Tag Archives: kotakumobile

One Month Later, Apple Arcade Is Worth My Five Bucks

It’s been nearly a month since the official September 19 launch of Apple Arcade. With my free 30-day trial of the subscription gaming service on the verge of expiring, I ask myself if I’m getting enough out of it to give Apple five of my hard-earned dollars to keep playing. Having barely made a dent in the 71 launch games, let alone the nine that have been added since, I’d say I still have plenty of playing to do.

Stephen Totilo and I called Apple Arcade “mobile gaming without all the bullshit” in our initial impressions of the service, and that assessment holds true. Having instant access to a massive, curated selection of quality games with no annoying microtransactions, energy meters, life timers, or other annoyances of free-to-play mobile gaming has changed how I play games on my iPhone and iPad. Instead of immediately heading to the iTunes app store’s game section to check out “New Games We Love,” I go straight to the Arcade page to see if anything new has popped up.

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The service has spoiled me for traditional free-to-play games, like the recently-released Mario Kart Tour. I don’t mind the microtransaction model as much as some, but I’ve started minding it more since Arcade went live. Why spend money on chances at winning random Mario karts and racers when there’s a full-featured Sonic Racing game with all the trimmings on Arcade?

Apple Arcade hasn’t reached the 100-game mark yet. Between the launch games and two subsequent mini-waves of releases (which included some surprises), the service has 80 titles to choose from. I’ve downloaded every single one to my iPad Pro. Now when I pick up my tablet, I spend a good minute perusing the menu, trying to figure out what sort of game I’m in the mood to play. The soothing picture puzzles of Patterns? The random multiplayer madness of Lego Brawls? The unique future racing of Super Impossible Road? The Zelda-riffic Oceanhorn 2? A “Play Random Apple Arcade Game” button would not be unwelcome at this point.

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Is Apple Arcade’s approach the future of gaming? I don’t know, but I do know it’s my next five dollars’ worth of gaming. We’ll see how I feel next month.

Source: Kotaku.com

The New Digimon Mobile Game Is More About Bonding Than Battling

It doesn’t take a lot to win a fight in Digimon: ReArise, the latest digital monster game for iOS and Android devices. As long as your party is properly leveled up, the auto-battle function breezes through the turn-based team battles. The real challenge in Digimon: ReArise is collecting, raising, and training an ever-expanding horde of colorful creatures, evolving them from cute little balls into humanoid figures with rocket launchers mounted on their shoulders.

Digimon: ReArise, out now in North America on iTunes and Google Play, begins when the player’s virtual pet, the hedgehog-like Herrissmon, manifests in the real world. The pair encounter “spirals,” aggressive echoes of normally friendly Digimon, and engage them in simplistic turn-based battles. They meet other trainers and begin to investigate the mystery of the spirals and the reason why the digital and human worlds are randomly mashing together.

Ignore this video thumb. 

The story, unfolding in a series of alternating battles against repetitive groups of enemies and visual-novel-style cutscenes, is a fine reason for players to collect and raise Digimon, which is the main point of the game. Whether summoned through the game’s gacha mechanic using in-game currency or hatched from eggs, Digimon require a lot of maintenance.

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Feeding, training, leveling, and eventually digivolving into more powerful forms requires materials earned through battle or other in-game events. Hatching eggs takes time, which can be sped up using a strictly in-game currency called Bits, which are also used to raise Digimon levels.

Bonding with Digimon takes food, and each digital monster has their food preference. Enhancing Digimon, which raises their level cap and enables evolution, requires special training items won through story missions. Check out the video below for a look at how it all comes together.

This is far from my favorite way to play with Digimon, but I do enjoy, you know, the Digimon, even if they are a bit low-rez and jaggy. If anything, Digimon: ReArise will give me something to do until I dive back into Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth when the complete edition releases next week on Switch and PC. I digitake what I can digiget.

Source: Kotaku.com

Call Of Duty: Mobile Is Live

After being in rigorous beta testing across multiple countries since July, Activision and Tencent’s Call of Duty: Mobile is go for iOS and Android devices everywhere but mainland China, Vietnam, and Belgium. Battle across recognizable maps, fight as iconic heroes like Ghost and Soap, and participate in a battle royale the likes of which you’ve probably seen before.

It’s free to play; it’s mobile; it’s what a console Call of Duty might look like if people weren’t so down on microtransactions and loot boxes. They really should have subtitled it “Mobile Warfare.” Beneath the icon in the iTunes search results it says “Visceral Multiplayer!” which sounds like a thing Call of Duty players are keen on.

The game runs in landscape mode instead of portrait (wide instead of tall), which was a great decision, Mario Kart Tour. The gameplay isn’t too shabby. It looks nice on my iPhone XR. It’s all aiming and auto-firing, but it works well on a small touchscreen

The focus is on progression, with new gear unlocked as players climb the ranks and access new loadout slots. Weapons have experience levels as well, with better mods and attachments unlocked at higher levels. There’s a store filled with cosmetic stuff to purchase and play with, daily login bonuses, special events—basically plenty of things to clutter up its nice-looking home screen.

Players can purchase in-game currency with real cash to help them make their soldier and weapons look all pretty. There’s a “Cash Back” event going on right now that involves getting bonuses for purchasing currency and makes me feel like I am trying to finance a car every time I load up the game. This is Activision and Tencent, so expect plenty of ridiculous things to buy and ways to buy them.

As for the Battle Royale, it supports up to 100 players, pulls together map locations from across many different Call of Duty games, and isn’t unlocked until level 7, which might take me a while. You’ll probably get there first. Let me know how it is.

Source: Kotaku.com

Mario Kart Tour Kicks Off Tomorrow In New York City

Nintendo’s latest free-to-play mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, launches tomorrow on iOS and Android. Every two weeks the nickley, dimey racer will test players in tours, special races inspired by real-world locations. The first destination is New York, New York, where players can earn Musician Mario and Super Mario Odyssey Pauline as playable racers.

New York City, huh? Kind of the obvious place to kick off a world tour, but the course looks nice and the racers even nicer. Mario is decked out in a jazzy sort of suit.

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While Pauline should probably be wearing a helmet or something.

The New York announcement comes courtesy of the first installment of the official Mario Kart Tour News. It’s hosted by Lakitu. You know, the jerk who drops stuff on your head in proper Mario games. This Lakitu is particularly charming, but he doesn’t fool me.

Source: Kotaku.com

Just What Everyone Needs, A Merge Dragons Sequel

Gram Games’ Merge Dragons is a very popular free-to-pay mobile game about combining three things into better things and spending money on dragon gems. Merge Magic, out today on iOS and Android, is a new game about combining three new things into better new things and spending money on magic gems.

It has new art, new challenges, a fancy garden to decorate, and the possibility of running into evil witches, all wrapped around the same incredibly compelling merge mechanic that makes my wife stare at her phone for hours on end and kept our editor-in-chief occupied for a couple of weeks before he snapped out of it. Combining plants and statues and eggs into better plants and statues and eggs is oddly exciting. It’s what made Zynga buy Gram Games last year. Remember Zynga?

The player in this screenshot has 500 magic gems. Is that enough?

I’ve fiddled about with Merge Magic for about an hour this morning, turning plants into other plants and lifting the curse that keeps my garden from looking as pretty as it possibly could. I’m concerned about my cursed garden and ready to match more things to make it less cursed. You should probably run. Fast. No, faster than that.

Source: Kotaku.com

Pokémon Go’s Pokédex Expands Into The Unova Region

While other Pokémon games trim down their collection of pocketable monsters, Niantic’s mobile Pokémon safari continues to expand. Critters from Pokémon Black & White’s Unova region have started showing up in Pokémon Go. Come to me, Tepig. Come to me.

A veritable parade of adorable old friends started popping up in game yesterday, including Snivy, Tepig, Oshawott, Patrat, Lillipup, Purrloin, Pidove, and Blitzle, to name a few. The official game website details the new additions, including those hatchable through eggs, those that can be battled in raids, and those that will be unique to certain parts of the world. Here is that last group, so players can plan their globetrotting Pokémon-hunting vacations.

  • Asia-Pacific: Pansage, the Grass Monkey Pokémon
  • Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India: Pansear, the High Temp Pokémon
  • The Americas and Greenland: Panpour, the Spray Pokémon
  • Western hemisphere: Heatmor, the Anteater Pokémon
  • Eastern hemisphere: Durant, the Iron Ant Pokémon

Source: Kotaku.com

Apple Arcade Is Live In The iOS 13 Beta And It’s A Lot

While the $5-a-month Apple Arcade subscription doesn’t officially launch until Thursday, iOS 13 beta testers can sign up right now and dive into new games from some of the best indie studios on the planet. With nearly 60 games on the service so far, it’s an overwhelming amount of entertainment, all at once.

Last week Apple dropped a short list of games coming to Apple Arcade for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Macs. It contained 15 or so games, including new games in classic franchises like Rayman and Pac-Man, an RPG from the makers of Bravely Default, and a bunch of other cool-looking stuff. It was an impressive list, but it’s nothing compared to the tidal wave of titles washing over early Apple Arcade players right now.

I spent much of yesterday afternoon excitedly typing game names into our work Slack. Oceanhorn 2! The first part of the new Shantae game! Square Enix’s Various Daylife! Mini Motorways, a new game from the makers of Mini Metro! Assemble With Care, a new narrative puzzle adventure from UsTwo, makers of Monument Valley! Klei’s Hot Lava, an action game I’ve been waiting for since 2016! Earthnight, that cool dragon-running game from the Nintendo Switch indie direct! Many, many exclamation points were used.

When I loaded the iOS 13 beta yesterday afternoon, there were 53 games available to download and play. As of this writing, there are 59. Apple plans on having more than 100 available in the coming weeks. Thank goodness for my 512 GB iPad Pro. I have so many good things to play right now I don’t know where to start. I’m just going to play everything and see if I can’t come up with some sort of guide to help folks navigate the already crowded service once it launches wide later this week.

Source: Kotaku.com

The New Game From Journey’s Creators Feels Like A Dream

If Flower and Journey had a baby.

In the new game Sky: Children of Light ethereal figures prance and soar through gorgeous landscapes and crumbling temples. These characters hold candles and spread light throughout the world. At least, I think that’s what’s going on in ThatGameCompany’s first new game in seven years. It’s abstract.

Out now on iOS and coming eventually to Android, Sky: Children of Light feels like an extension or offshoot of 2012’s transcendent cooperative adventure game, Journey. The player, a titular child of light, is a caped figure who embarks on an adventure across seven fantasy realms, using light to revive fallen stars and reform constellations. Players interact with the world and their fellow players via a series of simple icons and gestures as they work together to solve the game’s puzzles and uncover its mysteries.

Unlike Journey, which limited play to two players at a time, the world of Sky Children of Light is filled with silent cloaked individuals hopping and flying about. It’s a social game. Players can make friends, who they can see online and meet up for play sessions. The game preserves some of the magical anonymity of Journey’s anonymous co-op partners by having players assign names to their friends. I named my first two friends Steve and Lara. I have no idea what their real names are. Friends can be added via more traditional methods, but there’s something appealing about having a friend list filled with randoms with made-up names.

Gameplay is harder to describe, which is completely by design. As they adventure through the game, players encounter spirits that feed their light and lead them to ancient temples and other mysterious locales. Each area holds some sort of puzzle to solve in order to progress the game’s story. It might be as simple as applying candlelight to a door switch, or as complex as trying to maintain your light while exploring a rainy forest, racing from cover to cover.

The goal in each area is to awaken an ancestral spirit, who teaches the player a new gesture before ascending into the sky to form a constellation. Forming new constellations unlocks new lands to explore.

I’m getting the same sort of feeling playing Sky: Children of Light as I did playing Journey. I am not sure where I am supposed to go nor what my ultimate goal is, but somehow the game is getting me there. The wind blowing in a certain direction, a light gleaming in the distance or another player anonymously going about their business… these are my guides through these light-hungry landscapes.

(Even the microtransaction store menu is pretty)

Children of Light is a free-to-start game. Players can spend money to buy candles to unlock new emotes and character customization items, or they can receive them in-game by playing or receiving gifts from friends. I haven’t felt the need to buy such things. I’ve been too busy just playing and having a good time.

Source: Kotaku.com

Lego Makes Tiny Tower Just A Little Bit Better

With more than 10 million downloads on iOS and Android devices, Tiny Tower is one of the most successful business simulation games of all time. Now NimbleBit has teamed up with Lego to make essentially the same game, only with Lego bricks and figures. It’s called Lego Tower, and it’s nice.

Tiny Tower is a free-to-play mobile game about building a tower, floor by floor. Residential floors attract little virtual people. Business floors require up to three of those little virtual people to operate. The money amassed from business floors (through virtual people paying rent) is used to build new floors. On the left side of the tower is an elevator, which the player can operate to deliver virtual people to their requested floor, generating more revenue and making the player feel more useful.

Lego Tower, out today on iTunes and Google Play, is all that and a bag of bricks. Instead of NimbleBit’s Bitizens, the virtual people are Lego minifigures, and players can collect different pants, shirts and heads to change their figures’ appearance. The tower background, lobby and roof can be customized with different Lego themes. It’s bright, shiny and happy. I have only just started my tower, yet I am already quite pleased.

As charming as Lego Tower is, it’s also a big ‘ol advertisement for Lego products. Certain customization options, like the builds that top off the tower, carry “Inspired By A Real Set” labels, so folks know they are for sale. Does that Ninjago tower topper look nice? You can buy a set like it in real life and build it yourself. Ask your parents before stealing their credit cards, kids.

Lego Tower is also a free-to-play game, and there are several ways to pay. Users can spend cash on in-game currency to speed up building. Then there’s the Tower Club, a VIP subscription that gives players special benefits like double rent from tower residents, 25 percent off upgrades and automatic elevator control. Five club days costs $1.99. 299 club days is $19.99.

All of the cash purchases are optional, of course. I’ve squeezed plenty of enjoyment out of my early build of the game without spending a cent. In fact, I did a free trial of the Tower Club and found that I preferred the game without it. Automatic elevator control? That’s half the actual gameplay out the window.

One of the easiest ways to create a lovable game is to take an already lovable game and add something else lovable to it. Lego Tower, ladies and gentlemen.

Source: Kotaku.com

Nintendo’s Mobile Game Dragalia Lost Has Finally Lost Me

Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

From its launch in late September through mid-May, Nintendo’s mobile RPG Dragalia Lost was part of my daily routine. I only missed one daily login during the entire period, and that was because I was recovering from surgery. But, over the past couple of weeks, the game’s pull on me has faded, and my play sessions are growing more and more sporadic. The events are predictable. The summoning draws aren’t as exciting. I’ve lost the will to Dragalia Lost.

I have to give developer Cygames credit. Dragalia Lost has held my attention longer than any other collectible character game. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes only lasted about four months. Nintendo’s tactical mobile RPG, Fire Emblem Heroes, kept my attention for three months, but now is a game I only hop on occasionally to harvest any free character summons I’ve accumulated. Eight months of near-daily play isn’t bad at all.

Now, the glue that stuck me to Dragalia Lost is wearing thin. I remain impressed that every new warrior or dragon added to the game gets their own story; there are no throwaway characters. It’s just that I’ve collected 94 of the 124 or so adventurers in the game. New faces are a rarity in my game. The same goes for dragons. I’ve got most of them, and the ones I don’t have only pop up during special summoning events.

Summoning new characters and dragons is my main motivation for playing Dragalia Lost. I play through quests and events to earn the crystals needed to do ten summons at a time (there’s a better chance of rares in a ten pull). It takes time to gather the 1,200 crystals required, and when the results are a handful of duplicate characters and the odd four or five star dragon, it’s not worth the trouble.

Left: Dupes Middle: My characters Right: My most recent pull, another dupe

Some of that is my fault for playing so religiously. There’s only so much to collect, and I’ve worked hard to collect a lot of it. But Cygames hasn’t helped, either. Earlier this year, the developer removed character-enhancing Wyrmprints from the summoning pool, as they weren’t as exciting for players to receive than heroes or dragons. More duplicate characters and dragons in summons was an unfortunate side effect of that change.

It’s not all about the summoning, though. After months of exciting new raid and facility events popping up on a near monthly basis, Dragalia Lost’s special events have started repeating themselves. Right now, one of the game’s earliest special events, “A Wish to the Winds” is back, which is lovely for newer players who never got a chance to reap its rewards, but not so good for a long-time player desperately searching for something new.

I’ve no doubt that Cygames and Nintendo will continue to bring fresh content and ideas to Dragalia Lost. April’s crossover with Fire Emblem Heroes introduced a new type of cooperative mission to the game (as well as some kick-ass new music). Another significant happening along those lines could easily drag me back for a time.

Does leaving during the wedding summoning event count as leaving the game at the altar?

For now, though, Dragalia Lost is officially no longer a part of my daily routine. I’ll still keep it on my phone, maybe hop in from time to time to see if the developers dropped any “thank you” or “sorry for the inconvenience” currency into players’ inboxes following milestones or technical difficulties. If I see a cool new character or dragon pop up on Twitter, maybe I’ll drop in to see how the summoning roulette treats me. I still love the game. I’m just not in love with it anymore.

Source: Kotaku.com