The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Bubble Witch Saga 2

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The most noteworthy game this week for me has got to be King's Bubble Witch Saga 2 [Free], because at WWDC I was able to totally see why all their games work so well. We were super busy all week with WWDC, and didn't have time for any of the "bigger" games, both in scope and in file size because of just how slow all the connectivity in the Moscone area is. Bubble Witch Saga 2 managed to fit the bill almost perfectly.

screen1136x1136-51I saw someone playing it on the street, said to myself, "Oh yeah, that's out, I should download it," then found myself playing the game in every moment I could in between meetings and at dinner. Like most King games, they're certainly not reinventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination, but what they do do is take an existing game formula and do it really well.

I loved Snood [$0.99] back in the day, and Bubble Witch Saga 2 basically takes that same idea but amps it up with different objectives, power-ups, and more. It's monetized almost exactly like Candy Crush [Free], which has created this personal meta-game of seeing how much I can play without paying. I played Candy Crush for months before I got totally stuck, and can see myself doing the same with Bubble Witch Saga 2.

For what it's worth, I completely agree with all of Shaun's criticisms in his review, particularly when it comes to feeling like you're being screwed over by the random number generator… But, again, it's really fun feeling like you're "beating" King by playing the game without giving them a cent- And all this compounded in to why I couldn't put the game down this week.

  • C. Stubb

    Hopefully king doesn't try to obtain another trademark on the words "Bubble" or "Witch". (Kidding, kidding. Well...)

    • hellscaretaker

      Or maybe doubler ?

    • thiagovscoelho

      "King trademarks 'witch', pagan community upset"

    • Swampthing

      If KING was able to realize their whole patent fuss was a mistake and decided to move on, why can't you?

  • Jake7905

    "These picks might be controversial, and that's OK." You guys might want to change that to, "These picks will be controversial, and that's OK." Especially after this pick.

    • rewind

      Complainers, complainers. I bet you haven't even downloaded the game. Nothing truly spectacular was released this week, and BWS2 is a very fun game, so why wouldn't it be picked?

      • Jake7905

        Actually, 99 Bricks Wizard Academy and Tales of the Adventure Company were both released this week, both are very good games. And they're also very good reasons not to pick another King-sized money grab.

      • HelperMonkey

        I don't think that King's success with Crush makes them money grabbers. Their pay structure is very successful, but only because they've made a game that people really enjoy. I don't know of any malice or deceit in their system. They made a very addictive game, and its addicts are willing to pay to play it.
        I hate to see Free To Play and IAPs and all the similar systems with the similar trappings dominating the App Store and pulling other apps in that direction. But they are just businesses. I know of zero non-profit game/app developers or publishers.

      • Christian Valentin

        Yeah, as I said in another comment, I personally think 99 Bricks was GOTW, because it's so addictive, fun, and polished, but even more so because the dev made the somewhat shocking decision to switch from F2P to 100% premium. Not many developers would do that

      • rewind

        That is a very honorable decision in the eyes of many. But it's not a smart decision.

      • Christian Valentin

        The developers themselves said switching to premium was like"a weight being lifted off our shoulders." They said it allowed them to focus on making the game as fun as possible, rather than designing the gameplay to suit some monetization system

        Isn't that matters in the end? That a game is a fun and enjoyable experience?

        So if you go by the developer's own words, this was a very smart decision

      • bilboad

        Well, in addition to the game being fun, the developers making a living also matters. But yeah, if they can make a good living and work in a way that lets them feel satisfied and respect themselves, then that's ideal.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        But I had more fun with Bubble Witch than I did 99 Bricks. Why should I have chosen a game I didn't like as much because it's free? I've played King games for likely hundreds of combined hours over my life, and I've never paid a cent. Isn't that sort of the opposite of a "money grab"?

      • JCho133

        Just face it Eli, your opinion is wrong! >:(

      • Christian Valentin

        Wait, so is the GOTW your personal favorite game? I always imagined that the TA staff did a vote or something on what game they liked best

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        It's pretty casual, we have a lot of communication that takes place behind the scenes and it's generally pretty clear what everyone digs that particular week. This week for me was Bubble Witch. Jared and everyone else saw me playing it 24/7, so there wasn't much pushback. :)

      • Christian Valentin

        Cool, I see

        For me at least, it's not that Bubble Witch Saga isn't a worthwhile choice. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, even if it pisses people off. It's more of how the game is presented as an experience that makes it something that should be played. Most of the article is about how fun it is beating King at their own game and gaming the F2P system...but is that what really makes a game worthwhile? How does that aspect make the game "noteworthy, surprising, interesting" if it's what you expected and, since it's structured similar to Candy Crush, is essentially more of the same?

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        What makes it noteworthy is on an average week I download and play anything from dozens to hundreds of iOS games. Anything I load more than once is interesting, anything that has me pulling my phone out at bars to sneak some additional play time in is very surprising.

      • thiagovscoelho

        What? Eli, you can't like this game, because it's made by King. Buy a Puzzle Bobble, or at least get a decent clone, like Supermagical. Play those. And delete this one, and leave a terrible review of it on TouchArcade.

      • Mess

        So streaming BWS2 on twitch all next week then ;)

      • Jake7905

        Well, the money grab refers to Kings mentality towards gaming. They take unoriginal gaming concepts (match-3, bubble-popping), slap a coat of kid-friendly paint on them, and then release them as free games with very pricey IAP.

      • rewind

        Yes, they take a popular mechanic and put their own spin on it. Their games have an entirely different progression system, unique level concepts, and are made available to a much larger audience. Instead of just a boring bubble shooter, Bubble Witch Saga 2 introduces new objectives, new elements, and different levels. In my opinion, that's not stealing, that's improving.

      • Jake7905

        You must have been a fan of "Ice Ice Baby" as well.

      • rewind

        Lol haha

      • thiagovscoelho

        You're supposed to hate King!! Sure you haven't paid a cent, but you've sure seen the game try and try again to get you to pay — a lot of times by actively limiting how much you can play. It's awful and wrong and King should be hated all the time.

      • wingsofdestiny89

        Totally with Jake7905

      • thiagovscoelho

        Democracy 3 for iOS, do you even know your releases

  • bcredonk

    Eh, I liked Rival Knights a lot which is another big FTP, so I can't really talk. Bought ToAC and it's really fun. I'd say pretty good week over all. I too felt waves of snood nostalgia during my initial play of this

    • caaalrb

      Rival Knights sucks imo. There's so little actual gameplay involved.

  • Brian E

    Wow... totally superficial opinion since I haven't tried the game, but it seems like this may have been a particularly slow week if this was at the top of the stack.

  • Christian Valentin

    I'm biased because it's a King game and IMO represents the kind of F2P structure I abhor, so I'm surprised this was GOTY and not something like 99 Bricks or Quadblast.

    Of course I'm biased to 99 Bricks because I'm freaking addicted to it. I haven't enjoyed a Tetris/tower building/balance game so much. I'm even enjoying it more than Tetris

  • NickyNichols

    Battleheart Legacy needs to just hold the title for another few weeks because it's just that good.

  • Leeabe51

    The game of the week thing is silly anyway. If a game is good and worthy of the spotlight, review it. Game of the week just comes across as a paid advertisement.

    • Leeabe51

      Ha just realized they did review it, and didn't even like it that much. Screams even more of a paid advertisement in that case.

      • Mess

        Not always about the 'best' game.

        I think in this case Eli downloaded and enjoyed playing the game as it fitted in with his hectic week. It also highlighted that whilst king may be considered money grabbing, they actually make some fun little games.

        I enjoy these articles as they often highlight a game that I have missed being released in the week, sometime I don't have time to actually read every article posted here [shock horror].

        I will probably download and try this one out as well.

        Also fairly sure that TA would have he integrity to tell us if something was being sponsored.

      • Leeabe51

        Maybe it's a fun game. Then it deserves better than 3.5 stars doesn't it? A sequel is interesting and new? None of the games released this week were unique or more deserving of an average review? Screams advertisement of the week to me.

      • Mess

        The review rating on TA isn't a 'this is how good the game is out of 5' it's a 'this is how much we recommend you download this game out of 5'

        Also I would need to check, but I don't believe that BWS2 was reviewed by Eli (correct me if I am wrong). And a review is an entirely subjective piece of writing. I could hate a game that you love. Does that make my opinion, or your opinion any less valid - no, it's just a difference of opinion.

        Like Eli said below, no one is making you visit TA, if you don't like the content, or agree with their approach - don't visit. Simples.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        What a lot of people don't understand is even GETTING reviewed on TA essentially automatically means a game is better than 99% of the junk on the App Store. A "low" score can still mean a very fun game.

      • Mess

        Precisely! Always respect your guys opinion on reviews and GotW - I think once you understand the logic of them, they make sense!

        Btw guessing some comments have been deleted, as this seems to be disconnected from the comment it was a reply to (which I can't did!)

      • Foghorn Irrascible

        If a low score can still mean a very fun game, the scoring levels are out of whack. A low score means, practically universally, that the game wasn't much good.

        So at what point on e TA scale do we write off a game? Is 1/5 still a fun game?

      • Leeabe51

        Why do you believe they would tell you if it's sponsored? If a game deserves attention, give it a good review. Why would a gaming site promote a game they gave an average review to? Out of all the indie, uniques games out there, why feature a game from one of the biggest iOS money making companies in existence if it isn't even that great of a game? If it deserves attention, give it a good review and stick by your review. "Featured" products are a marketing tool.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        I'm genuinely curious why you continue to read TouchArcade when a considerable amount of your time here is spend accusing us of being paid off. If you don't trust our editorial integrity, why give us clicks? Seems strange.

        Either way, you should probably read our editorial policies if you haven't yet- http://toucharcade.com/toucharcade-advertising-and-editorial-policies/

      • Leeabe51

        Continually? Last week when someone accused you of getting paid, I argued that it was possible after you denied it. This week, I think it might be true. Plus as I said, featuring a game is a marketing thing, seems odd for a review site to do it. If you like a game, give it a good review. The editorial staff disagreeing with the review staff is fine, just gives the site an odd feeling.

        Anyway I come here because I trust the guys who write the majority of your reviews. The editorial staff, not so much, but I can't say you and the comments section don't entertain me.

      • Jake7905

        People seem to forget that an editorial is an opinion, and disagreement doesn't imply conspiracy. Keep doing what you're doing, disagreement makes life more interesting.

  • JJE McManus

    On the other hand, this is what King does best: manage the expectations of whatever audience they have in front if them. Their marketing team has done a wonderful job teasing this past month or so, working the phones and the socials, organizing press junkets. Eli never mentioned what they served for lunch.

  • Freiteez

    I've been playing this the past couple days. It's pretty fun. Reminds me of Taito's Bubble Bobble. So far I've only lost once. Reminds me of papa pear. A puzzle game that also takes some skill to complete.

  • Breinstein

    Maybe the claim behaviour of king could be put to use. What if they want to patent IAP because all their games use it in abundance. In that way no other game would allowed to use iap anymore :-) ;-)

  • imcookie

    Touch Arcade game of the week sponsored by Bubble Witch Saga!!

    • thiagovscoelho

      They say they aren't paid off, but I would RATHER they'd have been paid to do this. I'd feel better.

  • B30

    My game of the week: Sky Force 2014

    • Stormourner

      so how's the game?

  • Touchmint

    Can't say I checked it out but anything king hurts my soul. To not be that guy I'll check it out and update.

  • worldcitizen1919

    I love playing games but this is not a true game but a poker machine on the App Store. Not worth more than $5 yet with $64 IAP just for gold???

    Offering it free, tempting children and then frustrating them to suck money out of them is the purest of pure evil there is. Definitely gambling game of the week.

    • HelperMonkey

      -"...The purest of pure evil there is."-

      -Hitler stands before God at the judgement:
      "I know, I know... But at least I wasn't making games for King."

      • webman2k

        Seriously?

      • HelperMonkey

        No

      • thiagovscoelho

        What if Hitler made video games, though? Man, that sparks some imaginations.

    • thiagovscoelho

      It's worse than gambling, you literally can't win at all.

      By the way, you'd be surprised how many slot machines there are for iOS. Even big companies like Bally made slot machine apps!

  • nomstar

    Oh, a King game? No thanks.

  • Pete Osborne

    I'm not so much concerned by a King game winning as I am judging a game as the highlight of a week when you freely admit to not having time to try the others. Regardless, Quadblast, 99 Bricks, Tales of the Adventure Company, Pocket Harvest and Sky Force all bring something interesting to the table of their respective genres.

    99 Bricks especially is a fantastic premium game that could end up in my Top 10 of the year

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Correction: I wasn't able to try anything that was large enough to require WiFi to download it, which I think is totally valid as being under the cellular download limit is really important for mobile games. 99 Blocks is alright, but Bubble Witch is what I personally kept going back to.

  • Steven Lewis

    I think the TA editors are trolling. Nicely done!

    • thiagovscoelho

      Please be trolling. That would be so much better.

  • worldcitizen1919

    The thing is, once you base a game on a financial model you risk changing the fun factor of the game itself. I want to play a game to enjoy it but in the TA review it was mentioned that one of the main enjoyments was to see how long one could play without paying. Now to me that's not fun and should not be a reason a game is chosen as game of the week. See how far games have wandered off course that the game itself is no longer the focus of fun.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      It's just another layer in the meta game, of course it's irrelevant if the game itself isn't fun. I'm not sure where you're getting anyone saying that was specifically the main reason they enjoyed something.

  • Dethedrus

    King as a company is deplorable and worthy of being lumped in with Nigerian "royalty" scams, Ponzi schemes and late night informercials.

    That said they obviously know how to make wildly addictive games regardless of anyone's stance on F2P.

    I won't be downloading it, but that doesn't mean that TA or Eli can't find it worthy of their time or even GOTW material.

  • worldcitizen1919

    I wish this were a premium game. Candy Crush also. They are both excellent as games but with me I only play as far as the paywall and then don't play the game anymore. So after a few days this will become obsolete. For me that is a tragedy because these are games I would like to play again and again and for prolonged periods without being forced to pay for more turns but once I hit a paywall I'm gone and hardly ever play again. What a pity.

    • rewind

      If it's Popsicle, it's possible! And if it's premium, it's not popular!

    • thiagovscoelho

      These games are clones, and the original premium games are called Bejeweled and Puzzle Bobble — also available on the App Store.

    • bcredonk

      Most of those paywalls can be broken by replaying the levels. I've had to use up all my lives on one level a few times but eventually the game relents, you get just the right pieces and can beat it without paying

  • paulkane

    Well, I think Quadblast is a super dope minimal twitchy arcade laser shooter that is worth checking out. I love it and I know a lot of other TA heavies love it too.

  • Vendince

    The game would be interesting if it wasn't by King. After that whole ridiculous brouhaha where they patented the word Candy and started trying to enforce it to a draconian degree, (I can see going after obvious clones, but too far is too far.) I deleted any games by King off my phone. Not that I'd spent any money on them anyway. I decided I'd never even download a game by King again. And I've kept to that.

    Oh well, I'm sure next week there will be a game of the week that interests me. Can't win them all.

  • Lcfr

    Guys, TA is Kings lapdogs. Relax. Have you all forget the famous "King" visit? Am i the only one who saw this post coming weeks ago?

  • aussiepaul

    I play Farm Heroes because it relaxing, but my money went to 99 bricks this week. A great twist on Tetris. Eli maybe we could vote for GOTW in a forum thread ?

  • iValerio1990

    oh really ?

  • thiagovscoelho

    I have decided not to read the article, and to instead just post a (following) comment hating on King.

    King is awful and this game is awful and you are awful for choosing it. This is a horrible clone inserted in King's abysmal free-to-pay model and is generally bad. Do not get this game as it is made by King and therefore bad.

  • bcredonk

    I wish that king would add an endless mode to a lot of their games including this one

  • http://Idonthaveone.com Chuck Yeager

    Take a 20 year old game of another name, and add some bling, and you get GOTW? Maybe the makers of Snood should find a way to sue King for copyright infringement.

    • Shaun Musgrave

      Snood itself was a brazen clone of Taito's Puzzle Bobble.

      • http://Idonthaveone.com Chuck Yeager

        Which only makes it even worse.

    • thiagovscoelho

      Well, taking an old game and adding some new fun stuff is cool and great! As long as it's not King. King ruins whatever it touches, and earns tons of money.

      Actually, King Midas is a great analogy!!!!!!!

  • falco

    Trust me I will miss this one too, not worth it seriously guys, there is much better games out there but this is my opinion have fun!

  • http://www.nafna.com/ nadav bar kama

    not controversial at all! if i could invite game bloggers to an event in Barcelona to show my game, i would, if i could "hook up" with NASA i would, thats part of the PR/Marketing blend that very big firms can afford - thats just the way it is. and Bubble Witch Saga 2 is a very well designed and polished game. like it or not, like KING or not! very good choice! no controversy at all.

  • Jennifer

    I love the game but I finished level 70 and seems to stop there?