Feature

33 top games in soft launch: From Rabbids Heroes and Plants vs. Zombies Heroes to DC Comics Legends and Breaking Bad

33 top games in soft launch: From Rabbids Heroes and Plants vs. Zombies Heroes to DC Comics Legends and Breaking Bad

PocketGamer.biz is now regularly rounding up the most interesting games that are currently in soft launch. 

An important part of the shift to a games-as-a-service approach, the soft launch process enables developers to fine-tune their game, particularly in relation to meta-game mechanics such as time gates, in-game resources and psychological components.

Behind the scenes

Of course, some games require more time in soft launch than others; something that can reveal a game experiencing more serious issues than mere fine tuning.

But, of course, the main point of the feature is to get you excited about the games you'll soon be able to play...


Click here to view the list »
  • Shadow Wars

    Shadow Wars logo

    Developer: PikPok
    Where: Australia, New Zealand
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 11 August 2016
    Updates: (1), 16 August 2016

    Another entry in the list of games attempting to bring together RPG and match-3 mechanics a la Puzzle & DragonsShadow Wars looks to be skimping out on dragons but full to the brim of demons.

    You'll have to choose your team of warriors and monsters to take into battle, and then match gems in columns and rows to attack your opponents and charge up devastating special powers.

    You'll also have to level up your monsters as you go to make sure they can stay in the fit, and kit them out with Artefacts you find to give them stat boosts and the like.

  • Lumines Puzzle & Music

    Lumines Puzzle & Music logo

    Developer: Mobcast Inc
    Where: Australia, Japan, New Zealand
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 19 July 2016
    Updates: (3), 12 August 2016

    A mobile-first entry in the popular Lumines series, Lumines Puzzle & Music is bringing the rhythm-puzzle game to smartphones and tablets for the first time in 7 years.

    The game tasks you with dropping coloured blocks onto other coloured blocks, with blocks moving to the beat of the music.

    There's a multitude of different gameplay modes to choose from, including Challenge, Time Attack and Endless Score Attack, so there should be plenty to keep you busy.

    And there's a mechanic built into the game that easily lets you share videos of your scores, as well as a video of your face as you play.

  • Angry Birds Blast

    Angry Birds Blast logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Australia, Finland, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, United Kingdom
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 12 July 2016
    Updates: (6), 20 August 2016

    Returning to a more typical casual genre, the Angry Birds are back in a ballon-popping puzzler, Angry Birds Blast.

    Players have to tap balloons to free the annoyed avians, with linked balloons popping simultaneously for more points and faster completion of levels.

    You can also use power-ups and boosters to make things easier on yourself, and give yourself points advantage on the leaderboards against your friends.

  • Legacy of Zeus

    Legacy of Zeus logo

    Developer: Kabam
    Where: Denmark, Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 28 June 2016
    Updates: (2), last 12 August 2016

    While it usually enjoys success with branded IP, Kabam is taking a stab at its own IP with the Greek mythology-inspired RPG Legacy of Zeus.

    You'll take on the role of a child of Zeus, who you can kit out with godly equipment and level up their skills and stats to take on the beasts of the Underworld.

    And then you'll take them out into the world, beating up mythical creatures and forming alliances with others to take on co-op campaigns and huge Alliance-only bosses.

    The first update adds an in-game forum, ReplayKit functionality, and a handful of bug fixes.

    The second update adds new Bounty Quests, adjusts the camera in tutorials and combat, improves various social aspects, and fixes some bugs.

  • BFB Champions: Global Kick-Off

    BFB Champions: Global Kick-Off logo

    Developer: CYBIRD
    Where: Japan, United States
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 28 June 2016
    Updates: (3), last 18 July 2016

    A sequel to previously Japan-only BFB, BFB Champions: Global Kick-Off brings the football management action to the world, with an added dose of Maradona to really seal the deal.

    You'll be collecting a team of players, training them up through minigames, and planning out your tactics and squad before sending them out on the pitch to face off against other teams.

    There's a huge Career mode to sink your teeth into, or you can take your team online to battle it out against other players and prove yourself as the number one manager.

    And Maradona isn't the only real-life player joining the game, as the developers promise more players and real teams will be added in after release.


  • DOFUS Touch

    DOFUS Touch logo

    Developer: Ankama
    Where: Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland
    Platforms: Android, iOS (iPad only)
    Live since: 9 June 2016
    Updates: (2), last 21 July 2016

    Rather than a straight port of the popular French MMORPG Dofus, DOFUS Touch is instead a newly-designed adaptation of the game, designed purely with mobile in mind.

    It will retain the same universe and art style, but ditches the subscription model in favour of a more mobile-friendly F2P model, and won't be synchronised with the PC version in any way.

    In terms of actual gameplay, you'll be fighting monsters in a fantasy world, either alone or as part of a guild, gathering loot, levelling up, and controlling the in-game economy by taking a job in the world and trading with other players.


  • PAC-MAN POP!

    PAC-MAN POP! logo

    Developer: Bandai Namco
    Where: Australia, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 31 May 2016
    Updates: (7), last 18 August 2016

    As if the poor yellow blob hasn't been through enough in his lifetime, Bandai Namco are bring Pac-Man back for more, with the new bubble-popper PAC-MAN POP!

    Looking a lot like King's Bubble Witch Saga series, the game has you firing coloured bubbles into a group of bubbles above, in an effort match bubbles and make them pop.

    This version will come with a bunch of Pac-Man themed twists, however, with Ghosts to gobble, fruit to eat, and a bunch of other power-ups available.

    And Bandai Namco states that it will be adding new levels every two weeks to the game, so you're unlikely to run out of things to do anytime fast.

    The sixth update adds 100 new levels across five new worlds, as well as Game Center support, and cuter Pac-Pups.

    The seventh update adds a new Retro Bonus Mode, with players able to trigger a Pac-Attack by earning three stars before the end of the level.

  • Re-Volt 3

    Re-Volt 3 logo

    Developer: WeGo Interactive
    Where: Canada, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 27 May 2016
    Updates: (8), last 28 July 2016

    The third installment in the RC car racing series, Re-Volt 3 has you once again taking a variety of tiny vehicles and racing them round at high speed.

    There's over 50 different cars to unlock and race in, ranging from your standard sports cars to monster trucks and dune buggies.

    And there's a bunch of different modes too, from standard races, to item-based races, against the computer and online.

    You can also craft your own car if you're not happy with the others, with different skins, materials, and other parts to trick out your ride.


  • Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards

    Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards logo

    Developer: Kongregate
    Where: Philippines
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 26 May 2016
    Updates: (5), last 27 July 2016

    Because CCGs are "in" these days, it was only a matter of time before big brands started wading into the field.

    Such is the case of Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards, a CCG featuring characters and items from American Dad!, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy, Futurama, and King of the Hill.

    You'll collect cards, build decks, and take them into battle against the computer or human players to see who has the best deck building skills.

    You can also upgrade and fuse your cards to make them more powerful, and create combos to use in battle.

    The fourth update adds new transitions between menus, a new Research notifier on the main menu, Daily Quests, and guild chat.

    The fifth update adds new Arena screens, and rewarded video ads that increase loot and add boosts to players decks.

  • Sacred Legends

    Sacred Legends logo

    Developer: FISHLABS
    Where: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 25 May 2016
    Updates: (4), last 11 August 2016

    A mobile take on the Sacred series of RPGs, Sacred Legends looks to be bringing much of the same qualities as its console-based big brother, but with a mobile twist.

    You'll pick your character and class, and take them out into the world to do battle with evil monsters, collect loot, and level up your skills and abilities as you like.

    It's all done in real-time, 3D combat, and you can recruit your friends to join your party in asynchronous multiplayer, or take them on in a PvP arena.

    The third update adds a new dungeon and ambient 3D sounds for all areas, and fixes matchmaking logic in PvP as well as a handful of other bugs.

  • Angry Birds Holiday

    Angry Birds Holiday logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 25 May 2016
    Updates: (4), last 1 August 2016

    Apparently having one movie tie-in isn't enough for Rovio, as Angry Birds Holiday shows the company is planning to get plenty of mileage out of its first full-length film.

    This time around, you'll be building the ultimate paradise resort for the evil pigs, not to reward them for their wrongdoings, but to distract them from further evil acts.

    It looks like a fairly standard city-builder, with you placing down a series of buildings for the pigs to interact with, generate resources, and let you build even more.

    There's a social element too, where you can send some of your characters to friends by firing them across the sea with a slingshot, as is customary for the Angry Birds franchise.

    The first update adds a chat feature, as well as several minor bug fixes.

  • Rabbids Heroes

    Rabbids Heroes logo

    Developer: Ubisoft
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 24 May 2016
    Updates: (2), last 1 August 2016

    If you've heard anything about Rabbids Heroes yet, you're probably thinking, "what on Earth is going on in the world?"

    And that's a fair response to learning that the insane bunnies will be starring in a CCG. But stick with it, because it actually looks fairly interesting.

    On the surface, it looks to be a pretty standard Hearthstone-alike, right down to the design of the cards, so you'll be collecting cards, crafting decks, and sending heroes out to battle with your deck.

    But you'll also have to move your hero around in combat, adding a whole other layer to battles, which take place either against the computer or your friends.

    The first update introduces new designs for the cards, new animations as well as faster animations to speed the overall game up, and balance changes to some of the cards.

    The second update makes getting into matches easier and faster through a newly designed main menu, and now gives different amounts of life points between classes.


  • Rabbids Crazy Rush

    Rabbids Crazy Rush logo

    Developer: Ubisoft
    Where: Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 24 May 2016
    Updates: (4), last 16 August 2016

    Not content with having just one Rabbids game in soft launch, Ubisoft decided to also send Rabbids Crazy Rush out into a select part of the world.

    The game is an auto-runner that will see you dodging obstacles and picking up pepper cans that will be used to fuel the Rabbid's balloon to the moon. Because of course you will.

    You won't just be running, as you'll also have the opportunity to craft and upgrade a variety of weird and wacky vehicles to ride in, and you can customise your Rabbid to look even more ridiculous, if such a thing is possible.

    The second update brings a new BlingBling suit and a new Jumper suit, as well as a new sector containing ten new levels.

    The fourth update adds 20 new locations, a new daily quest system, new special maps, and a selection of new items.

  • Titan Brawl

    Titan Brawl logo

    Developer: Omnidrone
    Where: Global (early access)
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 24 May 2016
    Updates: N/A

    With mobile eSports pitched as the next big market, and MOBAs making up such a huge part of that market, its not surprising that we're seeing more games like Omnidrone's Titan Brawl cropping up.

    Except this one looks pitched entirely for mobile. Match lengths are being kept at a hard limit of four minutes, and there's only two lanes for your heroes to travel down.

    You'll be collecting and battling your Titans against real players, and working with your friends in 2v2 co-op modes to take down the competition.

    The game is part of Google Play's Early Access scheme, and you can sign up to play it in its early form here.


  • Hero

    Hero logo

    Developer: King
    Where: Singapore, South Africa
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 28 April 2016
    Updates: (3), last 9 June 2016

    King looks to be expanding its roster into mid-core titles, with the upcoming fantasy title Hero.

    The game itself is an action-RPG which sees you choosing your class and heading out into a fantasy world to battle it out with monsters, dragons, and everything inbetween to gather loot and level up.

    You'll have a companion with you at all times to help out, and the game has been designed with one-handed play in mind to make it easier to pick up and start fighting.

    The first update adds 115 levels, more gear, a gear upgrade system, an item identification system,more story elements, and a host of bug fixes.

    The second update tweaks some levels, prevents the player from receiving extra damage while knocked down, and fixes some other issues.

    The game has been removed from app stores for a second time, but is still believed to be in development.

  • Wilbur

    Wilbur logo

    Developer: King
    Where: Brazil, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 25 April 2016
    Updates: (5), last 1 August 2016

    A cursory glance at the package name of this bubble-popping title from King reveals it is in fact the third entry in the Bubble Witch series, but for now it's simply called Wilbur.

    As in prevous games, you'll be firing bubbles into the sky to match them with other bubbles, popping chains for huge points.

    There'll also be the usual power-ups and leaderboards, and plenty of levels to work your way through if you ever want to defeat the evil cat, Wilbur.

    The third update adds twenty new levels, and now allows players to cross-save between devices using Facebook.

    The fifth update adds boosters, as well as twenty new levels to play.

  • Angry Birds Goal!

    Angry Birds Goal! logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 22 April 2016
    Updates: (11), last 15 August 2016

    In an effort to get its Angry Birds franchise into just about every game genre going, Rovio is now working on a football/soccer outing, Angry Birds Goal!

    You'll be controlling a team of avians using one finger, dribbling, passing, and shooting in an effort to beat the pigs at a whole new game.

    You'll have to level up your players to make sure they're at their best, as well as maintain relationships with the players and the fans.

    And you can buy everyone a nice new pair of shoes if you really want to.

    The seventh update adds "dynamic events", which appear to work in a similar fashion to tournaments in most other mobile games, as well as providing the usual bug fixes.

    The ninth update adds PvP tournaments, allowing players to take on others in new leagues and championships.

  • Asterix and Friends

    Asterix and Friends logo

    Developer: Bandai Namco
    Where: Austria, Canada, Switzerland
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 13 April 2016
    Updates: (4), last 2 August 2016

    It may not be the most obvious choice for a licensed game, but it seems like Bandai Namco is bringing back the classic French comic Asterix with Asterix and Friends.

    It looks to be a fairly straightforward base-builder, with you building up your barracks and defences, recruiting units, and amassing an impressive army of Gauls.

    Then you'll send them out into battle against the Romans and fellow Gauls, as well as joining guilds, trading amongst friends, and helping each other complete quests and build your villages up.

    The fourth update adds Facebook integration for cross-play on mobile and web, a hint system, a summer event, and a number of bug fixes.

  • Plants vs. Zombies Heroes

    Plants vs. Zombies Heroes logo

    Developer: EA
    Where: Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Romania
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 10 March 2016
    Updates: (3), last 20 July 2016

    Taking a leaf out of Hearthstone's book, Plants vs. Zombies Heroes looks to be a CCG featuring the cast of the beloved fauna and undead-based franchise.

    The game has you collecting cards and building decks, as well as acquiring Heroes to lead the way in battle, and then facing off against AI and other players to see who has the best mix of cards.

    You can also play as either plants or zombies, each with their own different playstyles that you'll need to learn to truly master the game.

    The second update adds 200 new battles, ranked multiplayer, a new collection view and Deck Builder, and tweaks to card abilities.

    The third update adds the ability to recycle cards in order to craft better ones, lets you create friends lists that you can then challenge to a battle, and adds cross-saving so you can play across multiple devices using Facebook to log in.


  • Battle Bay

    Battle Bay logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 10 March 2016
    Updates: (6), last 7 July 2016

    Breaking away once more from the Angry Birds that made the company so popular, Rovio is now taking to the seas in its arena-battler, Battle Bay.

    The game has you picking a boat, sticking some guns on it, and entering the arena with four other people to take on another team of five.

    There's a handful of different classes of ship to choose from, as well as a variety of guns to use, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, all of which can be merged with other items to make even more powerful weapons.

    The second update adds a new night time map, The Fighthouse, as well as local leaderboards and other gameplay balances and improvements.

    The third update adds Daily Quests, new Battle Commands, new ship direction and damage indicators, and several gameplay improvements across all areas.

    The fourth update adds new quests, new ship animations, weapon recoil, and a bunch of other balances and bug fixes.

    The fifth update adds a new map, "Destruct 9", new Daily Quests, an improved tutorial, and a number of balance changes and bug fixes.

  • Gear.Club

    Gear.Club logo

    Developer: Eden Games
    Where: Canada, Malaysia, Netherlands, Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 2 March 2016
    Updates: (5), last 4 August 2016

    Perhaps most famous for its Test Drive series, Eden Games is bringing its racing game expertise to mobile with Gear.Club.

    The game promises to offer a realistic driving experience, with every aspect of driving, from suspension to aerodynamics, simulated as closely as possible to the real thing.

    You'll also be able to tune every part of your car to your heart's content, and customise them to look as exactly as you like.

    You can then take your car out on the streets to race against your friends, or just drive around the world and take it all in.

    The second update adds a Derby mode, where smashing into your fellow racers is actively encouraged as you race to the finish.

    The third update adds more cars, dealers, and car categories, as well as giving the dealers more cars and other upgrades to sell. The daily race has also been renamed the Flash Event, which runs every 6 hours, and workshops can now be dismantled and put away.

    The fifth update adds a new loading screen, improves the AI, and makes the performance shop and extension size bigger.


  • Dragon Stadium

    Dragon Stadium logo

    Developer: socialpoint
    Where: Australia, Canada
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 11 February 2016
    Updates: (10), last 6 May 2016

    Because cute dragons are popular, along with city-building and card-battler-esque games, socialpoint's Dragon Stadium looks likely to succeed.

    You'll be collecting and breeding dragons, training them up to do battle against other dragons and prove who is the greatest dragon trainer of them all.

    Alongside this, you'll need to build your habitats, upgrading buildings to make it a nicer place for your dragons to live and help you improve their skills.

    The first update adds Portals, which allow you to go into other worlds and rescue captured dragons, Crystal habitats, which generate crystals instead of gold, global and friend leaderboards, and fixes some bugs.

    The second update increases the number of rare dragon types to 13, with the rarer dragons being more powerful, and much harder to catch. There's also a couple of gameplay improvements and bug fixes.


  • Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot

    Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot logo

    Developer: Disney
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 10 February 2016
    Updates: (6), last 8 August 2016

    While the original Frozen Free Fall was a more traditional match-3 puzzler, it looks like Disney are shooting for Peggle's crown with Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot (previously known as Frozen Free Fall 2).

    What this means is that you'll be firing snowballs at blocks of ice in a variety of patterns, trying to clear the screen of specifically coloured blocks in as few balls as possible.

    There's also an assortment of power-ups to use when you get stuck, and over 100 levels to get stuck into and beat your friends at in the leaderboards.

  • Pet Monsters

    Pet Monsters logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, Philippines, Singapore
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 21 December 2015
    Updates: (10), last 10 August 2016

    A major depature from the usual Rovio fare, which is likely why it was initially launched under a different company name, Pet Monsters, formerly known as Deminions Unleashed, is an action-RPG with a pinball-style twist.

    You'll be collecting and levelling up your Pet Monsters, amassing a team that covers all different elements to help you out against the different types of enemies you face.

    Then you'll have to fire them into the enemies, boucing off them and the environment to create a huge combo and deal even more damage.

    The second update adds another 45 levels across 3 regions, adds light and dark EXP slimes, an enhanced Daily Bonus System, new roster sorting methods, and a handful of gameplay rebalances.

    The third update adds 30 levels across 2 regions, a new region map in the form of the Underground Base, a crafting system that allows you to make bigger Evo materials fromsmaller ones, system messages, allows you to access Daily Rewards from the main menu, adds more missions, and fixes "a ton" of bugs.

    The fifth update changes Atom Smashers to Rifts with new visuals, adds 60 new Deminions to unlock, improves loading times, reduces the size of the app, and fixes some bugs.

    The sixth update adds two new regions and 30 more levels, as well as improving load times, optimising visual effects, and fixing some bugs.

    The seventh update changes the game's name to Pet Monsters, and sees Rovio listed as the developer instead of Dark Matter Gaming.  It also adds weekly raids, new monsters to collect, and fixes some bugs.

    The eighth update fixes multiplayer server-side errors, improves the UI, adds region 15, 24 new pet monsters, and special offers in the store, and tweaks raids and events to be a little clearer.

    The ninth update adds the initial version of clans, increases the number of teams available from five to six, adds new monsters and visuals, and fixes some bugs.

    The tenth update adds fifteen new Pet Monsters, replaces the majority of the old sound effects with new ones, improves connectivity problems, and makes a few more minor adjustments.

  • Minitropolis

    Minitropolis logo

    Developer: ZQGame
    Where: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom, Vietnam
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 18 December 2015
    Updates: (12), last 1 July 2016

    Continuing the growing trend in mobile games of mashing one popular genre with another, ZQGames have come up with Minitropolis, a city-builder/match-3 puzzler hybrid.

    The game has you developing your own metropolis by matching icons together, either working alone to build up your own personal city-based heaven, or teaming up with friends to help you out.

    You can then enter competitions against other city planners, battling it out in high score contests to see who has the nicest city.

    The second update adds time bonuses, as well as a rebalanced scoring system to make leaderboards more competitive. These leaderboards now also dole out weekly rewards to the best players.

    The third update tweaks some areas of the game, and makes joining the city easier, as well as improving city suggestions in the search windows.

    The fourth update adds daily rewards, balances to the economy so you make more money from buildings and finishing puzzles, and adds a new airport route system.

    The seventh update adds a new special block in Rush mode, improves the effect of Fever in Burst, allows you to buy a full set of boosts when you run out, alters the cost of playing Disaster mode to 2 energy, and balances the economy.

    The ninth update adds new Prize Boxes, with Puzzle Combos to decide which you'll get, as well as Rainbow Flower blocks for Rush Puzzles and some balance changes to the scoring system.

    The tenth update now lets you earn Happiness through placing decorations, but makes Town Hall upgrades require Happiness. Cash and casino rewards have been rebalanced, and there are now more city building levels.

    The eleventh update adds challenges, a new boost and block upgrade system, prize boxes and puzzle bonuses, and fixes a few bugs.


  • Best Fiends: Forever

    Best Fiends: Forever logo

    Developer: Seriously
    Where: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 11 December 2015
    Updates: (8), last 20 August 2016

    Moving away from the puzzle elements of its predecessor, Best Fiends: Forever instead takes the form of a clicker and RPG hybrid that has you battling slugs more directly than before.

    You'll be amassing a team of monsters to fight off the slugs, levelling up and upgrading them after battles and offering a helping hand by tapping on the slugs to deal damage yourself.

    And apparently you'll then be rewinding through time and losing all your progress, but the game promises that you'll enjoy it regardless.

    The third update adds the ability to challenge the Meteorb, with large rewards offered to those who can beat it.

    The fourth update causes the Meteorb to start giving out daily rewards for logging in, as well as adding new Relics to unlock, adding unique offers available for a limited time, and updating the menus.

    The fifth update "revises many of the gameplay mechanics", though it is unclear in what way. However, it does promise three times as many levels as before.

    The sixth update adds challenges, more chests, improves the Stage Indicator, and fixes some bugs.

    The seventh update adds bombs, which can be thrown at enemies to cause massive damage, makes slap damage cheaper to upgrade, and makes a few other visual improvements and bug fixes.

    The eighth update adds Facebook functionality, alternate levels for Endless Desert, and makes a bunch of different gameplay changes.

  • WWE: Champions

    WWE: Champions logo

    Developer: Phase One Games (Scopely)
    Where: Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Sweden
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 7 December 2015
    Updates: (9), last 23 July 2016

    Taking a slightly different approach to bringing a fighting game to mobile, WWE: Champions avoids direct conflict in favour of a match-3 puzzle game.

    You'll be matching gems to build up your attack power and land hits on your opponent, as well as building up power for your special moves which can give you an advantage when things get tricky.

    You'll also be able to build up a roster of some of the biggest names in wrestling from the past thirty years, and customise and upgrade their moves as you see fit.

    The third update gives the game a visual overhaul, simplifies the rating system, adds in Hard mode for each circuit when every level within is completed with a 3-star rating, adds new Superstars and Posters to collect, improves the home screen and rivalry mode, and makes several gameplay balance changes.

    The fifth update now gives you earned superstars right away, makes loot boxes more useful and easier to get, adds new Daily Rewards that offer the chance of premium loot, and rebalances the Superstar upgrading system.

    The sixth update re-jigs the inventory to be a little easier to use, rebalances loot boxes, and fixes a few performance issues.

    The seventh update adjusts the difficulty of early levels, balances abilities to be more powerful, makes duplicated Superstar posters more valuable, and increases PvP rewards.

    The ninth update balances the European tour to be in line with the other tours difficulty, increases the loot offered after matches, and adds Grab Bags for purchase.

     

  • Age of Empires: World Domination

    Age of Empires: World Domination logo

    Developer: KLab
    Where: Philippines, Singapore
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 7 December 2015
    Updates: (14), last 18 August 2016

    A free-to-play mobile take on the popular PC strategy series, Age of Empires: World Domination has you building up a civilization before taking your soliders into battle to destroy others.

    You'll begin by building up your empire, generating resources, placing buildings, and researching new buildings and technology. You can do this either by following in the footsteps of one of eight empires, or creating your own empire by picking and choosing parts of the ones available.

    You'll then send out your troops in real-time battles, using gestures to attack your enemies. Your troops can include great warriors and generals throughout time, and you can set the game to Auto mode if you want to let your troops handle it on their own.

    The second update adds in a few bug fixes and balance changes, but most interestingly reduces the size of the application download so that you longer require a WiFi connection to download the game.

    The third update adds new items and technologies, and now allows you to reset your tech tree. There has also been improvements to the UI, Help and FAQ sections, as well as adjustments to the resources require to train soliders, and numerous fixes.

    The fourth update adds a new event, new Heroes and Skills, new Help entries, advice after losing a battle, and a recommended technology feature. It also makes numerous adjustments, gameplay fixes, and bug fixes.

    The sixth update adds online PvP features, more sorting options for Heroes, more graphics options, a "battle resume" function, and makes a few other bug fixes and gameplay balances.

    The seventh update adds a new civilization in the form of Korea, as well as new technologies and a ranking system for online PvP. Boost items are also added, as well as levels to Wonders and decorative city items, along with the usual gameplay balances and changes.

    The eighth update adds an online PvP arena, Player ID search function, improves a few aspects of the Alliance, and makes a few bug fixes and other gameplay tweaks.

    The tenth update increases the player level cap, tweaks a few units and buildings, improves Squad and Auto mode AI, adds more maps for Arena battles, and makes a few changes to messaging.


  • Breaking Bad: Empire Business

    Breaking Bad: Empire Business logo

    Developer: Phase One Games (Scopely)
    Where: Australia, Romania
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 17 November 2015
    Updates: (4), last 4 May 2016

    Continuing its growing trend of working with major licensed IPs, Scopely is now turning its attention to the world of meth labs and cartels with city-builder Breaking Bad: Empire Business.

    The game has you building up your criminal empire, recruiting characters from the TV show to do your dirty work and wage war against other Syndicates.

    You can also level up your characters after battles, as well as upgrading your empire to run better and more effectively.

    The second update adds a new Rally and Reinforce combat feature to gather your Syndicate and use its full power against rivals, new specialists, and bosses on the world map. It also improves the messaging system, sound effects and visuals, and includes some bug fixes and "polish".

    The third update adds three more Chemists, Syndicate events, rewarded video ads, improvements to the HUD and menus, chat, and Syndicate help, and other bug fixes and improvements.

    The fourth update fixes bugs and improves performance, and, more interestingly, updates the app store screenshots.

     

  • Fieldrunners: Hardhat Heroes

    Fieldrunners: Hardhat Heroes logo

    Developer: Subatomic Studios
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 05 November 2015
    Updates: (6), last 28 July 2016

    A new entry in the Fieldrunners series, Fieldrunners: Hardhat Heroes sees you amassing troops to take down Dr. Catastrophe while defending yourself from other players.

    You'll be building your base and managing resources, creating defences such as walls and turrets to keep any potential enemies from destroying your headquarters.

    You can also take your army on 60 solo missions against Dr. Catastrophe in real-time strategy battles, using a range of units that include chickens with dynamite stuck to their backs, and giant mechs that deal out huge amounts of damage.

    The first update makes a number of huge changes. First, it adds Hard Hat Heroes, ten powerful hero units that you can take into battle to give you an advantage over your enemies. There are also now Chrono Pods to unlock, which give you experience drinks and upgrades.

    Quests have received an overhaul, as have the graphics and UI to make sure the game works on older devices. There have also been a number of gameplay changes, including the addition of a new tutorial to teach you all about the new features.

    The second update gives heroes new powers when they level up, improves loading times and battery usage, improves graphics and UI across the board, adds new sound effects, and fixes several bugs.

  • Warlords

    Warlords logo

    Developer: Black Anvil Games (as Mantis Shrimp)
    Where: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 30 September 2015
    Updates: (23), last 9 August 2016

    The first game from Wooga's new core game studio, Warlords, is a fantasy, turn-based strategy game that sees you amassing a band of warriors and fighting hordes of orcs.

    You'll need to buld your own regiments of warriors, making sure to keep a strong balance of units as you face off against a variety of orc enemies.

    You can also upgrade and customise your troops as you see fit, giving them new weapons and armour to make them even more deadly.

    The tenth update adds Brigand Island, a new game mode that has you assaulting Brigand bases for their loot. There's also been a number of gameplay balances to make things fairer to the player.

    The twelth update adds PvP seasons, which now rank you in leagues with trophies earned by playing PvP battles, and lets you win prizes for ranking highly.

    The fourteenth update adds a bulk sell option for clearing redundant items more easily, and rewards players with more trophies for winning with a Crushing Victory in PvP battles.

    The fifteenth update adds easier PvE battles, a wider span of PvP targets, lowers Shard prices from the Dwarf merchant, and fixes a login bug.

    The sixteenth update adds a new Regiment Overview system, as well as new regiments, passive abilities, repeatable bosses, weapons, and potions.

    The seventeenth update adds The Free Knights as a new Regiment, as well as bringing back bosses Two-Skull the Ogre and Grubak in stronger forms after they are defeated.

    The nineteenth update adds another Regiment, The Maiden's Fairies, as well as ten new levels, a super-premium ship, and the ability to send units out on Expeditions to earn XP and loot while you're away.

    The twenty-third update adds new PvP and PvE maps, as well as making improvements to PvP matchmaking, and fixing some bugs.


  • DC Comics Legends

    DC Comics Legends logo

    Developer: Warner Bros.
    Where: Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 8 July 2015
    Updates: (8), last 11 July 2016

    Adding to the ever-growing pile of team-building card-battlers, DC Comics Legends has you collecting heroes and villains from the titular comic book universe, and sending them to battle with undead superheroes.

    You need to match the right heroes together to complement each other's skills, which can be upgraded and customised to your liking, and make them more effective in combat.

    The first update adds the Mastery System, a system where heroes gain stats, unlock skills, and receive tech points when rewarded with duplicate heroes. There's also new skills added to the ability tree, tweaks to the difficulty level, and better mission rewards.

    The third update adds tournaments, which will have you battling it out to reach the top of the leaderboards and earn exclusive prizes. There's also new missions, improvements to the tutorial, and a slew of bug fixes.

    The fourth update adds daily missions, offering rewards for completing new tasks each day, as well as restructuring the map screen, adding new gear icons, and fixing bugs.

    The sixth update revamps the progression system to bring it in line with other games of the same genre - heroes now have levels and ranks to increase, as well as a gear rank system seemingly identical to the one found in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.

    Campaign missions have also been split into Normal and Hard modes, for unlocking different items, and Daily Missions have been altered slightly.

  • Dawn of Titans

    Dawn of Titans logo

    Developer: NaturalMotion (Zynga)
    Where: Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 11 March 2015
    Updates: (17), last 6 July 2016

    Dawn of Titans is all about large-scale battles comprised of thousands of soldiers. But the focus is less on the swarm of armed men and more on the behemothic titans that belittle everything else around them.

    You control it all during massive battles against other players in a bid to capture their land through sheer force and perhaps some wise tactics too.

    The boast from Zygna-owned developer NaturalMotion isn't just that the battles are of epic size but also of console-quality graphics. It should make for a spectacular show.

    However, to get to that point, you'll need to raise and train titans, build a kingdom, and forge alliances with friends. Only them can you rise up through the leagues by smashing everyone you go up against. 

    The seventh update added more collaborative features for Alliances, including the Camp to request troops; a new mission and campaign structure; Treasury and Food Reserve to safeguard a percentage of your resources from attacks; and Bravery Bonus system to encourage you to attack more powerful players.

    You can also sign up to the game's new Facebook page.

    The eighth update includes an impressive 36 new campaigns, with 275 new battles, and new types of battles such as Patrol Escorts and King of the Hill. There's also new Relics to unlock and use, which are now also awarded to the top alliances in each league at the end of each season. However, Combat Relics now have durability, and so can only be used a certain number of times before they break.

    Additionally, the Titan and Relic UI has been updated to increase the clarity of their rarity, and you're only allowed three Alliance and Player name changes before you'll have to spend diamonds to change a name.

    The tenth update adds Alliance Events, allowing you to compete with other Alliances for prizes, a Titan Arena land that lets you battle Titans to boost their XP, a host of new battle types and two new campaigns. There's also a new UI, Twitter integration, the option to watch an ad in exchange for Portal Stones, and "hundreds" of bug fixes.

    The thirteenth update adds daily Quests and rewards, Quick Match and Recommended Next Action functions, new security and anti-cheat measures,and a host of other, smaller improvements and fixes.

    The sixteenth update adds performance improvements, better loading times for battles, improves the collection of resources from high level cities, and makes navigating the Titan hall more responsive.

    The seventeenth update adds the ability to win Titans from battles, adds over 100 new Relics which are now guaranteed to drop after every battle, allows you to fuse Titans and repair Relics, and rebalances a large amount of the game.


Tags:
News Editor

Ric likes to read epic poems and watch classic films to hide the fact he plays way too many games. The facade has thus far not been very effective.

Comments

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Wild Boar
Warlords is now in iOS soft-launch in the Phillipines!!
And yes, it's awesome
X
THanks great tip!
Bruno Sousa
Goodgame Studios is based in Germany not United Kingdom!
Ric Cowley Staff Writer at PocketGamer.biz
The "Where" is where the game is soft-launched, not where the develop is based :)
clive Bennett All of the above
Rising Warriors is also on soft launch at the moment (June 2016) , a clan battle strategy game https://itunes.apple.com/CA/app/id1088263864
Nick Meißner
No new games since 1 month
Alin Sofian
Is Survivor Squad removed from the App Store? I see it's not anymore appearing on the list.. :(
Ric Cowley Staff Writer at PocketGamer.biz
Yes, unfortunately. I haven't seen anything to say it's been cancelled, however, but after so long in development it wouldn't be surprising.
X
Anyone see Warlods up on the Sweden or Australia App store?
Wild Boar
It's really annoying that you don't include the platform for these games.
Minitropolis and Warlords, for example, are Android only right now.

I found that out at ter searching 5 different app stores, scouring Facebook pages, and writing the developers.
You could just include the info in the header.

jon jordan
Good point. We'll see what we can do
Wild Boar
Awesome, thank you!
I check this page religiously, really appreciate the work you put into it.
Frankie Grey
Wow cool, how do you discover all these soft launch?
jon jordan
Ric's an app store detective
Nicolas Godement-Berline
Thanks so much for the feature!! Check out Dungeon Monsters if you like old school dungeon crawlers, and any feedback is welcome :)
Boyana Nikolova VP, Business Development at Halfbrick Studios
Thank you so much Chris and team!
The feature of Star Skater means a lot, we really appreciate it!
We are so excited about this one and we'll keep you updated as it progresses towards global launch. Catch up soon! :)
Adrian Rusu Marketing Executive at Amused Sloth
Thank you for featuring Asgard Run, we're honored to be in such company. Check the game out and let us know what you think about it.
Robin Squire Marketing Director at PlayRaven
Thanks for the mention! In addition to soft launching in the territories you listed, we're also really keen to hear feedback from players on all our titles, and will often send out beta invites via submission on playraven.com/beta as well as from our game sites. Also... Next release is Winterstate, more on that soon :)
Jesse America
It's also available in the Dutch Appstore.
Studs Terkleton PM
Just wanted to say that I love these updates!
The Ember Conflict
Thanks for the shout-out Chris!
Just wanted to let everyone know, we've just updated our Soft Launch build to 2.0.3.

We've added loads of new features, including Shareable Replays, Chat & Friends, Leaderboards and more.

Check it out and let us know what you think!
itunes.apple.com/app/id847340288

Cheers!
KỉNiệm CómấyKhivui
Good
محمد العراقي
With an affinity for eccentricity, as well as anything macabre or just plain weird, Chris searches for the games that fly under the radar. If you ask him, anything can be a game. Oh, and a game can be about anything, if you put enough thought into it. So, there.
Atypical BigMakk
This is what these days people dare to call a "good line-up" of upcoming "great" "games" ?
They all look the same, same graphics style, same boring combat system and yeah, nice f2p monetization.

I ask you this: what is new in term of gameplay that they bring to the table, that makes them worthy of our attention ?

And the answer lies in the pictures and gameplay videos. That is: NOTHING.

We are living the days of easy money grabs. Pick a successful title, now play it, see what mechanics drive it.
Ask your dev team or friends if you can make a clone of it fast.
Then pick an epic title, color it cute (maybe even add a new mechanic or change one mechanic that you didn't like in the original) and sell it as something new.

PS: Don't forget to invest massively in user acquisition inorder to boost it to the top and boast after about download numbers.
jon jordan
hello Atypical.

Surely if it was that simple, every game would be a massive success, which clearly is not the case.

"We are living the days of easy money grabs". I disagree. Maybe in 2010/2011 you could do this on the App Store. Now you have to invest millions and know exactly what you are doing to have any chance of success.

Currently, there is a certain way of F2P monetisation, but you could say exactly the same thing about the gameplay of console shooters.
Simone Alpha
So what if people want to make money? The true sin of what you mention is the lazy design, lack of innovation and overall mass cloning. F2p monetization itself isn't bad. People need money. This should drive innovation, but Alas, as you say, it doesn't. I'm making a game with a very creative core mechanic (action, not bullshit turn based), an intuitive UI and nice user flows/UX, but WITH RPG elements. Why? to make money. It's not a sin. It will help me further innovate. This should be the state of the market.
Valentina Ciolino Senior Account Manager at Dimoso
What about Earthcore Shattered Elements? It's available in Canada and will launch in Q1.
Earthcoregame.com
Abhay Arya
The Game 'Ultimate Zombie Fighting' is also in Soft Launch on google play in Canada, Italy and Mexico. Will launch next month. Let me know what you guys think of it.
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