Astraware announces first game releases for Palm webOS devices!

Staffordshire, UK – August 24, 2010 – Astraware® is excited to announce the release of its first games for Palm® webOS™. The first two games, Astraware Sudoku and OddBlob, will initially support Pre™ and Pre Plus devices with support for Pixi™ to be added later.

Astraware has a long and successful history of working closely with Palm. Zap!2000 was the first color game released for Palm OS and for several years Palm smartphones offered at least one Astraware game bundled along with it. Now that Palm has released their PDK development kit, which allows developers greater access to some of the core functions of webOS, Astraware is able to continue that relationship by bringing some of their best-selling games to the platform.

Astraware Sudoku is a multi-award-winning version of the worldwide smash puzzle game. It is packed with features that avid Sudoku players love, including the unique Puzzle of the Day feature, which sees in excess of 20,000 users regularly downloading the daily puzzles and uploading their times on the global leader board. First released for smartphones earlier this year, OddBlob is a cute puzzle-arcade game entirely created from modeling clay, and featuring online leader boards for players to post their high scores in both Strategy and Panic modes.

“We’re delighted to be re-establishing our long-term relationship with Palm, and supporting the new platform with a range of great casual games,” said Howard Tomlinson, CEO of Astraware. “Our experience at supporting well-featured devices in a range of sizes and resolutions has helped us to make our first webOS games a pleasure to play, and we look forward to bringing many more titles to the platform.”

Astraware intends to bring a number of their own-IP games to the webOS platform as well as working with their premium licensor partners to add to the range of quality casual games available in the Palm App Catalog.

“Palm has a rich history with Astraware, and we’re excited to see that relationship continue with the webOS platform,” said Ben Galbraith, director of Developer Marketing, Palm, Inc. “Astraware’s popular titles are a welcome addition to the breadth and quality of webOS games in the Palm App Catalog.”

Astraware Sudoku and OddBlob are available now on the webOS App Catalog, priced $4.99 each. For more information click here.

Palm, webOS, Pre and Pixi are trademarks of Palm, Inc. Astraware® is the registered trademark of Astraware Limited in the U.S. and other territories. All rights reserved. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Astraware releases Brad Mitchum – Lost In Time for Windows Phone!

Staffordshire, UK – August 12th 2010 – Astraware is excited to announce the release of Brad Mitchum: Lost in Time, a fun action arcade game developed by Angel Software and Naaty Design using BitRabbit’s RabbitFactory cross platform game engine.

Brad is an archeologist who has travelled the four corners of the globe in search of lost cities and legendary objects. After discovering and investigating a mysterious talisman, he is thrown back in time and must fight off waves of attacking metallic balls to restore the talisman and find his way home.

Brad Mitchum: Lost in Time is a fun action arcade game inspired by classic ball-shooting titles like Pang or Buster Bros and includes 3 high action game modes: Story – with cinematic sequences and progressive difficulty; Pure – an arcade style mode; and X-trem: a special extra-difficulty mode with combo systems and multiple weapon types for hardcore players.

Brad Mitchum is available for Windows Phone devices with touchscreens (or 5 way d-pad if available) running WM 5 and later, priced at $4.99. For more information click here.

Brad Mitchum is also on Facebook. Become his friend here.

Astraware announces two new games for Windows phone – OddBlob and Police Range

STAFFORDSHIRE, UK – July 14, 2010 – Astraware is pleased to announce the release of two new games for Windows phone and Windows Mobile devices – OddBlob and Police Range.

OddBlob is a fun puzzle arcade game created entirely from modelling clay. Help OddBlob bound across the squishy maze to grab bonuses, chomp fruit, and win points as quickly as he can as the chasing tiles disappear behind. Bounce and double bounce tiles can help you reach your goal or throw you through the gaps to impending peril below, and cake slices earn you a try at the Cake Or Doom mini-puzzle!

Police Range is Astraware’s take on the classic shooting range game. Put your skill and accuracy to the test as you train on the shooting range to become a crack police marksman. Choose from 2 ranges to train on: Target Practice, and Crime Alley, which between them test your accuracy, reaction speeds, eye and nerve!

Both OddBlob and Police Range include Astraware’s new online high score table, which enables players to submit their best scores using wifi or data connection to see how they compare with other players worldwide. Players with non-connected devices can post their scores on the local high score table. Both games also include a range of fun awards and achievements.

OddBlob and Police Range are both available for devices with touchscreens running Windows Mobile or Windows phone 5 and later. Both games are priced $4.99 each, and a special discount will be available to Astraware Newsletter subscribers. To subscribe, click here.

Astraware Creates in Clay!

Staffordshire, UK – March 2nd 2010 – Astraware®, the UK-based smartphone games studio, is excited to reveal details of its newest game creation, OddBlob. The game, starring a groovy purple character with big eyes and an even bigger appetite, features hand-crafted clay graphics modelled by Astraware’s own art team.

In this multi-level arcade game, players guide OddBlob as he bounces intrepidly upwards along a tiled playboard in a choice of 2 play modes, avoiding pitfalls, collecting tasty fruit, and other assorted bonus items. Every piece including animated backgrounds is made of clay.

This unusual approach to graphics creation requires some additional care and effort, as described by Astraware’s lead artist, Mike Hanson…

“We created a load of mock-ups of how OddBlob might look in different art styles, but we selected clay as it has a tactile quality that makes him feel more solid. Once we’d chosen the material we considered how he should look: fat? thin? blue? green? etc.”

“After we settled on the look we had to build him. Rigging and animation was tricky – we couldn’t produce one model which could undergo the stresses of such bouncy movements so we had to build a set of bodies, ready-modelled into the positions, with arms using thin wire to hold them together. That done, we photographed him from 8 directions along with the other game elements, all with the same lighting setup for consistency. Then everything was coloured and processed in Photoshop.”

“I love the fact that modern games don’t always have to be about 3D technology. It’s great to see these classic materials working in games now, reproducing the kind of quirky style once reserved only for TV.”

Whilst adding to the development time and cost compared to more traditional game graphics techniques, creating the original clay elements and then photographing them in high resolution allows the graphics to support a wide range of devices and resolutions – something that fits perfectly with Astraware’s multi-resolution cross-platform strategy.

“Experimenting with a different production style was quite a risk for us, but suits the style of this game so well that it was definitely worthwhile,” said Astraware CEO, Howard Tomlinson. “While we’re continuing to use 2D and 3D graphics in many of our games, we’re really looking forward to trying clay again in a future title!”

For more information on the development of OddBlob including photos of the modelling process, visit Astraware’s Facebook page.

OddBlob will be released across several smartphone platforms in the coming weeks. For more information on availability or to purchase, click here.

Astraware Casino released for Android phones

Staffordshire, UK – January 28th 2010 – Astraware® – the UK-based games studio is pleased to announce the immediate release of Astraware Casino for Android™ phones. The award-winning 11-game pack includes the most popular games played in casinos around the world including Texas Hold ‘Em Poker (Limit and No Limit versions), Roulette, Slots, Blackjack and Craps.

In addition to 11 games, Astraware Casino gives players $1000 in a virtual wallet to begin playing with, has a fun trophy system – the ‘Souvenir Suitcase’, and a virtual bank where players can get an overdraft if they’re down on their luck or stash their cash when they win big!

Astraware Casino supports a wide range of Android devices with the following resolutions: QVGA (240×320), HVGA (320×480), WVGA (480×800), and FWVGA (480×854). Android OS now joins other platforms in Astraware’s game engine and core technology library with multiple resolution support (BlackBerry®, Windows® phone). This bespoke technical system allows Astraware to port and optimize their games for new devices and platforms very quickly and ensures that the company’s games can be kept up to date with ease.

“We’re thrilled to be releasing Astraware Casino for Android devices today,” said David Oakley, Astraware’s Chief Technology Officer. “We’ve designed the game to make the most of each Android phone’s capabilities, from the HTC Tattoo up to the Motorola Droid or Google Nexus One.”

Astraware Casino is available for Android phones on device from Android Market and on the web from Astraware.com and Handmark.com. The game is also available for iPhone™ and iPod® touch, BlackBerry® smartphones, Windows® phone, S60®, and Palm OS®.

For more information visit the Astraware website here, and follow the studio on Twitter and Facebook.

Handmark Spins Off Mobile Games Studio as it Refines Focus

KANSAS CITY, MO and LONDON, UK – January 27, 2010 – Handmark®, the world’s leading developer and distributor of mobile applications and services, today announced it has spun off its mobile games studio, Astraware, as the company streamlines its business to focus on other strategic areas of mobile development and support.

Astraware returns to the management of Howard Tomlinson and David Oakley, two of the original founders, and will remain a Handmark preferred partner. Handmark will continue to support Astraware on a variety of distribution and promotional opportunities.

“We saw a great opportunity to join forces with Astraware to help create and extend a collection of fun, well-designed mobile games titles to a new audience, and we did just that,” said Paul Reddick, Handmark CEO. “I still see a great opportunity for their team to continue proving their leadership as a major player in mobile games and we will continue to work alongside them.”

Handmark acquired Astraware in January 2008. Together the companies have launched more than 20 games, including the popular GTS World Racing and Platypus for iPhone, as well as its multi award-winning Astraware Sudoku for BlackBerry smartphones.

“Handmark has always been and will continue to be a trusted partner,” said Howard Tomlinson, Astraware CEO. “We look forward to continuing to deliver the very best in mobile games, focusing on the core of our business which is making your mobile experience fun and exciting across new platforms and technologies!”

This follows a recent announcement in which Handmark publicized its aggressive plans to take more than 500 publishers mobile in 2010. The company is refining its focus to lead the rapidly growing mobile publishing market, as the only partner to offer a full-service mobile solution for newspapers, magazines and other content providers.

The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Handmark Releases Down 4 The Count Boxing Game on App Store

KANSAS CITY, MO (USA) and LONDON, UK – Aug. 26, 2009 – Handmark® today announced Down 4 The Count for iPhone™ and iPod® touch, a full-on action arcade boxing game, is available on the App Store. Building on its catalog of more than 35 games and apps in the App Store, Down 4 The Count utilizes the innovative Multi-Touch user interface to allow players to touch to punch, swipe to dodge, and hold to block as they take on multiple challengers each with their own unique style and special skills. As a feature of iPhone OS 3.0, Down 4 The Count allows players to create their own boxing-themed playlist from their iTunes Music Library, within the game.

“We’re delighted to work with SpiderMonk to help publish this exciting new boxing game for iPhone users to enjoy,” said Cassidy Lackey, vice president of Handmark Studios. “Down 4 The Count is a great addition to our catalog of quality titles and we look forward to helping the SpiderMonk team bring more of their unique, independently developed titles to iPhone in the future.”

Down 4 The Count sees players take on 10 challenging opponents in bouts of up to three rounds. Players must knock-out Banker Bob, Zed The Zombie and other fighters to progress through the rankings. The final challenge comes with Cyborg 3300, who must be defeated to become World Champion.

Down 4 The Count is the first game to launch as a result of a new publishing agreement between SpiderMonk Entertainment and Handmark. SpiderMonk has previously created games for consoles, handhelds and PCs. Down 4 The Count is its first offering for iPhone and iPod touch users.

Down 4 The Count is available at the introductory price of $0.99 for a limited time from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

For more information and to view a demo video, click here.

Handmark Releases Astraware Sudoku and Astraware Casino for Symbian S60 phones

KANSAS CITY, MO (USA) and LONDON, UK – Aug. 21, 2009 – Handmark® has today released its award-winning Astraware Sudoku and Casino games for S60® phones, including the new Nokia 5800 and N97 touch screen devices.

Recognized as one of the best Sudoku games for smartphones, Astraware Sudoku is packed with features, including its popular Puzzle of the Day which allows players to compete against other players worldwide to post the best time for that day’s puzzle, in addition to an integrated Puzzle Builder which creates billions of unique puzzles. The game offers a range of different options to help players solve puzzles including manual or automatic pencilmarks, a smart hints system and the hold and highlight system which can display an overlay for a specific number or pencilmark helping players to see where to look and what to look for. Astraware Sudoku is suitable for all levels of players and includes six levels of difficulty.

Astraware Casino features 11 of the best-known games found in casinos around the world, including Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit Poker, Roulette, Slots, Craps, and Blackjack. The game includes full instructions on how to play each of the 11 games and gives players $1,000 in a virtual wallet to begin playing. Higher stake tables and games unlock as players progress. Astraware Casino also includes a fun achievements system – the ‘Souvenir Suitcase’. During the game players will unlock different ‘Souvenirs’ to place in their suitcase to mark special achievements in the game. Souvenirs include special chips, fluffy toys, and fun items of clothing.

Astraware Sudoku and Astraware Casino are both available now at www.handmark.com for S60 3rd Edition and later devices as well as several other smartphone platforms. For more information visit: astraware.com/sudoku and astraware.com/casino.

Handmark Releases Astraware Casino on App Store with iTunes Library Integration

KANSAS CITY, MO – July 30, 2009 – Handmark® today announced the release of Astraware Casino – a fun, easy-to-use pack of 11 of the most popular casino games from around the world – on the App Store. Astraware Casino is the first new game release from Handmark to use the iTunes Library Integration feature of iPhone OS 3.0. Users with iPhone OS 3.0 compatible devices can select My iPod Music from the game’s Options menu and choose individual songs from their collection to create the perfect casino-themed playlist!

Handmark will be incorporating iTunes Library integration into a range of their existing and forthcoming iPhone™ and iPod® touch games, allowing players to create their own soundtrack for each game. Updates to existing titles with this great new feature will be rolled out over the summer.

“We are excited to be able to use these new APIs to enhance our games offerings,” said Cassidy Lackey, vice president of Handmark Studios. “It’s great to be able to design your own playlist to accompany Astraware Casino – there’s nothing like a bit of relaxing lounge music when you’re enjoying a game of Poker!”

Astraware Casino includes all the usual games you’d expect to find in casinos – Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit and Limit Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and Slots, as well as some more specialist games like Baccarat, 3 Card Poker, Video Derby, and Keno. Astraware Casino gives players $1,000 virtual dollars to begin playing with and also includes a fun trophy system – the Souvenir Suitcase – with awards given for a range of achievements in the game.

Astraware Casino is available at the introductory price of $0.99 for a limited time from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.

For more information and to view a demo video, click here.

Handmark and Sandlot Games Release Popular Trading Adventure ‘Tradewinds 2’ on Apple App Store

KANSAS CITY, MO – June 23, 2009 – Handmark® and Sandlot Games® today announced the release of Tradewinds® 2, part of Sandlot Games’ popular trading adventure franchise, on the Apple App Store.

Based on the acclaimed PC game by Sandlot Games, Tradewinds 2 is a highly immersive adventure for iPhone and iPod touch where players navigate the pirate-infested waters of the Caribbean. Be a master commander, defeating pirates and plundering their vast hordes of booty, or, play it safe by trading exotic island goods, gradually amassing untold wealth, power and influence.

“Once again Handmark has done an excellent job bringing another Sandlot Game to millions of iPhone and iPod touch users,” said Daniel Bernstein, CEO Sandlot Games. “We’re very proud of Tradewinds 2 for the Apple App Store and we believe that users worldwide will once again get swept away in the unique gameplay and story that unites the Tradewinds series.”

Gamers who enjoy trading and strategy games will love Tradewinds 2. Players can choose one of 5 characters to play as, or create their own using the ‘Character Generator’; explore 20 different ports each with different buildings and characteristics; and enjoy over 100 hours of gameplay across Story and Free Trade modes. Players new to this genre will gain an introduction via the full tutorial in Tradewinds 2.

“Following the success of Glyph® and Westward®, we’re excited to work with Sandlot Games to bring Tradewinds 2 to the iPhone and iPod touch,” said Cassidy Lackey, vice president of Handmark Studios. “The venerated franchise has a loyal online offering, and this immersive version reinforces our intention to bring high quality, value-packed games to the Apple App Store.”

Tradewinds 2 is available now for $4.99 from Apple’s App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore. For more information about Tradewinds 2, along with screenshots and a video demo, please click here.