TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Thimbleweed Park, GRID Autosport, Iron Marines

While most of the Apple community spent this week glued to any news about the keynote and the since revealed new iPhones, as usual, the world of iOS gaming was packed to the gills with all sorts of new and upcoming games. Of course we're super excited for all the augmented reality games that were demonstrated, as well as Sky, but there's way more noteworthy gaming happenings than those few titles.


While the name Ron Gilbert might not be immediately recognizable to you, I bet some of the games he's been responsible for are. Gilbert was instrumental in both Maniac Mansion as well as the first two Monkey Island games. Following a successful Kickstarter in late 2014, the Thimbleweed Park team has been hard at work at crafting a point and click adventure game which has since resonated with fans of the genre to an extent that's hard to believe. The game has been available on Steam for a while now, with "very positive" reviews. It's finally coming to mobile on September 19th. I've heard absolutely nothing but phenomenal things about the game and have been waiting to play it on my iPad. Next week can't come soon enough.


The iPhone has been a great platform for racing games, but it feels like ever since EA dominated that particular sector with Real Racing 3 there's been a distinct lack of competition. Well, soon GRID Autosport will hit the App Store. (Soon, as in, this year.) If the freemium shenanigans of Real Racing 3 tired you out, you'll be happy to hear that GRID is going to be a premium priced racing game. It also is quite a looker, and is likely going to be one of the few titles that'll really put the GPU inside of the A11 Bionic processor to the test. If you'd like to follow the progress of the game a little closer in the meantime, we've got a vibrant thread in our forums.


Earlier this year, A Normal Lost Phone was released. It's a voyeuristic puzzle game of sorts that is set in the basic premise of the player finding someone else's phone and exploring the mysteries found inside. The game was received incredibly well, and a sequel titled Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story will be released on September 21st. There's not a ton of details available just yet on the game, but I think a lot of people will be happy with simply more of the same as the original game was so interesting. In the meantime, we've got a thread on our forums filled with other folks excited to explore another stranger's phone again.


As we get closer to the launch of iOS 11 and ARKit being accessible to everyone, developers have been teasing all sorts of cool things coming down the pipeline. This week we got another look at the upcoming augmented reality mode of Splitter Critters which approaches things in a really cool way: The game is rendered on your desk as if it were a diorama, and all the platforms and other elements inside of the game have depth which you can see by moving the camera. Splitter Critters is a super fun game by itself, and this AR mode really just adds another wrinkle to a already fabulous title.


We've mentioned the changes to the Minecraft convention Minecon before, but the basic gist is they're moving away from a conference only a few people can attend to a global event that everyone can participate in that's streamed in real time. There's now a massive list of viewing parties, all sorts of exclusive swag, and there's even going to be a costume contest. If you've got kids that are into Minecraft, this seems like a great way to spend November 18th.


Blizzard has been doing the whole virtual conference thing for a few years now, and virtual tickets for Blizzcon are now available. You get all the digital goodies that anyone attending the conference gets, as well as the ability to stream all the different panels and events. A digital ticket will run you $39.99, which is quite a bit cheaper than heading to Blizzcon in real life. Also, if all you care about is watching the Blizzcon streams, chances are you can sell your code for the various digital unlocks for close to what you paid for the ticket after the event.


As far as games you can download now now are concerned, my first impressions of Ironhide's Iron Marines are overwhelmingly positive. It's strange to say, but Iron Marines is the closest thing to StarCraft that you can get on the App Store. You control Space Marine-like forces in a clever hybrid between tower defense and real time strategy gameplay and fight against a Zerg-like enemy. It's a bit on the nose, but as far as a touch-based RTS game is concerned, it is unbelievably good. While it's premium priced, there are a few optional IAP unlocks inside the game as well additional characters, buying more in-game currency, and other things you really don't need to enjoy playing. I was really surprised by how good this game is. It has turned into my favorite release this week.

That's about it for things that I feel like the MacRumors audience might be the most interested in this week, but as always, if you want to dive deeper into the world of iOS gaming be sure to visit TouchArcade.com where we post this sort of thing day in and day out. Also, if you're at all into Twitch, be sure to follow us over there where we're streaming all sorts of things (including even writing this post).


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Reigns: Her Majesty, Final Fantasy XV, Armello, and More

This week over on TouchArcade has been all about playing catch up after attending PAX West in Seattle. If you've never been to a PAX event, and are at all into any aspect of gamer culture, I promise you'll have a very good time there. Whether you're into card games, board games, video games, or any other form of gaming you'll find something there for you. It's really sort of incredible just how welcoming PAX events are, and how much there is to do. For our purposes, the show floor was packed with mobile games, even though mobile was by no means the star of the show.


We loved the original Reigns and have been closely following the development of its sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty. We got a walkthrough of the game with its creator, and the sequel is shaping up to be exactly what we wanted: More Reigns. This time around you play as a queen, there are loads more cards, and there's a zodiac system which puts a unique spin on every new play through. It sounds like there are many other secrets and discoveries to be made while playing, but they're keeping those things close to their chest until the game is released.


Hidden deep inside of the Square Enix booth at PAX was a playable version of Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition which we spent a good twenty minutes with. The game is everything we'd hoped it would be, and the first playable episode seems surprisingly one to one with the "full" console version of the game. All of the dialog is there, the quests seem the same, the level-up system feels identical, and overall it looks as if they're delivering on the promise of having a full-featured version of Final Fantasy XV for mobile. Details are still few and far between regarding when it'll specifically be released, but, it's going to be a premium episodic game with the first taste that we played given away for free.


Armello is a digital board game that has had a fascinating lifecycle so far. It was originally pitched as an iPad game back in 2011, but when the game was finally finished it ended up being released on Steam and consoles. The pivot to other platforms turned out incredibly well for developer League of Geeks, who have continued to release loads of additional content for the title. At PAX we experienced one of the things that's the most fun about covering mobile: When a developer just says, "Hey, check this out," and pulls a game out of their pocket. It'd seem Armello is finally on its way to iOS, even if it is a good six years late. The game has been received so well on other platforms, at this point I'm just excited to finally have it on my iPhone.

We saw tons more games at PAX, so if following upcoming iOS titles is something you're in to, check out our full roundup post for links to everything we saw.


For years now, it's felt like Wizards of the Coast has been struggling to figure out what to do with digital versions of Magic the Gathering. Magic Duels was the last attempt, and while we had overall positive first impressions, the game ended up with a unique problem: Due to design decisions and deck limitations, Duels ended up being too casual for hardcore Magic players and too hardcore for casual Magic players. It never seemed to find its audience, and support for the game was dropped this summer.

Yesterday, Wizards revealed Magic the Gathering Arena, which seems to double down on providing a "real" Magic experience while making a client that looks exponentially nicer than Magic Online. This hopefully should allow Wizards to regain some ground in the Twitch viewing and esports department that Hearthstone has stolen away. While the beta is currently only available on PC, they've stressed that it's built in Unity and will be coming to every platform that makes sense — making a Mac and mobile release feel unbelievably inevitable.


Speaking of Hearthstone and esports, this week Blizzard announced a brand new venue called the "Blizzard Arena" in Los Angeles which is said to be a "cutting-edge, live-event destination." There aren't a ton of details yet on what the Blizzard Arena is going to be like, but if nothing else it's pretty incredible that we're living in an age where video games are getting popular enough that companies are building entire stadiums to host their games being played as esports. If you thought this whole "esports" thing was a fad, well, this is one of the (many) nails in the coffin of that line of thinking.


In Pokemon Go news, Niantic is hinting at both Pokemon trading and peer to peer battling coming to the game. The interview with Bloomberg details the vision for the future of the game, which I've got to admit, sounds pretty awesome. That being said, while I realize the game is still very popular, I as well as everyone I know locally eventually ended up getting bored of it and stopped playing. I'd love to see a parallel universe where Pokemon Go had simply launched with all of these features they see in their "vision." I bet it would be significantly more popular than it is now, as Niantic allowed way too many people to get tired of the early game where there really wasn't anything else to do beyond wander around, catch Pokemon, and participate in gym battles.

A ton more happened this week in the world of mobile gaming, but most of my time was consumed with PAX. Definitely check out our PAX roundup, and for way more news, reviews, game releases, and everything else you'd ever need to follow along with iOS gaming be sure to visit TouchArcade!


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: PAX West, Suzy Cube, Game of Thrones and More

We are at PAX West this weekend, scoping out the coolest mobile games in Seattle for coverage on TouchArcade. If you're also here and want to show us your game, be sure to hit up either @hodapp or @jaredta and we'll make sure that we make it happen. For everyone else, like any other week in the calendar year, this one has been packed with all sorts of interesting things happening in the world of iOS gaming.


First off, one cool thing that we do around TouchArcade is called the RPG Reload play along. The basic gist of the whole thing is we select an RPG, which typically is an older or other retro game, and we all play it together over the course of a month and share out experiences in this forum thread. It's a really awesome way to revisit older games that you have (or haven't) played before. This month we're focusing on the action RPG Bastion. It's a fully narrated game experience, which is... unbelievably cool if you've never tried it before. Check out the trailer, or the forum thread, and hop in. These play alongs are a ton of fun.


While it's the first time we've mentioned it in these MacRumors roundups, Suzy Cube is a game we've been following over on TouchArcade for years now. It's basically a modern, touch-based, reinterpretation of the 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land. The amount of time the developer, Louis-Nicolas Dozois, has put into refining every aspect of the game is really just sort of incredible. His latest developer blog posted over on Gamasutra details all the challenges that went into designing the controls of a 3D platformer. In fact, the entirety of his development blog is a really fascinating read if you're at all into following the passion project of a developer who is making a game that isn't typically done so well on mobile with touch screen controls.


On the sales front, Street Fighter IV Champion Edition has slammed down to two bucks. It's a full-featured mobile iteration of Street Fighter which we really loved in our review. It has a couple caveats: The framerate isn't as good as its console counterparts, and if you're not a fan of touch controls you're probably not going to be that into the controls of this particular game.


Additionally, all the Simogo games are also on sale for a buck. Simogo is responsible for some of the most innovative (and strangest) games on the App Store. Device 6 is a fascinating spin on interactive fiction, SPL-T is a brain-twisting puzzle game, Year Walk is an incredible atmospheric avdenture, and the list just goes on. Simogo consistently releases amazing titles, so if you're missing anything from their catalog, now is a great time to stock up.


If your mind is still blown from the Game of Thrones season finale, you've got a brief reprieve before the launch of Game of Thrones Conquest. You can pre-register for the game here, which awards $50 worth of in-game goodies once the game goes live. So far it sounds like it's one of those free to play MMO battle games, which could be pretty cool with a Game of Thrones skin on top. Interestingly enough, it's developed by Turbine who were the original developers of Asheron's Call, making Game of Thrones Conquest potentially far more interesting than your typical free to play game.


In the world of App Store approval drama, Apple kicked CheapCharts off the App Store. If CheapCharts is new to you, it's basically an app with functionality sort of similar to the original AppShopper app. Apparently, when they added Mac apps to their price tracker, that was the final straw for Apple who "suddenly claimed that our business model would not be in compliance with Apple's guidelines and that the look and feel of CheapCharts would be identical to that of the App Store." For folks in our situations, this is unbelievably frustrating as all CheapCharts, AppShopper, and the TouchArcade app really do is encourage people to buy more things from the App Store.


Last, but by no stretch of the imagination least, the original Infinity Blade has been updated to 64-bit. Aside from evading the 32-bit purge of iOS 11, this also provides a fantastic opportunity for anyone who didn't play Infinity Blade when it was new and exciting to download the game knowing it's going to work on their phone for the foreseeable future. It's ancient by today's standards, but out original review of Infinity Blade still stands as one of the best games ever released on the App Store. Since then, two other games have been released, which are both just as good.

For all this and more, be sure to check out TouchArcade, we post this sort of news around the clock and it's really the best place you can go to follow the beat of the mobile gaming world!


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Reigns: Her Majesty, Darkest Dungeon, Final Fantasy XV, and More

This week was a massive week for iOS gaming news, so much so that there's not even time for witty intros. Jumping right in, Ridiculous Fishing was updated to 64-bit. This was a 32-bit title we were watching very closely as we gave it our Game of the Year award in 2013, and Ridiculous Fishing has won basically every other award an iOS game can win outside of that. The update adds haptic feedback, leaderboards, and some other goodies too. In other 32 to 64-bit updates, DotEmu will be updating their catalog as well, which includes games like Another World, Karateka and other classic retro ports.


If you haven't played Reigns yet, you really need to fix that problem. We reviewed the game when it came out last year and loved it. It's an RPG where you manage a kingdom (and your legacy as a king) by swiping right or left with a Tinder-like mechanic. It's remarkably clever, and if there's one bad thing about the game it's that it eventually ends, leaving us very hungry for more. Well, the sequel was announced in January, but recently the developers revealed that the game will launch later this year. Reigns is/was amazing, so, I've got incredibly high expectations for Her Majesty.


Right on time, Darkest Dungeon for iPad has hit the App Store. The game has been received incredibly well on Steam, as it provides a clever twist on the turn-based RPG formula with a beautiful gothic art style. It's easy to call Darkest Dungeon an essential release, particularly for five bucks, for anyone who owns an iPad and is even remotely interested in RPGs. Cross-platform saving sweetens the deal, effortlessly allowing you to pick up where you left off on your iPad on your PC and vice versa. The iOS port is incredibly well done, and while it's a bit of a bummer it's iPad-only, I'm not sure you'd want to play a game like this on the smaller screen of the iPhone.


While Blizzard's Overwatch seems to have unstoppable momentum, there are other entries in the "hero shooter" genre that are worth having on your radar. Paladins by Hi-Rez Studios is a similar game with two distinct differences that have allowed the game to carve out a surprisingly large niche: First, it's free to play, and second, the system requirements are unbelievably minimal. You can play Paladins even if you've got an ancient Core 2 Duo machine. On the mobile front, they're expanding the Paladins universe into a mobile game titled Paladins Strike — it's a MOBA and currently in alpha testing. Check out the Paladins Strike web site for information on how to sign up and check out the alpha.


South Park: Phone Destroyer was one of the only mobile games teased during E3, and every sign is pointing to the game being absolutely packed to the brim with South Park fan service. It is a little amusing that they're releasing a South Park free to play game, particularly considering there have been entire episodes of the show dedicated to skewering freemium. Soft launched in a few regions, Phone Destroyer is a very free to play Clash Royale-ish game. Anyway, if you're excited to play it when it launches worldwide, you can now sign up for their pre-registration to get some free ManBearPig items.


If you've been following along with these roundups, you'll likely have noticed how much we're into Rocketcat Games' Death Road to Canada. (If not, check out our review.) This great game has been made even better with a constant stream of updates throughout the last year. The latest update, titled "DUODENUM," adds a whole new lighting system, and a barricading system which adds another interesting twist to the way you approach the zombie apocalypse. Over 40 new weapons and 11 recruitable characters have been added, along with requisite tweaks and fixes to generally make the game run better. If you don't have Death Road to Canada yet... You're really missing out.


Blizzard released an amazing animated short this week for Hearthstone during its Gamescom 2017 presentation. Titled Hearth and Home, it features a girl lost in the woods who finds her way to the magical Hearthstone tavern. Blizzard's cinematic have been legendary since the earliest days of Mac gaming, so it's not much of a surprise they're still releasing great videos. Also, tangentially related is this Overwatch video that was also released which is of equal sky-high quality. They're both worth a watch.


Some interesting news came out of Sega this week surrounding the future of their free to play with one-time unlock library of classic titles that they're calling Sega Forever. Golden Axe will be released soon, but more exciting is that Sega has both Saturn and Dreamcast titles in the works but they're taking a little longer since they're being ported rather than emulated. So far most/all of the Sega Forever games have been pretty standard Sega titles, so we've got our fingers crossed they start releasing a bit more obscure titles than Sonic and Golden Axe.


High up on the list of most unexpected announcements of the week is the reveal of Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition. Not a ton of details are available just yet, but so far it seems like a free to start episodic iteration of the entirety of Final Fantasy XV, but on mobile and with chibi graphics? If you watch the trailer, the cut scenes, dialog, quests, and game world all seem to be lifted directly from the console version of the game. It'll be spread across ten episodes, and we're super curious how those will be priced. At $5 a pop, it'd be a $50 mobile game, which I suppose isn't that far fetched considering how full fledged of a game experience it'd be if it totally mirrors Final Fantasy XV? That pricing is pure speculation, but, I'm super curious to see how this pans out when it's released this year.


Last, but by no means least, the mobile port of Ron Gilbert's Thimbleweed Park is going to be released "real soon." It first hit Steam last March and has an "overwhelmingly positive" rating. It follows two FBI agents in a murder investigation, with some ultra-classic point and click adventure gameplay. I don't think it's hyperbole to call Gilbert one of the founders of the modern point and click adventure genre, as he was on the ground floor of the whole scene working on Maniac Mansion and the first two Monkey Island games (among others). I'm very excited to play Thimbleweed Park on my iPad.

Aside from all of these stories, a ton of other things happened this week in mobile gaming. Be sure to check out TouchArcade where we post this sort of thing day in and day out.


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Six Ages, Miracle Merchant, Dungeon Raid Eulogy, and More

We're only a few days away from a major solar eclipse in the USA, and I suspect tons of people will be spending quite a bit of time this weekend either driving to the path of the eclipse on the 21st or waiting for it to actually happen on the day. Few things go better with sitting in a car (provided you're not the one driving) or waiting in general than iOS gaming, so if you're looking for something new and exciting to play be sure to check out our hot games list and our recent top reviews. You'll find enough great games there to last you through even the longest road trip. As usual, there's tons of other stuff going on in the world of iOS games this week.


King of Dragon Pass is an ancient PC game that was ported to mobile back in 2011 that we absolutely loved in our review. It's an unbelievably in-depth game featuring gameplay that feels like a blend of a Civilization game and a Choose Your Own Adventure book. (For more on KoDP, check out this retrospective article from 2015.) Anyway, a spiritual successor was announced three years ago, and since then the developers have gone dark, until this week. Six Ages is now feature complete, which at minimum means an alpha version is ready to go. Fingers crossed for a speedy beta test and release, as we've been waiting for this game forever.


Sonic Mania was released this week for the PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, and while I highly recommend picking up the game on any of those platforms if you own one, we dug into the history that made the game possible. Sonic Mania is effectively a fan made game which initially kicked off with a protoype of Sonic CD running on an iPhone all the way back in 2009. The story of that prototype is amazing, particularly when you consider that there's now a real-deal official Sonic title made by the same developer who hacked together a really good mobile Sonic CD port so many years ago. Sure, in its current state, Sonic Mania is only tangentially related to mobile gaming but given the roots of its inception, it seems hard to believe it won't eventually come to the App Store.


We've mentioned Miracle Merchant in the past, but this week we found out the amusing backstory of the game. Stepping back a bit, if you missed Miracle Merchant the first time around, take a look at our review. It's a solitaire-style card game where you're brewing potions by combining four cards. The premise is unbelievably simple, but the amount of depth that is found in the mechanic is incredible. As it turns out, the game started its life as a pitch to Nickelodeon. Instead of brewing potions, you built burgers inside of the Spongebob universe. I'm super curious if the game would have done better or worse with Spongebob branding, but it's always fun to hear these sorts of origin stories.


Speaking of amusing backstories, Pigeon Wings is another game we really liked, but this week we found out via a postmortem of sorts that the game was built by two people on entirely different sides of the world. The Imgur album is fascinating, digging into how the two developers collaborated online and which tools/methods they used to do it. Also, if you're into early concept stuff, there's a whole heap of that in there too.


Two really awesome games are on sale this weekend: Crashlands and Guild of Dungeoneering. Crashlands is an open world crafting game that even people who don't typically like that type of game managed to enjoy due to several really great quality of life improvements that we go over in our review. To accompany the mobile sale, the Steam version dropped permanently to $9.99. Guild of Dungeoneering is a dungeon building game that hinges on a card mechanic to assemble different areas of your dungeon. It has a totally original soundtrack, so make sure you play with the sound on. For more, read our review.


Square Enix is undoubtedly best known for the Final Fantasy series of games, but they've released all sorts of odd things on the App Store over the years. The most recent game from them that's had us raising our eyebrows is Meshi Quest: Five Star Kitchen. It's a restaurant simulator game which has over 200 different recipes that can be completed for eager customers. Gameplay is similar to Cook, Serve, Delicious! and other quick order kitchen simulation games. It's worth checking out, if for no reason other than to be like, "Huh, so this is from the guys who made Final Fantasy XV, eh?"


We've been closely following classic 32-bit games that aren't getting updated ahead of iOS 11, and PopCap just confirmed that Solitaire Blitz, Peggle Classic, and the original paid version of Plants vs. Zombies are being removed from the App Store. It's sad to see them go, as Plants vs. Zombies was a very big deal when it first launched on iOS years ago. Meanwhile, we're putting together eulogy posts for some of our favorite games. This week we dug into Dungeon Raid, which still is among the best puzzle games on the App Store.

That's about it for this week, for much, much more news like this and all sorts of iOS game reviews be sure to visit TouchArcade. We work around the clock covering the world of iOS gaming. Oh, and one last thing, if you care at all about Hearthstone esports, don't forget to pick a champion for the upcoming Hearthstone Global Games. It could be good for a few free packs.


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Minecon, Darkest Dungeon, Valve’s New Game, and More

Kicking off this week in iOS gaming was an appearance I made on the Australian games podcast, GameHugs. It's an industry-centric podcast that explores the backstory of web sites and studios in the world of video games (and often mobile games). On the most recent episode, I get into what goes on behind the scenes running a site like TouchArcade, as well as the odd chain of events that led me to TouchArcade — including, but not limited to, getting banned from the MacRumors forums. It's a fun story, but if that's not your cup of tea, as usual there are always tons of other things going on in the world of iOS games.


I've mentioned it in previous roundups, but things are starting to get real when it comes to the impending release of iOS 11 and with it, what we've been calling the 32-bit app-pocalypse. We started casually compiling a list of our favorite games that have yet to be updated, which grew into this gargantuan article filled with some amazing titles that likely aren't going to work in the future. It's worth skimming through, as if you've been buying iOS games for a few years now I'd be really surprised if you didn't own at least one of the games on the list. It might be worth one last play through before iOS 11 steamrolls everything next month.


We've been giving Sega a pretty hard time surrounding the launch of the "Sega Forever" lineup of free with one-time unlock classic emulated games, as most of the re-released titles perform worse than the first time they hit the App Store, back in 2009. This week, they released Ristar, which as mentioned in the tweet above includes a new emulation engine. This new engine is loads better than the one used in the rest of the Sega Forever lineup, making Ristar a game worth checking out just to experience the difference. Hopefully Sega quickly updates the rest of its library with the updated emulator.


If you've got kids who are into Minecraft either on the Mac, or Minecraft: Pocket Edition, chances are you've heard about Minecon. If not, it's an event Mojang puts on that is the place to be if you even remotely care about the game. It features meetups, developer Q&A, and other things along those lines. The problem is, Minecraft is a very inclusive game and an expensive conference with a limited number of tickets is fairly exclusive. In the future, they're shifting the event to be focused around livestreaming and interactive community events that everyone, not just people at Minecon, can participate in. This seems like a really cool move. Watch the video above for way more details.


In regards to games to look forward to, one title we're super stoked for is Darkest Dungeon coming to iPad. We've known it's been in the works for a while, but now we have a release date: August 29. Darkest Dungeon is an award-winning RPG that currently is only available on Steam. The iPad port is going to have a really cool feature: totally cross-platform Dropbox save syncing. I'm always a huge fan of this sort of thing, and really wish more developers took the time to implement it — particularly when porting games like this.


The International is taking place this week, which is basically the DOTA 2 equivalent of the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl being sandwiched together into one massive week long event. Between games, they announced that they were going to reveal a game Valve has been working on. Valve fans have been dying for Half Life 3 (or Portal 3, or any other sequel) for years now, and many thought this would be it. What they ended up revealing is a likely free to play fantasy collectable card game called Artifact. The crowd reaction was incredible:


While I'm sure Artifact will do very well, particularly if they tie in the Steam Marketplace, yet another digital collectable card game is close to the most boring thing Valve could have announced. Regardless, with these kinds of games the key is to get as many people as possible playing them. Platforms have yet to be announced, but it really wouldn't surprise me at all if Artifact came to both Mac and mobile. Whatever it's going to be on, it won't be released until next year.


When it comes to to digital collectable card games you can actually play right now on both Mac and iOS, Hearthstone's new expansion launched this week. Aside from loads of new cards, Knights of the Frozen Throne also features some really cool single player content. Blizzard is releasing new missions each week until players finally face off against the Lich King himself. Oh, and per the above video, the Lich King is really into reading mean tweets.

(Photo by Afterpad)

Last, but not least, is a puzzling lawsuit by Gamevice. If you haven't heard of them, they make some pretty cool MFi controller accessories that you stick your iPhone or iPad in to play them in a form factor that's pretty close to the Nintendo Switch. In the eyes of Gamevice, a little too close to the Nintendo Switch, which is why they're taking them to court for patent infringement. If Gamevice is successful in their lawsuit, they could put a stop to Nintendo Switch sales all together. It seems unlikely, but as a spectator sport, watching these patent cases evolve is always interesting.

That's it for this week in iOS gaming, but as always if you enjoy these sorts of things be sure to check out TouchArcade. We review tons of games, post way more news like this, and have a weekly podcast that's also a great way to keep up in the world of iOS games.


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Pokemon Go Fest Fallout, Classic Titles Go 64-Bit, New Rocketcat Game

Awesome things have been happening over at TouchArcade this week, as we picked up not one but four additional writers. This has significantly increased our game review output, making our top reviews page really worth having bookmarked to keep up on all of the best iOS games that have come out recently. We've awarded top marks to Layton's Mystery Journey, Linelight, Miracle Merchant, and The Elder Scrolls: Legends. So many five-star reviews in one week even had me re-publish an editorial I wrote back in 2016 about the unique challenges of reviewing mobile games, which is worth a look if you're interested in some behind the scenes stuff surrounding review scores.


Anyway, as usual, it's never a boring week in the world of iOS gaming, and the saga surrounding Pokemon Go Fest continues. If you missed the recap a few weeks ago, it was such a disaster that Niantic eventually just gave everyone refunds. Aside from offering an official apology, they also announced that upcoming European events will be postponed. Hopefully this will give them an opportunity to reevaluate connectivity options so they don't get another park full of tens of thousands of people who can't play the game. In other Pokemon Go news, the Legendary Pokemon Moltres is now available in game.


With iOS 11 approaching, we've been closely watching our list of 32-bit games that are going to stop working, with fingers crossed for updates. As of this week, Jet Car Stunts and Canabalt both got 64-bit updates and Square Enix confirmed that Final Fantasy Tactics will be getting a 64-bit update next month. As far as classic titles that should be on everyone's iPhone, at least one of those three games is going to be on anyone's list, if not all of them. Now, I've just got my fingers crossed for an update to Dungeon Raid...


If you're the kind of person who looks for mobile games with incredibly distinctive art styles, the survival horror game White Night should be on your radar. It's entirely in black and white, and takes place inside of a mysterious mansion where you solve puzzles to discover its path. The black and white art utilizes light and shadows in interesting ways, which I'm excited to experience. White Night was received very well when it launched on Steam, and will be available on mobile this fall.


There were some interesting developments in the Android world this week, with Google making some tweaks to the way the Google Play store works. In a nutshell, they're going to be using the analytics that Android reports back on how often apps crash, how much battery they use, how often they're deleted, and other similar metrics to determine ranking. On paper, it sounds great, as this should send junky apps and games that crash all the time, burn your battery, and get instantly deleted to the bottom of the pile. Once all of this shakes out, I'm really curious to see which approach ends up working better: Google's analytical approach, or Apple's hyper-curated iOS 11 App Store.


Finally, over on TouchArcade we're huge fans of everything Rocketcat Games has ever released. We gave their most recent game, Death Road to Canada, five stars in our review, and their entire App Store catalog is similarly good. After a year of updating Death Road, they're shifting gears over to working on a new game which we were all pretty sure was a joke. It's called I Can't Believe My Boyfriend is Some Sorta Fish Creature!, with developer Kepa Auwae describing his motivations as, "I want to make the Dark Souls of boyfriend simulation games." It's inspired by the Sega Dreamcast game Seaman, which was delightfully weird, so add in some Rocketcat charm and I'm sure this game will be ... something else.

That's it for the biggest stories this week. As usual, if you want to closely follow what's going on in the world of iOS gaming, be sure to visit TouchArcade. We post all sorts of news, reviews, guides, and much more that will help you make sense of the cluttered mess that is the gaming aisle of the App Store.


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Pokemon Go Fest, Strike Team Hydra, The Elder Scrolls: Legends and More

Without question, the biggest thing that happened in iOS gaming this week was the disastrous Pokemon Go Fest that took place in Chicago last Saturday the 22nd. The event was hyped to unbelievable levels in the Pokemon Go community, particularly as exclusive in-game rewards for attending were teased. This led to people from quite literally all over the world flying into Chicago to participate in what was thought to be the premiere Pokemon Go event. Having been to large Pokemon Go meetups where cellular networks were crippled by the people in attendance, I was curious to see how Niantic was going to solve inevitable connectivity problems.


Right around the time the event was set to start, massive server problems and crash bugs hit Pokemon Go. Then, as more people started flowing through the gates, cellular networks were so crippled that it was incredibly difficult to get online to even attempt to connect to the game. Throw in the exquisite misery of an unbelievably hot and humid Chicago summer day, people who paid anywhere between hundreds to thousands of dollars to travel to the event, and a game that straight up doesn't work, and you were left with crowds eager to boo and heckle any Niantic representative that took the stage.


This eventually resulted in Niantic refunding everyone's tickets, along with giving all players who came $100 worth of premium in-game currency as well as the legendary Pokemon Lugia. I've posted more details on the day over on TouchArcade, and we discussed it on our podcast, if you want to dive even deeper into the Pokemon Go Fest fallout.


In other news, we're huge fans of both Demon's Rise as well as its sequel, Demon's Rise 2. They're highly strategic turn-based games that don't reinvent the strategy RPG genre, but instead just execute it really well on touch devices. Another game from the same developer titled Strike Team Hydra is due to launch in mid-August and we're super-excited for a continuation of gameplay reminiscent of the Demon's Rise series, but set in a futuristic environment. Strike Team Hydra is definitely a game to keep an eye out for in the future.


To coincide with the new season of Rick and Morty premiering this Sunday, Pocket Mortys is continuing to get loads of new season three content. If you haven't tried the game yet, it's easily among the best Pokemon-likes on the App Store, except instead of catching Pokemon you're catching Mortys. It's free to play, but the monetization scheme is very player friendly. Rick and Morty fans will find loads of in-jokes, and everyone else will just find a really competent lightweight RPG battler.


One thing we've kept our eyes on waiting for it to go anywhere is mobile virtual reality. Google Cardboard and Galaxy Gear-like headsets are a good (and low cost) way to get involved in virtual reality, but none of the "mobile" VR headsets out there are really that portable. A Swedish startup aims to solve that problem with the "Moggles," a pair of VR goggles that compact down into a case that's significantly more portable than existing solutions. I'm still not sure what the killer app is for mobile VR, but at least the headsets are getting better?


The Elder Scrolls: Legends has finally been updated to be universal, which should greatly grow its playerbase if Hearthstone's path to success was any indication. Legends is another digital collectable card game, but with a level of complexity that should satisfy hardcore card gamers. For more information, check out our interview with Pete Hines, Bethesda's VP of PR/Marketing.


Last, but not least, is a huge update for Phoenix II which adds support for the 120 Hz screen of the new iPad Pro. It's impossible for me to capture in video just how much of a difference this makes when playing the game, but needless to say, if you've got a new iPad Pro you need to give this game a shot. It really wouldn't surprise me if Phoenix II found itself on the demo iPads on the Apple Store, as tons of fast moving objects on the screen at high refresh rates do a great job of showing off the screen.

That's all of the big stories from this week, but as always, if you're interested in iOS gaming and want to easily keep your finger on the pulse of the mobile gaming scene, check out TouchArcade. We post this kind of stuff, along with news, reviews, guides, and more all week long.


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: RuneScape, Layton’s Mystery Journey, Full Throttle Remastered, and More

This week I'm finally allowed to talk about what should be some pretty massive news for iOS gamers who are also old-school MMORPG players: RuneScape for mobile was announced, and it's coming in late 2017 / early 2018 for Android and iOS. If the name RuneScape doesn't ring a bell, it's a browser-based MMORPG that was first released back in 2001. Like EverQuest and Ultima Online, players who were into RuneScape were really into RuneScape. It has even earned Guinness records for the world's largest free MMORPG and the most updated game.


In addition to the RuneScape that has been updated over the years, Old School RuneScape, which is a modern reboot of (as the title might indicate) the old version of the game, is also coming to mobile. For whatever reason, the Old School iteration is far more popular on Reddit than the modern version. I'm ultra-excited for these mobile ports, as RuneScape is deep in the category of games I've heard a lot about, but never really had the time to sit down and play. Being able to get into the game on my phone really lowers that barrier of entry, and better yet, it's totally cross platform and mobile players will be playing the same game on the same servers as the "real" browser and PC client.


Meanwhile, we've continued to follow the puzzling drama of Honor of Kings versus the Chinese government. It's a scuffle that seems hard to believe as a thing that's really happening. If this is the first you've heard of Honor of Kings, the basic gist is that it's a MOBA by Tencent that is absolutely on fire in China. They've got 200 million active players, and the game accounts for 40 percent of Tencent's total mobile games revenue, which amounted to $883 million generated by the game just in Q1 this year. People play it so much that Tencent has actually put restrictions on just how long you can play it in a single day.

However, amidst legitimate fears of children becoming addicted to such massively online releases, the Chinese government has this week labeled Honor of Kings as 'poison' in the state-run People's Daily paper, and has threatened further action against Tencent to crack down on the influence such games have over vulnerable young gamers. It's a reality that's hard to believe. I typically write off describing games as "addictive" as marketing hyperbole, but in the case of Honor of Kings, this seems to be something the Chinese government is genuinely concerned about.


In other news, San Diego Comic Con is happening right now. While mobile gaming-relevant announcements at the event are typically few and far between, Telltale came out swinging by announcing a whole slew of sequels to existing popular series. Batman is gaining a second season titled Batman: The Enemy Within, which will be released on August 8 for PC and consoles with mobile coming at some point in the future. Additionally, the fabulous The Walking Dead by Telltale is moving on to a third and final season cleverly titled The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The game will follow the conclusion of Clementine's story, who throughout the series has evolved from a child side-character into the primary protagonist. Last, but not least, The Wolf Among Us is also getting a second season, although no details exist beyond the fact that it's coming.


Following up on the world of Hearthstone as we rocket towards the release of the upcoming expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, a new event has kicked off in game that rewards packs of cards for the new set. The Frost Festival gives players various quests to complete in game which revolve around competing in Hearthstone's limited Arena format. Of course these packs can't be opened until the new set launches next month, but much like the previous Midsummer Fire Festival, participating in The Frost Festival is a great way to get a ton of free stuff in game.


Among the many new iOS games which were released this week is a totally new entry in the unbelievably fantastic Professor Layton puzzler series titled Layton's Mystery Journey. If you've never played a Layton game before, it's a franchise that got its start on the Nintendo DS and features various mysteries which are solved via completing increasingly difficult puzzles.

The release of Layton's Mystery Journey on iOS is incredibly significant as the mobile debut actually has arrived before the 3DS version of the game is released outside of Japan. The $15.99 asking price has armchair App Store game pricing economists up in arms, particularly when you consider the inclusion of 15 different IAP unlockable costumes, each coming with their own additional puzzle. In total, with everything unlocked, Layton on iOS will run you just shy of $40, which is the same price as the same game on the 3DS.


A ton of other great games were released this week as well, including a mobile port of Full Throttle Remastered, the bluffing party game Triple Agent, a strange WWE-themed deck building clicker titled WWE Tap Mania, the grand strategy game Realpolitiks Mobile, and tons more. It's weeks like this that makes keeping up with iOS gaming incredibly difficult as there are more great games released on the App Store than anyone realistically even has time to play.


Last, but not least, when I posted that Sorcery! was free a few weeks ago there were a number of comments posted by readers saying how much they enjoyed it. Well, if that was your first taste of interactive fiction on iOS, there's a lot more where that came from. We put together a list of the best five interactive fiction games, which has a much broader definition than you might think. Definitely give that a look if you enjoyed Sorcery!, or like the idea of playing modern versions of games that play a lot like the old Choose Your Own Adventure novels from when you were a kid.

That's all from me this week, and as always if you appreciate these roundups and are hungry for more information surrounding the world of iOS gaming, be sure to check out TouchArcade. We post iOS game news, reviews, previews, guides, and more all week long.


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TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: 868-HACK, A Planet of Mine, Street Fighter IV Champion Edition, and More

Things are never boring in the world of iOS gaming, and that's true once again this week. The majority of my time over at TouchArcade this week has been negotiating and scheduling all sorts of upcoming news under embargo that I wish I could talk about as I hate sitting on really awesome stories. But, in the interest of keeping everyone happy, I'd just keep your eyes glued to these roundups over the next couple of weeks for some pleasant surprises in the world of mobile gaming.


Picking up where we left off last week, there have been further developments in the mystery of what in the world is actually happening with the Five Nights at Freddy's series. The game series has merchandise in both Walmart and Target stores, as well as a movie on the way, but the fate of the sixth installment is still up in the air. This week FNAF creator Scott Cawthon reiterated on Reddit that he's stepping away from the series partly due to the community negativity and how discouraging it is. It's ultra plausible, and makes a ton of sense, particularly as FNAF has grown beyond Cawthon's wildest dreams, but... I'm not quite ready to believe that there won't be a Five Nights at Freddy's 6.


As far as roguelites (A "roguelite" is not quite a "roguelike," although the internet loves arguing about the definition of both. Typically they're games with random elements and permadeath.) are concerned, 868-Hack is one of the very best on the App Store. We absolutely loved it when it hit the App Store back in 2013 as it's unbelievably clever how developer Michael Brough combined classic roguelike dungeon crawling elements with faux-hacking. The game has lingered on the App Store for years now, but this week was updated with loads of new content titled "868-HACK: Plan B" which is unlocked via a $2.99 IAP. Whether or not you spring for the IAP, at least check out our review and consider giving the base game a shot. I don't think you'll regret it.


My personal favorite hidden gem that hit the App Store this week is a lightweight 4X game titled A Planet of Mine. I get more in depth on how the game works over on TouchArcade, but the basic gist is the developers did an unbelievably fantastic job taking all of the various elements that go into a 4X game like Civilization, but streamlined into a format that can work on a touchscreen. This recommendation comes with the caveat that the game has a bit of a learning curve and not much of a tutorial, so definitely stick with it long enough to learn it. The good news is it's totally free to try, with the "full" game available as a one-time IAP unlock for $4.99.


Better late than never, Street Fighter IV: Champion Edition hit the App Store this week. We have an in-depth review, but it's basically a 2017 refresh of Street Fighter IV Volt which brought a shockingly competent port of Street Fighter IV to mobile. It has surprisingly workable virtual controls, MFi support, online multiplayer, and at a single premium purchase of $4.99 is free of gotchas and other freemium shenanigans that seem to permeate every other popular mobile fighting game.


In Hearthstone news, a patch hit this week that nerfed the Rogue quest card The Caverns Below. Completing the quest and unlocking the powerful reward of The Crystal Core now requires five of the same minion being summoned, up from four. This should slow down the deck significantly, which is a very good thing. Also, you can pre-order 50 packs from the upcoming expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, for $49.99. Aside from just getting them free by spending in-game gold, these pre-order offers are the cheapest way to get a bunch of new Hearthstone cards.


Battleheart and Battleheart Legacy are easily among my all-time top iOS games, as both of them provide some unbelievably great RPG gameplay in a format that works incredibly well on the touchscreen. (I seriously can't recommend them enough.) The games' developer, Mika Mobile, teased some information on the upcoming sequel, and I can't wait. Battleheart 2 goes back to the core concepts originally explored in Battleheart, which is a departure from the full-featured RPG that Battleheart Legacy was. The sequel is deep in development, and Mika Mobile is famous for taking their time and not releasing something until it's 101% completed, so it might be a while until we see the game, or get another update on its progress.


Phoenix II is a favorite over on the TouchArcade Forums, and from the looks of it, it's going to be among the first games that take advantage of the new 120Hz display of the iPad Pro. Additionally, it'll support the wide color gamut of recent iOS devices, which isn't something we see often in games. We liked Phoenix II quite a bit in our review, and if you're looking for a great, totally free, entry in the bullet hell genre you really can't do much better than Phoenix II (particularly if you've got a new iPad Pro). This update will hit on July 27th.


Last, but not least, we're working on growing our presence over on Twitch, and as part of that we're on the hunt for iOS developers and publishers who also stream iOS gaming-related things on Twitch. If that describes you, please reach out to us or tweet @hodapp and we'll add your channel to our auto-host list. The dream is to turn the TouchArcade Twitch channel into somewhere you can go to always see someone playing iOS games, even when we're not actively streaming.

That's it for me this week! If you like these roundups be sure to check out TouchArcade for all this news, and way more. Alternatively, you can always swing into our Discord chat server to find people talking about iOS gaming 24/7.


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