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Sega photo
Sega

Sega reveals list of mobile games pulled for quality concerns


No longer a mystery
May 18
// Chris Carter
Earlier this month Sega let us know that they would be pulling a number of games from the Android and iOS marketplaces for "quality concerns." Now we know exactly what those games are. While you can get a full look at the lis...
Kingdom Hearts photo
Kingdom Hearts

Newly announced Kingdom Hearts Unchained X[chi] is adorable as heck


Japan always gets the best things
May 13
// Alissa McAloon
Usually I wouldn't make this big of a deal over something that is (so far) only releasing in Japan, but Kingdom Hearts Unchained X[chi] is just too cute to pass up. The iOS and Android game is based off a Japan-only...

Review: Knights of Pen & Paper 2

May 13 // Zack Furniss
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 (Android, iPhone [reviewed], PC)Developer: Kyy GamesPublisher: Paradox InteractiveReleased: May 14, 2015Price: $4.99 (Android, iPhone) Knights of Pen & Paper 2 takes the concept of tabletop gaming and squashes it into something that fits comfortably in your pocket. Miniatures, character sheets, and multiple reference books aren't required to enjoy the world of Paperos. Instead, you'll play as both the dungeon master and up to five adventurers. As dungeon master, you will set up encounters, choosing where your quest will lead and how many/what type of enemies the adventurers will fight. Adventurers must be created by making choices in three different categories: the player's high-school archetype, their character's race, and their character's class. Each choice factors into the adventurer's combat prowess. That's a picture of my cheerleader dwarf barbarian up there for reference. The core stats are now based on the three 20-sided die you see above: red is body, green is senses, and blue is mind. Body determines damage, threat, and how quickly you shake off status effects. Senses is in charge of critical hits, initiative, and attribute rolls. Mind rolls affect health, energy, and your success when you try to investigate an area to find secret items. It's always satisfying to watch these little dice roll, and I'm glad to see they made the stats a bit more clear this time around. After assembling your party, you begin your quest to stop the Paper Knight, a player who is using the 2nd edition of the role-playing game against the wishes of the dungeon master. The residents of Paperos are suffering from the clashing of the 1st and 2nd editions and it is up to you to restore the balance. Having any familiarity with how drastically different editions can be between actual tabletop games goes a long way towards how much you'll get out of Knights' plot. To reach the Paper Knight, you're going to be fighting all manner of beasts ranging from lowly snakes to sky pirates. The turn-based combat has been beefed up since the first game, where the tactics mostly boiled down to finding your favorite ability and putting all of your skill points into it. Character classes still feature four abilities each, but it no longer feels like there's only one obvious choice. The sequel is more focused on status effects such as wound, weakness, stun, and poison. I was happy to find that the RPG sin of useless status effects wasn't implemented here -- the majority of enemies can be targeted by these abilities, and they even begin to feel necessary as the plot progresses.  Spamming one high-level spell isn't the only way to win anymore. My fights frequently went something like this: my Ninja would throw a smoke bomb to stun a crowd, my Thief would throw a barrage of knives to do double damage to the stunned enemies, and then my Warrior would cleave through a row of enemies. My Paladin would hold the threat from remaining monsters and my Mage would finish them off with chain lightning. The variety of character classes helps to reduce repetition, though I eventually got tired of the random encounters sparked by traveling on the world map (there's a roll for that too, of course). Like any good RPG, there is equipment to find and buy, though the crafting system is somewhat odd. While the first Knights had you waiting for real-time hours to pass before you could upgrade a weapon, you can now combine certain items to make better weapons and armor. What's strange is that by the time I had finished the campaign, there were still only a few recipes and I hadn't even seen a couple of the items that could be used. You are able to combine a weapon with an enchantment scroll and a charm to improve its stats, but I never found any charms, at least to my knowledge. It feels as if there are going to be more items to find later on when more content is added. Knights 2 isn't heavy on microtransactions like the first. Though you can buy gold to create more adventurers first or to buy better gear, it never feels required. Kyy Games has found a fun way to provide more content along the way that doesn't force you to pay real money. At any time you can press a magazine button in the top-left corner to see this month's edition of Modern Dungeon, an in-game tome that allows you to buy new character classes, archetypes, and trinkets while also providing silly lore. You can grind for in-game currency to buy these, and there's supposed to be an issue every month. I'll be checking in June to see what's been added. Paperos looks clean and crisp in the new 16-bit style. I played most of it in portrait mode because the interface is larger, but it does cut off most of the environments and I ended up missing some details. Landscape mode is better on the eyes but the buttons become so small that they are difficult to consistently and accurately press. The music is simple and catchy but much too repetitive. I hope you like hearing the same five songs over and over.  I can't help but wish that the jokes were kept to being about the intricacies of editions in Dungeons & Dragons instead of trying to be "sooo random." I realize humor is subjective, but hearing players accuse the dungeon master of making things up on the spot is more entertaining than finding a pixelated Bill Murray who wants your help to "bust" a "geese" because he's a geesebuster. Between Game of Thrones puns and trolls engaging in Internet-speak, I found myself rolling my eyes more than chuckling. If you're a Family Guy fan you'll probably find a lot to love here, but I'm judging you right now. Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is by no means a serious game, and this lightness can be as refreshing as it can be annoying. The refinement of the combat has gone a long way to mitigate the tedium of the first game, but the humor and plot won't do much to keep you engaged. I had enough fun with it that I'm looking forward to next month's Modern Dungeon. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] http://www.destructoid.com//ul/292095-/barbarian-noscale.jpg
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 photo
Fun, but it ain't funny
I played the majority of the original Knights of Pen & Paper on various toilets within the boundaries of Southern California. It was an enjoyable if shallow take on pen-and-paper RPGs with some cringe-worthy, referen...

Snake photo
Snake

Does Snake need a modern-day sequel?


I'm gonna go with 'no'
May 06
// Jordan Devore
The guy who brought Snake to Nokia phones in the late '90s, Taneli Armanto, has been working on a free-to-play reboot of the classic game called Snake Rewind. It's releasing next Thursday for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone....
Disney Infinity 3.0 photo
Disney Infinity 3.0

Disney Infinity 3.0 has Star Wars, Marvel, and Mulan


The Starter Pack releases this fall
May 06
// Jordan Devore
Following last week's leak, Disney has come out with full details for Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, which introduces Star Wars to the game/toy platform this fall. For Play Sets, we're looking at: Star Wars: Twilight of the R...
Galaga x Tekken photo
Galaga x Tekken

When Tekken met Galaga


Did it for the dumb Photoshop
Apr 27
// Jordan Devore
Can two friends sleep together and still love each other in the morning? I don't know about all that, but the idea of Galaga x Tekken sounds damn fine to me. It originally entered our consciousness on April Fools' Day, but i...
Hearthstone on phones photo
Hearthstone on phones

Hearthstone's availability on smartphones is bad for my health


Custom deck building at red traffic lights
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
When Hearthstone made its way to the iPad, I may or may not have played it for two weeks straight. My wife and I would sit down by the fire (or hearth, if you will) with our iPad and laptop in-hand and play for hours whi...
Apple Watch Gaming photo
Apple Watch Gaming

Adventure time with WayForward's Watch Quest: Heroes of Time for Apple Watch


Mathematical?
Apr 14
// Jed Whitaker
The first adventure game made exclusively for Apple Watch, Watch Quest: Heroes of Time, has just been announced by WayForward. Your iPhone will serve as your kingdom, while your journey takes place on your shiny new Appl...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

No escape: Hearthstone is now playable on phones


iPhone 4S and newer
Apr 14
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard's digital collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (that's harthstone, not herthstone) will be available as a free download on iPhone and Android phones beginning today. If you mispronounce the name, Kyle will break into your home, drop your phone in the toilet, and steal all of your rice. He told me that and whispered while saying it so he means business here.
Lara Croft: Relic Run photo
Lara Croft: Relic Run

Lara Croft's in a new mobile runner \_(ツ)_/


The Lara you used to know and love
Apr 13
// Brett Makedonski
Crystal Dynamics has announced a new mobile runner titled Lara Croft: Relic Run. The name's fittingly nebulous. Is Lara running after relics? Or, is the old-school Lara the running relic, a classic character hearkening back t...
DuckTales photo
DuckTales

In case you missed it, DuckTales Remastered is on iOS and Android


With controller support
Apr 13
// Chris Carter
DuckTales Remastered was released in 2013, and despite a few nagging issues, it was a fantastic platformer. Now thanks to WayForward you can play it on iOS and Android for $9.99, and it's actually not half bad. The key is to...
Professor Layton 7 photo
Professor Layton 7

Professor Layton 7 is coming to smartphones, maybe not the 3DS


A vampire whodunit
Apr 07
// Chris Carter
Back in 2013, Layton 7, the newest game in the series at the time, was announced for iOS, Android, and 3DS. Now it seems like the latter platform has been cut out entirely, as developer Level-5 unveiled its work so far on the...
Dual iOS impressions photo
Dual iOS impressions

'Dual' is a really cool mobile shoot 'em up that functions over two devices


With a fair 'one person buys' setup
Apr 06
// Chris Carter
The other day I ran across a newly released shooter for iOS and Android called Dual. The whole gimmick is that it uses two devices to function, with a screen that spans between them. By forming a tenuous Voltron-esque link you can play two modes, versus and co-op. Although it is a free download, thankfully, only one person needs to buy the premium version ($1.99) to play the latter mode.

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is out today, and it kicks the crap out of All the Bravest

Mar 26 // Chris Carter
Unlike Bravest's soulless narrative, Record Keeper's setup is actually kind of cute. Individuals in a mysterious realm are charged with protecting the records of countless lands, literally framed within various paintings. After an evil darkness descends upon the world the records have been seemingly lost, leaving it to you, a titular record keeper, to bring them back. Under normal circumstances, only a master would be allowed to tinker with said records, but a top Mog in the order grants you permission to save the day. Like I said, cute. So let's get right to it -- the game is free-to-play, but follows a much different strategy than the aforementioned disaster of a game. There is an energy system (stamina), and items can be purchased by way of microtransactions (IAP), but you can completely enjoy the game without having to resort to buying anything. The core of Record Keeper's success is that stamina refills at a pretty respectable rate, which keeps you playing more often than most titles with the same mechanic. Additionally, the premium currency can be earned in-game through normal play by doing well, and the story doesn't feel gated to goad you into paying to win. The experience itself is fanservice at its finest. You'll dive into various classic Final Fantasy titles, reliving key moments like the bombing of the Mako Reactor, leveling up, and acquiring new party members (like Cloud) and equipment. Keeper's active-time-based combat isn't just a swipe fest, as you can use magic and abilities, as well as defend and use limit breaks of sorts called Soul Breaks. Although it doesn't get as involved as the core series there's a bit of strategic depth to it with mechanics such as elemental weaknesses, and the tap-based controls are precise. [embed]289548:57917:0[/embed] The best part about the combat system is that it doesn't really feel unfair, to the point where if you play smart, you should be able to overcome most of the tasks placed in front of you. Square Enix could have easily sleazed this bit to get you to cough up some cash, but at least with this collaboration with DeNA (yep, that DeNA), it seems to have learned from its mistakes. The reward loop is generous for a free game, which should encourage players to want to spend money. It may not make as much cash as All the Bravest as a result, but it feels a lot less criminal. You can find Final Fantasy: Record Keeper on iOS and Android today if you want to give it a shot.
FF: Record Keeper photo
Great in short bursts
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was a travesty. It played itself, it was pretty abrasive in its pandering, and the microtransactions were so pushy that it was hard to enjoy it without feeling like you were constantly being sold something. Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is another free-to-play game in the same vein, but it's a much better effort that doesn't feel straight-up insulting to fans.

Review: Jump'N'Shoot Attack

Mar 26 // Tony Ponce
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Android, iOS [reviewed], Windows Phone)Developer: FreakZone GamesPublisher: ScrewAttack GamesReleased: March 26, 2015 (Android, iOS) / TBA (Windows Phone)MSRP: $2.59 You are Louise Lightfoot. The President has been captured by mutants. In order to save him, you must follow these specific instructions: Jump. Shoot. Every so often, jump and shoot at the same time. So... Mega Man? Yeah, kinda! Only the commands are more explicit here, since the only two actions at your disposal are jumping and shooting. Jump'N'Shoot Attack is an auto-runner, only less Canabalt and more Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run. There are four worlds split into four stages apiece, and Louise will hoof through each without a care. To jump, tap anywhere on the left half of the screen; to shoot, tap anywhere on the right half. Simple and responsive! [embed]289538:57919:0[/embed] Your gun can be upgraded twice by collecting power-ups -- the first upgrade grants a double shot, while the second bestows the mighty spread shot. Raising the stakes even further is a jetpack item found in certain stages which transforms the action into a deadlier version of Jetpack Joyride. The 16 stages are rather short, so to compensate, they've been packed with enough enemies and obstacles to give your thumbs a proper workout. Between adjusting the height of your jumps to cross narrow platforms and hammering the trigger because your gun is not rapid-fire, you'll be feeling the burn before long! One small mercy is that Louise stops running if she hits a wall, so use the break to regain composure before hopping over and storming onward. For completionists, three gems can be found in each level. As expected, collecting these gems often requires you to skirt closer to death than you'd prefer. Case in point, you may reach a fork in the path, with one branch leading to a gem and the other to a power-up that would make the rest of the level less stressful. As concentrated as the challenge is, however, the overall length is still on the tragically low end -- on my first run, collecting the gems in all but two levels, I finished in just over an hour. There's even an achievement for clearing the game in under 10 minutes! Unless you are a serious achievement or high-score hunter, it's unlikely that you'll return to Jump'N'Shoot Attack once the credits roll. There's a solid foundation that I hope FreakZone will expand upon. Rayman Jungle Run got a free update that added more levels, so perhaps that's a possibility here as well. Could we maybe get some boss battles too? It's a shame to have a game that so clearly draws inspiration from Mega Man and Contra but skimps out on the meaty encounters that highlight those series. So will Jump'N'Shoot Attack spark a mobile renaissance and win over the hardcore masses? Probably not. Is it a solid runner that delivers a tough but responsive platforming experience as promised? Absolutely. Gold star for effort.
Jump'N'Shoot Attack photo
Something, something, Egoraptor reference
Four Christmases ago, I joined the smartphone brigade when I found an iPhone 4S nestled under the tree. Oh boy! I thought. Now I can grab all those iOS games that people can't shut up about! And for a couple of years, I was a...

Nintendo mobile photo
Nintendo mobile

Nintendo talks NX, mobile game pricing, DeNA partnership


'Nintendo will continue its [console] business with even stronger passion'
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo is finally entering the mobile game space through a collaboration with DeNA. Why now? As CEO Satoru Iwata explained to TIME, "We have come to the stage where we can say that we will be able to develop and operate so...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X doesn't lose any brutality in its mobile version


Practice your tapping
Mar 12
// Brett Makedonski
Just because it's running on devices that aren't as powerful as PC or consoles, doesn't mean that Mortal Kombat X tones down the violence for its mobile version. No, judging by this gameplay video, all the skull-crunchi...
Lost Within photo
Lost Within

Human Head is back with mobile survival horror title Lost Within


Coming to iOS and Fire devices
Mar 09
// Jordan Devore
Last I heard of Human Head Studios, it had taken over development on Minimum (and, prior to that, was working on Prey 2 until publisher Bethesda finally said stop). The company is now putting out a mobile horror title called...
Breaking Bad photo
Breaking Bad

This Breaking Bad 'inspired' weed game on iOS is just....


Can't even
Mar 04
// Chris Carter
While scrolling about in the iOS app store I found a game called Breaking Farm -- or as it's known by its other name, "Impending Lawsuit." The story involves "Weedsenberg," who watches a "famous television series" a...
Rockman Xover photo
Rockman Xover

Rockman Xover will be shut down at the end of this month


Mega Man was dead, risen on mobile, will he rise again?
Mar 03
// Chris Carter
Have you experienced the trainwreck that is Rockman Xover yet? The free mobile game may not be available in the west, but it's still the only surviving and active Mega Man game -- that is, until the end of this mont...
Republique photo
Republique

At long last, Republique is out on PC via Steam, GOG.com, and the Humble Store


The developer made good on its promise
Feb 26
// Chris Carter
Once upon a time it felt like Republique would never make it to PC after its successful Kickstarter campaign. Thankfully though developer Camoflaj has been open about the process, guiding us through the series of delays until...
Mizuguchi's 18 photo
Mizuguchi's 18

Rez, Lumines creator working on puzzle RPG '18'


Well, the art is great
Feb 20
// Jordan Devore
On a few separate occasions this year, I've been reminded that Rez exists and felt a flood of guilt after recalling how long it's been since I last played this ridiculously cool sequence (too long). A new Rez, or Rez HD on c...
Endless snowboarding photo
Endless snowboarding

Stylish endless snowboarder Alto's Adventure now on iPhone and iPad


It's nice when mobile games respect your time
Feb 19
// Jordan Devore
It's rare that I cover mobile games here but I couldn't let Alto's Adventure slide by me. This is pegged as an "endless snowboarding odyssey" with a one-button trick system and 180 goals to best. Other things worth noting be...
Mighty Switch Force photo
Mighty Switch Force

Mighty Switch Force! makes the jump to iOS with a funky trailer


Well that was sudden
Feb 10
// Chris Carter
WayForward sent me an interesting note today -- Mighty Switch Force! is coming to iOS in the form of Mighty Switch Force! Hose it Down. Wait, what?! This isn't going to operate just like past entries though, as it is not a t...

Review: Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect: Episode One

Feb 03 // Chris Carter
Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect: Episode One (iOS [reviewed], PC)Developer: Orpheus Interactive, Silverback GamesPublisher: Fox Digital EntertainmentReleased: January 29, 2015 (iOS) / TBA (PC)MSRP: $2.99 per episode ($14.99 Season Pass) Plain and simple, this is a Telltale-style affair complete with item-based seek-and-finds, player choice, and a ton of dialogue. In other words, there's little room for exploration as you hop from one tiny child-sized sandbox to another -- otherwise known as the new school adventure genre. As a grizzled veteran who has spent hours pixel hunting in Myst and King's Quest, I'm generally okay with the push towards more visual novel and less adventure. Some of you may not be. The Prospect kicks things off with a rather interesting flash forward, giving the player character a choice to execute someone else with a bag over their head. Who is this hooded person? Are you even in control of the "main" character, or are you in the hood, and are you deciding to pull the trigger on yourself? It's a neat method of storytelling and likely won't be explored until the finale. [embed]287005:57140:0[/embed]The core narrative however will be spent setting things up for the rest of the tale. You'll meet the main character, whose Dad is terminally ill and could go at any moment. His brother happens to be part of the notorious Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club (this time called SAMLIN, based in Oregon), and his father thinks that he's been saving up to send his favorite son to college -- only, you've been spending that cash to keep the lights on, and keep him alive. Methods to earn unscrupulous cash are literally knocking at the door. Over the course of the show we've seen many unlikely people become members of the club, and it's interesting to see it unfold from their eyes. Your landlord, the local police, your dad, and of course the Sons play a vital role in your character's future, and the hook actually isn't bad. There's also some loose ties to the show with fan-favorite character Tig Trager, also played by Kim Coates, who makes a decent impression and not just a cameo. Thematically the dialogue is also very similar to the show, which is fine by me, but may offend others. In other words, the dialogue is very male-driven, and you'll likely find plenty of sexist and racist lines in the first 15 minutes. But while the setup is great on paper, the actual follow-through isn't so exciting. Visually the game looks similar to something Telltale would create, but with less emphasis on character design and world building. It just feels off and uninspired at points, like development was straight-up rushed. The motorcycle portions are probably this biggest offender, all of which feature the same dark highway. Choices aren't that prevalent either, so the visual novel comparison couldn't be more apt. You basically get a few options to shoot people or not, and that's about it. There are "relationship" counters of sorts where if you say something mean an icon will pop up with a "minus" symbol, or a heart symbol for something favorable. There's no indication that these actually mean anything or will matter later on. This initial episode will run you $1.99, and the season pass costs $15, which will net you all 10 episodes. This is a rough prospect, because although I am supportive of the episodic format, I'm generally in for four or five -- ten is way too many, to the point where a mere hour is very difficult to really drive anything meaningful home. Even the show started running hour and a half episodes eventually. Maybe this will turn out great over time with the planned PC version as a bundle, but the jury is still out. Even with its faults, The Prospect really isn't as bad as it looks. The cheap fan service of Tig (one of my favorites) drew me in, and the idea of slowly working your way into the Sons of Anarchy is fun enough. Since there are going to be so many episodes, I'll likely do a check-in at the halfway point and again at the end. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Sons of Anarchy review photo
SAMCRO takes a backseat
I was skeptical of Sons of Anarchy at first, but once I realized it was Hamlet on wheels I was in. Its seven season run wasn't perfect (particularly the Belfast plotline), but it kept me thoroughly entertained throu...

Crossy Road Android photo
Crossy Road Android

Download Crossy Road from Google Play and wonder where the day went


It's like Frogger, except kids recognize it
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
Hipster Whale's endless mobile hit Crossy Road was previously only available from the Apple App Store and Amazon, but now Android users can play the game through Google Play, too. I like Crossy Road, but not as much as some p...
Monument Valley photo
Monument Valley

Monument Valley apparently has a 95% piracy rate on Android, 60% on iOS


Wow
Jan 07
// Chris Carter
Although I haven't had the chance to finish it, Monument Valley is a rad indie mobile game. Sadly, developer Ustwo has shed some light on some recent sales data, and it doesn't look good. According to its numbers, only 5...
Bravely Default photo
Bravely Default

Bravely Archive: D's Report is a thing now for iOS/Android


And it's officially a franchise
Dec 23
// Chris Carter
After I finished Bravely Default and unlocked the secret ending, I thought to myself "please make this a franchise." I know the sequel was already greenlit by Square Enix, but I wanted the series to continue -- perhaps b...
GTA photo
GTA

GTA: Chinatown Wars out now on Android


Also, it's gone universal on iOS
Dec 22
// Chris Carter
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was an odd release. Rockstar decided to support a Nintendo platform and it paid off critically, but for whatever reason it never took off, and was ported to the PSP later that year a...
Free games photo
Free games

Halfbrick makes some good games, and now all the iOS ones are free


Happy holidays
Dec 18
// Brett Makedonski
Ah, the holiday season. That awkward time of year when you're expected to be in the same room as your extended family, talking to your great aunt that you barely remember about how no, you're not in school anymore; you gradua...

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