Category Archives: Games

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where pouring milk on an inn allows it to charge a higher rate. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As mayor of this city, I try to choose a balanced plate of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, you can let me know by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is already done up quite far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

A little more than a month ago, we learned that Cartoon Network was readying a sequel of sorts to their massively popular card battler Card Wars - Adventure Time [$3.99], and earlier today that game, Card Wars Kingdom [Free], went live in the App Store. Just as the first game was adapted from a fictional card game that was played in an episode of Adventure Time, Card Wars Kingdom is loosely based on the latest episode Daddy-Daughter Card Wars where Jake has to win an underground Card Wars tournament. Fittingly, Card Wars Kingdoms has a brand new online PvP feature and tournaments...




Despite Pokemon GO [Free] only having been out for about eight hours here in the UK, I've been to a multitude of bizarre locations to try and catch 'em all. Whether the PokeStops have been in churches, train stations or random stones in the ground with absolutely no significance at all, it isn't only the Pokemon that are being lured to specific locations, but masses of people with their phones - and most importantly, their wallets. This has led to businesses actually buying lures to try and attract paying customers, and while on a smaller scale this is a novel idea, there is immense potential for a bigger brand to capitalise on the unprecedented popularity of Pokemon GO. It was therefore an inevitability that Niantic, according to a Gizmodo source, have struck a deal with McDonald's to turn every single restaurant into either a PokeStop or a Gym...

It was just last week we learned that adorable point-and-click adventure Love You To Bits [$3.99] would be getting two brand new levels and iCloud syncing, and today that update has gone live in the App Store. Love You To Bits was a story about a space explorer searching the galaxy to collect all the parts of his robot girlfriend, who had been blown to bits. It was created by some of the same people who made the wonderful (and sadly now defunct) Tiny Thief, and felt like an appropriate spiritual successor to that title. ..

If you like your Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl with a side of RNG, today's Brawl should be just your thing. 'Servant of Yogg-Saron' Tryouts has you picking a class and then gives you a deck full of random minions. For every minion you play, a random spell is cast on a random target; in a way, it's a one-shot Yogg-Saron effect. As you can imagine, this Brawl is great for completing your dailies because even if you aren't very good at playing the game, Yogg-Saron might still come through for you with his random spell-casting. If you're the kind of player who hates RNG, though, better keep away from this on because it will possibly drive you insane (which is a common effect of the Old Gods)...

For quite some time, whenever someone wanted to make a generalized statement about how popular mobile gaming is, he would use Candy Crash Saga as the example, and that made sense given the game's 20 million peak active users in the US. However, there's a new kid in town now, Pokemon GO [Free], and according to this Surveymonkey data, it has just surpassed Candy Crash Saga to claim the US mobile gaming throne and officially become the biggest mobile game in US history. The game now haz 21 million active daily users, so it's handily beating games like Clash Royale, Slither.io, and pretty much everything else around. And the game hasn't been out in the States for that long either, so we've definitely not reached peak Pokemon GO...

It's interesting watching the flow of game design over time. While it's sometimes painful to watch established game designs hop from a paid model to a free-to-play set-up, those very same free-to-play hits have now been around long enough to start inspiring developers to travel that road in the opposite direction. The basic structure and look of Dungeon x Balls [$2.99] seem heavily informed by social RPG sensations like Puzzle and Dragons [Free], but rather than send the player down an endless rabbit hole of collection, evolution, and battling, it opts for a more traditional style. You'll find new characters with their own special abilities, battle boss creatures, and work your way through the story, and while there are IAP, they're solely of the cosmetic variety. Best of all, its core gameplay mechanic feels intuitive and fresh, a difficult thing to accomplish in the wildly crowded mobile market...

'Combo Critters' Review - Combo Breaker

'Combo Critters' Review - Combo Breaker

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In the fleeting ecosystem that is the App Store, games live and die by the strength of their core concept, and how well the developers are able to execute such pivotal ideas. Owing to the ease of development for iOS, there are innumerable innovative ideas in games - in terms of raw numbers of releases, eclipsing virtually every other platform out there - yet it is still rare to see them implemented with the quality and distinction of Combo Critters [Free]. While it would be easy to draw parallels to Pokemon, and the creature catching action isn’t particularly unique, Lucky Kat Studios manages to shake up the formula enough to stand alone as its own game. By being able to fuse critters together, amalgamated with an incredible sense of charm and whimsy, Combo Critters is an extremely enjoyable experience that has a lot of potential to expand, grow and develop in the coming months...

We have been inundated with weird, wacky and wonderful stories related to Pokemon GO [Free] ever since it became a national phenomenon in every single country it has been released in. Whether that is people using drones to catch Pokemon from afar, or the Westboro Baptist Church using the app in an attempt to further their hate-filled agenda, it seems there is always something or someone trying to push the boundary for crazy stories related to the ridiculously popular iPhone game. I believe the internet was at its zenith today, as following on from the format of 2014's Twitch Plays Pokemon, there is now Twitch Plays Pokemon GO. I can't believe it either. Check out the Twitch stream in all its glory here...

Although many indies have tried to replicate the tiny racing feeling of classic early '90s release Micro Machines on mobile, the actual licensed IP has been strangely absent from the App Store. Way back in October of last year, Chillingo and original Micro Machines developer Codemasters announced a partnership to revive the series for mobile, and after a fairly lengthy soft-launch period their new Micro Machines [Free] has hit the App Store just ahead of its previously announced July 14th global release date...

Monument Valley [$3.99] was one of those games that broke into the mainstream (thank you Frank Underwood and House of Cards) and stayed there. Many people I know who don't play mobile games have either seen or heard about the game. Now, Monument Valley's lead designer, Ken Wong, has decided to found his own studio called Mountains. Wong describes Mountains as a 'craft games studio' with the goal of making small, beautiful games. We've all appreciated his artistic vision in Monument Valley, so I'm intrigued to see what Mountains has in store for us...

In an interesting and quite peculiar twist in the popularity of Pokemon GO [Free], the game has become a 'weapon' of choice for political statements. This story is so crazy, though, that you might want to take it with a pinch of salt because it borders on the unbelievable. The infamous Westboro Baptist Church - known for its protests of military funerals and other even less savory incidents - apparently got involved in a Pokemon war when its location happened to be the location of a Pokemon GO gym. So, an LBGT ally used a Clefairy nicknamed "LoveIsLove" to take control of the gym, making quite the political statement. The Westboro Baptist Church then decided that it could use Pokemon to make its own political statements and, in the process, fight against Clefairy...

Pokemon GO [Free] has only been out for a few days, but we've already seen numerous highly creative attempts at cheating the system and becoming a Pokemon master, through the traditional technique of living a sedentary lifestyle from the comfort of your sofa. We've seen record players and ceiling fans being utilised to hatch eggs, and even drones equipped with smartphones to be able to catch Pokemon regardless of where the critters are contained. While some may call it lazy, and others will attest to the ingenuity of such methods, one thing that is certain is that cheating is a time-honored tradition in all Pokemon games and definitely not unique to Pokemon GO. Thanks to the detective work/legendary laziness of Reddit user Neo-Ninja, here is a short yet inspired timeline of cheating in Pokemon games (not including glitches or hacking devices such as GameShark or Action Replay because I've faced enough shiny level 100 Arceuses online and it's all your fault)...

In early June, we scoped out a wacky trailer for an upcoming third-person shooter from Flange Studio called Gun Glory: Anarchy [Free], and today the game has just gone live in the App Store. So what made the trailer so wacky? Two words: Bunny hats. Gun Glory goes beyond the tired modern military motif and features some more fantastical elements in terms of weaponry and, yes, even character outfits. It's this over-the-top element of Gun Glory that is really appealing to someone like me who has had his fill of the same old same old in shooters...

Hearthstone's [Free] latest update is a big one, and while it doesn't change much about the game, it does add some interesting new features. We are getting a new Shaman hero, Morgl the Oracle, which can be earned by referring a friend and having them reach a total of 20 levels across all classes. They cannot be recruited if they've already reached level 20. According to the patchnotes, your next four recruits will earn you a free Classic Pack. Said friends will get a free pack for accepting your generous and completely not self-serving invitation, and you'll get a new hero to play with...

Turns out there are other games being released onto the App Store this week that don't involve throwing capsules at critters. Lanota [$1.99], which really impressed us when we looked at it for the first time last week, has circumvented the usual Thursday midnight rush of releases and is out now on iOS. Evoking many great concepts that we loved in our review of VOEZ [Free] last month, Lanota merges rhythm action with a beautiful artistic narrative describing a world that is slowly turning monochromatic through the loss of music and color, and how you must correct this by 'tuning' to a song at each level to slowly restore society...

Pokemon GO [Free] has been pushing people to get out and walk, a lot. However, not everyone likes being forced to participate in any kind of physical exercise, so we've seen hacks such as people finding ways to get their phone moving so the game thinks you are actually walking instead of lying on your couch feet up. Record players have been used and so have ceiling fans, but the guys in the video below took it one step further; instead of trying to find a way to cheat the system, they've found a way to have the phone travel while they sit comfortably. How? Well, by using a drone, of course...

Despite Portugal somehow winning the Euros regardless of only winning one game in normal time and against the will of an army of moths, Pixel Cup Soccer 16 [$2.99] still remains a highly enjoyable footbal experience on mobile. In our review last month we loved the tight arcade action that was well suited to a more portable device, however a relative lack of content and some other minor flaws held it back from being a truly definitive iOS experience. That being said, the developers have been extremely active on our forums promising future support for Pixel Cup Soccer 16, and today an update has been released which adds a few cool new features to help satiate any fans like myself who now have the prospect of a month without the beautiful game until the new season starts...

We've seen a lot of licensed LEGO games in the 11 years since the series of action games from Traveler's Tales first kicked off. Batman, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Avengers, Indiana Jones, Jurassic World, and Pirates of the Caribbean have all had at least one game made chronicling their stories and characters. I'm not even going to touch what's going on in LEGO Dimensions, but I'm pretty sure we're only a few announcements away from a Taxi playset complete with Judd Hirsch and Andy Kaufman mini-figures. While it's undeniable that these games pay loving homage to their respective licenses (I can't doubt the purity of any developer who includes Howard the Duck in their Marvel game), it's equally undeniable that despite the wide differences between those licenses, the games are very similar in terms of gameplay. It makes sense. They found a winning formula, so why not just kludge whatever's popular into that framework? Players seem happy enough, bills are paid, it's smiles all around...

Although the game is starting to face some competition at the top spot, there's no denying that Clash of Clans [Free] has been a force to be reckoned with on the mobile charts. One region where it hasn't been quite so dominant, however, is Japan, where social RPGs like Puzzle & Dragons [Free] rule the roost. Because life is funny that way, those games seem to have had difficulties repeating their successes outside of the Asian markets. Is there no way to reconcile these differences? Well, BlazeGames, a relative newcomer to the mobile scene, has an idea. It's called Battle Champs [Free], and it just launched across the globe in most major markets...

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