Author Archives: Rob Funnell


World-Shifting Puzzler 'Splitter Critters' Set to Launch Next Week on the App Store

The beauty of the App Store is that, every once in a while, you'll come across a game that has such remarkable and unique mechanics it will still impress you, even after you think you've seen it all when it comes to mobile gaming. Splitter Critters is the latest upcoming iOS release that has shocked me in such a way - the ability to slice and manipulate the environment to help your Lemmings-esque characters find their way back to their spaceship is extremely clever, and perfectly suited to touch screen controls. We first heard about Splitter Critters back in October, and while the game missed its initial late 2016 release date, developer RAC7 has confirmed on their Twitter account that their latest title is set to launch next week on the App Store...

Monster-Slaying MMO 'God Eater Online' Opens for Pre-Registration in Japan

Back in September, we brought you the first details on Bandai Namco's upcoming God Eater Online, which looked like a seriously impressive attempt at bringing the Monster Hunter-esque behemoth beast slaying action to mobile. While details are scarce, especially for a launch outside of Japan, the most recent PC effort God Eater 2 Rage Burst received critical acclaim on its 2016 Steam release, as its strong emphasis on plot intertwined with its hectic JRPG gameplay made it both an accessible and endlessly deep title for anime and action gaming fans. For anyone won over by the dramatic first preview trailer, today God Eater Online has opened up for pre-registration on mobile in Japan, which suggests the title is close to a release in Asia, with hopefully a prompt Western launch soon after...




It's been over two years since we were initially enamoured by the iOS port of A Dark Room [$0.99]. Having started off as an open-source release on PC from Canadian developer Michael Townsend, A Dark Room's eventual transition to the App Store by Amir Rajan managed to capture a cult following with its incredibly basic and minimalist take on the RPG genre, culminating in a stint as #1 paid game on the UK store. However, A Dark Room was not the only product of Townsend's abundant talent - Gridland also released on PC in 2014, and was a quirky match-three title that entrusted you with the task of lining up resources to grow your town during the day, while fighting off beastly creatures at night. While Gridland was initially playable within Safari, it never made the same transition to the App Store as A Dark Room. Thankfully, over two years later, we got something even better - Super Gridland [$1.99] has today showed up on the App Store, and retains the compulsive charm of its predecessor, whilst revamping the graphical style and presentation to result in one of the first essential puzzle titles for the iPhone in 2017...

'Ashworld', OrangePixel's Upcoming Post-Apocalyptic Open World Game, Gets First Teaser Trailer

OrangePixel are one of my favourite App Store developers, with Heroes of Loot 2 [$3.99] being a true sleeper hit of 2016. While not without its problems, the arcade-style dungeon crawler was mightily impressive, especially owing to the fact it was from a one-man development team. Back in December, OrangePixel announced their most ambitious effort yet in the form of Ashworld, which was an eclectic mix of driving, shooting, and platforming action into a 2D post-apocalyptic open world, and the initial preview screens the developer revealed were extremely promising. While the game is still a few months away with a tentative Q1 2017 launch window, OrangePixel has released a new teaser trailer showcasing some of the gameplay, as well as setting the scene of the cataclysmic nuclear war that led to Ashworld's survival setting...

Nintendo Switch Hands-On Impressions: How Does Nintendo's New Device Compare to the iPhone and iPad?

It takes a lot to get me up at 4am UK time, but that's exactly what Nintendo did when they captured the imaginations of many gamers around the globe with their Nintendo Switch in-depth reveal last Friday. With specific details of the hardware, release date, and a whole host of game reveals for the upcoming twelve months, Nintendo demonstrated a device that has the potential to be truly game-changing, but still leaves us with a lot of questions. Is the Nintendo Switch worth its $300 price tag, and how does it compare to similar touch-screen devices such as the iPhone and iPad and their unparalleled library of games? Last Sunday, I attended the Nintendo Switch Premiere Event in London's Hammersmith Apollo, and my hands-on experience of the revolutionary new console alleviated many of my initial fears, even if some lingering doubts regarding the extent of developer support for the device remained...

For many of us living in the United Kingdom, it's been a dawning inevitability that prices for goods were likely going to rise in the face of Brexit and the decline of the pound against the dollar. Up until now, the App Store has been exempt to such trends, with prices for downloads staying at the typical rate of £0.79 for a one dollar game, and so on. However, Apple have today announced to developers that, over the next seven days, the prices across both the App Store and the iTunes Store will increase for the UK, with the cost of apps finally achieving parity with the dollar equivalents. As the developer-exclusive screenshot from 9to5Mac demonstrates, this means your typical $0.99 game will now be £0.99, the much-derided in-app purchase for Super Mario Run [Free] will be £9.99 rather than £7.99, and the recently released The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [$14.99] will go up by a whole four pounds to be £14.99. Furthermore, iOS users in Turkey and India will also see a similar price increase amongst the games in their store...

Nintendo to Announce First Information on the Mobile 'Fire Emblem' in Presentation Tomorrow

Amidst all of the excitement regarding the Nintendo Switch reveal last Friday, an interesting announcement managed to slip through the cracks. During their Nintendo Treehouse broadcast, a special Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct was announced to take place on Wednesday 18th January at 2pm PST, and promises to show upcoming titles in the series, including the Switch exclusive Fire Emblem Warriors that was revealed on the same day. However, many were still wondering whether the previously announced iOS iteration of the strategy series would also be shown at this event, as while we have had a tentative 2017 release date, Nintendo haven't divulged many specifics regarding the mobile Fire Emblem beyond the fact it's going to be free-to-play. Thankfully, the Japanese Nintendo Twitter feed has today confirmed that the smartphone entry in the Fire Emblem series would indeed be shown for the first time at tomorrow's Nintendo Direct presentation...

Epic Expansion Pack 'Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion' Set to Launch in March as a Standalone App

Back in November, mobile tacticians around the globe were delighted by the launch of classic strategy epic Rome: Total War [$9.99] marching down to the App Store. Despite being over twelve years old, The Creative Assembly's take on the real-time tactical battles of the the Roman Republic (and a whole host of other accurately depicted armies from the time) still holds up incredibly well today, and Feral Interactive's porting job managed to keep the intricate strategic commands working perfectly on the larger touch screen of the iPad. Fans of the series will undoubtedly rejoice in the fact that the developers are continuing to bring more entries in the series to the App Store, as today Feral have announced that Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion - the critically acclaimed first expansion pack for the original title - is set to launch as a standalone app on the iPad this March...

Earlier this week, the newest entry in Gameloft's Gangstar franchise soft launched in The Philippines, and your archetypal miscreant was this time trampling through the streets of New Orleans, causing trouble, mischief, and typical gangster action in their wake. While members of our forum community were decidedly mixed in their reaction to Gangstar New Orleans, it seems that Gameloft have had enough of people using our soft launch guide and playing the title early from outside the soft launch regions, and have begun blocking other gamers from being able to try out the game. Forum member Allstars Production was faced with the screen below that states how Gameloft are 'not ready yet to release the game in your area', and so even though they downloaded it from The Philippines store, they were not able to continue playing the title today...

At 3am UK time on Wednesday morning, my iPhone buzzed furiously as news spread that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [$14.99] had finally launched on the App Store. After what seemed like months of drama, anticipation and hype on our forums, such a sudden and unexplained release felt particularly fitting for The Binding of Isaac's turbulent development cycle, but thankfully it's now out and, according to our five star review, a rather excellent port to boot. Many people have also left glowing reviews for The Binding of Isaac on our forum thread, however the most frequently asked questions amongst gamers in our community have been how the port shapes up to the PC, 3DS, and PS Vita interactions of the title. While a small minority have taken issue with the perceived lack of precision with the controls, most TouchArcade forum members have been greatly impressed by how The Binding of Isaac has transitioned to mobile devices...

10tons have had an impressive run on the App Store as of late, with their mobile adaption of the excellent dual stick shooter and roguelike amalgamation Neon Chrome [$9.99] receiving a hat-trick of accolades, with a glowing five star review, a Game of the Week award, and featuring in our 100 Best Mobile Games list. Xenoraid [Free] is looking to continue this trend - having launched previously on consoles back in October to critical acclaim, 10tons' interesting approach of merging old and new elements of the typical vertical shoot-em-up title resulted in a truly unique take on a relatively tired genre. Having just avoided the typical Wednesday evening rush of releases, Xenoraid has finally launched on the App Store today for free (with a discounted $4.99 in-app purchase to unlock the full game), so be sure to give 10tons newest release a try if you want some thrilling shooter action to liven up your Thursday...

It's been a bit quiet since iTunes finally thawed out after Christmas, and it feels like we're still awaiting that big first release to really kick off the year (looking at you, Binding of Isaac). Out of nowhere yesterday, Gameloft soft launched their newest entry in the Gangstar series in The Philippines, and while previous iterations have explored Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles, your nefarious criminal kingpin is now running amok in New Orleans. While Gameloft have touted Gangstar New Orleans to be the 'gold standard for open-world action-adventure', the reaction from gamers on our forums is significantly more mixed, with some sharing positive sentiment, and others deriding the release for being a bit rough on this initial soft launch...

2016 was renowned for its famous deaths, and unfortunately mobile was not exempt from such a tragic series of events. The news that Bulkypix had declared bankruptcy in August of last year was met with a vast array of mixed emotions - while many sympathised with the publisher for going under, as they had brought to prominence a lot of hidden gems on the App Store, most were incensed by their poor treatment of the developers under their wing during this period. Despite this, some creators risen from the ashes of Bulkypix's unfortunate demise and have taken this chance to further build and expand on their games, and Keybol is one such developer. With Pretentious Game [Free] now back under their control, the developer has planned to add a whole new Chapter 5 to the title, which is set to launch as a free update (for anyone who has already purchased the Chapters pack) on February 1st...

Upcoming RPG Epic 'Tower of Time' Promises Over Twenty Hours of Exploration, and Has a Stunning New Trailer

It's a well known fact that anything with 'time' in the title is guaranteed to be a success. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is arguably the greatest game of all time, Adventure Time spearheaded a wave of excellent cartoon shows in the past decade, and developer Event Horizon's upcoming RPG epic Tower of Time is set to follow in such prestigious footsteps. With some beautiful atmospheric graphics that looks to push the platform to its limits, as well as a touted twenty to thirty hours of gameplay, Tower of Time is an extremely ambitious premium effort from an indie developer, and will hopefully kick off 2017 with a bang when it launches in the coming weeks. To tide us over before Tower of Time finally drops, Event Horizon have revealed a brand new trailer and a whole host of details that demonstrate what you can expect to experience in this impressive RPG effort...

Alongside our Patreon, the TouchArcade forums are one of the key factors that keep the website as the pivotal place for news on all things iOS gaming. Whether it's in the form of informative discussions on the hottest new releases, excited anticipation on some seriously impressive titles in the upcoming games forums, or fantastic compilations of everyone's favourite games, the community we have in our forums continues to surprise me with their dedication and passion for mobile gaming - let alone being a bunch of awesome people to boot. Last month, AndyC83 (with the help of many other enterprising forum members) organised a public vote for the TouchArcade Forums 2016 Game of the Year, and after much deliberation and discussion Crashlands [$4.99] came out on top with a supremely dominant 48.28% of the votes. Teeny Titans [$3.99] trailed in the respectable runner up position with 19.54%, and SteamWorld Heist [$9.99] and Planar Conquest [$8.99] tied in third place with 18.39% of the vote each...

'Reigns 2' Announced, with a Free Expansion Pack for the Original 'Reigns' Launching in February

Reigns [$2.99] was undoubtedly one of the standout iOS releases of 2016, and was well represented on our round-up of the best games of the year, as well as my own personal list of titles I enjoyed the most over the last twelve months. I certainly was not alone in holding Reigns in such high regard - Nerial's flagship adventure app received critical acclaim on its release in August, as its unique Tinder-esque mechanics, abundant charm and interesting concept of continuing your dynasty after the previous ruler's death proved to be a novel and engrossing essential mobile experience. Today, Nerial have announced that, as well as a free DLC expansion for the original game that is set to launch this Februrary, they are working on an entirely new sequel that is tentatively titled Reigns 2. However, instead of playing from the very traditional perspective of irrefutable power that the king possessed, the developers have put you in the shoes of the queen...

It's that extremely awkward period between Christmas and New Year where no-one really knows what to do with themselves, and so unfortunately the usual tsunami of iOS game news has slowed down to the size of a more modest ripple in the vast ocean that is the App Store. On the positive side of things, this gives everyone a chance to catch up on their sprawling iPhone backlog, and even try out some of the titles that went on sale over the holiday season, which we extensively listed in our big Christmas discount round-up. However, one particular 2016 gem slipped through the cracks - Rush Rally 2 [$1.99] has today gone on sale for the first time ever, and is now available for the ridiculous price of 2016. Yes, despite only being a 50% reduction, ridiculous is apt in this case - Rush Rally 2 offers such meticulously designed racing action that continues to get better with successive updates that $1.99 is a bargain for anyone looking to get behind the virtual wheel on their iPhone...

Rob's 10 Best Games of 2016 - Gotta Download 'Em All!

I've been following TouchArcade since the inception of the App Store back in 2008, and it's still somewhat surreal to see articles, reviews, and most importantly controversial hot-takes written by myself show up on the front page of the best mobile gaming website on the internet. I'm forever indebted to Eli, Jared and the crew for giving a relatively inexperienced university student the chance to write for the site and for making the last six months so enjoyable, as well as grateful to the community for reading and interacting with articles I've posted (and not pointing out too many grammatical errors along the way). However, the most fascinating part of becoming a games journalist is being able to experience one of the best calendar years for mobile gaming from a completely different perspective - having to discover and play new apps on my iPhone on a daily basis has given me an even greater understanding of the sheer strength of content that the platform has seen in 2016. After a lot of deliberation, here are the ten App Store releases that have been the most captivating and compelling over the past calendar year...

One of the most interesting and challenging aspects of Super Mario Run [Free] is the five hidden coins that can be located throughout each level. While the initial pink versions are relatively easy to locate, the final black coins can be extremely difficult to attain, even if you know where they are within the colorful environments Mario has to traverse to save Princess Peach. While I'd highly recommend trying to discover where each black coin is located by yourself, there may come a point where it is just too frustrating without successive retries to find them all. If you are truly stumped by the black coins in Super Mario Run, here is a guide to where each of the elusive item can be found in the game's levels...

I am mildly concerned for the wellbeing of the guys at Foursaken Media, as their unrelenting output of quality games and successive support for their quality releases is surely incompatible with sleep. Only last November we heard of Noblemen: 1896, the quartet's next release and arguably their most ambitious effort to date, and while December hasn't brought with it any new games, Foursaken Media have today released a major update in support of one of their most beloved titles. Block Fortress [$1.99] achieved significant commercial and critical success upon its release in 2013 for its unique amalgamation of Minecraft-esque building with tower defense gameplay, and although it hasn't received any significant content updates since May 2015, a huge new Holidays-themed patch has launched today with a variety of new weapons, equipment and levels, but also some more mechanical changes that have been popularly requested by fans over the years...