In the .biz realm, we often find ourselves wrapped up in the investments, deals and stats of the gaming world (and rightly so), but it’s also important to highlight the games themselves - the fruits of the labour that can only appear after years of research, funding and, of course, development.
So here are the most exciting new mobile games right now, the developers and publishers behind them, and why, exactly, they've made the cut.
Connecting history with sci-fi, Reverse: 1999 is a Chinese gacha game and the debut title from Bluepoch, combining match3, RPG and strategy genres. Its card-based play represents characters’ moves, with most characters themselves being summoned by gacha from across the 20th Century. Players build unique teams of four based on their summoned time travellers, resulting in a huge stack of potential card combinations.
Merge mechanics often prove themselves a key ingredient in mobile success, and they’re present in Reverse:1999 in the form of matching cards to form more powerful attacks. As Bluepoch’s first game, Reverse: 1999’s strong launch has been especially impressive considering it has no well-established IP to carry it. Even so, more than one million people pre-registered in anticipation of launch, and in the US, UK and Japan, the title has topped the Play Store’s free RPG rankings every day since launch (October 26 - November 2).
Being a Chinese company, Bluepoch first launched Reverse: 1999 in China this May, featuring full voice acting. Five months later the global launch has released with numerous dubs available and a story full of 20th Century references from the music scene to politics - from Louis Armstrong to the Stasi.
Era of Conquest
This latest title from 4399 Games has officially launched on the Apple App Store, Play Store and AppGallery, powered by brand ambassador Benedict Cumberbatch. The actor takes on the role of a time traveller from the future who crosses paths with Vikings, ancient Chinese dynasties and more.
4399 has spent three years developing Era of Conquest and the continent of Terra. It sees players summoning legendary heroes from across history "in the pursuit of majesty", King Arthur and Qin Shi Huang included.
Era of Conquest marks 4399’s fifth mobile game, following in the footsteps of MMORPGs Crasher: Origin, Raider: Origin and Pasha Fencer. All in all, it features nine major civilisations and as many as 6,000 players battling each other at a time.
(Two Chinese time travel games in one week? What are the odds…)
Mateusz Narolewski’s Impulse9 studio has released its second mobile game Cat Sandbox on iOS and Android, continuing a push into the popular puzzle genre, this time with adorable pixel graphics. As the name implies, Cat Sandbox is all about felines, tasking players with guiding their cats through physics-based puzzles using mines and bombs to forge a path.
Impulse9’s new game may be another puzzle game, but the dev’s changed up its monetisation strategy the second time round. While Black Side is a free game monetised through ads, Cat Sandbox requires a one-off payment to play, £0.99 on the Apple App Store and £0.89 on the Play Store.
The puzzle genre has generated a massive $42 billion to date, and combining that with the internet’s love of cats, Cat Sandbox certainly has the right recipe for success.
Last True Sword
YKj’s Android exclusive Last True Sword has brought new 2D action to the Play Store, giving players a narrative-driven story with pixelated platforming to enjoy. The samurai aesthetic goes hand-in-hand with a sword-based game and gives players the chance to duel in one-on-one combat.
With five game modes total, gamers can also take on an infinite horde of foes in Eclipse mode, leap through endless obstacles in a limitless runner mode, and more.
Last True Sword marks YKj’s first slice at a mobile game after publishing two apps, Fictionist and Psychology: Who are you? With games taking the lion’s share of mobile revenue, the move is sure to be a wise one. After all, in the first half of 2023, mobile games generated a total $40.9 billion, almost doubling the $26.6 billion earned by all other apps.
Rounding off this week’s list is Lovebrush Chronicles from NetEase and Exceptional Global, featuring a stellar Japanese voice cast and exquisite anime aesthetics. The game’s a narrative romance title giving players the power of choice: who they craft a love story with is their decision alone. The tale varies depending on player choices with multiple narratives available, and romances blossom through dating, campus activities and more.
To spice things up, Lovebrush Chronicles is set within a multiverse, combining romance with action, travels between worlds and parallel universes to explore. In 2021, anime games made up 20% of all app store spending with Japan naturally being the largest audience.
Lovebrush Chronicles has launched on iOS and Android after a pre-registration period lasting since August. Players who get on board early are receiving a load of rewards as thanks.