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Loot boxes, free to play, and wait timers: Do mobile gamers have it worse than console gamers?

Posted by Harry Slater on April 30th, 2018

There's been a lot of buzz about loot boxes in console games over the past few months. Apparently they're bad, and they're killing creativity. Which sort of leads to the following question - have mobile gamers got it worse than traditional gamers?

After all, loot boxes, gacha mechanics, and wait timers have been prevalent in mobile gaming for years now. They're the rule, rather than the exception, but they're also one of the main sticks that critics of mobile gaming use to beat us with. But are mobile games really the worst of the worst, and are their players really getting the raw end of the deal?

Free to play?

Free to play games have been ubiquitous on the App Store for a good long while now. If you’re looking to make it to the pinnacle of the top grossing charts, and you’re not Minecraft, then you’re going to need to make your game free to play. And you’re going to have to spend exorbitant amounts on advertising to get people playing.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is garbage, and here's why

But unlike console games, there’s no initial outlay here. Sure you’re spending some time and bandwidth getting the game, but it’s not like you’re throwing down $60 to get something, only to find that some of the content is behind a paywall. In that way, you can sort of justify the anger console gamers have been dealing with recently.

On the flip side of that though, the free to play games on the App Store are, in a way, not really for gamers. Sure there are a few exceptions, but for the most part they’re casual or midcore experiences. They might woo you for a while with bright colors and ever-increasing numbers, but you’re unlikely to buy into them if you’re not of a certain persuasion.

Instead, some of the very best experiences on mobile are premium. Games like The Room series, Monument Valley, and Framed. Some of them might have paid-for DLC, but they’re not guarding the finest cuts for those who are willing to reach into their pockets. The breadth of styles and genres on mobile means that there is, quite literally, something for everyone, even if it’s sometimes hard to find.

The big releases

While the majority of console games come out towards the end of the year, in order to capitalize on the holiday rush, there’s a steady stream of amazing experiences coming to mobile - often on a weekly basis.

But there’s a flip side to that too. Any of the really big games that come to console either come to mobile in a massively altered form, or just don’t make it onto the App Store at all. That said, mainstream gaming has become something of a wasteland in terms of innovation in recent years, beset by sequels, remakes, and games that if they came out on mobile would get slated as clones.

The verdict

There’s pros and cons to both mobile and non-mobile gaming, but it’s fair to say that while mobile has dealt with a lot of the problems that are besetting AAA games, it’s also managed to circumnavigate them pretty well. Discovery is still an issue for a lot of premium titles, but they’re there, and sites like 148Apps are going to point you in the right direction.

At the same time, there are definitely a lot more games on the App Store that you could point to as being, not evil, but certainly designed to get the most money out of players. But then, these are products, created so the people behind them can earn cash, so that’s hardly a surprise.

In the end, the variety that mobile gaming offers means there’s always going to be more space for innovation than there is in the console sphere. You’re not going to see Clash of Clans on Xbox anytime soon, but the AAA manufacturers are looking at the massive amounts of money a handful of mobile developers are making and trying to move into a similar space.

Do mobile gamers have it worse? No, not at all. But if the history of mobile gaming is anything to go by, there’s a very good chance that console players are going to be hit by ideas much worse than loot boxes in the not-too-distant future.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below

Galaxy.io Space Arena guide - How to survive in this space shooter

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 27th, 2018

The “.io” concept that essentially began with Agar.io back in 2015, but since then it’s been going strong. Tons of games have been coming out that adopt its permadeath multiplayer gameplay formula, and many have even just attached an “.io” to the end of their name to let people know what they’re in for.

The latest of these games to come out is Galaxy.io Space Arena, which shoves many of the base concepts of an “.io” game into a rather nice-looking space shooter. There are a few unique aspects to Galaxy.io though, so check out this guide to help you in your quest for galactic domination against others online.

Mini Golf King update tees up solo mode

Posted by 148Apps Staff on April 27th, 2018
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Arcade favourite Mini Golf King is no longer just an online multiplayer offering, as the game’s latest update invites solo golfers to join the fun.

Developer Bluehole PNIX has introduced Tour Challenge mode to the quirky golf sim, to pit players against a series of courses they can tackle alone. Golfers can monitor each other’s progress as they advance through the stages, comparing scorecards as they go.

The new update is designed to complement Mini Golf King’s core multiplayer mode, which includes more than 30 PvP courses laden with traps, wacky obstacles and power-ups. Here, players have the chance to unlock various bonus items, including improved clubs, balls and gloves as they climb the leaderboards.

Available for iOS and Android devices, Mini Golf King is free to download and play and has been built with accessibility in mind. Getting your swing on is a simple matter of performing drag-and-drop gestures on the device’s touchscreen.

The Tour Challenge update follows last month’s content-drop, which ushered in a new gameplay mode dubbed Hole-In-One Challenge, as well as a bonus power-up called the Golf Pin.

Mini Golf King is available to download from Google Play and the App Store, and the latest update is ready to install right now.

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners

The best games that are actually free

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 27th, 2018

There’s an abundance of “free” games out there on the App Store these days, but many of them aren’t actually free. Whether they offer in-game purchases that make playing them a little easier, serve up ads left and right, or some combination of the two, it’s rare to find free games that aren’t trying to monetize you in some way that feels pretty icky. That said, there are a few hidden gems out there that don’t try any of these schemes that are absolutely worth playing. Check out this list below:

All the best games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now - April 26th

Posted by Harry Slater on April 27th, 2018

There's always a whole bunch of games on sale on the App Store. So much so that it's often difficult to decide which of them you should be chucking your money at. But that's where we come in. Every week we round up the very best games that have had some cash knocked off their normal price.

We've included download links for all of the games as well, so you can swoop over to the App Store and grab the games without too much hassle. And, where they exist, we've given you links to our reviews of the games too. That way, if you need to read more before your purchase, you're all set. And if you think we've missed anything, make sure you let us know in the comments.

The best games that came out for iPhone and iPad this week - 26th April

Posted by Harry Slater on April 26th, 2018

Some of the games that we were looking forward to this week have really left us disappointed. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, we're looking at you. But that doesn't mean there aren't some great new additions to the App Store. And it doesn't mean we're not going to do you a round up for you our fearless readers either.

There's almost something for everyone, and we've included download links so you can hop straight over to the App Store and grab them without any hesitation. And if you think we've missed anything out, chuck your own suggestions in the comments at the bottom of the article.

Galaxy.io Space Arena soars onto mobile

Posted by 148Apps Staff on April 26th, 2018
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Online shooter Galaxy.io Space Arena has blasted off on mobile devices, bringing intergalactic PvP to a universe near you.

Available on iOS, and Android, the space blaster places players inside a heavily-armed spacecraft and pits them against one another in deep-space arenas littered with asteroids and other cosmic debris.

Galaxy.io pilots fire upon each other with futuristic laser canons and the more opponents you take down, the more upgrade points you’ll earn for customising your craft or buying a new one.

On their way to the upper reaches of the leaderboard, players will also accumulate Crystals, an in-game currency which can be used for levelling up and unlocking new abilities. Skills on offer include extra damage resistance and faster movement, and pilots can mix and match these to suit their playing style.

Developed by GameSpire, Galaxy.io Space Arena is available as a free download on Google Play, and the App Store now.

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

The best first and third person shooters for mobile

Posted by Harry Slater on April 25th, 2018

There are lots of arguments that iOS gamers like to have, but one of them involves which is the best shooter on the App Store. We're not talking about arcade shooters or bullet hell games here, we're talking about first and third person shooters. So we figured it was time to talk about the games that really are the cream of the crop.

And because we're a friendly lot here, we've included download links so you can grab them from the App Store as quickly as possible. And links to our reviews so you can check out exactly what we think about each of the games on the list.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a brilliant representation of everything that's wrong with mobile gaming

Posted by Harry Slater on April 25th, 2018

There's something rotten at Hogwarts. Something maleficent and unstoppable. It's worked its way into every classroom, weaving its evil spells and attempting to ruin the lives of everyone who tries to get in its way.

No, that's not the plot of Harry Potter: Hogwart's Mystery. I'm talking about something much more invasive than the influence of He Who Must Not Be Named. I'm talking about monetization, wait-timers, and one of the blandest mobile games I've seen in a good long while.

This is an experience that seems almost designed to sully any good feeling you might have ever had about Harry Potter games. It feels cynical, cold, and overtly calculating. So I thought we should have a good look at everything that's wrong with it.

Join TableTap tomorrow for an exclusive Carcassonne stream on Twitch

Posted by Harry Slater on April 24th, 2018

You might not know this, but our sister site Pocket Gamer has a special section that's dedicated to digital board games. It's called TableTap, and sometimes it takes to Twitch to stream some of the best digital dice-rolling and tile-placing games in the world.

And tomorrow is one of those times. Tomorrow you're getting two for the price of one as well. Not only will the dulcet voiced-and-faced James Gilmour be hosting the stream, he'll be joined by the also excellent Stephanie Straw as well.

Brew Town guide - Everything you need to know about the beer-making game for iPhone and iPad

Posted by Harry Slater on April 23rd, 2018

Brew Town is an intriguing simulation game that mixes together booze, a neat art style, and some smart ideas into one enticing package. But there's a lot to do in the game, so we thought it'd be a good idea to break it down for you so you can get to grips with it quickly. Hence this guide.

Follow these steps and you'll be brewing up some delicious digital beers in no time, and selling them to a range of people with some of the very best beards you're ever likely to see in a videogame. And yes, that goes for God of War as well.

All the best games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now - April 20th

Posted by Harry Slater on April 20th, 2018

It's Friday again, and here at 148Apps that means it's time to round up the best games that are currently on sale on the App Store. It's a really brilliant week for sales, so I hope you've been saving up your pocket money because you're almost certainly going to be chucking all of it away once you've read this list.

In fact it's such a good week, games have been trimmed that would normally make it onto our round-up. So, if you think we've missed anything we definitely should have included, then make sure you add a comment at the bottom of the article to let everyone know. And come back next week when we'll do the same thing all over again.

The best games that came out for iPhone and iPad this week - 19th April

Posted by Harry Slater on April 19th, 2018

Every week here at 148Apps we like to round up the cream of the crop of the newest games releases on the App Store. We think of it like a public service. There are so many games smashing onto iOS every week that sometimes it's hard to keep track of what's worth picking up and what's worth ignoring.

So that's what I've gone ahead and done. There are some pretty great games out this week, including one stellar release that you really want to be grabbing as soon as possible. If you think we've missed anything out though, feel free to let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the article.

Quest to be King gives you the keys to your own castle in this exciting puzzle adventure

Posted by Luke Frater on April 19th, 2018
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The land of Thoria has been beset by the evil Darkness, and it’s up to you to save it. In Quest to be King, you’ll sort out match-3 puzzles with an RPG twist to combat the encroaching forces of darkness while juggling your armies and supporting your civilians.

Quest to be King offers up 30 different regions for you to command and conquer across a sprawling world map. You’ll build buildings and manage resources to grow your kingdom into a massive empire, while ensuring that your armed forces are well prepared for the battles ahead. The Darkness will be pitting you against dragons, zombies, and other nasty things, but with an arsenal of different weapons and abilities, you’ll surely be up to the challenge.

Combat is set in a clever match-3 format with distinct RPG elements. Match tiles to inflict damage and status effects on your foes, or heal your troops. You’ll have to think creatively to come up with strategies to defend your kingdom.

You can find Quest to be King right now on iOS.

World of Gunships by GameSpire arrives on iOS

Posted by Luke Frater on April 18th, 2018
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Chopper enthusiasts on iOS needn’t twiddle their thumbs any longer (except to direct hot lead at their enemies) – GameSpire’s World of Gunships is finally available on Apple devices. This aerial shooter puts you in control of an attack helicopter as you take on other players and NPCs in a battle to the death.

There are a few different modes to play around with. Death Match does what it says on the fuselage, pitting you against other players from around the world, whilst Teamplay divides players into two groups for a war in the sky. Campaign mode challenges you with various missions requiring your firepower and flying expertise to complete.

As you play, you’ll unlock, upgrade and customise more than 20 gunships, all with differing stats. During battle, you have your main cannon for lower-powered automatic fire, and your missiles for sporadic but explosive attacks. While your main cannon has unlimited ammo, firing too much in quick succession will cause the gun to overheat. Missiles and fuel are finite, and your gunship will accumulate damage over time. Luckily, the enemies you defeat sometimes drop ammo, refuelling canisters and repair spanners to keep you in the fight.

The controls in World of Gunships are straightforward enough – the pad on the left is for movement and direction, the pad on the right for firepower. The graphics are detailed, fully 3D and in a third-person perspective so you can admire your choice of camo skin. The HUD includes all the detail you need such as altitude, fuel capacity and where your enemies are, without feeling cluttered.

Take to the skies and test your mettle against players from around the world. Download World of Gunships for free from the App Store.