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Campbell Bird

Reviews Editor | 148Apps

Campbell has been writing about games for the majority of his adult life and made the jump into covering mobile games in 2013. He is always on Twitter when he's not playing games.

Connect with Campbell:
Game Center: namestolen
Twitter: @campbellbirds

Distract Yourself With These Great Mobile Games on Sale Right Now

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 3rd, 2021

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Every day, we pick out a curated list of the best mobile discounts on the App Store and post them here. This list won't be comprehensive, but it every game on it is recommended. Feel free to check out the coverage we did on them in the links below to further vet these discounted games before you decide to buy:

Games marked with an asterisk(*) denote that the entire developer/publisher’s catalog is discounted, despite the fact that all of their games may not be listed here.

Here's what you need to know about Rocket League Sideswipe

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 1st, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Rocket League has finally made its way to mobile, albeit in a slightly modified form. Rocket League Sideswipe pits teams of two against each other in a sport where the object is to use cars to knock a gigantic ball into a goal point. Since its launch earlier this week, we dove into the game to get a sense of how it stands in comparison to the original Rocket League as well as a standalone mobile experience. Watch the video above to view some extended gameplay of it and read on below for our thoughts on our time with it so far.

It seems the primary goal for the creators of Rocket League Sideswipe was to make an experience that feels as frenetic and tense as traditional matches of Rocket League but in a streamlined format that is easier to play in bursts and while using touch controls. For the most part, it seems developers Psyonix nailed this goal. By making the playing field a flat, 2D space and shortening matches to 2 minutes, Rocket League Sideswipe feels super satisfying to control and easy to play on-the-go whenever you have a few minutes.

Rob Riches review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 30th, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PLEASANT PLUNDERING
This puzzle game may not throw too many curveballs, but it is so well constructed and convenient to play that you’ll wish more puzzle games were built like it.
Read The Full Review »

Moncage review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 23rd, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: CLEVER CUBE
Moncage’s ambitious puzzle design would be way more frustrating if not for the game’s best-in-class hint system.
Read The Full Review »

Everything you need to know about Kingdom Two Crowns: Norse Lands

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 19th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: KINKDOM :: Read Review »

This week, one of the absolute best real-time strategy games for mobile got a big new update. Kingdom Two Crowns now offers a new campaign type for purchase, and it puts you in the saddle of ruling over a Norse kingdom. I spent quite a bit of time with this new expansion, entitled Norse Lands, to see what kinds of things it offers beyond the base game. For the most part, it gives a new coat of paint to what is already a fantastic game, but there are a few twists it puts on the base game to make it a worthy pickup for anyone who enjoyed it.

The first thing to note about Norse Lands is it isn't free. This expansion is the first paid add-on for the game and it costs $ 3. For that price, you unlock access to start a new kingdom inspired by Viking culture and lore. A couple of things to note about this unlock before you even start playing it: This introduction of a fourth biome to the game doesn't coincide with expanded save slots, so if you've been managing kingdoms in all three of the base game's modes, you'll have to get rid of one to start Norse Lands. Secondly, the minimal UI in Kingdom Two Crowns might make it difficult to understand how to start a game using the new expansion. To access it, make sure to swipe over to Norse Lands when you see the new game title card to make the switch official.

Apple Arcade: Ranked - Top 25 [Updated 11.17]

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 17th, 2021

In case you missed it, I am on a quest to rank every Apple Arcade game there is.

Over a year into the Apple Arcade experiment, I’m adjusting my approach to these rankings to make it a bit less cumbersome to update and read. For the most part, this means the number of updates on previously released games will decrease, and the text below each entry will be kept to a brief-yet-accurate justification for its positioning.

This has less to do with the pace of Apple Arcade releases and more to do with the fact that the general quality of games on the service simply isn’t what it should be. In the time that one release comes to the service, multiple high quality games hit the App Store that you don’t have to pay monthly upkeep for. Unless something drastic changes with the service, my opinion on it probably won’t change much. With the most recent update bringing older established titles to the service, Arcade is certainly the strongest it has ever been, but additional shakeups like this will need to keep happening to finally sell me on the service.

Anyway, on with the ranking updates:

Game ranking updates for 11/17:

In My Shadow review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 16th, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: A SHADOW OF ITSELF
This shadowy platformer peaks early and then stretches itself too far for its own good.
Read The Full Review »

Sparklite review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 10th, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: NEEDS A TUNE UP
While fun enough for what it is, Sparklite’s component parts don’t fit together as well as they should and it mobile version has some key issues holding it back.
Read The Full Review »

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Gameplay Journal - Part 15

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 9th, 2021
iPad App - Designed for iPad

I have finally reached a new landmass in Divinity - Original Sin 2. I left Fort Joy, ventured through the Hollow Marshes, finished my harrowing boat journey aboard the Lady Vengeance, and am just now disembarking to explore Driftwood. As highly anticipated as this new region was, I have to say I'm a little disappointed by it.

If I didn't know any better, I'd assume I was back at Fort Joy and the Hollow Marshes. There isn't anything particularly visually distinct about Driftwood, though I guess I'm ok with new NPCs to interact with and quests to take on. There is also the main quest to follow, though that just seems to be "go find so-and-so so they can tell me where to go next." Fascinating stuff.

Plan B from Outer Space review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 5th, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: A SIMPLE PLAN
This text-driven adventure is charming and fun, though perhaps a little too light considering the asking price.
Read The Full Review »

Bloodshore review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 3rd, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DEAD ON ARRIVAL
Bloodshore is a somewhat middling FMV experience that buries its most fascinating bits along its margins.
Read The Full Review »

Dark Nights with Poe and Munro review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on November 1st, 2021
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: CONFUSING CHATTER
This FMV spin-off adventure struggles to do anything interesting or even consistent with its firmly established and intriguing premise.
Read The Full Review »

Steam Link Spotlight - Nuclear Blaze

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 29th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally wall using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at If On a Winter's Night, Four Travelers. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

This entry is for a game that isn't quite exceptional on Steam Link so much as it is exceptional for the kind of game that it is. Nuclear Blaze is an action-oriented puzzle-platformer where you play a firefighter who finds themselves in a mysterious subterranean nuclear facility.

The basic idea of the game is that you're armed with a water pack and hose which you use to help you navigate your environment, most of which is on fire. By aiming your hose and making judicious use of your limited water supply, you can douse the flames of an area, which typically allows you to move on to the next room.

The key to putting out fires in Nuclear Blaze is to do so quickly and strategically. If you put out a portion of a fire, it always has the chance to relight if left too long next to things that continue to burn. You can't just spray your hose willy nilly though or you'll run out of water, so making your way through a room often looking like charting a path that allows you to reach the flames effectively while also passing water stations to refill your tank, and then seeing if you can execute on that path in a timely fashion.

Because of how timing and efficiency are important in Nuclear Blaze, I wasn't confident that it would feel good when streamed to a touchscreen device. But, to my surprise, it works pretty well! I think most of this is due to the game's overall design. It doesn't have particularly complicated controls, and the way that most rooms let you take your time to figure out your approach to extinguishing fires no matter how many times you've already tried to solve it, are tremendously helpful to making it a comfy experience on iOS.

That said, the easiest control layout for the game is to use virtual buttons, which isn't ideal. As you can see in the video capture of the game there are times where I missed button presses and died as a result, but Nuclear Blaze is thankfully quite generous with its checkpointing so it didn't feel like a huge setback.

Even thought it's not perfect on Steam Link, Nuclear Blaze was surprisingly fun to play. I could also see it getting some revamped controls and coming to mobile at some point, since there is nothing else about it from a visual or complexity standpoint that would hold it back on mobile devices. I'm not sure that will ever happen, but one can hope!

Nuclear Blaze was developed and published by Deepnight Games. It launched on October 18, 2021 and is available on Steam for $9.99.

Kathy Rain: Director's Cut review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 29th, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: MEH MAKEOVER
This it the definitive way to play Kathy Rain, even though it doesn’t feel all that different from the original.
Read The Full Review »

Doors: Paradox review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Campbell Bird on October 26th, 2021
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: DOOR-O-RAMA
This puzzle game keeps things chill and manageable in all of its fun diorama-based levels.
Read The Full Review »