Menu PocketGamer.biz
Search
Home   >   Features

New release roundup: The best new mobile games from Tamagotchi escapades to exercise encouragers

We highlight five new games that have broken cover and are all set to do big business
New release roundup: The best new mobile games from Tamagotchi escapades to exercise encouragers
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

In the .biz realm, we often find ourselves wrapped up in the investments, deals and stats of the gaming world (and rightly so), but it’s also important to highlight the games themselves - the fruits of the labour that can only appear after years of research, funding and, of course, development.

So, as you ease into 2024, here are the most exciting new mobile games to try out, the developers and publishers behind them, and why, exactly, they've made the cut.

Santa Fighter

yt

An ideal game for those who aren’t quite ready to take down the Christmas decorations just yet, Santa Fighter marks Shin Baxter’s latest in a growing line of pixelated mobile games. As the name suggests, Santa Fighter is a fighting game where you play as Santa…and fight other Santas.

Shin Baxter’s interpretation of the North Pole suggests undertones of a stress-filled, rage-inducing place, occupied by grizzling gift-givers who only laugh at the expense of their fallen enemies. It’s all done in a charming way, of course, with nostalgic pixel art, traditional 2D fighter mechanics and even a green Santa for those wanting to get really retro with his Victorian depiction.

Santa Fighter is currently an iOS exclusive, but Shin Baxter’s other pixel games are available on Apple and Android, and include Power Fighters, Red Iron Man, Carrot Catch and Tappy Bird.

Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom

yt

In the modern tech era it’s unsurprising to see digital pets landing on mobile phones, but the latest iteration of Tamagotchi even has a full-on open world to explore. Bandai Namco has launched Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom as an Apple Arcade exclusive in the latest big brand win for the service, empowering subscribers to journey with their favourite Tamagotchi across a 3D open-world planet.

There are plenty of biomes, more than 300 digital pets to discover and a ravaged land to restore - with a pro-environmental edge through an in-game recycling system for litter found across the world.

In the 2022-2023 financial year, developer Bandai Namco recorded an 11.3% increase in net sales, attributed more to mobile and PC releases than console; and Tamagotchi has been a brand in Bandai’s capable hands since its 90s inception, so another mobile adaptation was inevitable, really.

Phoenix 2

yt

After more than seven years of waiting, Phoenix 2 has finally spread its wings and glided onto Google Play, at last making this 2016 title playable on Android. Formerly an iOS exclusive on mobile, this freemium scrolling shooter comes from Dutch indie dev Firi Games as a pseudo-sequel to Phoenix HD.

The gameplay sees players take on an arcade-style onslaught of invaders, with daily missions generated procedurally giving something new to do every day. And the neon lights everywhere only help to reinforce the retro arcade vibes.

Firi Games’ other fiery-sounding titles Phoenix HD and Flare Elite are similarly arcade-style space shooters, while Rocket Quest marks an outlier in the crowd as an auto battler set in a cartoony fantasy world.

Run Legends

yt

Location-based game Run Legends is the latest title to encourage good health and wellbeing, gamifying the exercise process and motivating mobile users to start 2024 off right. It seeks to "make fitness fun" by basing combat around exercise: damage is dealt to the enemy Sappers by walking and running.

Notably, Run Legends encourages getting said exercise with friends too, as players can work together to take on the Sappers and get that little bit more real-world social interaction into their days.

Talofa Games has chosen quite the genre for its debut game, as location-based mobile experiences continue to have impact through the likes of Niantic’s Pokémon Go and Monster Hunter Now. In fact, UK gamers actually spend more time outdoors than their non-gaming counterparts, and the geolocation genre is becoming an increasingly competitive market in Japan.

Path to Orion: Space Runner

For those who prefer in-game exercise to the real deal, Path to Orion: Space Runner is currently in soft launch as a bridge between roguelikes, arcade games and infinite runners. Although, the "runner" isn’t a person but a spaceship, so really there isn’t much in-game exercise either. The premise of this title is to explore and conquer different galaxies, with a ship capable of destroying colour-coordinated objects as it races along an endless rainbow road.

Each galaxy visited has a roguelike map with different rewards to find - either loot or ship upgrades, which can be equipped between levels to improve combat, build up defences and more. Levels end with boss fights too, in a real melding of genres.

Developer Sidereal Ark is best known for family friendly mobile titles like Animal Games for Kids, Dinosaur Puzzle Adventure and Dinosaur Master: Facts & Games, tending to veer on the educational entertainment side. Path to Origin: Space Runner is something of a departure from the norm, therefore, as Sidereal Ark’s first venture into the world of endless runners.