Category Archives: Free

I'm really glad that fighting games are still alive and well. They're a classic old school genre that has withstood the test of time, and many franchises that were started so long ago in arcades are still with us. Although it's not nearly as old as Street Fighter, Arc System Works' BlazBlue has definitely earned the right to be in the same conversation, following up their storied Guilty Gear series with the same amount of flash and style. That partially translates to the mobile arena with a game that's more beat 'em up than fighter in BlazBlue RR - [Free], but it's muddled by one of the worst IAP schemes I've seen in a while...

Word games and mobile go together like peanut butter and jam, and like that classic combo, you don't have to look very far to find an example. You get to a point where you have to wonder what more can be done with the genre beyond dressing it up in different themes. AlphaPit [Free], the latest game from Word Forward [Free] developer Shane McCafferty, has a few new ideas. For the most part, it builds on the frame work laid down in Word Forward, but there are some unusual design choices that make AlphaPit feel different, if not necessarily better. While I think the developer succeeded in making something that sets itself apart from the very large crowd, the game never truly finds an enjoyable structure to call its own...




Well, I can't blame Kemco for trying. While the publisher has used IAP in its games for a few years now, even releasing free versions of some of them, it has largely stuck to what it's become known for on mobile: traditional single-player JRPGs. The quality of the games varies according to which developer it sub-contracts out to, and those games are rarely ambitious in any meaningful way, but for hungry JRPG fans, they at least fill the belly. Given the way the App Store market has shifted, particularly in Japan, and the sheer number of releases Kemco has published, these games can't be turning in particularly large numbers anymore. With social RPGs proving far more lucrative these days, it was only a matter of time before Kemco took a swing at something resembling one...

When Adult Swim Games launched Pocket Mortys [Free] at the beginning of the year, I figured it would be a cute Pokemon-alike dripping with Rick and Mortys fan service that would be a fun way to pass the time for a few weeks, and then it would fade away like dust in the wind. This was not the case. Pocket Mortys has been getting all sorts of updates since its launch, and after two rapid fire spring updates Adult Swim is ringing in the summertime with yet another big content update. Fans had been clamoring for new single-player content, and this update delivers that in the form of the new Morty Games, a series of 5 tournaments that will give you an opportunity to win exclusive Mortys not available anywhere else in the game...

In a typically unpredictable App Store manner, the highly anticipated Rodeo Stampede - Sky Zoo Safari [Free] has dropped a day early and has finally been released on iOS for free. Being the collaboration of developer Featherweight and artist Dan Graf (who were responsible for Skiing Yeti Mountain [Free] and Fruit Ninja [$1.99] respectively, amongst others), the game has an extremely strong pedigree, and an interesting amalgamation of game mechanics to boot. The unique gameplay of running and jumping between animals on a stampede shakes up what is a rather tired genre, and you are also able to look after your own sky zoo through doing missions, upgrading exhibits, catching rare animal variants and successively opening your doors to the public to reap in the admission fees. This merger of auto-runner beast taming action with a management aspect on the side is a really novel idea that we thought was awesome when we looked at Rodeo Stampede for the first time back at GDC...

Philipp Stollenmayer, aka Kamibox, is the creator of Sometimes You Die [$1.99], a minimalist platformer that turned out to be much more than it appeared on the surface and through clever platforming mechanics it also delivers commentary on the genre itself, video games as a whole, and even life as we know it. It's a very powerful and thought-provoking experience. He also made Pancake - The Game [Free], a game about flipping pancakes. It should say a lot that both of those titles, while spanning a wide gap of what people expect a game to be, are among my favorites on iOS, and Kamibox has consistently put out highly playable and interesting games for years now. The latest is called Squaredance [Free], which arrived yesterday and is a minimalist puzzler that uses a swipe-the-whole-board-at-once mechanic similar to Threes! [$2.99 / Free]. This isn't a high score chaser though, as each level has a different board shape which makes your goal of combining all like-colored squares in order to remove them that much more difficult...

While the array of traditional RPGs on iOS certainly are welcome (as long as they remain on the App Store, at least), it's cool to see an increasing number of role playing games that take a more portable and mobile edge on the genre while still remaining true to their roots. One such game is Questland, which has just soft launched on the New Zealand App Store for free, and features a decent amount of customization options with a interesting first person battling perspective under a layer of incredibly beautiful cel-shaded graphics. With a strong character creation system and a wide selection of armor and weapon choices which all have their own unique style, Questland should definitely satiate both hardcore and casual RPG fans looking for a new game to play on the go...

If you like CCGs like Hearthstone, you should definitely check out Shadowverse [Free], a new CCG that's now available in a number of countries (including the US and the UK) with more countries coming in August. Developed by Cygames, the Japanese developer responsible for Rage of Bahamut, Shadowverse will definitely remind you of Hearthstone, but it has enough to offer both in terms of gameplay and world-building to make it stand on its own. And yes, I know I'm constantly referencing Hearthstone, but Blizzard's game has become the golden standard for mobile CCGs. Add to that how Shadowverse's gameplay has plenty in common with Hearthstone's, and you'll understand the reason I keep bringing it up...

Developer XperimentalZ Games has a vibe to its games that I can really appreciate. These games feel like they fell out of some parallel timeline where arcades stayed healthy and full of a variety of game types. A place, time, and dimension where games made about as much sense as a 1980s action movie, and took deep pride in that fact. I'm a big fan of XperimentalZ's previous release, Pixel Boat Rush [Free], a wild side-scrolling action boat racer, and when I heard the developer was tackling a pinball hybrid next, I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, as the release date of Pinball Breaker Forever [Free] approached, so too did a ton of RPGs, which meant I couldn't get to the game I had been looking forward to. Worse, everyone else at TouchArcade got busy at around the same time, leaving Pinball Breaker Forever to slide by without a review. No, we can't have that...

For some, there's nothing more gratifying than posting something on social media that truly takes off. As vain as it almost certainly is, there is a certain joy in seeing something posted on twitter receiving some significant traction and lots of likes or retweets. Thankfully, there is now some justification for this narcissism, as Tweechi - from developers Fuzzy Face Studios - has just soft launched in New Zealand, and the game implements Twitter integration so for every retweet received in real life, you can receive coins to spend within this eccentric looking virtual pet simulator...

I suspect you've all heard about the increasing hacking attempts on everything and anything currently on the web - from email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts to game-related accounts. In order to minimize hacking risks as much as possible, a good rule of thumb is that if a game offers two-factor authentication (authentication that requires the user to confirm his/her identity in two ways), you should go ahead and turn it on before you find yourself losing either game-related content or even actual money. If you play Hearthstone [Free], you (probably) know that Blizzard already offers two-factor authentication through Battle.net Mobile Authenticator [Free], but a new update has made that authentication even easier to use, and now you really have no excuse not to turn the two-factor identification on...

Sky Force Reloaded [Free] is one of those games that is impressive in a variety of ways. In our review, we were blown away by what we called our 'favorite shoot 'em up in recent memory', and not without reason. It looks beautiful in motion, absolutely nails the core mechanics of a shooter and today it seems that active and receptive developers is another positive trait to add to the list. Infinite Dreams have announced that a new content update in response to forum feedback is due to land onto the App Store next Thursday, and appears to add a nice packet of features that is sure to help mix up the variety of an already essential game...

'Mighty Match' Merges Match 3 and Dungeon Crawling on iOS, Coming Soon

Amidst the ever increasing influx of free to play games that are riddled with timers and in game currency, there has been a backwards reaction from fans and developers alike rejecting this culture and desiring an experience that is immediate and complete from the moment you download it. Even though there are some excellent freemium games such as Clash Royale [Free], and such a pricing model normally has its merits, publisher Playmium have decided to make their own stand. They have pledged to only produce games with zero IAPs that are completely sponsored, meaning you will never have to pay for their releases. Mighty Match is the newest game from the developers, and despite its interesting monetisation, it seems like a very interesting app in its own right...

Pokemon GO to Be Released in the Wild by Late July, with More Details Revealed

It's a fantastic year to be a Pokemon fan. As well as it being the 20th anniversary of the series, the seventh generation of the mainline titles Pokemon Sun and Moon are set to hit 3DS at the end of the year and even more groundbreaking is that the very first Pokemon and even Nintendo mobile game Pokemon GO is also going to launch on iPhone. Today, during Nintendo's E3 Day 2 Live Stream featuring gaming visionary Shigeru Miyamoto, Game Freak director Junichi Masuda and also an array of YouTube celebrities, we learnt that the end to the long wait for the game was in sight, as the physical accessory 'Pokemon GO Plus' is to launch by 'late July' for a retail price of $34.99, and therefore the app will hit on App Store some time before then. While no specific due date was stated and no further details on international release details, it certainly seems that we'll be catching collectible critters on the go sooner rather than later...

'NinjAwesome' by GameResort Sneaks onto the App Store on June 22nd

As such App Store classics as Fruit Ninja [$1.99] and 1-Bit Ninja [$2.99] have proven, having any sort of reference to ninjas in a game is almost always awesome. GameResort, the makers of App Store Best of 2014 nominee Adventure Beaks [Free] - which we loved in our review - are well aware of this trope in NinjAwesome, their upcoming side scrolling platforming release that is dropping on the App Store for free on the June 22nd...

After a few weeks of fun, new Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawls, we are back to an old one, and I suppose it was about time. This week's Brawl is Heart of the Sunwell, a Brawl almost from a year ago (wow, we've had Brawls for almost a year now). Heart of the Sunwell has you building a deck and then starts you off with ten mana. As you can imagine, you don't have to worry about low-mana early game minions, but at the same time don't go overboard with big minions because you want to be able to play more than one minion at a turn if you can. It's a good idea to run some card draw so you can have enough cards in your hand - but play spells rather than weak card draw minions - and keep in mind that unlike the original version of this Brawl, you can bring those Old Gods along and play them on turn one if you so wish (although they won't be too useful)...

Dawnbringer [Free], Kiloo Games and Copenhagen Creators' open world RPG that we've written about recently, is out now (one day earlier than announced), and if you like RPGs even a bit, you should probably give it a try. Dawnbringer takes place in a demon-infested realm where you traverse the ruined world in an attempt to probably kill every monster you meet until PETA stops you. In your quest you try and uncover the mystery behind the corruption destroying the world and in the process challenge your reckless brother. The brother-on-brother violence seems to be central to the game's story, which is an interesting narrative take...

Winner of $25,000 Apple TV Design Contest 'Dungeon Tiles' Launches June 29th, Also on iOS

It's no secret that the expectation of Apple TV becoming a fully fledged gaming platform that Apple outlined so enthusiastically back in October 2015 has not ended up being a reality. While the initial surge - with titles such as Guitar Hero Live - was particularly strong, it has tailed off to a point where apart from the occasional Apple TV compatibility update there aren't any massive compelling reasons to consider purchasing one of the magical black boxes purely for gaming purposes. However, things are looking up for the Apple TV, with news of the ability to require the use of game controllers as outlined at WWDC and also upcoming games such as Dungeon Tiles, which has even managed to win mobile marketing company AppLovin's $25,000 'Apple TV App Challenge' prize and launches on Apple TV and iOS for free on the June 29th...

The Arma series has made a bit of a splash since its initial launch on PC in 2006. Having released three main-line games and numerous spin offs of its hyper-realistic and tactical military simulation, the series truly burst into the mainstream when the famous Day Z mod of Arma 2 came out and kickstarted the open-world survival trend that has become popular in recent years. However, while the only taste of an Arma game previously on iOS was the rather dated Arma 2: Firing Range [Free] from 2011, a new title called Arma Mobile Ops was soft-launched in New Zealand yesterday, and it may not be what fans of the series expected...

In an effort to make up for lost ground in the battle against Sony's PlayStation, Microsoft is rethinking various aspects of the Xbox experience, from the actual console to the Xbox apps. Speaking of the latter, Microsoft has released updated Xbox [Free] apps for iOS and Android today that do away with the "SmartGlass" moniker of the earlier Xbox Apps and are called simply Xbox. These new apps allow you to keep track of your Microsoft gaming - on Windows 10 PC, Phone, and Xbox - from your phone or tablet. The new app looks a lot like Windows 10 and has a number of changes and improvements...

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