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Why your free-to-play racer sucks

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 25th, 2019

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.


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.

I can't believe Sky came out after Journey

Posted by Campbell Bird on August 13th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: STILL STUNNING :: Read Review »

I play games almost exclusively on mobile, and I’ve been doing so since around the time I started writing for 148Apps. This is why I’m late to the party on Journey. It wasn’t until last week that the game was playable on mobile, and it wasn’t until last night that I played through Journey for the first time now, and I found it just as captivating and impactful as folks did almost a decade ago.

While playing the game though, I couldn’t help but notice how similar Journey was to another game I played recently. Earlier this summer, Thatgamecompany put out a mobile exclusive title, Sky: Children of Light, and it’s almost eerie how similar the games are to each other.

Steam Link Spotlight - Faeria

Posted by Campbell Bird on August 7th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

If you’ve been following 148Apps.com for a while, chances are you’ve seen me talk about Faeria. I reviewed it when it initially came out on iOS, and again when The Adventure Pouch: Oversky came out. I also put the game on my best games of 2017 list.

It may go without saying that I really, really like Faeria. Its mix of turn-based strategy and collectible card-battling is unique, and the game itself is gorgeous. Since its release, I don’t think I’ve played a card game that grabbed me in quite the same way.

Dr. Mario World is yet another disappointment from Nintendo

Posted by Campbell Bird on July 10th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

As soon as I booted up Dr. Mario World, I knew I wasn’t going to have fun with it. Nintendo’s record on phones thus far has been pretty spotty, with things trending downward as of late.

Lo and behold, a few hours later with the game and the only enjoyment I’ve gotten out of it is seeing Bowser in doctor cosplay. Otherwise, the game’s single-player offerings feel like Candy Crush Saga with less satisfying puzzle mechanics and the multiplayer is... a competitive version of that.

It feels like it shouldn’t be so hard to bring a quality version of Dr. Mario to mobile. It’s a falling block puzzler like Tetris or Lumines, and there are solid-to-great versions of those on the App Store already. Instead of just translating Dr. Mario’s mechanics to the small screen though, Dr. Mario World is a slower, clunkier, and less intuitive puzzler than its predecessor.

Auto Chess - What is it and which one should you play?

Posted by Campbell Bird on June 25th, 2019

There has been an auto chess explosion on the App Store. Within just a few weeks, three games in this new genre have popped up and are all competing for your attention.

If you’re not sure what auto chess is, welcome to the club. This new genre was born out of a mod for Dota 2, which is a game based on a mod for Warcraft 3. After taking off on PC and having over 300,000 concurrent players daily, it was only natural for it to make the jump to mobile in a big way.

This has a lot to do with the gameplay of auto chess games. If I had to describe it, I’d say auto chess is like a slowed down version of Clash Royale, but with an in-game store that gives you random units to buy instead of using a deck of your own creation. There’s a bit more to it than that, but it’s focus on management and paced-out auto combat makes it relatively well-suited for touchscreens.

I’m sure it’s a kind of game that isn’t for everyone, but if you want to try auto chess out, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. So with that, I decided to check out the current offerings of auto chess on mobile to let you know which one you should be playing:

Steam Link App - Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Campbell Bird on May 16th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Steam Link has finally released for iOS! That’s right, you can play your epic backlog of PC games on the go now. Well… sort of.

While the Steam Link app was announced seemingly ages ago, it only got actual approval for release last night. Check out the video above to see what it looks like in action, and be sure to ignore my amateur Into the Breach skills. For some more detailed written impressions, see below:

Kingdom Rush Vengeance Update Guide 2 - What you need to know about The Frozen Nightmare

Posted by Campbell Bird on May 10th, 2019

Kingdom Rush: Vengeance just got updated once again to add more content to the game. This addition, called The Frozen Nightmare, adds three new levels, five new enemies, two new heroes, and some new achievements.

Overall, it’s not a huge amount of additional content, but it is free, so it’s hard to complain about. In case you’re thinking about whether it’s worth buying or re-downloading Kingdom Rush Vengeance to check out The Frozen Nightmare, here’s everything you need to know about it.

A weird, Flappy Bird spin-off might just be the best mobile fighting game out there

Posted by Campbell Bird on May 6th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Back in 2014—during the height of Flappy Bird ‘s popularity—I would not have believed anyone if they said that five years later there’d be a fighting game released based on it. Here we are now, though: It’s 2019, Flappy Fighter exists, and it also just so happens to be the most competent mobile fighter there is.

Last week, Flappy Fighter dropped on the App Store, and it’s been quickly gaining attention. This is for good reason. The game is an homage to Street Fighter that uses Flappy Bird for its character design, and—within seconds of booting it up—you can tell it’s made with a lot of love and attention to detail.

The best superhero game on mobile

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 4th, 2019

I don't know if you know this, but superheroes are Kind of A Big Deal. Every other week it feels like a new Marvel movie is coming out and the hype train for each release is undeniable. Just look at how the upcoming Avengers: Endgame broke sales records and sales sites at the same time within hours of tickets going on sale earlier this week.

I’m not here to talk movies though. That’s not what this site is about. Alongside releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU, if you're so inclined) are a plethora of the media tie-ins, not the least of which are mobile games, and I’m writing this to tell you that yes, indeed, there’s a fantastic superhero game that trumps all others, and you should all be playing it if you want your superhero fix. The only thing is, it's probably not a game you'd suspect.

There may be some decent Marvel mobile games out there. Heck, some might even be considered “good.” That said, the absolute best superhero game on iOS actually has no affiliation with Marvel, DC, or any other actual comic book publisher. Do you know where I'm going with this?

Apple Arcade's future depends on how Apple answers a few key questions

Posted by Campbell Bird on March 26th, 2019

Apple made a lot of waves from its special event this week. The announcement of Apple Arcade in particular, a subscription service that will deliver access to over 100 premium games starting this fall, sounds like a potential new step forward for gaming on mobile.

As great as this might sound though, there are lots of things Apple didn’t talk about as it relates to this new service. A lot of what Apple said yesterday may sound exciting, but I have my doubts about the service given what wasn’t covered in their presentation. There’s just too many unknowns, and—given Apple’s track record on games—I’m not sure Apple Arcade will seem all that great when we get the answers.

See below for some of the biggest mysteries looming over the announcement and my thoughts on why their absence has me worried about this service.

When Good Games Go Bad

Posted by Campbell Bird on February 27th, 2019
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SLEEPER HIT :: Read Review »

Back in August, a little game called Radiant One came out. It was a solid adventure game with great visuals and a story that hit me harder than I was expecting. I wasn’t in love with it, but I enjoyed my time with it a great deal. So much so that I gave it a nice four star rating and recommended it to friends who were looking for something new to play.

In the intervening months between Radiant One’s release and now, a lot has changed. For starters, the game has a new chapter, which is odd mostly because--in my playthrough of Radiant One--I was not aware this game was going to have multiple chapters. The game was short, yes, but nothing about it remotely suggested that the game would include a new or continuing storyline beyond what was in the initial package.

Upon hearing new stuff got added to this great game, I got excited and re-downloaded it. I wanted to see what else Radiant One might have up its sleeves. Would it be a continuation of Daniel’s adventures with lucid dreaming? Would it be more like an anthology? I could see things going in one of quite a few different directions, but if any of them were like the game’s base package, I was ready for it.

Stardew Valley on iOS is Far From Perfect, But It Will Likely Get Better

Posted by Campbell Bird on October 26th, 2018
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

There was lots of hubbub this week when everyone learned that Stardew Valley, one of the most successful indie games ever, was making its way to mobile devices. In a time where Nintendo is putting out gacha games, other mobile devs are settling into sub-optimal monetization schemes to keep themselves profitable, and the right games are getting increasingly hard to find on mobile storefronts, hearing that ConcernedApe's acclaimed farming game felt like glimmer of hope for the platform.

After putting some time into Stardew Valley, I've come to the conclusion that's all it is: a glimmer. To be clear, the iOS release of Stardew totally seems like a great game that brings all the same farming stuff to do to your phone or tablet, but these days that's not really all it takes to make a great mobile game. In fact, the current state of Stardew Valley on iOS feels like a compromised experience, making it probably not worth picking up unless you simply want to support the premium games market on the App Store or want to wait until it gets more support. Here's why:

Sometimes Shameless Clones Are Good (Kind Of)

Posted by Campbell Bird on September 14th, 2018
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

For the past few weeks, I’ve been playing a little game called Royal Booty Quest. Is it a good game? No, not really. It’s got really shoddy visuals, a UI that breaks easily, no sound, and missing text values all over the place.

The only reason I’ve been sticking with it is because it's a clone of Slay the Spire, a deckbuilding roguelike that generated some strong buzz when it hit early access late last year. In it, you pick a hero to enter a dungeon to fight enemies in card-based combat. As you get further into the dungeon, you get opportunities to finely hone your deck as the enemies around you get stronger and try to survive. If you die, you start all over again.