Criminal Legacy Review

Criminal Legacy Review

Jun 30, 2014

Criminal Legacy plays a lot like Rage of The Immortals. Players build their own gang from the ground up, building a headquarters to craft and upgrade gear, generate cash and so on. There is a long, long list of single player missions to do and some amusing dialogue. Players work their way cross the map, taking over locations and working to track down Volkov, the man who put them in prison to begin with. Volkov sends text messages often during the game taunting the player and generally commenting on whatever your gang is doing, which is a nice touch.

Besides single player there is also a PvP arena where other player’s gangsters can be fought. Winning multiple fights in a row awards items.

Screenshot_2014-06-28-20-29-38A rather insidious mechanic to PvP however is that win streaks required to gain items are much higher than the player’s max energy. Ergo, the only way to gain higher level rewards is to either spend diamonds or play every minute or so over and over. Criminal Legacy would really like your money.

Gathering a gang is as easy as finishing single player stages. Completing certain ones awards new gang members. Each gang member has an element and they can only equip matching gears, which boost stats. The elemental system adds some much needed complexity to the game as building a team to counter enemy gang elements is important to success.

The actual combat in Criminal Legacy is automatic and pretty much identical to Rage of the Immortals. Combat is still pretty fun to watch; the character design is really nice, the animations are smooth and there’s plenty of gang bangers getting shot or sliced to bits. Each gear has a different weapon, so it’s fun to see what weapons your gangsters will acquire next.

Screenshot_2014-06-28-20-34-15Criminal Legacy, like most games of its type is full of loot. Winning battles awards sets of gear and items used to craft new items. Gears can be enhanced. This uses one gear to straighten another gear, much like the strengthening system seen in card battlers. Players can also combine two sets of gear into another random, but usually stronger one.

Criminal Legacy has a lot of freemium features. Players can spend diamonds to buy vaults full of high level gear and they can also be used to heal gangsters and restore PvP energy. Without spending diamonds gang members heal very slowly indeed, to the point where the player can really only do 1 or 2 high level battles an hour before their team has to rest. This is very frustrating.

Criminal Legacy looks pretty good. The game is 2d but very detailed and there is a nice variety of gears and enemies. The sound is decent enough as well. Combat sounds good, but the game has a critical lack of music. There are only a few tracks in the game and they aren’t very good.

Criminal Legacy is a decent freemium title and its plot and elemental system make it a little more interesting than the typical freemium battler.


GREE Launches Android-Exclusive Gang Warfare RPG, Criminal Legacy

GREE Launches Android-Exclusive Gang Warfare RPG, Criminal Legacy

May 22, 2014

GREE today has announced an Android-exclusive game developed with IUGO: Criminal Legacy. This free-to-play game has players forming a criminal cartel to rule the streets, fighting other gangs and cops alike. Forming a party of six gangsters, players can power up their crew and pit them in battles against enemies in a world with over 80 stages, and a vareity of missions, quests, and live events that get added over time. The game is available now on Google Play.

GREE and Bandai Namco Launch Puzzle Game Pac-Man Monsters on Google Play

GREE and Bandai Namco Launch Puzzle Game Pac-Man Monsters on Google Play

Apr 25, 2014

GREE has partnered with Bandai Namco to publish Pac-Man Monsters for Android. This is a puzzle-RPG in the vein of Puzzle and Dragons that has players making matches on a puzzle board, and using collected monsters hatched from eggs on over 100 quests. Pac-Man may normally be a loner, but here, he has to work in a team to fell those pesky ghosts. The game is available now on Google Play.

GREE’s G-Labs Releases the QWOP-Inspired Flop Fu to Google Play

GREE’s G-Labs Releases the QWOP-Inspired Flop Fu to Google Play

Mar 28, 2014

GREE’s G-Labs team has released to the general public their online QWOP-inspired fighting game, Flop Fu. Pitting players in control – and I use the term as loosely as possible – of a fighter that flops around everywhere, they attempt to hit their opponent with their limbs, preferably in the head, which is the weak spot. There’s both singleplayer and Google Play online multiplayer modes to flail around in. The game is available now for free from Google Play.

GREE Slides into Spring, Showing Off Strategy Games, a Match-3 Slapfest, and a QWOP-Style Fighting Game?!

GREE Slides into Spring, Showing Off Strategy Games, a Match-3 Slapfest, and a QWOP-Style Fighting Game?!

Feb 27, 2014

GREE held their “Slide into Spring” event recently showing off some of their new and upcoming titles for the press. While they had a selection of titles that certainly fit into their free-to-play oeuvre, they also brought along a team doing some titles that are rather out of the ordinary for GREE.

G-Labs is a team meant to make experimental games from inside GREE’s US headquarters, which takes up the entire length of a street block. This small team makes games under the radar, without much of GREE’s marketing muscle, or even without being published by the mothership, as they publish under their own label.

Legend of Slap

And their games can be a bit wacky: Legends of Slap is a match-3 puzzler with a combat element: players must outscore their opponents in a best-of-three rounds system, with mechanics that work similarly to Bejeweled. But the game features animated characters that slap each other, and the winner gets to swipe the screen rapidly to slap the loser repeatedly. It’s available now on Google Play as well.

Another game, Flop Fu, which is still in the works, mixes the kind of impossible-to-control characters and dual-stick control scheme of mobile QWOP with an arena fighter. Limb movements that hit the opponent do damage, with headshots doing more damage. It has a lot of the wackiness of its inspirations, but with the new dynamic of it being a fighter. And it features online play. The game’s still in development, but should be out soon.

FlopFu

As well, there’s Coco Pets, a virtual pet simulator that is perhaps the most mainstream game that they’re working on, but it’s still just so different from the bulk of games that GREE traditionally publishes. And given just how goofy all of these games are, they definitely represent something out of the ordinary from the free-to-play giant.

While certainly the potential for future interesting gameplay styles for GREE games exists to come out of this team, it’s still just fascinating because it represents something so different for a free-to-play publisher. F2P games are very heavily refined and planned to be what they are, and here’s a company making a somewhat-crude slapping game and a goofy online fighting game. While the company is massive in terms of stature, revenues, and even just physically, it’s fascinating to see even just a small part of it make things that are just so relatively unrefined.

Of course, GREE is continuing on with the more traditional free-to-play releases as well. War of Nations from Funzio has made its way to Android. This strategy game has players raising armies, and taking over land in a game world, forming alliances to try to defeat other players and become the most powerful tactician in their world. There are a number of game servers for players to join up with and play on. The game is available now on Android.

Bases on world map

Rage of the Immortals, also out now, is developed by IUGO (known for Knights and Dragons with GREE), and features a King of Fighters-esque art style and team-based fighting, though all handled automatically. Players can also build up a base, collect resources, and upgrade fighters in a system similar to collectible card games.

ROTI_PVP

Finally, there’s League of Wars, developed by MunkyFun, and not out yet on Android. This strategy game interestingly brings in lane defense gameplay, albeit somewhat simplified: there’s no lanes for players to manually send their units to, they just send in their units strategically with their resources to attack the enemy, with units intelligently attacking the enemy and/or its base. Thus, automation is actually being used for good, rather than to just overly-simplify a game. This is likely a couple months out from Android release.

Battle

While certainly GREE has their fair share of expected games from them, it was the unexpected that proved to be some of the most fascinating things they had…

GREE’s Dragon Realms Is Released For Android

GREE’s Dragon Realms Is Released For Android

Oct 11, 2013

Dragon Realms 2

Today, GREE has announced the latest in their Dragon series of games. Dragon Realms gives the players a set of heroes, adventuring in a fantasy world and fighting against lots of enemies. And yes, there are dragons. The game is already available from Google Play as a free download, so there’s no reason not to check it out: Dragon Realms on Google Play.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom Card Battle Game Coming This Fall

X-Men: Battle of the Atom Card Battle Game Coming This Fall

Jul 24, 2013

Prepare yourself for collecting hundreds of X-Men cards! GREE and Marvel Entertainment have joined forces to bring X-Men: Battle of the Atom to Android devices this fall. The card battle game comes in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of X-Men comics and features original art by popular Marvel artists. Players will recruit teams of mutants and build alliances to battle against classic enemies and never-before-seen villains from the future.

“X-Men: Battle of the Atom brings card battle to the next level,” said Sanku Shino, Senior VP of Marketing & Developer Relations at GREE, in a press release. “It includes cutting-edge features like team-battle and eye-popping graphics by Marvel artists to allow fans new and old to experience the classic X-Men story arcs and characters in new and innovative ways.”

Venerable Leaderboards and Achievements Service OpenFeint to Shut Down in December

Venerable Leaderboards and Achievements Service OpenFeint to Shut Down in December

Nov 21, 2012

One of the biggest names of the early days of touchscreen mobile gaming is about to finally fade away: parent company GREE is shutting down OpenFeint, effective in December.

OpenFeint may not be as fondly remembered on Android as it is on iOS. It was the first real service to provide leaderboards and achievements, a much-desired feature. However, the platform failed to expand upon that core functionality once Game Center kicked in and became ubiquitous; while features like cloud saves were implemented by OpenFeint (and seen in games like INC which provided cross-platform saves) they never took off with developers or the public. However, the service was still purchased by GREE, and has been languishing recently as it transitions in to the GREE Platform.

However, Android has not seen the same kind of love for OpenFeint, though the service may have been one of the biggest to actually operate on the platform. But with OpenFeint going away, there’s not a comparable standard on Android that compares. GREE are pushing their service as an OpenFeint replacement, but many developers, already miffed by the fact that OpenFeint has been shut down, are loath to toss their support to GREE. Swarm, a service offering many of the same features as OpenFeint that is Android-exclusive, is making a push to be the next service in line. That other alternatives like Scoreloop are floundering or otherwise non-notable leaves these two pretty much as the only competitors in the battlefield.

This would be an opportunity for Google to launch their own kind of standardized service, but the problem would be adoption, as considering how slow rollouts of new Android versions are, it could take several years before such a service became ubiquitous if implemented as an OS-wide feature. Otherwise, it’d have to be implemented as a third-party plugin much like these other services are.

The lack of a good service on Android has turned away developers like Terry Cavanagh who wanted to release Super Hexagon but didn’t find a good equivalent service to Game Center on Android. The title is now basically in limbo as he ports the title to C++, and as he waits to hire a coder to port the game to Android, instead of releasing the game compiled in Adobe AIR.

While the service may have been a redundancy in its final days, and extremely clunky on Android, as someone who’s been covering mobile games since early 2009, I remember that OpenFeint was a huge deal, and it should not be forgotten because it served an important role in the history of mobile gaming.

GREE Launches First Android-Exclusive Game From Their US Studio: Dino-Life

GREE Launches First Android-Exclusive Game From Their US Studio: Dino-Life

May 1, 2012

GREE, the Japanese gaming behemoth, has been making their push into the US with a San-Francisco-based studio that has been cranking out original titles. So far, their efforts have focused on iOS primarily with Alien Family and Zombie Jombie, games which aren’t current available on Android. However, GREE’s about to twist turn people’s worlds upside down, with the release of their first Android title: Dino-Life.

This social game has players trying to breed that most elusive of creature, whose skeletons line our museums to this day: the dinosaur. There’s a total of 60 dinosaurs in the game, with the ability to crossbreed their dinosaurs in order to create new ones. With their cavemen characters, players can go on quests in order to help them on their quest of creating new dinosaurs.

The game’s art style is designed to be whimsical, colorful, and friendly, making it perfect for a younger audience. This is their first US-developed Android title, and will be an Android exclusive, at least for a certain period of time. According to Eiji Araki, SVP of Social Games, GREE International, Inc., “GREE is excited about the recent advancements in Google Play and its potential to expand the free-to-play ecosystem on Android. Dino Life is our first Android title and exemplifies our commitment to offer unique gameplay mechanics, great social features and highly-stylized art in each game. This game is another step towards creating an ecosystem of games free from geographic or operating system restrictions and is limited only by the imagination of the gamer and the developer.”

It remains to be seen how the game will perform, but given GREE’s international experience, it may just do well on a platform craving original content. Right now on iOS, GREE US isn’t quite up with Zynga’s ranks – their highest ranking game is at #103 in Top Grossing – but given the initiative that GREE has been putting forth to launch new titles, it’s quite possible Dino-Life – available now from Google Play – could be their next big hit.

Report: PopCap to be Acquired For $1 Billion

Report: PopCap to be Acquired For $1 Billion

Jun 23, 2011

Big news from the world of mergers and acquisitions; according to TechCrunch, PopCap is being bought for a $1 billion USD; that’s billion with a B. It is not known who is buying them yet, making this the tech industry’s equivalent of a “mystery team” that wanted to sign professional baseball player Cliff Lee this past winter. Hopefully, the rumors of an unknown suitor turn out to be true in this case as they were in that case.

This number sounds large when considered that their revenue is only in the $100-$150 million range, according to TechCrunch, who broke the story. However, considering that OpenFeint was purchased by GREE for $100 million when their revenues were only in the six figures, this is almost a bargain. As well, PopCap has a range of wildly popular intellectual properties; consider the popularity of Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, then consider that they also make what is likely the most popular match-3 game, Bejeweled. They also release for many, many platforms – Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, for example, are available on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo DS. So PopCap make games that are popular, and they have the ability to release them on a wide variety of platforms. It makes sense that they would be a popular acquisition target.

The question with PopCap’s acquisition is twofold – first, who is actually acquiring them? Secondly, what would the purpose of doing this be? Zynga is apparently out of the running, as the price tag was too high. EA could be a possibility, though their total valuation is only $7.4 billion dollars. Apple has the money to do so, but buying a game developer doesn’t seem like their style. One likely possibility might actually be Microsoft. Microsoft’s strength with Windows Phone 7 has been with gaming, in particular. Buying PopCap would only strengthen Microsoft’s gaming selection on mobile devices, along with being a potential boon for Games for Windows. There is also the possibility that games could come to Microsoft’s platforms like the Xbox 360 quicker than they have before.

Of course, if a large third party company bought PopCap, and it was one that had a vested interest in a singular platform, then would Android and other versions of PopCap games disappear? Microsoft has released apps for other platforms, but there’s a big difference between an app like PhotoSynth popping up on non-Microsoft platforms and releasing the latest PopCap addiction for other platforms. We’ll likely find out soon who the mystery suitor for PopCap is, and who knows; it could be a real surprise. Or perhaps an Asian company that wants to make a global splash the way that GREE and DeNA have with their acquisitions of OpenFeint and ngmoco, respectively.

Source: TechCrunch