Anyone who talks to me about games knows that I haven't been able to shut up about Genshin Impact since its launch this past fall. It's a game with a lot of faults--namely its predatory monetization scheme--but it also provides a vast (and interesting!) open world, a novel and nuanced combat system, and a surprisingly compelling story, all of which you can experience without spending a dime.
Since my initial burst of playing in September, though, my excitement to log in every day was beginning to wane. New events and characters were nice new additions, but they weren't entirely well-conceived or received. That is, until miHoYo pushed their 1.2 update which unveiled a new region of Teyvat: Dragonspine Mountain.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic II just released on the App Store, and it's not exactly pretty. To be fair, this is over 15 years old, so bringing it to mobile likely has its challenges. That said, the second installment in the Knights of the Old Republic series comes to iOS with a janky control scheme and some bugs that disrupt combat.
Check out the video above where I get through the first real challenge of the game: fighting the mining droids on Peragus. In it, you'll see some struggles with movement, collision issues with combat maneuvering, and even a strange bug that locks your character in place after combat.
From there, you can pass over shelling out $9.99 for this game and pick something else up. This is not the port you're looking for.
Last week, the massively anticipated Genshin Impact released, and now it seems to be the only game anyone's talking about. There's a good reason for this, or rather several. It looks great, it's free, and it actually follows through as an experience that takes meaningful inspiration from Breath of the Wild.
In case you're looking at Genshin Impact from the outside wondering if it's all it's cracked up to be, you're in the right place. The short answer is yes, but here's some more things that might inform whether you should dive into the game.
If you want the short version, I think Apple has done a decent job at providing a wide variety of titles on its service, and their near-weekly new releases and title updates give you a reason to dive back into the service on a regular basis. That said, the dedication to keeping Arcade feeling fresh alone doesn't quite justify the cost of subscribing, and it seems like Apple has to put in some more work if they want this service to flourish.
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Apple is disappointed in the performance of Apple Arcade and will be shifting their approach to the service by focusing on games that can retain subscribers and canceling other upcoming releases that don't fit this new vision.
Honestly, the only surprising thing about this news in my mind is the timing. Apple Arcade hasn't even been live for a year, and half of its existence has been admist a global pandemic, mass unemployment, and burgeoning civil unrest. If Apple was confident about its approach to its new games service, I would've thought they'd give it a little more time and leeway before shifting their approach.
Golf on Mars is a minimalist golf game and the follow up to Desert Golfing. In it, you traverse a seemingly unending Martian landscape by hitting a golf ball from hole to hole using the tried-and-true pull-and-release touch control scheme popularized by Angry Birds. But there are no birds here, much less any that explode. Nor are there powerups, enemies, menus, or even levels. It's just you, the ball, the holes, and the seemingly endless Martian landscape for you to navigate. Oh, and there's a counter at the top that's tracking your total stroke count, too.
It's hard to find good racing games on mobile. Most of them are free-to-play, and free-to-play racers generally suck. Even Nintendo couldn't put together a competent Mario Kart game, opting instead for a weird score chaser that resembles--but feels nothing like--actual Mario Kart.
So, when Nexon released KartRider Rush+ earlier this week, I had low expectations, but I decided to boot it up and try it out anyway. I played a few races, and then I played some more. Then I joined a racing club, found myself friending people, and racing even more. Before I knew it, my week was consumed with playing KartRider Rush+ because--somehow--it has managed to create a free-to-play racing experience that actually feels good.
There's no escaping the fact that everyone loves Dark Souls. If you've not heard of it, it's a super tough action RPG that punished your every mistake with swift retribution. It's the sort of game where you die a lot, and it can be pretty intimidating trying to get on board with the systems it throws at you.
But you can't play it on your iPhone. Well, there's Slashy Souls, but to be honest the less said about that the better. If you're looking to get some Souls-style action on the go though, there are plenty of options waiting for you on the App Store.
Rather than leaving you to find all of them for yourself though, we thought we'd do a list and round-up what we think are the five best games like Dark Souls for iOS. If you think we're wrong, or you've got your own suggestions to chuck into the mix, let us know in the comments at the bottom of the article.
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.
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.
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.
Over the Thanksgiving break, a bunch of games went on sale, but one in particular is worth talking about. Xenowerk Tactics, in addition to falling to $3, got a huge content update alongside it’s price drop. Even though the game is back up to full price, you need to buy it now if you haven’t already.
In my initial review of Xenowerk Tactics, I liked it well enough, but the game felt a little too easy. In building and managing a team of professional alien killers, there was always the potential for me to lose a soldier or get forced into a retreat, but it essentially never happened. I could almost always just take everything in stride and kill aliens with abandon without any problems. This update changes that.
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:
It’s been this way for a while now, but playing Hot Wheels Infinite Loop really highlights a big issue with free-to-play mobile racing games: They suck. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying going for realism, cart racing, or arcade nonsense, they’re all bad, and mostly in the same way.
Last week, Rush Rally 3 got updated with live events, and it’s one of the best things to happen to racing games on mobile. Prior to this update, the game already had multiplayer, but live events are more convenient in the sense that it’s somewhat asynchronous.
Instead of having to wait to match with other players in a lobby in order to play with them, live events allow the entire Rush Rally 3 community compete for the best time across six courses. This operates almost exactly like the game’s Career Mode, except you’re competing against human players and the events last a few days.
It’s a really genius move, as it makes sure you’ll basically never run out of Rush Rally 3 to play. There will always be a new event and new times to beat. If you aren’t quite up to snuff on your rally racing skills, you can also choose to frame your times in competition with your facebook friends instead of the global player charts.
In order to access live events, though, it will cost you a little money ($1.99). This seems more than reasonable though, as it adds a tremendous amount of replayability, and the good kind, too. As opposed to free-to-play racers that want you to grind or pay to become competitive, I found Rush Rally 3’s live events something I could immediately hop into and post respectable times, and I look forward to doing so again for the next event.
Come join me! Download Rush Rally 3 and add me as a friend (namestolen) so we can enjoy a great, premium racing experience together.