Category Archives: Free

Most puzzle games don't necessarily have an impactful message. I mean sure, some of them encourage critical thinking and educate youngsters, but you usually don't see anything meaningful in your puzzle soup. The Path to Luma [Free] switches that up a bit however, as the entire affair is sponsored by NRG (a clean energy company), and deals with themes such as solar and wind power. Thankfully, the actual game is pretty good, so the message doesn't fall on deaf ears...

TEKKEN Card Tournament [Free] was Bandai Namco's attempt to rethink the TEKKEN fighting games by turning the action fighting games into a card fighting game. Although not too many people talk about the game currently, it actually has great reviews on the App Store, so Bandai Namco's attempt was apparently well-executed. By making the game F2P with IAPs, Bandai Namco was probably hoping that TEKKEN Card Tournament would benefit from the popularity of its sister fighting game and become a strong source of revenue. Alas, as a VentureBeat article points out, that was not to be. TEKKEN Card Tournament, which went live in 2013, has broken into the 1000 highest-grossing iPhone apps only in eight countries, none of them countries with big spenders. Therefore, Bandai Namco decided to reach over into the physical world to summon some help for its card battler...




The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK's independent regulator for advertising across all media, has recently taken an interesting stance on some F2P tactics when it ruled that the way some F2P games directly pressure children to make in-game purchases is wrong. While the actual ruling is specifically against Bin Weevils and Moshi Monsters, which are primarily browser games but with plenty of mobile offshoots, the ASA ruling refers to IAPs in general. For ASA, the first issue with these games was how they hid certain additional benefits behind a paid-membership system. Players were constantly pushed towards membership-only benefits and were put in situations where when they lost in a minigame with limited attempts, they were prompted to buy more "lives" by becoming a member...

Lots of drama with developer Machine Zone recently, and this last one is an interesting one. Machine Zone is the developer of Game of War: Fire Age [Free], currently the Top Grossing Game on the App Store. So, the company isn't poor. According to a story in The Verge, a Machine Zone employee was intercepted by FBI agents as he was boarding a plane to Beijing for allegedly stealing trade secrets from the company. Apparently, the employee was unhappy with his position in Machine Zone and decided to download data to use as a bargaining chip in an attempt to get more money. What makes the story interesting is the type of data this employee stole, data that was so important that FBI got involved; it wasn't anything to do with the game's code or the company's structure, but, rather, information about player behavior, including how users spend money in the game. The breach didn't include any credit card information or the like, simply information about players' in-game habits and behavior...

Do you hate "pay-to-win" free-to-play games? Is the idea of ever spending any chunk of money in a game offensive to the very fiber of your being? Well, you might not like Monsters Ate My Metropolis. [Free] But if you've got a nuanced opinion about free-to-play games, then you might just enjoy Monsters Ate My Metropolis...

Did anybody around here play DrawQuest? It was kind of like Draw Something [Free] but without the pesky game parts getting in the way. Each day you’d be tasked with a new quest (something like “Who crossed the road?” or “Publish a novel”), and you had to make a drawing based on it. You’d earn coins if other users liked your work, and it was incredibly satisfying to craft the perfect picture and have it rewarded with heaps of adoration and fake money. Furthermore, perusing other people’s drawings could be just as much fun (if not more so) than making your own, and the creativity on display could be truly astonishing at times. It was eventually shut down and removed from the App Store when it failed to turn a profit, which unfortunately is not an uncommon tale. The good news, though, is that iOS basically sees an unlimited supply of new games week after week and odds are something else will come along that can scratch the same itch...

Fancy Force's gory physics-based trials game Happy Wheels [Free] took the iOS world by storm last week when it arrived on the App Store and quickly shot up to the top position in the free games chart. Happy Wheels was originally released as a Flash game way back in 2010, and has grown by leaps and bounds in the years since. With a cast of ridiculous playable characters and vehicles, as well as a community-driven level-creator which has over 6 million user-created levels, Happy Wheels has been a huge success in the world of browser games. Which makes me feel sort of silly that I'd never even heard of it before it popped up on iOS last week. Hey I'm old, I don't know what these crazy kids are into nowadays. ..

One of the most curiously popular genres to emerge in the past few years is the clicker genre. Stripping nearly all the fluff away from most progression-based systems in games, clickers have distilled the satisfaction of watching progress bars increase into bite-sized, single-tap experiences. They're silly, sure, but also strangely satisfying. Clickers aren't for everyone though, and to some the passiveness of it all just isn't enough to get their juices flowing. That's why I really took a shining to Tap Quest [Free], which released a month ago from Nanoo Company...

'The Grand Tournament', The New Expansion For 'Hearthstone', is Out!

Well, there we go everyone, no more waiting, no more anticipating, no more counting the days, the nights, the minutes, the hours, and everything else countable, no more playing with those old Hearthstone [Free] cards, the dusty, dirty ones. Now, we officially have new, shiny, fancy-looking cards to play with as the new expansion, The Grand Tournament, has just officially released in North America. If you have bought the pre-order packs, you have 50 new surprises to unveil, and if you didn't go for that, I'm sure you've stored enough gold to buy at least a few packs. Either way, those new cards have cried for freedom for too long; it's time to release them...

Well, it's almost time to welcome Hearthstone's [Free] new expansion, The Grand Tournament. Excited yet? Well, I am, but it's my duty to remind you of a couple of things before the expansion hits. First, Amazon is offering 20% Coins Back on all TGT pack purchases. This offer is only valid for customers in the US, UK, and Germany, and there's a bit of a process to buying those packs as JR Cook explains in a post on Blizzpro. So, if you don't mind the hassle, there are some savings there for you. Also, Blizzard's TGT pre-order, where you get 50 packs and a card-back for $49.99, should still be available, although I'm sure not for long, so this is your last chance to get in on that. As for a release time, all we know officially so far is the tweet below...

Usually I know what games will be topping the App Store's charts at any given moment: on the paid side, we have Minecraft: Pocket Edition, on the Top Grossing side, we have either Game of War or Clash of Clans. What I didn't expect to see today, to be honest, was Jim Bonacci's Happy Wheels [Free], a port of the apparently huge PC hit with the same name, lording over the Free Games category, higher than the much-praised Pac-Man 256. If you haven't played the game, Happy Wheels is all about being unhappy on your various wheels - a Segway, a wheelchair, and so on - as you crash over and over again with bone-crunching sound effects and gory visuals accompanying your every failure...

Sling Kong [Free] is a game that I'm highly ambivalent about, for many reasons. I came in hotly anticipating it, because Protostar's Checkpoint Champion [Free] is a game that's practically flawless. Sling Kong uses a slingshot-style system that's close enough to my favorite game mechanic of grappling hooks, such that I found myself absolutely anticipating this one. I finally got my hands on it, and while it's fun, and definitely worth downloading, it's a game that does a few things wrong, though I understand why those decisions were made...

Tactile Wars [Free] had, how shall I put this mildly, a rocky start in life. The game went through what I suppose was a successful soft launch and then got released with plenty of App Store fanfare, grabbing the much-coveted Editor's Choice Award from Apple, an award that can really take a game's revenue into the stratosphere. Unfortunately for the game, the award had pretty much that precise effect, and I say unfortunately because the great influx of players knackered the game's servers to the point where it became literally unplayable. All players would see was a "Connection is Lost" little sign informing them of their current inability to join this online-only game. In a way, Tactile Wars' predicament was reminiscent of that of many recent AAA console and PC games that tried to go online-only (looking at you, Simcity) only to realize soon after launch that servers are fickle little creatures, bound to melt into a puddle when you need them most...

You really can't go wrong with anything cat-related on the internet. At the very least, people will give it a click or a view, and you can move about your life having seen one cuter thing that day. But in Apocalypse Meow: Save the Last Humans [Free], the cats are anything but cute. Instead, they've taken over the entire Earth, and it's up to a squadron of dog fighter pilots to rescue the remaining humans. It's weird, and delightfully so, but thankfully it's backed up by a rather fun shoot 'em up on top of the premise...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in the mobile world, developers are often subject to clones -- where games are almost copied wholesale from the original. Having said that, there are occasions where games may start entire subgenres, like in the case of Angry Birds. Yes, almost everyone knows that Crush the Castle (and the numerous tank titles before that) was "first," but at this point Rovio has refined the formula enough to call it its own. Although we're a bit early in the "Crossy Road" genre, Blocky Raider [Free] does a few unique things that allow it to make a name for itself...

I admit that I'm not a big player of League of Legends, one of if not the most popular video game in the world. I don't have anything against it, I just don't really game on PC, and don't really have much time to game outside of my iPhone. That said, I've always thought Riot was doing themselves a disservice by not being in the mobile space. League of Legends would work beautifully on an iPad, don't you think? Well at long last Riot has arrived on the iOS platform, but unfortunately not with League of Legends. Instead we have Blitzcrank's Poro Roundup [Free], a quirky mini-game featuring League of Legends champion Blitzcrank rounding up Poros, fictional creatures from the LoL universe. Here's a trailer...

Back in April, Capcom and their casual games division Beeline Interactive announced an… interesting crossover game for mobile. The iconic Ghostbusters would bust some ghosts by matching gems Puzzle Fighter style. Yeah. After several months of soft-launch and an artwork makeover that put the female characters in the game in some less-revealing clothing, and Ghostbusters Puzzle Fighter [Free] is now ready for primetime and out worldwide...

Tiny Rebel Games' hit puzzle game Doctor Who: Legacy [Free], which features so many Doctors and companions that it's absurd, has just gotten another big update, this time featuring two big new storylines. "Sonic Adventures" doesn't mean you gotta go fast with the Doctor, instead, it's a brand new storyline that leads into the Series 9 storylines that the game will have. This storyline is led by the First Doctor, with new "sonic" (as in sonic screwdriver, not the blue hedgehog) versions of characters like Jack Harkness, and the introduction of Third Doctor companion Jo Grant, and the First Doctors's Signet Ring. This is the first paid expansion for the game. $9.99 will unlock the 30 Sonic Adventures levels, and over 20 guaranteed rewards...

'Pac-Man 256' Review - Teaching an Old Pac-Man New Tricks

There are people who ask why retro games keep getting developed and iterated upon. We still have the classics, and they're more readily available than ever, so why do we need more of them? In some cases, it might be better to let some franchises die. This feels like a common complaint against the Sonic series, but I think that's more Sega's development teams not knowing what makes a Sonic game good (and loving bottomless pits too much). But interestingly, it's Pac-Man that's showing how a series can iterate and advance decades after its arrival. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99] was a recent fantastic example of how to advance and iterate the yellow dot-muncher's familiar maze-based gameplay. Now, Pac-Man 256 [Free] from Crossy Road [Free] developers Hipster Whale, with the help of 3 Sprockets of Cubemen [$0.99 (HD)] fame and Bandai Namco, shows that you can teach an old Pac-Man new tricks. The developers who advanced the Frogger formula into a definitive mobile experience, have done so again with Pac-Man...

If you weren't playing Hearthstone [Free] when the Goblins Vs Gnomes expansion came out, then know that the expansion cards first came out in Arena mode before they were released. It looks like Blizzard is doing something similar but instead of going the Arena way, it decided to highlight the game's new mode, Tavern Brawl. Therefore, this week's most Glorious (Blizzard's words) Tavern Brawl will be called The Grand Tournament Match and will be all about the new cards. The Brawl will feature a thrilling match between two potent forces; one will be led by Medivh and will feature a deck built around the Inspire mechanic. On the other side of the Brawl will be Alleria's forces that will be all about the Joust mechanic. The Brawl will run as usual from Wednesday to late Sunday...

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