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Hearthstone's latest update is a bit of a snoozefest

Posted by Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: PERFECTLY (WAR)CRAFTED :: Read Review »

Back in May last year, I wrote about how Hearthstone felt like it was trying to reach more casual players with the release of The Dalaran Heist—a single-player expansion that focused less on theorycrafting the perfect deck and more on experimentation and play. A lot has happened in the game since then, including the release of a new game mode that seeks to capitalize on the popularity of auto chess games like Dota Underlords.

I wouldn’t say any of these updates have made Hearthstone any friendlier or more accessible as The Dalaran Heist did, but they have given players different ways to engage with the game’s cards in new and neat ways. Keeping all of this in mind, I was pretty excited to hear that another single-player expansion was coming to Hearthstone. But—now that it’s finally here—Hearthstone’s latest update, entitled Galakrond’s Awakening, feels like a return to basics for Blizzard in a way that feels a bit disappointing.

The Alliance update to Out There: Omega Edition makes it as playable as ever

Posted by Campbell Bird on January 24th, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A LITTLE LOST (IN SPACE) :: Read Review »

Out There is an old go-to recommendation for a lot of mobile stalwarts, but I could never really get into it. This sci-fi survival game that blended elements of interactive fiction and roguelike mechanics just felt a little off-balance and a little too random for my liking. After being out for six years though, Out There has gone through some changes. The latest of which is a content update entitled “The Alliance” that looked just interesting enough for me to try and pick up the game all over again.

Shadowgun War Games Closed Beta Impressions

Posted by Campbell Bird on January 23rd, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: ALL’S FAIR IN WAR GAMES :: Read Review »

Shadowgun: War Games is an upcoming free-to-play multiplayer shooter that’s essentially just an Overwatch knock-off. There are hero characters with special abilities, and you compete in 5-v-5 game modes where the goal is to use superior team tactics to win the day.

Depending on who you are, this might sound exciting, but given my time with the closed beta for the game, I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Although War Games looks nice and pretty, it doesn’t feel that different from other mobile shooters that have already tried the same thing (i.e. Modern Combat Versus).

Steam Link Spotlight - Might Is Right

Posted by Campbell Bird on January 3rd, 2020
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link. Our last entry was Sin Slayers. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience over here.

Much like the last entry, this week’s spotlight is on a combat-focused rpg I didn’t know much about going into. Might is Right has a really old-school feel. You have a main character that you use to wander over a map to complete quests, which usually revolve around fighting parties of enemies.

The Ultimate iPad Setup

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 26th, 2019

iPads are awesome. We all know this. But an iPad all on its own can sometimes just feel like a big, unwieldy phone that sits in some corner, only to be dusted off when you need a way to watch Netflix on a flight.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. With a little additional investment, you can kit out your tablet so that it can serve as your primary computer both for productivity and entertainment purposes.

How do I know this? Well, I’ve been an iPad owner for years, and have written the vast majority of everything I’ve ever posted to this site using one. With all of this in mind, I’ve put together a handy little guide on things to pick up (or skip) when looking to make your iPad the absolute best it can be for everything.

For the purposes of this guide, I’ll be speaking about items generally, as your wants and needs around said items might shift depending on which model of iPad you have. I’ll also be sharing my personal favorite picks, but those are all based on how well they work with an iPad Pro 11 (2018), as it's my current iPad of choice.

Game of the Year 2019

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 23rd, 2019

2019 has been one of the weirdest years in mobile gaming yet. With Apple Arcade emerging alongside other game subscription services like GameClub and Playond, it feels a bit like the wild west again. I’m not exactly blown away with any of these services so far, but it’s nice to see folks attempt to create spaces on the App Store for quality games to thrive.

Speaking of quality games, I played quite a few of them this year. By a rough count (I try to keep a list every year), I ended up playing over 350 mobile games in 2019. I wish it was a little harder to cull that huge list down to ten favorites, but it honestly wasn’t. The ten games you see below are my favorite games from 2019 by a country mile.

Two Spies is pretty fun, but it's hard to play with other people

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 12th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Two Spies just dropped on the App Store this week, and it looks pretty neat. The game has two players capturing various cities across Europe, with the goal of eventually spotting and striking the other spy down. It may be simple-looking, but after playing the tutorial and a few bot matches, there’s a hidden depth here that makes it seem like something I’d want to play regularly on my phone.

Fighting with colonialism in Queen's Wish: The Conqueror

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 5th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Sometimes it’s hard to stick with a game, even if you enjoy playing it. Perhaps it’s just too stressful, perhaps it disturbs you, or—as is the case with Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror—you might not be down with its narrative conceit.

Queen’s Wish: The Conquerer is an open-world role-playing game from Spiderweb Software that’s been five years in the making. As soon as you boot it up, you can tell the love and craftmanship poured into the game, particularly via the game’s writing and attention-to-detail. My only problem with it is it’s asking me something I don’t really want to do: reclaim a colony as part of the queen’s empire.

Steam Link Spotlight - Sin Slayers

Posted by Campbell Bird on November 20th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Out last entry talked about Warsaw. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience over here.

Steam Link Spotlight - Warsaw

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 31st, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry talked about The Banner Saga 3. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience over here.

Apple Arcade in review

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 18th, 2019

This weekend, Apple Arcade will officially be one month old. That means anyone who signed up for the free trial on day one has a decision to make: Stick with the service and shell out $5 a month, or cancel and go about your merry way.

As someone who dove head first into Apple Arcade by playing 35 games since launch (and counting. See their rankings here), I’ve come away ambivalent about the service in its first month. While it is really nice to have a huge, curated list of premium games from a lot of well-known developers, there’s a lot about the service that could be improved. To illustrate this, check out some of my notes I kept while thoroughly testing the service:

I am going to rank every game on Apple Arcade

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 23rd, 2019

Apple Arcade is here, and I’ve been thinking about how best to cover its debut. Writing reviews for each game seems unnecessary, and a lot of the takes on whether the service is worth the money seem a little premature. So, I got to thinking and came up with a really dumb idea: I am going to rank every game on Apple Arcade.

Why? I wouldn’t worry yourself about that too much. Just think of this as the definitive list of which games for the service are best and why.

Here’s how this will go: I’m going to work my way through every Apple Arcade game a handful of games at a time. I’ll analyze each one based on a set of loose criteria and then use that to decide where they fit among their peers. Each game will get a small blurb explaining what the game is, its rank, and additional info about rank changes as necessary.

By the end of this journey, every game on the service will have some handy info that you can use to do all kinds of things, like:


    1. Find the best games to play. And all without dealing with Arcade’s poor organization and layout.
    2. Learn whether the service is right for you. If the top games all seem lame, maybe don't pay for it.
    3. Know which games to avoid. Just because you can play something doesn’t mean you should. Avoid the stinkers.

So, there it is. I’ve said I’m going to do this, so I better go and start doing it. View the list here.

Lots of premium games are going free (sort of). Here's why

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 18th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

You may have seen over the past couple weeks a that a bunch of premium games have suddenly become free. This isn’t a mistake, nor is it some last hurrah before Apple Arcade hits, and it’s important to know that these games aren’t actually becoming free.

What’s happening here is there is a developer called Bending Spoons Apps that is buying up premium games to put them on a service called Playond. Playond seems to be a competitor to Apple Arcade in the sense that it’s taking premium titles, like Fowlst, Crashlands, and MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL, and putting them behind a $9.99/month paywall. In the course of this transition, the games themselves get updated to be listed as free, but—just like Netflix—you need to log into a subscription account in order to actually play them.

Steam Link Spotlight - The Banner Saga 3

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 5th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry talked about Terry Cavanaugh’s incredible Dicey Dungeons. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience over here.

Steam Link Spotlight - Dicey Dungeons

Posted by Campbell Bird on August 14th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well with the Steam Link app. In case you missed it, our last entry focused on Faeria, a collectible card game that used to be available on the App Store, but now is PC only. Read more about why it's still a great mobile experience over here.

This week, I want to talk about a new game. A brand new game, in fact. Just yesterday, Terry Cavanagh—the mind behind Super Hexagon and VVVVVV—released Dicey Dungeons, an awesome roguelike, deck-building game that focuses on dice-based combat.