The Pocket Tactics' Guide to 201812 Apr 2018 17
Three months into 2018 and we've seen a lot of games hit mobile, with more to come. What follows is an updated look at some of the most intriguing games heading towards iOS and Android in 2018.
ARK: Survival Evolved
Prehistoric, open world, watch-out-for-that-dinosaur MMO Ark: Survival Evolved is coming to iOS and Android this spring. It's been on Steam for a couple years but just came out of early access last August and seems to vacillate between "mixed" and "mostly positive" reviews on Steam. I've not played it but tend to go for the explore/craft/build-and-fight stuff kind of game. It's sixty bucks on Steam but will be free-to-play on mobile so I'm interested to find out how ARK will be monetized. It'll be the full-on version, not a slimmed down light offering, which is promising.
Bad North is a real-time tactics game where you'll defend your kingdom from waves of Viking invaders. Between fights for the very survival of your realm you'll have to gather precious resources and negotiate the aid of your nobles and commoners to stay in the fight. The game looks beautiful, is clearly a potential game-of-the-year contender and is one of the games I'm most looking forward to this year. There's no firm release date but Bad North is coming to PC, mobile, and consoles in 2018 and its Steam page says "summer."
Battleheart came out six years ago and is still worth playing today. Sure, it shows its age in terms of both graphics and gameplay, but it is still really fun. A true successor to the game, Battleheart 2, is on its way this year for both iOS and Android and will include all new heroes as well as cooperative multiplayer. Mika Mobile, the developers of the game, have been posting previews of the game's characters leading up to the release. You can check them out here and check the full game out soon, the developers hinted at a spring launch in early March.
Dungeon Warfare 2
Dungeon Warfare is my pick for the best tower-defense game on mobile. If you haven't tried it and enjoy the genre, you really ought to remedy that, if for no other reason than to get ready for the sequel. Dungeon Warfare 2 has been in development for some time and will be released to Steam this year. Hopefully, we'll see a mobile release as well as was the case with the first Dungeon Warfare. Dungeon Warfare 2 will include over 60 maps, 12 unit types, 6 traps, and 3 different skill trees.
Epic Card Game
White Wizard Games has become a competitive-card-game behemoth. So much so that they only have to hint at a Kickstarter and it is instantly fully backed. Well, not quite, but pretty close. Their digital version of Epic Card Game has been in alpha testing for a few months and is on track for a 2018 release to both iOS and Android. Like their previous titles, Epic is a buy once and have all the cards you need for sealed, draft, and constructed for up to four players. There are even preconstructed decks to start with and modify.
Evolution, by North Star Games, is a well-designed and entertaining board game where you control the evolution of one or more species, giving them adaptive traits to help them survive and thrive. It's all about eating enough and not getting eaten in turn. The game is both a tactical two-player experience and a fun casual game for more players and a great introduction for kids to both gaming and evolutionary science. It's in beta now and coming to iOS, Android, Mac, and PC in the middle of the year.
Lord of the Rings Living Card Game
Fantasy Flight Interactive is working on a Lord of the Rings living-card game. It is coming to Early Access on Steam sometime in Q2 with a full release to follow sometime this year. Lord of the Rings: The Living Card Game will be free-to-play with in-app purchases of non-random packs to add more cards with which to play. Mobile releases haven't been officially announced, but there are Apple and Android logos in the video reveal, so we know they are coming, 2018 may be a longshot though.
It’s a deck builder. It’s a roguelike. It's one of the best games of 2017. Monster Slayers is heavily influenced by Dream Quest and, for my money, is a better game. It's coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PS Vita this spring and the developer has confirmed mobile is on the docket. Whether we can get our hands on it yet in 2018 is TBD.
Asmodee Digital is bringing Steve Jackson's Munchkin, the popular multi-player dungeon delving card game, to digital platforms in 2018. In Munchkin you compete with friends to slay monsters, collect loot, and maybe even steal it from your buddy. We don't know exactly what platforms will get Munchkin, but it's a safe bet that mobile will be on that list given Asmodee's dedication to bringing digital board and card games to life.
SimCity was such a great game. I can't even begin to guess the number of hours I invested in that franchise. Sadly, we've yet to see a good mobile city builder. There have been many attempts, though most have either lacked good game play, been freemium disasters, or both. Could Pocket City be different? Maybe. The trailer looks great and is very reminiscent of SimCity. Oh, and it's not freemium. The developer, Codebrew Games, is looking to have a free version with opt-in ads that provide a small, but unessential, bonus and an ad-free paid version. You can check out more about the business model here and the game overall at their website. Pocket City is coming very soon to iOS and Android, April or May, per a developer comment in the game's subreddit.
EVE: War of Ascension
The game that launched a million spreadsheets, space-based MMO Eve Online, is getting a mobile spinoff. Formerly known as 'Project Aurora', Ascension will be based in the same universe as EVE but will not be integrated into the existing game. CCP have partnered up with Kongregate to publish the game, and you can glean some insights as to how the project will be made here - while it's supposed to have the same open world, player driven gameplay as the PC game, it's being specifically designed for a wider audience. It is expected to release to both iOS and Android later this year.
Slowly but surely all of the most-popular tabletop games are making their way to digital, and Scythe is on that list. The game is set in an alternate-history 1920s where mechs and other mechanicals exist side-by-side with agrarian society. Each player acts as a leader of a faction seeking to bring it to glory and success. Asmodee Digital is at the helm of this port, and it is coming to Steam in Q2 and mobile at some point in 2018.
A hack-and-slash turn-based roguelike from the indie dev that brought us the fantastic Space Grunts (and a ton of other non-turn-based stuff), SIR QUESTIONAIRE looks to be another fast-action turn-based game where you have two choices on each turn: move or attack, buy something or carry on. As you explore you'll fight lots of creatures (and capture pictures of them for your codex), win loot, and upgrade skills. It looks like a ton of fun and is coming in Q2 for PC, iOS, and Android.
King of Dragon Pass is a mix of different genres: 4x civilization builder, RPG, and interactive fiction. You play both at a high level, as a tribal chieftain making moves to better their people, and an individual level with said chieftain going on adventures in Glorantha, a world full of myth and action. We will get to return to Glorantha in 2018 when A Sharp Games, the makers of King of Dragon Pass, release their next game. Six Ages has been in the works for four years, is a spiritual successor to, and will feature the same type of gameplay as King of Dragon Pass. The game has been in testing since last August and though there's no release date A Sharp Games has indicated they plan to release it for iOS sometime this year.
Yet another Asmodee digital title on its way is Terraforming Mars, and it should be a big one. Set 500 years in the future the game is all about the race to colonize Mars and out greed your fellow space-faring corporations. The tabletop game is perhaps the most popular board game still without a digital variant, but not for long. Transforming Mars is coming to iOS, Android, and Steam later this quarter and will be on Steam Early Access next month.
Do you dig Solitairica and other cool card/RPG/roguelike hybrids? If so, Void Tyrant is one worth watching for later this year. In Void Tyrant you pick a hero from a number of classes and head out to explore a chaotic galaxy. The graphics look good and combat has an interesting twist where either you or your opponent gets to do damage based on a Black Jack style showdown with special skills and items to monkey with the results. Void Tyrant is coming in Q4 for iOS and Android. It'll be free-to-play by the developer cites "no annoying timers" so hopefully the monetization will be player friendly.
Seen anything else you're excited for on the horizon? We'll be keeping this list updated as the year progresses, so make sure you check back every couple of months!