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Death Stranding iOS saves are as hard to detect as BTs

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 29th, 2024
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

This isn't a review of Death Stranding on iOS so much as it is an announcement that I will not be reviewing it. I posted some impressions earlier this month about the release where I mentioned my intent to finish it, but I just... can't. This is not from a lack of desire, to be clear. It's from this port being particularly awful in a crucial way: managing saves.

Every time I boot up Death Stranding on my iPad, I have no idea if it will actually load my most recent save. Sometimes after the 90+ second load time I am right where I left off. Sometimes, the game seemingly accidentally loads an old save and I just have to go into the system menu to reload to the more recent one. And at other times still, my most recent saves appear to have completely vanished.

The 6 Best Mobile Games like Baldur's Gate 3

Posted by Campbell Bird on August 15th, 2023

Baldur’s Gate 3—the long-awaited sequel to one of the most celebrated CRPG series of all time—is finally here, and by most accounts it seems like a game lovingly made for those who like their video game rpgs to feel more like tabletop ones. If you commonly read this site, though, you may be looking for a way to play something like Baldur’s Gate 3, but on iOS. Now, it’s not exactly a secret that you can get very close to doing that by picking up several high-profile ports. The previous Baldur’s Gate games are available on iOS, as are Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights. You can even check out other Bioware RPGs like Knights of the Old Republic or even pick up Divinity - Original Sin 2, the last release from the Baldur’s Gate 3 developers (provided you have a device powerful enough to run it).

This list isn’t about those games, though. I decided to do some out-of-the-box thinking to gin up a list of games that can give you things you might want out of a Baldur’s Gate game while feeling a bit more tuned for mobile or short-burst play. See below for the picks:

Everything you need to know right now about Omega Strikers

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 28th, 2023
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: PUCKING EXCELLENCE :: Read Review »

At the end of last year, I had the opportunity to test out Omega Strikers while it was still in beta. Fast forward to now and the game is officially out with some marked improvements and changes. It'll take some time to solidify thoughts on the game into a fully-fledged review, but until then I can share some impressions and recommendations about this exciting new kind of multiplayer game.

If you aren't up-to-date on what Omega Strikers is, it's a 3v3 competitive game about a fake sport that most closely resembles hockey. Teams all control hero characters with special abilities that they can use to hit a puck around (or each other) as they try score goals. In press releases it's commonly described as "Rocket-League-of-Legends," which is accurate enough, though I'd say a more apt comparison would be to games like Windjammers and Pokémon Unite.

Vampire Survivors - DLC Overview and Which One to Get

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 19th, 2023
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Vampire Survivors rules. Not only did we love it in our initial review, but it got pretty high honors in our Game of the Year Awards. We're talking about it once again because the game is now bigger and better thanks to two recent DLC add-ons.

Legacy of the Moonspell and Tides of the Foscari both add quite a bit of content to a game that is already jam-packed with secrets and unlocks, but you may find yourself wondering if they're worth jumping into. Before diving into an explanation of each one, the short version is that if you enjoyed your time with Vampire Survivors and want more of it to play, you should absolutely just get both. They are totally worth it, especially considering the base game is free and buying both costs less than $5. If, for whatever reason, you are more discerning or on a very tight budget, read on below for a breakdown and recommendation for these DLCs.

Unreviewable - Vendir: Plague of Lies

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 28th, 2023
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

I have a lot of mixed feelings with my time with Vendir: Plague of Lies. It's an experience that in some moments are incredible in their ambition and execution and in others is sloggy and irritating. Most of the highest points of the game I've encountered without having to engage with the game's free-to-play monetization model, but I have also run up against its pinch points that push players to pay and they feel horrible.

With all of that in mind, it feels kind of impossible to assign a score to it. It is goodbad and badgood. You should play it but also not. Or maybe watch someone play it. Or maybe just play the dialog quests in the starting area and quit as soon as you have to fight something. I don't really know. I am still intrigued to keep playing it but every time I do I almost always end up quitting out of frustration once I encounter a random battle with enemies that would seem defeatable if I fed the game a considerable amount of money that I don't think it deserves.

Hands on with the latest Gamevice controller and Gamevice Live

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 13th, 2022
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Turning your iOS device into a gaming powerhouse has never been easier. With the hardware running in today's phones and tablets, plus software that takes full advantage of it or otherwise can stream powerful games straight to your mobile screen, you can basically play anything you want anywhere you want with something you carry around with you in your pocket no matter where you're going.

The only problem with this has always been how you control these games that you have such easy access to. More complex and demanding games can struggle on touch screens, and--although they're something you can get used to--they can have a hard time replicating the satisfying feel of plopping down in front of a PC or console with a dedicated controller in hand. For years, Gamevice has been at the forefront of trying to solve this problem for folks who want to turn their iOS devices into dedicated gaming devices, and their latest controller (with companion app) is one of the best ways to do exactly that.

I am struggling to get invested in Diablo Immortal

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 7th, 2022
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: WOW IT’S DIABLO :: Read Review »

Diablo Immortal came out last week, and I've gone ahead and committed to playing a bunch of it to put out a review after going in-depth on such a meaty release. While I still plan to do exactly that, I've hit a bit of an unexpected snag along the way. From the outside working my way in, I was fully expecting for its lavish production values and loot lust to draw me closer and closer toward a seductive paywall. To my surprise, that hasn't happened, and even more surprising are the reasons why.

I've put quite a few hours into Diablo Immortal's story and other side quests so far and haven't really felt a hint of need explore any of its monetized aspects. In theory, this is good news, as everyone's speculation heading into the game's release would be that it would be some horribly monetized bastardization of Diablo (which it is obviously not). In practice, though, I'm having a hard time mustering much enthusiasm or curiousity about just about anything Diablo Immortal has to offer, regardless of quality.

5 reasons why The Lord of the Rings remains the most exciting fantasy franchise

Posted by 148Apps Staff on November 24th, 2021
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

When Peter Jackson adapted The Lord Of The Rings into a blockbusting, Oscar-winning movie trilogy, he achieved the impossible. Although JRR Tolkien’s magnum opus had long since established itself as the definitive, most influential tale in fantasy literature, its size, complexity and vast mythology led many to assume it was unfilmable.

Jackson and his co-writers, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, had other ideas, however, and their epic adaptations (released from 2001-2003) were made with such reverence and affection for the source material that they rapidly became every bit as beloved as the novels.

The success of the movie franchise quickly led to a swathe of officially licensed games, with notable highlights including: The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Even today, nearly twenty years after the release of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, players can continue to experience the legendary director’s vision of Middle-earth thanks to the recent launch of The Lord Of The Rings: Rise To War for mobile.

To celebrate the upcoming anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring, we’ve explored why Middle-earth remains fantasy’s ultimate destination for gamers…

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.

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.

Steam Link Spotlight - If On a Winter's Night, Four Travelers

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 22nd, 2021
+ 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. Our last entry looked at Ambition - A Minuet in Power. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.

This entry focuses on something that might be good to play around Halloween time. If On a Winter's Night, Four Travelers is a dark and macabre point-and-click adventure game that can make your skin crawl. Although it may not look that way at first, this pixel art experience is incredibly detailed and evocative, especially when its vignettes take their dark turns.

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Gameplay Journal - Part 14

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 20th, 2021
iPad App - Designed for iPad

When I last touched Divinity - Original Sin 2, I thought I was done with my seafaring shenanigans aboard the Lady Vengeance. I was away from Fort Joy on course for Driftwood, but my journey got interrupted. This entry deals head on with this interruption, as the magisters intercepted me and wanted to bring me down.

As it turns out, the magisters came prepared. This combat encounter documented in the first video of this post is definitely the most challenging Divinity - Original Sin 2 has been to date, to the point that I failed it a couple of times before devising a strategy that allowed me to protect the NPC tasked with devising a magical escape from the fight. This is to say the fight is designed not with victory in mind, but rather one that tasks you to hold out for long enough before being whisked away further into the story. Had it been a more straightforward fight I probably would have had an easier time with it.

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Gameplay Journal - Part 13

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 6th, 2021
iPad App - Designed for iPad

After such an eventful encounter on my last foray into Divinity - Original Sin 2, I'm lulling on the game a bit since I went from a huge battle and story dump to being stuck on a boat. Still, it was nice to be able to debrief with the characters we've met along the way so far on our adventure and achievements. This also seemed to be a definitive "break" point in the sense that my party was disbanded, though I could choose to have them re-join or convene with others.

The first video here does a lot of that stage-setting, informing me that our next destination is Driftwood, a small fishing village that is key to the Seeker movement, and learning more about what it means to be Godwoken as opposed to a Sorcerer. After speaking a lot with folks, though, I found myself at a bit of a loss on how to get the ship moving, so I admittedly flounder around a bit.

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Gameplay Journal - Part 12

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 20th, 2021
iPad App - Designed for iPad

The momentum is back! After having gone a month between play sessions of Divinity - Original Sin 2 (partially due to how inconvenient it is to keep a huge game installed on a device), I'm back in a regular rhythm with the game, and things continue to move forward.

It also helps that I ended my last play session on a heck of a cliffhanger, with a battle against magisters being interruped by a gigantic void worm. The first session posted at the starts with fight against said worm, while my second play session revolves around just about getting off of this initial island that is mostly comprised of Fort Joy and a marsh wasteland.

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Gameplay Journal - Part 11

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 7th, 2021
iPad App - Designed for iPad

It's been practically a month since my last foray into Divinity - Original Sin 2. A bit part of this was because of the directionless muddling I was doing to try and access Braccus Rex's vault, but even more than that was the strain this game was putting on my iPad's hard drive. At 17.15GB, I have to do a lot of juggling with app offloads and reinstalls just to maintain room for it.

In fact, my break came about because its file size was such a huge headache that I deleted the app entirely for a couple of weeks--which left me hoping that its cloud save functionality was actually good and would let me resume once I decided I wanted to. For the most part, this is true, but it took more effort than I was hoping for to be able to resume progress from a fresh install of the game. I had to connect my iPad to my PC and move some files around to get this done, though I understand that the latest update to Divinity 2 also allows for save syncing with Steam cloud saves, but obviously only if you own the game on both mobile and PC (I do not).