Category Archives: Universal

AT Games hates you and wants to launch you into a black hole. That's what my time with Full of Stars [Free] revealed to me. They created an amazingly clever idea, something that takes a simple kind of space chase game as you dodge asteroids and other perils that fly past you. But this is just the core of a larger experience, involving an interactive fiction story that plays into the events of the game, including when you die on a level and try to continue. And then there's a curious long-term metagame as you try to rescue human survivors, and explore more of the war-torn star system you're in. The difficulty, excessive repetition, and ever-present monetization drags the experience down, but not to the point of killing the charm of Full of Stars' genius core idea...

There's the old cliche within virtually all forms of media that goes along the lines of 'don't judge a book by its cover'. Whether this is exactly universally applicable to things such as video and games is still to be seen, but on first glance Bacon Escape [Free] ticks all the right boxes. Firstly, the mouth-watering reference to the peerless breakfast food in the title; secondly, being the latest title from Illusion Labs, Bacon Escape possesses all the charm and polish that one would expect from such prolific iOS developers. With a relatively simple one-touch puzzle mechanic, Bacon Escape follows in the vein of games such as Mr. Crab 2 [Free] in offering a casual, accessible but unequivocally enjoyable mobile experience, and has today launched for free on the App Store...




Despite the introduction of almost 100 new critters earlier this year, and even though I am unquestionably the most ardent fanboy of the series around, I'd be lying if I didn't say the initial buzz of Pokemon GO [Free] is beginning to fade somewhat. Thankfully, Niantic are aware that 'Catching 'Em All' is sadly a finite task, and their frequent themed events - such as the splashtacular Water Festival earlier in March - have been a good source of motivation for trainers across the globe to head back out into that long grass. Anyone wanting more promotions within the game will be glad to hear that Niantic are launching a brand new event today to coincide with the Easter weekend. Dubbed the 'Pokemon GO Eggstravaganza', Niantic are offering numerous egg related bonuses, double experience and more, from 1pm PDT today until the same time on April 20th...

Full of Stars [Free], a story-driven game about humanity's survival (as its developer describes it), has popped up on the App Store a bit earlier than planned, and now you can go enjoy the starry sky. You play as a daring space captain trying to help the scared refugees of your devastated world find safe passage. The game seems to be an interesting blend of genres, so I'm curious to see how it has turned out. The game combines hand-crafted levels with procedural generation and draws inspiration from roguelike games in an effort to make the game more replayable and surprising. So, expect random encounters and a branching world exploration as well as constantly upgrading your ship...

If you want some randomness in your week, go play this week's Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl, Valeera's Bag of Burgled Spells. You've probably played this brawl before, but if you haven't, be prepared for a spell-tastic week. You'll get a deck full of random spells from all classes, and every time you cast a spell, a minion of the same cost is summoned. Think of this as randomness squared. At the same time, knowing the cost of the minions does give you a semblance of control over what kind of minions will end up on your board. Keep in mind that spells are cast after the minion is summoned, so if you play a spell like Twisting Nether, it will summon a minion and then clear the board...

Minecraft: Pocket Edition [$6.99] continues to offer more skins and texture packs to players, and this time around we are getting the Chinese Mythology Mash-Up Pack. This new pack brings along many new skins steeped in Chinese history and mythology and also a whole new texture pack that turns your map into one filled with demons, dragons, and Chinese-themed patterns. In other words, for $5.99 you can turn your Minecraft worlds into mythological places of wonder (or you can just have more variety). The update also brings new music to the game by composer Gareth Coker. If you're interested in how game music is composed, you can check this blog post on how Coker went about composing the new Minecraft music...

If you're up for some space shooting action, Broadside [$1.99] might be for you. This just-released game drops you in the middle of a three-faction war, and you have to survive frantic battles while constantly upgrading your ship and weapons an in effort to stay ahead of the (literally) cut-throat competition. Because of the three-faction thing going on, you'll have one faction working alongside you and two other ones trying to blow up to smithereens. How the whole three-faction thing plays out remains to be seen, but I like that you won't be playing the lone wolf like in most other games of the genre...

'Gameday Live' Is Looking to Be the 'Clash Royale' of Football Management, Launching Worldwide Soon

For many, myself included, football (occasionally called soccer in select regions of the world) is less a game, and more an intrinsic ritual firmly embedded in everyday life. If anything's certain in this world, it's death, taxes, and Arsenal losing on a mild Monday evening. However, outside of the excellent solo experience of Football Manager Mobile 2017 [$8.99], or the better forgotten free-to-play experiment that was last year's FIFA Mobile [Free], there hasn't been a true online soccer simulator that can help hasten the agonising wait between match days. Gameday Live, from BAFTA-winning developers Stuart Reid and Stuart Anderson at Digital Sports Arena, is looking to remedy this issue, and has turned the art of football management into what they describe as a Clash Royale [Free]-esque real time online simulator. Having soft launched in Australia, Canada and Holland back in 2016, Gameday Live is approaching its global launch in the coming months, and an official trailer gives us a good look at what to expect from this groundbreaking football title when it kicks off around the globe...

As we wrote earlier today, Minecraft Pocket Edition's [$6.99] store is about to greatly expand once the Minecraft Marketplace becomes available. We talked a bit about the various content creators participating in Microsoft and Mojang's new initiatives, but in case you don't know what the various creators can do, check out the video below. This is a sample of the kind of content the Noxcrew community is going to bring to the game, and it looks pretty awesome. The teaser shows off some of the worlds you'll be able to purchase along with various activities, mobs, and lots of other things. PC players are used to being able to easily access additional Minecraft content, but most mobile players, especially the young ones or those with no PCs, haven't had that luxury...

If you're in the mood for a new point-and-click mystery adventure but not really in the mood to pay for one, then this is your lucky day. Secret Files: Tunguska [$3.99] was originally released on iOS back in 2014, developed by Animation Arts and published by Deep Silver. Well, I'm not really clear on what happened to that relationship but all the previously released Animation Arts games that were published by Deep Silver have been pulled and are being re-released under the Animation Arts name only. Transferring products in the App Store between companies used to be a weird issue, but Apple actually implemented a way to do that that did not require a brand new app to be released as it did before. Instead, according to Animation Arts, the previous titles were pulled and re-released as new apps due to technical issues...

If you're in the mood for some retro-looking gaming and are short on cash, you can grab Kingdom: New Lands [$9.99] and Kathy Rain [$4.99] for cheap. Both have gone on sale for the first time ever, so this is definitely the cheapest they've been since release. In case you haven't heard of any of the two games, Kingdom: New Lands is a fascinating game that looks like a side-scrolling tower-defense, but it's much more than that. Kingdom, as we talked about when we picked it for our Game of the Week, is a game that's hard to describe without spoiling a lot of the fun of it, so you should try and dive into it without reading too much about it. Just know that it's very challenging and has lovely retro visuals. Check out our forum page for more on the game...

Turn-Based Strategy Title 'Epic Little War Game' Is Finally Accepting Beta Testers

One of my favorite iOS strategy titles from the formative years of the App Store was undoubtedly Great Little War Game [$3.99], as its Advance Wars-esque mechanics under luscious 3D visuals provided a rare cerebral challenge in a particularly under-represented genre for mobile gaming. Since the original game released back in 2011, the developers have released Great Big War Game [$4.99], as well as a direct sequel in the form of Great Little War Game 2 [$3.99]. Just as you feared Rubicon were running out of hyperbolic titles, Epic Little War Game was revealed at the end of 2014, but since then details have been relatively scarce on the next entry in this prestigious mobile series. Fans of the franchise will be delighted to hear that the end is finally in sight - Rubicon have today announced that they are accepting beta testers for Epic Little War Game on the game's forum thread, and plan to launch the full title on May 31st...

Journey To Un'Goro Best Decks, Reactions, Rogue Quest, and More 'Hearthstone' Weekly News in 'Touchstone' #92

Hello everyone and welcome to the first post-Un'Goro Touchstone Tavern. I hope you've been enjoying the new expansion and the gods of luck and good fortune have blessed your pack opening rituals. My luck wasn't the best, but that was to be expected if I'm honest. Hearthstone [Free] has officially entered a new era now that we are in the second Standard rotation, and it remains to be seen what kind of meta we'll end up with once the dust settles down. So far, players seem to be happy with the variety of decks being played, and I hope this continues even after the meta crystallizes. As you'd expect, this week we're focusing on the new expansion since there's so much to talk about. And without further ado, let's jump into the Un'Goro crater...

Despite releasing in the hectic summer months just after the cacophony of noise which is E3, Hyperburner [$2.99] captivated the minds and imaginations of many in our community when it launched in June of last year. Its concept wasn't particularly groundbreaking - like many flight simulator titles that came before it, you're tasked with manoeuvring a futuristic jet through numerous nefarious structures and obstacles at breakneck speeds. However, the execution of Hyperburner was outstanding, with a beautiful cel-shaded graphical style, extremely responsive controls, and an exhilarating sense of speed that was aided by a silky smooth framerate. Such qualities were reflected in our exultant four-and-a-half star review, and today Hyperburner has mysteriously gone on sale for the bargain price of absolutely free, with no in-app purchases in sight...

If you're a Minecraft: Pocket Edition [$6.99] player, I've got some fantastic news for you today. As you know, the next Minecraft PE update is called the Discovery Update, and part of that update is a completely new feature coming to the came called the Minecraft Marketplace, and I'm personally very excited about it. The Minecraft Marketplace is going to be a huge new addition to the in-game Store and is going to give you the opportunity to purchase and download tons of very cool community creations. And we're not talking about just more skins here; as you can see from the screenshot below, the Minecraft Marketplace will offer whole adventure maps and mini maps you can download as well as texture packs. For instance, Relics of the Privateers will give you a pirate map in which you'll have to battle invading pirates and will even include new mobs...

You might not be bumping into as many Pokemon GO [Free] players as you did during the game's heyday, but despite what many think, the game is still not just alive but doing very well. According to the developer's latest blog post, the game currently has over 65 million people worldwide playing the game each month, which is a pretty crazy number considering that most of the Northern Hemisphere is still in winter slumber mode. The blog also hints at new cooperative social gameplay experiences coming to the game to coincide with spring springing. These experiences will give Trainers "new and exciting reasons to get back into the sunshine."..

I don't think any one of you will be surprised to hear that there's a movie tie-in mobile game for Smurfs: The Lost Village. The game is called Smurfs Bubble Story  [Free] and is, as you can guess, a bubble popping game. As is the case with pretty much all bubble popping/matching games ever, you try and strategically match bubbles that then pop. When they do so, you get rewards and you can create your own collection of famous smurfs. You get to collect Smurfette, Brainy, Clumsy, and all the other Smurfs you grew up with (if you have). There are also boss battles, with the infamous Gargamel waiting to, well, burst your bubble...

I'm not too sure what it is about Thumb Drift [Free], but it tends to be one of the surefire titles I will gravitate to when I have minutes to kill on the tube, or while I'm waiting for a bus. Its accessibility combined with its subtle challenge and the compulsive need to keep on improving on high scores means it's the perfect title for short bursts, and despite numerous attempts nothing new has satiated that arcade drifting itch since the game first launched early last year. However Pixel Drifters [Free] - which has today launched for free on the App Store - is looking like a strong contender for Thumb Drift's lofty throne. An interesting pseudo-open world approach combined with beautiful pixel graphics and a hilarious sense of humor means Appsolute Games could be onto a winner here, which has only been supported by some excellent initial feedback on our forum thread...

Despite being inundated with mountains of work over the past few weeks, I've somehow managed to fit in time for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch, and like basically everyone else on the internet I'm in love with the game in almost every aspect. That being said, one factor from previous Zelda titles is missing, and even being able to climb and fly off everything does not make up for its absence. You guessed it - with no hookshot in the game, I'm unable to make Link defy the laws of physics and rocket in random directions. Thankfully, Legend of the Skyfish [$3.99] takes the polar opposite approach and entirely consists of hookshot (okay, fishing rod) action, and when the game launched back in August of last year, Carter bestowed the game with an extremely positive review because of its interesting puzzles, excellent art style, and the aforementioned brilliant core mechanic. If you flew past Legend of the Skyfish at its initial release, the game is on sale for only $0.99, which is certainly a price to grapple onto for some entertaining puzzle action...

'Ace Racing Turbo' Brings Breakneck Speeds and Titanic Tracks to the App Store, and Is Looking for Beta Testers

While titles such as Real Racing 3 [Free] and Rush Rally 2 [$1.99] have driven to the front of the pack when it comes to realism and immersion in the mobile racing genre, I've always had a soft spot for games that abandon this ethos and dial the ridiculousness up to 11. Whether that's causing a 20 car collision on Burnout, or simply flying around with reckless abandon in Jet Car Stunts 2 [Free], racing titles that lay off the brake and go for pure thrills resonate with me greatly. Hence why the upcoming Ace Racing Turbo has caught my eye - with monumental extensive racing tracks and an abundance of turbo to propel your cars around them, this latest driving title drops the simulator label for pure chaos, and the developers are currently looking for beta testers if such action piques your interest...

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