’ gunslinger Ashe is now available on all platforms

Blizzard announced Ashe as the latest Overwatch hero at BlizzCon 2018. The gunslinger has a history with McCree and makes use of a lever-action repeating rifle and a robotic sidekick.