Tag Archives: mobile games

Call of Duty Mobile Is Fun Even For Hardcore Players

Call of Duty: Mobile is an addictive multiplayer game that even the most casual mobile player can enjoy, but also one that even hardcore console players like myself might find to be surprisingly compelling.

Developed by Tencent’s TiMi Studios, Call of Duty: Mobile launched worldwide on October 1 as a free-to-play game for Android and iOS devices. Personally, I was skeptical of the replay value. How much would I really play a mobile Call of Duty when I already spend so much time on the console versions?


I admit I’ve never really had much interest in mobile gaming. Most of my attempts at gaming on the go have ended after only a few matches. I’ve downloaded and uninstalled the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds twice after only a match or two. Friends recommend mobile games to me, and I almost never make it through the tutorials. None of the games were bad, I just never really cared to play anything on my phone.

However, I’m a sucker for good fanservice, and I found myself enjoying the first few matches of Call of Duty: Mobile. The game contains a mashup of fan-favorite maps, modes, and characters from the older Dutys. There are classic maps like “Crash” and “Killhouse” from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and “Nuketown” from the Black Ops series. There’s even a battle royale mode to compete with PUBG Mobile. It’s completely different from Black Ops 4’s Blackout map, but also boasts a mix of new and classic Call of Duty locations.

The iconic maps also look great on mobile. I played on my Samsung Galaxy S9, and it definitely beats the graphics of PUBG Mobile, but I expected Call of Duty to take that win. Sorry, PUBG.

In addition to the warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, the controls are surprisingly good for a mobile experience. I expected to be really clumsy-thumbsy with my movement, but there’s a decent tutorial and several options to tweak your controls. Of course, you can be fancier than me and play Call of Duty: Mobile on a PC with the help of an emulator. A keyboard and mouse will probably make your experience even better than mine.

Mobile Call of Duty feels pretty padded with bots in the early levels, making this an easy game to pick up for really casual players or mobile noobs like myself. Once I gained more confidence aiming with the touchscreen, I moved from standard multiplayer to a ranked playlist, which seems to pair me up with more human players than bots.


Call of Duty is known for being an arcade-style shooter that is easier to pick up and play than most others in the genre, so it seems smart that the mobile version also caters to a wide range of skills. Call of Duty: Mobile even gives you the option to play solely against bots, and since you can select the “simple” hip-firing aim, even your cool, non-gaming grandma might be able to reach some major killstreaks.

Unsurprisingly, Call of Duty: Mobile is an absolute grind, a free-to-play game packed full of seriously outlandish microtransactions. There are several camos just for grenades, and I’m not totally sure why anyone would want camos for grenades or tactical equipment. You only see the equipment in your hand for a mere second or two before you throw it. Thankfully, you don’t need to pay anything to enjoy the game. You can just dodge all the offers to buy additional cosmetics or level progression with COD Points, Call of Duty’s digital currency.


Slow progression might make the battle royale fanatics antsy, as you have to reach level 7 before unlocking that mode. It also takes forever to just to reach level 33 and unlock a third weapon loadout for multiplayer. Call of Duty: Mobile wants you to become impatient, open your wallet, and speed things up by buying COD Points in bulk just to progress faster.

Don’t have many guns, but I did get this pretty backpack.


The weapon variants in Call of Duty: Mobile are mostly just pretty cosmetics. I do have some that offer a perk for slightly faster sprint or reload times, but I haven’t witnessed any guns with unreal stats like unlimited range or a huge fire rate increase. Stat-based weapon variants of that caliber would make the playing field extremely unbalanced, and would kill my desire to play this game.

For me, it seems to be nostalgia paired with the slow and steady grind that keeps me playing. I complete challenges and level up the same way I’ve enjoyed the progression in Black Ops 4, without spending anything extra to level up. It’s been a full week since launch, and I’m still playing the multiplayer and battle royale modes on a daily basis. This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a mobile game.


I’m definitely not the only one jumping on the mobile hype. Reuters has already reported that the mobile version of Call of Duty has pulled in 100 million downloads in just the first week. This early success greatly overshadows the numbers of the competition, as the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds brought in just over 26 million in week one, and Fortnite only earned 22.5 million downloads in its first week on mobile.

Call of Duty: Mobile is a battery-draining juggernaut that is making a splash in the world of mobile shooters, especially in the battle royale realm. The game is definitely worth the download, especially for fans feeling the burnout from a year of Black Ops 4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases on October 25, at which time my focus will likely shift back to console multiplayer, but I think it’ll still offer a good fix for my battle royale cravings.

Source: Kotaku.com

Mobile Game Lets You Build Gundam Models Without All The Clutter

Building Gundam models is an exciting hobby, but if you’re on the go or don’t have a shelf for all your giant robots, you’re in a rough spot. Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare is a new mobile game looking to make it easy to build and battle robots on the go. There’s some mobile game jankiness, but so far it’s been a fun mixture of model cobbling and mech fighting.

Gunpla Warfare, which released this week for iOS and Android, doesn’t have much of a plot besides a pretty basic story about students trying to keep their struggling Gundam model building club afloat. What really matters is how everything plays. Gunpla Warfare alternates between chill downtime and explosive action, letting you both assemble models and fight against other mechs in fast-paced battles.

Model building is the real meat here, with countless parts to combine into your dream robot. You can, if you want, simply hit a button that builds the statistically strongest mech out of your collected stash of parts. But you’re also free to kit-bash and improvise with what you have. The only downside to the process is what you might expect from a mobile game: many of the parts come from random gacha draws on which you must spend either in-game currency or real money.

Thus far, in my experience, Gunpla Warfare’s been generous with the rewards, but there’s always going to be temptations to spend. It’s disappointing, but if you can get over the hump or simply embrace the fun of working with what you have, there’s a lot of fun to be had from mixing and matching parts. Nothing says badass like a sleek Gundam whose mismatched parts give it the chunky legs of one robot and the tiny head of another. You can build for stats, for looks, or for laughs. Since Gunpla Warfare doles out more parts for completing missions, the early experience is all about working within your limits and junk-scrapping your way to victory.

Battles follow the mold of games like Gundam Versus, giving players control over their mechs in a 3D arena where they invariably need to blow up other robots. Moving is easy, with quick button taps allowing for fast dodges or rocket boosts towards enemies. Considering that combat is handled mostly through swipes, taps, and holding the screen, it’s really easy to move your mech around. Fights are fast and last no more than a minute, which is good if you’re playing while on the go and just want a quick snack-sized battle.

The early portions of the game are a little mindless⁠—it’s easy to hack and slash or simply let AI companions do the hard work⁠—but the addition of tougher boss units slowly ups the difficulty. It’s hard to picture what the end game will look like—large raid fights like Dragalia Lost, or more difficult survival modes—but for now, Gunpla Warfare focuses a bit more on flash than substance. That might haunt the experience as time goes on, but for now it’s compelling enough.

Gunpla Warfare isn’t an intense wargame or even the most complicated robot fighting game. This isn’t something you play for a compelling story or intricate world. Instead, it captures the joyous feel of playing with toys. What if these two robots smashed into each other? Wouldn’t it be cool to mix and match Wing Gundam with ‘Iron Blood Orphans’ iconic Barbatos Gundam? It’s light and flashy, and while there’s always that hovering specter of microtransactions it’s easy to ignore and press forward with some silly mech action on the go.

Source: Kotaku.com

Stop Playing Candy Crush and Start Playing Better Games

Thanks to smartphones and tablets, we’re all gamers now. I’m a gamer, you’re a gamer, our moms are gamers, and their moms are also probably gamers. So it’s about time we start putting all that gaming to good use.

In the video above, I make the case for deleting “dumb” games like Candy Crush and recommend “smart” games that will help you improve a skill, relax and meditate, or flex those neural connections in your brain.

The apps I recommend are:

While it’s debatable how effective “brain training” games are, it’s hard to argue that doing math problems in Elevate or solving the NYT Crossword isn’t a better use of time than the zombie-mode tap, tap, tap of playing a game like Crossy Road.

Source: Kotaku.com

Playing Those Weird Movie Theater AR Games That Appear Before Films

Over the last year or two, you might have noticed something strange when you show up to see a movie at a theater. Before the movie starts, before the trailers even, something called “Noovie ARcade” is advertised and then a static screen appears for 60 seconds. What is going on? Folks are playing video games on their phones, that’s what’s going on.

Noovie is a show that appears before many films and trailers in theaters across the country. This was originally called “First Look”, but the company that creates these pre-show segments rebranded them as Noovie around two years ago. With the rebrand came new features and segments. The most interesting being a series of AR games that are played on the big screen of the theater.

My girlfriend and I see a lot of movies, we both have AMC A-List memberships that allow us to see multiple movies a month for $20 a month. Before that, we had Moviepass, which was a similar subscription service for seeing movies. Each time we arrived early, we saw ads for these Nooive Arcade games and wondered what was going on. Finally, we downloaded the free app to try out these games.

The first and biggest issue with these games is the app itself. In short, it sucks. It crashes, freezes up and takes way too long to load, meaning that you will need to keep it open well before the game starts so you can play. You only get 60 to 30 seconds to play each game and the app can sometimes take upwards of 15 seconds to fully load. Noovie seems to be aware of this, as they give everyone a 2-minute heads up before the game starts. Well, they usually do. Sometimes they don’t, which is annoying and means you lose valuable gaming time.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, got it to work and finally got it open and ready to go, you can start playing some games. Unfortunately, these games aren’t amazing. Finding a fool list of games seems near impossible and there isn’t much of a community around these games, so I only have a partial list of games I’ve experienced. But what I’ve played hasn’t impressed me all that much.

My favorite Noovie Arcade title by far is a game about blasting alien ships. I wish I could tell you the name, but I can’t find it. I think it might be called AR Blasters. There aren’t any fan wikis about these games online and the games don’t even say their names after playing. This makes it hard to even figure out what I’m playing.

Anyways, the blaster game is simple, but of all the games I’ve played, it runs the best on my phone. You point your phone at the screen and use two virtual buttons to shoot endlessly spawning ships. You can also shoot powerups, giving you laser beams and slowing down time. This isn’t some amazing video game, but as a free little thing that helps kill time before the film ain’t bad.

I also enjoy Kernel Canon, I only know this game’s name because you can actually find it on the official Noovie site. This is similar to alien blasting game, but instead of shooting lasers, you shoot arching popcorn kernels into moving popcorn containers that are various sizes. Bigger ones are worth fewer points and smaller tubs are worth more. This game runs fine on my phone, but older phones might struggle. The weird thing is I’ve never played this game in a theater. I can only find it on the Noovie Arcade site.

The other games are bad. The worst might be a driving game that has players racing a car to a theater to make it in time for a Hollywood premiere. This game actually has a bit of narrative and even a short ending cutscene. But everything else about this game is awful. Controlling the car feels bad and tilting your phone while trying to keep your camera pointed at the screen is annoying. It also runs terribly, even on my girlfriend’s new Pixel 3 and made our phones get really hot like we had been playing something for hours.

A zombie game and a Wreck-It Ralph game have also been available in the past, but these games are no longer playable using the app and no longer are shown at theaters. When I played them back when you could, I remember not being very impressed. They are shooting galleries, with the zombie game actually running worse than the driving game.

The numerous times my girlfriend and I have played these games in theaters, we are usually the only ones. One time an older couple next to us watched and seemed confused. Another time a kid behind me saw us playing and I heard him ask his mom what we were playing and how he could play. They downloaded the app and tried to play the next game, but it sounded like the app didn’t launch in time.

Sorry kid. This app really sucks.

This might work, here is the screen for a game.

If you are curious about playing these games but don’t want to travel to a theater there are ways to play these AR games at home. You can visit the Noovie site where they have a game available. All you do is load up the image on your TV or monitor, open the app on your phone and point the camera at your monitor. Suddenly, your screen will be an AR video game experience! Amazing.

If you want to play other things beyond the one game on the official site, you’ll have to find YouTube videos people have uploaded of the other game screens. I found a good one if you want to play that alien blasting game. Don’t bother trying to play that driving game. Sadly, it seems the Wreck-It Ralph game has been removed from the app or at least my phone wouldn’t recognize the screen.

As video games become more and more popular, it is interesting to see companies try to leverage games as a way to get more folks to show up early for movies or present folks with more ads. Maybe one day, people will find games hanging off toilets at restaurants or small games attached to books? Maybe that will get more people interested in reading?

Regardless, if you are looking for something to do while you wait for the trailers and movie to start, download the Noovie Arcade app and start shooting aliens while folks around you stare strangely at you.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Elder Scrolls: Blades Is An Impressive Mobile Game With Annoying Chests

The Elder Scrolls: Blades isn’t the full Elder Scrolls experience. Instead, Bethesda has crafted a game that takes some of the key elements of the franchise and reworks them into a portable experience that feels built from the ground up to work on phones. But Blades also brings with it elements of mobile gaming that some fans might find annoying.

First revealed back at E3 2018, The Elder Scrolls: Blades is a mobile phone game that is set in the popular Elder Scrolls universe. Though, to be clear, this isn’t Skyrim on a phone. The experience here is more focused on small quests and managing a town.

The game starts by quickly throwing the player into the world and introducing them to a village which was recently burned down and nearly destroyed. It is up to you, of course, to find missing villagers, get new folks to move in, rebuild shops and homes and bring the settlement back to life. To complete this task, players will have to go exploring dungeons to accomplish simple quests.

In my first few hours with the game, the quests have nearly all involved saving villagers, killing a certain number of baddies or collecting a something or many somethings in a dungeon.

The simple nature of the quests might get stale eventually, but so far I’ve found myself excited to jump back into the game whenever I can find some spare time. The reason I keep coming back is that the basic gameplay loop is really fun and satisfying. As you complete quests and challenges you get more materials that let you improve your village. You have full control over where to build new shops or homes and can even customize them. Watching a village return to life is a neat way to visually show players how much progress they are making.

Also, as you complete quests you earn new weapons, armor, level up and unlock new abilities, passive perks or spells. This isn’t groundbreaking stuff, for sure, except the whole experience feels polished in a way most mobile RPGs don’t.

There is no open world to explore. Instead, your town is a hub and dungeons and other areas are smaller levels you explore depending on the quest. Again, some players will find this too simple and paired down. Except, the short quest length and smaller size of the maps feel perfect for a game that you pick up and play for only a few minutes.

For those wondering, in my time with the game, I could close the app mid-quest and when I returned I was right where I left off, making it even easier to sneak a few minutes of adventuring in while at the bus stop.

Visually, Blades is one of the best looking mobile games I’ve played. It looks as good as most Xbox 360 games and honestly nearly as good as Skyrim. Some crappy looking water and weird lighting are the only graphical problems I’ve noticed. Watching a game like this run on my phone is still remarkable and I was happy to see it didn’t instantly kill my battery or make my phone turn into an oven.

Much of what you expect in an Elder Scrolls game is found in Blades. Multiple enemy types, armor, leveling up magic or stamina with each level, unlocking perks, a character creator and even lovely lizardfolk. It’s just been reworked to work better on a phone and a touchscreen.

Maybe the most impressive feature in Blades is that you can play the entire game in portrait or landscape mode. This makes it possible to play Blades with one hand. I found myself using this mode while I watched TV. What’s really remarkable about this feature is that you can switch between either mode whenever you want. Every menu works in both vertical or horizontal. Combat and exploration work in either mode too. I spent more time than I would care to admit rocking my phone back and forth, watching menus shift and icons move. It’s slick.

The controls change depending on which mode you are currently using. When playing in landscape, you control your character using two virtual joysticks. When vertical, you tap on the ground where you want to go and your character moves to that spot. While I prefer moving with two sticks, tapping to move is great for playing with one hand.

The combat in Blades is based on timing when to tap and when to release. You tap the screen and hold down your finger until a circle fills a ring. Time it perfectly and you will land a critical hit. If you are using a shield, a simple tap on the left of the screen brings it up, letting you block. As you level up you can equip new spells and abilities, which are activated by clicking their corresponding icons during combat.

The combat is simple enough that most players won’t get stuck, but there is also enough depth there to allow players to really master it. Like the quests and dungeons; exploration and combat aren’t ripped right out of the bigger games, instead, they feel inspired by them and built to work on a phone.

One element of Blades that will most likely be a deal breaker for some fans is the inclusion of timers to unlock chests. The first time I found a chest I was excited, as I often feel when finding chests in other RPGs. Then I clicked on it, the way to interact with objects in the game, and the chest just popped out of existence. I got nothing. Hmmm. I was confused. Then the game explained that chests are collected in quests and then you unlock them in a menu.

This takes time. Real world time.

Basic chests only take a few minutes or less. But bigger and rarer chests can take hours and hours to unlock. This, as you might expect, can be skipped using in-game gems, which you can buy from a store.

There isn’t any way to spin this chest unlocking process as a positive. The act of opening a chest is supposed to be a joyous moment in an RPG like The Elder Scrolls, except now it’s locked behind a timer. In my time with the game I haven’t been bothered too much by these chest timers as the rest of the game is free and unrestricted to play for as long as you want. Yet, I also understand that many will see chests that take hours to unlock and uninstall the game, which I think is a totally fair reaction.

I’m just more accustomed to how mobile games work and outside of these chest timers, I find the rest of the game to be really open and not very manipulative. If these annoying timers are the cost of getting a high-quality RPG like this on a mobile phone, I’m willing to put up with them. But I understand many won’t.

Another part of Blades that I’ve only barely dug into is The Abyss. This is a large, randomly generated dungeon that will challenge players as they get farther down. As you get deeper into The Abyss, you earn more rewards and loot. Another mode that isn’t available currently in the Early Access release of Blades is PVP. So no idea how that will work or if it is any good.

The Elder Scrolls: Blades isn’t a portable Skyrim. To be fair, that already exists on the Switch. Instead, Blades tries to reimagine the core elements, visuals, and gameplay of The Elder Scrolls games for touchscreens. The result, at least in my first few hours, is mostly successful.

I can now play a large, visually impressive RPG with one hand while eating. Ain’t the future wonderful?

Source: Kotaku.com

Alien: Blackout Is A Great Concept But Falls Flat

Alien: Blackout sounds great on paper. Take the grimy world of the films and boil the terror experience into a tense management game during which you direct survivors, lock doors, and watch for the alien on your motion tracker. Mixing real-time strategy and survival is a smart concept, but Alien: Blackout is a bit too clumsy in execution to pull it all together.

Alien: Blackout stars Amanda Ripley, the protagonist of 2014’s dynamite horror game Alien: Isolation. Once again, she’s the sole survivor on a derelict space station. Ripley has evaded the iconic xenomorph and lasted long enough for an investigation team to arrive. From her hiding spot in the vent, Ripley guides the team around and helps them survive while the alien tries to hunt them down. This involves switching between camera views and a map, all while locking doors and powering motion sensors. The easy comparison is Five Nights at Freddy’s, but gameplay here is much closer the 2013 stealth game Republique, in which players guided a young woman through levels while observing her through CCTV cameras.

Each level in Alien: Blackout has a goal, be it finding a keycard or a spare part for the investigation team’s shuttle. You control a set amount of survivors and can draw routes for them to follow on a map. As they travel through their planned paths, your job is to scour camera feeds and the map to keep track of the alien and find ways to prevent it from reaching the team. Often this means locking security doors. Levels only have a certain number of devices that can be powered up at one time, so you need to carefully determine and adjust which doors and sensors are powered if you want to keep the team safe. If you’re really unlucky, the alien can even scurry into the vents to attack you in your hiding spot.

Juggling perspectives, issuing orders, and making sure you keep yourself safe should make for a tense experience, but it never really works out. It can be hard to select teammates and draw routes on your phone’s screen, and it’s far too easy to lose track of the alien. As a result, Alien: Blackout can often feel like luck. All you need to do in each level is complete the objective and have one team member escape, but because the alien is hard to predict and difficult to track on your map screen, sudden deaths are common. These are shocking at first, but over time, they start to feel too much like they are out of your control, which then makes them harder to care about.

Alien: Blackout’s mix of survival horror and team management wants you to consider tense scenarios, like sending off one character as bait so another can survive, but it never makes those moments as exciting as they could be. Instead of carrying on with losses, I found myself tempted to restart levels and brute force my way to achieving perfect playthroughs. Those successes should be satisfying, but they often feel more like lucky miracles. Maybe that’s the point, but I’d rather feel satisfied with my skill than lucky.

Still, I commend Alien: Blackout for its experimentation with what an Alien game can be. In the thick of things, managing the team and keeping them safe can be engaging. But achieving successes in the game feels too random and too finicky to hold my attention. Alien: Blackout does nail the look and feel of the franchise, but it stumbles as a game. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Brawl Stars Mixes Battle Royale & Dota 2 Into A Fun Mobile Game

Image: Supercell

I was being chased. I couldn’t get away. I ran into a nearby bush and yet I wasn’t safe. I was almost dead. I yelled out to a friend nearby to help, but I didn’t need to say anything. They had seen the chase and ran into to save me, pushing my pursuer away from me and letting my team win. We cheered and immediately jumped into another match. This was my experience during a recent match of Brawl Stars, a free-to-play mobile game.

Brawls Stars is the latest game from mobile developers Supercell, best know for their previous games Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. When Clash Royale first came out I played it for weeks. But it quickly became more of a grind then a game. So I was very hesitant to try out Brawl Stars. Luckily, Supercell has made Brawl Stars significantly less grind heavy than their other games.

The in-game store

Let’s get this out of the way now: Brawl Stars has micro-transactions and loot boxes. There is no getting around it and if you won’t play a game that includes these elements, I understand. But I play a lot of mobile games and Brawl Stars feels nicer than most games when it comes to forcing players to spend cash. I’ve not hit a point yet where I needed to spend any money.

Brawl Stars thankfully does away with timers or paywalls. It always lets you play, no matter how many matches you’ve already completed. These matches will always earn you trophies, which unlock new rewards via a battle pass like system.

Earning trophies unlocks new rewards on the “Trophy Road”

I keep coming back to Brawl Stars because it always feels fresh. It reminds me of Fortnite in how often something new is available. Every day game modes and maps rotate in and out. The end result is I always have something new to check out each time I play. Also like Fortnite, Brawl Stars includes a battle royale mode. This mode and a MOBA inspired gem collecting mode, never rotate out of the game.

Showdown, the battle royale mode in Brawl Stars, is simple, fast and fun. This is for a few reasons. One is how small the map is. You will run into players often. The map also shrinks much faster than in games like PUBG or Fortnite. Finally, the top down camera angle allows you to see players from all angles. Which means you can easily spot enemies or get spotted by other players. The mode supports 10 players and can be played solo or with a partner.

The other popular and permanent mode is Gem Grab. This game mode, as the name implies, has players grabbing gems. These gems spawn in the middle of the map. First team to grab 10 and hold them long enough, wins.

A match of Gem Grab

This mode feels like a simplified MOBA. I was reminded of Heroes of The Storm, which does a great job of streamlining some of the more tricky or boring parts of MOBAs. Gem Grab is even simpler. There is only one objective and one way to win: Grab 10 gems.

While there are different maps for Gem Grab, they all contain bushes and walls. Players can hide in bushes, like in most MOBAs, and can use walls for cover. (Though be careful, some super attacks break walls and destroy bushes.)

While Gem Grab and the other modes in Brawl Stars are simple, they aren’t boring to play. There is a surprising about of strategy involved when playing.

For example, in Gem Grab collecting gems is great, but it also makes you a big target to the enemy team. But if one player has all of your gems, it’s much easier to hide and protect them from attacks. But it also means you have to trust your teammate with all of your game winning gems. But if you spread them out, like have one player grab three and someone else grab 7, it becomes harder to keep track of gems and where they are on the map.

Different brawlers you can unlock

The amount of strategy in Brawls Stars is perfect. The game doesn’t support chat or even emotes, so unless your playing with friends you will have no way to communicate with the other two players on your team. So every mode is designed to be easily playable with randoms. It also means if you make a mistake nobody can yell at you in chat.

Brawl Stars controls well and feels perfectly built for mobile devices. Holding the device sideways, you move using a virtual left stick and aim using virtual right stick. But I rarely ever aim. Instead players can just tap the right side of the screen and auto attack the closet enemy. This is perfect when you are being chased and need to shoot behind you.

Do enough damage to enemy players and you will earn a super ability. This varies depending on your brawler, but these supers can help save a teammate, stop an enemy or create a shortcut.

The simple modes, easy to use controls and short matches make Brawls Stars a perfect game to play for a few minutes and then slide your phone back into your pocket.

Source: Kotaku.com