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Save the world from invading aliens (again) with XCOM: Enemy Within

Manage your troops, destroy all aliens, save the world. Again. Photo: 2K Games/Firaxis Games

Manage your troops, destroy all aliens, save the world. Again. Photo: 2K Games

The excellent strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Within, is out now for mobile devices as an entirely new standalone game for $12.99. If you haven’t played an XCOM game yet, this is a fantastic place to jump in – the graphics are stunning and the gameplay is addictive; like Civilization, you’ll battle it out with alien invaders in turn-based, tactical maps that offer some thrilling alien-busting fun.

In the new game from developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games you’ll manage the XCOM global headquarters and send your troops out to fight, dealing with both battle mechanics as well as resource allocation and research into new weapons and gear for your soldiers. The new game adds a “rogue” human faction, EXALT, that will offer even more battles and maps.

“XCOM: Enemy Unknown for Mobile proved that turn-based strategy games are a natural fit for touch interfaces,” said lead designer, Firaxis Games’ Ananda Gupta in a statement. “In XCOM: Enemy Within, players can return to the XCOM universe, where they’ll encounter an assortment of new content including powerful new weapons, abilities and strategies, and confront a host of dangerous new alien threats.”

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Rooster Teeth crew faces alien zombies in boy genius’ next act

Zombie. Aliens. Zombiens. Duh. Photo: Team Chaos

Zombie. Aliens. Zombiens. Duh. Photo: Team Chaos

What were you doing when you were 17? Probably not publishing a book on how to program 3-D terrain in video games.

Game developer Trent Polack did just that. He’s been playing games since, well, forever.

“My mom says I’ve been playing games since I was 2,” he told Cult of Mac, “but I don’t think that’s possible.”

That lifetime of experience is paying off for Polack, creative director of Team Chaos, a small game studio based in Austin, Texas. His team’s latest project is a collaboration with Rooster Teeth, a video production house beloved by gamers for its hilarious machinima, or films created using video game engines (most notably Red vs. Blue, based on the best-selling Halo series).

In the Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens, which should hit mobile devices in late November, the Rooster Teeth crew gets turned into cannon fodder as they face off against a swarm of zombie aliens. Cult of Mac talked with Polack about that noteworthy project, his gaming roots and his knack for crafting crazy publicity emails.

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Camp Pokemon puts monsters in your pocket

Gotta catch 'em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International

Gotta catch ‘em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International

The Pokémon Company International just took another step towards iOS domination with its free-to-play game, Camp Pokémon, now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This new game will let children of all ages explore Camp Pokémon, learning to become a Pokémon trainer.

This is a big step in the right direction for Pokémon video game players, since Nintendo has as yet refused to put it’s incredibly lucrative Pokémon RPG games on any platform besides its own. However, The Pokemon Company owns the rights to the card game; they can put it on any platform they choose.

“Kids will have a blast exploring Camp Pokémon as they immerse themselves in the Pokémon universe in a fun, interactive setting,” said The Pokémon Company’s J.C. Smith. “Parents will love watching their little campers participate in fun activities and create memories at the virtual Pokémon island.”

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How Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff keeps the laughs coming

Photo:

Exclusive behind-the-scenes sketches show Quahog destroyed by Peter’s fowl archnemesis. Photo: TinyCo/Fox

Hit TV show Family Guy followed a trajectory that’s very similar to Apple’s. The show appeared as a breath of fresh air early on, underwent a decline during which it almost vanished, then made a triumphant return.

In that way, Family Guy always seemed a perfect fit for iOS. Earlier this year, that pairing finally happened when developer TinyCo debuted Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, a mobile game that follows Peter Griffin and the rest of the Fox TV show’s colorful supporting cast as they rebuild the town of Quahog after it’s been destroyed.

Six months down the line — and with the game currently in the middle of a haunting, courtesy of its Halloween update — Cult of Mac spoke with the developers about Seth McFarlane, making games funny, and the perils of in-app purchases.

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel blasts onto the Mac with more shootin’ and lootin’

Same-day release on Mac, PC, Linux, and console! Photo: Aspyr

Same-day release on Mac, PC, Linux, and console! Photo: Aspyr

Handsome Jack, the erstwhile villain of Borderlands 2, had to start somewhere. It’s not easy taking over an entire corporation, let alone a whole planet.

His story begins much more humbly, however, with Jack working as a programmer at Hyperion Corporation. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, in some part at least, aims to tell the story of this psychopath’s rise to power.

What’s even better is that this newly released game, available on all the consoles and PC on Steam, is also available for Mac thanks to the tireless efforts of the best Mac game publisher around, Aspyr.

That means that if you rock a Macintosh computer as your main gaming device (and why not, it’s a fantastic machine!), you’ll be able to shoot your way across the moon of Hyperion, floating through the air with every low gravity jump and using new awesome weapons like the ice and laser weapons.

Check out the trailer below, starring Mr. Torgue High-Five Flexington and Sir Hammerlock, for more hilariously over the top details.

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Skullduggery will turn you into a skull-flinging tax collector and you’ll like it

Flinging skulls, collecting taxes, like you do. Screengrab: Clutch Play Games

Flinging skulls, collecting taxes, like you do. Screengrab: Clutch Play Games

Picture this. You’re a disembodied skull with stretchy brain parts. You use this elasticity to fling yourself around the afterworld, Angry Birds-style, in order to collect taxes from the deadbeats who reside there.

Sound like fun? It is, oddly enough. While Skullduggery may be one of the odder platforming games you’ve played, it’s as challenging and action-packed as anything out there. Once you’ve wrapped your, ahem, head around the control scheme, you’ll find yourself flying through level after level with glee.

Check out the launch trailer below to get a sense of what we mean.

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The virtual bicycle race is on

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The official Zwift launch took place simultaneously in all three Rapha Cycle Clubs locations: San Francisco (pictured here), London and New York. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

New bicycling game Zwift cruises along at the crossroads where video game nerds, bike fanatics and the land of the long winter come together. Launched in beta today, Zwift lets you compete with friends in a massively multiplayer cycling game designed to turn indoor rides into something more exciting.

The basic premise is this: You pick your avatar, pick your whip, pick your kit, pick your route and then pedal with/against your friends, no matter where they are in the country. You watch the action on the virtual terrain on a computer (most any reasonably modern desktop or notebook will do).

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Collect bottles as a homeless person in Russia’s hottest RPG

Photo: Roman Okulevich/Ok Apps

Hot iOS game Homeless: Life Simulator hops on a weird Russian trend. Photo: Roman Okulevich/Ok Apps

One of the hottest iPhone games in Russia right now isn’t Angry Birds or Candy Crush, but an app that lets you collect bottles as a homeless person.

Homeless: Life Simulator, which just launched in the United States, recently hit the No. 1 spot in the Russian App Store’s role-playing games category.

“Begin your life as an unknown homeless to become a president of your country!” says the marketing copy on the App Store.

The app itself looks really basic — screen-spanning buttons, a couple of casino mini-games and that’s about it. Apparently, being homeless is fun in Russia, because you can gamble your way to success!

The weirdest thing? It’s not the only “homeless” simulator going.

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The Force meets tower defense in new Star Wars game mashup

Picture courtesy DeNA

Picture courtesy DeNA

If the sheer volume of tower defense games on the App Store is any indication, people (and developers) love them. Defending your base against endless hordes of creeps is a wonderful way to spend some gaming time on your portable device; they’re not super twitch-dependent, and they definitely encourage the zen-like focus a lot of us enjoy when playing games.

Add a hot property like Star Wars to the mix, and you’ve got a game full of potential. Rebels and Stormtroopers in a tower defense game? Sign me up!

This is, however, a Mobage/DeNA free-to-play joint, so it’s hard to tell exactly whether it will be a compelling bit of playtime, or just another way to spam your friends with social media requests. The pre-release sign up allows you to earn some points to be used in-game already; this does not bode well, even with a Star Wars branding.

That said, I’m still pretty excited about playing this game. Check out the developer diary below to see if you’re just as excited.

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Minecraft creator Mojang is releasing Scrolls on iPad soon

Coming soon to the iPad, from the creators of Minecraft.

Coming soon to the iPad, from the creators of Minecraft.

Mojang, the Microsoft-owned developer behind hit game Minecraft, has a new game coming to the iPad. And good news! It’ll be getting a price drop across all platforms when it does.

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