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'Linelight' Review - A Fine Line

'Linelight' Review - A Fine Line

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In years to come, the App Store will be both commemorated and condemned for revolutionising the delivery of digital content, implementing the use of innovative gaming inputs, and instigating an industry-wide transition away from fully priced releases. However, one of the most profound impacts this emergent platform has had on video games has been its ethos of ‘show, don’t tell’. Monument Valley [$3.99], Sword and Sworcery [$3.99], and a number of landmark titles have fought against the limitations of a handheld device to completely immerse the user through pure aesthetic bliss. Despite not originating on the iPhone, Linelight [$1.99] is the next notable independent release that champions these values, through slick puzzles, accessible controls, and stunningly dynamic visuals and audio. The resulting concoction is an extremely memorable mobile experience that, while by no means perfect, is far grander than its subtle minimalistic design suggests...

Something about the writing style in Avatar of the Wolf [$3.99] almost immediately put me off. Most of the well-written gamebooks from Choice of Games have an almost velvety tone to their prose, gently massaging your brain and doing their best to make it comfortable. Avatar of the Wolf, by comparison, is thorny. The words feel shorter, less comfortable to read, and above all, aggressive. It's even disorienting at times. The way this story is written does as much to set the tone as the meaning of the words the writer chooses. It was jarring to try to slide into the main character. Yet it turns out to be precisely the atmosphere this story needs. Avatar of the Wolf isn't a fluffy tale of adventure that will appeal broadly, but give it time to spin its yarn and you might find yourself unable to put it down...




Moltres, the latest Legendary Pokemon, is now virtually roaming in Pokemon GO [Free], so get ready to group up with others and find a Legendary Raid Battle. Before you start getting too excited, though, keep in mind that it's very difficult to catch these Legendaries. As Rob talked about in a story the other day, each creature needs to first be defeated in a Legendary Raid Battle, which isn't an easy thing to do within the time limit given. I've heard many people complain that it's hard to even figure out who's doing a Legendary Raid Battle unless you've already organized one with your friends. Also, Moltres will only be around until August 7th, which isn't that long of a time to find a Legendary Raid Battle and to pull off the win. And add to these difficulties how you have pretty low chances of actually catching Moltres after defeating it, and you can see how tricky all this is...

Clash Royale [Free] developers have been doing Q&As recently, and the latest one offered some intriguing hints at future features and changes to the game. The first feature that's coming probably in the next update—which should be coming around early October— is daily tasks, which is a feature that should have been in the game a long time ago. Daily tasks are great at making me care about playing daily and, of course, are a great source of rewards. The developers pointed out that most of the team is on summer vacations (I've heard that phrase before but not sure what it means anymore), so don't expect this feature to land before October. Clash Royale will also probably be getting additional ways of adding friends to the game, ones that don't rely on external links to do the job...

For the last five years, Clash of Clans [Free] has pretty much become synonymous with top grossing mobile games and a name recognized by most gamers, even those not that big on mobile games. This month, Supercell's behemoth is celebrating its fifth anniversary, so expect to see all kinds of surprises, both in-game but also in real life as well. The game's subreddit is also celebrating the anniversary with all kinds of posts, ranging from art, funny videos, and a running list of the best and worst changes players have seen in these last five years...

If I'm honest, I'm more of an advocate of cats in video games, although I appreciate the effort that developer SnoutUp has made over their prolific App Store output in making pigs the stars of the show. With previous releases such as Iron Snout [Free], the developer has underlined the secret intelligence of everyone's favorite pink, sedentary farm animal, and Bacon May Die [Free] is essentially a continuation of this theme. Set in an alternate reality where hordes of zombies are set on eating bacon rather than brains, Bacon May Die features fun beat 'em up action that looks as entertaining as it is bizarre, and is today available on the App Store to download for free...

Don't worry - Spin Addict [Free] is not set in some dystopian future where fidget spinners have taken over the minds and souls of the entire human race. Instead, Spin Addict is all about, revolving, jumping, and perpetual motion, and is perhaps one of the most novel spins on the auto-runner genre I've seen in some time. In fact, the 'auto' in auto-runner is somewhat misleading, as your spinning top protagonist must constantly hit rotating cogs in the environment to give itself momentum, or otherwise it'll come to a grinding halt. This intuitive mechanic, combined with the expected platforming action and the ability to actually spin the environment, makes Spin Addict stand out amongst an abundance of games that have failed to innovate the tropes of auto-runner titles. First impressions on our forums are all universally positive, and if you're similarly intrigued, Spin Addict is available to download for free on the App Store today...

Stylish and Simplistic Puzzle Game 'follow.trail' Goes Back to App Store Basics on August 10th

The App Store of 2017 is all about fine margins, and it's the tiniest details that can be the difference between success and failure. Is a core gameplay mechanic immersive enough to warrant repeated plays? Or is an interface slick enough that it remains intuitive and stylish whilst also being accessible to the everyday iOS user? In truth, it's quite hard to distinguish such knife-edge differences, although I'd wager that the upcoming follow.trail is close to nailing the precarious balance between design and distraction. As a hyper-simplistic puzzle title that requires you to navigate clearly marked domino-esque blocks in a certain order to clear the board, follow.trail is not exactly a new concept amongst its genre peers on the iPhone. However, its understated stylish presentation and intelligible swiping control scheme present a case for follow.trail to join my esteemed collection of one-handed App Store wonders when it launches on the App Store on August 10th...

From the outset, Tumblestone [Free] pulls no punches in its app description, with the bold claim that it is 'the first original action-puzzle game of the past fifteen years'. You Must Build A Boat [$2.99], its predecessor 10000000 [$2.99] and the myriad of other inventive puzzle titles on the App Store might want a word with you, Tumblestone. However, such grandiose assertions don't detract from the fact that Tumblestone does look like a lot of fun - with an alleged 40+ hour story campaign and limitless randomly regenerated levels to try out, its positive reception amongst console gamers on its previous release is certainly less controversial than its App Store description. If you did miss out on its 2016 Steam release, Tumblestone is today available on the App Store as a free-to-play game, with an in-app purchase to disable advertisements...

With the iOS platform approaching a decade of existence, there are quite a few titles you could denote as classics when talking about the history of mobile gaming. Jet Car Stunts [$1.99 / Free] is without a doubt one of those titles. Launching in the fall of 2009 with the App Store still in its infancy, Jet Car Stunts married the unique capabilities of iOS devices with some seriously fun stunt track racing. There really was no greater feeling that launching your little digital rocket car into the air, spinning and twirling, and totally nailing the landing on the other side. Or finding some obscure shortcut that gives you a leg up on the highly competitive online leaderboards. Yes for some Jet Car Stunts was an obsession, and for me personally it brings back great memories of the early days of iOS gaming. However, 2009 was a LONG time ago, and the last significant update to Jet Car Stunts was way back in July of 2012 when the game received long-awiated Universal iPad support and some performance improvements. Well, with iOS 11 and its lack of support for 32-bit apps likely coming in just a couple of months, many fans were holding out hope that this oldie but goodie would get some 64-bit update love from developer True Axis. Today that update love has arrived. ..

Sit down boys and girls because it's time for another Ben Brode Hearthstone [Free] rap. After delivering a rousing Journey to Un'Goro rap, Brode couldn't resist repeating the musical feat for the upcoming Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion. This time around, we get to hear the story of Arthas, AKA the Lich King, accompanied by visuals from the good old days. While the rap is pretty funny by itself, it does actually serve a purpose: to fill in the lore details for those who don't know the story of the Lich King. And what better way to deliver lore than with a Brode rap (Brap?). The rap is over 5 minutes long, which goes to show how complex the Lich King's storyline is...

Niantic got quite a bit of negative publicity after the disastrous Pokemon GO [Free] event in Chicago a week and a bit ago, and it looks like it wants to avoid a repeat of that. So, it announced today that the August 5th and 12th events in Europe will be postponed until a date later this Fall in order to guarantee the best possible gameplay experience. The August 5th events were to take place in Copenhagen and Prague, and the August 12th ones in Stockholm and Amsterdam. The events on August 14th and September 16th remain unaffected, so if you were planning on attending those, you should be good. Niantic (of course) apologizes for postponing these events and directs player questions to its help center. And no compensation will be offered to those who have already made arrangements...

Frozen Throne Reveals, Frost Lich Jaina, Arthas Skin, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #107

Welcome to another Touchstone Tavern, our weekly Hearthstone [Free] roundup of the best stories and videos. As expected, last week was all about the upcoming expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, especially because the community has been trying to keep track with and evaluate all the revealed cards. Most in the community seem to be happy with the cards we've seen so far, and I hope that optimism continues even after the expansion arrives. It does look like Blizzard is starting to figure out the kind of content the community enjoys, so hopefully we'll get the best expansion to date. There's a few weeks to go until that, though, so for now enjoy our weekly roundup...

Any TouchArcade readers who have been following the website since 2013 will not only be awesome people, but will also likely remember an incredibly, err, eccentric game by the name of Alpaca Evolution [Free] from Japanese developer COCOSOLA. Even with some of the bizarre experiments released on a weekly basis on the App Store, the cannibalism/mutation simulator of Alpaca Evolution really stood out at the time for its inexplicable premise, and was well received in our TA Plays feature around its launch. While we have heard little from the developer since its breakout release, their latest title dropped onto the App Store out of nowhere this weekend, and it's certainly a major shift in direction from COCOSOLA's previous releases. The Witch's Isle [Free] is an incredibly intriguing point-and-click adventure game with some beautiful pixel art, and the Sword and Sworcery [$3.99] vibes I get from the screenshots can only be a good thing...

After a pretty fun and quite long Minecraft: Story Mode Season 1, Telltale returns to the world of Minecraft with Episode 1 of Season 2 [$4.99], and although it has some fun new ideas, I wasn't too crazy with the direction of the narrative and, especially, with the decision to add complex fighting sequences in a game that can barely handle simple swipes. I have to admit that I died more times in Hero in Residence than in pretty much any other Telltale game ever, and that wasn't because I'm not good at swiping at the right time. I had fun getting reunited with some of the characters from Season 1 and seeing how things have turned out after those events, but Hero in Residence didn't really impress me, and I'm hoping the rest of the episodes deliver a more coherent narrative and fewer action sequences...

Earlier today Blizzard gave us a Hearthstone [Free] live stream with Senior Designer Matthew Place and popular streamer Sean "Day 9" Plott that revealed new Knights of the Frozen Throne cards, and one of those cards was a new Hero Card, Frost Lich Jaina, and it's a fun one. The Mage Death Knight costs 9 mana and has 5 armor, and its battlecry reads "Summon a 3/6 Water Elemental. Your Elementals Have Lifesteal this Game," and has a Hero Power that deals 1 damage, and if it kills a minion, it summons a 3/6 Water Elemental. As you can imagine, Frost Lich Jaina will work well with Elemental decks, although whether it's going to be powerful or not remains to be seen. Now we have 7 remaining Death Knights to see prior to the expansion's release...

Clash Royale [Free] got another card today, the Cannon Cart, although you'll have to play the 2v2 Draft Challenge if you want to get your hands on it early. If you don't get it in the Challenge, you'll have to wait another week before being able to get your hands on it. Cannon Cart is unlocked in Arena 10 and costs 5 Elixir to deploy. As you would expect, Cannon Cart is a single-target troop with medium range, since it's pretty much a cannon on wheels. Once it loses half of its health, the cart breaks and you have a stationary cannon. Once it's on the ground, it sticks around for 20 seconds just like a building. Therefore, remember that the Cannon Cart isn't considered a building until the cart breaks, so it won't be attracting the attention of units like Giants...

'Layton's Mystery Journey' Review - Better Layton Than Never

Of all the possible games, series, and franchises that could have been ported to mobile over the years, one of the ones that made the most sense has been a no-show until now. Level 5's Professor Layton series of puzzle adventures, which debuted on the Nintendo DS in 2007, seemed like a great match for mobile both in terms of its game design and demographic appeal. For whatever reason, however, the platform seemed to get passed over for a mainline Layton game even as the occasional spin-off popped up. Well, no matter what the reason was, Level 5 seems to be ready to take a chance with the latest game in the series, Layton's Mystery Journey [$15.99]. This is a full Layton game in the traditional style, packed full of puzzles, a wild and woolly story, and plenty of tapping on everything for hint coins you'll never use...

I know that many of you have been patiently waiting for The Elder Scrolls: Legends [Free] to move from tablets to phones, so I'm sure you're pretty happy now that you can finally play Legends on your iPhones. Given the opportunity of the game finally going universal, we got to interview Pete Hines, Bethesda's VP of PR/Marketing, on the game coming to phones and about the game's future more generally. I've been enjoying the game, especially after the Skyrim expansion, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other features and ideas we'll get in the future. Enjoy the interview below...

When I see the word 'zen' to describe any sort of minimalistic iOS puzzler, my cynicism as a mobile games critic immediately flares up. Normally such a descriptor suggests a lazy and derivative core, in an attempt to be profound for no real reason other than to appeal to those who think videogames have to achieve some sort of higher purpose. Thankfully, Linelight [$1.99] fully embraces its simplicity, and is literally nothing more than a game of moving your fluorescent bar of light through multiple puzzles and paths. With levels that are lit up like a Christmas tree, Linelight is the epitome of accessibility through its basic controls, but really smart level design throughout the 200 unique puzzles results in a deceptively deep experience that shouldn't be missed, and is available to download now for $1.99 on the App Store...

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