Check out Blue Apprentice: the galactic science adventure game your kids will love! Teacher approved and recommended by PopSci magazine, Galxyz Blue Apprentice is ideal for kids who would love an intergalactic science adventure mission! Click on the banner below for a free trial of the game and let us know what you and your kid(s) think! \o/
What parents need to know
Kids can learn aspects of chemistry as they take apart and recombine atomic structures. As they solve the puzzles and travel to other planets, kids also learn about biology, earth science, and physics through new activities, games, simulations, and inquiry-based experiences. Other topics covered include the properties of matter, the periodic table of elements, conservation of mass, ecosystems, energy cycles, food webs, different forms of power, chemical reactions, and Newtonian physics. New content on previously visited planets can also be unlocked, plus there are four open-world sandbox levels.
Ease of play
In this simple tap-and-move interface, kids can quickly and easily move around and select objects and options just by tapping the screen.
Violence & scariness
Some mild cartoon violence, mostly not shown on the screen, when the villains do things that aren’t nice to other characters, such as set their buildings on fire or change their solid phase into a liquid or a gas without their permission.
Shovel Knight is defined by its likeness to games from the era of 8-bit consoles. It takes inspiration from games like Mega Man and Ducktales not only in its pixel- and pitch-perfect audiovisual aesthetic, but also in its mechanics–Shovel Knight is a resolutely unforgiving 2D platformer. Peril is almost always present on screen–be it a bottomless pit or a tough enemy that can quickly whittle down your health–making this a game that demands your undivided attention as much as it does your quick reflexes. Specter of Torment is the latest expansion to Shovel Knight, a prequel that’s available as a standalone campaign on Nintendo Switch or a free update to those who already own the main game, and it follows the titular Specter Knight as he sets out to gather an army for the series’ primary antagonist, The Enchantress.
Specter Knight’s default skillset is dramatically more varied than that of Shovel Knight, with a focus on the lightness and dexterity of his character, as opposed to Shovel Knight’s heavier, brute-force feel. Specter Knight has an innate ability to wall jump, mount ledges, and vertically scale walls for a short time. Most significantly, Specter has the ability to perform a mid-air scythe dash on enemies and certain environmental objects, an attack which sends him flying at an angle and is used for traversal as much as it is for offence.
The execution of these moves is simple, requiring nothing more than a timely press of the attack or jump buttons, and together they make Specter feel like a powerfully agile character who is a joy to control. But with these abilities come more difficult challenges in Specter of Torment’s new platforming levels. Unlike Shovel Knight, whose stages gradually grew in difficulty and were gated in an overworld map style reminiscent of Super Mario Bros. 3, Specter of Torment presents you with the full selection of what I personally found to be equally-challenging stages and their accompanying boss fights, available to be tackled in any order in a structure more reminiscent of the Mega Man series.
Bottomless pits and other instant-death hazards feel more abundant in Specter of Torment, and proceeding forward almost always involves more than just careful jumping. Stages often require you to chain a series of movements together in order to keep Specter Knight airborne for extended periods of time over treacherous ground, and one fumbled execution could mean a complete do-over. You might climb the side of a wall to get you just enough height to wall-jump towards a series of swinging chandeliers, letting you scythe-dash into each one and eventually fling yourself across the room to mantle an opposing wall. Managing to reach a checkpoint after perfectly overcoming a series of obstacles without fumbles or fatalities is always a thrilling relief. The dexterous demands of performing these moves means that progress always feels satisfying and well-earned, even when it feels second-nature.
Each themed stage adds its own unique mechanical twists to the game’s platforming which need to be internalised too. There are some incredibly memorable ones such as scythe surfing, which sees Specter Knight ride his scythe like a skateboard and grind rails to move through stages at speed–but otherwise the majority will be familiar to those who have played the main Shovel Knight game, albeit with minor twists to better accommodate Specter’s abilities. This is unsurprising, given the game’s prequel nature and the appearance of many of the same characters and worlds, but the new level designs still feel more demanding.
Specter of Torment also features many of the same formidable level bosses as the original Shovel Knight, and although many of the battles with them seem a bit too similar to their previous appearances, some are altered significantly to make the most of Specter’s mobility, and can come as an enjoyable surprise to those familiar. The fight with Propeller Knight, for example, no longer takes place on a static platform, but in the midst of many tiny, cascading airships, requiring you to continually scramble upwards while dodging attacks.
The completion of each level allows you to purchase additional Curios, Specter of Torment’s unique version of Shovel Knight’s Relics, which allow for the use of special abilities at the cost of a consumable meter. Each Curio has its own distinct use to aid in the dispatching of enemies or to ease the burden of traversal. For example, the Hover Plume gives Specter Knight the ability to float in mid-air for a short duration, and Judgement Rush allows Specter to ignore pits and walls and teleport directly to an enemy. Each tool adds an interesting new facet to the way you can approach Specter of Torment’s levels, but the entirety of the game can be completed without using them. I found that relying on Curios diminished the sense of satisfaction that came from overcoming difficult obstacles using only Specter Knight’s base skillset, and tended to avoid them.
Much of what made the original Shovel Knight a success can also be found in Specter Knight. Level designs also cleverly act as intuitive tutorials, demonstrating the possibilities and limits of what you can and can’t do in particular stages without explicit explanation. Shovel Knight’s penchant for rewarding exploration is also still present. Secret paths and areas are strewn throughout the game’s stages and hub world. Some are obvious, but some can come as a small surprise to those who are willing to push the limits of the traversal abilities. The game’s checkpoint system–which allows you to actually destroy a checkpoint for monetary reward at the risk of having to re-traverse more of the level upon death–is still a clever mechanic. And Shovel Knight’s sense of humor and charm still manage to shine through, despite Specter of Torment’s more melancholic tone. Small moments like watching a reunited skeleton couple perform a waltz, playing with a cat, or simply enjoying the lighthearted dialog of NPCs provide nice moments of levity.
While it only took us a few hours in total to complete the game’s story mode, Specter of Torment felt well-paced and never unnecessarily short. The density of challenge contained within its individual stages meant that I was always entirely concentrated on the next obstacle, but Specter of Torment attempts to pace its demands on your mental state every few levels with short, interactive narrative interludes that serve as an enjoyable prequel to this prequel campaign. Specter of Torment also offers a new game plus option upon completion with a slightly more demanding health mechanic, and also offers a challenge mode which presents a variety of platforming and boss fight trials under strict restraints.
Specter of Torment is a finely-crafted 2D platformer that is satisfying in all respects. Simply controlling Specter Knight–flying through the air and slicing through enemies–is a joy in itself, and being able to push your ability to control these skills in overcoming the game’s cleverly-designed and challenging levels is always an exhilarating feeling. Specter of Torment is a focussed, polished, and satisfyingly challenging game that’s well worth experiencing whether or not you’ve had the pleasure of playing Shovel Knight.
Spooky adventure game Oxenfree has made its way to mobile. Developer Night School’s sidescrolling tale debuted on PC and Xbox One early last January, with a stop on PlayStation 4 last May that added, among other things, a New Game mode. Now it’s available for iOS devices. At the minimum, iPhone 5S and iPad Air running iOS 9.1 or newer. The iTunes listing says that the game has been reworked a bit for the platforms and features “custom touch controls.” Sounds like it should make working through the game’s radio and cassette puzzles a little more tactile. To celebrate launch week Night School has knocked 20 percent off the regular price, bringing it down to $3.99.
If you grab it, make sure to play with headphones on — the game’s soundtrack is simply too good to ignore. Why? Well, my coworker Jessica Conditt’s description should be reason enough: “[It’s] an electronica daydream that fades into a bumping nightmare; it’s the aural interpretation of the sun setting over an abandoned, beachside military base packed with deadly secrets.” Need even more convincing? Peep the YouTube embed below. And if you really like it, it’s available on vinyl from iam8bit.
Our supernatural thriller, OXENFREE, is out now on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Mac!
We have been accepted into the Bootstrap track of FbStart! \o/ Thank you for this valuable opportunity, Facebook! We can’t wait to get started with using all of these amazing tools and working with all of these world-class partners. Take a look!
20% discount for the full Creative Cloud Photography Plan (unlimited seats) to create and design highly compelling content for your mobile app.
15% discount off the full Creative Cloud Plan (unlimited seats) to create and design highly compelling content for your mobile app.
Quickly scale your backend infrastructure with a $5,000 credit towards Amazon Web Services.
Post to FbStart’s job board on AngelList, the world’s largest platform for raising money and recruiting for startups.
Create professional share-worthy videos easily with Animoto Business, free for 6 months with a 50% discount thereafter.
Resolve app issues and improve user experience to boost your mobile business with a $1,800 credit towards the JumpStart plan.
Design a great mobile app with free access to Balsamiq’s wireframing tools for six months to easily and quickly sketch and share user interface mockups.
Use DocSend Pro for up to 10 people to improve your marketing, business development, and fundraising efforts with real-time document analytics.
Store, sync, and share files securely with Dropbox for Business for up to 20 people.
$500 Facebook ad credit for new and existing ad spenders to promote your mobile app or Messenger bot.
Engage your users with marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns with 2,500 MonkeyRewards credits towards Mailchimp services.
Kickstart your mobile app’s online presence with one free Positive SSL and one free PremiumDNS from Namecheap.
Raise capital faster and find your mobile app’s next investor with free access for six months to PitchBook’s database of over 180,000 investors.
Create fully-interactive high-fidelity prototypes in minutes with Proto.io’s Freelancer Plan (1 user – 5 projects).
Deliver your mobile app’s content in multiple languages with access to Reverie’s cloud APIs for up to 1,000,000 words per month and localization of static strings up to 200 words for 4 languages.
Deliver outstanding customer support with free access to the Standard Plan (2 agents) for Salesforce’s out-of-the-box helpdesk for small businesses.
Identify keywords to optimize your app store search presence and drive organic installs with the leading App Store Optimization (ASO) platform. New Sensor Tower customers get a $500 credit towards the Pro Plan and free lifetime access to the Developer FbStart plan.
Provide a seamless payment experience for your users and receive free processing of the first $50,000 in revenue.
Collect, translate, and deliver digital content on your mobile app in multiple languages to drive international growth with Transifex’s Plus Plan for app localization.
Manage your remote workforce with 3 free licenses and 15 additional licenses at an 80% discount for TransparentBusiness.
Unlock user insights and improve your mobile app with 4 credits for remote usability and UX testing.
Manage your recruiting efforts for your startup with Workable’s Lite Plan (3 active job listings).
Hire top creative talent remotely with Yandiki’s Private Talent Cloud. Obtain a 10% discount for hourly cost of talent and a 5% rebate after 5,000 points/dollars spent.
New customers receive a $300 credit per month for Zendesk/Zopim, a beautifully simple system for tracking, prioritizing, and solving customer support tickets.
What if every device became a smart device? What if ordinary objects could suddenly talk to you, and you were able to program what they say? What if you could recreate the most popular smart devices at home, or invent the next one…and it started with something the size of a stick of gum?
All of this is possible with the littleBits cloudBit Starter Kit. Connect the power of the internet to devices not built be connected: power your old air conditioner from your phone; make your gym shoes beg to be taken for a run; program your dog food to pour itself into Fido’s bowl.
Perfect for tinkerers, hackers, makers, designers, inventors, and fun-seekers, the kit comes with everything you need out of the box to get started right away. There’s no soldering, wiring, programming, or insanity required. Just an imagination and a curiosity to hook the digital world up to your analog world. Make an SMS doorbell, an internet-connected lamp, control your music on your old boom-box, and more! There’s even a feature for Minecrafters, the new bitCraft mod, letting you connect Minecraft to your littleBits inventions. Reuse your Bits in unlimited ways to create new, imaginative inventions.
littleBits cloudBit Starter kit - $99.99
Connect the analog world to the the digital online universe with the littleBits cloudBit Starter Kit. Program ordinary objects to communicate with you. Make an SMS doorbell, an internet-connected lamp, control your music on your old boom-box, and more! No soldering or wiring required. Perfect for tinkerers, hackers, makers, designers, inventors, and fun-seekers, the kit comes with everything you need out of the box to get started right away. Thereâ€™s even a feature for Minecrafters; the new bitCraft mod, letting you connect Minecraft to your littleBits inventions.
2017-01-05T01:37:38+00:00 December 8th, 2016|Categories: Gaming|
Happy Holidays from all of us at Laughing Buddha Games!
Wishing you all the joys of the season from all of us at Laughing Buddha Games! We are so amazed at the support you are giving us: THANK YOU!
We released BudAI, our AI assistant, our HTML5 indie Arcade, featuring more than 400 cross-platform games that you can play for free and now count among our partners: Tiggly, Famobi, GamePix, Kiwi Crate, Melissa & Doug, Lego Brand and Udemy among others. We are really excited to see what’s next as we continue our journey!
Thanks to your support, we have been visited by 2.6 million unique visitors from all around the world and counting, leading to an astonishing MAU of 356K, with an average DAU of 14K every day!
Thank you for your support: here’s to doing good while gaming!
Porting Star Smasher over to Unity 3D in 20 days was no easy feat, but we did it! Thank you, Sailakshmi, Surendra and Pradeep: great work, guys! We’re finishing up the final QA run for our iOS build. A full-featured game, this version of Star Smasher has powerups, catapults, huts and forcefield upgrades! With ads and in app purchases built in, Star Smasher has finally emerged out of beta. 😀 This release will go out for iPad as well and will include Facebook notifications to keep track of your high score.
Star Smasher Medium Mode
And finally to the artist, Matt R. who came up with the original concept art for Star Smasher: dude, thank you for making this possible – your work continues to inspire all of us! To infinity & beyond, as Buzz Lightyear would say and rightly so, we feel like we’re on the cusp of new beginnings and are excited to see what happens next.
2017-01-05T01:48:55+00:00 May 4th, 2015|Categories: giving|
We’re super excited to let you know that we’re part of the Women Startup Challenge. The Women Startup Challenge is a fundraising competition designed to change the ratio, and fund women-led startups. It was launched by Women Who Tech and Craig Newmark of craigslist and craigconnects.
The startups that raise the most during the Challenge will move to the next round of the Challenge, and will get the chance to pitch their startup in person to a panel of investors, with the opportunity to win $50k and lots of other startup friendly services, like a one-on-one pitch to a Partner at 500 Startups, free and discounted courses at General Assembly, a profile about our startup published by Craig Newmark on Huffington Post, and more. We’re out to raise as much money as possible for our startup so we can win $50K, and other startup friendly services that will really help us thrive. We think we can win and to do so, we definitely need your help.
We’re looking for our amazing supporters to help us! It’s super easy to do, all you have to do is Go Here and click ‘Donate to this Fundraiser and give whatever you can. Every contribution makes a big difference, no matter how small and everything is appreciated. We get to keep all the money we raise.
As a special thank you, we have rewards!
Tier 1: $20
Get 10000 in-game credits for Star Smasher + your name in our game credits + a free copy of Star Smasher!
Tier 2: $50
You get everything from Tier 1+ a Limited edition Laughing Buddha Games bottle opener + a signed Star Smasher poster!
Tier 3: $100
You get everything from Tier 2 + a Limited edition Laughing Buddha Games T-shirt in your size + a Star Smasher limited edition 3D figurine.
Tier 4: $1000
You get everything from Tier 3 + A game character designed by you for our game + a signed poster from Kitty & Friends + 500000 in-game credits for Star Smasher or Kitty & Friends.
Tier 5: $5000
You get everything from Tier 5 + Design a mini game with our team
I came across IDEO.org’s The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design last week and right from the first sentence, have been inspired – the idea that we are the change-makers, the movers and shakers of the universe, the generation that can turn the tide, is not novel; neither the idea that the solutions are with the people that endure the issues – however, having a set of guiding principles to drive that design process is clearly apparent, to help make sentences out of words, so to speak:
“Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality,
and clean water, are solvable. Moreover, it means believing that the people who face those problems every day are the ones who hold the key to their answer. Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs.”
– The Field Guide to Human-centered Design, IDEO.org
Having this design kit at this juncture helps us at Laughing Buddha Games design our product with creative confidence, by understanding the people we’re designing for, to have more effective brainstorms, to prototype our ideas, and to ultimately arrive at more creative solutions to develop projects of real social impact.
It has everything you need to know to execute on human-centered design principles to develop long-lasting social solutions. Download a PDF copy for yourself today and thank you IDEO for sharing this information so freely. #IDEOrocks
We are REALLY thrilled to post that we have finally submitted StarSmasher for review! Woo-hooo!! We’ll find out in 8 business days if it passes muster or if it needs more work 🙂 but fingers crossed, let’s hope that everything goes great. If everything goes as planned, the game should be available in the AppStore on August 21st!
Despite our best laid plans, we’ve been plagued by bugs that are delaying our beta release of Star Smasher. Arrrgh! The good news is that we are working away at it and given our commitment to put out a quality game, we know that our decision will be worth it, in the end.
Here’s a picture of a StarSmasher villager for your viewing pleasure:
Villager in consternation!
Stay tuned, folks: I’ll be updating our blog as we go along!
Remember this story? Well, get your fingers ready because it’s time to play! 😀
You’re adventuring through some random jungle somewhere (what to do? You like ADVENTURE!), when you stumble upon a village of very frightened people! When you discreetly enquire about their concerns, you find out that the village has been subject to a relentless barrage of falling celestial objects every day and night on Mondays! Luckily for the people of the mysterious village, their local shaman has predicted the arrival of a hero to rescue them.
Looks like the villagers think it’s you! But can you do it? Will you help the villagers? Play Great Stars of Fire! to find out. Coming to iOS and ‘Droid platforms in May 2012!
Here’s a screenshot of the game in its full glory!
Laughing Buddha Games is now in Singapore! We are planning to get set up out here and leverage Singapore’s exciting new incentives for social gaming. Interestingly, in our first week: we were able to connect with a few people who have offered to help us out in different capacities, including staffing and funding! I will be updating our blog with more news and information as we continue on our path towards building our company.
Great news to report from the Laughing Buddha Games team: we’ve just been accepted into Microsoft’s BizSpark program!
We’re a BizSpark startup!
This Microsoft initiative helps startups gain access to the Microsoft ecosystem and “…get immediate access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products (including Windows Azure Platform) for use in developing and bringing to market innovative and interoperable solutions….have the opportunity to achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients, and partners…(and) get connected to BizSpark Network Partners around the world—incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies, and hosters—that are equally involved and vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship, and who will provide a wide range of support resources, including expert mentoring.”
We’re really excited about this opportunity, to say the least and are looking forward to what’s next! Carpe diem, indeed!
We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Heifer.org in our newest game, Annapurna – Seeds for Change. In homage to Zynga’s Farmville, we’re developing Annapurna, except this time, you can donate all the virtual items you collect in the game to a farmer in Africa, with the help of Heifer.org!
You’ll understand why we chose Heifer as one of our partners for Annapurna, once you read their bio:
Heifer is different. Heifer works.
Heifer International is a global nonprofit with a proven solution to ending hunger and poverty in a sustain
able way. Heifer helps empower millions of families to lift them out of poverty and hunger to self-reli
Heifer’s mission to end hunger through gifts of livestock, seeds and trees and extensive training, which provide a multiplying source of food and income.
Heifer envisions… A world of communities living together in peace and equitably sharing the resources of a healthy planet.
Heifer’s mission is… To work with communities to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.
Heifer’s strategy is… To Pass on the Gift. As people share their animals’ offspring with others–along with their knowledge, resources and skills–an expanding network of hope, dignity and self-reliance is created that reaches around the globe.
Heifer’s history This simple idea of giving families a source of food rather than short-term relief–a cow not a cup–caught on and has continued for more than 65 years. Today, millions of families have been given gifts of self-reliance and hope.
We are excited about our partnership and envision a brand new way of giving with Heifer.org. Wish us luck!
We’ve been invited to participate as a featured guest on Josh Dirks’ newest show, Down to Business. Here’s a bio, in their own words:
Down to Business with Josh Dirks is where ad agencies and main street collide. D2B is a global business programme that provides in-depth coverage on marketing and advertising, which impact businesses from one-man bands to Fortune 500 companies. From Random Original Headquarters, Josh Dirks checks trends, reviews past successes and failures, and sits down with feature guest businesses to audit their current and past marketing strategies and tactics, pointing out what has been working and some possible areas for improvement to provide a higher return on investment of their marketing dollars.
We’re going to be talking about Annapurna, our newest game and how we’re going to be leveraging our social networks to launch our media strategy. It is going to be a great media exposure opportunity, and we expect to learn a lot, so stay tuned for updates!
We’re sowing seeds of change in our newest game, Annapurna – a spoof on the Zynga classic Farmville, except this time, the animals you buy and the seeds you collect are donated to real farmers and their community with the help of Heifer.org. The touch-enabled game gives players a chance to complete farming related missions and learn about the facts about hunger and poverty in Africa.
You earn karma points to use in the game to upgrade your gear and achievement badges to post on your Facebook Wall. Earn bragging rights, do good in the world, learn about developing countries and teach your children how to make a difference in someone’s life, all while playing a game. Become a HERO in real life: how awesome is THAT!
Join us. Help us end hunger: let’s give hope!
Annapurna is a Sanskrit name which literally means “full of food” (feminine form), but is normally translated as Goddess of the Harvests. In Hinduism, Annapurna is “the universal and timeless kitchen-goddess . . . the mother who feeds. Without her there is starvation, a universal fear: this makes Annapurna a universal goddess. . . .
Coming in Fall 2011, Annapurna will be released on the iOS platform, followed closely by the Android and the Windows Phone 7 platforms. Stay tuned for updates: we’ll be updating our blog with more information!
Imagine this: you’re adventuring through some random jungle somewhere (what to do? You like ADVENTURE!), when you stumble upon a village of very frightened people! When you discreetly enquire about their concerns, you find out that the village has been subject to a relentless barrage of falling celestial objects every night on Mondays! Luckily for the people of the mysterious village, their local shaman has predicted the arrival of a hero to rescue them.
Looks like the villagers think it’s you! But can you do it? Will you help the villagers? Play StarSmasher* to find out. Coming soon to iOS platforms in Fall 2011!
Stay tuned for updates.
(*Help us decide on a name for this game. Email us at [email protected] The winning entry gets naming credits!)