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As we wrote about a few weeks back, Google Play Awards returned for 2017, and today we have the winners, and there were some quite interesting choices. The award for Standout Indie went to Mushroom 11, which beat the likes of Reigns and Kingdom: New Lands. Best Multiplayer Game went to Hearthstone, beating Lords Mobile and FIFA Mobile Soccer, and the Best Game Award went to Transformers: Forged to Fight, which beat Pokemon GO, Choices, and Fire Emblem Heroes. I'm rather surprised about Transformers beating Pokemon GO, given what a huge phenomenon the latter was...

FIFA Mobile Soccer [Free] developers have been increasingly trying to improve the game, and today's big update is another step in that direction. The new VS Attack Mode will replace the old Attack Mode and will feature simultaneous matches against opponents in real-time instead of the turn-based matches of old. This change should alleviate the frustration of waiting for opponents to take turns and then playing against AI versions of teams rather than against the actual players. Hopefully this will make that mode more fun to play. VS Attack will officially be available on May 24th...




Elder Scrolls: Legends [Free (HD)], the CCG based on the extremely popular universe, has received another update that has added the first version of Spectator Mode. Now, you'll be able to watch your friends screw up big time and, if you so desire, chat with them and tell them all the things they are doing wrong and why they should just quit and go play something they're actually good at. Or you could actually try and help them, but where's the fun in that, I ask. Jokes aside, a good Spectator Mode is an essential part of making a game ready for tournaments, so I'm glad to see Elder Scrolls: Legends starting to work on that feature...

Nexon dropped a surprise Lode Runner 1 [Free] release on the App Store this week, and it's, quite the unusual release since it seems to be completely free. You probably know Lode Runner even just by cultural osmosis if you haven't played it at some point. It's a classic game from an influential era, but it doesn't quite have the reach of a Mario-type game, at least from my perspective. It's something that people know, but maybe not all that well. Regardless, there's enough knowledge of the original that games keep getting made, so there must be an audience somewhere!..

Lost Portal CCG [$2.99] is a lovely game made by a single developer, and it's been one of the favorite games of our forum users, as the over 80-pages long forum thread can attest to. Today, the game received another update that makes the Aerahym Expansion available for purchase. The expansion adds 33 new cards to the game along with a new town—which comes with new quests, enemies, and bosses. There are also 15 new portraits available and the level cap has been raised by 2. And there are 17 new Avatar cards added for existing enemies along with the usual fixed and adjustments...

Final 'Albion Online' Update Prior to PC Launch Improves the Outlands Territories

We've been keeping a pretty close eye on Albion Online, the cross-platform sandbox MMORPG that promises to bring to mobile a very complex and deep game. If you haven't heard of the game before, Albion Online will bring a PvE and PvP medieval fantasy world with a player-driven economy—where all equipment items are player-crafted—along with a unique classless system and much more. The game is scheduled to release on PC in July, and today the developers announced the last big update prior to release, and it's an important one indeed. The update will improve the Outlands, the lawless territories of the Albion world. The developers weren't happy with the way harbors and cities in the Outlands fulfilled their role of being a home for guilds that lack territory, so they will be replaced with a single access point, the city of Caerleon...

'BitChip Bounce' is Like a Two Character 'Caveman Pong', Coming Next Thursday

A few years ago, a simple little game called Caveman Pong [Free] won me over with its fantastic physics and ease of play. Basically the game was a Pong variant that had you bouncing a ball against a wall and tapping at the right time to make your caveman jump and reflect the ball back towards the wall. The speed and randomness of the ball made it tricky but a perfect "one more try" type of game. Now, indie developer David Barley in publishing partnership with Appsolute Games is riffing on that formula with the upcoming BitChip Bounce. Basically it's the same kind of idea but instead of battling against a wall you'll be battling against another AI opponent. Check out the trailer...

Fidget spinners have taken over the US, and that's just a slight exaggeration. So, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that a digital version of a fidget spinner called Finger Spinner [Free] is now spinning on top of the App Store's Free App charts. In case you've missed out on the craze—which I highly doubt—fidget spinners are 3-inch twirling toys originally made to help children with attention disorders concentrate, but these last few weeks they have spread everywhere, spawning tons of articles and debates over their usefulness. And, as is always the case, they've spawned plenty of demeaning comments about millennials, which is a new sport nowadays...

The Wonderfully Weird 'Karma Incarnation 1' Is Coming to iOS and Android

There's good weird, and there's bad weird, and the upcoming Karma Incarnation 1, a PC game soon to hit the mobile shores, is definitely good weird. Look at the trailer below, and you'll know exactly what I mean. This is a crazy, colorful game with the kind of characters you would see if you had eaten the kinds of mushrooms you probably shouldn't have. In Karma Incarnation 1 you play as someone who's beloved has been abducted, so you decide to turn into a dragon and save her. Unfortunately, you end up turning into a worm named Pip, a slightly more limiting form than that of a dragon...

First-Person Dungeon Crawler 'The Keep' Coming to iPad Soon

It seems there's no lack of old-school first-person dungeon crawlers on the mobile platform, but that doesn't mean I'm not always excited to add another one to the bunch. In this case it's The Keep from Cinimax Games which released way back in September of 2014 on the Nintendo 3DS and then made its way to Steam just a couple of months ago. The Keep features real-time combat as opposed to turn-based like many of these types of dungeon crawlers, and being that it was originally released for the touch-based 3DS it also features a neat Rune-combining crafting mechanic and gesture-based combat, both of which should translate quite well to the touchscreen on the iPad...

Musgravian Musings - 'Ghouls 'n Ghosts Mobile' and 'Arkanoid vs Space Invaders'

Well, I suppose this went well enough the first time to give it another go. Welcome to Musgravian Musings, a little space of my own where I can do some short, non-review reflections on recent game releases. In general, the featured games are ones that have caught my interest in some way or another, and will tend to be games that I didn't (and won't) review. This time, I'm looking at two new releases that draw on old favorites. From Capcom, we've got their mobile version of the 1988 arcade classic Ghouls 'n Ghosts [$1.99]. From Taito, by way of their parent company Square Enix, a game that is both the latest Arkanoid and the latest Space Invaders, Arkanoid vs Space Invaders [$4.99]...

'The Frankenstein Wars' Is an Awesome Looking Upcoming Gamebook

If you would have told me when I was borrowing Choose Your Own Adventure books from my school library that some day in the future I'd be playing amazingly advanced gamebooks with in-game maps, items, and branching paths out the wazoo... It would've blown my mind, particularly considering those CYOA books we all got our start on had such basic decisions, like do you go left, or right. Well, Cubus Games is just starting to release details on their next gamebook, The Frankenstein Wars and it's both looking and sounding incredibly rad...

RPG Reload Glossary - The New Millennium of Tactical RPGs

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we maintain a healthy fear of Etna. Last month, we took a look at the early history of the tactical RPG genre followed by its blossoming in the 1990s. It was an important time for the genre, as the vague concepts of the 1980s were finally drawn together into a functional set of genre guidelines. While the genre really started to take off in Japan, things went a different way in the West. Besides occasional hits like X-COM, Western game developers were largely focused on a considerably more popular sister genre, the real-time strategy game. This gap would only become wider as time went on. This month, we're taking a look at some of the significant tactical RPGs of the 2000s, as the Japanese variation of the genre rode a massive wave of popularity worldwide off the back of Final Fantasy Tactics...

Even if you've never watched an episode of Jeopardy!, you probably know about it and probably know that you have to answer with a question. Its popularity isn't that surprising given that its current incarnation has been around since 1984 (although originally created in 1964). Today, the game has made the jump to mobile in the form of Jeopardy! World Tour [Free], and it's actually a good use of the IP and a pretty fun game in its own right. I've been playing the game on and off today, and I've been having quite a bit of fun with it. There are thousands of clues and categories—from the general to the very specific—which should keep you entertained. For instance, I played a round with a category called Awards and another where Truman Capote was his own category...

If you're one of the many players of FIFA Mobile Soccer [Free], you'll be glad to know that starting tomorrow and for each Friday until July 3rd, you'll be enjoying various Team of the Season events, players, and items. Every Friday, the game will be celebrating one of the top five leagues in the game—Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Calcio A, Spain's La Liga Santander, France's Ligue 1, and England's Premier League. Each Team of the Season Friday will bring along 23 players (11 starters and 12 reserves) who'll be chosen based on their performance in their domestic leagues. You'll be able to grab those players either through the Starters Plan or the Reserve Plan...

While Google announced a bunch of interesting new things at Google I/O 2017's keynote, much like WWDC, there's always interesting things coming out of other sessions. Such as, information the 2.0 software update for Google Daydream, codenamed Euphrates. There's two particularly interesting features to come in this update. One is that Google's trying to bring a lot more of the phone experience into Daydream. For example, you'll have access to normal phone functions via a 2D panel that can pop up while in VR. So, you can check notifications, see a web browser, and more while in VR. This sounds simple, but I think it's going to be key to mobile VR becoming important...

Hearthstone [Free] developers have talked about considering new ways of giving players free packs and free cards, and this Saturday, May 20th, they'll give away a single free card to every player who logs in that day. The free card is the 6-mana 4/4 Fight Promoter, which has a Battlecry "If you control a minion with 6 or more Health, draw cards." Before you start reading way too much into this Blizzard move, Ben Brode has said that they aren't testing anything or teasing anything; they just wanted to keep the game "spicy" by doing a fun one-off. There are bigger events planned for the future, and this is them just getting warmed up...

Throughout the history of the App Store, I feel like we've had practically every variety imaginable of dual stick shooters. Hell, we've even had dual stick looters, but a no stick shooter? That sort of thing is worthy of The People's Eyebrow. Well, it turns out this no stick shooter, which consequently is also named No Stick Shooter [$1.99] is an unbelievably frantic game that's most easily described as Missile Command with some interesting twists. It's a little too stressful of a game for me, but in a world where gamers go absolutely wild for unbelievably fast-paced games like Geometry Dash [$1.99] I can definitely see the appeal...

Back in early March, Capcom Mobile announced that they'd be bringing four of their classic arcade games to the App Store in special mobile versions: 1942, Commando, Ghosts'n Goblins, and Ghouls'n Ghosts. The following week they followed through with that promise as 1942 Mobile [$1.99] hit the App Store. Then the following week Ghosts'n Goblins Mobile [$1.99] hit, and the week after that Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando Mobile [$1.99] hit. Which pretty much ensured that the next week Ghouls'n Ghosts would arrive, except… it didn't. Was there an error in their original announcement? Was it supposed to be just the original game releasing and not its superior sequel? The answer is no, as today Ghouls'n Ghosts Mobile [$1.99] has finally arrived in the App Store. ..

Everyone in the world of Clash of Clans [Free]is "patiently" waiting for the huge upcoming update to drop, but in the meantime, we got information about the latest balancing update, which will go live once the big update goes live. This round of buffs and additions focuses on powering late-game spells and helping make the grind through Town Hall level 9 more bearable. The update will add Clone Spell level 5 at Town Hall 11, with Clone Spell levels 1-5 seeing a buff. There will also be a Freeze Spell level 6 at Town Hall 11 and a Heal Spell level 7 at Town Hall 10. A 7th Gold Mine and Elixir Collector will be available at Town Hall 9 instead of Town Hall 10 as was the case before...

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