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Apple Arcade is starting to kick into gear after a slow start to 2020

Feature By Cameron Bald, 1 month, 2 weeks ago
Apple Arcade is starting to kick into gear after a slow start to 2020

Apple Arcade, the tech giant's mobile game subscription service, has been a weird one so far. It had an incredibly strong run for the first couple months of its release, with many of 2019's best games arriving as part of the service, but then the rate of new games slowed down and those that did launch weren't especially strong. To be clear, this was always going to happen – there was never any way that Apple could keep that first-month momentum going forever. It's been pointed out before by our sister site PocketGamer.biz that Apple's surprise approach to launching its games can exacerbate the issue of its sporadic release schedule. I feel the same way and would far prefer more tra…

Ten great games you might have missed in 2019 (part 2)

Feature By Cameron Bald, 5 months ago
Ten great games you might have missed in 2019 (part 2)

This here is part 2 of our "ten great games you might have missed in 2019" feature. Here's part 1 in case you missed it. Astrologaster Astrologaster is among the most unique and surprisingly funny games of 2019. It tells the tale of real-life occultist Simon Foreman, who attempted to diagnose and cure old-timey London residents of their various ailments using astrology. Its choice-based gameplay is simple and fun, but it's the writing and voice acting that makes Astrologaster an easy recommendation. Knights and Slimes Knight and Slimes is a smart roguelike platformer which takes the humble slime and turns it into one of the best video game enemies of the year. Hitting a slime with your…

Ten great games you might have missed in 2019 (part 1)

Feature By Cameron Bald, 5 months ago
Ten great games you might have missed in 2019 (part 1)

With everyone and their gran now putting out GOTY lists, I think it's a great time to shine a spotlight on some titles that many might have missed during what was a terrific year for mobile gaming. This here is the first of two parts.  Ordia Ordia, the "one-finger flinger", is pretty much the best platformer I've played on mobile all year. It's accessible, challenging when it needs to be, incredibly moreish, and polished to a shine. Here's a brief description I wrote earlier in the year: "As a one-eyed ball of goo, you’ll start out by launching yourself from the bubbling primordial ooze to the endless caverns above. The goal is to continue working your way forever upwards, hop…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 8

Feature By Cameron Bald, 10 months, 4 weeks ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 8

On now to the 8th and final part of our list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s upcoming Playdate console. For this entry, we’ve gone for an indie studio that only recently rose to popularity and a renowned solo developer known for his fleshy designs and hardcore gameplay. Askiisoft Although Katana ZERO wasn’t Askiisoft’s first game, that would be 2009’s Tower of Heaven, it’s fair to say the assassin-starring action platformer was the one that put the team on the map. It’s a hyper-violent, 80s enthused mystery that draws plenty of inspiration from the Hotline Miami games. Though, despite wearing its influences on its sleeve, Katana gr…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 7

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 7

Here we are now on the 7th part of our ever-expanding list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s Playdate. Along the way, we’ve suggested the likes of SWERY65, Twinbeard Studios, thatgamecompany, and Scott Cawthon. We’re back on the indie devs again, though these two and their work almost couldn’t be more different. Hello Games It’s well known by now that Hello Games has spent years turning No Man’s Sky around and working hard to regain the trust of those who felt burnt by its state at launch. But I’d ask you to cast your mind back further to when Hello Games was known simply as the up-and-coming indie studio behind the delightful Joe Dan…

App Store picks what I play: Calculator 2: The Game

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months ago
App Store picks what I play: Calculator 2: The Game

This week, I’ve decided to let the App Store and Google Play recommendation algorithms decide what I’ll be playing. As with any recommendation algorithm, the logic behind every one of these picks is entirely flawless. Calculator 2: The Game, the sequel to Calculator: The Game, a game I’d never played or ever really heard of prior to now, was my first recommendation. Already the algorithm is killing it, suggesting for me –a man without a proper maths qualification – a game all about messing with numbers and stuff. I load it up and am put into a tutorial with a very smiley-faced rectangle. They go through the basics, offering me two responses to every hint &nd…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 6

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 6

For the 6th entry in our list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s Playdate, we’ve veered sharply into horror territory with two very different developers. So far, we’ve listed the likes of Swery 65, thatgamecompany, Platinum Games, and Asymmetric. Playdead Best known for its striking environmental designs, unparalleled attention to detail, and grim worlds, the Danish Playdead is one of the most renowned indie developers of all time, despite having only put out 2 games. It certainly helps that those games are Limbo and Inside, two extremely confident, authored puzzlers. Both games’ allegorical underpinnings continue to draw the ire of those who would tak…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 5

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 1 week ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 5

On now to the 5th instalment of our list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s Playdate. So far we’ve put together quite the line-up, including Lucas Pope, SWERY 65, and even Platinum Games. This time around, we’ve got one sensible pick and another, well, not so sensible one. Ojiro "Moppin" Fumoto Ojiro "Moppin" Fumoto, developer of 2015’s gunshoe-blasting Downwell, could certainly bring some rapid-fire platforming goodness to the Playdate. Fumoto’s striking visuals would translate well to the black and white display, and I’d love to see how he’d make use of that crank. Following up Downwell would be no easy task, but a similarly fast-pa…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 4

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 1 week ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 4

Here we are now on the fourth part of our list of developers we’d love to see make something for Panic’s Playdate. We’ve already included Asymmetric, thatgamecompany, Lucas Pope, SWERY65, Robert Yang, and Platinum Games. Next up, we’ve got a developer with serious storytelling chops and a team that specialises in horror. Giant Sparrow Despite only having put out 2 games, Giant Sparrow has cemented itself as one of the best storytellers in the medium. Both the Unfinished Swan and What Remains of Edith Finch are short, deeply moving titles that use basic gameplay hooks to explore themes of childhood, loss, mental health, and insidious families. Much like the best vig…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 3

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 3

On now to part 3 of our list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s much-anticipated Playdate console. So far, we’ve had Asymmetric, thatgamecompany, Lucas Pope, and SWERY65 pop up. This time around, I’ve selected two developers that appear to be popular opposites of one another. Robert Yang Yes, Robert Yang – creator of Hurt Me Plenty, The Tearoom, and Cobra Club – was likely the first developer to jump to everyone’s mind when the Playdate was announced, but that’s only because he’s such a perfect fit for the platform. I struggle to think of any creative better at taking a basic, outwardly silly concept and using it to thoughtfully…

Best mobile games of the year so far: Flappy Fighter

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Best mobile games of the year so far: Flappy Fighter

My next pick, the first fighting game on the list, seemingly came out of nowhere. Its intensely silly premise caused a sudden spike in chatter, spurring us all on to give it a go, with many at the time treating it as something of a goofy curiosity. That being said, the real surprise with Andrew Baxter’s Flappy Fighter, a mashup of 2013’s Flappy Bird and Street Fighter, is just how polished and smartly designed it is – so much so that it has the potential to become one of the best games of its type on mobile. Right now, with only 1 playable character and no online PvP, you could argue that it feels more like a demo than a full game. But, in the heat of battle, these conc…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 2

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 2

This here is the second part of our list of developers we’d love to see on Panic’s upcoming Playdate console. Our first two picks were West of Loathing developer Asymmetric and Flow, Flower, and Journey developer thatgamecompany. These next two are slightly, well, stranger, though still totally suited to the Playdate’s niche appeal. Lucas Pope So far, both the Playdate’s actual line-up and my proposed line-up have been full of developers who specialise mostly in funny, family-friendly games. I figure we need to level that out a bit by throwing in someone like Lucas Pope, the man behind Papers, Please and last year’s Return of the Obra Dinn. His games are enjo…

Best mobile games of the year so far: Tropico

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Best mobile games of the year so far: Tropico

So here’s something slightly different, a strategy game, to mix things up. Honestly, I’ve lost count of what entry we’re on now – 10, maybe? 11? I don’t know. But what I do know is that 2019 has already been so packed with good games that I could easily keep this whole thing going until we’re bringing in the New Year. I won’t, probably, but I could, maybe. Tropico, everyone’s favourite dictator-simulator, launched on iPad last year, but only recently became available for iPhone. Like most strategy games, it’s all about long-term planning and weighing up the dozens of options given to you at any one time. Want to be a fairly progressive d…

Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 1

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 3 weeks ago
Developers we’d love to see on Playdate: Part 1

The recent announcement of Panic’s Playdate handheld and its interesting method of game distribution has got me thinking up all sorts of dream collaborations. With the potential for more than one season of games, we could end up seeing dozens of awesome Playdate-exclusive projects from our favourite teams. A few of these developers could well feature in season 1, which would be lovely, but I’d also like to propose a few stranger picks. So here are the first two developers that I think could be a great fit for the weird and (hopefully) wonderful Playdate. Asymmetric Asymmetric’s western epic West of Loathing is one of my favourite games in recent memory. It’s bursti…

Best mobiles games of the year so far: The Gardens Between

Feature By Cameron Bald, 11 months, 3 weeks ago
Best mobiles games of the year so far: The Gardens Between

I reckon, by now, I’ve probably offered up a varied enough selection of GOTY candidates to justify throwing in another premium, story-based title. I’ve got a racer, a runner, a couple of roguelikes, another runner, two platformers, and some that don’t fit quite as tidily into any of the above. The Gardens Between The Gardens Between tells the story of two kids who escape the mundanity of their suburban setting to head out on an adventure through their own memories. It sounds almost too painfully twee on paper, but part of the appeal here is that very precarious balancing act. The player takes on the role of a nameless, omnipresent being floating above and guiding the two…