Pocket Tactics 2018 Boxing Day Guide26 Dec 2018 2
Happy Holidays! And welcome to Pocket Tactics' annual Boxing Day Guide, where I endeavor to point you to some of this year's greatest games to pick up with the gift cards Santa left you. Games are sorted by iOS non-sale price (Android prices vary but usually not by much), and I have tried to include quality titles at a variety of prices. Enjoy, and happy gaming!
Hexologic (iOS Universal and Android) is a quick and clever puzzle game that offers loads of challenging and fun levels for fans of Sudoku and anybody that doesn't mind a little simple addition. It's just the right amount of tactical thinking for a relaxing experience, and I'd recommend it to puzzle fans of any kind.
Rogue Hearts (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) didn't get a very good review here at Pocket Tactics, but despite having some issues, I don't think it's a bad game -- certainly not for a buck. It's a turn-based, tactically-oriented RPG with good character-power progression.
Minesweeper Genius (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is a new take on one of the oldest digital video games. The graphics are attractive, and the gameplay, while familiar, is spiced up by special mechanics. Minesweeper Genius a lot of fun, a great nostalgia trip, and a delightful puzzle game in its own right.
Startup Grave (iOS Universal) is a solitaire card game played with a deck of 48 monster cards. There are good and bad monsters, and the goal is to keep them balanced until you can play through the entire deck. It's simple, fun, and it works well to kill a few minutes here and there.
Meteorfall (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is not just one of the top games of the year, but also one of the best roguelike deckbuilders ever. It’s well-designed, attractive, and a ton of fun to play. Best of all, its vertical orientation and swipe-to-choose gameplay make it easy to play one handed.
Sir Questionnaire (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is a roguelike dungeon crawler that takes place in fast-paced turns, each of which presents you with two options: fight a monster or flee, search a room or move on to the next. As you delve deeper, you level up, improve your skills, get new gear, and become a bigger badass.
Holedown (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is an arcade-style ball shooter from the developer of rymdkapsel. You are a space-miner that must dig deep into asteroids, moons, planets, and more to find valuable gems. You mine by firing balls that ricochet and chip away at rocks, allowing you to delve deeper and deeper. As you earn gems, you can unlock upgrades like more balls or a larger cargo hold, allowing you to grab even more precious stones. It's a well executed clever design, and it is rather hard to put down.
Motorsport Manager Mobile 3 (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is the year's best simulation game, and arguably the best motorsports game on mobile, as well. I know absolutely nothing about racing cars, but was quickly and thoroughly engrossed in my role as the chief of a racing team. The depth of the game is great, as you really do manage every aspect of the sport.
Pocket City (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is the closest you can come to SimCity on a mobile device. The visuals are attractive and its touch controls intuitive. Gameplay is more casual and laid back than challenging, but will feel right for those looking for a relaxing gaming experience.
Teen Titans Go! Figure (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is the sequel to one of 2016's best games, and one of the most successful premium games on the App Store, Teeny Titans Go. It keeps what's great about the original—you run around Jump City collecting figures, completing quests, and taking on opponents in real-time figurine battles—but adds a new main story line, side quests, city layout, new figures and powers, and new tofu battle effects. If you enjoyed the original or like real-time battlers in general definitely pick this one up.
Antihero (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) lets you build your own criminal empire in the seedy underbelly of a city meant to evoke Victorian London. It's a turn-based game featuring a single-player campaign and online matches against other criminal masterminds, and it's all about making your move for power through thievery, bribery, and outright assassination.
Card Quest (Android and iOS Universal, REVIEW) is graphically unpolished with some poor user-interface choices, and it’s easy to look at screenshots and dismiss it immediately -- which would be a mistake. The game is indisputably a five-star title thanks to its remarkable game design, which rewards smart tactical thinking and creates impressive depth.
Fidel Dungeon Rescue (iOS Universal) is a clever pick-your-path puzzle/dungeon crawler featuring Fidel, a puppy protagonist. You must guide Fidel through grid-based levels, defeating monsters, grabbing gold, and ultimately getting to the exit intact.
Grimvalor (iOS Universal, REVIEW) is an action-RPG-platformer inspired by Dark Souls, set in a gloomy fantasy world. It features fast-paced combat with plenty of jumping, dodging, rolling, and exploitation of your enemies attack patterns. It also includes plenty of dying, at least for me. It's a fun game, looks great, and the controls are rock solid -- if you're good at these skill-intensive action-RPGs, you should definitely pick this one up.
Stardew Valley (iOS Universal, REVIEW) is a farming-simulation game where you step into the shoes of a disgruntled office worker who leaves their job in favor of restoring their deceased grandfather’s farm. There’s a ton to do, both on the farm and in terms of the town’s social scene, and the game is a big sandbox where you really can do whatever you desire.
Barbearian (iOS Universal, REVIEW) is a frenetic hack-and-slash fest against overwhelming hordes of foes. It’s about as real-time as it gets without requiring ninja-like reflexes to succeed, and it offers highly customizable controls and difficulty settings.
Chaos Reborn: Adventures (iOS Universal and Android, REVIEW) is a tactical turn-based combat game from the creator of the original X-COM that plays a lot like CCG games Duelyst and Faeria, but in a premium pay-once-and-play-forever package. Combat is turn-based, tactical, and fun, and the game features a single-player campaign mode as well as online duels against another real-life human where you can choose live or asynchronous action.
One Deck Dungeon (iPad and Android, REVIEW) is my favorite tabletop-to-digital conversion of the year. Handelabra did a fantastic job capturing both the crunch and flavor of the game, and about the only thing better about the tabletop version is the tactile feel of rolling a handful of dice. One Deck Dungeon is ideal for fans of single-player games full of strategic depth and replay value.
Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind (iOS Universal, REVIEW) is the spiritual successor to King of Dragon Pass, an iOS classic, and features the same mix of RPG, tribal management, turn-based tactics, and interactive fiction. There's plenty of mythology, top-notch artwork, and meaningful choices.