Category Archives: Free

Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest [Free], the most fun you can have with Magic cards on iOS, is celebrating its one year anniversary in a couple of days, so the game's getting a big update that includes 184 cards from the Kaladesh set, Magic's latest card set. Kaladesh is a really cool card set that includes vehicles, huge constructs, and all kinds of other cards not usually seen in Magic. The set comes with 4 new mechanics: Energize, Overload, Fabricate, and Crew. You can read all about those mechanics in detail here. If you want to check out all the Kaladesh cards coming to the game, go here...

I think it's fair to say base builders is one of the most popular genres on the App Store, so there's no shortage for players trying to get into one of them. Natural Motion's Dawn of Titans [Free] - which is out in the US today - is definitely a base builder, but it stands apart from most others for a few reasons. Firstly, the game's visuals are second to none in the genre, with great character and building design and a fully 3D fantasy world. The other feature that makes the game worth playing is the real-time battle control, which has you fighting the enemy in a manner similar to Total War games - although simplified, of course...




While the music/rhythm genre has become somewhat stagnant on consoles, it’s been alive and well on mobile with ports of classics along with new twists to enjoy. Still, it’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a tried and true classic take on the rhythm genre. Pianista [Free] is an excellent new title that offers that exact experience with the added benefit of a treasure trove of classical music. In fact, when you combine the well-designed rhythm system with an interesting freemium system, there’s really no reason not to at least check it out...

This week's Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl is a deathrattle blast from the past. We first got Double Deathrattler Battler more than a year ago, and now it's here again. As you can guess from the title, in this brawl any deathrattle minion triggers twice, which is the path for all kinds of crazy shenanigans. You get to create your own deck this week, which was a slightly sore spot for many F2P players last time around because the best deathratttle minions came from Curse of Naxxramas, so those who lack that adventure are at a disadvantage this time around. Still, there are decks you can make that don't use too many Naxx cards...

We're now a week into December, which brings with it a whole host of wacky and wonderful things you just wouldn't see at any other time of the year. Firstly, an overabundance of decorative lights on virtually every surface. Secondly, cats around the globe endeavouring to pull down any festive tree within jumping distance. However, most importantly for iOS gamers are the various Christmas updates for many of the most beloved titles on the App Store, and while normally mere cosmetic differences, such additions serve as a fitting excuse to revisit some releases that may have been overshadowed somewhat since launch. High Risers [Free] is one such game, and has today received a new Santa Claus and North Pole themed update which should help shake up Kumobius's latest immensely compelling high score jumping game...

While rumours persist about some upcoming major changes to Pokemon GO [Free] - including the introduction of the 100 new second generation creatures and a massive promotion with coffee chain Starbucks - the most recent update to the game is, fitting with Pokemon as a whole, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In the 1.19.1 patch that launched for both Android and iOS this morning, Niantic have focused on quality of life enhancements that should streamline some of the more tedious processes to the game, most notably being the ability to finally transfer more than one Pokemon at a time to Professor Willow. While such features have been a long time coming, it's great to finally see them implemented, and are one step closer to the perfect game that Niantic envisioned prior to Pokemon GO's relatively turbulent launch period...

Well, it looks like this week is the Pokemon GO [Free] week. We've already talked about the apparent Starbucks-Pokemon GO promotion, and now Sprint has announced that tomorrow at 8:30AM PST it will hold a joint press conference with Niantic to discuss some news related to the mobile carrier and the game everyone loved and now love to pretend to hate. Sprint's Chief Executive, Marcelo Claure, and Niantic's Chief Executive, John Hanke, will be at the news conference, so I'm guessing this announcement should be relatively big. I have a hunch we'll be getting more Pokemon GO news this December...

We've been hearing rumors of more Pokemon and more Pokemon GO [Free] features coming our way, so add the following story to that list. Apparently, Starbucks employees have spotted a new Pokemon GO promo that points to new Pokemon coming as well as some other promotions. According to the rumor, beginning December 8th almost all Starbucks locations in the US will become Pokestops or Gyms, and we don't know whether this change will be permanent or temporary. While the leaked document doesn't mention new Pokemon, it does seem probable that such a promotion will coincide with the much-awaited influx of the next 100 Pokemon...

Happymagenta are one of my favorite mobile developers, as their relatively simple experiences are always incredibly well done, and perfectly suited to gaming on the go. Tomb of the Mask [Free] is a particular highlight, as its mix of Pac Man and The Last Rocket [$1.99] was impossible to put down, and the perpetual quest to improve on your previous best run was ridiculously compelling. However, while such endless high score hijinks are always a lot of fun, anyone wanting a more substantial level-based campaign will be delighted to hear that the developers have today added a whole new story mode, which features sixty specialised stages that will truly put your Tomb of the Mask skills to the test...

If you had told me five years ago that slingshot RPGs were going to become a thing, I'd have been happy to hear of a future where Squids [$1.99] was so influential. Of course, Squids isn't what really kicked off this craze. No, the current wave of flick-and-flail casual RPGs that are cropping up can be laid at the feet of Monster Strike [Free]. It's only natural a hit of that magnitude would inspire similar games, but it's impressive just how sophisticated some of them are becoming. Gamevil's entry into the proverbial arena is Knight Slinger [Free], and it might just have the best production values of any game like this yet. In terms of gameplay mechanics, it doesn't mix things up too much, but there are some new things here that veterans of Monster Strike might like to play around with...

A few days ago, I wrote about the upcoming Pianista [Free], the Guitar Hero-like rhythm game that has you playing classical music instead of rock. Well, the game is now available worldwide, so if classical music is your thing, jump on it. Pianista can be played with two thumbs - so no weird finger gymnastics - and you hit the notes as they roll your way. You have the usual note sustain and finger dragging to quickly get to the notes, and every time you miss a note, your life gauge decreases. Miss enough notes, and you die poor in an attic or basement like some of the classical music composers...

Shadowverse [Free] is one of the many CCGs that have popped up on the App Store recently but is one of the few to actually get a foothold and a decent player base both on mobile and on PC. Now, the game is getting ready for its second expansion called Rise of Bahamut, and this one is bringing a few new mechanics to the game. The one is called Enhance. If you have enough play points, they're automatically spent to activate the Enhance abilities of a card when you play it from your hand. Clash is different and it activates whenever attacking or defending against an enemy follower. It does not activate when attacking the enemy leader, though...

The Walking Dead: No Man's Land [Free] is getting an exclusive character designed by The Talking Dead host and Nerdist chief executive owner, Chris Hardwick. The character is now available for free but only for a limited time. The character's name is Rufus and is inspired by Hardwick's great-grandfather Rufus Ellison Hardwick, who used a washer and dryer as a moonshine still. The Walking Dead Rufus is a solitary mountain man who's still making moonshine, although this time around the moonshine's used to make bottle bombs and take out the walkers. Fun idea, and it's always entertaining to see real-life characters become inspirations for game characters...

'Gadgetzan' Best & Worst Decks and Cards, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #75

Hello everyone and welcome to another Touchstone Tavern, our weekly roundup of everything that happened in the world of Hearthstone [Free]. This past week, the topic that dominated was - of course - the new expansion, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The expansion, which arrived with a quickly-fixed bug, has been so far quite positively received and people have been having fun experimenting with silly decks. It looks like Blizzard has designed a strong expansion that should rejuvenate the game. Of course, we've heard this story before, so we'll have to be a bit patient before crowning Mean Streets a success. After all, maybe in a couple of weeks a super-powerful deck will emerge that will spoil everyone's fun. So far, though, so good. This week's Touchstone is all about the expansion, so step right through the door...

One game that has been very popular in our community but has flown mostly under the radar since its release in June is The Counter of Death [Free] from developer Curlking. This twitch reaction game has you facing off against an onslaught of foes by countering their attacks which leads to you automatically launching an offense of your own. It's done very simply by either touching the giant upper counter button or lower counter button, and paying close attention to your enemy's motions prior to their strike is key to being successful. For such simple mechanics, The Counter of Death is a surprisingly strategic game, and made even better by its fantastic presentation that mimicked old-school kung-fu movies to a T. ..

Last night the Game Awards for 2016 took place in Los Angeles, and distributed a whole host of accolades across various platforms and mediums, even including fan created games and an eSports award. Despite a heavy emphasis on console gaming, there were a few mobile games nominated for numerous categories across the night, and against opposition from critically acclaimed releases such as Fire Emblem Fates, Ratchet and Clank, and even the stunning slashing iOS RPG Severed [$3.99], Pokemon GO [Free] managed to pick up the awards for 'Best Mobile/Handheld Game' and 'Best Family Game', the latter of which trumped a whole host of console releases to take the trophy. Similarly, Pokemon GO also triumphed in the same 'Handheld/Mobile Game of the Year' section of the Golden Joystick Awards, which is the UK equivalent to the Game Awards ceremony, as well as also winning the 'Innovation of the Year' accolade. Such universal recognition of Pokemon GO's impact on gaming is a fantastic thing for mobile gaming, and emphasises how the augmented reality craze managed to permeate the mainstream like nothing else over the summer months...

Minecraft [$6.99] has been arguably the most influential game of the past decade. Whether it's the crafting and mining mechanics, the emphasis on survival or sandbox gameplay, or even just the sheer online connectivity that Mojang's flagship title has utilised to such devastatingly popular effect, there's no doubt that the reverberations from the block-building behemoth have greatly impacted gaming, and likely will continue to do so for a while. Even though iOS received its iteration of Minecraft rather late (and a severely limited version, at least at launch), its omnipresence on the iTunes charts emphasises its impression on the platform, and games such as Junk Jack Retro [$2.99] are direct results of such an influence. Featuring an incredibly well done 2D take on the sandbox building formula, Junk Jack Retro (and its later sequel now confusingly titled Junk Jack [$4.99]) developed a cult following amongst the mobile community, and for good reason. To celebrate the new game's desktop release, Junk Jack Retro is available for free for a week, and definitely worth giving a go if you haven't tried the series before, or have been living under a rock for the past five years...

If you haven't been watching, the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan packs from Hearthstone's [Free] latest expansion came with an unintentional bug that made the drop rate of tri-class cards higher than intended. Well, Blizzard has just announced that a hotfix has been rolled out to all players on the Americas server at 2:30PM PST, and that should correct the issues. Any player on the Americas server who opened Gadgetzan packs prior to 2:30PM PST will receive additional packs as compensation. If you were one of those affected, you will receive 33% of the total amount of Gadgetzan packs you opened prior to 2:30 rounded up, regardless if you got the packs using gold, real money, or from quests. If you bought the 50-pack bundled and opened all of the packs before 2:30, you'll get an additional 17 packs...

Marvel Puzzle Quest [Free] has been adding new characters frequently, and this time around we are getting Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans. As producers Josh Austin explained, Medusa won the poll that the developers conducted over the summer, so it looks like the players really wanted her in the game. She's designed to be a support character that can also cause damage while healing the team, if you know how to play her that is. Her hair appropriately can shake the board up by generating health, gaining additional AP, causing damage, or even swapping random tiles and stealing any swapped enemy special tiles. In other words, she can be a pain. Her abilities are all about messing with the opponent's tiles and turning the battle around all by herself. The Queen of the Inhumans is available starting today...

Okay everyone, time to walk the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan because Hearthstone's [Free] latest expansion has just released in the Americas (it will release tomorrow in Europe). There are now 132 brand new cards for you to get your hands on, and some of them are quite fantastic. A few quick words about the expansion first. Mean Streets of Gadgetzan puts you in the middle of a clash between three crime families running Gadgetzan, the Grimy Goons (Hunter, Paladin, Warrior), the Kabal (Mage, Priest, Warlock), and Jade Lotus (Druid, Rogue, Shaman). Each of the families plays differently with the Grimy Goons buffing minions in your hands, the Kabal using all kinds of crazy potions, and the Jade Lotus using stealth and the ever-growing Jade Golems to take down the opposition. There are also the Tri-Class Cards, neutral minions that can only be used by one family...

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