Category Archives: Games

'Bottom of the 9th' Review - Handelabra Knocks the Cover Off the Ball

Handelabra Games, known for their digital adaptation of the cooperative tabletop card game Sentinels of the Multiverse [$6.99], has a brand-new offering in the App Store. This time they've tackled the dice-rolling baseball game Bottom of the 9th [$4.99], yet another tabletop to digital transformation. As the name suggests, Bottom of the 9th focuses on the pivotal final half inning of a tied ball game. The scrappy, overachieving home team is surprised to find themselves on the doorstep of victory against the powerhouse visitors and are hoping to pull out a win by scoring a run. They know they had better do it in this half inning because they lack the steam to hang with the big boys in extra innings and would most certainly lose. It's baseball distilled to its central idea—the duel between pitcher and batter...

All kinds of interesting things are happening in Hearthstone [Free] over at Gamescom 2017, with a huge Fireside Brawl mimicking an MMO raid, but unfortunately those of us not there have to settle for a typical Tavern Brawl. By the Power of Ragnaros is a new brawl, and it mimics the power of Emperor Thaurissan. In other words, you build your own deck, and at the end of your turn, the cards in your hand get cheaper by one. Keep in mind that the end of your opponent's turn has no effect on your cards and that this effect only affects cards in your hand, not in your deck. There are quite a few decks that can find success in this Brawl, but remember to mulligan properly since that opening hand is going to get cheap really quickly...




Minecraft [$6.99] has been adding all kinds of different stuff to its Marketplace, but if you weren't sure what you should get first, this ranking of the top ten sellers during the month of July might be a good place to start your shopping experience. The top seller was Noxcrew's Summer Mini-Games Festival, which shouldn't be too surprising given how much Minecraft players like mini-games. The next three best sellers are spawn builds—Fallen Keep, Dustville, and Wisteria Grove—followed by some maps and, wrapping up the list, three resource packs. I think it's pretty clear that spawn builds are the most popular items on the Marketplace (the mini-games one is an outlier), which makes sense since they are very easily incorporated into survival adventures...

'PUSH' is a Slick Minimalistic Puzzler from the Creators of 'Klocki' and 'Art of Gravity', Launching October on the App Store

Supergroups may be a relatively common phenomenon within the music industry, but they seem somewhat less impactful within video games. Yes, the fantastic collaboration between Yoko Taro and Platinum Games may have brought us the wonderful NiER Automata, but on the other hand Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games exists, to the sighs and raised eyebrows of the majority of seasoned gamers. However, two mobile developers are looking to release a puzzle game that fits firmly in the former category, and PUSH shows all the good signs of a strong amalgamation of respective talents. Sporting a slick minimalistic graphical style that is reminiscent of the stunning aesthetic that Perchang [$1.99] nailed down last year, PUSH takes the abstract wonder of Maciej Targoni’s Hook [$0.99] and Klocki [$0.99] titles and combines them with the atmospheric complexity of Michal Pawlowski’s Zenge [$0.99] and Art of Gravity [$0.99] to great effect, and is set to launch on the App Store in late October...

There has been tremendous progression with the development of Vainglory [Free] ever since its official release back in late 2014. Super Evil Megacorp has consistently added new heroes, events, skins, game-modes, and a Talent system to the game. There is more content for players to enjoy than ever and there is still the release of a 5 vs 5 game-mode looming on the horizon...

Blizzard is currently doing its Gamescom 2017 presentation, and it just revealed a really great Hearthstone [Free] animated short called Hearth and Home that breathes life into our favorite card game. We are used to seeing animated shorts for Overwatch—which are a great way of presenting backstories and building up the game's lore—but this Hearthstone short goes in a different direction and gives us a Disney-like short that's less about a backstory and more about bringing the game to life. It's a lovely short that shows off how good Blizzard is getting at creating animated shorts and is definitely a great way to advertise the game to non-gamers or those gamers who don't have their fingers on the pulse of the gaming scene...

As you probably know by now if you've been reading anything on Hearthstone [Free] or been playing the game the last week, Druid decks appear to be overpowered and are leaving many players frustrated. Complaints about overpowered decks and cards are nothing new in Hearthstone, but they do seem to be louder than usual this time around. Many players are convinced (wrongly or not) that Druid decks right now might be the most powerful decks even in the history of the game. So, Dean Ayala, Hearthstone's game designer, went on reddit to respond. He talked about recent statistics by the popular website Vicious Syndicate (which saw Druid as surpassing the popularity of the infamous Undertaker Hunter) and pointed out how the stats discussed in that story weren't comparable and that Druid right now isn't as popular as some other historic decks...

We were surprised late last month when developer Nekki announced a new paid special edition version of their mega-popular free to play fighter Shadow Fight 2 [Free], mostly because the announcement came rather non-chalantly alongside the release date announcement of their upcoming sequel Shadow Fight 3. It seemed strange that, with so much focus on this brand new game, they'd be revisiting the game that came before it, but with Shadow Fight 2's more than 300 million installs perhaps they felt like the fan base was still hungry for more. Then early this month Nekki announced that the special edition would be launching on August 17th, but we were surprised once more when they announced a delay late last week. Well, it turns out the delay wasn't all that long, as Shadow Fight 2 Special Edition [$4.99] has finally launched in the App Store as of this morning...

If you are one of those playing Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy [$4.99] series, you'll be glad to know that episode 3 is now ready for you to enjoy, and I'm actually looking forward to playing it. More Than a Feeling (the series does love its songs, doesn't it) is now available for $4.99, and it's going to give us the the answer to that pretty cool cliffhanger the last episode ended with. Now, if you've watched the trailer for the new episode, then you probably know what comes after the blinding light at the end of episode 2, so if you don't like spoilers, do not watch the trailer below. I will say this, though; it does look like some pretty momentous decisions are coming our way in episode 3, and that's quite an interesting move narratively because we still have 2 episodes to go after this one...

To the Moon [$4.99] is a lovely experience with great music and story, and you'll be glad to know that there's an update coming out next week that's going to add some fun features. And the update will be accompanied by a 40% price drop, so what's not to like? The update will add the Music Box feature, which will allow you to play the music from the game's soundtrack even when you close the game, which is a fun idea given how lovely that music is. And if you really like those music pieces, you'll be able to go and grab them directly from iTunes. In addition to the Music Box, the update will add a QR code sharing that allows players to get to a saving point simply by scanning the QR code on the art work...

I kind of feel bad for the developers of Glyph Quest, We Heart Dragons. They've got a sound concept for their puzzle/RPG hybrid series, one with a satisfying amount of depth that nevertheless manages to be quite straightforward. The problem seems to be in finding the right balance of elements that allows them to make some money with the idea. After trying two player-friendly models and not getting great results, I guess I can't blame them for veering things hard in the free-to-play monetization direction. That's a tricky road to walk, however, and Glyph Quest Chronicles [Free] can't quite keep itself from stumbling into the ditch now and then...

Leaks in video games are by no means rare occurrences anymore, and the speed that the online community is able to datamine the latest release, update or demo means developers have to be on their guard to avoid giving away any secrets. However, after the previous few weeks Pokemon GO [Free] has had, with quite literally legendary calamities such as the Pokemon GO Fest in Chicago, I can't help to feel this latest datamine of Niantic's augmented reality application is a little too well-timed. In the complete teardown of the latest version 0.71.0, keen Pokemon super nerds on the Silph Road subreddit have discovered, amongst many neat new additions, the presence of all 135 creatures from the Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald trilogy on Game Boy Advance. ..

Square Enix is known to drop a few surprises now and then, but I can honestly say no one saw this one coming. The company just announced at the Gamescom convention that they will be releasing Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 this fall. The game will follow the story of the original game and will be released in 10 chapters, with the first being free to try. It remains to be seen how much will be changed in the process, but the most obvious difference so far is in the game's art design. You know what? I'll let the trailer speak for me here...

Last month developer Will O'Neill, most widely known for his 2014 narrative adventure Actual Sunlight which dealt with depression and suicide, released his newest game on Steam, another narrative adventure that deals with heavy topics called Little Red Lie. The story revolves around two very different characters and, as the name implies, the game replaces all the traditional forms of interaction in an adventure game and instead asks you to do one very simple thing: Lie your ass off. Following its well-received launch on desktop, today Little Red Lie [$4.99] has also launched in the App Store...

It was just a matter of time. Clash Royale [Free] is one of the world's most popular collectible-card games, and certainly the biggest lane-based battler to date. Supercell, the makers of the game, experimented with a temporary 2v2 mode where you can join together with a friend, clan mate, or totally random person to take on a different duo. Matchmaking is done based on average level and these duels have been a big hit with players. Supercell got a lot of mileage by hyping up the summer of 2v2, where duos could duel for the entire month of July, but have finally bowed to the inevitable and 2v2 is here to stay...

PES 2017 [Free], the soccer game that continues to actually let you play soccer (looking at you, FIFA), has just added a very welcome new feature that brings back memories of playing soccer on consoles with friends sitting next to you on the couch. The new mode allows you to organize round-robin tournaments with up to three friends locally. That should be a fun way to compete with friends without having to worry about spotty internet. And let's be honest, there's nothing better than competing with friends in these kinds of sport games. And having in-game tournament support beats having to keep records on a piece of paper like we used to do back in the day...

Destiny 2, Bungie's promising sequel to the quite successful Destiny, is releasing on consoles September 6th, so Bungie is about to update the official Destiny Companion [Free] app with many new bells and whistles. The new app will allow you to keep up with all the news and updates and track upcoming events and activities to ensure you don't miss on any good loot. You'll also be able to create or join a Clan (a pretty necessary part of getting the most out of the game), communicate with your teammates through Clan text chat, and track your Clan's progression and shared rewards. Destiny 2 really emphasizes playing with others, so the ability to communicate with friends and teammates is pretty essential...

Druid Too Strong, Frozen Throne Crazy Cards, Disguised Toast, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #109

Hello Hearthstone [Free] players, and welcome to our weekly roundup of the best news and videos. We are in the second week of the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion, and the meta is still a bit all over the place, although Druid decks seem to be much stronger than most other decks. Players seem to be having fun with the new cards and the Death Knights. This week we have stories on climbing the ladder in an unstable meta, fun Frozen throne decks to play, Frozen Throne bugs and surprises, and much more. Overall, it's been a good week for the game, and it's always fun to get to play with new cards, especially when we see new archetypes and new ideas. I hope you've been enjoying Knights of the Frozen Throne. Now, let's jump into the news...

This year has seen a large number of collectible-card game contenders enter the scene, all looking to take a bite out of the audiences of Hearthstone [Free], Clash Royale [Free], or both. Eternal Card Game [Free] was a recent entrant into the field and perhaps the most Magic: The Gathering like of all options out there today. You declare blockers in Eternal, for one, a facet of gameplay Hearthstone jettisoned for simplicity's sake and most others have followed suit. Eternal also features what seems like gigantic booster packs at twelve cards deep. It's a really good game and made by Dire Wolf Digital, the folks behind The Elder Scrolls: Legends [Free]...

Out of nowhere this morning, TAITO have just released their classic puzzle game Bust-A-Move Journey [$4.99] on the App Store as a paid release with in app purchases. Known as Puzzle Bobble Journey outside of North America - with an entirely different App Store link for those in regions outside of the States, Bust-A-Move Journey has more than 270 stages, with different achievements for each level. For those unfamiliar with the series, the aim of Bust-A-Move Journey is to pop bubbles with a match-3 like system. If you're curious about how this version looks, there's a trailer that you can watch below...

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