Home   >   News

Mobile Game of the Week: Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge

The legendary Warhammer universe gets its own collectable card battler on mobile
Mobile Game of the Week: Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge

At, although we may often talk about the behind-the-scenes business machinations of the mobile game industry, we and our sister-site never forget that at the end of the day it's all about the games.

Which is why we've crafted this feature to offer all our readers one must-try Mobile Game of the Week that we really think that all of you ought to play.

Best of both

Every Friday we highlight the new release which we consider the most significant this week. It may not be a sure-fire smash, it may be a little off-the-wall, but it's definitely the most innovative and interesting game we've seen and we think you'll love it.

And it's an article that just builds and builds. Drill down for each of the previous weeks picks and dig deeper for even more blasts from the not-too-distant past and take time to play some games!

Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge

Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge

Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge, a digital CCG in early access for mobile and PC is part of an overwhelming wave of Warhammer mobile games, all seeking to capitalise on Games Workshop's ever-popular brand.

It's a collectible card battler which pits players against one another as the various factions of the iconic tabletop miniatures universe. Currently there are six factions available: The Space Marines, Orks, Tyranids, Necrons, Eldar and Chaos, offering players a wide variety of playstyles and faction mechanics.

Warpforge doesn’t exactly break the mould, but it takes the genre's proven mechanics and does them well. The main energy mechanic is quite simple, requiring players to pick and choose which cards they play - more powerful cards require more energy, for example, and energy doesn't stack with only a set, rising, amount each turn. However, each card also has mixed hand-to-hand and ranged attack stats, while some have mechanics such as “Tide”, which lets them spawn multiple copies of the same card.

Each faction also feels quite true to both its lore and tabletop counterpart. Factions like the Orks prioritise putting as many cards as possible on the field while drawing other cards which maximise effects based on the overwhelming size of your army (such as dealing damage based on the number of cards in play on your side). The Necrons, meanwhile, have the reanimation trait that’s a key part of their tabletop design, which brings their cards back to life, sometimes with boosted stats.

In terms of aesthetic presentation the card art is almost universally excellent, if not quite as stylised or grungy as one might hope from 40k. The environments are in a 2.5D style, with flat textures animated to appear three-dimensional. In contrast to something like the abstract backgrounds of Marvel Snap, Warpforge feels just a bit more grounded because of it.

Warhammer 40,000 Warpforge makes you feel like you’re playing both a CCG and a wargame at the same time. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for factions and decks that embody the spirit of the 40k universe in all its equally grim and obscenely outrageous glory.

Reverse: 1999

Reverse: 1999

In the modern mobile landscape there’s certainly no shortage of gacha games, with everyone from Tencent to Nintendo getting in on the genre; and of course, among the heavy hitters are titles like Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail.

But occasionally, a smaller dev steps out from the shadow of giants and releases something fresh. Something gaining steam without the power of a known IP or renowned history.
This week, that accolade goes to Bluepoch’s debut title Reverse: 1999.

Something fresh

As its name suggests, Reverse: 1999 is a game set in the 20th Century working back from 1999, and its story is built around myriad mysteries of the past. In a splice of sci-fi and historical fiction, the game throws players into various times and cultures, seeing a new twist on history.
In the final moments before the new millennium there is a "Storm" that reverses time, thrusting rain skyward and turning everything backwards. The clock rewinds and players find themselves suddenly in 1960s London, meeting The Beatles fan and pirate radio host Regulus and her sidekick.

As players progress, they begin to piece together more about the "Storms" and follow Timekeeper Vertin through events of the 20th Century. Among them is the Wall Street Crash of 1929, where players witness the unsettling scenes of US traders’ breakdowns. Their desperation is only made more real by the voice acting, present throughout the story with every line of dialogue fully voiced.
Bluepoch’s attention to detail in character designs is impressive too. Taking Regulus as an example, she’s a British rock ‘n’ roll fanatic from the 1960s, donning sunglasses from Harrods and a very British accent. She’s even voiced by a British voice actress: Carina Reeves of Final Fantasy and Xenoblade Chronicles fame.

Other characters in the gacha include Bkornblume the East German agent and Lilya the Soviet pilot, showcasing Reverse: 1999’s willingness to explore a wide range of cultures. There’s a fair share of wacky characters too, like the talking apple who wears a bowtie…

Gameplay in reverse

In terms of gameplay, Reverse: 1999 fuses gacha elements, card game mechanics, the merge genre and more. The player chooses three characters and a reserve to battle each chapter, with a random deck of cards dealt based on their combination. Battles are turn-based and players must choose whether to use their moves to merge matching cards or attack outright; riffing on the Match-3 genre, the most a card can be merged up to is three stars, and there’s a chance of automatic merges depending on what order the cards drop in.

In standard video game fashion, the more merges a card has, the more damage it does when eventually used. There are single-hit cards, AEO attacks, heals, buffs and debuffs, with characters bringing something unique to the table depending on their classic RPG role: attacker, supporter or healer.

Deviating from most RPGs, however, is the game’s curious levelling system. Characters don’t gain experience for winning battles, instead levelling up when given various resources between battles. Some materials are universal and some are specific to each character, meaning players may choose one to play with but end up with the resources to level another.

These materials can also be farmed over time when away from the game - taking time-based casual cues with choices on what to farm up to a fixed limit; this encourages players to log in often to collect materials and free up more space.

All in all, Reverse: 1999’s characters are its strength, tapping into a near-limitless supply of diverse individuals from across cultures, times and species. The gameplay is engaging, encouraging short sessions with multiple returns throughout the day, and incremental investment into characters teases players to get invested. It is a true hybrid of genres, taking inspiration from RPGs, gachas, casual, merge and strategy games. And card games too.

Iris and the Giant

Iris and the Giant

In a world with so many many games, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, especially in mobile - as soon as one game hits on something new and unique, it’s only a matter of time before legions of other developers jump on the opportunity to create their own clones, often with nothing but cosmetic changes - and with many casual titles eschewing (or minimising) narrative, it’s easy to get away with.

Saying that, a decent story, or even just using the mechanics in a new and unique way, can help bring attention to your game, and that’s where Iris and the Giant stands out. The game utilises card-based roguelite gameplay in a way I’ve personally never seen before, with a focus on the inner turmoil of the lead - this isn’t a game about fighting real life adversaries but internal ones such as fears, anxieties, and the like.

The game utilises a stylised hand-drawn visual style and a meditative soundtrack to create something truly unique, and build sympathy with the eponymous Iris. It’s a gorgeous game, both visually and audibly, and it’s one that utilises each of its features in a new way. Yes, you could play other card-based roguelites, but Iris and the Giant offers something unique, and that novelty helps it stand out from the rest.

Here’s what our sister site had to say:

Iris isn't hard to sympathise with, and with each level you clear as you climb up the metaphorical tower of her fears, you'll see just how hard she's struggling for some semblance of control over her life. Her confidence is often ripped to shreds by the people around her, and these demon cards can whittle down at her Will (which innovatively stands for Iris' HP) until she's defeated.

This is where the roguelite card battling aspect comes in. You'll use a variety of cards to attack manifestations of Iris' demons, with each one offering a unique trait. You also have Confidence cards that can heal your HP (or, more appropriately, restore your Will). And typical of the genre, defeating major foes can reward you with a special talisman of some sort. You can also collect stars to level up your skills as you go along.

Marvel Move

Marvel Move

And the Marvel juggernaut marches on, this time right through your local park, running track and high street. Yes, it's the brand extension that - on paper - seems like madness, but in reality makes a task that millions find unbearable just that little bit more likely to happen and - dare we say it - fun?

While not a standalone title in its own right (it's actually an in-app purchase in the ZRX health tracing app) it's easily searchable and findable as 'Marvel Move' on app stores and once you've downloaded ZRX, adding Marvel Move is $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year. There's a free one-week trial too so you can give it a try.

In the game you get to walk, jog and run alongside your favourite Marvel characters in an experience that's as authentically Marvel in look and feel. Plus you get to listen to audio stories that - and I quote - "transform your workouts into epic adventures!"

While that hyperbole is literally a little superhuman the volume of good ideas and entertaiment on offer (surrounding a task that's a chore to millions) really do take the edge of exercise and honestly to make that daily/weekly grind that little more likely to happen and last that little bit longer. 

Here's what our sister site Pocket had to say about it:

Marvel Move puts at the runner at the centre of it all, with a diverse cast of supporting characters featuring fan-favourite heroes like Thor, Loki, Hulk, Doctor Strange, and Wolverine. Players will embark of thrilling journeys full of chaos and adventure as they start exercising by running, jogging, or just walking.

Currently, three episodes are available – Thor and Loki: Trials of the Ten Realms, X-Men: Age of Orchis, and The Hulk: Hulkville. More episodes will be released each month, with Daredevil: Terminal Degree and Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch: In Dreams already ready to go live.



Aw. We love a simple idea perfectly executed. And we love moving house. No really. The thrill of interlocking trinkets and valuables together Tetris-style into boxes. Using socks and pants to protect priceless antiques. Neatly labelling everything up. And who could ever forget the thrill of paying a fortune to idiots to process paperwork very slowly?… But that's another story.

BUT best of all we love UNPACKING. Cracking open parcels like its Christmas and rediscovering magical objects and memories that you'd presumed lost forever. And then finding brilliant new ways to make them the centrepiece of your new life. Short of skinny dipping at Niagara there's no fresher way to give your outlook and place in the world a much-needed kick. 

And we love Unpacking, the… Is it a puzzle? Is it an idle game?… 'experience' from Humble Games and Witch Beam. Formerly a Steam smash it's now on mobile app stores where - quite frankly - it should have always been.

Each 'level' is a room in which furniture has been deposited but boxes are in dire need of emptying… Result! Your task is to find a place for everything and put everything in its place. Simple.

Books onto bookshelves, soft toys on the bed, clothes into drawers, everything must go. And when they're all gone it's onto the next room to - you guessed it - do it all again! And - of course, just like in real life - the strangest things end up in your boxes ("Who put the spatula in with my Kiss albums?") requiring you to flip from room to room to find their optimum position.


Here's what our sister site had to say about it.

This narrative puzzle game features a cosy and relaxing experience as you move items from one place to another to decorate your living space. As the title suggests, you'll unpack your belongings across 8 house moves, all while discovering the hidden story behind the unseen protagonist's belongings along the way.

With more than 20 awards including Best Narrative and EE Game of the Year at the 2022 BAFTA Awards, the game combines elements of block-fitting and home decoration to offer a unique experience on mobile.

The Library of Babel

The Library of Babel

Is it a platformer? Is it a run and gun? And when does 2D become 2.5D? These are questions gamers have been asking ever since the dawn of Metroid, Castlevania and Contra on Nintendos right the way through to Another World and Fade to Black on Commodore and console, through to 'modern' homages such as Superbrothers: Sword&Sworcery on iOS.

And these are questions that will fleetingly cross your mind as you get stuck into 2023's homage to the classics The Library of Babel on iOS and Android by Neon Doctrine and Tanuki Game Studio. The rest of the time you'll be too busy gawping at the visuals and grappling with the excellent level design to care.

It's the cunning combination of faux-3D parallax scrolling platforms and super-detailed hand-drawn and animated characters that makes The Library of Babel feel so comfortably classic. Run and hide, flick switches, solve puzzles and stay out of trouble while exploring a vast, unfurling, ever-scrolling 2D world.

Set 20,000 years after the extinction of humanity, the world is now run by advanced robots, who know very little about their mythical creators.  When a state of emergency is suddenly declared, your character finds themselves in increasingly dangerous territory as he follows the murderer’s trail and unravels the mystery behind the Library’s sudden lock-down.

The game is set inspired by a short story of the same name and the plot and unfolding story play an equal part alongside the action, keeping you engaged and entertained from start to finish.

Our sister site wrote

This gorgeous 2D stealth platformer features stunning hand-drawn aesthetics and a futuristic murder mystery that you'll have to solve. You'll step into the shoes of the Seeker Ludovik, and it's up to you to get to the bottom of the mystery of the titular library that holds the truth about your robot-run society. You'll also need to prioritise stealth over violence in order to survive.

Dusk of Dragons: Survivors

Dusk of Dragons: Survivors

It's ironic that immediately after inventing computer and video games the quest was soon on to create the most olde worlde dungeons and dragons style gaming experience. 

But after all, with preceidents set in table-top gaming, most of the hard work had been done. All you had to do was replace the 20-sided dice with a random number generator and keep track of all the hit points in an array… Fun times… Fortunately, things have moved on.

Dusk of Dragons: Survivors combines that touch of classic retro dungeon gameplay with all the bells and whistles of a sandbox game and the oodles of character customisation we demand in 2023. There near infinite ways to tweak your character and with near countless items to gear up for battle, it's a table-topper's dream come true on your phone.

You'll explore deserted villages, forest and dungeons, gaining power-ups and items and engaging in battle. There's a neat base-building side game, keeping your shelter protected and powered up and your dragon side-kicks give both a helping hand in combat and something else to worry about when the going gets tough.

It's the ability to train and nurture these dragons as you team up to battle the Undead that gives the game a neat twist and the sense of progression and increasing 'power' is nicely paced. As is the unfurling of new surroundings and places to explore and measured and careful difficulty curve.

The number of options and menus do make the screen a little cluttered at times - fat fingered orc-slayers beware - but the quality of the in-game graphics throughtout is excellent.

Sister site said of the game "Dusk of Dragons: Survivor started off with a grand promise that it would be a butt-clenching survival experience, only to quickly devolve into a classic MMORPG. Battles gradually turn into a stat check. Still, it's worth diving into a fantasy-themed sandbox world to ease your mind. If you can set aside its stream of real-time events, you certainly will find a sense of enjoyment in your own tempo."

Cut The Rope Daily

Cut The Rope Daily

Yes! We love it when a plan comes together and just when you thought that Cut The Rope was a distant fond memory it's BACK! And this time there are two major new twists.

Firstly there's that daily gimic. Yes, just like Wordle now you have to come back and visit the game to play the latest daily level. If they get this just right and keep the cunning, taxing, teasing promise of each new experience rolling up each day then we think this one will just run and run.

Secondly there's the game's Netflix exclusivity. The big N has been hoovering up great gaming brands and we reckon this is one smart move. Not only is CTD one of the most recognisable and loved mobile gaming brands, it's also perfect for keeping players coming back for more (and keeping those Netflix subscriptions firmly in place).

Here's what our collegues over at sister site had to day about the game:

If you're craving to scratch that nostalgic itch, Netflix is taking you back to the good ol' days of your youth with Cut The Rope Daily - only this time, there will be a single puzzle to solve every day. This physics-based puzzler brings back the hungry Om Nom, and you'll have to collect sweets and stars to progress.

There will also be new locations to explore every month, plus a special costume to help you get into the current season's vibes each time.

Arena Breakout

Arena Breakout

The world of the mobile FPS shooter is strewn with fallen combatants, all striving to deliver console and PC-style action to mobile while tackling a control system best designed for match3 and merge. Inevitably there are those that survive and thrive and those that are flashbang but no wallop.

It’s a tough gig. With expectations high and rivals attaining global fame and notoriety in equal measure, even entering the arena feels foolhardy, but Arena Breakout, by virtue of getting a number of vital components just right, manages to make the grade and provide a welcome alternative to famous games that are getting increasingly played out.

There’s all the customisation you could need and the game goes to great lengths to offer enough loadout options of weapons, armour, helmets and meds to appear as fully stocked as its better known forebears.

The main thrust of the gameplay are it’s Tactical Ops - a run and gun quest for loot against rival players and bots. The balance tips towards the frenetic rather than the stealthy though with limited ammo there are plenty of opportunities to lay low and pick your targets carefully rather than stomp around with all guns blazing.

There’s a neat visual indicator as to where enemy fire is coming from and gameplay is tough but fair with a learning curve that encourages repeated play and a tangible feeling of improvement - a welcome plus in a genre that too often slaps down newbies at the first hurdle.

And the game does an admirable job of fitting into its mobile home with a UI that’s smart and unobtrusive. It’s only shortcoming at the present is questionable bot AI and a limited number of players. Both things that can improve as the game finds its feet and its fans.

To sum up, here’s how our sister site rounded off their review.

“Arena Breakout is an absolute joy to play, and I have no doubt that when there are more humans playing it will be incredibly good fun. However, it is so noticeably dragged down by the pitiful AI. The Covert Mode Op is the perfect solution to collect equipment with low risk, but there is no need for the bots to be this bad. If MoreFun adjusts its AI to be moderately challenging, then Arena Breakout is going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Dragon Pow

Dragon Pow

The bullet hell genre is a simple one on the surface, albeit in practise it’s a genre that often leads to frustration. It’s a genre that requires patience and finesse, as the player dodges projectiles in their attempts to progress through the game.

That simplicity in game design means that the genre lends itself well to any number of storylines, platforms, and art styles - from big budget cosmic horror stories like Returnal to mobile games like the appropriately named Bullet Hell Monday, many titles incorporate elements of bullet hell gameplay, meaning fans of the genre never have to look too far for their next obsession.

This week’s Mobile Game of the Week, Dragon Pow, is just one example of bullet hell done right. Here’s what our friends at had to say about it…

Dragons have served various roles, and when they're involved, there's bound to be some kind of grand adventure in the mix. That's what's happening in Dragon Pow, but it's a bit more direct than that. You play as the duo of Sig and Ale, the former being the last Dragon Knight wielding a legendary ancient blade and the latter being a young dragon.

Things kick off as the two pursue a villainous figure known only as the Devil seeking to gain powerful artifacts and manipulate other beings to his side. When the Devil steals Sig's legendary ancient blade, Ale takes it upon himself to gain new power as the duo sets off to reclaim the blade and stop the Devil.

The impact of Dragon Pow

When faced with a bullet hell scenario, the panic may start setting in before you even pick up the game - and this is why it's so important to make it fun. Dragon Pow hit the nail on the head to provide this with its gameplay and mechanics. The most prominent is its main gimmick of eating bullets. Ale gains the power to devour red enemy bullets as long as he's not moving, which is a creative alternative to just flying out of the way. The more bullets you absorb, the more powerful Ale's counterattack is, getting as impressive as shooting out countless fireballs and shockwaves to decimate groups of enemies.

The game also incorporates elements of Vampire Survivors in its progression. In an arcade-style game, the powerups need to be satisfying and stand out, which they certainly do. In between waves, Ale will get the chance to level up and choose one of several upgrades that can give his fire additional attacks, passively improve his stats, give him circling elemental orbs, change his size, and more. There are so many combinations as well as additional bonuses that come with choosing powerups with similar themes.

On top of that, the bosses are quite an enjoyable handful. As you get further along, you'll be expected to fight multiple bosses in a single run. Each encounter is tense but exciting, and every hit you get on the boss feels good. There's nothing more empowering than absorbing a whole batch of the boss' bullets at once and then unleashing bullet-hell upon them at point-blank range.

Galactic Defender

Galactic Defender

As one of the oldest of all genres, space shooters are deeply tied into the history of gaming, and the simplicity of the genre means there’s plenty of ways a developer can put their own spin on them, creating a unique product which still rings the nostalgia bell. Galaxy Defender is just one of the latest to do this - here’s what our friends at had to say about it…

Sailing the vacuum ocean of the cosmos, the screen will be littered with Elvis's underlings flying straight at you. Yes, that's all they do. They don't travel in any coordinated pattern, nor do they shoot any projectiles. Instead relying on kamikaze with a slither of silver lining to doom you at point-blank range. The longer the game goes on, the strategy they opted for would be "quantity over quality" instead of having attack patterns to stimulate your reflexes.

Here's the catch. In the bottom right, the game displays a counter for the lucky ones that go to your backline, with the limit set to a stringent 50. This is where your real mission lies: Pull out all your invincible skill to get rid of the swathe of aliens, letting 50 of these critters pass will result in defeat.

The space shooter aspect is kept empirical, just swipe around the screen to dodge incoming bullets and steer clear of the aliens' straight trajectory. Sit back and relax in your cockpit while you watch the numbers go up like the Wall Street brokers.

One aspect that makes most space shooters enjoyable is the selection of spacecraft from a drop-down list. Coming in different sizes, shapes and projectile types, all of them are loosely inspired by popular shows or franchises like Gradius or Phalanx and colours might give you an impression that you can choose from.

There are only two aircraft to choose from considering the remaining three are colour variants of the same thing. One is a classic whose aesthetics pays homage to Habroxia, while the other is just an Apache retrofitted with space propulsion jet engines. The former is available in monotone red, blue and gaudy pink, while the latter is available in a drab grey and beige paint job.

Paint and stock images held together by band-aids are the key contribution to this game's graphics. Starting with the moving entities that looked amateurish. A fleeting sense is conveyed by the various space cosmos in the background that shifts the further you progress through different phases. But hey, there are many minigames like Henry Stickmin series that struck the bullseye with their simplicity.

As a trademark, space shooters have a fanatical passion for boasting their gallery of special skills or effects that confers a sense of stupendous progression. Galaxy Defender chose the opposite approach by toning things down to only two power-ups: a health-up and an invincible shield that's on demand as you sail across the fabric of space.

For the visuals, you will be relieved as there won't be any dynamic lighting flash-banging on your screen, save for the lustre green swarm of aliens and the harmless meteorite shower.
To keep the momentum, we have accompanying music blaring in the background that makes you feel like you're marching head-on into a conflict zone with guns ablaze on the Battlefield instead of a grand space adventure.

The Arkham Asylum Files: Panic In Gotham City

The Arkham Asylum Files: Panic In Gotham City

Holy new gaming concept… Just when you were anticipating a side-scrolling beat-'em-up or third-person 3D run, jump, swing/flap/explore game, things get a whole lot more intelligent…

The Arkham Asylum Files: Panic In Gotham City is a one-of-a-kind mixed-reality game that combines AR technology and physical collectibles to tell a new Batman story. Every piece is meticulously made and gorgeous enough to collect, and the combination of physical and digital elements does its job extremely well when it comes to player immersion. 

It's just a shame that - unless you're a huge Batman fan, with a huge passion for collectables - you're going to run a mile from that $149 price tag…

Yes. You read that right.

Blame the physical box of tricks that the AR game uses to weave its magic.

In The Arkham Asylum Files: Panic In Gotham City, you don't play as the Caped Crusader. Instead, you'll step into the questionable mind of Harley Quinn - or, rather, Dr Harleen Quinzel - as she fights to keep the city safe from the inmates of Arkham.

The best part of it all is that you'll do it with a whole bunch of themed collectibles and AR tech.

It literally is a box of tricks. There's a playset that contains the actual board game that you lay out on your tabletop, Arkham Asylum patient files made in painstaking detail, classified GCPD info, building blueprints, a copy of The Gotham Times, and so much more. The box even contains either a Batman mask or a Joker mask along with all the collectibles - and you really will want to collect all these trinkets as each one is made with such attention to detail.

Once you've built your very own Gotham City you then use the app to scan your creation to reveal hidden clues, pieces of video that tell the story and a surprise around every corner. 

Gameplay at its heart is of the 'adventure game puzzle' variety but it's all so well done and couched in physical reality that anyone who loves innovation and design is going to love it - Batman fanatic or not. 

And the design of the puzzles is perfect. Just when you think you've got the measure of what's on offer the game serves up a new and original twist that keeps you coming back for more and drilling further and further into the world that the game makers have crafted then cunningly hidden just below the surface…

You can even play along with up to six friends or family to share the surprises (and perhaps even split that $149 price tag…)

Come on. It even comes with a guide telling you the best way to put all the pieces back into the box so they don't get damaged. How cool/thoughful/helpful is that?

If you can afford it, if you're a massive Batman fan, or you just want the coolest AR-fuelled puzzle game in town there's only one The Arkham Asylum Files: Panic In Gotham City and one place to sign up. Get yours exclusive from the Infinite Rabbit Holes store here. And check out's full review here.



Tencent's latest pitch into the Indian market comes with Undawn. It's a big departure for the Chinese giant as zombies are a notoriously hard sell in their home country, not least because depicting corpses - especially shambling and groaning ones - is illegal in most media.

But India isn't China, yet it's still difficult, just for entirely different reasons. Most recently an NGO called Prahar demanded Undawn be banned and suggested it contained weapons and uniforms cribbed from the Galwan border conflicts which saw heightened tensions between India and China. According to other outlets this was entirely false of course, but regardless everyone is watching this latest let's see what had to say about it.

"You could argue that the point of a zombie game is to provide some sort of cathartic relief when you let loose against mindless squishy targets. Because of that, you expect zombies to be the stars of games like Undawn by Tencent Games, Lightspeed, and Quantum.

"This is a new 3D survival game about humans trying to survive in a zombie-infested world. You'll be fighting off hordes while exploring and defending your base. You'll also have your own homestead to decorate and expand while other survivors will constantly be coming to you with their problems, and it's not like you're low on time or anything.

The zombie story has been played out so much that all the cards have had their images rubbed out. Despite that, it still works as a setup for a survival game and Undawn puts it to use. The game begins following the character's creation and they end up crashing on a bridge. After escaping the burning wreck and leaping into the water, they come upon a huge settlement established by a group known as the Ravens. Apparently, it's been 4 years since the outbreak started turning humans into both regular and mutant undead. Once you join the community, it becomes your mission to try and make the world a better place for the people and for yourself.
There are a few nails that a zombie has to hit with a survival-crafted hammer. Undawn manages to hit a few once it gets going. The biggest one that it drives in is the scale. For a mobile-friendly game, it is quite huge. The world is vast with roads, urban environments, wilderness, and communities to visit. It's also a pretty populated world (well, considering that it exists during the zombie apocalypse) with a lot of characters to talk to and even more, players to chat with if you want to get a survival party together.

"In terms of gameplay, there's a range of things you can do with two main areas being exploration and management. There are always zombies to fight and places to loot, but if you want to take it easy, you can just hang out at your homestead crafting new things, expanding plots of land, and trying to make it your own.

"Now, I can't forget the drama. There's bound to be some in such a scenario, but not with such performance. There are times when the game inexplicably jumps into soap opera territory complete with musical numbers and overly emotional dialogue. It's unclear what they're going for with this, but it's amusing and over-the-top and that's just fine.

"Undawn is a 3D zombie-survival game with a lot of crafting and management elements to keep you busy. It definitely has a lot to offer in terms of things to do and some unexpected dramatic theatre to experience during the game. However, it may need to pull back some of the scalings so that it can render more efficiently, expand control options, and give the zombies more to do. Should you wake to the light of the first Undawn, it wouldn't hurt to draw up some blueprints for your new patio."



Point and Click is a simple genre, and that's a good thing. It suits itself well to all manner of stories and has been used effectively on a variety of platforms, and even in recent years has given us some truly sublime games such as the Zero Escape series.

Lacuna, which launched this week, uses the mechanics to tell a short but sweet sci-fi detective story where players can use their investigative skills to reach one of several endings. Here's what had to say...

Booting up a new profile, you will be greeted by Mira - an elite-tier interplanetary settler thanks to her parents’ occupational privilege. Despite the fact a jaded-looking man casually enjoying a smoke can be seen on the loading screen that might lead you to feel bamboozled. However, Mira is, in fact, a posthumous key player in the overarching plot point that brewed this conflict lasting into Neil's era.

With that short introduction to familiarise yourself with the user interface and workings of the game, fast forward with a time skip and you will find yourself taking the reins of Neil Conrad, your typical FBI agent - CDI in this iteration - who wears a jaded facial expression and dabble in nihilistic musings about how the world is in the gutter.

With the mere gesture of a simple joystick and several buttons, you will traverse through a side-scrolling landscape of flying cars and neon advertisements. All of this is enveloped in glorious 8-bit retro graphics. For the inquisitive souls, an avalanche of lore and details of worldbuilding can be discovered either through NPC interactions or scaling the news articles downloaded from those fancy-looking signboards.

It is told through the lens of Neil, a CDI (Central Department of Investigator) agent roped into a massive conspiracy that can put the entire solar system in peril and plunge them into an interplanetary war. All the while, he must manage his familial relationship with his ex and child when off-duty.

In between the plot points, the developers are subtly snubbed in a cocktail of contemporary societal and political issues so prevalent even in today's society, even though Lacuna takes place on an entirely fictional super-advanced planet. I guess these issues plague every part of society no matter their origins. One instance is the wealth gap divide that worsens as society takes another leap. One minute you'll find yourself wowed by the immaculate structures and cosy interior. The next, you will find yourself in a pretty despairing place, like the slums or the bustling flea market.

Another thing that is well done is the flow of dialogue. Characters interact naturally and each conversation has a sense of dignity and professionalism to it. Coasting through the story, it is a melody for the ears to be treated by the occasional English voice-over when one of Conrad's monologues starts playing. They are delivered in a deep and mature tone baked to perfection. Strings will inevitably be attached as you progress further to learn about the individual's backstory and personal life.

As a point-and-click, the core gameplay revolves around completing quests by using an information-gathering methodology - scouring through visual cues and interacting with important NPCs, piecing the puzzles together to uncover the ultimate truth. To say the least, some of the quests, especially ones during the climax, can give the brain a much-deserved workout.

Magic and Machines

Magic and Machines

RPGs are almost always one of the easiest or most difficult genres to get into. Whereas nowadays titles like the ever-revived Skyrim and even newer Final Fantasies do everything they can to onboard players, many older titles can seem intentionally frustrating. But there's a lot to be loved about these older, classic RPGs, so it's no surprise that revivals are common. One of these is today's subject, Magic and Machines, here's what had to say about it...

"There will always be a reason for a ragtag group of people to go on a journey, which is why it still works as a game premise. Little Bear Studios has followed this by placing it at the core of their title, Magic and Machines. This is a 2D pixel art-style game reminiscent of the very first party-based RPGs. Control a group of characters as they travel a fantasy world and solve problems all the while pursuing a much bigger objective. Enter all the houses and dungeons with the expectation that with every step you take, another battle could be waiting for you.

"Magic and Machines offers a classic experience that calls back to the early days of gaming. It provides you with a quick setup and a turn-based style of battling. Despite the epic narrative in the play, things move very quickly in this world. You'll be out the door, fighting, and into a time skip within the first few minutes. The game teaches you as you go, so the choice to slow down is your own. Once things get going, you can blast through exploration and story to get back to the action.

"Then there's the size and the characters. The world of the game is quite large with a lot of hidden spots and buildings to visit at your leisure. It helps that such a tour will introduce you to many characters who will join you on your quest. Each one is distinct in appearance and personality, with some surprises revealed along the way. This makes a difference during combat where you get to see their base stats and individual abilities come into play. It's also convenient that they can all be equipped with whatever you find to help grant greater coverage in whatever strategy you may be attempting.

"Magic and Machines is a 2D pixel RPG about getting a party together to go on a globe-trotting quest to recover elemental rocks. It has the heart, scale, and speed to perform well on mobile devices. It's held back by all the technical and visual issues that could make it even greater. There's still time to enhance and improve it before and after launch though, just so people can engage with the idea of magic and machines even more."

Tiny Shop

Tiny Shop

It may be unbelievable to some, but one of the most popular and growing genres has been those where the work typically undertaken by an NPC are handed to a player. Running your own inn, tending your own graveyard and in this case - running your own item shop. There's a peculiar sense of comfort and fun in doing something so small yet significant.

For this week, we look at a mobile version of this phenomenom with Tiny Shop. But how does running your own item store and selling the weapons for exciting adventurers to NPCs instead of vice versa measure up on mobile? Here's what had to say...

"In fantasy worlds, picking up a sword and slaying monsters and the occasional god sounds leagues more interesting than running that shop the heroes stopped by one time. However, Tiny Shop has done a good job showing that you can have just as much fun in this entrepreneurial role.

"As you begin your journey, you will quickly notice your shop is more of a shed - quite small and not a lot to it. That’s because it is your job to make money, and immediately throw that cash back at your store. You can decorate it with items that provide you with passive boosts, expand your land for more space, and add more stands to showcase more items.

"By upgrading the stands you can specialise them in one of the three groups of items you can sell. So, if you chose to, you could make themed stores like a Blacksmith or an Apothecary. It’s definitely fun to be able to design your store to be exactly the kind you want to run.

"Perhaps the biggest part of running your business is crafting - you need stock to sell after all. As you would expect, you will require materials to do this and there are few ways to go about getting these. You can grow crops in your garden for resources to mainly create potions, and you can send adventurers out on quests who will bring some back for you, but the main way to acquire them is by exchanging cold hard cash.

"As you go through the game, more and more facilities will join your city, and these are integral to growing your own shop. Most of these places will allow you to research new recipes for your store, and, by investing gold and items, you will level them up to unlock more potential items. You will also get upgrades such as faster crafting and more crafting slots so you can bring in more money.

"Much like actual retail, your shop’s success is carried by your workers, or in the case of Tiny Shop, your sentient Jellyfish friend. If you leave them to it, Jelly will single-handedly take charge of every piece of running your store, sans the crafting part. They will man the counter for sales and make countless runs to the storage room to replenish your stand stock when it runs out and will continue to do so when you put your phone down so you still make a profit. They will act as your mouthpiece for the story events since you are an unseen entrepreneurial overlord, and you can even change their looks with different bodies, hats, and glasses. In short, take care of Jelly.

"That is why you can also just watch ads instead. They last forty seconds, but that's better than waiting an hour for your adventurer to come back with that all-important item, and it’s not like you're losing sales because Jelly is still running around like the commerce god they are. It would have been easy for developers Tiny Cloud to of gone “either pay money or wait” to try to make money off of impatient, but instead, you can watch an ad, and save up those free gems to buy Jelly a new hat.

Something that Tiny Shop gets so right for me is its approach to monetization. A large majority of the tasks in this game can be sped up by paying gems, the game's premium currency. Now, you can spend money to buy these, or you can get 10 gems free every six hours which is generous. However, that's not a lot in the grand scheme of things right?"

Laya's Horizon

Laya's Horizon

Mobile gaming’s use of a touch screen interface makes it perhaps uniquely suited out of all genres to give players a truly tactile experience. It’s not just a case of moving a stick or pressing a button, the user gets a direct sense of how their actions are affecting the game.

Laya’s Horizon showcases this strength perhaps better than any other game. This quirky title is one that’s all about the journey, and cleverly translates the experience of flying onto touchscreens. Here’s what our friends at had to say...

"At one point or another, every person has fantasized about flying. It's something that I still think about, but I often get hung up on the logistics. To take my mind off that, I looked at the flying in Laya's Horizon from Built By Snowman. This is a 3D exploration game about flying over lands surrounding a mountain peak. Through the use of a special cape, you're able to glide far and safely while picking up enough speed to stay afloat. How you fly and why you fly are up to you to discover as you play and complete various tasks."


"The horizon is appealing because it's always beyond our reach yet always in view. You can see it very clearly in Laya's Horizon and arguably the goal is to make your way there. The game takes place in a small peaceful world surrounding a mountaintop. As such, the people have learned to live and embrace a lifestyle that favours altitude and have created capes that allow them to take advantage of it.

"These capes let them glide incredible distances while being durable enough to withstand accidental collisions and powerful airflows. As Laya, you are just starting to get into the art of gliding and are encouraged to explore and participate as much as you can for the sake of enjoyment and research. You're just one leap away from reaching the sky's limit.


"Flying is something very empowering in games even when the game is based around it, but it's all about keeping it special. Laya's Horizon maintains a special feeling throughout the experience. The flying is done in a wonderful way that combines exhilaration with freedom while all the same time having a zen-like feeling. After a short introduction, you're planted on a literal jumping-off point with a full 360-degree view of your surroundings. The moment your feet are in the air, a thrill takes over as you start accelerating over the ground. Whether you're focused on Laya or on your surroundings, the whole flight is stimulating. This also goes for whether you're trying to fly all over or in a straight line since the presentation is both serene and appealing.

"Another challenge with flight mechanics is how best to capture them with controls without making them too awkward or restrictive. Despite being on the mobile platform, this game has made controls easy to learn and natural to use. First off, it constantly engages both of your thumbs which makes sense since Laya's arms in the cape are meant to act like two wings. Through a combination of various drags, you can fly up, down, fast, and slow, while doing gradual and sharp turns as you aim to land gracefully. Even if your flight comes to a stop with a collision, you'll brush it off quickly and be back in the air in no time.


"The horizon is unattainable so it can be difficult to capture all of its majesty in a game. Laya's Horizon makes a valiant effort but there's only so much that can be done. As such, it can be a very demanding game. Although it doesn't take up too much space, it does require strong processing power. Unless you have the latest phones or a good tablet, you're in for a very laggy time. Everything will stutter forward whenever you do anything and the gameplay will suffer as a result of delayed touchscreen inputs. It may also take a while to get used to the right amount of contact and drag in order to execute all the movements successfully and consistently, but thankfully the game is very forgiving.


"Laya's Horizon is a 3D adventure-exploration game about flying over lands around a tall mountain. It captures the grace and excitement of flying with a lovely presentation and engaging controls. All it requires from you is patience and a strong enough device to support all of its wonders as you get a feel for the gameplay. If you manage this, you can join Laya's flight toward the horizon."

Torchlight: Infinite

Torchlight: Infinite

RPG's are to mobile what bread is to butter, and an extremely popular genre besides. Perhaps it's due to the necessarily slower pace fitting the controls better, or that they're easily monetised and help get players into a feedback loop. Whatever the appeal they're certainly crowded in on phones.

This week's game is no different and a sequel to the well-received Torchlight 1 & 2, further pushing the franchise onto mobile. Here's what had to say about it...

"The mobile platform is becoming more and more engrossing as games are pushing it to its limits in various ways. XD Entertainment is working to make the most of it with Torchlight: Infinite. This is a 3D isometric RPG adventure based on completing quests and gaming loot. It also has a large online component with a seasonal system in place to introduce new assets, content, and events. You'll be choosing one of several heroes with their own stats and playstyles to complete main objectives, side quests, or just explore the different maps. Just make sure you have the time to keep up with the changes.

"Online-heavy games tend to have stories that keep on giving and can be an overarching narrative no matter what seasons or events take place. Torchlight: Inifinite is always introducing new things, but the core stays the same. In an unknown fantasy world, the First Flame brought untold prosperity to mankind and other races. However, a calamity occurred which split the flame into four pieces.

"As a result, a corrupting force known as the Aember appeared, transforming beings and beasts into destructive entities as it consumed the land. However, there were those who were able to possess the Aember and use it to fight against it. These beings banded together to form Torchlight. If you're going to join, be prepared to face internal and external darkness as you try to restore the flame

"When you use a synonym for 'forever' in your work, it can be a challenge to deliver it while keeping it entertaining. Torchlight: Infinite has managed to do this with its gameplay and structure. Similar to Diablo and Sacred, you get to choose from a roster of distinct heroes to face all the dangers the game has to offer. Each one has a very different way of attacking, creating very different experiences. It won't take long to find the one that works for you, and it's fun to try them all out and collect all their different skills. There's a surprising degree of customisation that you can sink your time into to make your hero the way that's best for you.

"Then there's the sheer scale and variety that the game has to offer. After a lengthy tutorial, you have a hub area that's always changing with missions and new players going in and out. In addition to a sizable campaign, there are a lot of optional tasks to complete for loot, EXP, or just for the challenge. Once you're online, the game moves smoothly so you can confidently go questing, fight mobs of enemies, and aim to take down massive bosses. There's also something different happening on a weekly basis, so there'll always be something to look forward to with the chance for new heroes and abilities to be added in for your enjoyment."

Torchlight: Infinite is a 3D online RPG about a group of warriors using corruption energy to fight corruption and restore the light. It offers a lot of variety in gameplay, assets, and activities, so it can keep you entertained for quite some time. The main issue is that if you're planning to play for a long time, get used to seeing the same abilities a lot as you try to maintain a strong and stable connection. If you can do that, you can find a sense of accomplishment by joining Torchlight."

The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story

The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story

Full-motion video is one of those relics from the past that never truly lived up to its potential beyond being a gimmick. When CD-ROMs became able to accommodate live-action film, a whole glut of titles arrived that took advantage of the tech. But while there were some hidden gems, there were plenty of stinkers too. Nowadays however, without the pressure to take advantage of emerging tech the format is making a comeback, most notably with companies like Wales Interactive.

But this week's title doesn't come from the misty hills of Wales, it comes from major Japanese publisher Square Enix. So let's see what had to say about The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story.

"The live-action mystery game essentially tasks you with putting on your detective cap as mystery novelist Haruka Kagami. There had been odd deaths surrounding the Shijima family for a century now, so you hastily accept an invitation to the private estate's Cherry Blossom Ceremony to get to the bottom of all these murders once and for all.

"Of course, while the narrative is as engaging as murder mysteries should be, the actual gameplay here feels incredibly tedious. For every chapter, you'll watch an approximately hour-long scene where you'll have to gather facts you can later use to form a hypothesis as to the murder that takes place. This comes in the form of hexagonal grids you'll have to piece together to gather your thoughts until you come to a logical conclusion.

"After gathering your conclusions, you'll have to present your facts to the characters to find the culprit. This is where it gets more intense - they'll often challenge your claims and you need to find the right rebuttal to ward off the naysayers. Making a mistake won't end the game - you'll simply return to the tedious hexagonal grids again with a few points taken out of your overall score at the end of the chapter. The answer isn't always the most obvious thing, and the game doesn't hold your hand when it comes to the conclusion unlike other mystery games I've played of late - and I absolutely loved the challenge.

"Unfortunately, while I did enjoy the cutscenes and the mysteries (and the soundtrack!) way too much, the tedious process of finding the culprit was just too much of a slog. There were also dialogue choices you can pick during cutscenes, but they don't really make any kind of impact on the story, so it's an odd addition to the game that really makes no sense.

"I suppose The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story might have worked better as a visual novel instead, because that would mean the focus would be on the narrative and not so much on the gameplay. While I appreciate the game trying to do something different, some parts were hit-or-miss, and the long, long runtime for each chapter doesn't feel particularly optimised for mobile gamers, to be honest.

"Still, it's a nice change of pace if you're looking for a good brain teaser and you have the hours to spare. I myself am torn between the lacklustre gameplay mechanics and the brilliant plot, so if you feel like you can stomach the tediousness for the sake of a good story, then this might just be your cup of tea."

Raging Bytes

Raging Bytes

With the release of AAA titles like Dead Island 2 it's clear that our fascination with zombies in pop culture is nowhere near at an end. If there's anywhere that they thrived, then it's in the interactive medium of video games. Even on handheld, as this week's entry is one "Raging Bytes" a retro-RPG take on the zombie apocalypse genre that adds the extra hint of hardcore gameplay difficulty people seem to love nowadays. Here's what had to say about it...

"At this point when you hear the word "zombie", you can take a good guess at what the story behind it might be. In Raging Bytes, it's the same old story with some interesting tricks tossed in. The year is 1978, and following a successful mission to the moon, the astronauts return to become the epicentre of a viral outbreak. Within weeks, the virus has consumed the nation with a majority of people being turned into bloodthirsty monsters. The personal story starts with a police officer named Ben who awakens in an abandoned hospital following a car accident. As he learns what happens and meets fellow survivors like Barbra and Helen, Ben becomes determined to find his daughter and help the others find their loved ones as well.

"'Do not feed the zombies' goes without saying, but sometimes you've just gotta bust some heads. Raging Bytes provides a solid and exciting platform in which to do that. First off, it executes the RPG element very well. When exploring the overworld, all potential zombie enemies are visible and you can choose to pick them off individually, in groups, or avoid them altogether. This even applies to certain special zombies that you can risk fighting for great rewards, EXP, and lore, or just be on your merry way. There's also a surprising number of nooks and crannies to investigate and elements to unlock if you have the willingness to search and brave potentially fatal battles.

"This leads to the next effective element which is how the zombie element is treated. It's accepted at this point that a zombie game usually depicts zombies in a way where as long as you've got health and weapons, you can just plough right in. While this game definitely gives you a lot to work with, a party of characters, and turn-based pacing, even the weakest zombies can be dangerous. All it takes is one good hit and a character can go down for the count requiring you to use a fair amount of resources to revive them. Even fighting a zombie at close range injures your characters in exchange for knockback and heavy damage. This makes grinding a risk that you are choosing to undertake with no guarantees that things will go smoothly, just like how it would be in an actual zombie outbreak.

"If you get bitten by a zombie, there's pretty much nothing you can do aside from trying to reduce the amount of pain. Raging Bytes will bite you in a way that will hurt more than any treatment can help. It's so aggressive in how much damage zombies will deal to you that it's very difficult to feel strong. There isn't much you can do in terms of providing armour or protection to your characters with levelling up really only affecting their health and damage output. You can't upgrade their abilities in meaningful ways which makes levelling up feel less powerful than in other RPGs. This is a pretty big problem in a game where any fight you decide to enter has the chance to end your adventure.

"Raging Bytes is a 2D pixel-art RPG game about a group of unlikely survivors looking for others in a zombie-filled world. It combines classic RPG elements with the brutality of the zombie theme in creative, challenging, and engaging ways. It can be a bit too brutal which makes it hard for you and your characters to feel empowered. The story may be the usual, but there's good gameplay and personal elements for you to take a raging bite."



Roguelikes are still a pretty niche genre, but the concept behind them fits quite well with modern sensibilities. Instant replayability, variation and randomness that spices up multiple runs or playthroughs. It works well for short and enjoyable titles, like this week's pick, Roundguard. Here's what had to say...

"Putting aside the fact that there's a world where every organism is round and needs to bounce to get about, there's a story at play here. Roundguard has some classic fantasy themes and calls to adventure. In a far-off kingdom, Castle Springbottom is under attack by all manner of evil creatures. They have banded together to kidnap the king and have laid claim to all of his treasures and chambers. As a member of the Roundguard, you need to bounce through the castle and clean out the monsters, defeat the bosses, and gather as much treasure as your round pockets can carry.

"Bouncing puzzlers have a good amount of RNG, even if you are a geometry master which is why it pairs well with the roguelike genre. Roundguard is the proof of that. Each chamber you enter presents several key challenges: Eliminate all the enemies, collect treasure, and do so in as few launches as possible. From the earliest rooms to the last, the layouts always give you pause for thought. You're looking at angles, traps, items, enemies, and their stats. All the pertinent numbers are neatly tracked so you always have the most important info to hand. How things go is up to you and the will of the math, which can be quite exciting.

"Since circles are perfectly round, you don't associate them with strength or sharpness; two things you need if you're diving into a dungeon. Roundguard plunges you into a world of hurt and all you've got is roundness. The result of this is a very intimidating level of difficulty. You're literally throwing yourself at enemies meaning that on average, your hero is guaranteed to take some damage in battle. As monsters get tougher, the health boosts aren't able to keep up. There's also the additional damage that you'll take if by chance your hero doesn't land on the moving cushion platform at the bottom.

"Roundguard is a 2D roguelike with bouncing puzzle mechanics about launching heroes at enemies and treasure throughout a castle. It combines these elements in fun, interesting, and challenging ways that generate a lot of variety and excitement from all the randomness. It can be very difficult and unforgiving at times, especially if you're not using the Druid. Still, there's always a hole to fill in the roundguard."

Paths: Beatrice's Adventure

Paths: Beatrice's Adventure

 Choose your own adventure games may seem like an outdated concept. But if there's anything a platform like mobile is good for, it's experimentation with a platform unlike any other. The limitations often encouraging unique and innovative titles, even if they don't always hit home. One of these is Fredbear Games Limited's Paths: Beatrice's Adventure. Here's what had to say about it...

"The Choose Your Own Adventure series of books back then had always been a thrill for me, and its appeal translates incredibly well into video games. The allure of having to make decisions that impact how the narrative will go adds a deeper level of engagement compared to other genres, which is definitely an itch that Paths: Beatrice's Adventure aims to scratch.

"The hand-drawn visuals alone score top marks from me, as there are plenty of snapshots you'll encounter as you progress through the story. The game is mostly text-based, and you'll spend most of your time reading through exchanges between Beatrice and the people around her. But every so often, when something significant happens within the plot, you'll be rewarded with a scene that's masterfully drawn to help you paint a better picture of the story, whether that's something as dynamic as a snowball fight or a quiet and heartbreaking peek at Beatrice crying in a dark corner.

"That said, the core gameplay loop is really just you reading through the dialogue and then choosing what to reply. Depending on your responses, you can either hurt or improve your relationship with your loved ones, and each family member has a meter you can check to see how you're faring with them. At the end of each chapter, you'll see a summary of your choices or the "path" you've chosen, as well as the different images you've collected throughout the game.

"Overall, Paths: Beatrice's Adventure is an enjoyable option if you're looking for something low-key and text-based. The art - which reminds me so much of the graphic novel Blankets by Craig Thompson - really is the star of the show here. If nothing else, you'll still likely want to keep progressing through the narrative just so you can collect the breathtaking pictures in your gallery."

Monopoly Go!

Monopoly Go!

Invented during the Great Depression in America and originally intended as a satirical poke at big-business of the time, Monopoly has ironically become a massive business in and of itself. The simple, social and enjoyable format has ensured that it remains a standby for family games night. And although it's not the first, Monopoly Go! is the latest entry into that canon of board game adaptations. Here's the details from

As MONOPOLY GO! reimagines the classic board game, players can look forward to a new universe that will also let them build their empire with more than 100 unlockable new boards. There will be plenty of daily events as well to spice up the gameplay with tournaments and mini-games—limited-time Chance Cards included.

"Bringing the iconic MONOPOLY experience to life in an all-new way has been an extremely exciting journey, and we are thrilled that players are now able to engage in the adventure! We look forward to continuing to create an ever-evolving game for players to enjoy today and for years to come," says Massimo Maietti, vice president and general manager of MONOPOLY GO! at Scopely.

"With MONOPOLY GO!, we can unite the worldwide community of MONOPOLY fans in truly unprecedented ways. We think this fresh take on the MONOPOLY experience will continue to bring friends and families together, whether they choose to boost each other’s fortunes or claim their own riches," says Cynthia Williams, President of Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Games at Hasbro.

So if you're looking for a familar face to your next favourite game, one that's easy to pick up, will stir up happy memories, while serve just the right amount of new spins and surprises then the very latest take on this board game classic is tailor made just for you. Give it a try. 

Terra Nil

Although many strategy games tend to be about conquering your environment, Terra Nil takes a very different approach where you're restoring it instead. Here's what had to say about it.

"Dedicating life to preserving and helping the environment is one of the most admirable things a person can do, and raising awareness is essential to such a cause. Thanks to studios like Free Lives, we can learn a lot about how nature works and what we can do to help in the game Terra Nil. This is a 3D strategy affair that focuses on resource management and planning. It's about achieving small goals so that you can unlock new tools to further expand your efforts. There's a sense of hope and fulfillment that comes from planning a scientific game about restoration.

"It's not easy to make an educational game that's both enjoyable and doesn't feel overly educational. However, Terra Nil has hit that nail on the head. As soon as you start things up, the tutorial kicks in and explains the situation. The gameplay and concepts may seem intimidating at first, but it doesn’t take long before you know exactly what’s going on. The buildings are clearly identifiable and separated by purpose. You have a detailed compendium with useful and informative content you can refer to at any time. It makes you want to learn not just so you can be more effective as you progress but just so that you can understand what's in play.

"The second part of making a science game enjoyable is by making it look cool. The designs of all the different structures are sleek but still somewhat believable. There's no indicator for a time period so they can seemingly fit at any point in the future or even close to the modern day. It's satisfying to see each structure take effect the moment that you set them down. There's a degree of strategy that comes with maximising the effects of your setup along with making sure everything looks nice. It's gratifying to see your work come together up close or zoomed out as you watch the digital land come to life.

"The second part of making a science game enjoyable is by making it look cool. The designs of all the different structures are sleek but still somewhat believable. There's no indicator for a time period so they can seemingly fit at any point in the future or even close to the modern day. It's satisfying to see each structure take effect the moment that you set them down. There's a degree of strategy that comes with maximising the effects of your setup along with making sure everything looks nice. It's gratifying to see your work come together up close or zoomed out as you watch the digital land come to life."

Postknight 2

Postknight 2

If there’s anything that Japanese game studios are known for it’s ingenious and often bizarre ideas transformed into full games. One of these being Kurechii’s Postknight. Here’s what had to say on this unique twist of the RPG formula and how it works on mobile.

“The idea of being a knight is a cool and noble one indeed, but there are many ways to apply such a title. The folks at Kurechii have doubled down on their version with Postknight 2. This 2D RPG has you playing as a knight whose job is to deliver packages. This means you'll be travelling dangerous roads full of monsters and enemies trying to beat you up and take your stuff. There's a big levelling-up element to make your knight stronger, while loot drops and chests can outfit you with better equipment. There's also a new pass system that will allow you to earn free and premium rewards the more you play.

The satisfaction of a job well done is something that certain careers capture more than others. By looking at Postknight 2, this fantasy career may be one of them. A reason for this comes from the returning charm of the previous entry. The 2D cartoon style is just as vibrant with more animation and detail as well as a wider range of assets. Everything feels smooth and pleasant which doesn't take away from the sense of adventure and battle that comes with each mission. Whether you're doing story missions, optional deliveries, or other field activities, it's fun to visit each, win or lose.

Postknight 2 is a sequel by Kurechii about being a postal worker and knight who delivers packages over danger-riddled lands. It's a game that's fun and fast to play with an appealing pass system that's rewarding to free-play players too. The difficulty could use some balancing or at least some indicators for proper preparation. If you're looking for a career change, you could try being a postknight…again.”



If you’ve never had to suffer through “Waterworld” you’ll still think that a flooded planet is still a fascinating setting for a book, film or game. And Highwater is no exception, with the flooded setting of planet Earth serving as the backdrop for this title, a new entry into the growing catalogue of Netflix Games. Here’s what had to say about this latest release from publisher Rogue Games.

“One reason the flooded scenario isn't used much is simply that the reason for it is always the same: Climate change. In Highwater, it's the same deal and people are coping as best as they can. You play as Nikos, a teenager scavenging on his own while being part of a splinter community known as Hightower. For the longest time, the smaller communities relied on the resources and funding from the wealthy elites of Alphaville. Unfortunately, things have gotten worse, with those from Alphaville seeking to abandon Earth and travel to Mars. Resolving to seek a better life, Nikos will rely on his friends and your guidance to sneak into Alphaville and secure a place on the rocket."


“Typically, the apocalypse is a gloomy and serious affair which can make it challenging as a fun idea to explore. With Highwater, there's a lot to enjoy about the game. The main thing is the overall simplicity and tranquillity. Despite the seriousness of the events between the people and the global situation, the gameplay is smooth and calming. When you're out on your boat, you're listening to nice music and natural commentary to draw you into the world. When you're on land, you travel at a relaxed pace, even when conflict appears imminent. It's a mix of chill exploration with exciting combat to break it up.”


“Highwater is a 3D post-apocalyptic adventure RPG about exploring a flooded world with the intent to escape it. It combines relaxing exploration with challenging combat and an interesting story to get you invested. As you try to enjoy it, you'll have to overlook some of the technical problems and waste time feeding your curiosity. Even so, it'll feel refreshing to take a dip in some high water.”

Pickle Pete

Pickle Pete

The roguelike survivors genre was initially sparked by PC (and now mobile) game Vampire Survivors. On mobile took the concept and saw lucrative success with it, and it seems that for midcore and hardcore gamers this format is becoming increasingly popular. Here’s what had to say about the latest game in the genre, Pickle Pete.

“It's quite common to name a piece of media after the character, and sometimes that's all you need. Pickle Pete keeps things simple and you can fill in the gaps easily. You are Pickle Pete, a mutated pickle that may or may not be the size of the average human. He has been altered to be able to wield a variety of weapons effectively. This is because he seems to be the only line of defence against waves of undead and mutant monsters rising from the earth. Pickle Pete will need to stay on the move as he grows as many arms as possible to get a full 360-degree attack range.

It may seem that there's not a lot to a survivors-like game, but the trick is to make it entertaining. Pickle Pete does this in a variety of ways. The most notable is the art style. It has the charm of a flash game while still feeling modern. The most amusing part is how the titular character will continuously grow additional arms as he gets more weapons and each one has a distinct animation. The enemies are another point in its favour, with each managing to avoid overlapping and giving you a headache.

Then there's the sheer variety, which is another aspect of a good survivors-like. Pickle Pete has an appealing look, but you can customise him however you want. Playing through levels will unlock additional clothing items and weapons to add to your loadout. In addition to each piece having a different style, they also come with their own perks which only improve as you level up. The game is also quite generous with the number of rewards you can earn without playing feeling like a grind.

Pickle Pete is a 2D survivors-like affair about a mutant pickle with enough arms as weapons fighting against mutant undead forces. It works well for mobile with an amusing graphics style and lots of customisation options. It has issues that come from the combination of a restricted playing space and a big slow protagonist. But, if you find yourself in a market full of zombies, you should grab a jar of Pickle Pete.”

Ultimate Sackboy

Ultimate Sackboy

Whenever a well-known console franchise finds its way to mobile, there are a few go-to genres for trying to make that jump, with one of the most popular being runners. Exient has released Ultimate Sackboy for iOS and Android, which sees LittleBigPlanet's adorable protagonist try his hand at arcade running.

Ultimate Sackboy is a beautiful-looking game that brings the makeshift world of LittleBigPlanet to life on mobile. Dashing through every run, you will see cut-outs of rabbits, badgers, moles, and other critters swaying gently in the background as they cheer you on every step of the way. It helps everything come to life rather than rendering the world static and dull, like some other runners.

But that's just early on. After playing for a while, another issue crops up; a lack of variety in the level layouts. You see, each run is randomly generated, so you would hope that would allow for plenty of surprises. But the reality is you quickly start to recognise repeated patterns, and, at that point, everything becomes overly familiar. There are two power-ups you can occasionally grab, which add some fun. Unfortunately, neither of the power-ups lasts that long, so any enjoyment is short-lived.

While this all sounds negative, it's important to say that none of this is overly terrible. Rather,It's perfectly competent and could provide a solid foundation for an excellent runner, which is why I find Ultimate Sackboy frustrating. With more variety, a slighter faster pace and a few more power-ups, Ultimate Sackboy's levels could become thrilling score-chasing stages instead of casual jaunts with the odd adrenaline-pumping moment.

Ten Dates

Ten Dates

Dating sims are something of a guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t know if it’s just that I live in a small, out of the way town where romantic prospects are few and far between, or just that some of my favourite books/movies/games are either outright romances or have strong romantic backbones, but I like the idea of settling down for a few hours and guiding my character through a love story.

Ten Dates, the latest game by Wales Interactive, is a nice, relatively low drama story about people who’re looking for the one. Players control either Misha or Ryan, two best friends who go to a speed-dating event together and choose who to spend time with. If it goes well, you can get a second or even third date.

The characters are all well acted, the dialogue is well-written, and the characters all feel like real people. They encompass a variety of races, careers, subcultures, even senses of humour. Ryan and Misha in particular can feel different depending on which hobbies, jobs, or even star sign you pick at the start of the game, opening up new dialogue options or even seeing them react differently to their dates. It’s a nice way to put your own stamp on the character, whether you want someone close to you or to escape into someone else, and adds an extra layer of replayability.

Each character also has the option of pursuing a member of the same sex, which is always appreciated. LGBT+ representation remains an issue of contention for many people and, while dating sims have repeatedly excelled in terms of queer characters where other genres have failed, Ten Dates’ inclusion of same sex romance feels fresh, if only because it’s treated no differently than straight romance. It’s still the same leads, played by the same actors, with the same level of charm and authenticity.

Ten Dates isn’t the perfect game, by any means, but then neither is real life, and the game does a good job of capturing the awkwardness of the dating scene, from icebreakers to dealbreakers. An innocuous comment might steer a conversation in the wrong direction, just as easily as a well-timed joke might help you grow closer. Every date has the potential to go well, yes, but it could also turn sour just as easily.

Tomb Raider Reloaded

Tomb Raider Reloaded

The original Tomb Raider is one of the first games I can remember getting invested in and it’s a franchise that’s been consistently rebooted and reinvented, from the original, Indiana Jones-esque globetrotting adventures or the darker, grittier reboot of 2013. It’s a franchise with an iconic heroine and a premise that suits itself well to a variety of tones, and even genres.

Tomb Raider Reloaded takes the franchise into the mobile space once more and while it drastically simplifies the gameplay loop compared to the series’ larger offerings, the hallmarks are all there, from Lara’s iconic dual pistols to a focus on avoiding traps. The game uses new arrangements of familiar scores, retells familiar stories, and even brings back former Lara Croft voice actress Keeley Hawes, returning to the role for the second time since handing the reins to Camilla Luddington in 2013’s AAA reboot.

This simplicity doesn’t make the game easy, by any means, but it does mean that it translates into the mobile space with greater ease than a direct port, while still remaining recognisable. The player may need to grind for the best loot to survive the later levels, but let’s face it, who hasn’t played a Tomb Raider game without dying a few (hundred) times?

In recent years difficulty has become a selling point, with the likes of Elden Ring or Returnal topping charts. Tomb Raider Reloaded has a lot in common with the bullet hell genre as the difficulty ramps up, and while this can be frustrating, fans of the genre may well find a lot to love, and fans of the franchise can enjoy a certain sense of accomplishment for coming out of a difficult level with some shiny new gear.

With such a strong pedigree, Tomb Raider is as poised for success as Lara mid-swandive. Only time will tell whether that dive is into a pool of water or a stone floor. However, with a TV series on the horizon, an AAA reboot in the works, and rumours of a massive acquisition of the IP by Amazon, Tomb Raider is far from a relic of the past, and the franchise’s future success could do a lot to keep Tomb Raider Reloaded’s performance healthy, and vice versa.

Happy Game

Happy Game

Horror is a tricky genre to get right, and arguably no mobile game has ever fully made a landing. Despite the potential for mobile horror titles, too often developers focus on trying to emulate other experiences, rather than honing in on how mobile technology can be utilised to put a unique spin on the genre.

There are a lot of elements in a horror story, and a lot of different approaches available. It’s not a genre that needs everything spelling out, and often something as simple as a basic storyline, some chilling imagery, and some sinister sound design is enough to bring a horror game to the attention of viewers.

Happy Game, a horror story about a child trapped in their nightmares by a mysterious smiling entity, proves successful by combining cutesy graphics with horror. There’s something uniquely disturbing about twisting something that should feel innocent, which is something games such as Happy Game can capitalise on. The bright colours help draw you in, and the horror is insidious, occasionally requiring the player to think in a dark way in order to come to the solution. It’s not an element exclusive to mobile games by any means, but it is one that’s utilised effectively here. Compounded with the cutesy presentation, this can help lull the player into a false sense of security.

It's an interesting game, albeit not one that necessarily reinvents the wheel. There’s little sense of urgency, even if the player rarely feels safe, and while the game certainly excels at horror, it occasionally fails to translate this into effective gameplay. However, if you’re looking for a short and not-so-sweet game with interesting presentation and (literally) nightmarish visuals, Happy Game might be right up your alley.

Valiant Hearts: Coming Home

Valiant Hearts: Coming Home

Valiant Hearts: Coming Home is the sequel to the previous, critically acclaimed Valiant Hearts title. Coming from France, a country with a strong history and ties to the First World War which was fought mainly on its soil, it has both a strong historical and narrative aspect. Alongside games such as Battlefield 1, the first instalment marked new interest in the First World War in video games around its centenary.

The game comes courtesy of a partnership between Netflix and Ubisoft, being the first of a three-title deal. It was developed by French–based Old Skull Games, who have previously worked mainly on licensed games such as Nickelodeon Extreme Tennis and Spongebob: Patty Pursuit. Valiant Hearts marks a major change for them but one that has already paid off with positive early reviews.

World War I remains one of the most historically significant events of the last century. It literally shaped the world we live in today, and yet, there is still so much we don't know about it. The folks at Ubisoft are attempting to share the perspectives of those who endured the global conflict, in Valiant Hearts: Coming Home. This is a 2D narrative experience that has the elements of point-and-click adventure but with a quicker pace than the genre usually offers. Playing through the game will have you completing tasks, solving puzzles, and interacting with numerous characters. Take note of each chapter, and you're likely to learn something about history.

War is not an easy topic to cover and it needs to be done with a lot of consideration. Valiant Hearts: Coming Home manages to do this while making it accessible. The 2D graphic art style has a friendly and stylized look while retaining the right amount of grittiness. The more time you spend with these characters, the more you hope they make it through. The controls are consistent throughout but they feel different depending on the circumstances. I felt a noticeable shift in feel between walking around an airfield and walking through sunken wrecks. Even though the true brutality of the event is significantly toned down, it still has a definite impact.

Valiant Hearts: Coming Home is a 2D graphic narrative experience about guiding several people through World War I. It combines an appealing stylized appearance with the grittiness of war without losing sincerity and a nice range of interactive gameplay. It needs some touching up in terms of rendering parts of environments and less sensitive controls. However, those are small issues compared to the knowledge and emotion that Coming Home embodies.


Sands of Salzaar

Sands of Salzaar

Sands of Salzaar was first released on PC in 2021 and currently holds a 'Very Positive' (83% positive) rating on Steam. It's developer is Chinese-based Han-Squirrel Studios and it's publisher was Hong-Kong based XD. The game is billed primarily as an army management RPG, like 3D cousin Mount & Blade.

The game serves as Han-Squirrel Studio's flagship title and has already accrued a decently-sized fanbase due to it's massive world and depth of play. However, as we note, there are still bugs present in the mobile port. But it seems a good starting point for Han-Squirrel's presence in the mobile market.

As mystical as its title suggests, Sands of Salzaar thrusts you into an enchanted land of monsters and men where you can either stick to your own lane or flow with the endless sands and let the vast landscape direct your path. The open-world single-player RPG is an open-ended adventure where you can be whoever you want to be, whether that's a tyrannical fearmonger or a noble saviour coming to save a ravaged land.

Sands of Salzaar is a complicated game that doesn't hold your hand at all. The lack of a proper tutorial thrusts you into the game naked, and you'll have to fumble your way through to even get the slightest idea of how to play the game. For instance, I spent two days running out of food for my troops and being sent back to my respawn point before I discovered how and where to replenish my consumables to feed my army.

The mobile version also suffers from a plethora of bugs at the moment as well, with everything from characters getting stuck between trees to poorly localised descriptions and skill names. This sadly gives the game an unpolished vibe, which is a shame given how deep it actually is in terms of gameplay - and if it weren't for the bugs, I would've given this game a perfect score.

Overall, Sands of Salzaar got me hooked in ways I haven't felt with recent games in a while, and that alone gives it props in my book. There are pesky nuances littered throughout the game though, but if you can get past that, the depth of the title makes it well worth the $3.99 price tag.


Perfect Grind

Perfect Grind

Developed by Noodlecake studios, a Canadian based company, whom you may remember from the rhythm dungeon-crawler Soundfall. Perfect Grind is a skateboarding game in the grand tradition of titles like the Tony Hawk series. Straddling the line between sports and action games, skateboarding has always been ripe for translation to games.

We previously spoke to one of their designers, Jonatan Van Hove, back in 2021 about his work with the company. Where he covered his work on their then new title Nuts - A surveillance mystery. Noodlecake is one of many small indie studios working in the mobile scene, producing games for a small but dedicated following.

Whilst nowadays the focus may be on grabbing that one, single game that will transform into a beautiful and profitable unicorn, Noodlecake are a great example of a company that has continuously produced interesting and unique indie games for the mobile platform. More than anything, games are about fun and engagement, and there’s a lot to learn from Noodlecake’s portfolio.

As you’ll note in the portion of’s review below, Perfect Grind is also a great example of utilising the controls of a mobile device to their fullest. Whilst tapping and swiping for simple strategy or puzzle games are standard, you can always stand to see how other companies are innovating on a seemingly simple formula.

“Skateboarding represents a type of energy and freedom that many people aspire to feel. It's definitely not an easy lifestyle to follow, which is why games like Perfect Grind by Noodlecake have value. This is a 3D skateboard game that has been tailored for touchscreen. By using swipes and long presses, you're able to perform jumps, tricks, and other manoeuvres the average person hasn't even heard of before. There's an emphasis on chaining these tricks together to rack up points and see how expertly you can flow seamlessly from one trick into another… sometimes while in the air.


When making a skateboard game, the goal is to make it fast and responsive. Perfect Grind hits a lot of the right notes when aiming for this. With an optional tutorial, you're free to explore the game however you want. There are several modes, including a Free Skate mode right off the bat so that you can start shredding as soon as it opens. Even though there's such a huge range of tricks to perform, the swipe controls are able to cover them effectively. Once you learn all the basics, it feels good to get into a flow where you're performing trick after trick and feeling good while doing it.

This highlights another thing Perfect Grind does well, and that is satisfaction. Skateboarding is not easy by any means which is why it feels so satisfying to master. Even if it is only in a digital form, the moment you pull off a difficult trick or chain together a long combo is incredibly satisfying. With all the skate parks to explore, you can make your own challenges to attain a personal best. There are also NPCs scattered around who will help you flex your different skills, including timing, collecting, or simply landing a tough trick. This all feeds into making you feel like a better skateboarder.


Perfect Grind is a 3D skateboard game about trying to be the best skater you can be in a colourful cartoon setting. The vast array of tricks you can perform with the ease of swiping keeps things fast and satisfying. Unfortunately, the fact that you can't manually control the speed or improve turning really harms the experience. The challenge is to get past that so that you can shoot for the perfect grind.”


Noodlecake studios may not be in the biggest centres of mobile gaming in Canada, as they note Saskatchewan is far from Vancouver or Toronto, but they offer a fascinating glimpse at the success and impact indie mobile games can make. As well as providing an encouraging success story for anyone looking to get into the world of mobile game development.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge being brought to mobile devices as a Netflix exclusive stands out for several reasons, with Netflix leveraging a number of factors.


From a gameplay perspective, the game is an effective throwback to old-school beat-em-up’s from the genre’s heyday. Players take on the roles of the titular turtles and their allies as they fight through familiar locations in an attempt to take down the villainous Shredder. The game leans heavily on nostalgia with pixel-art visuals and a retro soundtrack, while still incorporating modern technology for a smooth experience. As such, Shredder’s Revenge effectively translates a classic experience for the consumption of modern audiences.

Then there’s the nostalgia angle. Despite being a franchise which persists to this day, with an upcoming film to be released later this year, the franchise first began life in the 1980’s, at the height of the arcade industry worldwide, and has seen arcade releases amongst the numerous games released as part of the franchise.

As such, not only does the game feature characters and settings familiar to a number of players, it does so in a form many older players will be familiar with while transporting the action from an arcade machine to the world’s most accessible gaming device. Meanwhile, younger fans of the franchise can still find plenty to love with the game’s familiar setting and simple gameplay.

The title can also expect a certain degree of ambient advertising. The franchise saw a new series premiere in 2018 and ran until 2022, with Netflix producing a sequel film in 2022. As such, fans of the film may pick up the game on Netflix Games for free, as opposed to purchasing it for another platform. After all, Netflix Games are available for free for all of the company’s 223 million subscribers worldwide and, while the company has struggled to engage players with its games, it has maintained a steady upward trajectory over the past year with a number of acquisitions and new studios, as well as ports of games originally released on other platforms such as Kentucky Route Zero and Twelve Minutes.

Likewise, fans of the game may be inclined to watch the film, and this may encourage the company to produce more content within the universe in the future.

Notably, this also marks among the highest-profile acquisitions of a game in the company’s history, as well as one of the most famous third-party IPs to appear on the platform. As such, while it would be naïve to claim that the game will instantly solidify Netflix’s place in the gaming industry or prove to be a killer app, it does represent a significant step towards the company engaging a wider proportion of its audience.

Twelve Minutes

Twelve Minutes

Twelve Minutes does exactly what it says on the tin. You come home and, within twelve minutes, a police officer has forced his way into your apartment, accused your wife of murder, and killed you. You flash back to entering the apartment, and you have twelve minutes to find out what the police officer wants and find a way to stop him.

Time loops can be tricky to get right, but Twelve Minutes manages it. The whole game plays out in a handful of small rooms in a way that feels claustrophobic, the tight time limit gives you just enough time to discover a little more about what's going on. Everything feels important in ways that might not be immediately apparent, but you get the very real sense that ten loops from now you might find out what to do with the sleeping pills, or that the malfunctioning light switch can make for a handy trap.

A cast of Hollywood actors is nothing new in gaming, but Twelve Minutes is a small game so getting Willem Dafoe involved does give it a sense of scale. It's a simple story, but one that's layered in an interesting way.


If I have one complaint - and it's a relatively minor one - it's the controls. They're simple enough, but often too reliant on having your finger in the exact right place. At one point I picked up the same plate four times because I was touching a few milimetres away from where I wanted to. The game was originally released for PC and consoles last year, and while this sort of point and click game is perfect for mobile devices, the small scale of the apartment doesn't necessarily gel well with the relative size of your fingers.

Still, I appreciated the depth of the puzzles, and I always felt like I was learning a little more about the story and the world with each subsequent loop. It's a great example of how games don't need a huge world or dramatic set pieces. Sometimes, all you need is a mystery.


Narrative games might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to genres that fit well on mobile; they're often lengthy things, there's a lot of reading, and most of the time the beautiful soundtracks that accompany them are forgotten because most people mute their games. I urge you to step away from that mindset and swap Suzerain into your commute, it's a beautiful, complicated beast that forces you into the shoes of Anton Rayne, a politician who grew up as a fictional, early 20th century nation turned on its monarchy and then rapidly bounced through dictatorship into a republic, and now finds themselves as president.

Unlike other games that place you at the head of the nation, this expands over dozens of choices every conversation, with dozens of exchanges every month, throughout a multi-year presidency. You've got to deal with a nation in recession, with an old guard among your ranks, rival factions nipping at your heels and both external and internal conflict almost immediately at your doorsteps. There are no right choices, and no perfect path, and the more you push to help a particular faction the more you'll alienate others. The oligarchs can be generous, if you surrender your honesty, the poor will cheer your name if you improve quality of life, and the military will prevent coups and uprisings if you surrender your people's liberty.

My first playthough, when it first launched on PC in 2020, had me narrowly avoid assassination on several accounts, force the nationalists and oligarchs out of my nation, and establish a new, fair education system that would instil children with a better sense of justice, and a sense of equality between genders and nations. It cost a lot though, illnesses spread, companies collapsed and some of my closest aides left my side, and I only narrowly avoided getting dragged into a world war.

Reigns: Three Kingdoms

Reigns: Three Kingdoms

As the song goes, everybody wants to rule the world, but as Reigns: Three Kingdoms proves, not everyone is suited to do it.

The gameplay is simple enough: you're faced with a decision that you make with a simple swipe of the finger, and watch as the four different stats changes. Some decisions will raise some stats and lower others, some will raise one (or several) stats, but it isn't as simple as "get everything to the top and be done with it." If any one stat maxes out, you die. If one gets too low? You die. It's as easy to be killed by your people for causing a famine as it is to be murdered by the rich for being too socialist.

As a result, I found myself making decisions I wouldn't make in real life, making statements I didn't agree with just because we needed those supplies, or I couldn't risk getting killed for not imposing a new tax.

The graphics are simple, but charming. A lot of mobile games focus on gameplay over story, but this game proves that a good storyline can make up for simple gameplay. There's a big sense that every decision matters and, while I haven't managed to become emperor of China quite yet, I'm eager to keep trying.

Wreckfest Mobile

Wreckfest Mobile

Whichever form of racing you call your favourite, I think most people have got a soft-spot for classic destruction derby, banger racing. Originally launched as Next Racing Game, Bugbear Interactive's Wreckfest bloomed in early access on PC, and caused ripples through the racing world at a time when people were focusing on cleaner racing, or trick based racing.

It's a spiritual successor to Bugbear's FlatOut series, a series that didn't survive the big gameplay and graphics shift of the seventh generation of consoles, but it couldn't be any different. Wreckout Mobile might not have the visual chops that the PC version did, but a couple of races in and you'll totally understand the two core values that keep people coming back to it: Chaos and Destruction.

The big question to be asked here though is, how long until the production time on PC to mobile ports is tightened to match console versions? There are some new features here, namely a very cool gyroscopic steering option, but this is a game that hit 1.0 three years ago on PC, launched 18 months ago on Next Gen consoles, and hit Switch five months back. Those curious about the game have likely already spent their money on one of those other versions and maybe even turned off the game now.


Football Manager Touch 2023

Football Manager Touch 2023

Oh no. I’ve accidentally fallen into the trap of downloading Football Manager again.

There’s something to be said for the Football Manager formula, how the bundle of stats, sheets, buttons and menus manages to captivate masses of people every year. Surprisingly, Football Manager Touch 2023 fully delivers that on a handheld (through to big screen) level. It’s very much the full-fat, PC game, but it runs like a dream on mobile using some clever interface tweaks (tap-zones to open side menus, for a start) and features the first 3D match engine the series has had on mobile.

Game contents aside, it’s a momentous achievement following a momentous agreement between Sports Interactive and Apple’s Apple Arcade team. Bringing Sports Interactive’s baby back to mobile, gutting out other monetisation options, not having to worry about the goldilocks zone of pricing, all while securing a three-year deal, is only going to do well for both parties. I was at an event earlier in the week where it also became clear that SI is revelling in also finding new audiences in regions where their series doesn’t always do so well, thanks in large part to the market penetration of Apple Arcade and Apple’s established userbase.

Path to Nowhere

Path to Nowhere

This visually stunning mobile gacha title combines elements of tower defence with grid-based strategy as players command a squad of Sinners on a mission to save a dying world. The game features unique character art across a wide variety of female combatants each with her own personality, background, and skills.

Players can also enjoy an interesting take on the genre as they aim to "capture" these criminal recruits and add them to their roster. Each character will bring something new to the battlefield, whether it's to serve as handy tanks or to deal devastating damage by breaking elite monsters' Corrupter Cores.


Originally written for

Sigma Theory

Sigma Theory

Sigma Theory, previously released for PC back in 2019, has finally made the leap to Android and iOS. In many ways, the complex neo-Cold War spy-thriller works just as well if not better on mobile than it did on PC. The slow-paced but tense and thrilling game of international espionage fits perfectly into your pocket. Enabling you to dip in and out with an easy autosave function that also makes every important decision final.

Sigma Theory centres around the fictional near-future, where scientists have developed a method of thinking named the Sigma Theory that accelerates scientific development massively. As the leader of a chosen country’s specialist task-force, your objective is to ensure your country is the world leader in Sigma technology. Even, and in-fact usually, if this comes at the expense of your rivals, their research and their lives.

The name’s theory, sigma theory

You select agents based on personality traits, intelligence and physical prowess. By controlling them and sending them on covert missions across the world, your aim is to sabotage the efforts of other nations and if possible to abduct, coerce, bribe or seduce their own scientists and agents to your side. All the while, your research into Sigma technology unlocks various new benefits that improve your agents or hinder your enemies, from enhanced senses, to mind-control and even teleportation across the world.

The game takes place on both a world-map for the main game, and a local map for exfiltration missions when kidnapping a scientist or otherwise extracting them from a country. The game mainly revolves around your social combat based choices, and the physical combat is no different, with decision-making on the fly to guide your agent along a route before they can complete their objective,all whilst trying to keep the “alert level” as low as possible. Preparation is key, and acquiring a weapon or having an overhead surveillance drone can be the difference between failure or success.

Sigma Theory is highly replayable and succeeds in creating the atmosphere of a modern, near-future spy-thriller with controls well-adapted to the mobile platform. The looming threat of the doomsday clock alongside the potential to fall far enough behind in the Sigma race that your country gives up, either on it or you, all contribute to a gripping experience.

Sigma Theory is now available on iOS and Android.

Pocket Reality

Pocket Reality

Pocket Reality is a strange beast, full of strange beasts. It’s absolutely nothing like any other mobile game I’ve played - and that covers a fair few. It is essentially a more concise version of those adventure novels we had in the 80s, where you’d choose a path and turn to the specified page to continue your adventure. With the resurgence in popularity of RPG such as Dungeons & Dragons in recent years, there is no doubt an audience for this genre waiting to be tapped into.

Made by James Senter (JK Games), a part-time independent game developer, with no fancy graphics, hardly any graphics at all in fact, the beauty of this game lies in its inventiveness and random nature. Every day a new world is created, and the idea (I think) is to gain loyalty points and complete achievements in order to improve your stamina so you can get further through each world.

I’m still not quite sure that I know how to play it correctly, or what I’m trying to achieve, but I really, really enjoy it. As an example, my current achievements include #82: Bound the Waffle Hive and the Dog Dungeon together with Rosa the Giant Trumpet’s mystic roots of peace’ and I have 307 Horse Loyalty (14 loyalties per second) which is…good?

Other games created by James include Nano Empire, A Few Minutes of Glory, Evelyn’s Farm and Guess the Rule - none of which I have played yet, but all of which I shall be downloading when I have finished writing this review.



Exclusively available to Netflix subscribers, this mobile management game tasks players with ferrying souls into the afterlife across an emotional journey aboard a boat. As Stella, players will spend time with their otherworldly passengers and make memories with them before trying their best to say goodbye when they move on to a different plane.

The game also features stunning hand-drawn art as well as fun little extras that let players farm, fish, mine, craft, weave and cook in their spare time. Players can also customise their character and their boat to suit their personalities best.

Ported from

The House of Da Vinci 3

The House of Da Vinci 3

I’m a big fan of escape rooms. In fact, I used to work in one. I love the physicality of the puzzles, the satisfaction of all the pieces clicking into place, and it’s the sort of puzzle that lends itself well to mobile devices.

The House of Da Vinci series, in a sense, is a lot like a series of escape rooms. Hardly groundbreaking stuff, but what works so well is the execution. There’s very little sense of dead space, even in some of the more sprawling areas. Instead, everything feels like a small piece of a greater whole, and it’s just a case of finding out where each piece fits.

A fair warning – like many games set during Renaissance Italy, there is the potential to offend here. As the game progresses a conspiracy emerges surrounding the Papacy. If you’ve played the series thus far or have even rudimentary knowledge of the period – specifically the Borgias family, almost universally positioned as the villains of such pieces – this should come as no surprise.


That’s not to say that The House of Da Vinci 3 is perfect. There were a few glitches that hampered my enjoyment somewhat. Nothing game-breaking, but there were a few popping textures and, at one point, the audio completely failed until I rebooted the game. Additionally, the interface sometimes proved to be too sensitive, leading me to zoom out of a puzzle during my attempts to open a door or turn a screw. The hint system was also wildly inconsistent – at some points the clue would be irritatingly vague – something along the lines of “I think I saw somewhere to put this item” – while on others it would give me the entire solution. Finally, while the time-travelling aspect is well-done, I got annoyed by the lengthy transition between time periods, especially during puzzles that required multiple jumps.

However, these missteps didn’t stop me from enjoying the game. If you’re a fan of the genre, or the series, this is definitely a puzzle worth solving.



This week's game of the week is something a little different. Teacup is a relaxing, narrative puzzle game, similar to a point and click, but mainly driven by short, simple puzzles and through talking with the various characters around the game's world.

You take on the role of Teacup, who is a shy and introverted frog who rarely wanders out into the world, however, you've got a grand tea party planned and so you'll need to head out, fetch items for old friends and gather tea leaves to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

It's sweet, it's pure, and it's simple. It'll warm you to your core. 

Regarding the controls, Catherine over on wrote: "As for the mobile controls, it's a simple matter of using the virtual directional pad and a single button to interact with prompts. Things can get a little wonky with the virtual pad, but thankfully, the game worked perfectly with my DualShock 4 controller. Of course, mini-games will still require you to use the touchscreen, which is actually more intuitive when it comes to tapping away at puzzle pieces or dragging and dropping gears."

As somebody who finished Teacup when it launched on Xbox earlier in the year, I'm excited to see it move to mobile where its structure is less conventional. Hopefully, it'l trigger a new wave of slower, peaceful ports.

Jetpack Joyride 2

Freshly released on Apple Arcade, Halfbrick Studios' Barry Steakfries returns in Jetpack Joyride 2, arguably one of the most unexpected sequels to one of the most important mobile games.

When we talk about games that made mobile pop, we have to talk about games that used the touchscreen in clever ways, and while the mind always slides over to Clash of Clans and Angry Birds, just look at the imprint that JetPack Joyride and, Halfbrick's other major IP, Fruit Ninja have made on the gaming industry over the years. In fact, good luck going to a decent sized arcade in the UK and not finding an arcade adaptation of either of them.

That's for good reason to, not only were they incredibly clever uses of the touch screen, but they managed that bite-sized, run-based scale that worked great on mobile; short bursts that were just long enough to keep you buzzing, and get you to pick them back up at the next opportunity - be that the commute, lunch break, or quiet movement in the evening.



Addictive? Maybe. I found myself hooked on the adorable world of Poinpy. While playing Netflix's Poinpy, I couldn't help but feel a familiarity with the game. I have to admit it wasn't until a couple more hours of playing did it hit me. The game felt a lot like Doodle Jump. If you are a Doodle Jump fan, there's certainly some attraction for you.

However, this isn't your typical tap-and-jump mobile game. The gameplay works differently in terms of how you get Poinpy to jump. Don't worry though, it's still very simple to play and easy to get used to. It's pretty clear the game makers wanted to make a fun easy-to-play game for everyone, with much less emphasis on difficulty.


I did enjoy the colourful visuals and soundtrack while playing, and it is one of those games you can play on the go when you’re waiting in line or seated on a bus.

Poinpy is one of those games you can close your eyes, switch off your brain, and enjoy. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on who you ask. Although, if you have children, the colourful, cute visuals and pleasing soundtrack will entice them.

The only downside, I would say, is that you need a Netflix account to play the game. Netflix's new original titles have been met with mixed receptions. So, if you aren't a Netflix subscriber, I wouldn't advise you to open an account today for Poinpy. If you are, this one might be worth the download.



Adrenaline junkies can have their fill of extreme downhill biking in Descenders, especially since its physics-based gameplay is complemented by procedurally generated environments. Players will have to put their skills to the test against roguelike elements in the game.

The title also features a Rep system that players can aim to build, as well as high scores they can try to hit to unlock special in-game goodies. There's also a team-based mechanic where picking a side (Enemy, Arboreal or Kinetic) means you can connect with other players in the same team.


This article was originally published on

Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp

Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp

Danganronpa is a series I’ve followed for a while, although it’s one I’d struggle to say is accessible. The basic premise (and one that doesn’t really hold a candle to how complex the storyline is) is that a group of students - each of whom has a title like Ultimate Baseball Star, Ultimate Lucky Student, Ultimate Hacker - is taken to an isolated place with varying stages of amnesia, where they’re told the only way for any one of them to escape is to murder one of their friends and get away with it.

Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp is an expansion of the minigame Ultimate Talent Development Plan, and while I enjoyed it, it’s not a game I’d necessarily recommend to a newcomer. While it has the familiar art style and music - and even the voice lines from the original minigame - it does away with the familiar gameplay in exchange for a board game/turn-based RPG hybrid.

I enjoyed the game, but I struggled to call it accessible. Although the bulk of the game does away with the visual novel elements of the root series, there’s still a relatively lengthy prologue before you get to the gameplay and while it was great to see some familiar characters, it essentially acted as a cursory explanation due to the limited story progression.


You can unlock additional characters either randomly using in-game currency or by selecting the character and purchasing them using real money, but any levels you gain in the story mode are lost if you choose to replay with that character. The levels do carry over into the battle mode, which also lets you create a party of multiple players (as long as you’ve completed a game with them, win or lose).

None of this is to say I didn’t enjoy the game. On the contrary, it’s a great little game, but your experience will vary depending on how well you know the core series, while at the same time offering something very different than a lot of players would have experienced. It’s something I can see myself picking up and playing idly while on the bus, and if it’s your first introduction to the series - something I don’t recommend - it might just pique your interest in the series as a whole.

Danganronpa S: Ultimate Summer Camp is available now on iOS and Android.

By Lewis Rees

Into the Breach

Into the Breach

Into the Breach is fantastic. A tightly-wound, intensely precise experience that trades the smooth onboarding, thematic universality, and manageable freneticism of FTL makes way for both a meticulous intimacy and escalated expanse of tactical options and interactions.

Into the Breach on mobile is fantastic. As Subset Games told, turn-based games reduce the additional design considerations when translating a PC/console experience to the touchscreen, but Into the Breach needs to display a considerable amount of information, variables, and in-game actions.


 You can check PocketGamer’s own James Gilmour with his review of Into the Breach above, but I wanted to talk about the conversion process.

One element that mobile phones have long struggled with is replicating hovering the mouse cursor – a suggestion of interest with the commitment of a button press. Subset Games has opted for a classic press-twice instead, with more double-presses when confirming options – a necessary concession to some of the imprecision of touchscreen controls in a game which ramps up the importance of every single decision.

This is perhaps the only nitpick I have with the mobile port of Into the Breach, so I’d best make a meal of it, but this ever-so-slight additional requirement when pressing on a unit or terrain square for further info (and, to accommodate the smaller screen size, you frequently require multiple presses for full information) is a much more laborious and less immediate way of informing decision making than the ease of off-handedly sliding the mouse cursor across the entire screen.

Some of the on-screen icons are also uncomfortably hard to read, such as the enemy attack traits. But these are very small trade-offs for bringing one of the strongest tactics games onto the small screen – an essential title on mobile (as long as you are a Netflix subscriber…).

Dicey Dungeons

Dicey Dungeons

There is one game that has effectively never left my phone, or the Ship of Theseus that is the journey from handset to handset, for 11 years. It’s the iOS port of a board game called Ascension, one of the early deckbuilding games that has helped popularise the genre. It is, to me, “solved”: I have spent so much time playing Ascension and its various expansions that my relationship with the game is irrevocably twisted. I no longer play games to earn the most points but to create decks that are so circuitous that the cycle of repetition freezes the app. Yes, I am one of those awful, awful people.

Deckbuilders have since expanded into one of the most popular genres on mobile, PC, and console. But, truth be told, I’ve struggled to get onboard stalwart titles such as Slay the Spire and Meteorfall.


Dicey Dungeons might well break the pattern. It shares a lot of similarities with Slay the Spire, with its charming pastel presentation and pairing of caustic retro game show-aethestic and RPG sensibilities. But – and this is controversial, as deckbuilders and card games already carry a weight of randomisation – there is something enjoyably tangible about implementing another slide of RNG with the dice, and another layer of decision making in when and which to use.

It is early days – whether it will supplant Ascension as my go-to deckbuilder remains to be seen – but with six character classes and levels each, this is more than enough meat on the bones.



Lewis Rees: I’m a massive gamer. However, mobile gaming has always been a distraction for me, as opposed to my more serious commitment to console games.

However, I make an exception for more tactile experiences, such as The Room or House of Da Vinci, or point-and-click titles like the Adventure Escape series. Not necessarily the flashiest games out there, but a lot of fun nonetheless.


Particularly, I’m drawn to unusual point-and-clicks – those with interesting mechanics, or a deep and complex storyline, such as the sublime Zero Escape series, which is why I was immediately hooked by Incoherence.

The player wakes up in a room, then proceeds to another, in classic Point-and-click fashion. What separates Incoherence from other titles, despite the relative simplicity of the gameplay, is the level design. In the hub you’re given four plates representing the protagonist’s memories, which you can input into devices in any order before proceeding through them. Each room has a series of puzzles to solve to unlock the next. The brilliance comes from an overarching puzzle in each section which can only be solved by placing the plates in the correct order to ensure you have the items necessary.

The game also avoids the typical frustration common in point-and-click titles of needing to trek everywhere with the inclusion of an in-game camera. Do you need to use a code in one room to unlock a box in another? Just take a quick photo and delete it when you’re done.

The puzzles are decently challenging – not to the point of frustration, but not something you can always breeze through, either, and the in-game hint system avoids the common “pay or watch an ad” or “wait five minutes to earn a new hint” method. You have all the hints available, and they’re removed as you progress, so if you’re really stuck you can get the help you need, when you need it. It’s a user-friendly method that stands out from similar titles, especially outside of the free-to-play market.

Graphically the game is nothing revolutionary, but not inherently bad, either. There’s little in the way of moving parts, with a focus instead on quick transitions or flashes of memory. Similarly, the audio consists mostly of soft music, environmental sound effects, and the occasional narration – the latter of which is missing from many similar games.

The game feels like it could have done well as a free-to-play title, but I personally found it well worth the price I paid. The game screams “Indie” in the best ways and, although it hasn’t set the world on fire in terms of revenue – the game has earned less than $5,000 since its release on June 30 - it’s an experience I recommend to anyone who’s a fan of the genre.

Colony – A Space RPG

Colony – A Space RPG

I have a confession that I suspect is commonplace for those in the games industry: I play very few games.

Much of this is due to time – since joining, I don’t think I’ve ever really switched off. Judging by my conversations with others in the games industry, this is similarly commonplace.

This means a lot of games with considerable time commitments, randomisation, or PvP are not really within my grasp (although, amusingly enough, I have kept Magic: Arena installed on my phone for those errant moments, typically monthly, I can get a match in).

This means I’m drawn to pared-down, limited experiences, typically the purview of ‘premium’ experiences. And, as Subset Games’ Matthew Davis rightly said in our chat, they’re in a weird place right now.

I also had some unfortunate news about a loved one recently, and have been spending some time in the hospital. It is one of those bits of bad news that means a lot of waiting around hospitals too. Prime time for some mobile gaming, if I weren’t so distracted to the point of resisting distraction.

A younger family member pulls out her iPad and starts playing Kaeden Wile’s Colony – A Space RPG. It is a stripped-back, visually barebones, multiple-choice text adventure with deckbuilding elements, some admittedly clunky emergent writing, and a slightly woolly logic. There is some Battlestar Galactica, a little Lord of the Rings, but the game it most reminds me of is Out There.

Much of that is because my experience playing Colony – A Space RPG is eerily reminiscent of how I first played Out There; in a hospital waiting room, with a loved one, waiting on an update for someone I care about, and being forced to fight my impatience.

She chides me for making stupid decisions, which is reasonable, but the pace is brisk and some of the interactions are quite amusing, if a little tropey. Managing cards in battles felt familiar, but lacked the endlessly complex rules manipulation of a Magic: The Gathering or the tight precision of a Slay the Spire. Not very critically-minded of me, but I don’t know if there is any audio: it felt improper, having the sound up.

Colony – A Space RPG is Game of the Week almost by default; it is the only mobile (well, tablet) game I’ve played this week, and I wasn’t really the pilot. But if it had to be one game, I’m glad it was Colony.

Disney Mirrorverse

Disney Mirrorverse

This week saw the release of Disney Mirrorverse, and I’ve long held the belief that the Disney universe has all the potential in the world for the games market, such as the awesome Kingdom Hearts series. We forget the darkness of the stories, and the sanitisation of violent elements doesn’t mean those elements are absent.

Disney Mirrorverse brings that darkness to the surface. Set in an alternative universe where Disney heroes and villains live in relative harmony – with a few exceptions – the game pits familiar faces against the fractured – corrupted copies of themselves. You build a team and embark on simple missions to gain experience and level up, but I suppose your experience depends largely on luck.

The game floods you with crystals, with which you can unlock characters, relatively early, but this is a double-edged sword. Heroes are split into four classes – melee, ranged, tanks, and healers – but after a few hours of playtime – and buying one £2.49 pack which included a few crystals – I’d accumulated fifteen different playable characters, but I found that once I found a reliable team, I rarely felt the need to branch outside them.

It's worth noting, however, that unlike many gacha games this one uses characters people have strong emotional connections with. Disney is banking on these emotional bonds – especially among younger players – to earn revenue. As such Disney Mirrorverse doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does realign it.


As for the gameplay, Disney Mirrorverse is a relatively simple action RPG. You control one character at a time, using one finger to move and another to attack. Every character has unique special attacks or added quirks to their attacking, such as Merida getting a critical hit bonus after enough hits or Ian Lightfoot switching from periodically buffing attack and defence.

The graphics are nice enough, if nothing groundbreaking, and I appreciated the fact that the characters aren’t exact copies of their mainstream counterparts. For example Sulley wears futuristic armour, while Merida fights with a spectral bow and arrow, and Oogie Boogie’s obsession with gambling is represented by a flail made of dice and a roulette wheel shield. It really did drive in that these aren’t quite the characters we’re used to.

However, I did find that the focus on giving a consistent art style did have its own issues. While a lot of characters look impressive, characters from more recent films, such as Ian Lightfoot, look noticeably worse than in their source films. It’s a pragmatic choice that ensures that the characters don’t stand out too much from each other but does have a bit of an uncanny valley effect.

Still, there’s a charm in simplicity. Like Kingdom Hearts, there’s a simple joy in seeing familiar characters interact in new contexts, and the gameplay loop meant that, while I did have my favourites, switching out never felt like it put me at too much of a disadvantage. With over 200,000 downloads and $100,000 in earnings since release, I can see Disney Mirrorverse becoming a big hit over the coming weeks.

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy

If you’re looking for an engaging, charming, and gripping story, buy Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, which made its return to Android after nine long years.

If you’re looking for a more contemporary and nuanced investigative story with numerous paths and endings to reward multiple playthroughs… I might recommend looking elsewhere.

That’s an unfair criticism, really. The Ace Attorney trilogy first launched in 2001 on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, and not only have the means and tools in which video games stories can be created with changed considerably, but also our sensibilities as consumers and cultures. Frankly, it’s a testament that Phoenix Wright’s caustic, cartoonish charm is as potent as ever, several decades down the line.

The Android version is not a mobile-specific port, but rather converting the Nintendo Switch version to handsets.


But it’s hard to look at the flexibility of interactive fiction like Overboard! and not pang for a little more modernity. Ace Attorney’s linearity can also be a source of frustration, and have players resorting to pixel hunting for a clue that you just tapped slightly too far to the side to get beforehand.

It’s also a steeper price tag, at $22.99. Developers deserve to be renumerated for their considerable effort and talent, and pricing of mobile games is a hole of a conversation we don’t have time to get into right now. But is a huge advocate for access to gaming – and this means acknowledging the entry points that F2P offers, even if there are a wealth of monetisation strategies we find distasteful. $22.99 to anyone in the world is not a disposable amount of money (and if you do think $22.99 is pocket change, has a very long list of worthwhile causes and charities you can donate towards).

So, old and expensive and most valuable the first time through. Hardly a glittering recommendation so far – what precisely do you get with Ace Attorney? Easy, you get three games of immense storytelling joy, with a cast of characters both well-defined and believably malleable, structured with a pacing and challenge that accommodates portable gaming. And it’s back on Android after nine years.

(and if you don’t want lawyers but like the idea of classics on mobile, can I recommend Professor Layton?)

Diablo Immortal

Diablo Immortal

We’re diverging from the regular parameters of Game of the Week, which typically profiles a title that has been released over the last seven days, but the truth is we have been playing only one mobile title, and that’s Diablo Immortal.

Let’s be upfront: there will not be any comments on the presence of IAPs because we have not reached endgame. In fact, we are barely past the tutorial (although the infamous pop-up following Mad King’s Breach, as shared by Stephen Totilo, was admittedly met with some bemusement).

So, here’s our thoughts on Diablo Immortal: it’s fine.

It is, as one would expect from Blizzard, a very graphically appealing title that competently translates the mouse-and-keyboard experience into fluid and accessible touchscreen controls. We are still within the opening hours, so we can’t speak as to how reliable they will be during the chaotic, number-crunching endgame but so far, it’s a smooth, easy ride.

It is also, again at this early stage, generous with item drops and variety. Five classes are available from launch, and while we have not explored all of them, compatriots tell us they bring sufficiently divergent playstyles and build variety.


But in all honesty, it’s been hard to engage with it. In truth, a Diablo experience has been something has sought for a long time (including having previously spent a couple of hours on Making Fun’s Eternium). Knowing that the endgame involves considerable financial investment and heavy randomisation saps our enthusiasm by considerable margins.

As amusing as the Mad King’s Breach Trove pop-up is, many of us at struggle in the face of such overt monetisation, and Diablo Immortal not being released in Belgium and the Netherlands is as clear a statement about the commitment to gambling mechanics within the game's monetisation.

Diablo Immortal remains on our phone, but whether we'll return to our grumbling, mumbling monk is less certain.

Dragon Quest Builders

Dragon Quest Builders

In lieu of Diablo Immortal – which released just at the point today's Game of the Week writer is spending some time disconnected from the world – we want to discuss another great port.

Last week, was a little disappointed at the lack of refinement in the mobile port of Streets of Rage 4 to turn it into a true mobile experience. It was a straightforward, unexceptional port of an enjoyable, reminiscent side-scroller brawler.

Game of the Week is also guilty of perhaps overegging its archaic disdain with virtual d-pads. Frankly, games including Call of Duty Mobile, Wild Rift, and Pokémon Unite have proven that the vast majority of players don’t struggle with onscreen control complexity – the ubiquity and internationality of mobile gaming means more players have experience with virtual d-pads than not.

But it is deeply refreshing to see a mobile port of a console experience that embraces the benefits of touchscreen controls, to deliver something that smooths the rough edges of virtual d-pads with functionality that rivals – if not, dare I say, bests – a physical controller.


But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Dragon Quest Builders is a third-person JRPG X Minecraft, marrying the discreetly subversive charm of Dragon Quest with the emergent gameplay of Minecraft’s survival loop… at least, that’s the promise.

In reality, it is closer to a Lego instruction manual or a paint-by-numbers. The game’s rigid storyline tightly grips your hand and doesn’t care to let go. You’ll have space to create, but your original construction efforts won’t translate into progress, and its only benefit is intrinsic (and that’s ignoring the self-hindrance when wrestling with the limited resources in each environment).

This linearity is made more tolerable – even palatable – by the breezy pace and compelling writing, smooth player progression, and some degree of moment-to-moment flexibility (and I cannot say enough of the charm offensive in the sequel, which will hopefully similarly be ported, that turns a laborious, mandatory, unskippable tutorial into a compelling moment that ends too soon).

But the controls. They are rigidly unintuitive on a controller and I’ll admit to trepidation when downloading Dragon Quest Builders on the iPhone. But the mobile port successfully reduces that frustration with a straightforward solution: tap-to-build. Tap anywhere on the screen to place a block at that location. It’s a simple, elegant, perhaps aggressively obvious solution that furnishes the mobile port with something bespoke and compelling, and that cannot be replicated on consoles. didn’t complete either Builders 1 or 2 on its console iterations. Perhaps we will this time.

Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4

An arcade bar recently opened in the city. It has perhaps the trifecta of desirable arcades – Time Crisis 2 with working recoil, a four-players Simpsons cab, and a four-player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cab. The latter two are big draws for me, being a fan of side-scrolling beat ‘em ups. But I have to admit, they don’t produce the same kind of magic for me; the experience rings a little hollow nowadays.

Streets of Rage 4 brings contemporary sensibilities to the somewhat faded genre – fighting game-esque combos and air juggles, more pronounced differences between selectable characters, and a heightened pace of play.

It is also deeply reverential to the legacy of the franchise, with deeply affectionate unlockables and – the true star of Streets of Rage 4 – new original tracks by maestro Yuzo Koshiro. While he only contributed a handful of tracks, they are undoubtedly the best in the game and aptly recall the techno heart of the Mega Drive title’s sound.


There are very few changes – or any improvements – to the mobile release. It does, disappointingly, fails to scale the playing field to match most phone’s wider-than-widescreen sizes, instead opting for some unremarkable but otherwise still tacky borders. They are, at least, a convenient spot for the onscreen buttons (which are removed when playing with a controller). But otherwise, the experience is much the same as its console and PC editions.

The biggest absence by far is the lack of multiplayer, although Dotemu has stated that this will be added in a free update “after release”.

I can’t help but feel a little disappointed at the lack of refinement in the Streets of Rage 4 mobile port. While the convergence between the mobile and console/PC gaming experiences – especially in cross-play titles like Genshin Impact – will also strengthen mobile gaming, there are of course differences to the ways people engage with mobile games, if only physically. It is disappointing to see this hasn’t been taken into consideration.

This is Streets of Rage 4 on mobile, no more and no less.

Apex Legends Mobile

Apex Legends Mobile

Apex Legends Mobile is one of the most impressive experiences I’ve had on a mobile game. It is as technically impressively as the big box-scale iterations of Call of Duty and Genshin Impact, and while Apex Legends was always persuasive and compelling on PC and console, there is something that remains astounding when seeing it on the small screen.

I do have one problem though: I’m rubbish at it.

There are a handful of reasons why I’m rubbish at it. The most important is my innate, underwhelming skill and lack of reflexes, but more useful to discuss would be the control scheme and implementation.

I remain of the opinion that games with this degree of control complexity are, for the most part, incompatible with touchscreen controls. The fidelity and implementation of virtual d-pads has become smoother, and I certainly welcome more involved experiences on mobile beyond casual and mid-core. But I did read this on…


I’ve served my time in the Monster Hunter claw grip prison, I know the contortions necessary to make the most of physical restrictions. But I think, for my upcoming train trip, I might just bring my DualShock controller with me instead.



We at (at least, those of us who write the Game of the Week column) have spoken about our struggles with gacha games, and the latest title from Lilith Games – creators of Rise of Kingdoms and AFK Arena – Dislyte, when reduced to its constituent components, doesn’t sound like the one to persuade me otherwise: a character-focused gacha with auto-combat options. But what is most enticing is the sheer quality of its presentation. Check out this story trailer:


I like bright colours and enjoyably tacky EDM, and Dislyte has both in spades. There is a sheer polish and confidence in expressing the theme, described by Lilith Games as “urban mythology”, and a strict recognition in the importance of worldbuilding and lending immediate appeal to its characters.

I’m somewhat old, so my mind goes back to Blizzard when I think of studios that can create such powerful and appealing immediacy, but I think that does a disservice to the work Riot, Supercell, Rovio, and ustwo have done to infuse their cast of characters with the kind of brand recognition that gets them made into feature films and parade balloons.

While mobile games lean towards a ubiquity based in appealing to as wide an audience as possible (you only need to see the similarities between Warcraft Arclight Rumble and Clash Mini), Dislyte has a more aggressively distinctive style – give me more of those bright colours and trashy EDM, thank you.

Warcraft Arclight Rumble (alpha)

Warcraft Arclight Rumble (alpha)

This week’s entry feels a little… gaudy, because one of the most beneficial elements of Game of the Week is that we get to profile games that may not get the same kind of attention from our news coverage or perhaps help you discover a bit of a gem. In any case, it should be mandatory that it's a game that players can freely access.

But I’ll be honest, the only mobile game I’ve played this week has been the alpha of Warcraft Arclight Rumble, which ended on May 3.


So, what do I think? In all honesty, hard to say. It very clearly exists in the same stable as Supercell’s Clash Royale, paired with a similar toy-like interpretation of the recognisable Warcraft characters that similarly shares similarities to Clash Mini’s figurine aesthetic. And, similar to Clash Royale, you rotate through a ‘deck’ of units, deployed to attack your opponent’s landmarks while protecting your own, with some additional twists such as mineable gold and a rock-paper-scissors tactical layer to unit strength.

But it is wrapped in that recognisable confidence that is exuded from most Blizzard games – this is as cohesive and immediate as Hearthstone’s take on the TCG is. Blizzard asserted itself as a worthy competitor on the mobile arena, and my immediate thoughts are Arclight Rumble will be more than an also-ran.

I am not a Clash Royale player. Regardless, I can’t speak as to how persuasive Arclight Rumble will be in creating the necessary distance between itself and the Supercell classic. That will be central to any success for Blizzard.

I have some concerns with readability – Jeremy Collins, art director, expressed the importance of efficiently keeping players informed, especially considering one of mobile’s inherent challenges: the small screen. Arclight Rumble placers more units across larger play fields than its contemporaries, and maybe – such as the multitudinous chickens – are minute and easily missed, were it not for the clucking: cute and efficient sound design but a band aid rather than a cure.

But so far, the alpha succeeds in displaying the promise: this is a snappy, succinct strategy game that has managed to translate (at least, to my I’ve-played-Warcraft-2-and-nothing-else eyes) the Warcraft style into an approachable, mobile-friendly way.

If there’s one element of Arclight Rumble that has truly caught my attention, it’s the single in-game currency. It’s a decidedly old-fashioned approach, and while there is plenty of time for change – in discussions with, the Blizzard team was understandably hesitant to commit to any one course – there is a refreshing simplicity to having a single currency and without gating any purchases through premium currencies or timed events. Undoubtedly it was a decision reached in response to a sense of fatigue that goes beyond just me.

Echoes of Mana

Echoes of Mana

I’ll confess, I am past my time with gacha games. I played Final Fantasy Brave Exvius for, well, longer than expected before burning out on timers, currencies, and random drops. I tried to get into Genshin Impact – a mobile technical masterpiece – but struggle with virtual d-pads in a way, according to thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen, the modern mobile player doesn’t.

So why is Echoes of Mana our game of the week? Because it had its official release on April 27 and it’s one of the more persuasive implementations of virtual d-pads I’ve experienced. But if I were to describe how movement feels in the game, it would be offputting: walking around horizontal lines feels magnetised, and attacking is supported by a considerable amount of autotargeting.

But for my old-man hands, this kind of stickiness gives the impression – or illusion – of the precision I have with a physical controller. The standard layout is also comfortable, although I’ll confess to not having looked at the customisation or accessibility options.


In truth, there are many action mobile games I would like to enjoy, but have yet to adjust to virtual d-pads. Perhaps I get my hands on a Backbone (and chances are, I won’t get my hands on a Backbone). But in the meanwhile, Echoes of Mana stays on my phone.

Is this enough to tear me away from Elden Ring when I want to get my action game fix? I’m unsure. It’s still a gacha game.

Square Valley

Square Valley

Today's Game of the Week starts on something of a sad note: our esteemed news editor, Aaron Orr, leaves today. Orr was not only the pioneer leading our news coverage, but was also the author of the Game of the Week column (among many other regular items on the site), and I want to thank him [discreetly] for his time here, and wish him the very best.

Absences have me in a reflective mood. And titles like Square Valley, a world-creating puzzle game by Ryan Becijos, are fine accompaniments for such states of mind.

Square Valley positions you as the Spirit of the Valley, forming settlements at the requests of your citizens. There are many similar titles but if you're an old man, like me, it may put you in mind of the citybuilding elements of the PS2 game, Dark Cloud.

So far, the puzzles follow a discernable logic that is delicately taxing without being ponderous or, worse, illogical, although Square Valley was released on April 21 and I'll confess to not having played extensively.


So, Dark Cloud and tabletop games. Square Valley has a tactility that emulates the same feeling as a well-placed wooden town or meeple, and a soft soundscape that adds a touch of serenity.

Sorry, that's a little overblown; I'm not describing a religious experience. But that's what reflective moods do to me.



Have you ever just wanted to sit back and let everyone else do the hard work whilst you reap the rewards?

Well now you can as Japanese game dev Zoo Corp has launched its pixel-art RPG Akindo on the App Store and Google Play in additional countries.

In Akindo you take the role of a merchant that needs to invest in exploration and industry in order to help develop your island.

Rather than fighting yourself you are accompanied by an entourage of guards that each have different skills to protect you as you explore and liberate the surrounding areas from evil mushrooms and the like.

Unlike similar games that use card-based gameplay, the combat in Akindo is real-time as you control your party across the battlefield and use the special abilities of the guards. The merchant themselves isn’t always useless and can fire all their hard earned cash at the enemies with the aptly named ‘money gun’.

As you liberate the areas you collect materials to sell to fund your expansion, or you can use the materials to construct new things for your growing island. There are also quests to complete to bring in the extra cash as you grow your island, including daily and weekly, as well as world quests and achievements.

Once you have liberated one island you are free to find more to liberate and this brings with it the ‘island management’ feature that allows you to build upon previous islands claimed and get your ROI.

Unlike other games that gradually show you the features of the game as you play, Akindo info dumps pretty hard at the start. Because of this I ended up skipping some of the text to get right into gameplay but then ended up wondering what to do next.

Overall, Akindo is a nice example of how less can be more, and despite its slightly overwhelming number of things you have to remember to do right off the bat, once you get into it it’s not as confusing as it seems.



Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we have found ourselves commuting less and less. Not only are people not travelling into offices as much, but we are also using public transport for leisure considerably less than before.

What this has meant for me is that I am playing a lot less casual and hypercasual mobile games. These are the types of games that I would use to bide time from A to B and now my commute to work is roughly 13 steps I don’t have time that I need to fill as much.

This week however I thought I would give one a try and Laser Dog had launched their latest title, Catchee, a blend between a classic arcade catching game and rhythm.

In Catchee, you catch items that fall from the sky by swiping left and right in time with mind-numbingly infectious songs that would find themselves at home at a school disco.

As you progress not only does the song get "bigger" with more instruments but it also gets faster and pitch, which increases the difficulty somewhat.


There are several skins that change both the things that are falling and the receptacle that you use to catch them. Of course, my favourite is the toilet that catches poo…

One issue I have with Catchee is how long it takes to unlock a second song, even with ads that provide a greater boost to the in-game currency awarded performing well on a song I can only listen to "it’s all about you, the happy things you do" so many times before I want to throw my phone at a wall.

Of course, being a casual game you’re not expected to dedicate as much time in one sitting as you may do for a hardcore rhythm game, so it can be expected that the game doesn’t have many songs yet and the unlock curve is steeper.

Nonetheless, Catchee is the most fun I have had with a casual game for a long time, and it is surprisingly more difficult than many other casual games on the market, which is very refreshing.

When searching for more information about the came I came across a video diary from the Laser Dog team, the UK-based duo Simon Renshaw and Rob Allison.


The studio was facing dire straits and was concerned about closing its doors. Catchee was made within just a month as a last stretch to bring in some income after their last project had the plug pulled.

Not only is Catchee a stellar example of a casual game game, it has a great story behind it. As a fan of previous Laser Dog games, in particular PKTBALL, I hope that Catchee does as intended and we can see more games from this dynamic duo in the future.

Crush the Castle Legacy

Crush the Castle Legacy

The revival rampage has recently made its way to mobile devices as popular games from the early days of mobile gaming are being brought back to drain our nostalgia spending funds.

Consoles and PCs have already attacked our wallets over the past few years with remasters from the late nineties to the early 2010’s (too early for a remaster in my books), but the mobile world has now decided it is ready to do the same.

This week, Armor Games launched Crush the Castle Legacy, a collection of all of the previous games in the series, which consists of over 300 levels.

Crush the Castle was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, physics-based destruction games and even inspired Angry Birds, a series that long outlived the trebuchet tapper.

In fact, upon opening the first game in the collection you are greeted by this message:

"The classic that took the world of web games by storm. Before those birds were even a twinkle in some Finnish guy’s eye, castles were being crushed left right and centre by millions of players around the globe. It’s janky! It’s awkward! It’s difficult! But it’s a piece of history!"

This is all true. I was one of those players that would tirelessly play Crush the Castle on my web browser whenever I booted up my PC before becoming frustrated at how janky and awkward the game was.


Armor Games has stayed true to the original games and has featured all of the same music and sound effects that sounded dated even back in 2009 when the game was launched. Of course, this makes playing the game an even more nostalgic experience and is the biggest draw I can imagine the game has. 

The biggest change I can see is the classic 'open mouth, big eyes, looking to the side' app icon, but other than that, the game is the same as it was.

Although I hadn’t played the game for over a decade I still remembered how much fun I had way back when. In the vast sea of web games back in the noughties there was always something new to play, but Crush the Castle has remained in my memory to this day as one of the better ones.

I hadn't played Crush the Castle on a mobile device before today so I can’t compare it with its early days on mobile, however, it is a much more streamlined experience than on PC.

If you haven’t played Crush the Castle before it is definitely worth a play now, even if just to learn what inspired one of the most recognisable mobile game franchises to date.

Shatter Remastered

Shatter Remastered

Let’s be real, if you’re reading this it’s almost guaranteed that you have a Netflix subscription.

As of late, the streaming service has been trying its hand at the mobile games business but is yet to get a strong grasp of mobile gamers.

Currently, Netflix has 16 games available as free additional content when you have a subscription, but I have yet to play any of them since the game startered , until now.

This week, Netflix added two new games to its service, This Is a True Story and Shatter Remastered, of which I tried the latter.

Shatter is a Breakout clone originally developed by Sidhe for the Playstation 3 back in 2009. Shatter Remastered is an updated version of the game developed by Pik Pok, specifically for Netflix.

Brick breaking games were one of the first introductions I had to mobile games, following Snake and Space Invaders that is. I would spend hours playing Brick Breaker on my Blackberry (remember those?) during my commute and was one of the reasons I stayed playing mobile games.

Shatter Remastered stays true to the genre in that you bounce a ball, or balls, off of some blocks to break them in a classic Chucklevision "to me, to you" fashion. There isn’t much original gameplay but there are power ups that help you break the blocks faster.

The best feature of the game is the boss fights in which you are faced with a moving target that can deal you damage too.


Of course, Shatter Remastered is a touched-up version of an old game that has already been on mobile devices before, so it’s not really a great candidate for Game of the Week. Nonetheless, it is an important example of the type of games that Netflix will be offering with its services and provides interesting discourse on what exactly Netflix brings with mobile games, and whether the streaming service will ever be a strong contender in the industry.

As Netflix expands its service and brings more games in, there is potential for it to be a competitor to the likes of Apple Arcade, but as it stands there is still work to be done to attract more users through mobile games. Although, as the games are readily available to Netflix subscribers for no extra cost, there is definitely no harm in giving them a go.

You can check out all the games currently available through Netflix here.

Lingo Legend

Lingo Legend

Every new year I tell myself that I will make progress in learning a new language and I habitually don’t do this.

As a somewhat late mid-March resolution, I have decided to try and make some headway so I’m not embarrassed around all of my cosmopolitan, bi- or multilingual friends anymore.

But surely language learning isn’t a game? Well, this week Hyperthought Games has launched Lingo Legend on iOS, a language learning app taught through gamified experience (I’ve said it’s a game so it’s a game).

At the time of writing there are eight languages available to learn, including French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European), and Spanish.

Like every anime-watching Zoomer I chose Japanese, which begins with teaching the two fundamental alphabets of the language, Hiragana and Katakana. That isn’t the only reason mind you. With a 100-day Duolingo streak under my belt (circa 2019) and a confidence in my hiragana ability I am approaching this as an educational speedrun to assess the game.

Time to learn

Lingo Legends offers three levels of lessons - beginner, novice, and elementary - each involving more complex linguistic capabilities. I chose beginner as it introduces the basic elements of the language.

The app transitions into a game almost immediately after language and difficulty selections. The game in question is Yorthwood, a mediaeval, fantasy card-collecting adventure game.

What Lingo Legend does well is the introduction of various assessment methods right off the bat. The game introduces you to the basic vowels and has you recall them in various ways as well as trace the letters, or kana in this case.

You can increase the difficulty as well which ramps up the number of different flash cards you will be assessed with, which makes things a little trickier but definitely worth the extra challenge. You can also change what area of the language to focus on, which also gives you an insight into how much content the game actually houses (it’s a lot).

Lingo Legend also features a hub, where you can view your progress in your language learning journey, a leaderboard to compete against other 'students'. Yorthwood is under the Games section of this menu, hinting that there are more games likely to come as the service continues.


Although free-to-play, Lingo Legend does feature a monthly subscription service for $9.99 a month. The subscription gives you similar to what other language learning apps provide, such as ad removal, unlimited attempts, more in-game content, and early access.

Personally, I would suggest trialling the game for a month to see if you have the motivation to continue, but then the subscription does have its benefits to those that are serious.

I can’t speak for other countries but the UK doesn’t approach language learning very aptly, we’re rather obtuse about it actually. I think that by combining education with a game, I, along with other players, will be able to endure language learning for a longer period compared with non-gamified language learning apps (and maybe even reach a 200-day Lingo Legend streak).

Thanks for reading. Arigatou. ありがとう.

Mounment Valley 2+

Mounment Valley 2+

I’ll be honest: I’m cheating a little this week. I’ve spent about 30 minutes playing Monument Valley 2+ since it was released on Apple Arcade today. But this isn’t the extend of my falsehood, because I also played it a year ago.

Monument Valley 2+ places you as a guiding influence that manipulates levels in geometrically impossible ways to help main character Ro traverse each stage.

So far, so Echochrome (albeit one in which the puzzle-solving experience is so much cleaner). But the real charm of Monument Valley 2+ is the evocative, delicate atmosphere, storytelling, and soundtrack.

Also, as someone who has spent more than his sentence wrestling with microtransactions and multiple currencies in Magic: The Gathering Arena, there is also something wholesomely cleansing about going through a complete experience.


Monument Valley 2+’s inclusion in Apple Arcade is a perfect opportunity, either to introduce yourself to a wonderfully discreet, affecting experience or reacquaint yourself to its sublime minimalism all over again.

The Impossible Game 2

The Impossible Game 2

Every corner of the games industry is currently obsessed with one thing: Elden Ring.

FromSoftware is known for pain-stakingly difficult games, but this is one of the features that makes the games so addictive.

Maybe one day Elden Ring will be available on mobile through the advances we’re seeing in cloud gaming, but for now we have to satiate our masochistic desires elsewhere.

Luckily for us, FlukeDuke has released The Impossible Game 2 to once again ruin our days and nights.

Mobile masochism

Over 12 years on since the release of the first rage-inducing, one-button platformer The Impossible Game, this sequel brings back the bouncing box to once again survive the 2D perils.

The second game has 20 levels to try your patience, four times the number of the original game and brings new features, such as guns and portals, to really put your index finger or thumb dexterity to the test.

Each level has a different song behind it from an array of producers and DJs, such as Panda Eyes, Nitro Fun, MDK, or Aaro, although it is hard to enjoy the songs when they are constantly distracting you from perfectly timing your jumps. I can’t recommend muting the game though as being left alone with only your own thoughts whilst playing this game is not healthy.


When playing the game’s predecessor, I remember friends and I taking turns trying to get the best score and laughing at one another failing, but not having a way to compete at once.

This really is the future as The Impossible Game 2 lets you play against others in real time online in its battle royale mode which eliminates players until there is one left jumping. The online mode supports up to 60 players but I have yet to be in a game with more than 20 players.

There is also a level editor that allows players to create their own torturous endeavours to annoy those in your immediate vicinity. The level editor contains almost all of the features seen in the game’s levels, however, doesn’t seem to allow you to upload them for others to play. With user-generated content a hot topic in the mobile industry, the integration of this feature will be crucial to the game’s future success.

Keep on bouncing

The Impossible Game 2 is completely free-to-play and includes no ads or any pay-to-win features, although there is a paid achievement pass that rewards skins, items, and new features for the level editor. There are more features to come in the future that appear to be behind a paywall, however, there is more than enough free content in the game as it stands at launch that future paid content is to be expected.

As confident as you are in your abilities to be good at the game, you will be surprised with how many times you mess up, and also how long you stay engrossed in completing levels.

The game may be simple, but it’s more than enough to fill some spare time in your day and angrily get back to whatever it was you were meant to be doing.

I have been thoroughly annoyed but I still had a good time. Anyway, back to Elden Ring.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers

Nickelodeon Kart Racers

Whenever I play a racing game I always end up comparing it to the Mario Kart series to determine whether it is a good game or not.

I always felt that this was an unfair comparison to make against mobile racing games in the past as Mario Kart wasn’t on mobile, however, with the release of Mario Kart Tour I now have my baseline.

This week, Netmarble subsidiary Kung Fu Factory launched Nickelodeon Kart Racers on iOS and Android following almost a year of soft launch.

One-tap racing

Like it’s console and PC version before it, Nickelodeon Kart Racers (NKR) includes characters from all of the childhood fictional favourites from the past decade, such as Spongebob Squarepants, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Rugrats, and… Jojo Siwa?

Unlike other racing games, NKR requires little input from players as the carts move forward automatically, with players tilting their phones side to side to collect coins, and tapping in time to make successful turns and jumps.

What I like about the little player input required is that I can play with one hand and hold a cup of tea in the other - mobile gaming at its finest.

Although playing the game too idly and not getting good scores on the quick-time events will cause you to lose, especially online.

NKR features two modes: an offline racing mode against three other characters and an online one-on-one versus mode. The offline mode is fairly unchallenging but the online mode ramps up the difficulty a bit.

Snooze fest

My biggest issue with the game is how dated it looks. Considering the leaps and bounds the mobile games industry has made within the last few years it’s odd seeing a game utilise a large set of IP in a lacklustre way - especially considering the array of big IP racing games available on mobile (looking at you Sonic Racing).

I mentioned that I compare mobile racing games to Mario Kart Tour, but I will be honest, I didn’t like that game very much at all, and that distaste has been replicated for NKR.

The combination of tilting controls and single taps can make the game fairly fast-paced at times and get more than one brain cell clocking in, and also brings the difficulty level up a bit, but doesn’t really engage you for more than one race and makes it feel like a dodgy version of Temple Run.

I don’t think I’ll be playing this one much more.

Flash Party

Flash Party

I think the most exciting thing about the mobile game industry is how quickly it is moving forward to rival console games in terms of quality.

On February 17, XD Entertainment soft launched its mobile fighting game Flash Party on iOS. I don’t normally play games that are in soft launch but I have made an exception as its a global soft launch.

I am a huge Smash Bros. fan (I even have the SSBU edition Nintendo Switch) so I went in not expecting much from a game that upon first impressions seems very much like a clone.

The FOMO is strong with this one

Flash Party lets you play against others online, either one on one or in teams of two, as well as an unlockable arena mode. You can also practice your skills offline which is a great way to learn the ins and outs of new characters.

The controls are simple to use, with players having the ability to use either light or heavy attacks that change depending on the direction you are moving. Games last six minutes and players have three lives each, with most games ending before the timer runs out.

Flash Party also looks good has nicely designed characters that each have their own unqiue look, although nothing strays that far from the imagination and no characters leave much of a lasting impression.

The game includes seasons that each has its own battle pass, which is probably my favourite F2P monetisation strategy. My biggest gripe with this is that certain characters are only available through paying for the battle pass, an attempt to tap into the player's FOMO. The salt in the wound is that you can test players before unlocking them.


I’ll be honest, when I downloaded this I expected to uninstall it pretty quickly afterwards, but I was surprised by how enjoyable the gameplay has been.

I mentioned earlier that upon first look the game seems like a Smash Bros clone and well, essentially that is what it is. Not that this is entirely a bad thing, Smash Bros isn’t available on mobile so it fills a gap for that style of fighting game, and it’s hardly like Nintendo owns the format.

I expect that Flash Party will do well in emerging, mobile-first markets due to its capability to run on lower end devices, from the iPhone 5S up. I also expect that this is essential for the game’s survival as unlike Smash Bros there isn’t a roster of characters that people already love to drive them to the game.

My Hero: Ultra Impact

My Hero: Ultra Impact

The combination of games and anime is often cause for controversy (mainly on Twitter and Reddit) with players and fans never able to reach a 

This week, Bandai Namco launched My Hero: Ultra Impact based on the Japanese manga and anime series My Hero Academia.

There have been several mobile games based on My Hero Academia, however, only two have been released outside of Asia.

I downloaded the first of the two, My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero, when it was first made available but it has sat unplayed on my phone for since for hesitance that it would not be worth my time. To make up for my negligence I decided to download the newest of the two, Ultra Impact, and play that instead.

Ultra Impact was first released in Japan last year and the English release includes all of the content added through liveops since launch. In many games this is staggered and overseas players get the content a couple of weeks to months after Japan, so this is a step in the right direction.

Plus Ultra

My Hero Ultra Impact follows the classic Bandai Namco anime series to mobile game formula and will feel very familiar to those that have played one before.

The reason this formula is used is because it worked. Bandai Namco do a great job of creating an immersive experience with voice actors and music from the series, as well as an accurate 3D representation of the characters. However, Ultra Impact features cuter, "chibi" versions of the characters which I must admit have grown on me.

The main campaign of Ultra Impact follows the plot of the series and Izuku Midoriya’s journey to become the number one hero. Playing through sets of levels will unveil more of the story.

Levels feature turn-based combat that varies depending on the speed of the characters. You can also get help from other players in the form of special moves that give an additional ability to help you in your fight, such as a strong attack move.

Characters can be upgraded to make them stronger in the fight against evil but it was a bit too overbearing a process for my finite attention span. I like to get right into the game without a lot of the 'do this' and 'do that' tutorials that detract from the actual playing of a game.

There is Hero Base in the game that allows you to place certain heroes and furniture in one of the rooms modelled on the hero school. This feature pales in comparison to the town building of the most recent anime-based game I played from Bandai Namco, Isekai Memories, and really didn’t need to be included in the game at all. Although, as GameRefinery recently reported the prevalence of 'renovation' features in games it's no wonder this was included.


I am sure you all expect this by now but Ultra Impact is mostly monetised through a gacha system that provides different versions of characters with varying rarities. Characters in the series don’t really tend to wear many outfits so I am interested to see the variety, or lack thereof, that the game will bring.

One of the most impressive features of Ultra Impact is how well it can run on older devices. I played this on an iPhone 7s and I had no issues with overheating, crashes, or any of the regular issues high demanding games can give.

What this led to was me actually enjoying the game for longer and playing for much longer than usual. It highlighted the issue of how important it is for games to be able to run on older devices as many potential players will not have the newest phones and can be turned away if a game doesn’t work for them.

The verdict

Ultra Impact suffers from the same pitfalls that other anime-based mobile games can face in that if you know the story you can get bored rather quickly. However, the catch 22 is that the game is targeted at fans of the series.

With voice acting and music from the show I am a bit more engaged in the game as there is a nostalgia factor in play. With limited time available though, my eyes turn to new stories with fresh characters rather than a retelling of a story I know.

Like the last Bandai Namco mobile game I played, Isekai Memories, Ultra Impact will probably keep me entertained on and off for a few weeks before I forget about it and leave it in the boneyard of my "games" folder.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel

I was cursed, and my innocence and naïvety were robbed. Like all children's tales, it started innoculously. It started with a trusted friend, a voice of calm and clarity in my life, whispering poison in my ear. He said: "Let's play Yu-Gi-Oh!"

Let's start with the standard details out of the way, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is a faithful, successful recreation of the popular trading card game. It is loud, brash, and colourful in the ways you want the digital integration of an anime aesthetic-driven card game to be. It has a healthy card pool of over 10,000 cards, succesful cross-play and your profile is not platform-locked, and a steady – if ungenerous – allocation of in-game currencies.


But I'll be entirely, fiercely honest: I have played very little Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. In part due to it only recently reaching iOS in the Americas on February 3, but primarily because of fear.

Fear of the unknown, but also fear of the familiar. The threat of capture and the sweet promise of oblivion. Yu-Gi-Oh! isn't annihilation as destruction but rather abrogation.

You see, I'm a Magic: The Gathering player, albeit lapsed. I'll spare the embarrassing comparisons to first kisses, first girlfriends, or first cars, but there is something to be said about how your first experience with these kinds of games is imprinted. TCGs are enormously similar in tone and texture, if not ruleset. They're cumbersome, weighty beasts that ask you to commit to them as habit rather than exception, and I know my track record with damaging habits.

I can't play Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. It will start as an itch, then it will become a pattern, then it will take over. But hey; maybe we should get a game in some time? Just one game.

The Office: Somehow We Manage

The Office: Somehow We Manage

COVID-19 changed the working world as we know it, with many offices now operating a hybrid-working system and some even working from home permanently.

At, we’re remote workers. But, in spite of our somewhat quieter homes, some occasionally miss the workplace hubbub.

This week, East Side Games launched The Office: Somehow We Manage, an idle mobile game based on the TV series. I thought I could get a taste of the office experience that so many have missed these past two years, so I decided to download it.

I haven’t played an idle game since AdVenture Capitalist, which, despite its extremely catchy tune, was ultimately devoid of things to do. I remember Cookie Clicker was all the rage before that and possibly the game that made the idle genre so popular. It also didn’t have much to do.

Welcome to Dunder Mifflin

Set in the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, Somehow We Manage includes some of the most iconic moments from the series, such as my personal favourite, Jelly-gate. Although I personally believe that the original UK version of the series handled the jelly scene better; and, no, I’m not debating this.

In addition to the scenes from the show, Somehow We Manage includes all of the main characters from the show, such as Michael, Jim, Pam, Dwight, Stanley and more. Although it is text-based dialogue, East Side Games has nailed the execution of each character.

As to be expected in the idle genre, the main objective of the game is to tap. Tapping gets 'Leads' which increases the amount of money that each office worker can make, and the cycle continues.

The game is split into episodes which each have different objectives, such as earning a certain amount or unlocking someone’s desk. The start of each episode resets the cash and leads from the prior episode but retains any upgrades to desks, decor, and characters.

At the end of each episode there is a boss challenge. This involves tapping the screen as fast as possible to get as many Scottcoins (I’ll get to that) from Michael as possible and is probably the most fun part of the game.


To make more money players can upgrade office workers and their desks with Michael’s self-made currency Scottcoins and the fuel of workers everywhere, coffee. Both of these in-game currencies are harder to collect but don’t really do much other than help to complete episodes faster.

The first four episodes fly by and are finished in mere minutes each. Episode five takes the earnings cap into the trillions and by this point you’re already starting to lose interest due to the lack of engaging content coming your way.

Other than the intro music of the show at the start of the game, Somehow We Manage includes no music when playing. Ordinarily, this would be something that turns me away from a game. In fact, the AdVenture Capitalist music was one of the reasons I played the game for as long as I did.

However, the lack of music in Somehow We Manage captures the mundanity of offices with the constant clacking of keys, occasional phone calls, and the other muffled miscellaneous office noises, such as printers or cups being put down.

Winner of the Dundies

Overall, The Office: Somehow We Manage is another good example of East Side Games’ ability to accurately represent a popular TV series in a game. Although the game is funny and looks good, the gameplay just isn’t engaging enough for players to come back and continue the metaphorical daily nine to five grind.

Fans of The Office that are more likely to play the game already know the majority of skits from the show, so other than the nostalgia factor there is not much else in there for them.

Somehow We Manage, like most idle games, doesn't have a competitive element or a gacha mechanic that features dressing characters in pretty outfits so I can’t see many players sticking with it for the long run and heavily investing. Idle games are made for just that, idleness, and don’t require boosting anything as there is no one else to compare to.

The game has reaffirmed my own position on idle games that although they are fun for the first 20 minutes or so, there’s not much point after that. Though I’m sure it would win at The Dundies for best idle game based on The Office.

Angry Birds Journey

Angry Birds Journey

It’s no secret that everyone and their mums have played an Angry Birds game at some point since the franchise began in 2009.

Through the years, countless spin-offs have seen the birds take flight into an all encompassing franchise, such as racing game Angry Birds Go, Bad Piggies, two Angry Birds Star Wars games, the RPG Angry Birds Evolution, and possibly the weirdest of all, Angry Birds Transformers.

I myself have played many an Angry Birds game, originally in a web browser, then tablet, and eventually my very own iPhone, as this was the day before every child had a smartphone (I may be young but I’m still no spring chicken… unlike these birds… sorry).

This week, Rovio launched Angry Birds Journey worldwide following just over a year of soft launch. Although the game has been available in the UK and several other countries for a while I decided to wait for the worldwide release before playing.

Back to the nest

Trips down memory lane are hard to avoid in the current age of media, and Angry Birds Journey sees a return to the classic slingshot action last seen seven years ago in Angry Birds 2 (which I still have installed to this day).

We’re all familiar with the Angry Birds format - pull the bird back and fire - with Journey staying true to the name as each level features several towers that need toppling with a predetermined order of birds.

At first glance everything seems the same as it was all those years ago, albeit with some smoother looking birds, pigs, and levels. The new art style follows suit with the direction movie studios approach family-orientated content, and although it doesn’t look bad in the slightest, I can’t help but miss the bird’s original looks.

My one complaint about the look of the game is how dated the in-game coin animation looks, as if it belongs in a game from the early 2000’s. Everything else looks so modern so it makes this stick out even more.

Another design change in Journey is the music.

Journey features a more sombre, orchestral tune as you smash down the pig’s towers, a strong dichotomy between the previous games’ jaunty, playful, and recognisable tune that constantly replays in my head at inappropriate times.


Unlike the original games, Journey doesn’t begin with the standard, powerless red Angry Bird itself, but instead the yellow bird and its boosting power. However, instead of deciding when to use the power, Journey automatically uses it for you when the bird is close to impact.

This is the case for all of the birds and is the most frustrating part of Angry Birds Journey as in past games the choice of when to boost, explode, or flip back around meant a tricky level could be solved in a more inventive way.

Not that the levels in Journey are tricky whatsoever. In fact, it’s probably the easiest Angry Birds game I have played. Although some levels are labelled hard it would only take one failed attempt to make you realise how to finish it.

However, each failed attempt does decrease the amount of stamina you have, which is used to play levels and another feature Angry Birds veterans will be familiar with.

Angry as ever

Overall, Journey’s return to roost doesn’t do much for the Angry Birds series other than a new way for the franchise to be introduced to a younger audience. Rovio took a safe bet on the release of the game, knowing that if you don’t do anything new it’s hard to do anything wrong. It still has that original Angry Birds fun, but, with mobile games getting increasingly more complex and dynamic, it will be hard for it to keep up.

Although the game does bring a nice bit of nostalgia it is too familiar to what we have seen before, with the added challenges of the game almost snatched away.

Despite my criticisms, Journey will probably stay on my phone for a very long time, as I occasionally decide I want to distract myself from whatever it is I am meant to be doing (such as writing a Game of the Week).

My one hope is that Journey performs well enough for Rovio that we get an Angry Birds Star Wars 3 sometime in the future.



Growing up we pondered the things we want to be once we are one of the almighty grown-ups we stare up at in awe of. I remember children who wanted to be vets, dancers, firemen, and even ninjas.

I myself wanted to be many things and eventually settled on being Darth Vader, but I’m not quite there yet.

One thing I don’t remember any child saying they wanted to be was an oil baron. Surely there were some out there as this week Netherlands-based studio Gamious has released its oil mining sim, Turmoil, on mobile devices.

I guess on my path to being a galactic overlord oil baron would definitely look good on a resume so I downloaded it to gain some experience.

My supervillain origin story

Published by LTGames, Turmoil is set during the 19th century oil rush in North America when everyone and their horse decided it was time to dig up some land with the hopes of finding some black gold.

As the game begins you have a choice of character, between cattle herding Joshua, ship captain Eduardo, real estate mogul Daisy, or bored barrister Blanche (it said lawyer but that would have ruined my alliteration).

I chose the least likely of the four to actually have the chance of being an oil entrepreneur, Joshua the cowboy. The other characters will serve as your rivals and you will compete against each other for land, outbidding for better plots of land at the bank.

To begin finding oil you do the first thing any rational thinking person would: send out a man with a stick.

Once said man has successfully dowsed for the oil you can begin by extracting it from the ground via crude pipe placement (see what I did there).

You then use horses to deliver the oil to the highest paying vendor, carefully managing both that you don’t extract too much or sell your oil at a low price. Extracting too much will cause the oil to spill which you get fined for in true BP fashion (no turtles were harmed during my playing of this game).


Levels are time based and as the last day closes in the ground begins to crack away to show you where all the oil deposits were.

My first day of oil extraction saw me $2,300 in losses where my rivals had all made $200 in profit. Of course by day two I learned from my mistakes and was able to turn a hefty profit, however I was still behind. By day three I was on par and by the fourth I was well ahead.

There are also financial bonuses for being a true heartless capitalist, such as depleting all the oil, selling it all, and closing up shop early once you have drained the land of its finite resources, worth $1000 each.

To increase your chances of getting ahead of the competition there are various upgrades you can purchase, such as wider pipes or speedier horses. Your rivals can also get upgrades but the game shows you which ones so you can always examine their strategies if you find yourself falling behind.

Not much of a rush

Turmoil has a very peaceful, well-themed soundtrack that definitely captures the mid-western aesthetic. Oddly, with the mooing cows in the background it sometimes feels more like playing a farming sim… I guess it could be seen as oil farming.

Turmoil is an extremely simple game and I can see why the developers decided it was high time to bring it to mobile. I am surprised it didn’t arrive sooner as its simplicity is something that is commonplace across the mobile games industry.

Despite its simplicity, Turmoil has somewhat repetitive gameplay and although I have enjoyed playing it, learning how to get better at the game is the most enjoyable part of it. This enjoyment plateaus once you consistently perform well and there is not much more of a challenge anymore.

It may not remain on my phone for much longer, but I have added the invaluable experience to my prospective CV. Back to essential oils for me.


As we return to our hectic post-holiday schedules it can be hard finding a quiet moment to relax and enjoy a few precious moments of the day.

In between returning emails and making sure you remember that thing that you had to do it is important to find some time to unwind.

As a result of people now returning from a well-earned vacation not many games have been released yet, however, there are still a few new games going strong in these bleary-eyed first few days of 2022.

To start the year, our Game of the Week this week is platform adventure Mimelet from indie games studio Neutronized.

In Mimelet, you take control of berry-loving Mimelet to save the world from the evil Mimelet who is here to do something evil.

As you traverse through the short and sweet levels you are tasked with collecting fruit ( I guess evil Mimelet suffers from fructophobia?) and figuring out the puzzles along the way. The controls are easy to understand with only three buttons, left, right, and jump, so there is not much to think about whilst playing.


The many enemies that inhabit Mimelet’s world represent different elements which Mimelet can steal by jumping on top of their heads. Upon doing so, Mimelet will acquire new powers that allow them to do new things, such as swim, destroy pink coloured blocks, or climb up grass platforms.

As simple as it may sound, these Kirby-esque powers take a little bit more thought and planning than one would think at first glance. As you progress more powers become available, with some providing detrimental effects, such as weakened jumping.

Mimelet has a catchy, fun soundtrack to go along with your adventure, which paired with its simplistic but pleasant art style provides a relaxing experience.

Mimelet is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t expect that much from the player, providing that well-needed headspace from our daily lives as we return to work.

Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage

Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage

Rhythm games are possibly my favourite genre of mobile game.

I find that the amount of content available and the replayability are surprisingly generous from games that are most often free-to-play, with gacha mechanics as the main money maker.

Rhythm games are extremely popular in Japan, and the craze hasn't taken the world by storm... yet! Due to this, many rhythm games only get released in Japan and never see a global release, much to my dismay.

Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage is a Japanese rhythm game developed by Colorful Palette, in partnership with Vocaloid owner Crypton Future Media, and published by Sega.

For those that don’t know, Vocaloid is a virtual singing synthesiser software that imitates singing through typed lyrics and programmed melodies.

Synthesised voices

Colorful Stage was first launched in Japan in September 2020 with a worldwide release on the cards at the time. Fortunately for us (mostly me), the worldwide release came this month on December 7th,

In addition to Hatsune Miku, Colorful Stage features some of the most popular Vocaloid singers, including Megurine Luka, Rin and Len, Meiko, and Kaito.

There are five bands in Colorful Stage, each with four members and its own substory. Additionally, each band plays a different musical genre and represents different states of mind or emotions.

The bands are: all-girl band Leo/need; idol band More More Jump!; hip-hop group Vivid Bad Squad; musical theatre group Wonderlands x Showtime; and underground group Nightcord at 25:00.

The story of Colorful Stage is set in the real world with the virtual singers existing as fictional singers. However, the Vocaloid singers do exist in other worlds known as "Sekai", where people’s true feelings are projected.

Throughout each of the band’s stories they are accompanied by Hatsune Miku and another Vocaloid (except for Nightcord at 25:00, which just has Miku), who also perform the songs with the bands while helping them discover their true feelings.


The gameplay of Colorful Palette consists of performing various songs by tapping the notes on screen in time with the rhythm. There are a few trickier notes, such as slides, but overall the gameplay is very simple in nature.

Execution of this simple gameplay is another matter. Songs can be played from one of five difficulties - easy, normal, hard, expert, and master - with master being unlocked once you complete a song on expert without getting more than seven good notes or worse.

To play songs you use up energy, which generates at one every half an hour or 10 upon levelling up. The more energy you use the higher your multiplier will be. You can also choose to play without energy, but then there are no reward multipliers.

However, this is one of my favourite things about rhythm games, being able to play the game even if you are out of energy. So many games prevent gameplay but this feature means you can keep playing even if you’ve been on a losing streak and have lost energy.

Keep the rhythm going

You can play either a solo show or a co-op show to test your skills against other players and you can often get higher rewards than playing solo. There is also a Virtual Concert mode that lets players watch their favourite group perform in 3D and interact with one another.

Music is all about personal preference, and I find a few of the songs are a bit lacking compared to others. The majority of songs however are very fun to play, and each provide something different from the last one.

At the time of writing there are 34 songs available, with some of them available from the in-game music shop, and some from the start. I recognise a few from past Hatsune Miku games, but most I haven’t heard and there is a nice variety, even if they all feature the commonality of vocaloid singing.

Most songs have two versions: the original version and a cover version performed by the characters. This is a nice feature as it can provide a semi-fresh listen to the fairly limited number of songs.


One thing I found whilst playing Colorful Stage is how similar it was to another rhythm game I have played, Bang Dream: Girls Band Party. In fact, the games are so similar that it almost feels like you’re playing the same game.

After a short search I found the reason why: Colorful Palette is a sub-studio of Band Dream developer Craft Egg.

I was a little disappointed by this as I was looking forward to a new experience, not just a repackaged one. Of course, the music in Colorful Stage is different from Bang Dream, and that’s the main reason that you would play a rhythm game, but almost everything else is the same, from the way characters are animated to the user interface.

Colorful Stage also includes 3D movies and animated movies which play behind the game screen when performing a song.

I have found that when playing songs with the 3D or animated videos it slows the game (which is not ideal in a fast-paced rhythm game) or crashes the game entirely. I have had to play without the videos, but if anything this provides a better experience as it’s less distracting.

Imitation not innovation

Overall, Hatsune Miku: Colorful Stage is a great game, but then it would be as it’s a carbon copy of an already successful rhythm game. As such, I find it hard to care for anything in the game other than the music.

Colorful Stage provides a nice break from other rhythm games, but I can’t see myself playing it for as many hours as Bang Dream, mostly due to the lack of enticing storylines and the fairly bland characters.

If you are a fan of Vocaloid music, then this game will be one of your favourite mobile games ever. If you have already played rhythm games then it will give a nice respite from your favourite game, but won’t serve as a nice replacement.

Rocket League Sideswipe

Rocket League Sideswipe

I have never been a big fan of football, other than the Euros and the World Cup when I enter into the hivemind of the British public and scream all sorts of obscenities at my TV.

However, for some reason, by adding cars onto the playing field I become a football hooligan even Paul Gascoigne would stand in awe of.

Of course I am talking about Rocket League, which has just rocketed onto iOS and Android devices.

Following a short soft launch in Oceania, Psyonix launched Rocket League Sideswipe worldwide earlier this week.

Rocket League Sideswipe is a mobile version of the eponymous car football game first released in 2015.

A quick disclaimer, I am not the best at Rocket League which this annoys me profusely and I am hoping to redeem myself with Sideswipe.

He shoots...

Unlike its predecessor, Sideswipe takes place from a 2D perspective to better suit mobile devices. The 2D perspective doesn’t feel too dissimilar from early and mid 00’s flash games that had similar gameplay, however, Sideswipe looks significantly better.

The controls for Sideswipe are very simple, with a joystick on the left hand side of the screen for movement, and a control to jump and boost on the right hand side. The game gives players a quick tutorial which is really all that is needed, and you’re ready to go.

Staying true to the Rocket League aesthetic, Sideswipe features the same cars, similar customisable items, and look of the arenas, as well as a new but comparable electronic soundtrack. This feels just like Rocket League, only smaller and more accessible.

Unlike the former, each game in Sideswipe is only two minutes long, which is much more in tune with mobile devices. Two minute games are much more digestible than five minutes, meaning you can have a quick game here and there when you get a spare moment.


Currently, Sideswipe has three game modes, Duel (one versus one), Doubles, and Hoops (both two versus two), with different game modes taking place in different arenas.

One versus one games take place in the Shortstack arena, which has the goals lower to the ground, and looks like a football pitch. Doubles take place in S.C. Field, where the goals are higher up to accommodate for the increase in players.

Hoops takes place in the Dunk House, where the goal is shaped like a basketball hoop, with the pitch also modelled on a basketball court.

When playing either of the two versus two modes, you can choose to join a party with friends, or reach into the Sideswipe aether and pull out a random player to play with.

In addition to the online modes, players can select to play against bots offline, with the option of choosing the team size, arena and bot difficulty (novice, intermediate, expert).

He scores...

Although similar in concept, the game modes feel surprisingly different and there are advantages and disadvantages of each.

Doubles is my favourite game mode as it adds the team element and the slightly more difficult gameplay due to the incline of the goals. However, if your teammate decides they don’t want to play anymore they simply stop moving, meaning you have to work twice as hard (and out comes my inner football hooligan).

Therefore, I end up playing Duels which means everything is down to my own talents and I can’t mooch off of a pro in the making.

I will say though, I seem to be quite good at Sideswipe so far, considering my poor Rocket League skills. I’ve attributed this to the game being fresh and everyone is getting used to playing it, although watch this space as I may be a grand champion by the end of the season.

There isn’t much to say about the Hoops game mode, I don’t think that’s the reason people play the game. It does bring a nice change of pace every so often though.


Sideswipe, just like Rocket League before it, features a ranking system with seven tiers, from bronze to grand champion (good luck reaching here). Each tier includes five divisions, with one the lowest and five the highest, with three sublevels in the tier.

Each victory will move players up a sublevel, with consecutive victories meaning you advance two sublevels at a time. However, if you lose too many games you will move in the opposite direction, with a similar consecutive model applying.

What frustrates me the most about Sideswipe is that there is no option to play unranked games online, meaning each game can affect your rank.

You also can’t view your game stats in Sideswipe, which would be a nice touch as the feature is already present in Rocket League.

As the game is more accessible, other players may not have as stable an internet connection as you, and then your game performance can suffer.

Like it's console and PC counterpart, Sideswipe still suffers from players spamming the chat with react emotes, and there seems to be no cooldown on how many can be posted, leading to some very irritating games. As long as they don't 

He still losses

Positives and negatives aside, possibly the most interesting thing about Sideswipe is that the game is completely free, with no in-app purchases or ads, but it does feature a Rocket Pass, which unlocks new items as you continue to level up.

Shortly after being acquired by Epic Games, Psyonix made Rocket League free-to-play but with in-game purchases.

I can’t explain why the studio has made the decision to make Sideswipe completely free, considering the success that followed Rocket League operating the Rocket Pass model. What I can say is that I am grateful for a free, high quality game.

Overall, Sideswipe is a great example of how a game can be made simpler but still retain the same level of fun and key features.

Lego Star Wars: Castaways

Lego Star Wars: Castaways

This week I thought that a case of déjà vu had permeated into reality. Lego Star Wars? Apple Arcade? Surely we have been here before.

But no, yet another Lego Star Wars game had crash landed on Apple Arcade.

As mentioned before, Lego Star Wars combines two of my favourite childhood interests, so it’s near impossible for it not to be the game of the week.

Hence, this week’s Game of the Week is Lego Star Wars: Castaways.

Lego Star Wars Castaways was developed by Gameloft exclusively for Apple Arcade, which the developers at Gameloft Montréal told us was always their intention.

Due to being available on Apple Arcade, Castaways can also be played on Mac PCs, laptops and via Apple TV.

I had considered playing the game on my laptop, however, that is not the Pocket Gamer way.

In a galaxy...

Castaways begins with a cutscene showing a spaceship being caught in a maelstrom and crash landing on a new, beach-like planet.

The first thing that struck me was how good the game looked and how smooth the animations were, especially compared to my memories of the original LSW games, along with subsequent Lego games.

Furthermore, almost everything in Castaways is entirely made of Lego and based on real Lego Star Wars sets, which is incredibly impressive.

After the cutscene players are tasked with creating their own character, choosing from a selection of hair and face types, along with hair and skin colour.

The final step of creating a character is choosing a randomly generated name.

I spent longer than I would like to admit hitting refresh to get a name I was happy with, but I settled with Lev Moonhunter which I think is as close to Skywalker as I was going to get.

Once created, your character is greeted by a friendly face and directed to the curator and caretaker of the Observatory, Tu-Tor.

Tu-Tor is of course the provider of tutorials and explains that the Observatory is an archive of historical events throughout the galaxy.

However, this information is being threatened by the Corruption and Tu-Tor enlists the player’s help to eliminate the new threat and protect the Observatory.

Tu-Tor informs the player that ships that enter the maelstrom cannot leave, so even if they didn’t want to help they don’t really have much choice.

The gameplay of Castaways involves the player entering the observatory and reliving moments from across the Star Wars saga.

Players will explore iconic areas, such as the Tantive IV or Mos Eisley, battling enemy forces and searching for and destroying the corruption.

Beginning as a Trooper with a blaster, Castaways has several other classes to play as which each come with their own weapons and abilities, including Force Adept, Support, and Agent.

In addition to missions on foot, Castaways also features missions that involve flying various Star Wars ships through space, such as through the trenches of the Death Star.

There are eight main chapters in Castaways and also a heap of extra missions to be found around the game’s social hub, including daily and weekly tasks.


While playing Castaways, players will collect and be rewarded with two types of currency, databits and probits, which can be spent at the various shops in the game.

Databits are readily available by breaking objects and completing missions and enable the player to purchase generic cosmetic items. My first purchase was a Stormtrooper helmet.

Probits are a slightly rarer currency that allows players to purchase iconic cosmetic items, such as Darth Vader’s costume (naturally, I am saving all mine up for this).

In addition to single player, Castaways features a multiplayer element that allows players team up with other "castaways" on missions.

I don’t think joining people on missions adds much to the game beyond silent companionship and a little help defeating enemies.

Outside of missions, other players can be spotted running around the social hub and you can interact with them via emotes, such as dancing.

For those worried, despite its multiplayer elements Castaways can be played entirely offline too, with NPCs inhabiting the hub to retain the sense of liveliness.

Far, far away

LSW: Castaways does two things really well. Not only is it a good mobile game, but it is a good Lego Star Wars game.

It would be unfair to compare Castaways with Lego Star Wars Battles as the gameplay is entirely different. However, as both games feature the key commonality of Lego Star Wars I feel that comparison is in order.

Castaways captured what I found Battles had failed to be: a Lego Star Wars game. What I mean by that is Castaways includes all of the silly humour and exploration that previous entries in the franchise had.

I found that Battles felt more like a brand slap, which surprised me as it was spearheaded by the long-term creators of Lego video games.

In comparison, Gameloft has done a fantastic job in creating something new but yet holding on to the building blocks (pun intended) of what truly makes a Lego game.

I still feel like I have only scratched the surface of what Castaways has to offer and I am eagerly awaiting future content Gameloft has to offer.

PUBG: New State

PUBG: New State

PUBG Mobile was one of the games that made me personally see mobile as a legitimate gaming device.

When it was released in 2017, PUBG was, and has remained, massively popular and it was hard to escape hearing about it in gaming communities.

At the time my PC was not powerful enough to run it and I felt I had missed out a lot, that was until the game was launched on mobile in March 2018.

I downloaded it as soon as I could and played it for hours with friends that also couldn’t run the game on their PCs.

Yesterday, Krafton released the latest iteration of the realistic battle royale, PUBG: New State, which is our Game of the Week.

Winner, winner...

PUBG New State is a mobile exclusive, which is only to be expected considering its predecessor’s colossal success on mobile, surpassing $6.2 billion since its launch three years ago.

It was first revealed earlier this year in February in tandem with a cryptic trailer to arouse anticipations… and it worked.

Krafton revealed that New State accumulated over 50 million pre-registered users, gaining 10 million of those from September to October.

New State is set 30 years in the future in 2051, with the main map being based in the fictional North American town of Troi.

If you were hoping for flying cars and other Back to the Future-esque themes then New State will fail your expectations.

Troi, and the other maps in the game, are very similar to its predecessor, with dilapidated buildings, barren fields and shoddy roads.

The loading screen had a more upbeat electronic theme playing to match the new setting, however, I missed the eeriness of the loading screen from the previous game that encapsulated the barren wastes in which the battles took place.

The home screen of New State was so similar to PUBG Mobile that I thought I had opened the wrong game, and the similarities continued.

The layout of controls, the character customisation and graphics are almost identical to that of PUBG Mobile.

New State does offer different graphic settings however the game doesn’t look much better than Mobile, even on a high-end device.

For comparison, I tested New State on an iPhone 7s to see if older devices were able to run the game. Even on the lowest graphic settings I found the game to be unplayable, with constant frame rate drops, freezing and constant crashes.

...cold dinner

Not everything was the same however, and New State does have a few new features implemented.

Drones are one of the biggest new features in New State with players able to find Drone Credits across the map to access supplies, such as ammunition.

Using the drones can alert other players to your location so it is always a risk when doing so.

One of my favourite features of New State is the addition of green flares.

Green flares allow you to bring fallen allies back into the game as reinforcements, which is especially important as PUBG rounds tend to last a lot longer than other battle royale games.

It can be very boring waiting for a surviving teammate to finish a game so you can join a new one, and this is one of the reasons I stopped playing PUBG Mobile.

Being able to bring friends back into the game truly enhances the co-operative aspect of New State and will keep players invested in games for longer as they have a chance of returning.


Another, slightly odd new feature is the ability to "recruit" downed players into your ranks if there is space in your squad.

Once you down a player and select recruit, they have the option to join your side and keep playing or choose to die a noble death for their squad.

I like this new feature as it gives players a chance to keep playing with a new twist, however, many "recruits" tend to become lone wolves once being recruited and they become more of a hindrance than help.

Fails to deliver

PUBG has been banned in several countries following claims the game is harmful and addictive to young players. I cannot see New State being banned as there was nothing addictive about my experience whatsoever.

If the goal of New State was to sway Call of Duty Mobile and Free Fire players then it has missed the mark.

Overall, New State fails to bring the "next-gen" experience that Krafton promises and feels a lot like a PUBG Mobile clone with a few added features.

In fact, New State is so similar to Mobile that it is unclear why Krafton released it as a standalone game and not an update. The new features in New State feel gimmicky and hardly warrant the development of a new game.

I can’t see many players shifting from Mobile to New State unless Krafton and Tencent decide to stop updating Mobile and focus solely on the new entry.

Despite all I have said I would recommend players choose New State over Mobile, purely for the ability of bringing fallen allies back into the game. For me, battle royale games are all about teamwork, and what teamwork can be done without a team?

FarmVille 3 - Animals

FarmVille 3 - Animals

This week is a pleasant trip down memory lane, Zynga launched its latest entry in the FarmVille series, FarmVille 3 - Animals.

My foray into casual games began with Zynga, starting with CityVille on Facebook way back when.

Since then, I have played a majority of the leading titles in the genre, such as Supercell’s Hay Day, the now defunct Paradise Bay from King, Township from Playrix, and of course the FarmVille series, so I know the drill.

Without further ado,’s Game of the Week this week is FarmVille 3 - Animals.


FarmVille 3 has been available in the UK for some time during its soft launch, however, I wanted to wait for the game to be fully released worldwide before playing it.

In FarmVille 3, we once again flee from our dreary city lives to a quaint farmyard in the idyllic virtual countryside.

As expected, in FarmVille 3 you are responsible for running and maintaining a farm. This ranges from growing vegetables, harvesting vegetables, selling vegetables, and growing more vegetables.

But wait, there’s more!

FarmVille 3 focuses on the animal husbandry aspects of farming, featuring over 160 types of animal, with raising animals from young to old a key feature of the game.

Once a mummy cow and a daddy cow love each other very much a stork will deliver a baby cow, how sweet.

Fret not, once the animals are old they go to the eldery animal sanctuary to be looked after by a very friendly hippy-ish chap.

In addition to your usual farmyard critters, FarmVille 3 features exotic animals such as elephants or the less exotic raccoon.


FarmVille 3 also sees the return of fan favourite Marie from FarmVille 2, albeit a bit more high def and less jagged.

Marie is joined by a selection of farmhands, from a hipster lumberjack to my personal favourite, Buddy the dog. Each farmhand performs a different activity, such as baking or picking weeds, with their actions consuming energy.

The art style of FarmVille 3 has changed to suit a modern casual game aesthetic, which is kinder on the eye but not exactly eye-catching and doesn’t do much to make the game standard in the sea of farming sim titles.

Since FarmVille first came to mobile in 2014, the capabilities of mobile phones have increased dramatically allowing developers to produce much higher quality games.

Tutorials are essential for video games but far too often they are too time consuming, however, FarmVille 3 gets right into gameplay with a very quick and easy tutorial (I mean, we’ve all done this before by now it is almost second nature).

Compared to more time consuming mobile titles, such as RPGs, FarmVille 3 provides a more gentle and passive approach to gameplay.

Just like farming in reality, things take time, but that maintains the short and sweet sessions of gameplay that make casual games so appealing.

An enjoyable accompaniment to these short sessions is the music, a disney-esque joyful tune. I can’t say how much I will enjoy the song after a few months of playing however.

Holy cow

Unfortunately, my biggest criticism of FarmVille 3 is that it doesn’t really provide anything new for the casual games genre.

The appeal of the early Zynga Ville games was that they were doing something new and spawned mimic products. In this instance, FarmVille 3 appears to be mimicking other games in the genre, without doing much else to stand out.

The game somewhat redeems itself with the classic, iconic Zynga charm, resembling the early entries in the series and other early Zynga titles.

If nothing else, FarmVille 3 provides a gentle and pleasing nostalgia trip that doesn’t demand much from players.

I haven’t spent considerable time in this genre since Paradise Bay and despite my criticisms, I think that FarmVille 3 is the perfect place to return or start with this sort of game.

Zynga have once again done something they are good at, even if it hasn’t taken much thought outside of the box.

I am going to continue playing FarmVille 3 in my minutes between doing other things, but really that's how these games are played best, until I am eggs-hausted of it that is.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: ISEKAI MEMORIES

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: ISEKAI MEMORIES

By Aaron Orr

I haven’t invested time in a mobile RPG for a long time, in fact, I stopped playing a lot of them as I found they were too time-consuming.

One of the joys I find in mobile games is the quick and convenient play sessions you can have, such as while waiting for a friend or sitting on a train.

This week, however, I found myself with enough spare time to begin a mobile RPG I have been waiting for most of the year - That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Isekai Memories.

That Time I...

Developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Isekai Memories follows the story of the popular That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime anime series, which is based on a light novel of the same name.

With the second season recently coming to a close I have been craving for more before the release of the recently announced movie.

In the series, a 37-year-old salaryman gets murdered when protecting his younger colleague and reincarnated in a fantasy medieval setting (you know the drill).

In this story, however, rather than a handsome knight or a beautiful princess, the protagonist is reincarnated as one of the lowliest monsters around, you guessed it, a slime. Despite being just a slime the protagonist develops a multitude of abilities that outpower most of the living creatures in this new world.


In Isekai Memories, players follow the main character Rimuru and the journey that they make in this new world, meeting all of the monsters and people along the way. In the game, this translates to story missions involving fights, cutscenes and dialogue.

The game features the original voice actors from the series alongside animated cutscenes from the series animators, Studio Eight. This added touch really immerses the player, especially fans of the anime, in the world.

Outside of animated cutscenes, the graphics of the game are also admirable, highlighting how far anime-based mobile games have come.

Got Reincarnated...

In the series, Rimuru establishes the nation of Tempest, a nation for all monsters and people to live in harmony. Isekai Memories features a city-building element in which you are able to build Tempest from the ground up, deciding where to place buildings, levelling them up and earning currency to continue to grow your fledgling nation.

One feature that surprised me is that you are able to walk (bounce?) around Tempest and explore what you have created yourself. This is a nice touch and adds an additional sense of accomplishment.

The game’s combat follows a rather simple card-based approach, involving three separate types of cards that can be combined to perform more powerful moves. I would not say that combat is this game’s main focus due to its simplicity, but I was not expecting that from this game.


In addition to following the story of the anime, and aiding Rimuru in building the monster nation of Tempest, Isekai Memories features an original story penned by the light novel author, Fuse.

The first chapter of the original story will begin to roll out from November, with snippets already teased to players in the opening of the game.

Additionally, in similar mobile RPG fashion, Isekai Memories features a gacha mechanic to obtain new characters and rare versions of existing characters. As I have mentioned before I am not averse to gacha mechanics, although I do understand many players do not like the near-impossible drop rates. The game begins by giving you a good amount of "free" gacha pulls to begin and by steadily playing players will be able to create a strong roster.

As a Slime

Although Isekai Memories takes the player through Rimuru’s entire journey, the game’s intended audience is clearly fans of the series. Several points of the gameplay clearly assume that you know the characters and their personalities, and truthfully this is needed to fully enjoy the game.

Despite this, I would encourage newcomers to play the game, as long as they can get through the initial stages to begin the retelling of our gelatinous protagonist’s story.

One warning I can give is that you will need to reserve a good chunk of time to begin Isekai Memories as there is a rather long tutorial and info dump, which is likely to turn players that aren’t already invested in the series away.

Often games based on anime suffer from a quick turnaround and are often lacking in some capacity. Isekai Memories shatters this archetype, with plenty of gameplay and features that would appeal to even the most veteran of mobile RPG fanatics.

Unfortunately, I was only able to scratch the surface of Isekai Memories due to a bug that has caused the game to crash across iOS and Android devices worldwide. Hopefully, the bug will be fixed soon as I am eager to jump right back in and relive the adventure as it has rekindled my mobile RPG desire (goodbye social life once again).



By Aaron Orr

This week I was able to play a game I have had my eye on for a while, Townscaper.

Townscaper has remained on my Steam wishlist for some time however I felt that the game would, for me, translate better on a mobile device and so I have been holding out until now.

I have always enjoyed playing town/city building games, from The Simpson’s Tapped Out to Sim City, and an unhealthy addiction to Township back in 2014.

The game only came to mobile devices on October 20th, so I haven’t had the chance to really indulge myself, but so far I am more than pleased with what is on offer.

So this week, the Game of the week is Townscaper.

Peaceful placement...

Townscaper is a procedurally generated colourful town-building game where players have nothing but a vast, seemingly endless ocean to build upon.

Impressively, Townscaper was developed by a team of one, Oskar Stålberg, and published by Swedish indie game publisher Raw Fury.

As it is procedurally generated players have little control of what buildings will appear, other than an assortment of 15 colours.

The joy of this is that there is no over-complicating Townscaper and it makes it easy and simple to get straight into playing. Often I would accidentally discover new combinations of buildings when trying to do one thing and making something even greater.

For the more meticulous players, there is a snap-to-grid function that provides more precise placing than the free form option. However, Townscaper is a game that is all about relaxing and free form placing suits this well - there are no accidents to be made.


One of my favourite features is being able to place buildings without having to build them from the ground up and being able to connect tall towers across the waters.

Another great feature of Townscaper is the ability to change the time of day and, change where the shadows rest. When switching to night time a nice little touch is the town’s buildings lighting up, twinkling in the night.

Upon each building placement, there is a satisfying plop sound, which paired with the subtle waves crashing in the background make for a very peaceful experience.

Other than this, the other sounds present are when selecting colours the darker the colour the deeper the tone, which is very satisfying.

One thing not present when building in Townscaper is music.

At first, I thought this was a missed opportunity for some tranquil piano playing or smooth jazz accompaniment.

However, I felt that if I was spending more time in the game this could quickly get boring.

Stålberg discussed this on Twitter, saying that he doesn’t think Townscaper should have any music, and advocated people to listen to their own music or a podcast, which I began doing - the podcast no less.

Semi-silent serenity

Townscaper is certainly not a game for everyone, with even the notion of it being a game up for debate. Developer Stålberg described the game as "more of a toy" due to there not being much objective other than creating a pretty town.

I can imagine certain players will get bored with the lack of directive and somewhat repetitive placing, which is why short and sweet sessions is a good approach, something that mobile devices capture wonderfully.

In my opinion (which is why you’re here right?), Townscaper is a perfect example of a seamless transition from PC to mobile.

I have always felt mobile is the playing ground of the free-to-play and I will rarely purchase a premium title, especially with my subscription to Apple Arcade, however, Townscaper is worth every penny.

Townscaper is available for $4.99 on the App Store and Google Play.

Dragon Quest Dai: A Hero's Bonds

Dragon Quest Dai: A Hero's Bonds

By Aaron Orr

Often when searching for something new, such as a film to watch, a book to read, or a game to play, I suffer from the burden of choice.

Invoking my friend’s, family’s and even my own ire, I spend more time searching for something to donate precious minutes to than actually watching/reading/playing what I finally settle on.

This week there were many mobile games that appealed to me, old and new, but there was one I kept returning to the store page of, teetering on the cusp of download - Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai: A Hero’s Bonds.

A new hero sets forth...

A Hero’s Bonds follows the 1989 Japanese manga publication Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, which received an anime series in 1992 before remaining unheard of for close to thirty years.

Square Enix has recently revived The Adventure of Dai series with a new anime series and now this mobile game.

As a fan of the Dragon Quest series, I was excited to see how the series had translated to mobile (I understand there are various other Dragon Quest mobile games, but again, the burden of choice).

A Hero’s Bonds begins with a strong, very DQ-like, narrative, that introduces Dai, his companion Popp and their master Avan, named "Dragon Tracks".

Alongside unravelling Dai’s adventure, players take the role of a legendary Luminary in an original narrative named "Bonding Journey".

The player-created Luminary can bring Dai and friends into their world and create special bonds with them, gaining valuable help in their quest to defeat the Lord of the Void, Xevallo.

The gameplay of A Hero’s Bonds is an auto-battle combined with an auto-runner, where the player’s only involvement is switching between lanes and using special attacks.


The game’s best feature is its boss battles, which feel like the only time players really have control of the game. The battles involving strategic moves, dodging and utilising special moves, albeit for about 30 seconds before the battle is over.

A Hero’s Bonds features a gacha mechanic to acquire new equipable items that vary in rarity. It allows players to play the games for free and gradually earn rewards to purchase, or if not they can spend real money to try their hand at gaining the rare rewards.

Personally, I don’t mind the presence of a gacha mechanic, but I do understand the frustrations behind the chance-based rewards.

One of my favourite features of the Dragon Quest games is the recurring iconic music, something A Hero’s Bonds lacks. Although it features the classic DQ art style the absence of the music ruined the immersion for me.

On a familiar adventure

A Hero’s Bonds is riddled with pop-up notifications and even includes unskippable marketing analysis questions, such as "how many auto-battle mobile games have you played?". In this new world of privacy and the lack of consumer data available for developers, this is clearly a soulless workaround.

Overall, A Hero’s Bonds definitely includes a lot of the charming features of the DQ series, such as monsters, art style and dialogue, but fails to bring gripping gameplay by encumbering players with dialogue and pop-ups.

Although both stories are interesting there is too little time actually spent playing the game, which is the point, right?

Mobile games are all about convenient short bursts of fun and this is where DQ Dai misses the mark. As much of a fan of RPGs as I am, this is one that I will not be returning to as the gameplay does nothing to draw me back in over other auto-battle or auto-runner games.

Lego Star Wars Battles

Lego Star Wars Battles

By Aaron Orr

We’re back again to have a look and see which mobile game has piqued my interest the most this past week.

Last week’s game was a strong contender and I was worried I would be stuck playing it to even find a new game.

However, I more or less had the decision of what game to play this week decided for me once again purely by the presence of two of my childhood interests - Lego and Star Wars.

Ergo,’s mobile game of the week is Lego Star Wars Battles on Apple Arcade (sorry Android users and non-Apple Arcade subscribers).

Lego Star Wars Battles is a real-time PvP strategy set across multiple locations from the Star Wars franchise.

I was gutted when it was announced earlier this year that the game would be shut down as I had been looking forward to a new Lego Star Wars game to fill the void of my yearning for the forever elusive upcoming Skywalker Saga.

Fortunately, to my delight, the studio made a deal to bring the game to Apple Arcade.

Be careful not to choke...

The game starts with a simple tutorial explaining how the game works and all the usual spiel. I felt it lasted for a little too long as the gameplay didn’t bring anything strikingly new to the table.

After that, you are pitted against real-life opponents in which players are randomly assigned to either the Light or Dark Side. The objective is to have the most medals or destroy the opponents main base within the time limit. Medals are gained by destroying the opposing team’s towers.

Being on Apple Arcade, Battles has no in-app purchases or in-app adverts meaning it is play-to-win over pay-to-win. There are timed rewards, however, by playing the game and collecting medals the timers can be circumvented.

Using medals can also boost the rewards and provide extra items when opening them as opposed to waiting for the timer. The rewards include currency and character cards which allow the levelling up of units to give a competitive edge.

After about 20 minutes of gameplay and consistent victories, I was about ready to put the game down as I felt there was no challenge.

However, I thought I will have just one more game before (the troubling signs of a mobile junkie) and I suffered defeat several games in a row.

Defeat gave me an epiphany that I actually have to put thought into playing the game, which is always refreshing in the endless sea of mindless mobile titles.

On your aspirations

Although the gameplay was enjoyable, I felt that it didn’t really feel very much like a Lego game or a Star Wars game.

I have played the majority of the Lego video games and Star Wars video games and I consider myself a connoisseur of sorts.

Battles looks good, it has iconic Star Wars characters and music and features two of my favourite childhood interests, so I should love it right?

Instead, I felt that Battles is missing the charm and characteristics of what makes a Lego Star Wars games fun. Battles feels like a Star Wars brand slap that once taken away would look the same as any other RTS PvP mobile game.

Perhaps the introduction of an original narrative with cutscenes would give the game a competitive edge over other RTS mobile titles.

Overall, Battles gives a fun and rewarding experience but fails to bring anything new to the table or reaches what it aspires to be.

We spoke to TT Games Brighton studio head Jason Avent about the development of Battles in which he says the team have planned content for the first year with new planets, champions, troops and strike cards.

I am interested to see what more the studio will bring and will likely check in every once in a while to see what has changed.

Although there is room for improvement, Battles has not captivated me as much as previous Star Wars mobile games have but will continue to remain on my phone for the time being while I await future updates.

Pokémon UNITE

Pokémon UNITE

By Aaron Orr

Mobile Game of the Week is back and what better way to start than with a newly released Pokémon game.

Pokémon Unite is a free-to-play five-versus-five MOBA set in the Aeos Region and developed by TiMi Studio Group and published by The Pokémon Company. It is the first time a Pokémon game has utilised this genre.

Before the metaphorical ink is dry on the page, let’s begin looking at’s Game of the Week, Pokémon Unite.

As someone with very little experience of playing MOBAs, I was purely swayed by the presence of Pokémon.

I held off playing the title on the Nintendo Switch release as I thought the game would translate better on mobile devices due to its free-to-play nature.


The game starts with designing a Pokémon trainer that bears a striking resemblance to the recent Switch games and Pokémon Go.

Following character creation, you immediately begin a tutorial involving directing an eager Pikachu around a practice stage to learn the controls and game objectives.

The game’s controls were very simple to understand and I immediately found myself intuitively tapping away.

Although I am a newbie to the genre I am still aware of its general features which Pokémon Unite replicates, such as two teams of five, neutral enemies and symmetrical battle arenas.

After the tutorial, you are given a choice of five Pokémon Unite licenses to select. Unite licenses are used to unlock Pokémon and use them in the game. I chose Charizard.

At the time of writing, there are 23 playable Pokémon in Unite and each Pokémon is one of five classes.


Each game in Unite is 10 minutes long with players controlling their Pokémon to collect the points known as Aeos Energy. The winning team is the one that obtains the most points by the end of the timer.

Aeos Energy is gathered by defeating wild Pokémon and dunking the points into the opposing team’s goal. Slam dunking as Pikachu is very satisfying I must say.

Occasionally a special wild Pokémon, such as Zapados, will appear that can provide extra points or temporary buffs if defeated.

I choose you

As you battle your Pokémon will become stronger and gain additional powers, with certain Pokémon evolving in the process. For example, my Charizard began as a Charmander and as I collected more points it evolved into a Charmeleon and finally a Charizard.

The game features five separate currencies, four of which can be earned through playing the game and are used to purchase cosmetic items, enhancers and other items.

The game’s premium currency is Aeos Gems which can be used to buy Unite licenses and temporary boosts to gaining other currencies. The price of Aeos Gems ranges from $0.99 to $99.99, a range mobile gamers have surely become acclimatised to.

As this game is free-to-play a premium currency is of course expected, however, it is slightly disappointing that it can be used to purchase more than just cosmetic items. As certain Pokémon, typically fan favourites such as Lucario and Gengar, would take a long time to purchase with non-premium currency this allows players to get an edge in combat through in-app purchases.

My only other issue at present is that it can be somewhat difficult to direct special moves during battles and I often found myself completely missing my targets due to this.

Pokémon Unite also features a battle pass which currently offers 90 levels with unique missions and corresponding rewards available at each level. Using a Premium Pass purchased with Aeos Gems will provide additional rare rewards and automatically increases your level by 10 points. Its early days however and though appealing I am not sure I am ready to commit to another battle pass just yet.

Overall, Pokémon Unite will remain on my phone for some time. It is fun, easy to understand and player-friendly with newbies like me being able to pick up and understand the game in mere seconds.

Whether or not I will find longevity in its gameplay is yet to be determined, however, for a free-to-play title, it is definitely more than worthwhile of the storage space.

Immortal Destiny: Darkness Orgins

Immortal Destiny: Darkness Orgins

By Kayleigh Partleton

Here we are, once again. It is that time of the week where I have a peek at Google Play and see what tickles my fancy this week.

It will not come as a surprise to longtime readers that I have, once again, chosen an RPG. There is just something about the genre that entices me and keeps me gripped.

So, without further ado, Immortal Destiny: Darkness Origins has been chosen as's Mobile Game of the Week.

When it comes to controls, players will find them to be relatively simple, particularly since they do not have to move their character physically.

Moreover, combat can also be automated, leaving players with the simple task of assigning skills and gear to ensure the best chances of victory.

It's your...

As is commonplace with RPGs, players will begin by picking a class – warrior, assassin or mage.

Of course, each has different strengths, warrior being fit for melee combat, assassins being opportunistic with critical hits and mages utilising magic.

However, it is worth noting that the tutorial section of the game moves at a relatively fast pace and can prove to be more effort than it's worth.

There is nothing wrong with being eased in and introduced to the mechanics, something Immortal Destiny doesn't quite manage to do.

Aesthetically speaking, Immortal Destiny is nice on the eye, though it doesn't quite reach the heights of other games on the market.

It is time to discuss microtransactions. Love them or hate them, they are a mainstay in mobile games, especially those of this nature.

Players can spend their hard-earned money on gems, which in turn can be spent on in-game rewards. Prices start at $0.99 and can reach $95.99.


Honestly, Immortal Destiny was interesting for perhaps the first hour or so, but it began to feel a bit tedious after that.

Sure, there are quests to complete, battles to be won and people to save, but these can be found elsewhere in games that are a bit nicer on the eye with a more gripping story that keeps you hooked.

Yet, if it is lazy gaming that you are after, where there is little effort needed on your part, then perhaps this is the game for you. Admittedly, I do enjoy the odd game where I have little participation.

So, will Immortal Destiny keep its place on my phone? In short, no. It just didn't pull me in, not the the extent that other mobile RPGs have.

However, it is worth a try for those in the market for a new role-playing experience.

Stickman Revenge 4

Stickman Revenge 4

By Kayleigh Partleton

It is going to be difficult to top last week's Game of the Week, but let's give this a go.

I searched high and low through Google Play, just waiting for something to jump out at me. After a little bit of searching, I stumbled across this little gem.

Anytime I see the word "ninjas," my attention is immediately grabbed. Thus, Stickman Revenge 4 took my award for Mobile Game of the Week.

The game features side-scrolling gameplay with RPG mechanics thrown in for good measure. It features a story that is based around, you guessed it, ninjas.

Players will need to battle their way through waves of enemies before progressing. However, they get to select a gift at the beginning of each level, one that can turn the tide of battle.


The controls are smooth and simple. An analogue stick can be found on the left-hand side of the screen, while the attack, dodge and jump buttons are on the right-hand side.

Naturally, as with any game of this nature, there are special attacks that can be performed. They serve as a way of clearing multiple foes, though they also have a cooldown period.

As previously mentioned, gifts can be selected to give an edge in combat. Such examples include increasing health, critical damage or creating a toxic bomb upon killing an enemy.

Players are able to equip their ninja with weapons and armour. Of course, the further progress and the higher a level they reach, the more powerful the items become.


Visually speaking, the game is very appealing. The graphics are pretty and are supported by a great soundtrack, one that resonates with the ninja theme.

Like a ninja

It should go without saying that the game includes microtransactions. However, it is not necessary to make a purchase to progress in the game.

Fortunately, unlike with other games on the market, the player will not be beaten over the head with notifications reminding them to spend their hard-earned money.

So, will Stickman Revenge 4 keep its place on my phone? Sure, for the time being at least. The only reason being ninjas, that is it.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!

By Kayleigh Partleton

I didn't even have to search through Google Play to find my pick this week.

To be honest, I have known since February 2020 that the second this game hit mobile devices, it would be my Mobile Game of the Week.

King has finally released Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!, a charming runner that uses the famous IP.

I think we can all agree that it is about time Crash spun his way onto mobile in the form of a runner. The franchise is perfect for it, especially when you look at levels dating back to 1996. Boulder Dash, I'm looking at you.

Even back in the day, the loveable marsupial was running for his life. Be it running away from boulders, riding a polar bear, surfing. Well, you get the point.

Crash Bandicoot has been training for this day for nearly 25 years. So kick back, don't relax, and jump on in.

Spinning around

As is expected with a game in the runner genre, the controls are quick and simple. Slide left and right to change lanes, swipe up and down to jump and duck.

Equally as simple are the game mechanics, Crash must reach the end of a level by dodging obstacles, smashing crates and spinning through enemies.

Upon completing a level, the marsupial will be rewarded with gems – as if it could be anything else – which are needed to upgrade various parts of Wumpa Island later.

Sounds simple, and it is. Fortunately, King really thought about quintessential Crash, and many of its signature moves are present throughout the game – jumping, sliding, spinning, and breaking creates.

Oh, and words cannot describe my immense happiness at witnessing Crash's signature dance upon defeating a boss. You know the one, he ends it by spinning around with a silly face and jazz hands.


Visually, Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! is stunning. It certainly captures the cartoonish essence that fans have come to know and love. King has done a good job of paying homage to a popular franchise whilst also adapting it to mobile devices.

Longtime fans will be pleased to see many familiar faces, besides Crash and his little sister, Coco. Moreover, there are a number of skins for players to unlock.

Personally, I have enjoyed running around as a Blue Hyena. A skin that fans will recognise from Crash Team Racing. However, there are many costumes, such as Biker Crash, that many will instantly remember.


The game is filled to the brim with bosses, some of which are very familiar. Of course, the mastermind of the whole thing is Neo Cortex because beating the dude four or five times is not enough.

As for the levels themselves, longtime fans may just recognise their surroundings. Given how many lives I lost to the Lost City in my childhood, I would know the life-sapping level anywhere.

Other such locations include Temple Ruins, which also made its debut in the 1996 game.

Wump, wump

Okay, so I think I have established that there is a lot to love in Crash's latest adventure. However, there is one hiccup that I take issue with. It is too easy. Now don't get me wrong, I certainly like the change of pace, given Crash 4 took my sanity and destroyed my soul.

But, On the Run is just too easy. I haven't hit a single obstacle, I haven't died once and frankly, this makes me feel uneasy. Since when were Crash Bandicoot games a walk in the park?

Crash games should at least feature the odd level that makes you question every decision in your life. Road to Nowhere is so rage-inducing, yet the feeling of beating that blasted bridge is like no other.

Moreover, there is very little to differentiate between an average level and a boss round. You run to the end in both, and to be honest, defeating advanced enemies is incredibly easy.

There is so much time to dodge what is coming your way that bosses pose little to no threat.

Ultimate nostalgia

Yet, despite the game's easiness, Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! is a great experience for any fan of the series.

We now come to the portion where I discuss microtransactions because, of course, the game is full of them. However, at no point are they essential. You do not have to spend a penny to experience the game.

Players can buy crystals, which in turn can be used to purchase skins and speed up the crafting process when waiting for an item to continue the journey.

Purchases can start at a small $1.99 and reach up to $99.99. If players find themselves low on crystals but don't want to part with their hard-earned cash, then they could always complete some challenge runs instead.

Overall, the marsupial's latest adventure Is a great mobile experience, one that all players should give a chance. Although, the lack of difficulty may be a turn-off for some. I mean, who plays Crash Bandicoot to relax?

Honestly, Crash Bandicoot: On The Run! Has lived rent-free in my mind for more than a year, and the game will now live rent-free on my phone for some time to come.

Smaashhing Simmba - Skateboard Rush

Smaashhing Simmba - Skateboard Rush

By Kayleigh Partleton

Things are a little bit different this week. I have been running this feature for over a year, and I can genuinely not remember the last time I played a sports game.

Have I ever reviewed a mobile sports game or played one at least? Either way, if you hadn't worked it out by now, this week is a sports title.

However, it is not just any old exercise-based game. My Mobile Game of the Week is on the more extreme side. Smaashing Simmba - Skateboard Rush.

That's right. It is time to take to the streets and shred things up. It has been years since I stepped foot on a real skateboard, but the sport, and any games associated with it, still hold a place in my heart.

Like many people, I have forgotten what exercise is thanks to lockdown. What is a jog? So, games like this make me feel proactive, all the way from my comfy couch. Yes, my once active self has become a couch potato.

Land on...

The controls are simple. Given the game has been designed with runner elements, players need only swipe left and right, up and down, to avoid obstacles.

Simmba will bust out some well-known tricks on his own. From flips to grinds, there are a number of stunts the young lad will pull.

Naturally, as the level progresses, the difficulty gets ramped up. As such, power-ups can prove useful, with various uses, such as reducing the damage taken by a set number of obstacles.

Gold can be picked up when tearing down the street, collect enough, and a number of upgrades can be purchased.

Players will be given the option of watching ads to be rewarded with in-game goodies. However, they are just as welcome to give this a skip.


The story behind Skateboard Rush, is somewhat unusual, given Simmba wants to be a cop. Pretty funny, considering skateboarders tend to be considered a menace to society.

Having been a skateboard enthusiast myself, I can confirm that this is not the case. We just have unique personalities and like to live a little – oh, how times have changed.

Both feet

We all know what I am about to say, yes there are microtransactions, and no, it is not necessary to spend a penny to enjoy Smaashing Simmba - Skateboard Rush.

However, if you are one of those people that feel advertisements hinder their experience, they can be permanently removed for a one-off payment of $4.99.

Furthermore, in-game currency, such as gems, can also be purchased. These allow players to continue with their run after hitting an obstacle. They can also be used to purchase bundles of gold.

If players feel Simmba could do with some fresh threads, they can purchase new skins. There are multiple skateboard options too.

So, will Smaashing Simmba - Skateboard Rush keep its place on my phone? Yes. For the time being, at least. It is simple, easy-going and fun. Just what the world needs these days.

Though do be warned, this game may have one of the most annoying soundtracks I have ever come across. Put it on mute. Kick back, and listen to the tunes of old instead.

Arcana Tactics

Arcana Tactics

By Kayleigh Partleton

Here we are again. It is that time of the week where I drivel on about my favourite game this week.

As ever, I took a peek at Google Play and, in an unusual move for me, I chose something that heavily relies on tactics.

It was either a defense RPG or a match-three puzzler, and games that test your patience and intelligence are no way to start the weekend - usually.

Therefore, Gamevil's Arcana Tactics was selected as my Mobile Game of the Week.

If there is one thing that stood out to me, it was being called a hermit immediately after starting the game. Players will be given a tarot card as soon as they begin, and mine was hermit.

Never has a game got me pegged so quickly before. I am both impressed, unnerved, and a tad annoyed.

All about...

The mechanics are simple, with players taking the role of the summoner, placing their recruits onto a gridded battlefield.

Soon as the summoner is happy with their arrangement, the battle can begin. After a wave commences, the fight becomes automated, with players regaining control at the end.

Each time a round ends, users can make amendments to their team, change positions, add new heroes, and use items.

However, should the fight be lost, a life will be too, with too many defeats leading to a game over. Oh, and if it happens to be a big bad that gets the best of you, more than one life can be taken, so, yeah, kick some ass.

As the battle rages on, tougher enemies will appear more regularly, so it is vital to fuse heroes together to create stronger fighters.

Graphically speaking, Arcana Tactics is polished. It runs smoothly and has a great aesthetic—a true joy to experience that is nice on the eyes.

Tactics and...

Arcana Tactics features a fully fleshed out story split into chapters, each featuring multiple stages that the player must complete to progress.

Fortunately, should the summoner not be sure of which tactical direction to take, the recommended heroes will be displayed at the bottom of the screen.

As the game features RPG mechanics, players can level up all the heroes they unlock to a maximum of 20. Furthermore, characters can also be equipped with relics upon reaching certain levels, giving an edge in combat.

To top it off, the game has a stunning soundtrack, one that added to experience rather than forcing me to mute the volume.


There are two forms of in-game currency available, gems and cubes. The former will allow players to purchase more heroes to deploy, while the latter can be used to get a tactical edge such as an expanded field, hero summon and item summons.

Both currencies can be earned by defeating enemies and completing waves.

That leads me on to the portion where I discuss in-game purchases. Of course, as with the vast majority of mobile titles, player spending is a key monetisation tactic in Arcana Tactics.

However, they are not required for a user to play the game. Rather, in-game purchases exist as an option to speed things up. Buying options start at $0.99 and go up to $74.99.

So, would I keep Arcana Tactics on my phone? Sure, hermits have to get their entertainment from somewhere too.

Blade&Soul: Revolution

Blade&Soul: Revolution

By Kayleigh Partleton

It's Friday, the week has been stressful, and a nice open-world mobile game seemed like a great way to unwind.

As I do every week, I looked through Google Play to see what tickled my fancy, and sure enough, my thirst for an RPG was quenched when I stumbled upon a new release by Netmarble.

Blade&Soul: Revolution is the title of the hour this week, as it snapped up my pick for Mobile Game of the Week.

Not only is it filled with RPG goodness, but there is a great story hidden in its depths, one of betrayal and revenge.

It is time to take control, go from a student of the martial arts to a master. Make those that fell before you proud, avenge them, and lay waste to those that oppose you. Honestly, there is nothing like dishing out some cold revenge on a Friday afternoon.

Up close...

Fortunately, the controls are fluid, not a clunky animation in sight. Players will find an analogue stick in the corner of the screen, while the attack buttons can be found on the opposite side.

Despite there being much information on the screen at one time, it does not detract from the game's appearance. Users can still see much of the world with little interference from the HUD.

On the whole, combat felt satisfying. Attack, dodge and backstep all flowed well. However, at times, it can feel as though you are fighting the camera rather than the people trying to stab you.

As with any RPG, there are multiple classes available, all of which offer different pros and cons while in combat. Available options include destroyers, Kung Fu master, force master, summoners and blade masters.

Furthermore, skills can be developed as players level up, helping users better cater their characters to their play style. Some may prefer to fight from afar, while others, such as myself, prefer to be up close and personal.


And personal

It also made a nice to change to have some customisation options, enough to make a unique looking character at least.

Often, I find on mobile devices, on the rare occasion I can create a character, it looks like a potato, so it was a bit of shock when my hero actually looked the part.

Graphically speaking, the game didn't meet the same level as Genshin Impact. However, for an open-world mobile RPG of its scale, the game certainly boasts some pretty environments.

The oriental music added a calming feel. A decent soundtrack can make a world of difference to a game, and Blade & Soul: Revolution has one that compliments the feel of the game nicely.

Oh, and players are able to summon pets, a badass open-world martial arts RPG where you can summon pets, ugh, is this heaven?

Actually, it can't be heaven, as it is an online game with other players. This resulted in it taking much longer to complete certain missions near the beginning, given I had to kill a set number of enemies.

Unfortunately, the same goes for other players and enemies are killed as quickly as they pop up. Get in there quick and get the adventure going.

In your soul

RPGs can be daunting, especially if it is your first foray into one – if this is the case, I am shocked and appalled, but that is for another time.
However, Netmarble's new title boasts an extensive tutorial, one that will help all players come to grips with the mechanics.

It should come as no surprise that Blade&Soul: Revolution features microtransactions, and there are plenty to be found.

Consumers are able to purchase in-game currency, which in turn can be used to purchase items, create pets and just make life a little easier for their character.

Of course, purchases are not necessary; players can achieve whatever they like simply by playing the game. Granted, this does take longer, but that is the beauty of an RPG, put in the effort and reap the rewards.

I must point out, there was one issue, as it felt as though I was having a conversation with Siri at the beginning of the game.

A very robotic voice talking nonsense. Okay, granted, the in-game voice did detail some useful information but did it have to remind me of one the most annoying voices known to humankind.

So, will Blade&Soul: Revolution keep its place on my phone? Absolutely, the story has got me hooked, and the idea of being a martial arts master is appealing. Moreover, the game plays well, which is not always the case on mobile devices.

Greedy Cats: Kitty Clicker

Greedy Cats: Kitty Clicker

By Kayleigh Partleton

I'm not even sure what I have stumbled upon this week, but let me tell you, it feels as though I have been training for this game my entire life.

Enter Greedy Cats: Kitty Clicker, a cute little tapper that sees adorable felines stuff their face with sweet treats. Now, I might not be an adorable feline, but I have certainly stuffed myself with plenty of cakes over the years.

A game that involves little more than tapping a screen is not normally something that piques my interest, but despite being a dog person, I can not resist the pull of an adorable cat – especially when I get to dress them up!

I love...

The gameplay is incredibly simple. Players need only tap the screen to get their furry friend to gobble up the treats.

However, speed is key. The faster you tap, the quicker those cakes are down the hatch.

For each sweet treat that is devoured, players will be rewarded with a gold coin. Collect enough of these, and the cat is ready to take things to the next level.

As a cat's level increases, so does its ability to fork mouthful after mouthful down its throat. Oh, and they look so cute doing it, something else that we don't share.

Of course, just sitting there watching a cat eat can get rather dull, so it is time to enter some eating competitions. Tap the screen as quickly as possible to eat all the cake before the opposing kitty cat.


If that wasn't exciting enough, the more the cat eats, the more fans it can get – come on, give Grumpy Cat a run for their money.

Fans, much like the cake munching cat, can be levelled up to offer even more support for their hero.

The cake

To top it off, a range of outfits can be unlocked. Seriously, this game is a crazy cat lady's dream. It is cuteness overload, the felines are almost as sweet as the cakes they eat. Almost. Let's not pretend a cat tops cake.

Naturally, as is common practice in mobile titles, in-app purchases are available for gems, which in turn can be spent on some top-notch kitty fashion. Furthermore, there is a subscription service for $4.99 a month that guarantees 40 gems a day.

However, the game did have a tendency to just freeze, meaning it had to be closed and reopened several times.

Moreover, adverts would pop up when already tapping the screen, which takes the player out of the game and into the site of what was being advertised. Not great, it really breaks the groove when you are halfway through a whopping burger.

So will Greedy Cats still be on my phone in a week's time? No, probably not. Was it good for a bit of fun on a Friday? Absolutely. Now excuse me while I fantasise about, cake, pizza, burgers, just food in general, really.

Dungeon Knight: 3D Idle RPG

Dungeon Knight: 3D Idle RPG

By Kayleigh Partleton

It's been a long week. I'm tired, lazy and cannot be bothered to think.

Therefore, we have returned to something simple, no puzzlers this week. My poor little mind couldn't handle it.

Instead, I found a new game in the RPG genre, my one true love in this crazy world.

This week, Mobirix's Dungeon Knight: 3D Idle RPG has reigned supreme as's Mobile Game of the Week.

Better yet, this game involves time travel, now I might not be the brightest bulb and understand all the time-travelling mumbo jumbo, but it's fun to be along for the ride.

Nothing like

The controls are simple. There is an analogue stick on the left-hand side of the screen, while the attack button can be found on the right-hand side.

Fortunately, the camera happens to be a good friend here. There is nothing worse than having to fight awful camera angles as well as hordes of enemies. However, at times, the combat can feel clunky.

Remember when I said I was feeling particularly lazy this week? Well, Dungeon Knight: 3D Idle RPG has me covered, literally. The game has an auto button, meaning I can sit back and watch the mayhem unfold.

There is nothing like finding a game that totally understands your mood and supports you in your mission to do nothing and achieve total laziness.

Crawling through

As for the aim of the game, players need to wipe out hordes of enemies in a range of dungeons, having been sent back in time to prevent armageddon.

A number of classes are available, meaning there is a fighting style to fit even the pickiest of heroes.


Naturally, as with any RPG, there are character upgrades available. As the level goes on, players will earn coins, which can be spent on attributes such as attack and critical chance.

Then there are also a number of skills to unlock. These can help to turn the tide of battle, especially when faced with a large horde.

Furthermore, there is a whole range of equipment available, some of which looks amazing. Because let's be honest, you don't just want to win; you want to look good while doing it.

A dungeon

Unsurprisingly, in-app purchases are available, as is the norm in the vast majority of mobile RPGs.

Players can purchase gems, which cost anywhere from $0.79 to $73.99. However, the more you pay, the golden keys are provided as a bonus.

In turn, gems can be used to get gold, the currency that is needed to purchase in-game upgrades, skills, classes, and weapons.

Moreover, there are ads available for players to watch should they be after some bonuses free of charge.

I would recommend Dungeon Knight: 3D Idle RPG to anyone that enjoys the genre likes dungeons, and slaying hordes of enemies. It makes for an enjoyable time, be you playing or just watching.

So, will Dungeon Knight: 3D Idle RPG keep its place on my phone? Yes. It helps me to be lazy, and that is the kind of support I need right now.



By Kayleigh Partleton

Buckle up. We are about to have one of those rare weeks where a puzzle game takes centre stage!

Everywhere I look on the App Store and Google Play, there are puzzle games, which makes sense given the genre's popularity. However, for someone who is known to say and do stupid things daily, a puzzler can be a real kick in the ass.

Yet, there are a few developers that instantly grab my attention anytime a new title is released. One of those happens to be Bart Bonte. Therefore, the latest entry in his colour series, Pink, has picked up my Mobile Game of the Week.

For those of you who are familiar with Bart Bonte colour games, you will know exactly what to expect. If Pink would be a first for you, then the concept is simple, complete the puzzles through interacting with the screen.

However, it would be a pretty poor puzzle game if it didn't get you thinking. As such, the player needs to figure out just how they should be interacting with the screen, be it through tapping, swiping or something else.

There is a nice variety to the puzzles. Even when two appear to be the same, the solution certainly isn't. Sometimes the answer will be so obvious. Yet, you will still overlook it and seek a more complicated solution – please do not let it just be me.


If you are struggling, then, fortunately, Bart has taken pity and will offer players the chance to be given hints through watching ads. However, if advertising is not for you, then a small fee can be paid to have those permanently removed with unlimited tips available.

Usually, a puzzle game stresses me out and makes me realise just how dim I am. It is especially stressful on a Friday, it is the end of the week, my brain is fried, and I just want to chill, for which a puzzler is not usually a good choice. I'm not sure if it's just the pretty colours, but I actually feel peaceful when playing Pink.

At one point, I became so engrossed that I lost track of time, very rare that this sort of game does that to me. For anyone that is looking for a sweet little puzzle gem, Bart Bonte and Pink has you covered.

321 Shootout

321 Shootout

By Kayleigh Partleton

The shooter genre has become more and more popular on mobile in recent years.

Undoubtedly, this can be attributed to big-name games such as Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire. Thankfully, they have paved the way for other shooters to make an impact on smartphones.

Therefore, my Mobile Game of the week is – unsurprisingly – a shooter. Honestly, I really wanted to pick a puzzle game this week, truly, but life is stressful and shooting things is a lot more fun than frying my brain.

So, 321 Shootout is what grabbed my attention this week. A simple game, with a simple aim - shoot things and cause some mayhem.

Shoot'em up

The controls are simple enough; the left-hand side of the screen is used to move around while the right-hand side is used to change aim, with a small button to shoot. However, at times, movement can feel clunky. Having said that, when you get used to it, moving around does become easier.

As you might expect, the aim of the game is simple. Run around the area and kill the enemies, whilst using the environment to your advantage. Be sure to duck and cover to reload your gun. Infinite ammo is not a thing here – yes, I learned this the hard way several times. I just get so carried away!

To gain victory, players not only need to use the environment, but they must pick up health packs and guns that can be found around the arena. Firefights can occur at both long and short-range, so be ready people.


At the end of each round, players will receive money based on their performance, which in turn can be used to gain an advantage going forward. However, if it is not spent, it will be lost, so have some fun and splash that cash.


Of course, no shooter would be complete with just one gun. Players can switch between pistols, assault rifles and shotguns. There are other weapons on offer, including a DMR, SMG, LMG, carbine and a raygun.

Moreover, players are able to unlock new skins for their loadout to give a more personalised feel.

As expected, there is an in-app purchase option available in 321 Shootout. If ads prove to be more annoying, then they can be removed for a small fee. Players will also be rewarded with a permanent double XP boost.

Okay, so 321 Shootout is not going to win any awards for innovation, and it is not the most polished looking game, but it is fun, despite the stiffness of the movements. However, it is a 'fun for now' sort of title, not one to invest in for the long run.

So, will 321 Shootout keep its place on my phone? No, not when there are many shooters out there that have better execution. However, it did provide some valuable stress release.

Cookie Run: Kingdom

Cookie Run: Kingdom

By Kayleigh Partleton

Everywhere you look on Google Play or the App Store, there are plenty of RPGs to be found.

Of course, as any regular reader will know, that happens to be my favourite genre. Yet, this week's Mobile Game of the Week choice is part of the empire-building sub-genre, not one that can usually be found on my phone.

However, I was in the mood for some sweet treats this week, so the newly-released Cookie Run: Kingdom baked its way onto my phone. Please prepare yourselves for bad baking puns going forward.

Cookie Run: Kingdom is perhaps of the cutest – or maybe sweetest is more appropriate? – mobile games I have ever had the pleasure of playing.


Players will be tasked with controlling a cookie-squadron, leading them through hordes of foes to claim that sweet, sweet victory. Plan your team carefully; time to be one of those smart cookies.

As players progress, they will unlock new cookie cutters which in turn can be used to build upon this sweetest of armies.

The controls are simple; at the bottom of the screen will sit attack buttons to allow the tasty cookies to use special attacks. Combat is smooth and fun to watch, nothing better than watching a cookie – or fight – crumble without being a clunky mess.

Players will be tasked with building up and defending a variety of kingdoms. As such, users will be able to build a range of buildings to help their kingdoms prosper. Though, do not forget to create some defenses, less the cookie crumbles.

Users can use the currency to speed up the building process, but as they say, patience is a virtue.


Honestly, I feel like I have been training for this game my entire life, the aim of the game is to defeat cakes, and I love the cake, cookies, biscuits, icing, doughnuts, well, it's a pretty endless list really.

Seriously, Cookie Run: Kingdom has some of the sweetest enemies to be found in any mobile game. Though, I do now feel an overwhelming need to buy a ton of cake and all the cookies I can carry.


As you might expect, Cookie Run: Kingdom does feature in-game purchases, a standard practice within the RPG genre, and mobile games in general.

The cost of such purchases can vary from $0.99 to $99.99. Players can use their real-life cash to buy in-game gems, which in turn can be spent to get more coins. Of course, in-game currency is useful when building an empire.

Other available purchases include starter packs, upgrade packages, necessities and range of monthly deals.

One more thing, I feel the need to give a shout out to the name of our lovable hero GingerBrave! He is one tough cookie.

So, it is time to answer that one question, will Cookie Run: Kingdom keep its place on my phone? Yes, it is oh so sweet, like me, you might say we are a batch made in heaven – I'll see myself out!

Zombie Hunter D-Day

Zombie Hunter D-Day

By Kayleigh Partleton

Shooters have become more and more common on mobile devices. Fortunately, I happen to be a major fan of the genre. I enjoy them just as much on Android as I do on PC and console.

Moreover, FPS games on mobile play well, and should they be well designed, they can even outperform those on other major platforms.

Now then, I am open to shooting just about anything, except animals, I still have nightmares from shooting ducks on the NES. However, if I had to choose a favourite type of foe to shoot, it would be zombies.

So, this week's Mobile Game of the Week combines two of my favourite things, enter Zombie Hunter D-Day. A survival shooter that will pit players against waves of the undead.

Shoot them

The controls are simple, given that the player is stationary, users can use the left side of the screen to aim while tapping the right side to shoot.

Furthermore, there are buttons on the right-hand side to switch between weapons and to reload.

On the home screen, zombie slayers can adjust their arsenal and upgrade their weapons of choice. There is plenty to choose from as the game goes on, so come on, get creative and make a mess.

For first time players, there is a tutorial. However, it is short and not very sweet. Fortunately, the game is easy enough to pick up, and a little look around will reveal all that there is to know about Zombie Hunter D'Day.

Besides guns and grenades, there are various advantages available to take on the undead hordes. For example, headshot damage can be increased, as can health.

Other benefits include increased grenade and weapon damage, crit damage and an automatic block to defend against an attack. Finally, double XP is also available. All bonuses can be purchased through the use of in-game currency.

In the head

Naturally, as with most free-to-play titles, there are microtransactions available within. Players are able to buy gold - an in-game currency - bundles. The cost ranges from $2.69 to $78.99.

Gold can then be used to get silver, which in turn can be spent on various things, such as ammo and weapon upgrades. Silver coins are easy enough to earn through the completion of stages.

However, should users be open to sitting through advertisements, they can earn gold without spending any real-life money. On the flip side, if ads are the bane of your existence, then they can be permanently removed for $1.79.

With how frustrating 2021 has proven to be so far, it may do you some good to just rage at a bunch of zombies. Honestly, I swear by this, the more zombies I kill, the better I feel.

So, will Zombie Hunter D-Day keep its place on my phone? Yes, we all need that one game that is quick to play and provides great stress release. Some play puzzles to relax - though I question this...a lot! Others, such as myself, shoot things.

Stella Arcana

Stella Arcana

By Kayleigh Partleton

Welcome back! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and a good start to the year. Well, as good as you possibly could have.

A new year means one thing for little old me, another 52 weeks of checking out some incredible mobile games. Some may be created from the big hitters of the industry, and others could be one of those precious indie gems.

Either way, I am guaranteed to come across some awesome games in 2021, and I am keen to share these discoveries with all of you.

To say I loved the first game that has secured's Mobile Game of the Week would be an understatement. For those that enjoyed reading my ramblings last year, you will be aware that this journalist is a sucker for RPGs and open-world adventures.

Therefore, we are kicking 2021 off with Sella Arcana, a neat little mobile RPG with a pretty soundtrack – yes, we still after some killer tracks in 2021.

Hit the...

Players must first select their character, as with any good role-playing game, users must choose a hero that will reflect their desired playstyle.

Stella Arcana offers five different classes – Mage, priest, warrior, archer and assassin – all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Usually, I would go for warrior or archer, but on this occasion, I chose the assassin; I thought it would be fun to be the one giving surprises rather than receiving them...looking at you, COVID!

Graphically speaking, the game is pretty enough, though it falls just short of the outlandish gorgeousness displayed by Genshin impact. At times, characters may appear to be a little blurry.


In terms of controls, the layout is non-interfering with the gameplay with a transparent analogue stick and attack buttons on the opposite side. However, at times movement can prove to be a little clunky.

Moreover, the combat proved to be as fun as I hoped it would be, nothing like a little bit of hack n slash through a beautiful world. While running can be clunky at times, actual action proved to be relatively smooth.


Not only is there a standard action attack, but as players grow, they will unlock special abilities to give that extra edge in battle.

Naturally, as with any RPG, there are customisation options, including gear. As players progress, they may find gear that is better suited to them or features higher stats than their current arsenal.


Not only does Stella Arcana offer a fun PVE experience, but it also features some PVP for those that like to get competitive.

It will come as no surprise that the open-world RPG features in-game purchases for currency.

However, it is worth noting that all money can be obtained through playing Stella Arcane. Be it through winning in PVP, defeating bosses or completing quests; there are options for players that prefer not to splash the cash.

Overall, Stella Arcana was a pleasure to explore thanks to its beautiful landscapes, which were accompanied by a pretty soundtrack.

So, for the first time this year, I have to ask myself, will Stella Arcana keep its place on my phone? For the time being, of course, it will. Any game that allows me to get lost in its world on the go is always going to be a winner.

Rush Royale

Rush Royale

By Kayleigh Partleton

This is it, the final Game of the Week for 2020. It has certainly been a trying year, but fortunately, it has been filled to the brim with fantastic mobile titles that have helped to get us through.

We have been treated to big hits such as Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, Genshin Impact, League of Legends: Wild Rift and EVE Echoes. Furthermore, there have also been some hidden gems this year, including Nameless Cat, Wave Redux, and Words for a Bird and Endurance.

However, my final choice for the Mobile Game of the Week this year goes to Rush Royale, a fantasy-based tower defence game. An apt choice really given 2020 has made me feel like I am trapped in a tower.

As I may have mentioned before, strategy games are not usually a go-to for me, purely because taking a step back and thinking things through is just not me, not even a little bit. That doesn't mean the genre doesn't pull me in on occasion.


The game is easy to pick up and thankfully, there is a decent tutorial section to help families tower defence veterans and newcomers alike with the mechanics.

Rush Royale utilises a card-based mana system to summon your troops to the battlefield. For each enemy defeated, players will be awarded mana, so be sure to use it wisely - nothing worse than being overrun by a bunch of tiny critters.

Perhaps what makes Rush Royale unique, and more of a standout in the tower defence genre is that it has a variety of mechanics. On top of the card-based mana system, players are able to merge two of the same summons to create a more powerful entity.


However, there is always the option of using mana to upgrade those already on the battlefield directly. After all, boosting a powerful ally can prove to be more useful than adding another weakling to the battlefield - this is war dammit!


Bosses. I am a sucker for bosses. Nothing gets my attention faster than knowing I get to take on a big bad, and that is yet another thing that is offered by Rush Royale.

There is something for everyone within Rush Royale thanks to both PvP and PvE options. When outside of battle, players are able to change up their cards or even upgrade them to give themselves that extra advantage come wartime.

Rush Royale is free-to-play. However, it should come as no surprise that in-app purchases are available. Should players wish to, they can buy in-game currency – that can be used to purchase items. However, this currency can be earned via in-game quests.

So, will Rush Royale keep its place on my phone? Not for the long haul no, but hey, it could provide some entertainment over the holidays. Then again, I have a backlog of games that has been waiting ever so patiently for my attention.

Right, that is that, the final Mobile Game of the Week for 2020. But fear not, I will be back with all of the best Android and iOS titles that 2021 has to offer.

League of Legends: Wild Rift

League of Legends: Wild Rift

By Kayleigh Partleton

So, it finally happened, League of Legends: Wild Rift has at long last hit both Google Play and the App Store.

As such, it should come as no surprise that Riot Games' latest mobile title has snagged my Mobile Game of the Week accolade. However, for others, this could very well be their Mobile Game of the Year, The Game Awards 2021 anyone?

It would be fair to say that if you are a fan of the original League of Legends, then Wild Rift is a must-play for you. It is a must-play for any mobile gamer, regardless of LoL experience.

Be warned. Matches can last up to 20 minutes so be sure that you have the time to spare before jumping into Wild Rift.

To become

Fortunately, the controls are simple and smooth. Players will spot a joystick in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen to move their champion around. To attack, players need only press a button on the right-hand side of the screen.

Naturally, as is to be expected with League of Legends, or any MOBA really, each champion will have unique abilities. The ability button can be found next to the standard attack option. Be sure to consider the gifts of different characters when choosing your hero.

Personally, I am an extremely aggressive player, so any champion that wants to be in a straight-up fight is perfect. However, never underestimate the value of support, us aggressive types would be screwed without them.

Furthermore, as players progress, they will be able to level up abilities. For people that are familiar with MOBAs, the mechanics of Wild Rift will be easy to pick up.


However, for prospective users that are yet to experience LoL or the genre, there is an extensive tutorial to teach players all they need to know to secure victory in the world of League of Legends: Wild Rift.

A legend

Unsurprisingly, to look at, League of Legends: Wild Rift is stunning. The popular MOBA certainly suits mobile devices. I mean, who doesn't want the option to take LoL everywhere with them?

As is to be expected, players have the option to compete against the AI or go against other players. The true League of Legends experience is found within its PvP, and this applies to Wild Rift too.

So, will Wild Rift keep its place on my phone? Of course, it will. This was never in doubt. Ever since the game was first announced last year, I knew it would hold a permanent place on my phone at release. I'm just pleased that LoLs leap to mobile has been smooth.

League of Legends: Wild Rift clearly has a strong future on mobile.

Bio Inc. Redemption

Bio Inc. Redemption

By Kayleigh Partleton

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a doctor? To work those long hours to save lives?

Well, if you have and want to have a stab at saving virtual lives through your mobile device, look no further than this week's Game of the Week, Bio Inc. Redemption.

Full disclosure, this game has proven that me not pursuing a career in medicine was a very good thing. Writing mumbo jumbo about mobile games is definitely more my speed than saving lives.

Have to admit, it is an interesting time to release a game about curing disease. You know, in the middle of a global pandemic and what not.


The premise of the game is simple, cure you patients and save the day! However, there is quite a bit to consider when it comes to playing doctor.

On the screen, a patient's total health will be displayed, as will a variety of areas within human anatomies, such as neurology and respiratory systems. When an area is highlighted, players need to tap on it to see it on the human body.

From there, players need to eradicate bio spots which will grant points. In turn, they can be spent to diagnose and treat the patient. No pressure, but this is life and death in a pandemic, even if it is virtual.


However, for those who think it's fun to be bad, you can choose an alternative campaign, happily titled death, that paints you in a villainous light. As the name of the story implies, rather than saving people, they instead become your victim.

Honestly, I found the second campaign to be much more fun. Then again, I failed miserably at trying to save people, so why not help them on their way instead.

Or death

Bio Inc. Redemption is entirely free-to-play. However, there are microtransactions available. Players are able to purchase two in-game currencies, gems and bio coins. The former of which can be used to get life or death skill credits.

Meanwhile, bio coins can be used to give the player an advantage when entering a level. For example, a head start can be purchased, as can a rush in bio points to make them occur more often.

Due to the various mechanics and information that a player is faced with, Bio Inc. Redemption will not be for everybody.

So, it is time to answer that question, will this game keep its spot on my phone? Yes. For the foreseeable future, I can see myself doing a poor job of playing doctor.



By Kayleigh partleton

Ever wondered what it would be like to hatch a bunch of ducklings? No? Me neither, yet when I found a game that allowed me to I was oddly intrigued.

Therefore, this week, the Mobile Game of the Week award goes to casual title Clusterduck. The name alone was enough to warrant it a place on this list.

Okay, this game had me thinking "what the duck?" but this was a good thing. As opposed to the immense confusion, I usually feel when thinking that way. That's not to say I wasn't confused, but there was also amusement.


Clusterduck had an incredibly simple premise, and that was to hatch as many ducks as possible. All of which were unique in their own way. All the birds have their own description.

For example, I had one that liked to talk about Martians and one that had lava for blood. Have to say, I was excited each time an egg was laid, just wanted to know what interests and qualities my new friends would have.

However, the game gets weirder the longer you play. The ducks have three parts to them, the head, wings and body. All of which could be mutated. That's right, mutant ducks.


Furthermore, there is only room for 25 ducks at a time. But, fortunately for the player, there is a hole at the bottom of the screen just waiting to see those normal ducks thrown down it.

After all, you want to get the most mutated duck possible, and some of them are truly shocking.

The game is entirely free-to-play. However, should ads ruing all of your ducking fun then there is the option to remove them all for $0.89.

So, will Clusterduck remain on my phone? No, but it's worth a download for some quick fun.

Heroes War: Counterattack

Heroes War: Counterattack

By Kayleigh Partleton

Everywhere you look on the App Store or Google Play, there are turn-based strategy games. Seriously, you cannot escape – pretty good strategy right there.

Usually, I am not one for strategy or tactics, more of a shoot first and ask questions later kind of girl. However, there are exceptions to this rule, particularly if a turn-based game adopts some RPG elements.

As such, Com2uS is behind my Game of the Week with Heroes War Counterattack. Yes, the fact that this is a game by the South Korean company may have helped in encouraging me to play it.

I need a hero

The controls are simple, as is the norm with a turn-based strategy title. However, on this occasion, rather than select a square to move a character into, players will control movement via a gamepad.

Naturally, the game includes a range of characters with each one offering different advantages and drawbacks while in battle. The roster is huge, many mercs to choose from.


Some mercenaries are better at close range, such as a tanker. Meanwhile, others can only perform an assault at a distance. The key to victory is to balance the fighting styles of your mercenaries.

Moreover, there is a range of skills attached to the characters; some of these were great for clearing the crowds. Made me feel jealous. I could do with those abilities when shopping.

On the offensive

Graphically speaking, unsurprisingly, the game is gorgeous, what else would you expect from the company behind Summoners War. Furthermore, the combat plays smoothly, not a clunky movement in sight.

It is no secret at this point that I am a sucker for a good soundtrack, and let me tell you that music in Heroes War Counterattack is fantastic, especially for a mobile title. I was genuinely impressed.

To top it off, the story found within this turn-based strategy RPG was great, definitely worth a play. Moreover, the other game modes, including quests and the arena, were just as much fun to play.

So, do I plan on keeping Heroes War Counterattack on my phone? You bet I do. My team of mercenaries and I have a lot of work to do, and boy has it been fun to disperse the enemy so far.

Heroes War Counterattack is a must-play for not only fans of the strategy genre, but for those that are a fan of Com2uS' Summoners War.

Kakapo Run

By Kayleigh Partleton

If there is one thing that I am, it is an animal lover. So, any game that involves animals is usually a hit with me.

That is especially true when it comes to endangered species. Therefore, my game of the week has to go to Kakapo Run by PlayStack.

Not only is the game enjoyable, but it also has an important message, one that the world should receive.

The Kakapo is a large bird, native to New Zealand and unfortunately, the species is endangered with only around 200 left. All I can say is #SaveTheKakapo.

Run Kakapo

Kakapo Run itself has proven to be a fun game. It's simple in design, a runner that involves the player taking charge of a Kakapo.

The controls are straightforward, swipe up to jump, down to skid and left or right to move side to side.

Throughout the levels, players will need to escort the endangered bird to safety whilst trying to save its fellow Kakapos. The levels vary, with some set in the luscious forests while others are in a bustling city.


Furthermore, as with any mobile runner, there will be obstacles to avoid. Unfortunately, the Kakapo is a flightless bird so you will need to dodge these objects the old fashioned way.


The game is entirely free to play. Its sole purpose is to make people aware of the situation the beautiful bird is facing.

Unfortunately, some people are not aware of the dangers that certain species face in this world. However, Kakapo Run is a good step in helping to inform those that might otherwise not know about the issues.

So will I play this game in the long run? No, but do I appreciate the message that Kakapo Run conveyed? Absolutely.

Oh, and one more thing, this is the first in a series of games that will be designed to bring attention to other endangered animals. If you are an animal lover or want to play some easy going games, this could be a series to keep an eye on.

Epic Monster TD

Epic Monster TD

By Kayleigh Partleton

While I am not the most strategically sound person, more of a shoot first questions later kind of gal, there is the odd occasion where I appreciate a tower defence game.

There is something oddly satisfying about taking out waves of enemies through strategic defence placements. The sense of inner accomplishment I feel when I actually make a good decision is overwhelming. They are few and far between so cherish them I must.

Without further ado, this week's Mobile Game of Week is Epic Monster TD - RPG Tower Defense.

Coming over the hill

The game is exactly what it says on the tin, a tower defence title featuring a vast array of epic monsters.

As with most games within the strategy genre, the controls are simple, just drag and place whichever monster you have lined up. Naturally, there is a range of locations to choose from, guess that's the strategic part.

Tower Defense's monsters are elemental, meaning they each have something different to offer in terms of damage.

Furthermore, all placed creatures are upgradable; this allows the player to increase health and damage output.

Along the bottom of the screen, users will see a range of tabs. It is important to become familiar with these as they open up upgrade options, new monsters and so on.

There are in-game currencies which are used for different things. For example, players will only receive the correct currency for the purchase of monsters through either completing a wave of enemies or defeating a boss.

It's a monster

Unfortunately, there is much to learn about the game, most of which is not explained during the game's ever-so short tutorial. However, it does point you in the direction of the FAQ page. Highly recommend all players read this.

The game allows you to earn gold whilst offline, a massive help when it comes to strengthening your defence. However, this is limited to four hours worth a day unless the offline gold perk is purchased.

While this game may not keep a player hooked for the long term, it is a cute little game that would suit any strategy fan just fine for a quick fix.

Space Frog Intern

Space Frog Intern

By Kayleigh Partleton

Ever get that feeling where you just want to shoot things? No, well I do, and the idea of shooting said things with a frog is even better.

Without further ado, this week's Mobile Game of the Week award goes to Space Frog Intern, by James Bolton.

The game is a vertical shooter, which is just what I needed this week, no need for me to go looking for things to shoot; they came to me instead. Perhaps that makes me lazy, but hey, it's Friday.

Players will take control of a frog, that's right, a frog shooting things up in outer space. One day, this frog was just minding his own business, flying high with a balloon, when suddenly he finds himself on a spaceship! Woah.


The controls are simple, just what you would expect from this type of shooter. Players are able to jump through tapping the left side of the screen, while to shoot you tap the right side of the screen.

To change the direction in which our amphibian friend is running, just shoot. Also, bear in mind that should a pesky little alien hit the floor, stomp on it, the frog is well and truly in charge here.


Furthermore, there are upgrades available to aid our hero space-bound frog in shooting and stomping his way through the enemy.

Outta this world

The aim of the game is simple. Players need to survive as many waves of enemies as possible. To anyone that was a fan of Space Invaders, Space Frog Intern is a must-try.

Thankfully, Space Frog Intern is entirely free-to-play, though this does, of course, come through the use of ads. However, if you don't want any advertising to get in the way of frog-tastic frolicking, they can be removed for $1.99.

Just want to say, that for the introduction alone, Space Frog Intern deserves to be recognised as Game of the Week. Think I was actually more confused to see a frog defying gravity with a balloon, more than I was at the amphibian going on a galactic journey.

So, will Space Frog Intern keep its place on my phone? Probably not, but it is worth a go for some quick vertical shooter fun.

Spooky Squashers

Spooky Squashers

By Kayleigh Partleton

Most people love Christmas for presents or Easter for chocolate. But for me, I prefer Halloween! Sweets and scares, what's not to love.

In the spirit of my favourite day being just over a week away, this week's Mobile Game of the Week falls within the spooky category, well, kind of.

Spooky Squashers has combined Halloween with squash, the sporty kind, you know, the one that leaves you in a sweaty, heavy breathing heap on the floor—possibly having hit yourself in the head with the ball, no? Just me? Moving on.

Players will take control of a rather active pumpkin, smacking balls at any ghost that dares to say boo.

Smashing pumpkins

The controls can take a bit of getting used to, with the bottom of the screen being blank to allow players to use their thumb to move the joystick.

However, with a bit practice, players will speed all over the court, showing those ghosts who's boss by smacking them with the ball, hurts, doesn't it. throughout the levels, upgrades may drop, giving the pumpkin a pace that Speedy Gonzales would envy.

Although, the rather energetic pumpkin will be kept on its toes as a big bad ghost will show up with a knife, clearly intent on taking part in its favourite Halloween activity, pumpkin carving.


On top of this, while the standard white ghosts will cause no harm, the ones that are purple and hiding behind masks will.

Furthermore, the number of balls a player has will dwindle as the levels progress. Also, they serve as your health bar, so be careful not to lose too many.

Pumpkin spice

The music is fun, reminiscent of walking through a haunted house, though no attraction that I ever walked through featured a pumpkin playing squash. A shame as that would have scared me, the idea of playing squash, not the pumpkin.

As players progress and earn higher scores, they will fill up a chest bar. Once filled, users will be rewarded with a new racket or a different bat type altogether.

Ads are non-intrusive in Spooky Squashers. However, players can choose to watch them in exchange for a chest boost.

While Spooky Squashers is not going to keep me hooked, it is worth playing in the spooky month of October. That, and technically I can say I played squash, making room for all the sweets I'm going to eat.

Poor Thief!

Poor Thief!

By Kayleigh Partleton

The App Store and Google Play are filled to the brim with puzzle games, and wherever you look, you can be sure a pesky puzzler will pop up.

Sometimes, okay rarely, I do enjoy a puzzle game. On occasion they make me feel smart when I totally nail it, while most of the time I'm left questioning how I've made it so far in life.

Having said that, this week is a rare occasion, as my game of the week is a little puzzle gem known as Poor Thief!.

To catch

The premise of the game is straightforward. The player takes control of a thief who is after a lovely looking gem.

Of course, it is not as simple as spotting something shiny and picking it up. Instead, it takes some brain smarts.

Players must swipe the screen to move the thief in their chosen direction, using the walls and various blocks to reach the diamond.

In a way, I kind of feel sorry for this little thief, while at the same time being impressed by their persistence. To complete some of the levels, the thief has to die...over...and over, to allow them to use the graves as a means of reaching the loot.

A thief

Poor Thief! is entirely free-to-play, unless the small number of ads prove to be too annoying, in which case a small price can be paid to have them permanently removed.

Unfortunately, the game can get repetitive fairly quickly with the levels lacking much variety with the quality of the design wavering on occasion too.

So, will Poor Thief! keep its spot on my phone? No, but it certainly has its charms and made me slightly jealous, who wouldn't want to be an immortal thief! Actually, maybe dying over and over again would get boring after a while.

Hot Wheels Unlimited

Hot Wheels Unlimited

By Kayleigh Partleton

Sometimes it is nice to come across a mobile title that gives you a little trip down memory lane.

I am a sucker for some nostalgia, so when I found out that Budge Studios had created a new Hot Wheels game I knew I was going to have to check it out.

Therefore, Hot Wheels Unlimited has picked up this week's Mobile Game of the Week slot.

Tear it up

The controls are simple and easy to use. When it comes to construction, players simply check the track pieces at the bottom of the screen before choosing one and sliding it into position on the track.

As you race through the track, use your finger to steer the car, though this could be a bit touch and go at times. It seemed that no matter what I did, I could not control the car.

I'm sure most who played with Hot Wheels when they were younger would agree that it was not just about collecting the cars – though some were must haves – but also about building your own track.


There were many track collections to be purchased and built, so to be able to do that yet again, this time for free, through a mobile phone is great for those after a serious nostalgia trip.

With an impressive amount of track pieces and variations, players can create a wide range of unique tracks. However, there are a number of classic cars just waiting to be collected in this racer, some of which may well be sitting on the shelf of an avid collector.

Round the track

Naturally, given Hot Wheels Unlimited is a racing game, there will be challenges that involve racing against opponents. To come out on top, it is not only about controlling the car, but rather building momentum at the start and knowing when to use the ever-helpful boost.

However, I will say that on occasion the races felt slow, almost as though the vehicle had little no speed, kind of like a Sunday drive as opposed to tearing up the track.

So, will Hot Wheels Unlimited keep its spot on my phone? Probably not, but I do recommend it to anybody that wants to reconnect with the child in them.

Genshin Impact

By Kayleigh Partleton

Without a doubt, my favourite games genre is RPG, the way that you can get lost in a vast world filled with fascinating characters is something that has always appealed to me.

Therefore, it will come as no surprise that this week, I have chosen MiHoYo's recently released open-world RPG Genshin Impact.

The beautifully crafted game has taken the world by storm since its release on September 28th, as it came to players around the world on a variety of platforms.

While I would encourage anyone and everyone to pick up this game, I would certainly suggest downloading it on mobile, and no it's not because I'm biased – though given I write for a mobile site it is a plus – but rather so that Genshin Impact can go wherever you do. Being able to play this on the go is a massive bonus.

How to make

In terms of controls, the mobile adaptation of the game has been made well. Players have a joystick to move around and can adjust the camera angle through swiping across the other side of the screen.

However, on smartphones, thanks to a lack of a controller, the buttons appear on the touch screen, but it doesn't affect the view of the game all that much.

Genshin Impact's combat is smooth and enjoyable, with the mobile rendition offering both a dodge and attack button. As with all RPGs, there is a leveling system to make your character more powerful, with a vast array of weapons available throughout the game.

Graphically speaking, the game is beyond stunning, no matter what platform you choose to play one. Genshin Impact looks just as good on mobile as it does on PC and PS4.


The game is filled with cutscenes, all of which make for a great watch on mobile devices. Honestly, if the first scene of the game does not get you hooked with intrigue, I'm not sure anything will.

Moreover, with a cross-save feature, you can play across all platforms, so you can go on a quick quest while on the move and settle in for a night in front of the PS4 and take a deep dive in, exploring as you please.

An impact

Want to know what one of the best things about an open-world title such as Genshin Impact? It is the opportunity to explore with friends, and this can be done regardless of which platform you choose. Prefer mobile, but your friends prefer PC? No problem, you can still team up and slay some monsters.

Not only is the game lovely to look at, but it is also stunning to listen to with a peaceful soundtrack to complement the beautiful world. The music provided by a game can be an underappreciated component, but it is one that this RPG fanatic takes into consideration when determining how good a game is.

Lastly, I feel the need to give a shout-out to the cooking system in this game, mainly because anytime I get to show my culinary prowess is a cause for celebration – if you tasted my cooking in real-life you'd understand why.

Time to answer that question I ask myself each week, will this game remain on my phone? Of course, it will, how could I remove such a stunning game, one that has kept me entertained since launch and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Swap-Swap Panda

Swap-Swap Panda

By Kayleigh Partleton

If there is one genre that I have no problem with picking up at any time, it's the platformer.

With that said, my Mobile Game of the Week goes to Swap-Swap Panda, a cute little platform title that, as the name suggests, features pandas.

One of my favourite mobile genres, mixed with one of my favourite types of animal, was always going to be a winner.

Throw on top of that the beauty of the game, and the lovely level design, Swap-Swap Panda, is a must-play for fans of the platform genre.


The controls are simple and refined, with a button to move left and right and a jump button. Then, as you have two pandas at your disposal, there is a final button to switch in between the two mammals.

As with any classic platformer, there are obstacles to overcome. As such, each panda has different uses to achieve various tasks.

The red panda can climb bamboo to reach higher platforms; it can also collect items that have been dropped by enemies.


Meanwhile, the giant panda, given it is the stronger species, can jump on enemies to defeat them, and move objects around. Also, the giant panda is the only one of the two that swim, meaning the red variety needs to catch a ride.

Each of the pandas can hitch a lift with its friend, which can save some time.


After completing so many levels, the game will be interrupted with advertisements. While they may be short and not overly disruptive, players can choose to remove them for a small fee.

So, will Swap-Swap Panda keep its place on my phone? Yes, at least until I complete all available levels with my mammal friends.


Auto Brawl Chess

Auto Brawl Chess

By Kayleigh Partleton

Sometimes, every now and then, I feel the need to have a game of chess, although I have never understood why.

This week, rather than scratching the itch with a traditional board game, I picked up a mobile title instead, one that adds so much more excitement to chess. Therefore, this week's Game of the Week award goes to Auto Brawl Chess.

The game ties auto-chess, hero-collection and merge mechanics together to make a tactics-based game. Those who tuned in for our sister site's LaunchPad event may recognise Panoramik Games' title.

Your move

The game involves the player placing their collected heroes onto the board. Thankfully there is a button that will automatically place your best characters on the battlefield. However, as the match progresses, you may want to recruit doubles of those already in the fray to boost their attributes.

As you play, coins are earned which are needed to not only recruit new heroes but to also up the number of combatants a player can have on the battlefield. Due to Auto Brawl Chess featuring auto-chess features, your job is done when the round is set up as the heroes will fight for victory themselves.

Each individual character will have different skills and attributes that will affect how they perform in battle. Furthermore, tapping on a hero will provide more information and enable the player to move them around the board.



To gain even more of an advantage, it is worth taking factions into consideration as multiple heroes from the same team will offer a tactical advantage.

Naturally, there are in-app purchases available for those that are looking to get ahead and have their eyes set on certain heroes and equipment. However, it is not necessary to spend money to progress in the game. Moreover, there are daily login rewards available for the most dedicate chess brawlers.

Time to answer that all-important question, will Auto Brawl Chess keep a spot on my phone? Yes, it will, simply because it is an easier way of playing one of my favourite board games – despite being quite strategically dense at times. Oh, and who doesn't like being in charge of a group of heroes, right?

Nameless Cat

Nameless Cat

By Kayleigh Partleton

Having spent the past week commanding a group of elite soldiers, I was after something a bit more chilled this week.

Thankfully, I found just what I was looking for in the form of a beautiful pixel-art platformer known as Nameless Cat by Kotoba Games. The game gave me the ultimate feeling of serenity within seconds, from the stunning pixel surroundings to the lovely soundtrack.

To top it off, the exclusive Android game features a story that involves the player guiding the young feline back to its family, journeying through a mysterious world.

Soft kitty

The controls are nice and simple; three buttons are displayed on the screen allowing you to move the cat left and right, there is also a jump button, be a bit tough to play a platformer without one of those. Furthermore, there is a button that allows you to teleport, granting access to different platforms.

As is the case with all platform titles, there are various obstacles to overcome, with some environmental hazards thrown in for good measure. Namely moving spikes and spike pits, seriously, what is it with platformers and spikes? Also, as it turns out, cats do not have nine lives, nor do they always land on their feet, so avoid falling down canyons.

Naturally, the further you get into the game, the more hazardous situations there are, but there are some interesting characters to offer advice along the way.


Warm kitty

The game features in-app purchases, allowing players to purchase skins for the loveable cat. There is also the option of finding currency throughout the levels that will enable you to buy a new look.

Oh, and if dealing with ads drives you crazy, for a grand total of $2.49, advertising can be removed. Although, it has very little impact on the actual gameplay.

Nameless Cat is not the longest game that you will find on Google Play, but it's a beautiful little gem that is worth a journey through.

Tom Clancy's Elite Squad

Tom Clancy's Elite Squad

By Kayleigh Partleton

It would be fair to say that I have been waiting for Tom Clancy's Elite Squad to hit mobile devices for quite some time.

Now that I have finally been able to get my hands on it, I felt it was only right to name Ubisoft's new military RPG as my Game of the Week. It is a must-play for any Tom Clancy fan, as Elite Squad features many recognisable characters that can be found in the various worlds Ubisoft has created based on Clancy's novels.

Most notably, fans will see familiar faces from various franchises including The Division, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six Siege and Splinter Cell. The latter of these boasts one of the most well-known characters in gaming, Sam Fisher.

More importantly, the game plays well, is executed to near perfection, and offers the experience that I was hoping for.

Best of

The gameplay itself is relatively simple, with some impressive real-time firefights that Tom Clancy fans are sure to enjoy. Moreover, as you increase your command level, you will unlock unique abilities that you can use in a battle to turn the tides in your favour, such as dropping rockets on top of the enemy – be sure to choose your loadout wisely.

At the start of the game, you have a few select members in your squad. Over time, you will unlock new members to add to your team, giving you the best chance at survival, securing victory over UMBRA, the faction that stands in your way.

Moreover, as you might expect, each character offers different strengths and weaknesses; some may heal the team, others may deal a ton of damage, while different squaddies may withstand more of an assault.


Furthermore, as you progress through the game, completing various missions, the difficulty will increase. As such, it is important to gear up the team; successfully fulfilling objectives could well reward you with better equipment for different team members. Not only that, but each character has a ranking, which will increase as you choose to level them to meet your commander level.

The best

Naturally, as with most free-to-play mobile games, there are optional microtransactions for in-game currency. The virtual-money can be used to buy a variety of things, including packs that contain new characters, resources and soldier upgrades.

Tom Clancy's Elite Squad was everything I wanted and more. For years, I have craved a new Splinter Cell but being able to operate with Sam Fisher in Elite Squad is enough to tide over my undying need for the excitement of espionage.

I, for one, will enjoy completing the campaign, and experiencing all that Elite Squad has to offer, including the guilds system. This military RPG will not be leaving my phone anytime soon.

Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War

Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War

By Kayleigh Partleton

If there is one type of game you can be sure to find on a mobile storefront. it's a turn-based strategy.

Fortunately, this week, I happened to be in the mood for a bit of strategy, with some near-flawless turn-based combat integrated and lovely RPG elements. My Mobile Game of the Week is Neowiz's Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War... the game is better than the name I swear.

Must defend

As with any good tactical RPG, there is a whole roster of summons available, and all characters, naturally, have their strengths and weaknesses. However, in Tactics War, it all comes down to the elements, for each character will be affiliated with fire, water, and tree – among others – all of which are either strong or weak against one another.

For victory in battle, be sure to use a range of melee, ranged, and healer summons with various elemental affiliations to cover all bases. Players are able to take four fighters to the battlefield with them, which in itself is pretty small. However, a strategic mind is still required to secure victory. It is important to think your attacks through as some do require a cool-down period.

There is a battle simulation option for players looking to speed things up, although it is much more effective to be in control of the heroes yourself. The combat is everything in this game, quite literally given everything else seems to revolve around it.


The kingdom

It is a fun game with plenty to keep you entertained; there is a ton of content to explore for the low-low price of free. There is the main campaign to follow that sees you and your trusty allies embark on an adventure to save the kingdom. Through doing so, you will unlock new summons and runes. The latter is crucial in powering up your characters, increasing both offensive and defensive stats and attributes such as health.

Runes can also be upgraded to increase their ultimate effect. Furthermore, there will be heroes that you never use, so do not be afraid to transfer experience from them to your preferred summons, no point in letting good skill go to waste.

Although, as with most mobile games, there are in-game purchases available. However, these will have minimal impact on the game itself, meaning there is no need to spend your money.

All in all, I have very few complaints about Kingdom of Heroes: Tactics War – except maybe the name – and it will have a place on my phone for some time to come.

EVE Echoes

EVE Echoes

By Kayleigh Partleton

If there is one genre that rarely does me wrong, it's MMOs - no matter what, I can always find some sort of positive within, even if the game itself appears somewhat lacklustre.

However, my Mobile Game of the Week this week is a well-executed MMO by NetEase, EVE Echoes. It's a must-play for any fan of massively multiplayer online titles, especially if you happen to be a fan of the EVE Online game for PC.

If you happen to be familiar with the EVE series, you will recognise some of its famous features in its mobile adaptation – PvE, PvP, planetary exploration, and mining.

Out of this world

Going into EVE Echoes, I had quite high standards given how well-executed EVE Online is, and thankfully, I was not disappointed. The sandbox space environment was a pleasure to explore, and naturally, the combat was a lot of fun.

As is the standard with EVE, players are in complete control of their purpose within the universe, with multiple playstyles available to suit either the most seasoned or rookie spacewalkers. Upon starting a new journey, players will be asked to choose a race with each one offering unique perks and characteristics.

When playing, users can choose their path - will you be an explorer? Or perhaps the world of business calls to you, making you into a tycoon as you take on the trading markets. However, if like me you prefer to be in action and like a good pillage, the life of a space pirate might be for you.


Vast universe

The beauty of EVE Echoes is that there is so much to do; the universe is huge, quite literally, as there are more 8,000 star systems just waiting to be explored. In such a vast space, having friends to join you in intense battles can be crucial, so take advantage of the allies system.

Furthermore, there are more than 100 ships on offer, each one with unique skins. Your spaceship is important as you forge your own legacy in EVE Echoes, so why not make it look the part?

A question that I always answer is, will this game still be on my phone in a week? The short answer, yes. This game may have a permanent space on my device for the foreseeable future – I'm talking months here!



By Kayleigh Partleton

Ever get that "I wanna punch someone in the face" feeling? No? Well, I do, and a fighting game offers me plenty of opportunities to do so.

Having said that, for my Mobile Game of the Week, I have chosen Brawlhalla by Ubisoft. There is just something about being able to get your frustrations out on a virtual opponent - it is almost therapeutic and certainly much better than performing the action in real life.

Not to mention that Brawlhalla has been out for a while on other platforms, and if you have enjoyed it before I would encourage you to put your fists up yet again on mobile devices.

Round one

The aim of the game is in the name; it is an all-out brawl, and you need to fight your way to victory. Thankfully, the controls for the mobile version of the hit fighting game are simple and easy to use - there is a directional pad and four action buttons that allow you to attack, dash and jump.

There are both online and offline options, so everyone can enjoy the action if the prospect of going against other players is not ideal. However, for those that are ultra-competitive, perhaps you would like to try your hand at the ranked online matches, fight for your honour, and claim victory.

As with any good fighting title, there is a large roster of characters - in this case, Legends - to use. Each of them has different attributes and weapons at their disposal, meaning there is a fighter with the right style for everyone. It also happens to be fun playing as each of them, at least until you find a Legend you click with.



Also, for those who like a story – something Ubisoft has a natural talent for telling – each Legend has some lore behind them. Give them a read if you want a better understanding of those that you take to battle.

Naturally, there are in-game purchases available, but these will not affect the game significantly, and plenty can be achieved without spending your hard-earned cash. However, if fashion is important to you, there are a range of skins on offer, as are emotes, sidekicks and avatars.

Merge Dungeon

Merge Dungeon

By Kayleigh Partlteton

There is something oddly appealing about being stuck in some dark and murky dungeon.

With that in mind, for Mobile Game of the Week, I have chosen endless dungeon crawler Merge Dungeon, because who doesn't want to fight skeletons among other things in a never-ending cycle?

Nanoo Company's latest title is a must-play for anyone who was a fan of its predecessor, Merge Star.

It's dark

The gameplay itself is very simple. Players take control of three characters that cover three offensive styles – magic, range and melee – as they progress through the never-ending dungeon gathering loot and cutting down whatever gets in their way.

You craftraft weapons via the instructions at the bottom of the screen, then drag it up to character equipment slots to equip it. Naturally, weapons, armour and other equipment have different stats – attack and defence – that will affect how much damage the player can cause and withstand. Also, the more it is used, the higher the proficiency level will be.

Multiple pieces of equipment can be crafted and compared, giving players the chance to replace what is in their arsenal if a new version boasts better stats. Merging two pieces of the same gear will offer something unique.


So very dark

There are multiple game modes for these dungeon crawlers to take on. The adventure mode is what it says on the tin, and can be played in either standard or nightmare difficulty. For those seeking a more significant challenge, or wish to craft better equipment, there are other areas to tackle.

As with most mobile games, Merge Dungeon does have in-game purchases available. However, these are not necessary to make decent progress within the game.

Do I plan to keep Merge Dungeon on my phone? Yes, indeed, I do. It's easy to pick up and play, offers entertainment, and gives me a distinct sense of badassery as I tear down all who get in my way.

Color Switch World

Color Switch World

By Kayleigh Partleton

Everywhere you look on the App Store, hypercasual titles will jump out at you, and this week one managed to grab my attention enough to snag Mobile Game of the Week.

It is a rather fitting choice really, given its predecessor helped to kick off the hypercasual craze. This week, we took a look at Color Switch World, the successor to Color Switch. However, this new title embraces the endless runner element.

Switch it up

As with all hypercasual games, the premise is simple, as are the controls. To move the ball you need to swipe left and right on the screen, and as you progress through the level, there will be obstacles for you to dodge based upon the colour of the ball.

Those who have played Color Switch will have a good idea of what to expect - as the level goes on, the ball you control will take on different colours which will correspond to objects in your patch. Collide with matching colours to score points, but as soon as you hit a mismatch the game is over.

The game can be made as difficult or as easy as you like, with a slider to determine drag speed as well as three difficulty levels.

All the colours

As with many mobile titles, you can pick up the in-game currency as you play. In the case of Color Switch World its stars, plenty of which can be found as you progress through the game. They can be used to purchase cosmetic items such as a different style of ball.

However, given the game is new, some missing features will soon be released, such as trails and roads that can be purchased through in-game currency.

Color Switch World is a fun little game that may keep you hooked for a while. However, as with most hypercasual titles, I enjoyed it for a time, but it is not likely to stay on my phone for the long run.

Wave Redux

Wave Redux

By Kayleigh Partleton

Usually, when someone mentions the puzzle game genre to me, I associate it with brainteasers or other activities that leave me feeling fried.

I am yet – or was – to find a puzzler that I would call relaxing, but here we are, there really is a first time for everything. This week's Game of the Week goes to Thomas Janson's Wave Redux.

It's a straightforward title that had me feeling chilled out within seconds. Seriously, the chilled game mode is a much-welcomed distraction to alleviate stress.

Making waves

The gameplay itself is simple - in this geometric puzzle game, you control a line of shapes and need to avoid crashing into walls while picking up points. In chill mode, the game moves at a slower pace.

If you are still after a more relaxed feel but with more of a challenge, there is the chill plus mode which makes the line move a bit faster. However, the difficulty in both features comes from the screen moving around, which can make you lose your sense of direction. In the easy modes, you press and hold on the screen to move in a different direction.

However, if you are after an even bigger challenge, the hype and hype plus modes are available. Instead of pressing on the screen, you move the line by swiping left to right. Be prepared; the puzzle moves a lot faster.


Let yourself go

If there is one thing I love in games – be they mobile, triple-A, or indie – it's a good soundtrack, particularly when I am feeling the need to relax. Wave Redux has nailed this. It became easy, in the more relaxed modes, to lose myself in the shapes and music.

Entirely free-to-play, the only money that a player may need to spend is to remove ads - not they are that much of a bother, to begin with. So, will Wave Redux keep its place on my phone? A difficult task for any puzzle game – yes, it will, for the time being at least.



By Ric Cowley

I'm a simple man. If you throw a game at me and say "look, it's anime, it has a weird, slightly-fetishised collection of classic literary heroines killing monsters, and Yoko Taro designed it", I'm probably going to check that out.

And so we have SINoALICE, a game in which, well, you play as classic literary heroines with a slightly gothic-fetish look and kill countless waves of monsters, all while reading the words of Yoko Taro exploring what it means to be alive and to kill.

It is incredibly confusing. Battles seem to mostly play themselves, as a colourful cast of CPU characters spawn in from nowhere and deal huge amounts of damage with limited input from yourself. You can join in with special moves of your own, but why bother? Just let the fight play out on its own and you'll probably win.

Progress through the game's absolutely wild story chapters, interspersed with random snippets of Taro's typically bemusing pseudo-intellectual insights into the human (and demon) condition and you'll unlock new gear to add to your collection, opening up new attacks to help defeat tougher enemies.

Further down the rabbit hole

You can also unlock new characters to play as, including Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Alice (of Wonderland fame), and other similarly-themed heroines. Except here they have enormous, floaty chests and are designed expressly for a very particular goth lover - Yoko Taro, the man who designed them.

This may all sound like I didn't enjoy SINoALICE, but honestly, it's hard not to enjoy its utter weirdness. Battles are as flashy as they are confusing, the story so utterly baffling that you can't help but ponder what it's all about. And hey, you usually win the fights you're thrown into, so there's that.

SINoALICE probably didn't need a Western release - it's about as Japanese as it gets for mobile games. But for anime fans and Taro devotees alike, it's another chance to explore the mind of someone who goes through their professional life wearing a creepy moon mask at all times. And, really, what more do you need from a game?


Hellrider 3

Hellrider 3

By Kayleigh Partleton

Sometimes it is nice to pick up a game that requires no thought - you just fire it up and go with no puzzles around to stump you. A racing game would fit the role nicely.

With that said, this week's Game of the Week is Hellrider 3 by Anji Games, the perfect title to install for a quick ride on the road whilst destroying your foes in such a badass fashion.

Highway to hell

The controls are simple. Two buttons on the screen allow you to move the bike left or right to avoid obstacles and dodge incoming attacks when on the ride. To get over roadblocks, players need to hold down their thumbs on both sides of the screen.

When it comes to getting rid of the other bikers, there are a variety of tools at your disposal, such as guns and bombs. The former will aim automatically while the latter is up to you – my aiming hasn't been so bad since Crash Nitro Kart. There are multiple weapons available. However, some need to be bought with real money as opposed to in-game currency.

Players can put a personal touch on the game as they can change their character's – of which there are a few – appearance, and of course unlock more bikes through either buying them or winning races.


Ride or die

There are in-app purchases, there are both coins and drums available, but both can be earned through playing the game. The latter of these can be obtained through spending coins or by watching ads. Drums hold bullet perks that can give you an advantage – increased ammo and a shield, for example.

Will I keep this game on my phone? Possibly for a while. There's just something about hitting the open road, blowing up skeletons whilst feeling like Arnie in The Terminator franchise...



By Kayleigh Partleton

I do love a good adventure game, especially on mobile as I can play it on the go.

So, as you may have guessed, my Game of the Week falls within the adventure genre, and much to my delight is very story-driven. Endurance was developed by Ivan Panasenko and serves as a prequel to last year's Ailment.

It has a sci-fi setting and embraces a horror-based atmosphere. Ah, sci-fi and horror, what a beautiful combination. It is time to discover how the virus got out and how it drove those aboard the ship insane.

Out of this world

You get to choose your character from a small selection of scientists. Each one has different stats for the attributes - health, regeneration, speed, shield recharge and trap detection. For example, one character may have 82 per cent speed but at the cost of having 0 per cent trap detection. Seems like a fair trade, you run so fast that you don't see your upcoming demise – pretty accurate for me.

To control the character, you move your thumb along the left side of the screen, while to interact with items and to attack you need to slide your other thumb along the right side of the screen. When it comes to walking, it can be a bit clunky and hard to change direction.

There is a map to help you navigate on the left-hand side; the red markers represent your objective. It will come in handy when you start to explore, as it will enable you to find computers and other objects to help you progress. The ship itself is quite eerie to explore; it creates an atmosphere that will keep you hooked.


Jumping Ship

There are character upgrades available; you can find the stats button on the right-hand side where you can go to heal. However, there are power-ups found throughout the world in boxes and lockers.

The game can only be played online unless you choose to pay a small fee to remove ads, but honestly, they are not much of an issue.

Do I plan on keeping this game on my phone? Yes, I do. I want to see this one to the end, Panasenko has nailed it - and maybe I'm a sucker for anything that puts me on a spaceship with imminent danger.

Words for a Bird

Words for a Bird

By Kayleigh Partleton

The puzzle genre is one of the most popular that mobile devices have to offer. Nothing beats a proper noodle scratcher that forces you to think – at least until you have steam coming out of your ears like me, but that's beside the point.

However, despite my somewhat short attention span, I have chosen a puzzle title as this week's Game of the Week – Words for a Bird by Bart Bonte. I always wondered why birds sometimes sit in a tree and look spaced out, and now I know, it is because they are trying to solve riddles and jumbled words.

Birds of

The game is straightforward in its design, there is a bird in a tree surrounded by letters, and you need to figure out what word comes at the end of the sentence provided to you. There are clues available; in particular, a box will appear with letters inside. They will be placed in a certain way which serves as the clue. For example, a star found in an L surrounded by a G is Starling.

Unfortunately when you have brain power like me, this can go over your head, and thus you proceed to create random words until you get the right answer. But, some of the answers are bird-related, so it is possible to make an educated guess.

A feather

If you find yourself struggling – no judgment here – then there are an infinite number of assists you can call upon, all you need to do is watch a five-second ad. However, if ads are not your thing, then you can always pay to get them removed.

The game itself is very short, trust me, if I can complete a game – especially a puzzle one – in a single sitting it doesn't have great playtime. However, I would recommend people give this game a try and get to the end. There was a short but sweet sentence upon completing it that resonated with me and no doubt it will resonate with others too.

Demon Blade

Demon Blade

By Kayleigh Partleton

There are many countries I would love to visit, one of which is Japan for my love of its history, more specifically my love of samurais.

With that in mind, for this week's Game of the Week, I have chosen Demon Blade by Garage51. Seriously, anytime I get to go at enemies with a katana or any oriental weapon is a major win in my book.

As an action-duel title, you get just that - action, and the badass feeling of wielding a Katana. Time to draw your sword and fight like the legendary Japanese warrior you are.

For Honour!

The controls are simple; combat flows smoothly and has not been made in a complicated manner. You can swipe the screen three different directions, and each one will perform a separate attack.

Of course, to be a true samurai, one must be able to counter and block effectively. Tap the screen to defend yourself from an incoming attack - if you perfect the block, then your foe will be open for a counter to inflict some severe damage.

The music is fantastic and only adds to the atmosphere. Furthermore, the overall feel does take you to Japan and serves as another way to feel fully immersed in the experience. As with most stories centred around samurais, the story is focused on revenge and redemption.

Build your legacy

Furthermore, there is some in-depth customisation to turn yourself into the ultimate samurai, including armour and weaponry. Not only that, but demons may possess your sword to grant you that extra edge in battle.

Demons can be unlocked as you progress through the game and can be summoned from a temple at the cost of in-game currency. As with most mobile titles, there are two options for getting money, earn it through playing or spend your hard-earned cash. Either way, it's a good option to gain the advantage on your journey.

Will Demon Blade maintain a place on my phone? Keeping in mind that it is notoriously difficult to take up memory on my device for the long run, the answer is yes. I am determined to see this story through, and ultimately live out my fantasy to walk alongside those legendary Japanese warriors.

Super Fowlst 2

Super Fowlst 2

Platformers are practically synonymous with mobile devices at this point.

With that said, it's time to reveal our pick for Mobile Game of the Week. Naturally, it's a platformer, but this one is both random and different to what else you find in the iOS store - it's focused on chickens!

Despite the randomness, Super Fowlst 2 is quite charming. It reminds me of some good old fashioned gaming with retro graphics and a fun soundtrack.

Playing chicken

The controls are simple, to move left, or right you tap on that side of the screen while swiping allows you to use the items you pick up along the way.


Defeating enemies in this game is fun, simply send your chicken crashing into them. Or you want to do something with a little more kick; you can shoot yourself out of a cannon - chickens really can fly! At top speed too.

Besides being around to get beaten up by a flying chicken, enemies must be defeated to progress, their form of attack varies depending on enemy type, some will use projectiles. In contrast, others become electric to give my new favourite chicken a good roasting.

It's a hoot

As you complete levels and progress through the game, you will find gold coins, plenty of crates throughout the area will provide them. Naturally, this earned currency allows players to upgrade their character with more health, item slots, Rockets, a magnet and body slam to crush further those who dare fight the chicken.

However, there is an entire roster of characters waiting to be unlocked. Who knows, you may even recognise some of them - Dadish for one. Other unlockable characters include a possum, pizza, a duck and bunny ice cream cone.

Will this game still be on my phone in a week? Yes, it's about a chicken and as random as that is, it's enough to keep my interest for a while.

Rumble Hockey

Rumble Hockey

The sports genre has proven to be popular on mobile over the years, and this week's Game of the Week will be no exception.

Rumble Hockey by Frogmind has been an anticipated game, hardly a surprise given how popular Rumble Soccer was. As you would expect, the ice-hockey inspired title takes a lot from the previous entry. However, it has improved upon its aspects as well.

Leave it on the ice

Thankfully, the arenas are bigger in Rumble Hockey than those of its predecessor. This means that players have more room to manoeuvre and can plan their attacks accordingly. Naturally, users will have King Goalie, but there are many other Rumblers just waiting to get on the ice.

There is a whole roster for players to unlock, and each character has its own skills and offerings. All Rumblers have various attributes which are worth looking at when selecting a team, which can be increased through upgrades.

Rumblers also fall into three categories - Core, Pro and Superstar. These determine just how powerful characters are on the ice, and every team needs its core players as much as the star.

The controls are simple: you select the team member you wish to sling and point them in that direction, the rumbler will do the rest. Squad members can perform combos to give that extra edge in the match.

Gloves are off

Rumble Hockey is free-to-play. However, progress can be spread up through in-game purchases. There are coins and gems available as currency. They can be used for purchasing new characters and upgrades to give an edge on the ice.

Overall, I enjoyed Rumble Hockey and can see it staying on my phone for some time to come. At least ice hockey on my phone prevents me from getting hit in the face - by a puck at least.

Forza Street

Forza Street

By Ric Cowley

Forza Street gets off to something of a slow start, which seems kind of like a death sentence for a racing game.

It's purely intentional, of course. At the very beginning, you're thrown straight into a tutorial for the very basic controls, which would be a difficult thing to do at breakneck pace.

But when the rest of the game is zippy, cinematic races through dimly-lit streets in the flashiest cars money can buy, it does feel odd to start off on a bit of a weak note.

Shift up

Get through those first few turns, and suddenly Forza Street really kicks into gear. You're offered a shiny new car, thrown into a race, and from there the game really starts opening up.

It's got some nifty little tricks to keep you enticed, too - like being teased with an even shinier new car as long as you sign back in the next day, which will surely bump those D1 retention numbers right up.


The meta game feels very familiar - you work through a series of events, facing off against racers both real and manufactured, making incremental improvements to your car as you go.

And as previously mentioned, the racing itself is quite simple. You rev at the starting line, hold down the gas to go forward, and let go at the right time to perfectly brake into a corner before slamming back down to accelerate out of it.

It's gameplay you've seen before - see CSR and Race Kings for the main influences - but it has a Microsoft sheen to it that makes it that bit more exciting.

Photo finish

The camerawork is the main UPS here, with wild, cinematic cuts as you race making every corner feel that bit tighter, every straight feel that bit longer as you time your nitro boosts perfectly to squeak ahead of your opponent.

And once the very first drab turns of the game are jettisoned from your memory at 180 MPH, the race action really is quite thrilling, and perfectly designed for short bursts of action.

Can it outpace its more seasoned rivals? Some tweaks to the UI, like making text larger and menu items clearer, would certainly improve the experience. And that FTUE needs some more time in the shop for certain.

But as the new kid on the block, Forza Street certainly has a lot going for it. The real question is how much gas is actually in the tank.

Manor Matters

Manor Matters

By Kayleigh Partleton

Ever have those moments where you put an item down and 30 seconds later have no idea where it is?

Well, I do. It happens to me on near enough a daily basis, which is why it's ironic that for my Game of the Week I have chosen Manor Matters by Playrix. The aim of the game is to find missing items.

Perhaps my reason for liking the game is that so far I have been quite successful - if only that transferred into real-life...

I spy

The mechanics are simple. Each level presents the player with a different scene. At the bottom of the screen will be a checklist of items that can be found within. As you progress, objects can become harder to spot.

There are ways to aid yourself in hunting down that one item you are bound to miss. Hints are available, and they will show you where one of the missing objects are. However, you can also zoom in on the scene, something you may not have seen before could become apparent at closer inspection.

Certain actions such as opening the mansion, lighting a fire and other scene progressions can only be performed with stars, which are earned as you explore your surroundings. There is a time limit so don't spend too long staring in one place

My little eye

There is a story to follow - the manor in which the game takes the player has just inherited. Not only that, but there are some strange occurrences and a mystery to be solved.

I must admit, I enjoyed Manor Matters more than I thought I would. It is surprisingly addictive, and easy to lose yourself in the scenes, and half an hour has passed before you know it.

Not sure how I would feel getting a giant house only to have to clean up a mess and not know where anything is – I struggle in my two-bed thank you very much. Nevermind it being haunted.



By Kayleigh Partleton

Nothing beats a good old fashioned duel; they're incredibly dramatic, and a great way to let off steam.

That is why for this week's Game of the Week I have chosen physics dueller Gumslinger. It's been so long since I went toe-to-toe with one person in a 'may the best man win' sort of way. Usually, I'm running around a map with a gun shooting as many people as possible.

It's a nice change of pace to be given a countdown before shooting relentlessly at one foe.

Shall we duel

The controls are straightforward. On one side of the screen, you move your finger up and down to aim the gun. On the other end, you tap to shoot. Where you hit – assuming you do – will determine how much damage is caused.

There are various objects in the arena, some of which are obstacles to shoot through or around to get the victory, which adds some variety. I also need to give a little shout out to the soundtrack; it is like Western meets Alvin and the Chipmunks – oddly addicting and a great fit for the game.

There are various weapons available – pistols, shotguns, sniper rifles – which can be unlocked with in-game currency - my personal favourite is the Ko-Gun, a comical boxing glove weapon.

Start your paces

There are many gummies just waiting to get their chance at redemption - I've even come across the Grim Reaper in gummy form. Granted, he's not overly intimidating as he wobbles about, but shooting him was certainly fun.

Gumslinger will be on my phone for a while, even if it is just to listen to the soundtrack. However, if there is one thing I wish I could do, it would be to slap the gummy and challenge them – Imay have gotten the idea from Looney Tunes.

Gameloft Classics

Gameloft Classics

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. Nostalgia for a thing you've never experienced is even more powerful. Maybe that's why I love to play old, weird games that I couldn't get my hands on when I was younger.

I never played many Java games on older phones, my pre-smartphone days mostly dominated by a version of Tetris I downloaded on WAP while in the queue to register for my courses at university. But all my friends had them well before me, and gosh was I jealous.

I don't need to be anymore, and neither do you, because Gameloft has compiled 30 of its classic Java games into the Gameloft Classics collection on Android for everyone to play. And what a nostalgia trip it is.

The wayback machine

Let's address the elephant in the room: mobile gaming has advanced considerably in the last 20 years. While these titles may have been interesting at the time, playing them now is a mostly frustrating affair. Controls are clunky, graphics are blocky, and none of it feels particularly fun to actually dive into.

Gangstar 2's driving is so poor it's basically unplayable. Avalanche's moveset is hugely limited. Modern Combat 2's combat is an unsatisfying slog. How did we live like this?

And yet it's very easy to lose yourself in each of these incredibly dated experiences. Maybe it's a morbid curiosity to see how far you can progress in a collection of games that seem like they really don't want you to play them.

Rose-tinted glasses

Or maybe it's because, actually, these games aren't half bad. Dated, clunky, sure. But there's a reason Gameloft has survived for 20 years in mobile gaming, and it wasn't by making bad games that nobody bought.

The Gameloft Classics collection is a fascinating look back at what came before and a reminder of how far we've come, but it's also a chance to lose yourself in that warm hug of nostalgia, reminding you of simpler times, even if they weren't really that simple. And maybe that's all we need right now.

Undersea Solitaire Tripeaks

Undersea Solitaire Tripeaks

If there's one thing that Gardenscapes proved, it's that throwing a narrative and base-building aspect together with a puzzle game actually makes for a brilliant experience.

You become invested in more than just beating levels for high scores - you can look across your tiny kingdom and remark at how far you've come, all from your prowess at casual gaming.

Undersea Solitaire Tripeaks takes the formula and moves it into the world of cards, swapping match-3 for solitaire, and the end result is polished, engaging, and remarkably fun.

Darlin' it's better

Undersea Solitaire Tripeaks sees you helping a cute cartoon crab rebuild a small, underwater town by beating solitaire puzzles.

Each solved puzzle gives you a gem, which lets you build new things or clear some space for the next building, with each advancement in the plot shown through a cute animation of the crab running about, doing its thing.

So far, so Gardenscapes - and that's not necessarily a bad thing, given how good those games are at keeping players coming back.

But the meat of the game is those solitaire puzzles, which task you with clearing a board of cards by grabbing cards either one higher or one lower in value than the current card in your hand.

Down where it's wetter

Unlike the traditional solo card game, however, you're greeted with a variety of towers to pick and choose from, so you can easily jump around between values and suits as more cards become available.

What might seem confusing at first quickly becomes second-nature as you rattle through the deck, building up a streak which generates more cards that you can turn to if you end up unable to pick anything from the board.

It's hard to describe without getting stuck in the weeds, honestly. But actually playing it is a dream - it's smooth, pretty to look at, and you feel like a god when you've smashed a big, tricky board.

Take it from me

The only complaint one could have really is the name - Undersea Solitaire Tripeaks may hit a very specific SEO niche, but try saying it out loud five times fast. Or remembering it after you've finished reading this article.

Still, it's a sure sign that narrative + puzzle game = a pretty good game, and if you pick it up for a quick go, prepare to be hooked for several hours.

Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall

Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall

By Kayleigh Partleton

One of the most popular genres on mobile is strategy, check the App Store and Google Play; they are full of them.

Mind you, not all of them are Game of Thrones. Which leads me to my game of the week, the recently released Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall. Who wouldn't want to join Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryan? Who wouldn't want to pick up arms in the Night's Watch?

Not me - as soon as I heard there was a GoT mobile game on the way I was sold. And as soon as that famous theme tune hit, I was happy and invested.

Join the Night's Watch

As with many games in the genre, Beyond the Wall features turn-based combat, with all characters placed on a grid. When in battle, you select your soldier, and the grid squares will turn blue or red to indicate where they can move to and their attack range.

Fighters with ranged attacks can make an assault from a distance, whereas those with swords must be up close to strike the enemy down. And, of course, no strategy game set in a fantasy world would be complete without abilities.

Each chapter and battle have win conditions and additional challenges. Through in-game currency, characters and soldiers can be upgraded to be of a more significant threat in combat.

You know nothing

As the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, not only do you command your men but you can unlock fan-favourite characters to join the fight. No Game of Thrones title would be complete without Jon Snow, Jamie Lannister or Daenerys Targaryan – in this game you get to fight with them all.

Besides commanding a band of badass characters, there are multiple types of soldiers at your disposal – spearmen, crossbowmen and scoundrels.

Is this a game I will still be playing in a week? Yes, for the foreseeable future Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall will have a permanent place on my phone. I have longed to be a part of the fantasy world, and I have always related to Tyrion Lannister – I drink, and I know things.



Visual novels are incredibly hard to innovate. After all, they're already pretty barebones affairs - typically all they involve are static artwork, a lot of dialogue, and choices to affect the path of the story.

That's oversimplifying things a little bit, of course, but there's nothing you can take away, and very little that can be added.

But Charisma, the first game from To Play For, has brought to the table something that could shake up visual novels completely - AI.

Say it again

Where other visual novels give you a set number of choices to pick from at key junctures, Charisma instead gives you an open text box and the chance to write whatever you feel.

Naturally there are still only so many choices you can actually make - it would be impossible to build an entire game to account for every whim of its players.

But the illusion of choice is still pretty remarkable, and being able to make your own personality felt in the game is rather unique.

You can add a bit of flavour to your responses, turning your "yes" into an "I'd be absolutely delighted!" and still seeing the same narrative path chosen.

Of course, this system also leaves itself open to be abused, but To Play For has taken into account idiots like game journalists with too much time on their hands as well.

It can't handle every situation, but when it catches you out, it is rather delightful. And yes, you can even reject the story altogether, which simply ends your game outright.


You don't lose access to the chapter that you're unceremoniously removed from either. Each chapter you buy with the game's hard currency of tokens remains yours forever - though you will have to restart the chapter once you get kicked out.

Unlike mobile rivals like Episodes, you don't get any free tokens each day to unlock new chapters, which is disappointing from a freeloader perspective, but makes sense for the developers trying to make money.

But overall, Charisma is an interesting step forward in the world of visual novels, but one that also highlights some of the shortcomings of adding total player freedom to responses - the players themselves.

Bullet League

Bullet League

If there is one genre that is not lacking in games, it is the battle royale.

The main problem with them is that there is very little to differentiate new games from those that have come before them. However, this week's Mobile Game of the Week has done just that.

Funday Factory's Bullet League took the battle royale genre and lovingly mixed it with a 2D platformer. This is the BR I never knew I needed.

Jump on it

The controls are simple; players get a directional pad to move their characters, a jump button and a directional stick to both aim and shoot at the enemy.

As it is a 2D platformer, the pressure is on to get moving as soon as the match begins. Various weapons and items can be found on the map – plenty of guns and grenades.

The matches themselves are quick. If you take too long finding a weapon or stay still, then you are likely to be the first person to bite the dust. To give yourself an edge in combat, be sure to upgrade your weapons.

Over time, players will unlock a more extensive arsenal as they gain experience and level up. Fortunately, even if there are not many players online, Bullet League features a bot system – want to shoot things when no one else does? Funday Factory has you covered.

Watch your step

Besides earning in-game currency through completing matches and challenges, players have the option of using real money to purchase gems.

Gems can be used to purchase boxes – these include new skins, coins and blueprints for new gear. Furthermore, gems can be converted to coins – the in-game currency.

There is no doubt that I will continue to play Battle League - it is more convenient than the likes of PUBG Mobile, and shorter matches mean I can find time anywhere to shoot people, my favourite past-time.

War Tortoise 2

War Tortoise 2

If there is one genre loved by most players, it's the shooter. For some - including myself - it is a great way to blow off some steam and leave your troubles behind you.

This week's game of the week - War Tortoise 2 - combines two of my favourite things, shooters and tortoises - they are oddly cute, and a great combination.

The exploration-shooter puts you on top of a heavily armoured giant tortoise. Travel across the world, destroy your enemies and ultimately take their land.


The controls are simple, use your finger to aim at the enemies on screen - the bullets will shoot automatically once a foe is targeted.

Each mission involves you going to war, to take the land and claim it for yourself. Upon completion, new areas on the map will be unlocked. You can go anywhere; however, areas with a star are the next mandatory zones.

All missions - optional or not - grant experience, which allows you and your tortoise army to increase in strength.

There are multiple soldiers at your disposal - once you have enough funds, you can feel free to add a mouse assault squad, mouse rangers, hamster commandos, war balloon brigade, a sparrow squadron and more.


Up your arsenal

No act of war would be complete without a vast array of weaponry - miniguns, flash cannons, plasma rifles and more make the cut here. On top of this,you can improve the efficiency of the tortoise's armour to make it a proper tank.

To purchase upgrades, weapons and squad members, there is the in-game currency earned through playing the game, which continues to tick up even when inactive. As with any free-to-play title, there are microtransactions available - in this case, war gems. The gems can be used in turn to get further in-game currency for upgrades.

Would I return to this game? Absolutely. It involves a giant tortoise exterminating bugs with heavy machinery - a great way to spend my time.



Keeping a game in soft launch for over a year starts to raise eyebrows - after 18 months, most onlookers will be wondering why you didn't kill your game much, much earlier.

But Knighthood has arrived against all odds, following an eye-watering 19 month soft-launch period, and proved that sometimes a longer testing period can actually be better for your game.

It has slick combat coupled with King's cartoon-y charm, and enough systems in place to keep RPG fans happy without being too overwhelming.

Arise, ser

Knighthood lets you create your own character from a handful of options, then sticks a sword in your hand and shows you how to put the point end in a range of angry nasties.

The look and feel of the whole affair is very "3v3 battler", except that you're pretty much on your lonesome. But developer Midoki has balanced that with some neat changes to the formula.


For one, you have four moves per turn, and you can use these to chain together basic attacks. Using your standard sword slashes build up the meters of your summons, which burn one of your move slots for a high-powered, single-target attack.

On top of that, you have a glove which can be used to punching foes in the face, building up a seperate meter that then unleashes a multi-enemy attack from a chosen summon. Fist and sword attacks can also be chained together, so you don't need to sacrifice one for the other.

Then perish

You can even switch the focus of your attacks mid-chain, which is particularly useful when you kill an enemy and still have moves left - chains build up a damage multiplier, so it's nice that you don't lose that just because your chosen target has already perished.

It's a satisfying battle system that allows for a little bit of strategy, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. And there's also gear to unlock and upgrade, summons to level up, and all that gubbins if you really want to get stuck into the grind.

And this fine balance between quick play sessions and in-depth mechanics means that I simply can't put it down. I'm playing it as I'm typing, in fact. It's a serious problem.

Loud House: Outta Control

Loud House: Outta Control

One of the most popular mobile game genres that can be found on the App Store and Google Play is strategy. Some players like the challenge, and it suits those that like to plan before jumping into a situation headfirst.

For this week's game of the week, I chose to try Loud House: Outta Control - a new addition to Apple Arcade.

Much like the TV show, the game is centred on Lincoln Loud, an 11-year old boy with 10 eccentric sisters - Lori, Leni, Luna, Luan, Lynn, Lucy, Lana, Lola, Lisa and Lily. If there is one thing I am sure anybody with a sibling can relate to, it's a rivalry.

Don't touch my things

The gameplay is simple, the siblings all have tasks that they need to complete - such as Lana getting to her mud pies, Lincoln to his comic books, and Lori to her sun lounger.

The levels take place in different environments from the front yard to various rooms inside the house. You need to get the siblings to their goals while avoiding each other. It is utter chaos - those familiar with the show will recognise the mayhem.

Should any of the 11 siblings collide, a fight will break out - that brings back memories. To get the characters from A-to-B, you must draw a line, a path for them to follow.

The goals and challenges will change during different stages; on occasion, all the Loud siblings want the same thing - players need to draw their paths carefully.

Should the siblings collide, chaos will ensue - for most siblings, it's wedgies and sitting on top of one another. For the Loud siblings, it's lightning bolts and throwing diapers.

She started it

After completing each level, you will receive various trophies - these reveal unlockables in the attic. The collectables are recognisable items from the programme.

Would I come back to this game in a week? Probably not, though it is a more acceptable way of throwing diapers around - not sure I would have gotten away with that one.

For anybody with Apple Arcade, who happens to be a fan of the show, I would recommend giving it a go. You will feel like a member of the Loud family in no time.

Cookies Must Die

Cookies Must Die

By Kayleigh Partleton

If there is one genre that can be found all over the App Store and Google Play it's the platformer.

Simple yet effective in design, platformers allow the players to progress through a level at their own pace to collect in-game items. Usually, you need to wipe out your enemies by any means necessary - guns, knives and even the character's own body.

This week, I tried out Cookies Must Die - a platform-shooter hybrid. I must admit, I'm no stranger to demolishing cookies, however that's normally because I devour them - not because I shoot or tackle them to the ground.

Cookie crumbles

The premise of the game is simple: cookies have overrun the city and it's your job to take them down. Our protagonist is Jack, an agent hell-bent on cookie annihilation, who also possesses various powers thanks to some government experiments, such as the ability to slow down time.

One of the best things about Cookies Must Die is the controls. Simply swipe on the screen in the direction you wish to send Jack, he will cling to the environment and smash through any cookies that get in his way.


There are also a variety of weapons at your disposal. Tired of eating cookies the old fashioned way? Then pick up a weapon and start blasting. Several gadgets are available too, such as the Mega Kick and Cold Wave.

However, the only way to unlock these extras is through earning in-game currency or via microtransactions.

One tough cookie

Each chapter has various stages, you defeat the cookies and save humans. However, each chapter will culminate in a boss fight - this is where the big cookies come in to play.

Speaking as a cookie loving person, this is absolutely a game that I would like to return to. It's simple to use, the story is entertaining and it stars my favourite type of biscuit.

Butter Royale

Butter Royale

By Kayleigh Partleton

In this day and age, many people that play games seem to enjoy the battle royale genre.

Experiences such as Fortnite, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Apex Legends have all gained a mass following. However, for upcoming battle royales to be successful, they must have a unique factor that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Enter Butter Royale, and honestly, it's about time a food fight-based battle royale hit mobile devices. So grab yourself a ketchup gun and get shooting.

Pass me the butter

As with all games in the genre, the premise is simple - be the last player standing. As indicated in the title, food is your best friend here.

The controls are simple yet effective: the analogue stick on the left side of the screen moves your character while the right analogue stick determines what direction you aim your weapon in.

The gameplay itself is much like every other battle royale, run around an ever decreasing map (this time being slowly engorged in butter) shooting your opponents until you are the last one left. Multiple weapons can be found in the environment and items can also be collected from your fallen enemy.

To pick items up you must stand in the circle in which they are placed. Once the circle turns green the item is yours.

There's something on your face

Getting bored with using the same foods? The more you play the more in-game currency you can earn, which can go towards items such as burgers to chuck at your enemies.

Furthermore, there are many collectables to obtain. This makes it easy to keep coming back to join in on the mayhem.

I might not return to this game in a week, however it is a more socially acceptable way of launching food at people. On top of that, it really is a refreshing take on the genre. No machine guns, no jet packs, no building or jumping - just a good old fashion food fight.

Retro Bowl

Retro Bowl

By Ric Cowley

New Star Games have pedigree in the world of sports games - New Star Soccer is a stone cold legend on mobile, and New Star Manager is one of the rare titles to receive a 10/10 from our sibling site Pocket Gamer.

But there's only so much one team can do with football (unless it's EA Sports), and now the developer has moved on to a different kind of football - the American kind, to be specific.

And Retro Bowl, while it may not carry the New Star name, certainly carries the developer's DNA - it's got the look, the deep management, and, most importantly, the short bursts of pure fun.

Toss the pigskin

It all boils down to those bite-sized moments of gameplay that make up each match between all the text-based simulation.

As the quarterback, you can choose to quickly pass the ball to the running back and start charging through the pack, or toss it to a receiver as they run along a pre-determined path.


Chucking the ball is a bit like Angry Birds - you pull back on the screen, aim where you want the ball to go, and send it flying, hoping that the right man will pick up the ball in time.

It's a far cry from the usual American football fare, where tapping a button will fling the ball out and it's all down to calculations and a bit of luck.

Here, when that ball lands in the receiver's hands, it's thanks to your skill. And the feeling you get when it does is pure ecstasy.

That good ol' hand egg

There's more to it than that, of course - you need to run with the ball, score field goals, and then there's all the team-building and management that you could easily lose your entire life to if you so desire.

But that passing play, that tiny little mechanic, is what sets Retro Bowl apart from the majority of sports games on mobile. If you want to see how one tiny thing can make an entire game, this is one you should immediately check out.



By Ric Cowley

If you haven't played a Neutronized game before, you're doing yourself a disservice. The Super Cat Tales games are a masterclass in designing platformers for mobile, and still hold up to this day as some of the best on mobile.

Hell, the first game recently featured in Awesome Games Done Quick 2020, so it's clearly got legs outside of the indie mobile games scene.

But if you're only looking for new experiences, then you're in luck - the tiny developer has just launched a game in the same universe known as Mineblast!!

Blowing up right now

Mineblast!! (and yes, I will be using those exclamation points every time) is, on the face of it, another fairly simple puzzle platformer from a developer which specialises in the genre.

You have a little character running about in a series of caves, jumping on platforms and trying to find their way to the end of the level.

Only your way is usually blocked by giant rocks, and the only way through is to blow them to smithereens with TNT that's handily dotted about the world.

The first few levels are simple enough - just drop some TNT by the rocks, walk away, and wait for the chaos. Rinse and repeat until you win.


But when you start getting further in, a ridiculous physics engine begins to rear its head, and you learn that Mineblast!! is much more fascinating than it first appears.

Almost everything has physics applied to it - rocks, enemies, and even the dynamite you're chucking around.

And with all that in mind, you're invited to cause true chaos, chucking explosives willy-nilly, pushing them around with your own body if you're feeling brave, destroying everything in your path to get at the precious gems which act as collectibles.

Sticky wicket

It's superb fun, and rewards smart thinking and clever throwing with new areas and hard-to-reach collectibles in each of its relatively small stages.

There are some issues - the controls are mostly superb, except when ladders come into play (and they do, a lot), and even though the levels are fairly short, some checkpoints would reduce the pain of dying needlessly from your own stupidity and being sent right back to the start.

But there's still a lot to love in Mineblast!!, and Neutronized has clearly put a lot of love into this small, ridiculous, explosive game.

Johnny Trigger

Johnny Trigger

The first week back after a holiday period can be a tricky time for games. There's unlikely to be any huge releases because people aren't looking for them, and some games will still be getting traction from before Christmas, making it nigh-on impossible to find actually new games.

What I'm trying to say is that Johnny Trigger might well not have come out this week, but it's still pretty high in the charts even if it's been around for no more than a month.

And there's a good reason for that - it's surprisingly fun to play.

Say again?

SayGames has a knack for this whole hypercasual thing by now, as proven by its consistent performance in the download charts. And Johnny Trigger is another in a long line of quick, simple, and fun games that deserves its download numbers.

The titular Jonathan runs automatically, pulls off a stunt when he approaches an enemy, and it's up to you to tap the screen when the aiming line crosses the body of a baddy and end their life with a well-placed bullet.

It's a relatively slow-paced affair with a focus on precision over bombastic action, but it works well and lets you savour how ridiculous some of the flips and tricks Mr Trigger pulls off.

The amazing Jonathan

The levels are no more than 20 seconds long, giving you ample opportunity to feel like a badass before you put it down again and do something else.

And there's reasons to come back too, with weapons and outfits to collect as you progress, and bosses to fight to really test your skills.

Will I be playing it in a week's time? Probably not. But as a fun, throwaway bit of casual gaming, Johnny Trigger simply can't be beaten.

LEGO Builder's Journey

LEGO Builder's Journey

By Kayleigh Partleton

When it comes to mobile games, the puzzle genre is one of the most popular.

Not only do they give your brain a workout, but they can also be relaxing, especially when the soundtrack is on the more mellow side.

LEGO Builder's Journey clicks snugly into the much-loved genre, offering the standard form of building that is known in LEGO titles, while allowing players to drift away into peaceful oblivion.

Build them up

The premise of Builder's Journey is simple - complete the puzzle and unite the characters. Naturally, this requires you to use LEGO blocks - as if it would be anything else.

The controls are also pretty straightforward. You simply tap the screen to pick up a brick, and tapping the screen again allows you to turn the items to better fit the puzzle you need to solve. Holding your finger on the screen for a prolonged period of time places the brick in the desired location.

Gameplay remains interesting due to the change in environments, along with different forms and shapes of LEGO bricks. Items such as sticks also serve as part of the puzzles as the game progresses, offering up new problems to deal with as you go along.


Knock them down

As with any title, there are faults. As simple as the controls are, it can be a pain to get the blocks to go where you wish to place them - then again, it could just be my phone playing silly buggers. When playing for prolonged periods, the gameplay can feel repetitive, despite the change in surroundings.

However, LEGO Builder's Journey is a must-play for anyone with Apple Arcade. Its soothing soundtrack and atmosphere will help to relax any player, offering a small escape from reality into the world of mindless building.

Donut County

Donut County

By Iain Harris

After six years, several iterations and one Peter Molyneux-inspired game jam, Donut County has hit app stores across the globe.

Humorous and light, Ben Esposito’s quirky hole-based adventure provides a welcome distraction over its two-hour run time.

This story is full of holes

The tale of Donut County centres on a rowdy racoon called BK, who proves to be more of a villain before his redemption arc is complete.

Selfish, immature and unaware, the entire town finds itself stuck underground after BK has swallowed them up through an app on his phone that creates holes.

The reason he is so readily up for throwing his fellow citizens down the hole is that it racks up points for a quadcopter he’s pining after.


There are plenty parallels and meaning that can be drawn from Donut County and how it reflects the real world, but according to Esposito himself, the story ended up being a reaction to internet culture in 2016 and 2017.

BK is one of many racoons who have taken over the word but what unites them all is their dudebro-like approach to life and their lack of empathy for others in their personal pursuits.

As Esposito tells us it’s a reflection of how silly ideologies can spread online when there is no mechanism in place to check them.

Hole in one

Gameplay revolves around a hole in the ground. While inspired by a parody account of fable developer Peter Molyneux, the gameplay gets its tempo from Keita Takahashi’s Katamari Damacy.

As you snap up smaller things like grass and rocks the hole grows in size before it’s capable of swallowing up humans and houses.

Things swiftly differ after that from Takahashi’s beloved hit, as while Katamari Damacy offers a challenge with a timer mechanic Donut County is more content to be a laid-back bit of fun.

Levels do throw up some novelty though as mixing items in the hole leads to various effects.

Swallowing a kiln will set the hole on fire which can send a balloon adrift as you create an updraft beneath it and throwing two rabbits in the hole leads to many more. I’ll let you figure that one out.

Chill beats and daring feats

An understated star of the show is the music. Daniel Koestner and Ben Esposito’s soundtrack sets the tone and illuminates the game's funny, upbeat and chilled-out vibes.

Some novel ideas are fleeting and the games two-hour runtime may not be for everyone. But in a day and age where plenty of titles are measured in quality against their difficulty, Donut County is a charming escape from the humdrum of standard fare.

Check out Donut County on the App Store.

Rowdy Wrestling

Rowdy Wrestling

By Iain Harris

Long before battle royales become so synonymous with being dumped on an island and shooting and looting one another, ‘battle royal’ used to refer to a traditional-style of wrestling match.

Much like Fortnite and PUBG the goal is to be the last one standing, but elimination in wrestling is often signified by getting lobbed over a top rope.

While battle royal matches still exist today, the 80s and 90s were absolutely packed with them and it's a similar sense of nostalgic silliness that Colin Lane’ and Brad Erkkila's Rowdy Wrestling nails on the head.

Hit me with your best shot

The crux of the gameplay lays with punching and drop-kicking foes to a stunned state. Once those stars appear above their head, they’re ripe to be lobbed out the ring.

To spice things up every now and again a manager who looks like WWF veteran Jimmy Hart will pop up to offer you a weapon.


While the ragdoll physics lends to the amusement the costumes themselves offer up a similar sense of hilarity with a pinch of nostalgia. Unlockable characters are modelled after old WWF favourites such Doink the Clown, The Undertaker, The Ultimate Warrior and plenty more.

Slobber knocker

Rowdy Wrestling isn’t merely content to throw players into a ring and watch them jump about though and offers a variety of modes. Alongside the battle royale mode there is also a career mode that lets you take on wrestlers one-on-one in a gauntlet-style match. A gauntlet royale if you’d like.

The randomness doesn’t always hit the mark though, fights can be just as unpredictable and can unfold without rhyme or reason.

Despite it all, though, Rowdy Wrestling is a fun romp that embodies the over-the-top and larger-than-life spirit of 90s wrestling.

Check out Rowdy Wrestling on the App Store and Google Play.

New Star Soccer Manager

New Star Soccer Manager

By Kayleigh Partleton

Things are a little bit different this week. I have been running this feature for over a year, and I can genuinely not remember the last time I played a sports game.

Have I ever reviewed a mobile sports game or played one at least? Either way, if you hadn't worked it out by now, this week is a sports title.

However, it is not just any old exercise-based game. My Mobile Game of the Week is on the more extreme side. Smaashing Simmba - Skateboard Rush.

That's right. It is time to take to the streets and shred things up. It has been years since I stepped foot on a real skateboard, but the sport, and any games associated with it, still hold a place in my heart.

Like many people, I have forgotten what exercise is thanks to lockdown. What is a jog? So, games like this make me feel proactive, all the way from my comfy couch. Yes, my once active self has become a couch potato.

Land on...

The controls are simple. Given the game has been designed with runner elements, players need only swipe left and right, up and down, to avoid obstacles.

Simmba will bust out some well-known tricks on his own. From flips to grinds, there are a number of stunts the young lad will pull.

Naturally, as the level progresses, the difficulty gets ramped up. As such, power-ups can prove useful, with various uses, such as reducing the damage taken by a set number of obstacles.

Gold can be picked up when tearing down the street, collect enough, and a number of upgrades can be purchased.

Players will be given the option of watching ads to be rewarded with in-game goodies. However, they are just as welcome to give this a skip.


The story behind Skateboard Rush, is somewhat unusual, given Simmba wants to be a cop. Pretty funny, considering skateboarders tend to be considered a menace to society.

Having been a skateboard enthusiast myself, I can confirm that this is not the case. We just have unique personalities and like to live a little – oh, how times have changed.

Both feet

We all know what I am about to say, yes there are microtransactions, and no, it is not necessary to spend a penny to enjoy Smaashing Simmba - Skateboard Rush.

However, if you are one of those people that feel advertisements hinder their experience, they can be permanently removed for a one-off payment of $4.99.

Furthermore, in-game currency, such as gems, can also be purchased. These allow players to continue with their run after hitting an obstacle. They can also be used to purchase bundles of gold.

If players feel Simmba could do with some fresh threads, they can purchase new skins. There are multiple skateboard options too.

So, will Smaashing Simmba - Skateboard Rush keep its place on my phone? Yes. For the time being, at least. It is simple, easy-going and fun. Just what the world needs these days.

Though do be warned, this game may have one of the most annoying soundtracks I have ever come across. Put it on mute. Kick back, and listen to the tunes of old instead.



By Iain Harris 

One of our favourite trademarks of horror is its tendency to play on what you know.

Society tells children not to trust strangers and many horror films indulge this wisdom by presenting random figures as malevolent tricksters.

Not all horror films are scary clowns and abandoned houses though, with some going so far as to subvert expectations by preying on the unknown; be that through suggesting the killer is among us or presenting what you believe to be safe spaces as inherently evil.

Darius Immanuel Guerrero’s meta pixel horror DERE EVIL .EXE is the latter.

I see pixelated people

The opening segment is pleasantly jarring, as horror is flipped to nostalgia and comedy.

Upon hitting the start button, players are forewarned that all is not as it seems and the game is not for the faint of heart.

Moments later, you find yourself in the familiar surroundings of 80s and 90s nostalgia. As a silent knight called Knightly, you are here to traverse the pixelated kingdom with an upbeat chiptune to match. The sheer familiarity and genre tropes are then swiftly maligned by a fourth-wall-breaking dev.


Slowly but surely, however, it all descends into a glitchy nightmare as the once evocative music is swapped up for ominous PSX-era orchestral music.

Once fun and games, the narration takes on a new meaning when a murdered teen haunting the code of the game suggests she may not be the evil one.

What’s the meta, man?

Regarding gameplay, DERE EVIL .EXE doesn’t rest on the narrative to see itself through.

You’ll need platforming skills and timing to work through the game’s levels, which soon becomes part of the story as the forces at work hack the code.

Controls are simple and mostly sweet. Left and right directional buttons are situated on the left side of the screen while jump sits on the right. A few moments of stickiness aside where Knightly wouldn’t move, they remain responsive and work just fine.

File corrupt

All in all, DERE EVIL .EXE stands out for brilliantly blending pre-noughties nostalgia with meta-horror.

While the echoes of Super Mario and Mega Man are ever present in games today, they are rarely subverted like this.

Check out DERE EVIL .EXE on Google Play and the App Store.

Pokemon Quest

Pokemon Quest

By Iain Harris

Despite spanning many a different genre under one anime sprawled banner, Japanese cartoons are often united in wonderfully depicting a stunning plethora of food.

When Pokemon made its jump from Game Boy to anime in 1997 it was one of the more notable additions. Upon being bested by the forever youthful Ash, gym leader and rock-type specialist Brock joins the hero's journey and swaps up strategising battles for masterminding fine dining.

In that sense, it’s oddly true to form that crafting meals brings a nostalgic sense of joy in Pokemon Quest and made up the crux of my enjoyment on Tumblecube Island.

Gotta catch all ‘em berries

As a trainer you come to Tumblecube island seeking adventure and eventually spend your time between dolling up your camp and clearing single-floored dungeons with your preferred three Pokemon.

Traditional Kanto starters Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle are offered up, alongside Pikachu and Eevee, and you garner more by crafting meals in your base.

There isn’t much going on in terms of story, but the game’s appeal comes in its lightness.


From the start Pokemon Quest develops a pleasing rhythm as you toss berries into a pot and see what meal comes with it and in-turn what Pokemon are drawn in. Results do vary, a highlight for me was luring in a level 14 Polygon when my humble team was but level nine. Dejection followed when a level two Magikarp came flopping in next.

Meals take time to cook and time is measured by how many floors you clear, as such going out to explore is a necessary but fulfilling endeavour.

Beat ‘em all. Up.

Combat is a departure from the turn-based strategy that many will fondly remember. Instead, your rowdy rabble of Pokemon run amuck smacking up anything with a pulse in real-time. Battle rhythm can be broken up by issuing commands for special attacks, but more variety doesn’t follow.

You can’t really herd them either and It can get a tad frustrating. Especially when your Charmander has 1HP and is running head-on into a Tentacruel.

In all Pokemon Quest is a light and breezy adventure that hits a fine stride once it’s simple mechanics come together. It may not prove more than a light distraction while we wait for Pokemon Lets Go and beyond, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Check out Pokemon Quest on Google Play and the App Store.

Suzy Cube

Suzy Cube

By Iain Harris

There are few genres loved more in the games industry than the humble platformer, but it is a passion that seldom translates well to the mobile platform usually due to spotty control schemes.

NorthernBytes’ Suzy Cube is next up to bat and succeeds not just in the harkening to older platformers but by cracking a steady set of controls in the process.


Suzy Cube’s simple premise is standard fare for the genre as thieves have nicked treasure from a castle. At the behest of the King and Queen, titular character and protagonist Suzy steps up to give chase through various platform-filled levels.

Controls are quite simple but hold up well. The left half of the screen lets you move Suzy as you press down and drag where you want to go while the right side is simply for jumping.

Gameplay is kept fresh with an array of stylish hats that give you special powers. One grants you an extra life, another lets you double jump and hover while the next lets players smash down onto enemies Mario-style.

The locale also does its part to keep things fresh but also familiar as you travel through desert and snowy-filled landscapes that’ll no doubt throw up memories of Mario 64. Rest assured they each play their part by throwing up unique challenges, such as puzzles to solve, ice slides to throttle down and drops to nose-dive down.


A chip of the ol’ block

The game is certainly not without its faults, camera angles can prove a challenge, and new ground isn’t broken past the games controls scheme.

Nevertheless, Suzy Cube is by far-and-large among the best platforming experiences on mobile. With a stable set of controls, Suzy Cube is a satisfying romp through 3D platformers past.

Check out Suzy Cube on Google Play and the App Store.

Only When Howling

Only When Howling

By Iain Harris

Following Mountain’s light but memorable exploration of love in Florence the question re-emerged of what makes a game.

Indeed, if games are a form of escapism, that requires a continuous engagement in controls, then interactive stories based on our reality may not fit that bill.

Kim Savory’s Only When Howling is the latest mobile offering to pose the question, and stands out because of it.


Only When Howling is a short and breezy interactive story that revolves around three characters who adore something society thinks they shouldn’t.

The first is a bright young girl who is enchanted with her forest laden home. This displeases her parents who think someone with her intelligence should be city-bound for a better life than that on offer.

Second up is a middle-aged man who finds satisfaction donating time and money to the elderly. He does so at the expense of his own family, much to the ire of his wife.

Last up is an older woman who is close to completing a writing task that has taken several years. The cost, according to her doctor, may come at her own life as she rejects care by refusing to live with her niece.

Over the game’s short 30-minute play time you explore artistically rendered visuals that represent their psyche. You do so by swiping from screen to screen then tapping and interacting with objects to move the narrative along.

The aim of it all is to explore an overarching theme of the cost of committing to something you love.


Deep thoughts

With an atmospheric soundtrack to match, Only When Howling manages to be a calming and thought-provoking momentary escape from day-to-day life. The experience is neat and may not hang about for long but is sure to linger after its short run time comes to a close.

If you fancy something different and don’t mind parting with a few dollars than Only When Howling is waiting on iOS and Android.

One piece of advice, however, is don’t click off the app like I did. Progress doesn’t save.

Check out Only When Howling on Google Play and the App Store.

Lost Island: Blast Adventure

Lost Island: Blast Adventure

By Craig Chapple.

After a small hiatus, Game of the Week is back!

I’m a huge fan of casual games on mobile - which is lucky for me since we’re living in a new golden age of them.

I’m a particularly big fan of ‘blast’ games like the titular Toy Blast and Toon Blast from Peak Games.

So in comes the most unlikeliest of contenders to play with that winning puzzle game formula: Plarium.

Tackling a new genre

Best known for its 4X strategy and RPG games like Vikings: War of Clans, Stormfall: Age of War and Throne: Kingdom at War, the studio has now entered the casual space following its $500 million acquisition by Australian casino firm Aristocrat Leisure.

Blending Toon Blast-like gameplay with Gardenscapes narrative-driven setting and map, plus a few extras, new title Lost Island: Blast Adventure proves to be a winning formula.

Led by archaeologist Ellie, Lost Island takes you on a journey to uncover the mysteries of the newly acquired island. The story doesn’t get in the way of the puzzles and never outstays its welcome, but rather provides a reason to stay engaged, while offering a nice break between gameplay.

It’s not completely original, but by blending the best parts of other titles and sprinkling in a few ideas of its own such as a larger game board, it shapes up to be a winning package.

Taking a step back from the game itself, Lost Island’s launch is significant as it also marks what could be a fresh rush by mobile studios, that may traditionally have tackled other genres, into the casual space.

Check out Lost Island: Blast Adventure on Google Play and the App Store.



Whenever a game like Florence comes around, some wiseguy always decides to say something like "can it really be considered a game?", as though they're the first to think about the definition of games.

Yes, Florence is a game - a mobile game, specifically, and one what does everything it wants to do through incredibly simple interactions that mean a lot more than they first appear.

Accompanied by a beautiful, subtle soundtrack and gorgeous hand-drawn graphics, it's a game that's impossible not to love.

Hold me close

Florence tells the story of the titular 25-year-old woman and her relationship with a man she meets one day.

It hits all the key points of the relationship - the first awkward dates, the negotiations around moving in, arguing while buying food and so on.

But it does it all with incredibly minimal dialogue, instead making your actions part of the story in an incredibly meaningful way.

Actions with meaning

The first dates, for instance, feature a speech bubble-shaped jigsaw puzzle, which starts with six pieces but eventually eases up as the relationship progresses and the characters become more comfortable with one another.

It's stunning through and through, and exactly the kind of thing mobile games, and games in general, needs more of. Yes, it's about 30 minutes long and runs you $3. But it's 30 minutes you're unlike to forget, and will probably never experience anywhere else.

And yes, it is a game.



It is a true thing of beauty to load up a game on mobile and within thirty seconds understand everything you need to do and how to do it.

Dandara, obstensibly an enormous hardcore Metroidvania, somehow manages to do exactly this, with a control scheme built with touchscreens in mind and no fear in leaning hard into its limitations.

It might be a bit pricey for the traditional mobile audience, but those willing to take the plunge will not be disappointed with their purchase.

Feeling jumpy

Dandara has just two inputs - a joystick that you use to point towards a surface and jump to it, and another joystick that aims your gun and fires it.

You get a helpful arrow telling you where you're going to land when you jump, and the levels are all built to accomdate the fact that you need to fling yourself in a straight line each time - there's no hopping between small gaps adjacent to each other.

The gun also needs to charge and can't be fired mid-jump, so each movement needs to be carefully considered, else you'll get killed almost instantly.

It is blissfully simple, and the game bends over backwards to accomodate the controls, swinging the world around as you move and building puzzles around your simple movement to ensure you're kept on your toes.

We haven't had much time to dig into it, but we'll definitely be returning for more. Just watch out for that price - at $14.99 it's one of the more expensive premium games on mobile, but it's definitely worth a look if you can part with the cash.

Hero Hunters

Hero Hunters

On the surface, Hothead's latest shooter looks a little bland and brown - the kind of military shooter you'd want to steer clear of most of the time.

Happily, however, it's actually a damn fine shooter with a surprising range of tactics, deeply-integrated RPG elements and simple, responsive controls so that just about anyone can play.

It's also clearly taken monetisation inspiration from Asia, with an incredibly generous number of drops to get you going, and a tempting VIP bonus for anyone willing to part with real-world cash.

Annie, get your gun

Hero Hunters is essentially a gallery shooter with a squad of soldiers, which players can jump between to get different viewpoints of the battleground.

You sit in one spot and shoot enemies as they run in, but you can also dodge between cover and crouch to avoid damage, and you can always swap to a new character if you're having a rough time elsewhere.

There's a nice range of heroes available too - if you're a crackshot, pick a sniper, or if you've an itchy trigger finger, you can bust out a machine gun.

Levels are short and fast-paced, with a huge number of enemies swarming you at any time, but it never feels so chaotic that you lose your way - and it helps that the AI teammates are pretty good too.

Throw in some early generosity to keep your squad fully-levelled and armed to the teeth, along with a PvP that plays smoothly and similarly quickly, and you've got a very exciting game indeed.



Let's be honest, NetEase's Onmyoji is absolutely not a game for everybody, and you'll work that out within 60 seconds of loading it up.

The onboarding is, frankly, terrible, and when you do finally get into the game itself, it's an incredibly daunting task simply working out what the heck is going on.

Give it some time, however, and you'll realise why exactly it's been such a hit in Asia, and why NetEase is making so much money off the back of it.

Tell me a story

Onmyoji is, on a surface level, a fairly standard team battler - you build up a squad, send them into turn-based battles, level them up, and so on.

But the level of customisation and stat-boosting is like nothing you've ever seen, which makes it incredibly daunting for newbies and very handy for veterans who want to get their teeth into pages and pages of stats.

There's also a strange story of demons and evil spirits tying everything together, with full Japanese voice acting to appease any hardcore otaku out there.

And it has a strange, unique artstyle that, while not technically amazing, still looks gorgeous in its own way.

It's confusing as hell to begin with, but give Onmyoji ten minutes of your time and it'll all sink into place, and you too will understand why 200 million people have played it before you.

Nindash: Skull Valley

Nindash: Skull Valley

It's been said a thousand times, often by us, but it bears repeating: sometimes, simple really is best.

Such is the case with the surprisingly excellent Nindash: Skull Valley, from DOFUS developer Ankama, another entry in their hyper-casual series of mobile games that just goes to show it's not a one-trick pony.

It's simple and elegant in its design, incredibly responsive to your actions, and somehow one of the trickiest puzzlers we've played in a while.

Move like the wind

Nindash has a very simple premise - you're a ninja, there's waves of skeleton enemies, it's your job to kill them all before they reach the bottom of the screen.

Your ninja teleports to wherever you tap on the screen, moving in a straight line and slashing with its sword as it goes, so the trick is to line up enemies and take them all out in one fell swoop.

You can just rapidly tap on each one, but it just feels so cool to take out ten enemies in one go because you got your angle just right.

There's other wrinkles thrown in - boss fights, enemies you can't attack, and so on - and the responsive controls mean you can rack up huge chains with the minimum of effort.

It's brilliant both in its fun factor and its simplicity, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice by ignoring it.



Digital board games don't usually float our boat here at, but Antihero has bucked that trend.

Combining a gorgeous aesthetic with impressively deep mechanics, it's a game that anyone looking to develop a board game - digital or not - should be looking at.

And despite its complexity, it is very encourgaging to new players, holding their hand in the early stages but offering enough leeway to experiment from the very start.

Skullduggery and stabbery

Antihero gives you control of Lightfinger, a master thief who has to rob, cheat, and kill to earn enough tokens to win a round and move on to the next board.

Lightfinger only has a few action points each turn, so you need to recruit new units to assist in your thieving and killing, and upgrade your abilities as you go to make sure you can handle bigger challenges down the line.

It makes the whole experience incredibly strategic, as you plan a few turns ahead each time, deciding whether to save resources for a big push later on or build up your skills early to try and rush a win.

The game slowly opens up through the campaign, so you don't get too overwhelmed as you play, and the tutorial has a lot more showing than telling, so you pick up the basics very quickly.

It's a gorgeous, clever digital board game, and you should absolutely check it out.



Annapurna Interactive raised a few eyebrows when it first opened its doors - why would an indie film studio decide to get into the indie games publishing business? And why would it choose to extend into mobile with its releases?

Whatever its reasons, the publisher has built up an impressive slate of weird and wonderful games, and Gorogoa is no exception.

It looks like a fairly standard puzzle game in the same vein as Framed, but it very quickly reveals that it's nothing like anything you've played before.

Goron then

Developed by one-man band Jason Roberts, Gorogoa plays out across four panels, and has you moving pictures around to progress the worldless story along.

You're never quite sure what to do, but it's so simple to play that experimentation is both actively encouraged and easy, so you're never stuck for long.

And it might not make much sense either, but even if you can't follow the narrative, each puzzle you solve makes you feel like the smartest person in the world.

It's difficult to describe the various ways Gorogoa plays with its own mechanics, and really you should just try it out for yourself. Right now. Go! Go!

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon

If you ever played Game Dev Tycoon on PC, then you'll already know that it's an incredibly fun, witty, and weirdly tense game.

If you've never played it and are a mobile die-hard, then rejoice! You can now buy it on iOS, and it's every bit as good as it always was.

There's a few neat additions to the base game, but it's basically the same core experience perfectly designed for mobile - and yes, it's still a premium game, but we'll let that slide this week.

Design 'em up

Game Dev Tycoon, as the name implies, puts you in charge of your own game development studio and tasks you with making yourself rich and famous.

It's a fairly hands-off approach to development - you choose the topic, genre, platform, and focus of development at different stages - but it still feels like a lot of hard work.

That's all part of the fun, of course. Every decision can feel life-or-death, and making one duff game can absolutely destroy your company, while one hit can keep you afloat for years.

It's got a simple core gameplay loop and relatively basic presentation, but it's a true emotional rollercoaster that will soak up hours of your life without you noticing.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

To be frank, there was no competition this week on Game of the Week. It could only have been Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

Regular readers will note that one of the team at Biz has been waiting for the launch of this game for a very long time, and the especially eagle-eyed will recognise his name on both those articles and this one as the author.

So with that in mind - why aren't you playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp?

Give me s'mores

Pocket Camp distills the Animal Crossing core gameplay into a simple, highly-engaging mobile game with plenty to do and an incredibly strong progression system.

By completing tasks for animals, you can raise your friendship levels, earn new items, earn crafting rewards, and eventually ask them to come visit your own campsite.

This is fully customisable with the items you create to lure the creatures in, and there's no limits to what you can put in - besides needing to own the items, of course.

Everything resets once every three hours, and a typical play session can last around 30 minutes, meaning highly-engaged players are going to playing the game for hours each day to maximise their progression and unlock everything.

Throw in an unobtrusive monetisation system and all the charm of the main series, and you've got a fantastic game both on its own merits and as an entry in the Animal Crossing franchise.

Mighty Battles

Mighty Battles

When you play as many mobile games as we do, you tend to notice a few trends - and in the last year, a lot of these trends have been inspired by Clash Royale.

The same menu structure, the same crate mechanic, the same cards and levelling up, and sometimes even the same gameplay mechanics.

And while Hothead's Mighty Battles doesn't stray too far from the tried-and-tested formulas, it brings its own innovations that make it a whole different beast to what we expected.

Blast off

There's several key changes gameplay-wise - you take a first-person perspective from a turret and therefore have much more of a role in combat, and energy doesn't recharge throughout the battle.

Instead, you have to wait until waves of grunts come out, which reward coins when killed that can be spent on units.

It opens up whole new strategies - do you blow all your coins in one go, or spend some now and save the rest for later? It's a finite resource for a substantial period, making you rethink basically every strategy you may have built up.

And it's a lot more fun to play too, now that you have control over a whacking great gun and can choose which targets you want to target while the rest of the battle plays out below.

Monetisation-wise it's nothing new, and the metagame won't be a surprise to anybody, but the core game is so unique and interesting that you can't help but just have one more go.

Craft Away!

Craft Away!

It wasn't long after Futureplay launched its first game, Farm Away!, that we started wondering how else it could implement its "view-to-play" logic in other games.

Its first response was Build Away!, which was a lot like its predecessor but with extra wrinkles that detracted from the joy and simplicity of the original farming game.

But in Craft Away!, the developer has found a whole new genre to tackle, and it's even started to move away from its rewarded video ad monetisation focus.

If you build it...

Craft Away! avoids building up towns or farms and instead sends you out on an idle adventure, smashing blocks and jelly as you free creatures and earn gold.

You swipe the blocks to smash them, and once they're all cleared, you move on. Eventually you unlock companions to deal damage for you, though they take a little longer to clear the blocks if you don't help.

So far, so idle game. What sets it apart is a wealth of upgrades - double damage, extra resources - which can only be accessed if you're willing to watch a short ad.

Even more interestingly, there's now powerful one-time-use items which can only be restocked if you use gems, the game's premium currency, with no option to watch an ad to earn them.

It makes the whole experience slightly less casual than previous efforts, and it'll be fascinating to watch how gamers respond. Oh, and it's pretty fun to play too.