Author Archives: Carter Dotson


One of the unique elements of mobile is that because people have their devices with them constantly, game design has taken on a new element of trying to fit into people's lives. Phoenix 2 [Free] feels like the idea was to provide an intense shoot 'em up experience that could be more than just an occasional distraction, but a game that could fit into someone's life. And in that regard, it succeeds: it's a unique experience that works best on mobile because it's built for the platform, while still being a fun bullet hell shmup experience...

'Severed' Review - I'd Give my Left Arm to Play This on Mobile

Consider it a testament to the power of mobile that developers still want to make and release games for it, despite the challenges of selling on it. After all, when games are customary a third of their price on other platforms, it's no wonder that games are rarely announced first for mobile. Severed [$5.99] was that exception, as mobile was a core platform for the game at its announcement. Then, it became a PlayStation Vita exclusive, before eventually being re-announced for mobile. And here it finally is. This first-person Infinity Blade [$5.99] meets Zelda type game – is a really cool experience that feels like it should have been on mobile all along...




'Shoot the Dragon' is a Well-Animated Horizontal Shoot 'em Up That Looks Like Fun

Weedo Interactive has announced their new game Shoot the Dragon, and it looks like an intriguing horizontal-scrolling shoot 'em up. The game has you controlling a jetpacked warrior shooting various foes...but he can also transform into a chef bear that launches utensils as weapons while flying through the air? Chalk one up for variety. The animation looks great, there's an absurd set of characters (one boss is a shredding demon) and I'm intrigued by endless shoot 'em ups, which is what this is planned to be. Check out the game in action for yourself: ..

The long-running game Battle Nations [Free] is being shut down by Z2 (owned by King, which in itself is owned by Activision Blizzard), as are all the other Z2 games in their portfolio, including Metalstorm: Aces (pulled from the App Store), Metalstorm: Online [Free], Nitro [Free], and Trade Nations (pulled from the App Store). The games are all shutting down their in-app purchases this week, with servers being shut down in late September. The player base is decidedly not happy. Some games haven't had announcements in years, so people are grumpy but there's not a lot left. Battle Nations' shutdown thread in the official forums is pretty much a microcosm of the internet. After the carefully-crafted statement, the first comment is someone being really angry and vowing to never spend money on the developer ever again; the second post includes a repurposed Harambe meme...

'Crooked Path' is a Gorgeous Looking Game Set to Release in Early August

Developer RuvixArts is set to release its debut title, Crooked Path, on August 4th. The concept behind the game is a bit abstract, and the video doesn't necessarily make the gameplay super-clear, but you'll be activating switches, hopping portals, all to explore these levels full of, you guessed it, crooked paths. It's a gorgeous-looking game, with some definite Mirror's Edge influence in there, and some of the concepts in play seem mighty intriguing:..

Suspicions have been all abound about just what the Nintendo NX would be, and Eurogamer is reporting something quite interesting: that the system will be portable with home TV dock, feature detachable controllers, and be powered by Nvidia Tegra chips. Eurogamer is saying that multiple sources have confirmed the NX's nature to them, with a separate report saying that the system will use the Tegra X1, which is currently used in the rather capable Shield TV:..

Razer might be best known for their cutting-edge gaming peripherals. From their keyboards with glowy LED lights, to gaming mice with lots of buttons and glowy LED lights, to their very green headsets. But the company also seems to find itself doing some unexpected things. Like making a fitness tracker. And, it turns out, they've launched a location-based chat app for Pokemon GO [Free]? Yes, RazerGo [Free] is a way to chat with nearby Pokemon GO players using the app, with several features built around Pokemon GO specifically...

Whoops! Nintendo's share prices in Japan have plummeted 18% after the report on July 22nd that warned investors that Nintendo didn't actually own that much of Pokemon GO [Free] and thus wouldn't have the financial impact on their company that the flood of stock purchases would seemingly indicate. It's possible that after the decline in Japan, further trading could adjust the price further – Nikkei rules indicate that a stock price can't move more than 18% in one day. Granted, the ownership situation of Pokemon GO is complicated, but one would think the people spending billions of dollars worth in trades would have figured that out first...

Indie publisher tinyBuild Games has said for a while that their violent party-murder game Party Hard would be coming to mobile. But, the actual existence of a mobile version of Party Hard has been something I've been unable to verify. I've prodded tinyBuild employees at shows, and a mobile build was nowhere to be seen, though promises that it would come to mobile were still made. Did tinyBuild perhaps bite off a bit more than they could chew in trying to make this one work on mobile? Either a sign of hope or despair was when Party Hard showed up on Google Play, but only for Nvidia devices. Would iOS players ever get a touchscreen-friendly version of Party Hard? Well, it looks like the answer is yes, as tinyBuild has announced a beta test program for what they're calling Party Hard Go: ..

The nice thing about Pokemon GO [Free] being built on various databases with available APIs is that it has inspired people to make their own tools to find Pokemon, to try and streamline the process. Pokevision is one of the most powerful tools yet – it allows you to scan the area near you for which Pokemon are available, and when they will despawn. This way, if everything is accurate, you can streamline your Pokemon hunting. As reported by Tech Insider, Pokevision uses Nantic's API to help find this data...

So, you're having trouble catching all those rare Pokemon in Pokemon GO [Free]. By which I mean, that 100th Rattata and you're sick of wasting your Pokeballs with bad tosses. Sure, you can try to get that masterful curveball down, but maybe your curveball is more of a slurve and scouts are saying that kind of breaking ball just ain't gonna play at the big league level. Well, what if you had some kind of performance-enhancing device that could help you get those straight shot tosses like a champion? Well, Jon Cleaver has introduced the Pokeball Aimer case. Designed for the iPhone 6 (and just the iPhone 6 as of this moment), this case has a center cutout so that you can launch a Pokeball straight into that Rattata's dumb face...

A new Steven Universe game has just hit the App Store, just in time for the 20 episodes in 4 weeks that the show is about to air on Cartoon Network. No kidding, Gravity Falls fans. Soundtrack Attack [Free] is pretty much designed for the Steven Universe super-fan. I mean, it starts off with you creating your own gemsona (gem persona, basically the term that fans used and was picked up by the show for fans creating their own Crystal Gem characters) with different body types, feaures, and accessories. That alone is worth a download for a bunch of folks. And then the whole game is a rhythm runner. There's a lot of singing on Steven Universe, like more than I'm comfortable with. But the cast, crew, and fans love the musical portion of the show to the point where the SDCC 2016 panel is going to have a big sing-along. So a rhythm game where you can play as and customize your gemsona? This one is perfect for the fans...

So far, Pokemon GO [Free] has made a lot of money. It's jumped high up the top grossing ranks almost instantaneously in the countries where it has been released. And Nintendo has seen a massive bump in their stock price because of it. But even Nintendo is saying that investors should take caution – because they do not own Pokemon and Pokemon GO entirely, they are not adjusting their revenue reports yet. Pseudonymous gaming industry analyst ZhugeEX has a transcript of Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima's statement:..

'Time Locker' Review - This Free Shmup is Super Hot

"Good artists copy, great artists steal." It's a line that essentially means that explicitly mimicking something is easy enough to do – making a clone of a game is simple enough. But it's another thing to take the ideas of one game and use them in another to create something that is original all in itself. Time Locker [Free] explicitly steals the gimmick of Superhot, the first-person shooter where time only moves when the player moves. It even uses a very similar low-poly graphics style. But instead, it turns the game into a shoot 'em up with some hints of Crossy Road [Free] to feel like a unique iteration on previous ideas, one that uses existing concepts liberally, but to form its own thing that stands on its own merits...

Heads up for anyone playing Clash of Kings [Free] – if you participate on publisher ELEX's forums, then you're gonna want to change your password, as ZDNet is reporting that an anonymous hacker leaked over 1.6 million users' data. Passwords are hashed and salted, but even Facebook access tokens were leaked, along with emails, so some sensitive data has gotten out. If you currently use or have used the forum, now is a good time to change your passwords. If you have any sites that use the same passwords, change those as well...

I first played Guild of Dungeoneering [$3.99] on PC at PAX South 2015, and I thought from the first time I played it that it would be perfect for mobile. Well, it took a year and a half between the game's continued development and PC release to finally make it happen, but this curious little roguelike where you use tile cards to build the dungeons as you traverse them and fight enemies using a separate card system, is well worth the wait. It has its own quirks and shortcomings, but really it's like nothing you've ever played before...

Versus Evil is a publisher perhaps most known for helping to bring Banner Saga [$4.99] to the world, but the self-styled indie publisher – and it's a small outfit, comprised of three principals right now, including general manager Steve Escalante – is looking to make a bigger footprint beyond that. They've had a presence at gaming shows such as the PAX events. And the studio has multiple titles from multiple developers in the works, with mobile a core part of their strategy. Guild of Dungeoneering [$3.99] has just released on mobile, Like a Boss is in soft launch, Let Them Come is planned as a cross-platform release, and oh yeah, Banner Saga 2 exists. I spoke recently with Steve Escalante to discuss Guild of Dungeoneering's mobile release, and how a publisher like Versus Evil can find a way to operate on mobile with not just free-to-play games, but also in the risky premium gaming market...

One of the great quirks of mobile gaming is the way that so many games can come as surprise releases to everyone. In fact, the two biggest games of 2016 so far were both complete surprises when they were revealed. First you had Clash Royale [Free], which was revealed and soft launched on the first Monday of 2016, with its eventual launch coming unexpectedly on the first Wednesday of 2016, with no warning whatsoever. Then, Pokemon GO [Free], which was quite known, had a surprise rollout, and the eventual world domination that ensued was without warning to seemingly anybody at all. Not even Apple, who had none of the featuring you would expect from a major game like this. While surprises can be really interesting, they have a very interesting secondary impact that I don't think people really consider that impacts the mobile gaming landscape...

Do you want a lesson on how far the point-and-click adventure game has come, while still seeing the appeal in the classics? Day of the Tentacle Remastered [$4.99] is a perfect example of that. This is a genre classic made by some of the masters of the medium. Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert are two of the names behind this game that you likely recognize, straight from the LucasArts days. Fans of the original game will be glad to know that this is the exact same as the original, just with an optional enhanced interface and redone graphics that convey the spirit of the original game, adding some detail and animation, without altering the heart of them. For people coming to this for the first time, like myself – strap in for a frustrating experience, but one that's rewarding if you give it a shot and are patient...

Umbrella Announces Four New Games, with 'Colorpede' Releasing This Week

Umbrella, purveyors of some darn fine microgames, are about to release a torrent of games onto an unsuspecting public. They're getting into publishing, though in a very hands-on role contributing art, design, and code for many titles, to go along with their self-developed titles. They have a quartet of games releasing soon, with the first one releasing on July 20th, entitled Colorpede. This high score chaser has you tapping to swap between two colors to match them on the way down, with the catch being that the colors change after each match. Good luck keeping up with that!..