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Top 11 games in soft launch: from Spooky Pop to Midnight Star and Assassin's Creed Identity

Top 11 games in soft launch: from Spooky Pop to Midnight Star and Assassin's Creed Identity

In a new feature, PocketGamer.biz is going to be 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...

1. Rocket Cars, Illusion Labs
(Canada, since 10 December)

From the creators of Touchgrind and Labyrinth, Illusion Labs soft-launched its free-to-play competitive weapons-based racing game Rocket Cars on the Canadian App Store on 10 December.

The game has 50 tracks and gives you five free cars with another 10 to buy using the coins you earn in-game or real money IAPs.

2. The Witcher Battle Arena, CD Projekt
(Sweden, since 4 December)

CD Projekt's latest riff on its successful The Witcher series is a free-to-play 3-by-3 MOBA, starring characters from the RPG series.

Designed with mobile devices in mind, it combines intuitive controls with skill-based strategies and fast-paced action.

3. Spooky Pop, Supercell
(Canada, since 2 December)

After Clash of Clans and Boom Beach comes Spooky Pop; Supercell's own take on the match-3 genre.

Themed in a ghost hunting world in which you're required to make as matches as possible in one turn to power up your team.

The game has been updated twice to-date, for minor bug fixes.

4. Heavenstrike Rivals, Square Enix
(Canada, Australia, Ireland, since 14 November)

An online multiplayer turn-based tactical battle game, Heavenstrike Rivals looks like a classic release from Square Enix.

It promises deep strategic decisions, PvP combat and hundreds of warriors to collect, all set in a typical war-torn world on the brink of extinction.

The game has been updated twice, although these have been for minor bug fixes.

5. Godfinger 2, DeNA
(Canada, since 13 November)

The sequel to the 2010 hit, GodFinger 2 promises to build on its whimsical world-building atmosphere with new God Powers, loads of new features, and a brand new game engine that lets you craft and customize your world in millions of different ways.

There's also the option to lead your followers into battle against evil worlds, or other players.

6. Evil Genius Online, Rebellion
(Canada, since 10 November)

Rebooting an old PC sim from Elixir Studio in 2004, Evil Genius Online mixes up themes from Dungeon Keeper with inspiration from James Bond, placing you as an evil genius, building your own ultra-secret underground lair and commanding an army of minions to carry out your diabolical plans.

To-date, the game has received one update, which included improvements to the frame rate, interface, audio, in-game guidance, and Facebook connectivity.

 

7. Dungeon Boss, Big Fish
(New Zealand, Sweden, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, since 22 October)

Big Fish's Dungeon Boss is an action-battle game featuring 8-bit monsters which players collect, evolve, and summon in fights.

Updated on 10 December, it now includes hero sharing plus optimisations and bug fixes

8. Driver Speedboat Paradise, Ubisoft
(New Zealand, Australia, since 17 October)

Driver Speedboat Paradise is the latest entry in the popular and long running Driver series, which twists the IP by being an arcade speedboat racer.

You compete through 32 races and 5 modes set in locations ranging from Miami to the Bahamas, Cancun and Venice, while Ubisoft also promises an awesome soundtrack from Back Office Records, featuring the best of the French electro.

9. The Crew Road Empire, Ubisoft
(New Zealand, Australia, since 14 August)

Ubisoft's crew management and racing game The Crew Road Empire had an update on 8 December to improve the experience.

It was soft-launched on 14 August on the New Zealand and Australian App Stores, and this is its fourth update. Of note is that it's based on The Crew, which was released for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on 2 December.

10. Assassin's Creed Identity, Ubisoft
(New Zealand, Australia, since 6 August)

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Identity is an action-RPG, which enables players to create, develop, and customise their own assassin in a 3D rendition of Renaissance Italy.

There will be 16 mission types, although each mission will be randomly generated. In keeping with mobile usage patterns, Ubisoft promises they will be short and varied game sessions.

It's only had three updates since it was soft-launched on 6 August, with the 26 November one being the most significant, adding new challenges, locations, achievements, tutorials, daily achievements, and interface improvements.

11. Midnight Star, Industrial Toys
(New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Philippines, since 15 May)

A game that's been in soft launch for almost eight months, Industrial Toys' FPS has received seven updates, with the most recent including a redesign to the game's first mission, improvements to the mission detail screen, and a better rendering performance for mid-range devices.

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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.

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