Indie game news, reviews, previews and everything else concerning indie game development.

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Fieldrunners Now Free to Play via HTML5

Fieldrunners, a long time popular tower defense game for iOS, has released an HTML5 version of their game to be played in any HMTL5 compatible browser for the low, low price of absolutely nothing… kind of.

You see, the game is currently free in the browser (just click the link below!) but that doesn’t mean you can get everything the game offers for free. The game uses the contemporary “Free to Play” model where you can access a large portion of the game for free but if you want the extras, like more maps, etc. you’ll have to pay. It’s still a pretty good deal, but there are definitely some monetization plans here.


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Subatomic Studios’ Fieldrunners HD One-Day Discount

This Thursday, the Android market will recieve a tower defense treat from Subatomic Studios. Any game that wins “Best Mobile Game” and “Achievement in Art” awards at the 2009 Mobile Independent Games Festival probably doesn’t need to be given away at a discount, but apparently that’s how Subatomic roles.

[Ed note: this game was originally marked as free but Alec Shobin from Subatomic games issued a retractment, stating that Android Marketplace doesn't allow devs to go from initially free to paid.] Upon its release on June 30th, for the first 24 hours anyone with Android Marketplace access can get the game for $0.99; after which, it will be marked up to $2.99.

Remember that this game won an art award before its Android exclusive HD conversion.  Check out the updated visuals below (click on the image for more detail):

One photo may not be enough to decide if you want Fieldrunners HD, so in the meantime, check out the impressive SD visuals in regular Fieldrunners with this gameplay trailer. After watching, please be so kind as to return to DIYGamer and share your impressions!


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On One’s Own: Casual Gaming Concerns

Critter_CrunchOn One’s Own is a column about, you guessed it, independent gaming. The wayward wanderings of DIYGamer’s James Bishop might lead to probing art, gameplay, design, reception or a number of other aspects related to independent games. But you can rest assured that all things indie will be carefully considered on a weekly basis.

There are some things that people just were not meant to understand. Jell-o, for example, is one of those things that continue to be amazing as long as you do not try to figure out exactly how it works. The stuff is delicious, bouncy, satisfying and gelatinous. If you ever want to turn yourself off of Jell-o forever, read up on gelatin. Scary stuff there, I’m serious.

This is the realization I have come to over the past couple weeks as I have had some time off from DIYGamer: I enjoy some kinds of games only when I am not thinking about it. This is sort of a shocking realization for someone who has spent the past two years looking for deeper meanings in videogames and sharing his criticisms with the world.

Critter Crunch vomitImagine my shock that this kind of enjoyment, the mindless, pointless enjoyment of gaming, extended to indie games that some of my peers had long protested were amazing and worth the effort to purchase and play extensively. By peers, I don’t just mean random people my age that attend classes with me or fellow coworkers, but other journalists in the field.

Luckily, in both cases that I will mention below, I received the games for what I would call “more-or-less” free. Best Buy stockpiled some coupons for me which I then turned into virtual cash via a Playstation Network card and the Nintendo DSi came with points that I had neglected to spend until recently.

In the same little shopping spree, I finally picked up Critter Crunch by Capybara Games on PS3 and Fieldrunners by Subatomic Studios for the DSi. Critter Crunch is one of those games that a number of people were quick to inform me that I absolutely had to play. Fieldrunners was not exactly recommended by folks I know, but goodness did I hear a lot about it in general. Besides, Desktop Tower Defense is a frequent addition to my rather normal day job, so I figured I would give it a go.

Critter CrunchThis is where the bad news starts. Critter Crunch has thoroughly failed to impress me. Other than being amusing to try to describe to someone—you eat the jewels inside bugs and then attempt to vomit enough into your child’s mouth—and very, very pretty to look at, my stint with Critter Crunch has been largely spent with a frown. It’s gorgeous, goofy but just is in no way substantial enough.

Perhaps this is all a matter of perception, though. Bejeweled, for example, is not exactly marketed as having a wonderful narrative, gripping plot and engaging characters. The same goes for any of the various games within the genre that Bejeweled has helped make so popular. Going to Panera Bread and expecting a steak dinner might leave a person dissatisfied but maybe they should try a sandwich, soup or salad. Results may vary, of course, but the principle remains the same: misguided expectations are only that; misguided.

Part of the problem is a lack of time in general, sure, so games like Mass Effect 2 or even Machinarium have been shelved in favor of more accessible titles for me. Even Valkyria Chronicles, a game that has recently entranced me, is not exactly the best to try and pick up for some quick playing before heading off to work.

Desktop Tower DefenseCritter Crunch has the exact same downfalls for me, though, being relegated to console play, but is a type of game that is entirely meant to be played while waiting in line, during long stints in the bathroom or in the backseat whilst carpooling. Someone, somewhere, clearly was not considering that a person might actually sit down on a sofa and attempt to give it an extended play. I refer again to Jell-o, as it might be delicious and you can eat a whole lot of it, but there sure isn’t any substance there.

Even ignoring Critter Crunch as a “possibly better if it were mobile for me” kind of game, I still have my handy-dandy Nintendo DSi and Fieldrunners. Unfortunately, it just so happens to be a tower defense game and, as everyone knows, there hasn’t been any real innovation in the tower defense genre since, well, people started calling it a genre.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I actually have a weakness for Ye Olde Tower Defense. I thoroughly enjoy every single minute I spend plotting out my building structure in order to cover the most ground in the best way. I have only recently been turned on to the whole idea of selling outlying towers in order to bolster defenses where you need them most. If you thought that your MMO of choice required micromanagement, pick up Fieldrunners and get back to me.

FieldrunnersAn epiphany occurred to me the other day however that has since tainted each and every time that I play the game. I thought to myself, “I really should get to working on my column… right after this level.” When I did finally put it down, I considered the meaning of this decision process.

What, exactly, did I accomplish in my time? At least with some games, there is a bigger picture to consider. While playing Grand Theft Auto, I might struggle with the comic depiction of violence in our daily lives. While playing Braid, I might consider the entire concept of perception among other things. While playing Fieldrunners, on the other hand, I usually consider how to better stop the little guys from getting to the other side of the virtual field. Especially those damn helicopters, pesky things that they are.

As a graduate from Indiana University, perhaps I could better utilize my time. It’d be like constantly playing Solitaire. I relate the entire process to a concept from food: empty calories. Sure, Fieldrunners might taste great going down but jeez, is there anything in there that actually nurtures my thoughts at all?

FieldrunnersThe casual gaming scene screams of fast food to me. And yes, I did just personify an entire section of entertainment. To repeat myself, there’s nothing of substance to be found but most people can agree that they’re enjoyable. The problem is not that they are not enjoyable but that they hold no meaning beyond that. Solitaire might be a fun pastime but there’s a reason why it’s called that: it is meant to pass the time.

And maybe that’s part of the problem. Muddled definitions and various ways of describing videogames have existed since the medium’s inception. Is it video games or videogames? Are they more like games or more like interactive movies? How do they relate to traditional literature?

These are all questions that I have considered from time to time and take a toll on how this argument is viewed by any given reader. Depending on what you make of those questions, you might agree or disagree vehemently with me.

If nothing else, I propose that the casual gaming sector be relegated to being a pastime while all others are referred to as hobbyist. There’s a reason baseball isn’t a national hobby.


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‘Fieldrunners’ Available on Mobile Phones Everywhere

fieldrunners2Thanks to Hands-On Mobile, Inc., Subatomic Studios monster-hit Fieldrunners is now available across all major carriers and app stores in the United States and worldwide. In case you’ve missed out on what Fieldrunners is, it’s one of the best and most popular strategy/tower defense games. Fieldrunners has spent time on the Top 20 of iTunes since its initial release in October 2008. The game has also won numerous awards including “Best Mobile Game” at the 2009 Independent Games Festival.

The press release does not note specific pricing, however, as most likely this can be attributed to different platforms and services charging different amounts. For more information, check out the publisher’s website and the full press release below.

Press Release:

FAN FAVORITE FIELDRUNNERS NOW AVAILABLE ON MOBILE PHONES


Best-selling iPhone game Launches with Mobile Carriers Nationwide

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – April 7, 2010 – One of the most popular games to hit iTunes is now available on mobile phones everywhere from Hands-On Mobile, Inc., the world’s leading publisher and developer of connected games and applications. From developer Subatomic Studios, Fieldrunners is the addicting tower defense game that has players build towers in strategic patterns to stop waves of increasingly determined enemies and to extend the game as long as possible. A fan favorite with staying power, Fieldrunners has been a top 20 app in iTunes since its release in October 2008. The game is available for download now on all major carriers and app stores in the U.S. and worldwide through distribution with I-play.

“This game is truly addicting as we’ve seen with the huge fan base its amassed as an App Store favorite, said Lynn Monica, VP & GM of Mobile Games, Hands-On Mobile. “We saw a great opportunity to take this game cross-platform and have worked closely with Subatomic Studios to create the same addictive experience that has captured iPhone users and kept them coming back for more.”

Fieldrunners is an easy to learn, difficult to master title which promises endless game-play. Players are bombarded with relentless soldiers, military vehicles and even helicopters. To survive, players must continually upgrade their existing tower units and preserve cash to buy more powerful weapons for an arsenal to blast the Fieldrunners to oblivion. Success depends on outsmarting enemy units and steering them into well defended areas. If the Fieldrunners get past players’ strategic defenses, the game is over.

One of the all-time top paid applications, Fieldrunners is the winner of both the “Best Mobile Game” and “Excellence in Art” awards at GDC 2009 and Time Magazine ranked Fieldrunners in its “Top 10 Video Games of 2008.” The Fieldrunners official Web site now has more than 3,000 members and 6,000 posts from fans around the world.

Key Features:

  • Fast, fun, addictive strategy gameplay
  • Classic and endless play modes
  • Translating all-touch controls for required traditional keypad devices
  • Fun art and sound effects


For more information, please visit www.HandsOn.com, www.Facebook.com/HandsOnMobile, or follow us on Twitter @HandsOnMobile.

About Hands-On Mobile:
Hands-On Mobile, Inc. is a premier mobile technology company as well as an award-winning developer and publisher of mobile entertainment. Its portfolio consists of the critically acclaimed Guitar Hero® Mobile and WPT® Texas Hold ‘Em games and the universally popular Astrology Zone® Premier and NFLT Mobile Live applications. Hands-On offers global distribution of the world’s best entertainment brands and content from partners including Activision, Billboard, CBS, NBA, NBC Universal, and World Poker Tour. Utilizing its proprietary mobile development platform, Hands-On is a leader in providing complete mobile application solutions to companies worldwide. Established in 2001, Hands-On Mobile is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information please visit www.HandsOn.com.


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‘Fieldrunners’ to be an All-New Experience on iPad

fieldrunnersIn the gaming industry, we get words such as “revolutionary” and “ground-breaking” thrown around all the time. Generally, it’s about something such as 3D or motion-control, but Subatomic Studios’ latest press release promises something extraordinary for the upcoming launch of Fieldrunners on the iPad. Fieldrunners is an immensely popular tower-defense game and for good reason too, seeing as how the game topped IGF Mobile last year.

As is the case with so many other of the popular titles on the iPhone/iPod Touch, Fieldrunners is available on the iPad as well. In fact, Subatomic has even decided to change the name to Fieldrunners for the iPad. In addition, the studio revealed that hopeful fans of DLC will not be let down, as both paid and free DLC are on their way!

“When fans see what we have in store for them, they will be ecstatic. While we cannot reveal details just yet, let’s just put it this way: it’s one strategy, but double the fun!”

- Leo Montenegro, Creative Director at Subatomic Studios

While the full and possibly mind-blowing details haven’t been announced yet, the press release provides just a few details of what we can expect:

-Awesome visual style with high-definition graphics
-Highly balanced, addictive and fun gameplay
-New, spectacular visual effects
-Music wonderfully themed to each environment
-New but intuitive interface elements
-All of the latest maps, fieldrunners, and towers – and more to come!

Fieldrunners for the iPad will be out on the same day as the iPad, April 3rd. Its priced at a solid $7.99. For more info, check out the full press release below.

Press Release:

Fieldrunners crafts a revolutionary DLC experience for the Apple iPad!


BEAVERTON, Oregon – Fieldrunners, the award-winning and top-selling iPhone and iPod Touch game, is planning a revolutionary experience on Apple’s new iPad.

“We have chosen to name it ‘Fieldrunners for the iPad’ for a simple reason.” says Leo Montenegro, Creative Director of Subatomic Studios. “New features have been crafted to take full advantage of the iPad platform. It is not just another HD game port. You will still get to enjoy the same awesome game-with more fantastic graphics than ever-but we are adding new features that are game-changing, things that could not have been done on the iPhone. We are extremely excited as this brings the genre to a whole new level. When fans see what we have in store for them, they will be ecstatic. While we cannot reveal details just yet, let’s just put it this way: it’s one strategy, but double the fun!”

In addition to a ground-breaking experience, Fieldrunners for the iPad features:

-Awesome visual style with high-definition graphics
-Highly balanced, addictive and fun gameplay
-New, spectacular visual effects
-Music wonderfully themed to each environment
-New but intuitive interface elements
-All of the latest maps, fieldrunners, and towers – and more to come!

“We have created an entirely new way of playing Fieldrunners,” says Jamie Gotch, CTO of Subatomic Studios. “Once the iPad has launched, we will be able to fine-tune and test these new features so we can release them to our fans. You can also rest assured that we plan to support both free and paid DLC for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad well into the future.”

Fieldrunners for the iPad will be available for purchase at iPad’s launch on April 3rd.

The iPad is being anticipated industry-wide to be as much of a game changer as the iPhone, featuring a cutting-edge full capacitive multi-touch interface for browsing, email, photos, video, music, games and books.

Fieldrunners for the iPad is available for purchase on April 3rd for $7.99.


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Nintendo Lovers Rejoice! ‘Fieldrunners’ Available on DSi

fieldrunnersIf you own an iPod Touch/iPhone then you must know what the hell Fieldrunners is. It’s like…the definitive tower defense game. I say that not because it’s an archetypal replica of how a tower-defense title should run; rather, what’s so special about Fieldrunners is that it exploded onto the tower-defense scene when so many games looked generic. After Fieldrunners, there have been countless attempts on the iPhone to recreate a similar type of success but none have done it quite as successfully as Subatomic Studios’ App Store extraordinaire. Even recognized at the Independent Games Festival in 2009, the game took home the “Best Mobile Game” and “Achievement in Art” awards.

Anyhow, now that you know exactly what Fieldrunners is (assuming you didn’t), the good news is that it’s available for DSi owners as part of the DSiWare distribution platform. Expect to fork over 500 Wii Points ($5) for the title. (Strange since the App Store version is only $2.99.)

Here’s the full press release from Subatomic Studios:

Fieldrunners Marches onto the Nintendo DSiTM!


BEAVERTON, Oregon – Fieldrunners, the award winning tower defense game is now available on Nintendo DSiWare™! Players can look forward to enjoying all of the latest content for Fieldrunners including the latest Skyway and Frostbite expansion packs.

“We are excited and proud to bring Fieldrunners to the Nintendo DSi™”, said Ash Monif, COO of Subatomic Studios. “Subatomic Studios has partnered with DoubleTap Games to create a 100% genuine Fieldrunners experience on the Nintendo DSi™ that we feel is incredibly fun and addicting.”

New on the Nintendo DSi™ version of Fieldrunners is the Command HUD. Now you can play the field like never before with the Command HUD showing you key strategic information about your towers, resources and enemies!

“DoubleTap had a great time working on Fieldrunners for the Nintendo DSi™ and we think it is one of the most visually appealing games on DSiWare™. I want to thank Subatomic for working with us to come up with some great features that really take advantage of the dual screens”, said Kurt Bickenbach, Co-Founder and Director of Production at DoubleTap Games.

Fieldrunners for Nintendo DSi™ is available now for North America audiences for 500 points on DSiWare™ and will soon be released for European audiences.

Promotional DSiWare™ builds are available for press and reviewers. If interested please contact us!

About DoubleTap Games
DoubleTap Games creates unique, high quality entertainment software. Focusing on multiplayer and online multiplayer games, DoubleTap builds fresh and innovative games for popular gaming platforms. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the DoubleTap team carries extensive experience in crafting online games of varying scale, as well as movie and TV licensed based games such as WALL•E, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Tak, Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Odd Parents, Scooby Doo, Star Wars, and many others, with an understanding of a licenser’s ever-changing properties.

About Subatomic Studios
Subatomic Studios is an award-winning independent developer of video games for handheld and mobile devices. The company’s flagship product “Fieldrunners” was first released for the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms and later won the “Best Mobile Game” and “Achievement in Art” awards at the 2009 Independent Games Festival. It was also featured on the front cover of TIME Magazine and chosen as one of their Top 10 Games of 2008, where it was listed amongst such titles as Grand Theft Auto IV, Little Big Planet, Gears of War 2, Rockband 2 and Spore.