Author Archives: Tasos Lazarides


Final 'Albion Online' Update Prior to PC Launch Improves the Outlands Territories

We've been keeping a pretty close eye on Albion Online, the cross-platform sandbox MMORPG that promises to bring to mobile a very complex and deep game. If you haven't heard of the game before, Albion Online will bring a PvE and PvP medieval fantasy world with a player-driven economy—where all equipment items are player-crafted—along with a unique classless system and much more. The game is scheduled to release on PC in July, and today the developers announced the last big update prior to release, and it's an important one indeed. The update will improve the Outlands, the lawless territories of the Albion world. The developers weren't happy with the way harbors and cities in the Outlands fulfilled their role of being a home for guilds that lack territory, so they will be replaced with a single access point, the city of Caerleon...

Fidget spinners have taken over the US, and that's just a slight exaggeration. So, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that a digital version of a fidget spinner called Finger Spinner [Free] is now spinning on top of the App Store's Free App charts. In case you've missed out on the craze—which I highly doubt—fidget spinners are 3-inch twirling toys originally made to help children with attention disorders concentrate, but these last few weeks they have spread everywhere, spawning tons of articles and debates over their usefulness. And, as is always the case, they've spawned plenty of demeaning comments about millennials, which is a new sport nowadays...




The Wonderfully Weird 'Karma Incarnation 1' Is Coming to iOS and Android

There's good weird, and there's bad weird, and the upcoming Karma Incarnation 1, a PC game soon to hit the mobile shores, is definitely good weird. Look at the trailer below, and you'll know exactly what I mean. This is a crazy, colorful game with the kind of characters you would see if you had eaten the kinds of mushrooms you probably shouldn't have. In Karma Incarnation 1 you play as someone who's beloved has been abducted, so you decide to turn into a dragon and save her. Unfortunately, you end up turning into a worm named Pip, a slightly more limiting form than that of a dragon...

Even if you've never watched an episode of Jeopardy!, you probably know about it and probably know that you have to answer with a question. Its popularity isn't that surprising given that its current incarnation has been around since 1984 (although originally created in 1964). Today, the game has made the jump to mobile in the form of Jeopardy! World Tour [Free], and it's actually a good use of the IP and a pretty fun game in its own right. I've been playing the game on and off today, and I've been having quite a bit of fun with it. There are thousands of clues and categories—from the general to the very specific—which should keep you entertained. For instance, I played a round with a category called Awards and another where Truman Capote was his own category...

If you're one of the many players of FIFA Mobile Soccer [Free], you'll be glad to know that starting tomorrow and for each Friday until July 3rd, you'll be enjoying various Team of the Season events, players, and items. Every Friday, the game will be celebrating one of the top five leagues in the game—Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Calcio A, Spain's La Liga Santander, France's Ligue 1, and England's Premier League. Each Team of the Season Friday will bring along 23 players (11 starters and 12 reserves) who'll be chosen based on their performance in their domestic leagues. You'll be able to grab those players either through the Starters Plan or the Reserve Plan...

Hearthstone [Free] developers have talked about considering new ways of giving players free packs and free cards, and this Saturday, May 20th, they'll give away a single free card to every player who logs in that day. The free card is the 6-mana 4/4 Fight Promoter, which has a Battlecry "If you control a minion with 6 or more Health, draw cards." Before you start reading way too much into this Blizzard move, Ben Brode has said that they aren't testing anything or teasing anything; they just wanted to keep the game "spicy" by doing a fun one-off. There are bigger events planned for the future, and this is them just getting warmed up...

Everyone in the world of Clash of Clans [Free]is "patiently" waiting for the huge upcoming update to drop, but in the meantime, we got information about the latest balancing update, which will go live once the big update goes live. This round of buffs and additions focuses on powering late-game spells and helping make the grind through Town Hall level 9 more bearable. The update will add Clone Spell level 5 at Town Hall 11, with Clone Spell levels 1-5 seeing a buff. There will also be a Freeze Spell level 6 at Town Hall 11 and a Heal Spell level 7 at Town Hall 10. A 7th Gold Mine and Elixir Collector will be available at Town Hall 9 instead of Town Hall 10 as was the case before...

Minecraft: Pocket Edition [$6.99] continues to get fun and colorful mash-up packs, and this time around we got a Greek Mythology invasion, which is very appropriate for the world of Minecraft. This pack brings close to 40 new skins that include Zeus, Apollo, Prometheus, Medusa, the Minotaur, and plenty of half-dressed muscular men. In addition to the skins, this pack adds a new UI to the game, a custom texture set that you can see in the screenshot below, and an original score by Gareth Coker. This pack has been on consoles for some time now, so I'm glad to see it come to mobile...

Telltale is about to wrap up the third season of its hit The Walking Dead [$4.99] series, also known as A New Frontier, probably on May 30th. I say probably because the mobile versions of the various episodes haven't always landed on the same day as the other versions. Hopefully, this time around we'll get it on the 30th. The last episode of the series is called From the Gallows—a pleasant title—and takes players to a Richmond teetering on the bring of collapse as chaos threatens to engulf it from all sides. Slight spoilers from here on, so read at your own risk. The lives of those close to Javier are in danger, and your previous decisions throughout the series will determine which characters trust him to guard all that they hold dear...

Paradox Interactive is very familiar to PC strategy gamers for its fantastic grand strategy games like Crusader Kings II (my personal favorite), Stellaris, Europa Universalis, and many more. The publisher has been on a roll recently, and it's showing no signs of stopping, recently hiring the lead designer of Civilization V. Paradox Interactive has also published some mobile games with very mixed success, more recently giving us two mediocre interactive fiction games, Crusader Kings: Chronicles [$4.99] and Hearts of Iron: War Stories [Free]. However, it looks like the publisher isn't done with mobile gaming yet, and today's news of Paradox Interactive opening a new studio focused solely on mobile development is certainly very welcome and quite promising...

If you want a taste of how it would feel to be one of the cogs in a totalitarian machine, check out the just-released Beholder [$4.99]. In Beholder, you are a State-installed landlord, and your purpose is to ensure none of your tenants is planning any kind of subversive activities or posing any threat to the State. And, of course, why would they? They should know they live in the equivalent of heaven on Earth and should be thankful for it. But I digress. Your duties include bugging apartments, going through belongings for anything that doesn't belong there, and, of course, reporting anyone who seems like a current or potential threat...

'Foolball' Is a Medieval Ball Game With Ragdolls and a Fun Art Style

Ragdoll games are always better than the sum of their parts, especially with younger players who enjoy seeing ridiculousness on screen. The upcoming Foolball combines ragdolls with a silly ball game where you and your opponent try to get the poor jester through the flaming hoops on each side of the (literal) court. Your frantic efforts are nothing but entertainment for the visibly bored King, who's more interested in his food than your struggle to the (jester's) death...

This week's Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl will take you all the way back to early 2016 when An Evil Exchange first made its appearance on our devices. This Brawl is an entertaining one because of how asymmetric it is. An Evil Exchange has one player play as Kel'Thuzad and the other as Rafaam, and they are competing to see which one is the toughest boss around. Both bosses give you a pre-constructed deck, and Kel'Thuzad has 30 Health and 30 Armor while Rafaam has 60 Health, so expect matches to take a bit longer than usual. As you would expect, Kel'Thuzad's Hero Power brings a random minion back from the dead...

Star Realms [Free] is a great deck building game that has a pretty loyal following. When the game came to mobile, its UI design wasn't the best—as we noted in our review—and overall it didn't look as good as the game deserved. Even though the game has been out since 2014, the developers decided to release an update today that overhauls the game's look as well as adds real-time gameplay and the Colony Wars expansion. The new interface is based on player feedback and should look much better, and there's even new music. In addition to the UI changes, there have been other changes like increased security, with every move logged with the server now...

Magic the Gathering: Puzzle Quest [Free] continues to keep up with all the Magic The Gathering expansions, and today's update has brought the Amonkhet expansion to the very entertaining mobile game. Amonkhet is the 74th Magic expansion and the first in the Amonkhet block. As you might probably have guessed from the name, this expansion was inspired by Ancient Egypt. The MTG: Puzzle Quest version of the expansion comes with 155 new cards, including 10 Masterpiece cards...

A few months back, we wrote about the first trailer for the upcoming The Emoji Movie, the movie that will make a ton of money even if you think it shouldn't even exist. If you remember, the movie is about Gene, an emoji unable to consistently pull off the same face, which is anathema in the emoji world. The original reveal teased that Gene and his friends would have to venture across the apps of a teenager's phone, and now we know the reason why. As the new trailer reveals, Gene's inability to portray the intended emoji makes the teenager think that his phone is malfunctioning and decides to wipe it out, which means everything and everyone on the phone will be wiped out as well...

Heroes Above: Sky Clash [Free], the casual, squad-based strategy game that mostly takes place across battling airships, has, well, flown out of beta and launched worldwide today. Heroes Above has you training and evolving various heroes as you strive to create the best squad you can. As is usually the case in games like this one, you get to pick from a variety of troop types as you try to customize the game to fit your play style...

The Soft-Launched 'Farm On!' Has You Managing Your Farm in Portrait Mode

It looks like mobile gamers really love farming, at least judging from all the farming games that have graced the platform. Farm On! is getting ready to join the club and hopes that it'll be able to stand out from the rest partly because of its focus on single-handed, portrait mode gameplay. As you can see from the trailer, the game will be mostly focused on the sowing-harvesting loop with plenty of crops, animals, and products to mess around with...

'Buy Somewhere' Is Like a Real-World Game of 'Monopoly', and You Can Apply for the Beta

Buy Somewhere is an upcoming game that lets you become a real estate tycoon in your own city, buying and selling actual locations including your house, the places you hang out at, or even famous landmarks. As you can see from the trailer below, the game can transform reality and turn it into a game; okay, maybe not exactly that, but it does use geo-location to let you experience the joy of becoming a real estate tycoon and the misery of having others steal your property...

Hearthstone [Free] is getting some pretty cool new features in the upcoming update, and Blizzard published a blog post today presenting two big ones. The first is the ability to complete quests in Friendly Challenges instead of just with randoms. We got a taste of this in the Friendly Feud event last year, and now we'll be getting this feature permanently. There are, of course, quests that can't be completed in Friendly Challenges, such as ones where you play against The Innkeeper or watching a match. This new feature should give players more reasons to play with friends, which is always a good thing in my eyes...