Author Archives: Tasos Lazarides


Kobolds & Catacombs, the latest Hearthstone [Free] expansion, is finally live in NA and EU everyone, so go start opening decks and buildings decks. You will venture into a huge underground world that Kobolds have mindlessly carved over thousands of years. Treasures await you but so do all kinds of monsters, perils, and construction that isn't up to code. Kobolds & Catacombs, Hearthstone's seventh expansion, adds 135 new collectible cards to the mix, all revolving around those silly Kobolds and their candles. The expansion adds a new keyword, Recruit, which summons a random minion from your deck and will be fun to play around with. We are also getting Spellstones, spells that can be upgraded if the player fulfills specific conditions, and, for the first time, Legendary Weapons...

Just like every year, Apple has released the top 20 charts for each of the 2017 App Store's category, and some of the names are very surprising while others follow the trends one would expect from the App Store of 2017. In terms of overall trends, Apple is glad Augmented Reality and the ARKit finally became a reality, although the truth is we haven't really seen it impact mobile gaming that much yet. Perhaps it's only a matter of time, but we'll have to wait and see. Apple also sees 2017 as the year when the App Store saw a rise in multiplayer gaming, with games like The Elder Scrolls: Legends [Free], Red Tides [Free], Star Wars: Force Arena [Free], Stormbound [Free], and others joining the now classic multiplayer games like Hearthstone [Free] and Clash Royale [Free]. I don't think many should be surprised that multiplayer games have found a home on the App Store given how they can be monetized very effectively and can offer quick, mobile-friendly experiences to players on-the-go...




HQ Live Trivia Game Show [Free] continues to grow at a rapid pace, so rapid actually that the developers are struggling to improve the huge lag that has been frustrating players. Still, the iOS app has seen a 100 times increase in players over the last month or so, so it makes sense that the developers' next step is to bring the game over to Android. And it looks like the Android version is coming before Christmas. The developers tweeted that HQ has a nice little stocking stuffer coming the Android way, and since you don't stuff stockings after Christmas, the app should be dropping within the next two weeks and a bit...

It's almost time for Kobolds & Catacombs, Hearthstone [Free] players, and the patch that prepares the ground for the expansion has just gone live. While you won't really say any changes right now, you can get excited about all the new cards and the Dungeon Run mode. The new patch notes give us a taste of the new quests we are getting in the game. For instance, we are getting a repeating daily quest called Spelunker that gives you a 1 Classic card pack for defeating 5 Dungeon Run encounters, an incentive for people to play Dungeon Run for more than just fun. The update also adds a reconnect countdown when your opponent disconnects, a useful feature for mobile...

If you want to see what the closed beta for Magic: The Gathering Arena holds, head over to the official Twitch channel right now to watch the first closed beta stream. During this stream, the developers will talk about what the early stages of the beta look like and will also test out some special decks, which should be fun. I don't know who's in the closed beta or not (since no one can talk about it yet), but I do know that the closed beta will feel more like a game compared to the alpha because it will stick around and allow players to build a collection, play around with getting and opening packs, and in general give a better idea of what we're getting with this game...

Sam Barlow's Her Story [$3.99] is pretty much universally acclaimed (we gave it 4.5 stars in our review and praised its acting and writing), and many players are looking forward to Telling Lies, Barlow's other big project. Today, Barlow announced another upcoming game called #Wargames, and it looks very intriguing. The trailer for this new interactive series starts with all the big hacks that have happened over the last few years (Yahoo, Sony, etc) and takes us to a 2018 that's not too far from what we're experiencing right now. Barlow pointed out that they started writing the game under the Obama administration, but now it might be even more relevant...

Pokemon GO [Free] continues to grow in fun ways, and the game's next update will change things up considerably. First of all, 50 more Pokemon originally discovered in the Hoenn region are now available to catch, with even more Hoenn region Pokemon arriving in the coming weeks. Pokemon like Treecko, Torchic, Mudkip and many more are running around the world waiting to be caught (kind of sad, isn't it when you think about it?). Even more interestingly, the new update adds dynamic weather that ties into the real-world weather of the location you're playing at, and this dynamic weather is more than just cosmetic...

Blizzard has been diversifying its Hearthstone [Free] pre-expansion push in all kinds of interesting ways, and after giving us things like the Critical Role episode the other day, today it's putting on a Kobolds & Catacombs Escape Room live event starring some popular personalities like Trump and Day9. The participants will have to escape a custom-made Kobolds & Catacombs if they are to claim King Togwaggle's gold. I'm very curious to see how Blizzard went about designing the various puzzles that will try and stop the team from busting out in time to get their hands on the gold. I expect fun shenanigans in this novel idea...

'Arena of Valor' Devs Explain How Recording and Gifting Features Work

Arena of Valor's latest update has added a few cool new features, but it looks like they aren't that easy to navigate. So, the developers decided to post a more detailed FAQ that explain how the various new additions work. The post explains how the Highlight Reel and Free Record functions work, pointing out that you can't enable both at the same time; you'll either be recording your highlights or the whole match, can't have both. These features only work on iPhone 6s and above and an iPad mini 4/iPad Pro and above. No iPhone X support at the moment, but it should be coming in the next version. The videos you make are found in the Settings/Watch Clips or the Videos part of the Player Info screen...

If you're looking for a collectible card game that offers something different from games like Hearthstone and Magic, you might want to check out Runewards [Free], which has just released worldwide (outside China, though). Runewards takes inspiration from Gwent, the PC-only card game inspired by the Witcher 3, and by doing so offers a fresh take on mobile card games. The basic idea behind Runewards is you play against your opponent in a best of three matches, and your goal is to have more points than your opponent at the end of each round. Even if the game was just about that, it would be different enough from other card games to warrant your attention...

The future is gradually upon us, apparently. 57° North, the upcoming game from Mighty Coconut, tells the story of Sasha and Caleb, two cousins on a family trip to Alaska who get stranded on a remote island after a vicious storm. You will have to figure out how to help the two cousins escape while also trying to figure out the secret of this deserted island, which is packed with security cameras for apparently no reason. The most interesting part of 57° North is that it utilizes what's called Merge Cube, an interesting little cube that helps create an intriguing mixed reality that can help immerse you into the story, and that's what the developers of 57° North are hoping happens...

Minecraft [$6.99] is getting ready to celebrate the holidays by giving free stuff to everyone. Starting December 21st and for 12 days after that, Minecraft will have a free present for you every day on the Minecraft Marketplace. The first present will be a Noxcrew offering called Ready Sled Go!, a mountainous sled slalom perfect for the holidays and great for taking on your friends. Mojang will advertise the presents on Twitter, so either keep an eye on that or just jump into Minecraft once a day to make sure you grab your free present. Free stuff's great after all, so why leave it on the table?..

Yesterday we talked about Scott Cawthon developing a Pizzeria Simulator that he "swore" was just a little minigame for the community, but, of course, no one bought that. And we were right to be skeptical because Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator is a Five Nights at Freddy's [$2.99] game disguised as a minigame. (Spoilers) Once you start the game, you play through a simple minigame where you fling pizzas at little children until the whole game short circuits and you find yourself the owner of a new pizzeria that you have to decorate...

Kobolds & Catacombs Card Reveals, Dungeon Run, The Darkness, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #119

Hello everyone, and welcome to the last Touchstone Tavern prior to Hearthstone's [Free] Kobolds & Catacombs release. Finally, we're only a few days away from a ton of cool cards joining the game, and I (and many others) can't wait to start building all sorts of fun and silly decks (and, occasionally, some strong ones). As you would expect, last week's news was all about the expansion and the many new card reveals, but there were also some other fun happenings (like the Critical Role episode). Also, only a few days left before we get the Dungeon Run mode, the new single-player mode that will give players even more to do in-game. Overall, the upcoming expansion appears to have awoken the community from its relatively slumber, and that can only mean good things for the game.It's a good time to be a Hearthstone player...

Scott Cawthon, of Five Night at Freddy's [$2.99] fame, has made it a habit to tease new games, new lore details, and in general all kinds of things partly in an attempt to get his huge fanbase looking under every word and behind every comma for clues. And he appears to continue those old tricks with a teaser about a new game based on the popular franchise. He has recently posted on Steam that he's working on a new game, some kind of pizzeria management game. And then he started adding teaser images to his webpage. The teasers have Freddy slinging pizzas toward three smiling children in what looks like a screen from retro games...

'Jumanji: The Mobile Game' Turns the Upcoming Movie Into a Board Game/CCG Mix - Game Releasing Dec. 14th

The original Jumanji movie, with the gone-too-soon Robin Williams, was one of my favorite movies growing up. As you'd expect, then, I was quite nervous about the upcoming remake of the movie (starring The Rock), but I feel a bit better about it after reading some positive early reviews. The new Jumanji movie tells the story of four students who get sucked into a video game, and soon mobile gamers will also have the chance to get sucked into the world of Jumanji. Starting December 14th (although the game is already soft launched in Thailand and Canada), mobile gamers can play Jumanji: The Mobile Game, a mix of a board game and card collectible game that looks more than just a cash grab...

Publisher Annapurna Interactive is bringing some eclectic games to mobile, and the upcoming Gorogoa is definitely one of them. Gorogoa, which releases December 14th, is a tile-sliding puzzle game with a unique story and gorgeous hand-drawn art. We got to see the game at PAX South 2017, and we were pretty impressed by what we saw. As you can see at the end of the trailer below, the game takes place across four tiles that you can slide around in different places as well as manipulate in certain ways. The tiles can interact with each other, like placing a bowl underneath an apple that's next to a crow so that the crow can drop the apple into the bowl...

Hearthstone's [Free] Kobolds & Catacombs expansion is almost upon us (3 days from release at this point), so most of its cards have already been revealed. However, there's plenty of them we still haven't seen. That's being remedied as we speak. Game Director Ben Brode and streamer Day9 are currently livestreaming a ton of card reveals in a marathon stream, so if you want to see more Kobolds & Catacombs cards in action (they are running all kinds of crazy Kobolds decks), watch the stream embedded below. If you're the kind of a person who prefers surprises, then avoid the stream because you only have to have patience for a few more days until the expansion is revealed...

'Ingress Prime' Is Niantic's Reboot of Its First AR Game

Before there was Pokemon GO, there was Ingress [Free], Niantic's first shot at developing an Augmented Reality game, and today Niantic announced that It's returning to its first game and rebooting it as Ingress Prime. Ingress was very popular, with 20 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of players participating in more than 2000 events since its launch, but now it's time for Niantic to use all the experience (and money) the developer gained from Pokemon GO and give players a better version of the sci-fi AR game. I know Ingress has a very loyal player base that wasn't necessarily caught up in the Pokemon GO craze, so a new version of the game will be very welcome. And, given that Niantic is also developing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Ingress Prime can act as a testing ground for new tech and ideas...

'Football Manager Touch 2018' for iPad Review - The Best Just Got Better

Football Manager Touch 2017, Sports Interactive's classic football (soccer for some of you) management game, was one of my top 10 games of the year despite some serious technical issues that led to plenty of crashes. Those issues aside, though, the game was a fantastic and deep sports management game that had no equal on the App Store. Enter Football Manager Touch 2018 [$19.99 (HD)], the latest in the series. FMT 2018 sticks to what made FMT 2017 so great—a more accessible version of the PC version of the game but deeper than the handheld one—and makes little changes that go a long way toward making the game easier to play on a tablet. With an improved UI and the same addictive gameplay, FMT 2018 is another jewel of a game that I will spend too many hours playing...