The Weekender: Yellow Desert Edition13 Dec 2019 2
It’s a pretty busy week here at PT towers - not only did we kick off voting for our GOTY Awards, but we’ve also begun the look-out for a new Editor (and Staff Writer) to lead Pocket Tactics into the future. Not to mention some reviews, news and other features, and it’s been a well-rounded time in the world of mobile games.
Next week we’ve got reviews of recently released games going up (Space Grunts 2, for sure), as well as some experimental Black Desert Mobile coverage (see below) and more typical features. During the Xmas/New Year period content will be a bit lighter, but I’ve got some retrospectives and of course we’ll share the GOTY results.
Meanwhile, in Mobile land...
New iOS & Android Games
Another board game release this week, this time it’s Dire Wolf Digital’s adaptation of this Reiner Knizia classic set during the Warring States period of China. It’s predominantly a tile-placement game, where you must place pieces of different types in order to develop your realm and compete with the other players. We’ve got Matt hard at work on a review, so expect to hear more from us on this over the next week or so.
The popular Free-to-Play MMORPG Black Desert Online has come to mobile. In the post-World of Warcraft landscape MMOs can have a hard time finding their audience, but Black Desert has managed it surprisingly well. The combat mechanics make it more like an Action-RPG than a true mmo, and are quite fluid, and the majority of the game content is playable for free - it’s mainly cosmetic items that carry most of the micro-transactions.
I played this for a bit on PC, so coming to the mobile version is a bit of a surreal experience - the game certainly looks quite similar on my Google Pixel 3XL, so the developers have done a great job making the game look pretty. UI is quite busy, but that’s to be expected, and controls come in the form of a virtual joystick for movement, and buttons to trigger combat abilities. There’s a lot of auto-pathing and movement options to take advantage of, and the game throws a lot of information at you quite quickly, so the new-player experience is kind of weird.
Hats off to TouchArcade for spotting this one as I wasn’t expecting this to appear anytime soon, but Square Enix have stealth released the Remastered version of The Last Remnant. I remember reviewing this on the Xbox 360 ages ago. It was… ok? I think? I know people speak quite fondly of it in general. It’s a JRPG through-and-through.
The mobile version is quite pricey ($20) and has a large install size (8.5GB in total!), and it also requires iOS 13 or above. We don’t currently have a review planned for this one but if I can get code, might be worth looking at. RPGs of this calibre don’t often come to mobile.
I’d personally not heard of this game before prior to the developers reach out to me; Dragon Castle is a Mahjong-inspired table-top game that’s been brought to digital platforms by Studio Clangore, the same people behind the digital port of Potion Explosion. We’ve got Matt Thrower doing a review for us, so in the meantime check out the trailer…
A quick shout-out to this one as it’s been on our radar for a while and has finally been released into the wild. It’s a 2D game about building different types of machines and testing them to explore the game world, from gliders to space ships. There’s at least 50 types of blocks you can use for your inventions, and the game boasts realistic simulations such as wind and temperature.
App Updates & News
Cosmic Frontline AR has just received a major update, which adds a new game mode and the ability to play without AR. It also redesigns the maps, and balances difficulty, with better graphics and new tutorials. Dick reviewed it for us earlier this year, so I had him take a look at the update. While he didn’t think it warranted any special attention, he was impressed by the changes and if this had been the state at launch, he commented that the game would have gotten a slightly higher score.
War Tortoise 2 is a thing, apparently. And that’s about the only thing I can say about it because even after having watched the trailer, I have no idea what’s going on (third-person rails shooter, by the looks of things).
It’s been ages since we looked at a decent Word game, and this one caught my eye because it blends word puzzles with strategy mechanics. Hexicon is currently available to try for free via Testflight and Google Play Early Access, and involves players fighting for board control via word-smithing. There is a central objective that gives points, and then the boards reset, with the first to 16 points being the winner. Seems quite deep and complex, so might try this one out for ourselves.
Also worth noting that Terraforming Mars did receive a major update after launch, which fixed things like notifications for multiplayer matches. Since it was released while Matt was working on his review we folded it into the main article, but we’re aware that the state of the game just after launch wasn’t great.
Black Friday seems like such a long time ago now, but so long ago that decent sales haven’t been sparse. Still, found a few interesting ones crop-up you might like to check out:
Seen anything else you liked? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!