Feature

44 top games in soft launch: From Transformers: Earth Wars and Frozen Free Fall 2 to Final Fantasy and Breaking Bad

44 top games in soft launch: From Transformers: Earth Wars and Frozen Free Fall 2 to Final Fantasy 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 »
  • Angry Birds Holiday

    Angry Birds Holiday logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 25 May 2016
    Updates: N/A

    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.

  • Rabbids Heroes

    Rabbids Heroes logo

    Developer: Ubisoft
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 24 May 2016
    Updates: N/A

    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.


  • Rabbids Crazy Rush

    Rabbids Crazy Rush logo

    Developer: Ubisoft
    Where: Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 24 May 2016
    Updates: N/A

    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.

  • 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.


  • Legends of Honor

    Legends of Honor logo

    Developer: Goodgame Studios
    Where: United Kingdom
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 23 May 2016
    Updates: N/A

    After a successful launch on PC, German developer Goodgame Studios is bringing its latest strategy title, Legends of Honor, to mobile devices.

    The game has you building up your castle, upgrading the various buildings within it to improve your units, increase the amount of resources you draw in, and build new defences.

    And then it's off to battle with your army, in which you'll need to make quick, tactically sound decisions to maintain the tide of the battle and crush your enemies.

  • Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast

    Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast logo

    Developer: Roadhouse Games
    Where: Canada, Malaysia
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 20 May 2016
    Updates: N/A

    Harking back to a simpler time when rock and metal bands would appear in odd games not in the rhythm genre, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast is a turn-based strategy starring the band's mascot, Eddie.

    You'll be leading parties of minions into battle against monsters and ghouls, with upgrades and new equipment to earn for your party members to help you battle your way through an Iron Maiden inspired world.

    And it's all set to the music of the titular band, including never-before heard versions of classic songs.


  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

    Final Fantasy Brave Exvius logo

    Developer: Square Enix
    Where: Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 10 May 2016
    Updates: (1), last 19 May 2016

    After a brief, but successful, stint as a Japan-only release, it looks like Square Enix is bringing its retro-styled JRPG Final Fantasy Brave Exius to the West.

    One minute you'll be roaming the overworld, opening chests, visiting towns, and generally exploring the world to collect quests and understand more about where you are.

    And the next you'll be pitting your band of heroes against demons and monsters, levelling up your characters and summoning giant creatures of your own to do battle for you.

    You might even encounter characters from other Final Fantasy games, if you're into that kind of thing.


  • Adventure Company

    Adventure Company logo

    Developer: Foursaken Media
    Where: Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 29 April 2016
    Updates:(2), last 17 May 2016

    Moving in a totally different direction from its bizarre tower-defence title War Tortoise, Foursaken Media is turning its hand to action-RPGs with the party-based Adventure Company.

    Players will form a party of adventurers from 60 different classes, equipping and levelling them up as they progress to make them a formidable force for even the toughest of creatures.

    They'll then drop into a dungeon and have to complete a series of objectives that mostly revolve around beating the stuffing out of anything that gets in their way, all while tracking down that sweet sweet loot.


  • Hero

    Hero logo

    Developer: King
    Where: Singapore, South Africa
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 28 April 2016
    Updates: N/A

    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 game has been removed from the Google Play store, although it is still believed to be in development.

  • Wilbur

    Wilbur logo

    Developer: King
    Where: Philippines
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 25 April 2016
    Updates: (1), last 17 May 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.

  • Angry Birds Goal!

    Angry Birds Goal! logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 22 April 2016
    Updates: (3), last 18 May 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.

  • Monster Hunter Explore

    Monster Hunter Explore logo

    Developer: Capcom
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 19 April 2016
    Updates: N/A

    After spending a large amount of time as a Japan-only title, Capcom's mobile take on its huge RPG series, Monster Hunter Explore, is finally coming to the west.

    It's a similar experience to the usual Monster Hunter fare, so you'll still be tracking and killing gigantic creatures, but the actual combat and movement has been streamlined somewhat for the mobile audience.

    You can also team up with up to three of your friends to take down the beasts, and there'll be plenty of loot and weapons to get your hands on and show off to your hunting buddies.

  • Gordon Ramsay DASH

    Gordon Ramsay DASH logo

    Developer: Glu Mobile
    Where: New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 13 April 2016
    Updates: (2), last 11 May 2016

    Adding another celebrity tie-in to its ever increasing roster, Glu's Gordon Ramsay DASH combines the foul-mouthed chef with the companies popular Cooking Dash series.

    While the base gameplay of dashing around making food for customers appears to be unchanged, you'll now have Boss Battles, where you face off against other chefs, including Gordon Ramsay himself.

    You'll also be able to customise your avatar for the first time ever in a Cooking Dash game, and you can trade with your friends to unlock new ingredients to cook with.

    The second updates adds sound bites from Gordon Ramsay, an improved reward system that gives you additional rewards based on your progress, an updated Pizza Station, and "Wishelin Inspectors" as customers who expect the highest standards.

  • Quiz Tales

    Quiz Tales logo

    Developer: Krabwerk
    Where: Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 1 April 2016
    Updates: (1), last 7 April 2016

    A trivia game starring a cast of adorable animals, Quiz Tales has you answering general knowledge questions to see who knows more about life, the universe, and everything.

    There's seven different modes on offer, with different minigames and competitions to take part in and prove yourself as the most knowledgable animal in the kingdom.

    You can also customise your creature with hats and other accessories, and team up with your friends to take on the world together in group challenges.


  • Ghostbusters: Slime City

    Ghostbusters: Slime City logo

    Developer: Activision
    Where: Netherlands, Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 13 March 2016
    Updates: (2), last 17 May 2016

    Activision looks to be combining city-building and shooter gameplay with its upcoming game based on the Ghostbusters franchise, Ghostbusters: Slime City.

    You'll start out at Ghostbuster HQ before expanding your reach across the city, battling your way through buildings and blasting ghosts with your Proton Pack to keep the world safe from specters and demons.

    You can also level up your Ghostbuster to tackle harder enemies, and bring in your friends for asynchronous multiplayer to tackle harder challenges and reap bigger rewards.

  • Plants vs. Zombies Heroes

    Plants vs. Zombies Heroes logo

    Developer: EA
    Where: Brazil, New Zealand, Romania
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 10 March 2016
    Updates: N/A

    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.


  • 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: (3), last 10 May 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.

  • Midnight Star: Renegade

    Midnight Star: Renegade logo

    Developer: Industrial Toys
    Where: Australia, Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 24 March 2016
    Updates: (1), last 25 April 2016

    A sequel to the original Midnight Star, an FPS designed purely with touch screens in mind, Midnight Star: Renegade brings more alien-blasting action back to phones and tablets.

    With a focus on short, intense, fast-paced levels, the game has you jumping around futuristic worlds in rocket-powered boots, shooting aliens and throwing grenades as you try to kill everything in your path.

    You can also take on your friends in head-to-head mode, allowing you to upgrade your gear and prove who the strongest Renegade is.

    The first update adds daily and weekly Multiplayer events, new story additions and Campaign levels, visual improvements, more scrapping options, and a soundtrack by Serj Tankian.


  • Gear.Club

    Gear.Club logo

    Developer: Eden Games
    Where: Canada, Malaysia, Netherlands, Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 2 March 2016
    Updates: (1), last 8 April 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.


  • Pokémon GO

    Pokémon GO logo

    Developer: Niantic
    Where: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, United States (field test)
    Platforms: Unknown
    Live since: March 2016
    Updates: N/A

    One of the most anticipated games of 2016, Pokémon GO is set to give smartphone users a chance to experiene what life would actually be like as a Pokémon trainer.

    Players will be tasked with capturing Pokémon in the real world, with their phones pointing them in the direction of wild Pokémon to fight.

    There also looks to be community events, where huge groups of players will have to amass at a real-world location to take on a rare Pokémon.

    If you live in one of the listed countries, you can sign up for the field test on the official website.


  • Frontline Commando: Rivals

    Frontline Commando: Rivals logo

    Developer: Glu
    Where: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 16 February 2016
    Updates: (2), last 5 May 2016

    Glu is returning to its cover-based shooter Frontline Commando, only this time it looks like there'll be zombies and other monsters to contend with alongside actual human beings in Frontline Commando: Rivals.

    You'll be taking part in real-time PvP deathmatches, as well as Survival Mode, killing everything in your path and gathering all the loot you can while fending off your friends and enemies.

    You can then customise your loadout with guns, grenades, and an assortment of other nefarious objects, as well as gathering a squad together to help you out.


  • 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 2

    Frozen Free Fall 2 logo

    Developer: Disney
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 10 February 2016
    Updates: (3), last 27 April 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 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.

  • Shadowverse

    Shadowverse logo

    Developer: Cygames
    Where: Closed beta (sign up here)
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 21 January 2016
    Updates: N/A

    Another entry into the growing CCG eSports crowd, Cygames have brought along its new game Shadowverse to take a bash at card-battling, Japan-style.

    There's seven heroes to choose from, and you'll be battling your way through a deep storyline or online against friends with a deck built to suit your style.

    Your deck is made up from over 400 different cards, all of which can be evolved to become deadlier and more powerful than before.


  • Super Senso

    Super Senso logo

    Developer: TURBO
    Where: Australia, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 15 January 2016
    Updates: (3), last 24 February 2016

    A turn-based strategy looking to take a leaf out of Advance Wars' book, Super Senso sees you commanding giant mechs and an assortment of bizarre units to victory over your friends and enemies.

    You'll be taking part in synchronous PvP battles on 3D landscapes, taking turns moving your mechs and army of zombies, ninjas, UFOs, tanks, and dinosaurs. Victory brings rare loot and unlockables to the winner.

    IAPs are present, but only for customisation options and to unlock content that could normally be won in battle, so the focus is on skill and strategy rather than having all the best stuff.


  • Transformers: Earth Wars

    Transformers: Earth Wars logo

    Developer: Space Ape
    Where: Australia, New Zealand
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 13 January 2016
    Updates: (8), last 12 May 2016

    Another in a long line of branded takes on well-established games, Transformers: Earth Wars looks to be taking on Clash of Clans with its base-building strategy stylings, albeit with giant transforming alien robots.

    You'll choose between playing as the Autobots or Decepticons, and have to build up your base and defences to fend off other players who are looking to destroy you.

    You can build up your team with the many Transformers available from the universe, and upgrade them and your base to make attacking others a cinch.

    And, naturally, you can switch between bot and vehicle mode as you like.

    The first update adds a new campaign, makes the initial experience easier, tweaks a few gameplay elements such as win conditions, and fixes several bugs.

    The third update adds a feedback button for players to directly send feedback to the devs with, a new campaign, a Research Lab which replaces the Weapons Lab, a zoom function on the team screen, and includes the usual gameplay balances and bug fixes.

    The fifth update adds new Autobots and Decepticons to use, as well as Leaderboards, new bot classes, and makes a handful of other gameplay changes.

    The sixth update adds more new Autobots and Decepticons, new abilities and attacks, a new Campaign, and a handful of gameplay balances and changes.

    The eighth update adds new bots on both sides, improvements to battles and abilities, a new Free Crystal which consolidates Daily and Boost crystals, and new languages.


  • Tap My Katamari

    Tap My Katamari logo

    Developer: BANDAI NAMCO
    Where: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 4 January 2016
    Updates: (4), last 20 May 2016

    Introducing a new spin on the Katamari franchise, Tap My Katamari sees The Prince once again rolling up everything in sight with a giant sticky ball, only this time it comes in the form of a clicker.

    As the name suggests, you tap the screen to make The Prince roll the Katamari, earning coins for everything that you roll up.

    You can then spend the coins on upgrading The Prince's skills and unlocking special abilities, as well as calling some Cousins in to do some of the rolling for you.

    Level The Prince up enough and you can trade your Katamari for Star Tokens, which are used to buy presents that make you more powerful and faster at rolling.

    The third update adds language support for French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic, as well as improvements to the UX/UI.

    The fourth update adds new Mushroom Powers, makes Special Cousins permanent, adds the ability to challenge your friends for candy, and adds new music and visual improvements.


  • ReRunners

    ReRunners logo

    Developer: Klang Games
    Where: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 22 December 2015
    Updates: (4), last 10 May 2016

    An interesting hybrid of MMO and platformer, Tilting Point-published ReRunners has you racing against other people through tricky platforming worlds to prove who's the fastest runner.

    There's a bunch of levels to race your way through, each with numerous paths to find and give you an advantage over others. Or you can just blow them up.

    You can also level up your racers with new skills, and customise your racer so you can show off your running skill in true style.

    The first update improves character control and updates level design to make racing easier and smoother, as well as adding improved graphics to the Jelly And Jump area.

    The second update alters the tutorial to be shorter and easier, adds a new skill tree system, adds new levels to Plantopia and Nubee, and improves the designs of the Temple, Nubee, and the overall UI.

    The fourth update adds respawning during races, allows players to instantly finish skill upgrades, lets players change their heads, and adds a Daily Mission system.


  • Deminions Unleashed

    Deminions Unleashed logo

    Developer: Dark Matter Gaming (Rovio)
    Where: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, Philippines, Singapore
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 21 December 2015
    Updates: (6), last 4 May 2016

    A major depature from the usual Rovio fare, which is likely why it has been launched under a different name, Deminions Unleashed is an action-RPG with a pinball-style twist.

    You'll be collecting and levelling up your Deminions, 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.

  • Minitropolis

    Minitropolis logo

    Developer: ZQGame
    Where: Australia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 18 December 2015
    Updates: (10), last 31 March 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.


  • 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: (4), last 20 February 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 game has been removed from the App Store, although is believed to still be in development.

  • 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: (5), last 7 May 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.

     

  • Heroes of Havoc: Idle Adventures

    Heroes of Havoc: Idle Adventures logo

    Developer: Kiz Studios
    Where: Ireland, Singapore
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 7 December 2015
    Updates: (2), last 12 April 2016

    Combining RPG action with idle gameplay, Heroes of Havoc: Idle Adventures has you amassing a group of heroes, sending them into battle, and then wandering off to do something else.

    There's over 50 heroes to make up your party with, who can all be upgraded and kitted out with the loot they gather during their battles.

    You can also recruit bosses by defeating them in battle, or just work your way through the endless campaign, daily missions, and special missions that the game throws at you.


  • 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: (7), last 27 April 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.


  • 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.

     

  • Micro Machines

    Micro Machines logo

    Developer: Codemasters
    Where: Philippines, Singapore
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 12 November 2015
    Updates: (5), last 11 May 2016

    Codemasters is reviving its decades old racing series Micro Machines, as part of its partnership with Chillingo.

    The new edition sees you racing one of 63 different vehicles around the game's ten tracks, fighting off your opponents with over a hundred different weapons across three different game modes.

    There's online multiplayer as well as the offline racing, and you can join together in clubs to compete for the top spots in the leaderboards, and against other clubs.

    The first update adds in the ability to unlock parts for free by winning trophies, as well as including the usual tweaks and bug fixes.

    The second update apparently makes it so that "no vehicle will be out of reach", and has restocked Spider's parts cupboard.

    The fourth update upgrade the graphics engine so that the game now runs at 60FPS on high-end devices, improves the menus and UI, and adds a number of other tweaks and improvements.

    The fifth update adds new boosts based on skins attached to vehicles, and adds a Friends Leaderboard so players can compare their times against their friends.


  • Fieldrunners: Hardhat Heroes

    Fieldrunners: Hardhat Heroes logo

    Developer: flaregames
    Where: Canada
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 05 November 2015
    Updates: (1), last 24 March 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.

  • Party Monsters

    Party Monsters logo

    Developer: Rovio
    Where: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 29 October 2015
    Updates: (2), last 3 February 2016

    Stepping away from its established base in the world of birds, Rovio is now turning to grotesque monsters who want to party, with the appropriately titled Party Monsters.

    It's an interesting mix of matching puzzler and tower defense, with you matching coloured items to improve the attack power of your monsters, which roam around making sure villagers don't attack your DJ.

    You can unlock new monsters and upgrade them as you go, to make your parties easier to keep control of, and you can break a disco ball once a day to unlock new items.

    The first update adds a new boss to fight, as well as a new powerup in the form of the Partynado.

    The second update adds a new mode, Score Mode, which tasks you with lasting as long as possible, as well as "improved levels" and some bug fixes.

  • Warlords

    Warlords logo

    Developer: Black Anvil Games (as Mantis Shrimp)
    Where: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden
    Platforms: Android
    Live since: 30 September 2015
    Updates: (15), last 12 May 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.


  • CSR Racing 2

    CSR Racing 2 logo

    Developer: NaturalMotion
    Where: Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 16 September 2015
    Updates: (9), last 25 April 2016

    The sequel to the popular racing game, CSR Racing 2 has you taking digital recreations of real-world supercars for drag races through city streets.

    There's singleplayer Crew Battles to take part in, as well as daily battles and events, or you can take your car online and race others in real-time. You can also customise your car right down to the wheel trim, and upgrade it to make it even faster.

    Oh, and it looks absolutely stunning to boot.

    The third update adds eight new cars, including the Ferrari 488 GTB, Lamborghini Aventador, and McLaren 570S. You can now also invite friends to join your crew through Facebook.

    The fourth update introduces aftermarket customisation, allowing you to change parts on your cars and kit them out with decals and wraps to make your mark. There's also a new wet weather track to race on, Crew Events that you have to work with friends to complete, and improvements to the multiplayer mode.

    The eighth update adds in the Crew Championship, which sees you joining up with fellow racers to compete in weekly events and reach the top of the leaderboards for huge rewards. The race controls have been redesigned, new cars have been added, and you now get bonus RP every time you customise your car.


  • Batman: Arkham Underworld

    Batman: Arkham Underworld logo

    Developer: Warner Bros.
    Where: Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 28 July 2015
    Updates: (12), last 17 May 2016

    Rather than being the Batman, it looks like Warner Bros.' upcoming Batman: Arkham Underworld wants you to beat up the Batman - and all your friends while you're at it.

    You'll be building underground bases, training up a band of crooks and villains and recruiting famous evil characters from the DC Universe to do your bidding and make sure your HQ doesn't get captured.

    Then you'll take your group of ne'er-do-wells on story missions and into other players' bases to beat the snot out of them, take control of their turf, and earn rewards that can be used to level up your supervillains.

  • DC Comics Legends

    DC Comics Legends logo

    Developer: Warner Bros.
    Where: Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore
    Platforms: iOS
    Live since: 8 July 2015
    Updates: (5), last 2 May 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.

  • Fortress Legends

    Fortress Legends logo

    Developer: BANDAI NAMCO
    Where: Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, Romania
    Platforms: Android, iOS
    Live since: 27 March 2015
    Updates: (4), last 26 April 2016

    If you're the type of person who enjoys hacking and slashing monsters, as well as building and defending a fortress, then Fortress Legends is probably the game for you.

    You'll be given a fortress to to build up and improve, and you'll need to deploy monsters and traps in order to protect it.

    You can also raid other people's fortresses with up to three friends to steal loot and upgrade your own fortress.

    You can then use this loot to make new weapons and armour for your character, and customise them to be even stronger in battle.

    The fourth update adds in guilds, raises the level cap to 55, adds a new Pouch item that allows you to bring more items home, lets you customise your chat, and makes some balances to battle related areas.


  • 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: (15), last 19 May 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.


Tags:
Staff Writer

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

22 comments
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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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