Author Archives: Eli Hodapp


About the Author

Eli as been obsessed with mobile gaming his entire life. Originally starting with Tiger Electronics handhelds, graduating to the original Game Boy, and upgrading to nearly every handheld platform leading up to modern day portables.

Ports, Ports and More Ports - The TouchArcade Show #334

December 15th, 2017 9:00 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in Podcast
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On this week's episode we kick the show off with a bit of a bummer talking about Simogo leaving mobile, pick things up talking about the new App Store preorder system, and a whole bunch of other news before moving on to talking about the avalanche of great games we reviewed this week. All the games we talk about are actually in this post plus Dead 2048 which we talk about here.

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read 'em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we're talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you're logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-334.mp3, 64MB

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Best iOS Games Review Recap: 'Gorogoa', 'Fez Pocket Edition', 'Life is Strange', 'Oddworld: New n Tasy', 'Ace Attorney Investigations' and 'Inside'

The weeks leading up to the annual holiday iTunes Connect freeze are always pretty wild, but they've been snowballing over the years to being these unbelievable onslaughts of new high profile games being sprayed on to the App Store. We had all hands on deck this week to review as many of them as we could, and along with all the other news of the week it's possible you might have missed some of 'em. Here's a quick recap:..




Two years ago now we launched our Patreon and since then while support from our community has been encouraging, we're still only half way to our goal to get back to firing on all cylinders. As you've likely noticed, there haven't been any new names on the site since Brad Nicholson left quite some time ago, as we're largely treading water trying to stay alive on the incredibly limited resources we have. I personally think third party editorial outlets like TouchArcade are very important to the health of online ecosystems like the App Store, and I believe we provide a significant value to our readers and iOS developers every day. All we're asking for is a value for value exchange, and if you feel you derive any value from reading TouchArcade (or anything from the TouchArcade community), please support our efforts to continue doing what we're doing. Here's all the ways you can do that:

Advertising

If you're an iOS developer looking to raise awareness of your game, advertising on sites like TouchArcade is a great way to reach a hyper-targeted audience of iOS gamers and industry influencers who view the site multiple times a day. We offer options ranging from sponsoring our podcast, advertising on our forums, or even completely re-skinning the site. Apple's editorial featuring games team constantly visits TouchArcade, along with (obviously) our whole staff, so having well-placed ads on a site like TouchArcade can be exponentially more effective at getting word out about your game than paying a PR person (likely way more money) to send us emails. For more information, contact our ad sales manager at ads@toucharcade.com.

Supporting Us on Patreon

Patreon is our primary funding source these days. If you're unfamiliar, you're able to more or less "subscribe" to creators (like us) whose content you value. We offer several different tiers of support, which grant things like cosmetic rewards on our forums, as well as access to a Patreon-only chat channel on our Discord server. All Patreon backers also get a video version of our podcast. Developers who support us on Patreon on the "Indie Developer" tier and above get access to a developer chat on on Discord for direct access to TouchArcade staff (and other developers), along with other developer-exclusive content like a business insights email newsletter, event reports, and more. We're also in the process of working with a few different highly relevant companies for exclusive discounts for Patreon backers, although nothing has been finalized just yet.

Overall, a good way to look at our Patreon is to think of TouchArcade as a magazine you'd subscribe to. If you used to pick up a copy of GamePro every month for five bucks (back when magazines only cost five bucks), kick us $5 instead. We provide way more content than print magazines ever could, in an infinitely more timely manner. If you'd like to support the site for more than that because we've saved you money over the years by helping you avoid bad games or by highlighting games you wanted when they were on sale... Even better! The way we look at it is that there's nothing more valuable than time, and we work well over a full time schedule to try and save YOU time by not having to sort through the crap on the App Store. If we've provided value to you in any of these ways, please consider giving back to us with your support.

Amazon Prime Members Can Subscribe to Us on Twitch for Free

If you're an Amazon Prime member, you get way more benefits than fast shipping that you might not even be aware of. One of those perks is Twitch Prime. Once you link up your Amazon account with Twitch, aside from a bunch of random gaming-related freebies, you'll also be able to subscribe to one Twitch channel per month for free. We hope you use that free subscription on our Twitch channel. Something to keep in mind with these free Twitch subscriptions is they do not auto-renew. You'll need to manually re-subscribe every month, so if you'd like to go one tiny step further for us, set a recurring reminder on your iPhone's calendar to remember to do this.

Subscribe on Twitch and/or Cheer with Bits

If you're not an Amazon Prime member, you can still subscribe to our Twitch channel, it just costs $4.99. Something to keep in mind with this is the Twitch revenue share is 50/50, so if you just want to support the site and don't really specifically care about Twitch, your dollars go way farther over on Patreon as they take significantly smaller payment processing fees. But, hey, if you just love Twitch and want the perks that come with a subscriber, rock on.

Twitch Bits Donation

Another thing you can do on Twitch to help us out is cheer us with Bits. It's a new thing Twitch recently added that let you more or less "tip" the active streamer with a Twitch-exclusive currency that gets added to our account which Twitch eventually pays out on. Much like subscriptions, the revenue share on Twitch Bits isn't great, but you can get them for free if you're willing to view some ads on Twitch. Cheering is pretty fun while streaming as there's a whole lot of fanfare when Bits come in, they get added to a tip cup, and Twitch chat gets all excited.

Shop on Amazon Through Our Affiliate Link

If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, visiting the easy to remember URL toucharcade.com/amazon and clicking through our link gives us credit as the referral for everything you buy. Amazon then gives us a very tiny percentage of the sale, which they'd otherwise just keep for themselves. They have widely varying commission rates, but everything (short of just buying cash gift cards) awards us something.

Amazon Pantry items are among the highest commissions Amazon pays, so if buy a lot of non-perishables and other home goods on Amazon, clicking our link first would be amazing- It also helps keep the joke alive that TouchArcade is in part supported by toilet paper sales since mobile gamers spend a lot of time playing on the toilet.

One-Time Contributions via PayPal

One thing a lot of people have asked us for is the ability to do one-time payments via PayPal. As part of setting up everything to make our Twitch channel work, we also have a more user-friendly way to do one-time payments. Click here, fill out the form, and it'll toss you over to PayPal to complete your payment. All of your PayPal information remains confidential, so we'll really only know what you fill out on the one-time contribution page. If you want to cover PayPal fees, there's a checkbox for that too. One thing to keep in mind with this is that since this whole thing is built with Twitch in mind, it's outside of all the automated stuff we've built for Patreon. If you don't care about those rewards, rock on. Additionally, if we're streaming when you donate, it'll automatically read your note on stream.

Whitelist TouchArcade on Your Ad Blockers

I know this is a ultra-touchy subject for some people, but if you use an ad blocker, please whitelist the TouchArcade domain. We (to the detriment of our own success) run the site with minimal ads which are manually screened to avoid anything that spawns pop-ups, auto-plays sound, or anything else annoying. We respect our readers, and while we'd be doing tons better if we had full-screen and totally irritating interstitials, I think all that does is encourage more people to block your ads. If you just block everything because you assume all sites these days have in-your-face ads, just try whitelisting us. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. And, hell, if you really want to block our ads, just kick us a few bucks in one of these other ways and we'll be square.

Tell Your Friends and/or Share Our Stories on Social Media

If you love TouchArcade, but really just aren't interested in supporting the site financially, you can still do us a solid via word of mouth. If a friend of yours just got a new iPhone, recommend they check out TouchArcade to find some great games to download. Additionally, we go out of our way to produce great long-form content which typically doesn't generate that much search traffic. For instance, Shaun's amazing RPG Reload series, which I think is some of the best content we publish, are among the worst performing articles on the site. If you read something here that you find insightful, or otherwise interesting, please take a moment to encourage your friends to check it out on Twitter or Facebook. You might think one share doesn't mean much, but we can clearly tell the difference in site analytics.

Thanks for Reading

As always, thanks so much to everyone who has supported us over the years. You're the main reason we're still around, and we hope to keep doing what we've been doing for years to come. Hitting our original Patreon goals would allow us to hire more writers, attend more events, refresh the site, and potentially even explore options with our iOS app. We've managed to successfully fight against the tide of needing to run SEO-bait listicles, get involved in sponsored content, and all the other gnarly things web sites are doing to stay alive all because of you.

Thanks everybody!

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While we're primarily supported by a mixture of Patreon, Twitch subscriptions and Amazon referrals these days, site sponsors go a long way in making up for the funding shortfalls of our Patreon never reaching its goal. To show our appreciation, we are now publishing these posts thanking our sponsors each week- Both to give them a little extra visibility and hopefully to get readers who love TouchArcade to give their games a look to similarly support their efforts in allowing us to continue to provide everyone with awesome third party mobile games editorial which the App Store ecosystem badly needs...

Threes! [$2.99] hit the App Store in early 2014 and was met with universal critical acclaim. (We loved it in our review.) About a month later, Ketchapp released 2048 [Free] and the rest is history. 2048 massively surged in popularity because it was way easier than Threes! and, well, it was free. The unbelievable success of 2048 caused two things to happen: Everyone and their third cousin twice removed released their own 2048 clone which then resulted in everyone who covers video games on any level setting up email filters to automatically delete any email with "2048" in it. Anyone who was a mobile gamer in 2014 undoubtedly remembers how bad it got. Everything was either Flappy or 2048, and most, if not all of these games were just objectively bad...

EightyEight Games Reveals Trailer for 'Photographs', Coming Next Year

We've blasted through dungeons in 10000000 [$2.99], tried our hand as a shipwright in You Must Build a Boat [$2.99], and taunted other players in Smarter Than You [Free], but next year we'll be digging through puzzles in Photographs, the next title from EightyEight Games. Photographs is a mysterious puzzle game with stories spread across five different times and locations. Each story features its own puzzle-packed gameplay. Check out the trailer:..

'Inside' Review - Try, Die, and Try Again

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December 14th, 2017 9:30 AM EST by Eli Hodapp in 4 stars, Games, Platform, Puzzle, Reviews
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For whatever reason, it seems like the fourth quarter of 2017 has been an absolute golden age of ports hitting the App Store. Playdead's Inside [Free] was just released, and we were lucky enough to be able to play through the game beforehand. As far as the iOS port is concerned, Playdead absolutely knocked this one out of the park. It's totally universal across the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, optimized for the iPhone X, supports MFi controllers, and has totally seamless iCloud save syncing. The touch controls are even well done, and it's a free download with a one-time $6.99 (as of this writing) unlock. If there's a box they're not checking with this port, I don't know what it is. Unfortunately, I'm just not sure if I really enjoyed the game that much... But, more on that later...

Along with tonight's absolute onslaught of new iOS game releases was a pleasant surprise: An iOS port of Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty [$7.99]. Originally released on the PlayStation 4 in the summer of 2014, it seemed like New 'n' Tasty flew under the radar for whatever reason. It was a total rework of the Playstation classic Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, which when released all the way back in 1997 was in the running for numerous game of the year awards. Other entries in the Oddworld universe include the sequel, Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus which improved upon the original in a number of interesting ways, and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I never played Munch's Oddysee as it was released as a launch title on the original Xbox, which was a platform I got in on kind of late, missing most of the early games...

'Fez - Pocket Edition' Review - A Great Game, and an Even Better Reason to Buy an MFi Controller

Originally launched back in April of 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade, Fez is a 2D platformer with puzzle elements that hinge around being able to rotate the game world in 3D space. Since its initial release Fez has been ported to practically every platform under the sun, and in the process has won an absurd amount of awards. Fez is one of those games that it really doesn't matter where you play it, as long as you're playing it somewhere. This morning Fez - Pocket Edition [$4.99] was released on the App Store, providing a fabulous opportunity for fans of Fez to experience this gem on to go, as well as folks who potentially never heard of the game to play it for the very first time...

Best New iPhone Games on Our Forums: 'Fez', 'Like a Boss', 'Climby Hammer', 'Shootout on Cash Island', 'Frog Souls', and Loads More

Well this is one heck of a weird week, we've already seen a bunch of great games pop up (Fez!!!), but the recent addition of pre-orders to the App Store has thrown a whole new wrench into the mix. We're expecting Life is Strange, Inside, Gorogoa, and some other surprises which haven't been announced yet to pop up on the App Store at some point tonight or tomorrow. That makes these posts a little odd, but that's sort of the constant state we're used to operating in around here. Oh, and it's both Ice Cream Day and National Cocoa Day, so be sure you celebrate by eating/drinking whichever is currently more appropriate for your climate...

Depending on which areas of the Hearthstone-niverse you find yourself wandering in, chances are you've seen some pretty harsh criticisms of the way Blizzard has structured their Hearthstone [Free] esports over the years. Pro players often complained about the uncertainty of what it took to make it into different playoff events, rewards were really top-heavy, and a bunch of other super valid issues. When I've asked Blizzard about these things in the past, the answer is always some variation of, "Just wait to see what we announce for next year." Well, that announcement was here, and once again Hearthstone esports has been drastically shifted around, seemingly for the better. There's an entire visual guide to dig through, but here's the highlights:..

Ethereum-based Blockchain Game 'CryptoKitties' is Coming to Mobile

If you've been even remotely exposed to financial news in the last couple months, you've no doubt heard about cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is the biggest, but there's also Litecoin and Ethereum in the spotlight (along with countless other altcoins). They're all exploding in value right now, and if you feel like getting on this completely ridiculous rollercoaster, the best way to do it is by signing up on Coinbase as their interface is a lot like just using an online bank. However, once you actually have some cryptocurrency, what do you do with it? For a lot of people, the answer is to hold it and watch it (rapidly) appreciate. For others, it's try to actually use your cryptocurrency as a currency, and one of the most hilariously absurd ways to do that right now is by getting involved in the browser-based game which is headed to mobile, CryptoKitties...

'DomiNations' Gets Frosty With the New Cold War Update

December 12th, 2017 12:00 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in News, Updates
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Anyone who has been paying attention the last few years will be more than aware of just how jam packed the App Store is with free to play games that have you building bases, upgrading everything, and fighting other players. While that also describes exactly what you do in DomiNations [Free], Nexon's foray into this genre has a neat twist: Instead of just upgrading your Town Hall, or whatever other main building you have in your base across these different games, in DomiNations you advance through different ages- Sort of like the classic PC strategy series Age of Empires, Civilization, and others. ..

I grew up in the Chicago area, and our weather can be notoriously extreme. We get some ridiculously hot and humid summers, then winters which are so often brutal that when a day rolls around where it's "only" 40º F out we'll be wandering around outside in t-shirts like it's the middle of summer. Once I discovered chemical hand warmers like these, I pretty much always carried a pair in my coat pocket ready to deploy when the windchill gets too severe. The problem with chemical hand warmers is even when you buy them in bulk they're around a buck a pair, and there's a major psychological barrier to actually using them since they're consumable. It's kind of like how you can play through an RPG conserving health potions so much that by the time you beat it you've got a massive stockpile you could've used the whole time. A few years ago I discovered Zippo Hand Warmers, and they've been a total game changer. For a few cents worth of Zippo fluid you get hours of warmth- Zippo says up to 12 in total, if you've got the larger of their two hand warmers and you fill it all the way, although I'm fairly certain I've gotten more than that...

'INSIDE' and 'Gorogoa' are Now Available to ... Pre-Order? [Update: Available to All Devs, 'Bridge Constructor Portal' Also Available]

While drinking from the fire hose of new releases that is the raw iTunes RSS feeds today we stumbled across something peculiar: Playdead's Inside and Annapurna's Gorogoa are both showing up as a new listings on the App Store, but you can't download them just yet. Instead, you can pre-order both games. Inside is free with IAP (presumably some sort of unlock) while Gorogoa is $4.99. Here's what the "pre-order" process looks like:..

If I challenged everyone who reads this article to come up with a list of developers who were absolutely instrumental in elevating the platform of touch-based mobile gaming from its meager roots of simple puzzle games and bad ports to what it is today, I'd expect to see Simogo on a vast majority of those lists. Simon Flesser and Gordon Gardebäck were without a doubt on the ground floor of proving to the world that the App Store (and Google Play) could be home to fantastic titles that even the most stodgy Real Gamer types would reluctantly acknowledge as must-play experiences. However, per a today's blog post it seems that Simogo sadly is the latest developer to find themselves walking away from mobile, the platform that they helped define- At least for the time being...

Even before its release, we were all over GRID Autosport [$9.99]. It's a real-deal, full-blown premium racing experience that we absolutely loved in our review. The entire game reminds us of the old days of the App Store, when developers would release incredible game experiences that you paid money for, without any IAP shenanigans...

Freshly back from the Clash Royale [Free] championships, I go over just how surprising the world of mobile esports is. Oh, and if you're curious about the prize linked savings account stuff I mentioned, check out this web site and/or check out this podcast. Neither have anything to do with iOS gaming, but it seemed like such a cool thing I've been sharing it with everyone. As far as games are concerned, we dive into Getting Over It [$4.99], Amazing Katamari Demacy [Free], Reigns: Her Majesty [$2.99] and Big Shot Boxing [Free].

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read 'em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we're talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you're logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-333.mp3, 85MB

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While we're primarily supported by a mixture of Patreon, Twitch subscriptions and Amazon referrals these days, site sponsors go a long way in making up for the funding shortfalls of our Patreon never reaching its goal. To show our appreciation, we are now publishing these posts thanking our sponsors each week- Both to give them a little extra visibility and hopefully to get readers who love TouchArcade to give their games a look to similarly support their efforts in allowing us to continue to provide everyone with awesome third party mobile games editorial which the App Store ecosystem badly needs...

Here's a story today that's almost too cool to believe: A million years ago in App Store time, First Strike [$3.99] got posted to our forums. OK, so it was early 2014, but still, that's ancient history for mobile. It was (and still is) a really cool game that involves waging global nuclear war. It seemed to do alright, and the developers eventually released a highly improved version of the game on Steam called First Strike: Final Hour. It did well enough on Steam that the mobile version was sort of left as is... Until now...