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Mobile gaming

Best Mobile Game photo
Downwell
There were some great slow-paced, methodical games up for this award (Lara Croft GO, Alphabear), but Downwell proves twitch action can still work on phones. It achieves this through its dedication to simplicity. Three colors....

Swing Copters 2 photo
Swing Copters 2

Flappy Bird creator releases a new game


Basically the same as the last one
Dec 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Well, maybe "new" isn't the operative word. Flappy Bird studio DotGears has released Swing Copters 2, a sequel to last year's Swing Copters, which itself wasn't all that different from the game that put the Vietnamese de...
Threes photo
Threes

Mobile puzzler Threes playable online for free


They're actually giving it away!
Dec 18
// Mike Cosimano
Boy, do I love Threes. It's a charming puzzle game; a sublime blend of simplicity and polish. It's won many awards, including a 'Best of 2014' from Apple itself. Unfortunately, developers Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend ...
The Elder Scrolls photo
The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls: Legends has been delayed


Won't meet its Q4 2015 target release
Dec 18
// Joe Parlock
I have to admit, I'd completely forgotten about The Elder Scrolls: Legends. The collectible card game was announced at Bethesda’s E3 conference this year, but then immediately drowned out by Dishonored 2 and Fallout 4 n...
Biker Mice from Mars photo
Biker Mice from Mars

Biker Mice from Mars game out now


Only '90s kids something something
Dec 15
// Darren Nakamura
Ah, the '90s. We were much younger back then. Some readers today might not have even been alive or sapient. Let me tell you something about the '90s. There were lots of cartoons. Some of them were good. Only '90s kids could p...
Finally photo
Finally

Persona 4 is getting a pachinko game for mobile


The day we have all been waiting for
Dec 11
// Jed Whitaker
Did you know that Persona 4 the Pachinko is a real thing that exists in Japan and has since late October? Well, you do now, and apparently the game features some content not found elsewhere including new art, animation,...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Mobile Game of 2015

Dec 11 // Darren Nakamura
Best Mobile Game of 2015 Alphabear Downwell Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Lara Croft GO Steven Universe: Attack the Light! [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]  
Best Mobile Game photo
Great gaming on the go
Mobile gaming often gets a bad rap among the hardcore crowd, but looking at 2015 it seems like the platform is really coming into its own. These aren't your Candy Crush or Flappy Bird clones; these are some legitimately great...

Republique episode 4 photo
Republique episode 4

Republique finally gets analog controls on PS4


Physical disc rounds out best package
Dec 11
// Steven Hansen
Republique, a stealth game proud of its Metal Gear Solid 4 lineage, was Kickstarted in 2012. It hit iOS in 2013, and then proceeded at a pace of one port per year (2014, Android; 2015, PC) en route to three of five episodes h...
Microsoft photo
Microsoft

Xbox boss is '100% committed' to keeping you engaged with Xbox consoles


'I love that console experience'
Dec 11
// Vikki Blake
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has confirmed that Microsoft is already looking ahead to the next generation console. Talking to The Verge about the future of consoles in an age where TVs and mobile devices are becoming smar...
The Walking Dead photo
The Walking Dead

Telltale's Walking Dead characters are here for a limited time in Road to Survival


Through January 31
Dec 10
// Darren Nakamura
I tried out The Walking Dead: Road to Survival briefly. For me, the strategy combat was too shallow and the settlement aspect was too much like Farmville with zombies to hold my interest. Maybe you're different, though! Maybe...
Review: Gamevice photo
Review: Gamevice

Review: Gamevice for the iPhone


Like the Vita's controls for your iPhone
Dec 09
// Jed Whitaker
Mobile gaming is becoming closer and closer to console gaming, and with the line thinning the only thing missing is phones coming with dedicated controllers. That is where the Gamevice comes in, to try to fill that hole by turning your iPhone 6 into a fully-fledged gaming console. While it does the job well, it certainly isn't without some minor flaws.

Review: Rayman Adventures

Dec 08 // Brett Makedonski
Rayman Adventures (Android, iOS)Developer: Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftReleased: December 3, 2015MSRP: Free, with microtransactions Rayman Adventures is an auto-runner that often moves at a restrained pace. Swiping on the screen gets the titular character moving, tapping implores him to jump, and swiping again changes direction. And while many runners press ever-onward left to right, Rayman Adventures tries to avoid that trap, usually allowing the player to dictate the flow. Keeping things from speeding out of control is a smart design decision, but not one that's quite consolation enough for inaccurate inputs. Chaining together swipes and taps works sometimes, but it's a bummer each and every time they don't. More damning, the rest of Rayman Adventures feels built around those moments when the controls falter. The big picture going-on in Rayman Adventures involves saving Incrediballs. These quirky creatures help Rayman grow a tree higher and higher into the sky for whatever reason. Incrediballs occasionally appear fully grown, but they'll often take the form of eggs that need to be incubated (either by waiting or by using resources to speed up the process). [embed]325074:61452:0[/embed] Incrediballs feel very much like a direct response to Adventures' lacking controls. The player can call on a number of them to assist them through a level. The game's broken down into three main level types: exploration-based, combat-based, and collection-based. For combat levels, each Incrediball acts as a shield for Rayman, a second (and third and fourth) chance for when the player inevitably runs into the tightly-placed enemies. That's an example of Incrediballs acting as a crutch, but sometimes they're flat-out necessary. In collection scenarios, dedicated Incrediballs act as a magnet for the Lums; there's no performing well without their assistance. Predictably, this all loops back to the fact that Rayman Adventures is a free-to-play title. Incrediballs grow tired and need to be fed in order to be used again. The game dishes out a fair amount of food, but you can always buy some with real money if the need arises. To its credit, Rayman Adventures never gets heavy-handed with the microtransactions. There isn't any sort of mechanic that forces you to either pay or keep waiting, and resources seem to come at a constant enough clip that there exists the possibility it won't ever become an impediment (unlikely as that may be). However, there's a flood of different consumables that make them difficult to keep track of: gems, golden tickets, food, and elixirs can all be earned/purchased, and they all feed right back into one another. For example, tickets (and more) can be bought with gems. That ticket you scratch off might award some food. Food's used to revive Incrediballs which are used to perform well in levels, where the likes of gems might be the prize. Round and round we go. To what end, it's difficult to say. Scaling back and looking at Rayman Adventures as a whole paints it as a game where progress feels meaningless and sometimes confusing. But spending time inside the Rayman-patented lively world is a joy in small bursts, even if the execution is left wanting. Like those other Rayman titles, Adventures effectively captures the spirit of the franchise; it just has a hard time living up to the sterling precedent those games set -- a tall task that maybe the mobile format never had a chance of accomplishing in the first place. [This review is based on a retail build of the game at launch. No microtransactions were purchased.]
Rayman Adventures photo
So close, yet so far
Rayman has had a good run of it as of late. The last two console games -- Origins and Legends -- were fantastic platformers worthy of the highest praise. Now Ubisoft is testing the franchise's viability in the ...

Monument Valley photo
Monument Valley

Escher-esque puzzle game Monument Valley is currently available for free


Get it while it's free!
Dec 02
// Ben Davis
Monument Valley, the peaceful isometric puzzle game with a visual style reminiscent of Fez, is currently available for free on iOS devices and on Android devices through Amazon Underground, dropping its previous $4 price...
Japanese commercial photo
Japanese commercial

Square only needs 15 seconds to sell Kingdom Hearts Unchained


Japanese commercial
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
Oh, I get to look at a cute cat and then walk through an elaborate pop up book? Dope. Sold.

Dragomon Hunter: Anime MMO fan service by way of Germany and Taiwan

Dec 01 // Steven Hansen
It doesn't clear anything up, but Aeria Games actually started in Santa Clara, California almost a decade ago. It expanded globally, including into Berlin, as a a publisher and online portal (maybe you noticed the logo playing Tribes: Ascend) before being purchased by multi-billion-dollar German media conglomerate ProSiebenSat.1 Media in 2014. But even before getting Katamari'd up, Aeria boasted over "40 million players" and turned enough of them into paying players to finance continued publishing. "They basically leave us alone," Vice President, Global PC Games Business Tom Nichols said of his parent company. Of course, the advertising deals that affords alone are helpful. "The German market is much easier for us especially in regards to competition, it's easier for us to be visible," Bousquet said. "It doesn't always means that its necessarily a success. There's still a high dependence on the games and their mechanics and if they appeal to this audience. For instance, anime games, they work okay, but the two big markets are really the English and French markets. Germany's not really into anime stuff." The extra advertising oomph, helpful in Germany when Aeria is peddling more regionally popular medieval fantasy is somewhat emblematic of Aeria's strength, which is packaging something up for consumption by a new audience. As Nichols explained, "What Aeria does is take games that have been successful in Asia and brings them to the west." [embed]307904:60138:0[/embed] So the aforementioned "most changes [to appeal to the western audience]" for Dragomon Hunters are not for a general western audience, but knowingly for, "a much smaller audience...much more niche within anime MMOs," and that is the ultra chibi style. It is for western anime fans. The Japanese Dragomon Hunter publisher -- no, it's not a Japanese game -- brought on well-known anime voice actors (from the likes of Bleach and Naruto) and the western landing page has a link to a video excitedly pointing to, "the original Japanese voices" in this French and American localization by a German company of a game originally developed by Taiwanese developer X-Legend. I chuckled about anime-game fans who threaten boycotts over digital-only releases or the lack of dual language audio. "It's a very special audience," Bousquet said. The original title is Dragon Slayer. Bland, but much less of an obvious, broken-neck nod to Monster Hunter (the game is slightly more action oriented than many MMOs) and Pokemon (collecting). "We thought it didn't fit the genre or didn't communicate what the game was about," Bousquet said. "Dragon Slayer sounds like a game title you've heard a hundred times. You have a basic idea of the setting, but you have no idea what the game is. We wanted a title that caught attention just from hearing it." That's one way to do it. "I know some people, the first time they see it, they kind of interpret it as, 'oh, this is a ripoff,' but we feel it's much more of a tribute and a nod [to Monster Hunter] than a ripoff. If you look at the game closer, there are some similarities and .... the idea of collecting materials from slain enemies and using them for crafting is not a new idea, but this is an MMORPG at its core. It's not an action, skilled game. It takes cues from this existing game style, but takes very few elements from that." Playing up the [anime life]style isn't restricted to the title. The translated script is reference filled for game and anime fans (the story is sparse, so it doesn't necessarily come in at odds with a greater tone). "[Dragomon Hunter has been localized by anime and game fans for anime and game fans. We're not shying away from being referential and doing a few nods here and there." But the biggest changes in Aeria's fourth collaboration with developer X-Legend (you can still play the first, Grand Fantasia) have been on the gameplay side. "Most of the Asian RPGs are very grindy, like super hardcore grindy, which is something we try to get away from a little bit and be more action-player friendly." There are "better drop rates" and everything can be bought with in-game currency (versus spending real money). The tendency for Asian players in these types of games is to try out different classes and explore all the game's options, whereas western audiences seek out of whatever's figured to be the strongest class and work towards maxing levels and the like most efficiently. The archive system for the over 100 in-game mounts (all of the enemies have a chance at dropping an egg upon death, at which point you can use the monster as a means of transportation) doesn't exist in the original, but was added because, "Americans and Europeans like to collect things." Historically true! Dragomon Hunter also features controller support, something developer X-Legend neglected to mention because of how much of a non-feature it was in Asia, but that's a bigger deal in the US. And while Dragomon Hunter doesn't lean as far towards pure fighting game as something like Blade & Soul, movement is ostensibly important. I didn't find it too necessary in the early goings, the few hours I played from level one, but watching some high-level co-op plays against much more imposing baddies and opting to steer clear of a big, incoming attack is a smart move. Otherwise there are classes to choose from, monsters to catch (or buy), and Hoppalongs, your companion rabbits you design at the onset after making your player avatar. They're super cute and can be classes to balance and pair well with your character. And of course there's the need to preempt "pay-to-win" complaints that inevitably crop up around free-to-play properties in the west."What most companies like ours were doing was looking at game monetizing and saying you know what, we have those whales -- those few people who are spending crazy amounts of money and that's enough, so let's just focus on those people," Bousquet explained. "But that means it's extremely difficult to get people into the game because you're bringing in new people who are not going to have fun. They're going to go in there and the paying players are going to have fun slaying them, and those [new] people are not going to stay. What we're trying to do now is only focus demonetization on convenience and vanity...in those anime games it is very important and does resonate with an audience. If people want to buy their mounts, that's up to them. If they want to hunt them down and get them as drops from the monsters that they slay, anyone can do that." The aim is to reward "people coming in and logging into the game often enough and staying in the game," versus just reward those who are "paying money up front." For a fun counterpoint to Dragomon Hunter, there's the trading card game Immortalis Aeria published on mobile. It took a card game that was successful in Japan and replaced the art assets wholesale while keeping the original gameplay mechanics. The more western fantasy art style worked and the release has a big success for Aeria. The company has gotten good in predicting what will sell and how. This year's fantasy MMO Echo of Soul was the biggest launch yet. "There's nothing about the game that makes it really stand out in terms of, 'oh, this has an innovative feature,'" Nichols said. "The MMORPG genre is really crowded so it's hard to come up with a new feature that nobody has done before, but EoS is just really polished and has all of the features an MMO gamer would want." Aeria seems to know what MMO gamers want; it's a fair, mid-Mel-Gibson-era claim when you're still running your first-published anime MMO six years later and simultaneously launching your fourth from the same developer. And Aeria is diverse, blending anime and fantasy MMOs with shooters and mobile development all while reaching interntional audiences. "The Turkish market loves shooters. They don't spend a lot of money, but there's a lot of players," Nichols said. You can still play WolfTeam, a shooter that lets you transform into a powerful wolf (that aspect is most popular in Germany). [embed]323419:61324:0[/embed] As for the future beyond Dragomon Hunter? Nichols sees, "fewer PC MMOs and shooters coming out of Asia" because of the mad dash towards mobile, "as a result, our PC business is kind of stable. We're launching one or two games a year at this pace, whereas two years ago we were launching four games a year. The growth strategy for our business is coming from mobile. We have four games all set to launch early next year. Each one of those games was very successful in its native market in Asia. We're optimistic that a game that can be successful in Asia will be successful in the West as long as we make the art and style of the game appropriate for the Western market." But mobile is getting full up, too. "We're seeing some signs that some of the developers are shifting back to PC because the mobile market is so competitive," Nichols said. "I thought, Capcom and Konami, they're late, because they've been so focused on consoles." "Even huge companies like Supercell are doing TV advertising in Korea -- that never happened before in Korea." You might remember Supercell's $9 million Clash of Clans commercial that aired during this year's Super Bowl in the states, unless you mute commercials and use the time to thumb through your phone or grab a drink. "And all the Korean developers are like 'what the hell is this,' because they can't spend that much money." 
Dragomon Hunters preview photo
And it all makes some kind of sense
"Dragomon Hunter is one of the games where we've made the most changes [to appeal to the western audience]," Aeria Games' Product Marketing Manager Alexandre Bousquet tells me. That doesn't mean shaving the points off of spik...

Lara Croft GO's new expansion is sadistic

Nov 29 // Kyle MacGregor
The team at Square Enix Montréal has been listening to feedback, and "The Shard of Life" expansion is targeted squarely at players who wanted something more complex out of the base game. Comprised of 26 new puzzles, the free update has a high floor in terms of difficulty, picking up right where the main story left off and ratcheting up the tension from there. The Shard of Life sees Lara descend into a new ancient burial chamber, the Cave of Fire, where she comes across a new obstacle, immortal enemies, en route to pilfering the grotto's hidden treasures. The invincible creatures can be stunned, but will eventually rise back to their feet (or insert turn of phrase that better applies to snakes). This adds a new dimension of challenge, requiring players to approach puzzles from different vantage points and hastening the window of opportunity for certain obstacles to be surmounted. In addition to adding a new dimension of challenge (these immortal enemies often make it so precise movements must be made, narrowing the window of opportunity for you to get by them), they inject a new element to puzzle solving, where their felled-bodies might hold a switch down, but only for a certain amount of time before they start moving again and alter the landscape. While I confess I wasn't among the virtuosos who completed Lara Croft GO without breaking a sweat, The Shard of Life never feels unfair. That said, I've probably spent more time dealing with some of the individual rooms in the add-on content than I did with entire stretches of the original game. It definitely has me thinking more, as each puzzle is a multi-step process with nary an easy solution. At times, there's a bit more mental gymnastics involved than I might have preferred, considering I was comfortable with the campaign, but it's difficult to get too broken up over some mild frustrations in a sizable, free update to an experience I already love and enjoy. If you've yet to try Lara Croft GO, it's currently 40 percent off via iTunes and Google Play for $2.99.
Lara Croft GO impressions photo
But I still love it
Lara Croft GO might just be my favorite mobile game of the year. Having played through the campaign twice now, I can safely say there isn't much I'd change about Square Enix Montréal's minimalist puzzler -- though...

Release the Drones photo
Release the Drones

Futurama lives on in new mobile game


Bite my shiny, metal microtransaction
Nov 24
// CJ Andriessen
Good news, everyone! Futurama, the twice-canceled sci-fi masterpiece, is coming back (yay!) as a mobile game (awe). Fox Digital Entertainment announced it is teaming up with German developer Wooga Games to make Futurama: Game...
Minecraft photo
Minecraft

Minecraft Pocket Edition and Windows 10 Edition finally have redstone


Make a computer in your phone
Nov 23
// Joe Parlock
Redstone is one of the most important things in Minecraft. It lets people build incredibly impressive things such as self-performing songs and fully-functioning computers. Seriously, the kind of stuff some people can do with ...
Rayman Adventures photo
Rayman Adventures

Next month's Rayman looks great, I'll probably never play it


Coming December 3 to little fanfare
Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
People have said nothing but good things about Rayman Jungle Run and the third mobile Rayman game using the same assets (after Fiesta Run), Rayman Adventures, looks great. And while Jungle Run was limited as an endless runne...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

The first wave of Nintendo mobile games will all be free-to-play


That was probably expected
Nov 11
// Brett Makedonski
The first few games born out of Nintendo and DeNA's partnership to create mobile titles will follow the ever-so-popular free-to-play model. As these things go, the games will be free to download, and they'll depend on in-app ...
Ghost Trick iOS photo
Ghost Trick iOS

Ghost Trick is back up on Apple's App Store


Now compatible with iOS9
Nov 04
// Darren Nakamura
A few months ago, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective was removed from sale on Apple's App Store due to compatibility issues with iOS9. That in itself didn't make a whole lot of waves, but then last month it was removed completely...
Emoji and GIFs photo
Emoji and GIFs

Text like you're in a nuclear wasteland with the official Fallout keyboard


Fallout C.H.A.T.
Nov 03
// Jed Whitaker
Bethesda has released an official Fallout-themed keyboard for iOS and Android called Fallout C.H.A.T. (or, Communications Hub and Transmitter). The app includes a custom keyboard that outputs text in old-timey black and white...
Activision photo
Activision

Activision offers to buy Candy Crush dev for $5.9 billion


THE SCHEME DOCUMENT
Nov 02
// Mike Cosimano
Today, Activision revealed that it has agreed to purchase Candy Crush developer King for $5.9 billion -- that's one Oculus Rift plus one Minecraft with a cool $1.4 bil' left over for Grandma. Between this and Call o...
Neko Atsume photo
Neko Atsume

Super cute Japanese cat-collecting game now in English


Neko Atsume!
Nov 02
// Jordan Devore
Step 1: Place playthings and snacks in your yard. Step 2: Wait for cats to visit! That's advice for Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector (iOS, Android) and life in general. As of a recent update, the Japanese app is now also in Engli...
Jason photo
Jason

Jason terrorizes more Mortal Kombat X players today


Some of them will be teens
Oct 30
// Brett Makedonski
Like a mall Santa without any other prospects, Jason Voorhees lives for one time of year. (Or maybe he's dead? I don't know.) Regardless, Halloween is kind of Jason's bread and butter because then he can show up, scare some ...
Titanfall mobile photo
Titanfall mobile

Titanfall on MY phone? It's more likely than you think


Prepare for titansmall
Oct 29
// Darren Nakamura
Titanfall might not have made as big of a splash as it wanted, with its Call of Duty-but-with-mechs gameplay, but it has its following. Those who just can't get enough of the "expansive sci-fi universe" of Titanfall at home m...
Nintendo mobile photo
Nintendo mobile

Nintendo's first mobile app is Miitomo


Releasing next year
Oct 28
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo is finally entering the mobile space with DeNA. Its first app to come out of the collaboration, Miitomo, is a Mii-centric free-to-play title about communicating with others. Miitomo was originally scheduled to launch...
KONAMI photo
KONAMI

Konami's new Bomberman is for smartphones


Because of course it is
Oct 25
// Kyle MacGregor
My morning ritual involves waking up, wiping the sleep out of my eyes, coming to the realization that I have survived another night, and busting open the laptop to read all the hot Japanese video game news that happened while...
Rovio layoffs photo
Rovio layoffs

Angry Birds studio Rovio sheds over 200 jobs


Company trying to get leaner, more agile
Oct 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Rovio Entertainment is parting ways with 213 employees, according to the developer. The announcement follows months of "employee negotiations," which began in late August, when the Finnish mobile game giant revealed plans to ...
QuizUp photo
QuizUp

Popular mobile game QuizUp is getting gameshow adaptations in two countries


Now yelling at your TV has a purpose!
Oct 20
// Joe Parlock
QuizUp is the main reason I feel I’m at my most intelligent when taking a monster shit. It’s a strangely compulsive and massively popular trivia app that pits you against other players in short quizzes. There're t...

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