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MOBILE GAME REVIEW 12/12/2007 – Slide N' Loop, You'd be loopy to miss this one

Vivendi Launches Slide N' Loop - October 15, 2007

Legendary Toy Inventor Zeki Orak Helps Develop Innovative Mobile Puzzle Game for Vivendi Games Mobile - October 15, 2007

Vivendi preps for Slide-n-Loop debut - June 21, 2007

Digital River provides e-commerce operations for Puzzoo - December 19, 2003



MOBILE GAME REVIEW 12/12/2007
Slide N' Loop You'd be loopy to miss this one

Product: Slide N' Loop
Developer: Puzzoo Games
Publisher: Vivendi Games Mobile
Format: Mobile
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1
Format: J2ME
File size: 140KB
Reviewed on: V600i other handsets
Version: Europe

by Fraser MacInnes

Let us start by saying mobile phones don't need any more match-'em-up puzzle games. There are already more of them than anyone could play in a lifetime and many are very good. The genre has arguably already reached its zenith.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, allow us to swerve wildly onto a different track altogether and contradict ourselves by saying mobiles need more match-'em-up puzzle games that are as good as Slide N' Loop.

With a name like Slide N' Loop, you'd be forgiven for thinking that this game is some sort of Line Rider clone, but it isn't. It's a match-'em puzzle game and despite its flaws is probably one of the best and most original that we've played this year.

So what makes it special? The game consists of a grid filled with different icons, and a main character called Zia that can move around the edges of the grid. The objective is to match three or more of the same icon in a row in order to make them disappear. You do this by positioning Zia with the thumbstick (or the '2', '6', '4' and '8' keys, respectively) next to the row - either vertical or horizontal - that you want to move, and finally pressing '5' to move it one place away from you. The catch is that if your action doesn't result in a match, you have a heart deducted. And you only have three to lose.

As you progress (which happens every time you match a certain quota of icons per level), various power-ups and hindrances are introduced to the mix. For example, Zia can collect a paddle that enables you to whack a row so that it cycles until you tell it to stop, making it possible to match icons that are separated by more than one block. Certain matched combinations also cause the controls to momentarily be reversed or limit Zia's ability to move quickly around the grid.

Sporadically throughout the levels, enemies are introduced to play. These also try to match icons in the grid, thereby adding a frenetic pace to the proceedings, requiring you to execute the potential groups of three you are eyeing quickly - certainly before your opponent either gets there first or scuppers your plan by rearranging the grid with a move of their own.

It is when this aspect is in play that the game really shines. It has moments where you are clinging to an advantage by the skin of your teeth, not unlike Bomberman, coupled with the methodical satisfaction of a more traditional match-'em-up game such as Chuzzle. Unfortunately, this aspect is also one of the game's biggest missed opportunities.

A Bluetooth multiplayer option would really have come into its own here and although playing against the AI is fun, swearing blue murder at your phone doesn't carry with it the same sense of closure as doing the same to a human opponent.

That's not to say this isn't a reasonably full package. Completing the Adventure mode unlocks two other game types, Chromos and Survival, which does help to pad out the relatively slim 16 available levels.

There are other problems. The presentation, though great in-game, is buggy in the front-end and certain menu options occasionally disappear and become hard to navigate. Even so, that hardly matters when the core mechanic here is everything that match-'em-up puzzles have long since ceased to be: it is imaginative, it is original and it is addictive. Highly recommended.

PG TIPS

-Don't be afraid to use up one or two of your hearts to line up a good combo, as doing so will replenish your health as soon as you execute the move.

-You can dash across the entire grid, meaning you don't always have to skirt round the edges (hence the 'Loop' in the title, apparently). Be sure to make use of this, especially when trying to position yourself somewhere where you can get the better of your opponent.

-Go for combos. Getting individual groups of three is fine for plodding through the levels where you're on your own on the grid but when there are enemies around the only way to beat them quickly is by racking up those bonus points.

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Vivendi Launches Slide N' Loop
October 15, 2007

Vivendi Games Mobile, a division of Vivendi Games has announced the launch of quest-driven puzzle game, Slide N' Loop , developed in collaboration with toy inventor Zeki Orak. Slide N' Loop is now available on mobile phones throughout North America and is to be available in Europe in November.

The Slide N' Loop mobile game asks players to assist the main character in the game, a young girl named Zia, to find four pieces of a magic antique medallion so she can save her village. Players loop around the board and slide matching objects into places to score points.

Slide N' Loop features 20 different levels, with each stage adding new elements. Players score points by matching three, four or five tiles of the same colored objects in a row, in no more than three consecutive moves.

" Slide N' Loop was designed as a brain teaser to satisfy both puzzle fans and strategy game enthusiasts as well as anyone up for a new and exciting challenge," said Paul Maglione, president of Vivendi Games Mobile. "Zeki Orak was the natural choice as the designer of this game because of his significant background in creating truly amazing puzzles that push the limits of the mind."


By Mathew Kumar

2007-10-15 07:00:00

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Legendary Toy Inventor Zeki Orak Helps Develop Innovative Mobile Puzzle Game for Vivendi Games Mobile - October 15, 2007

Slide N' Loop the Latest Mind Boggling Puzzle with Thrilling Quest Driven Strategy

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Vivendi Games Mobile, a division of Vivendi Games, today announced the launch of an exciting new quest-driven puzzle game, Slide N' Loop. Developed in collaboration with veteran toy inventor Zeki Orak, Slide N' Loop combines puzzle strategy with adventure-style game play. Slide N' Loop is now available on mobile phones throughout North America and will be available in Europe in November.

The Slide N' Loop mobile game challenges players to assist the main character in the game, a young girl named Zia, find four pieces of a magic antique medallion so she can save her village. Players loop around the board and slide matching objects into places to score points.

"Slide N' Loop was designed as a brain teaser to satisfy both puzzle fans and strategy game enthusiasts as well as anyone up for a new and exciting challenge," said Paul Maglione, president of Vivendi Games Mobile. "Zeki Orak was the natural choice as the designer of this game because of his significant background in creating truly amazing puzzles that push the limits of the mind."

Slide N' Loop for mobile is one of the first web-inspired puzzle games to introduce enemy bosses which Zia must battle to get all four medallion fragments. The Slide N' Loop game presents players with 20 different levels of play -- each stage adding new unique elements that are more challenging than the next. Players score points by matching three, four or five tiles of the same colored objects in a row, in no more than three consecutive moves. An intuitive, casual game that requires deep concentration and a mind for puzzle games, one simple move creates a chain reaction where anything can happen.

A well-respected game designer, Zeki Orak is himself a fan of brain teasers and has many game play patents to his name. Orak was the brains behind the hugely popular handheld strategy game, "Lite3," which sold more than one million copies in its first year alone. Vivendi Games Mobile worked with Orak to incorporate his original vision for the game and then layered on graphics and visual elements and developed the storyline and characters.

About Vivendi Games Mobile

Vivendi Games Mobile ( http://www.vgmobile.com/ ), a division of Vivendi Games, creates and publishes quality titles for the mobile games market. The division runs a global business, with its headquarters, operations and an internal development team in Paris, a US-based team in Los Angeles and its Centerscore studio in San Mateo , California . The company publishes games based on original IP, popular entertainment licenses and classic Sierra Entertainment IP, which are distributed by more than 90 operators and dozens of Web portals in 60 countries around the world. Vivendi Games Mobile

SOURCE Vivendi Games Mobile

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Vivendi preps for Slide-n-Loop debut
June 21, 2007

By Sue Marek

Vivendi Games Mobile has ratcheted up its creative juices and next month will debut Slide-n-Loop, an intuitive, fun casual game designed by Zeki Orak, president of Puzzoo Games. Orak, a well-respected game designer, was the brains behind the hugely popular handheld strategy game, "Lite3," which sold over a million copies in its first year alone. Slide-n-Loop will be available in July and will make its debut on all major operator decks this summer, says Paul Maglione, president of Vivendi Games Mobile.

The game, which will be available on the BREW platform, is the first time that Vivendi has collaborated with Orak. "He was one of the first developers I met when I entered the business," Maglione says. "I thought he was a very interesting guy with some original ideas."

While the game incorporates Orak's original vision of game play, Vivendi layered on graphics and visual elements and developed the storyline and characters. "We saw the game evolve from a clever game play idea, to a deep-and-wide product for this genre of mobile games," Maglione says.

The BREW platform, according to Maglione, allowed the company to add complexity and graphics. "Graphics and rendering on BREW are quicker, which is nice for an action puzzle game," Maglione says. "BREW allows us to showcase the game in the best possible light."

Orak has many patents on game play. He is a connoisseur of brain functions and processing. "I like how the brain functions," Orak says. With Slide-n-Loop, he has created a game that requires deep concentration. "You make one simple move and so many things happen. It causes a chain reaction," Orak says.

Orak's firm, Puzzoo, was founded in 1999 and develops both Internet and mobile games. "I believe in creating new concepts and new ideas. Instead of taking old concepts and improving upon them, most of my games are new concepts," Orak says.

From the start, Orak designed Slide-n-Loop as a mobile game, which is a challenge for many developers. "Being able to entertain people with a small screen is difficult," Orak says. "But I believe it is a tremendous opportunity. Game play is more intriguing on mobile."

Slide-n-Loop will cost around $6.99 to download and $2.99 for a monthly subscription.

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DIGITAL RIVER PROVIDES E-COMMERCE OPERATIONS FOR PUZZOO
Supports multiple online sales channels for Puzzoo's gaming software

MINNEAPOLIS-December 19, 2003 - Digital River, Inc. (NASDAQ: DRIV), a global leader in ecommerce outsourcing, today announced that it signed an e-commerce agreement with Puzzoo, a premier creator of high quality, original games for personal computers and mobile phone devices. Based on the agreement, Digital River is providing Puzzoo with a multi-channel ecommerce solution to support the online marketing and sales of its recreational software. The recently launched initiative includes a branded online store at www.puzzoo.com, access to a channel of 600 online retailers and joint e-marketing opportunities across Digital River 's ecommerce network of nearly 34,000 companies.

"Our e-commerce network continues to grow as more companies see the efficiency gains and increased revenue opportunities that can be generated by working with one e-commerce partner to access multiple e-commerce channels," said Dave Alampi, Digital River 's vice president of marketing. "We can save companies time, expense and resources in creating a multi-pronged approach to marketing, selling and delivering their products in an online environment. We look forward to working with Puzzoo in our e-commerce network." Digital River is not only providing Puzzoo access to multiple online sales channels, but also handling all of the services necessary for running its new online store, located at www.puzzoo.com. In addition to implementing, hosting and managing the site, Digital River is providing order management, fraud prevention, customer service, e-marketing and digital product fulfillment. Visitors to Puzzoo's online store can choose from the publisher's popular software game line, which includes Pix Wiz®, Looper Puzzle®, Exor®, Fortune Pond®, TriQ® and other titles. "We were interested in creating more online traffic for our store, increasing exposure for our software titles and growing our online business," said Zeki Orak, Puzzoo's president. "We decided to outsource our e-commerce services to Digital River because the company's e-commerce solution offered us a low-risk path to a well-established ecommerce network, complete e-marketing program and revenue upside. We look forward to working with Digital River and its channel partners to maximize the availability of our games worldwide, thereby getting our products into the hands of more people in more markets."

About Puzzoo, Inc.

Puzzoo, Inc. (http://www.puzzoo.com) is a premier creator of high quality, varied, original games. Based on over 25 years of game development experience, Puzzoo's challenging strategic games and puzzles appeal to a wide demographic base of users. Offering a unique selection of stimulating brain games, educational fun, and a variety of amusing play, Puzzoo® is dedicated to being a creative and innovative source for exceptional recreational games for PCs, Macs and mobile phone devices. Puzzoo's mobile games are currently distributed through wireless carriers in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and North America .


About Digital River, Inc.

Digital River, Inc., a global leader in e-commerce outsourcing, builds and manages online businesses for nearly 34,000 companies worldwide. Its e-commerce solution and infrastructure are designed to help companies of all sizes maximize online revenues as well as cut the costs and reduce the risks associated with running an e-commerce operation. The Digital River international e-commerce suite includes site development and hosting, order management, fraud prevention, site merchandising, reporting and analytics, product fulfillment, e-marketing and multi-lingual customer service. Digital River's clients include 3M, ACT!, Autodesk, H&R Block, Motorola, Novell, Staples.com and Symantec.

Founded in 1994, Digital River is headquartered in Minneapolis with offices throughout the United States and in Europe . For more details about Digital River , visit the corporate Web site at www.digitalriver.com or call 952-253-1234.

Digital River is a registered trademark of Digital River, Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks, registrations or copyrights of their respective owners.


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