Featured image for post We May Not Have Monster Hunter World, but We Still Have Monster Hunter

We May Not Have Monster Hunter World, but We Still Have Monster Hunter

The latest game in the Monster Hunter Franchise, Monster Hunter World, launched a few days ago, for Xbox and PS4. The reviews have been stellar, which is great news for the millions of fans of the series.

Thankfully, mobile gamers aren’t completely left out of the loop. Even though the latest Monster Hunter isn’t on iOS or Android yet, the excellent Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is available on iOS right now, and has full Gamevice support!

Monster Hunter Graphics Screenshot

If you were previously unfamiliar with Monster Hunter, you’re in for something special here. Monster Hunter is an insanely popular game, and one of the most beloved games of its generation. It was such a massive hit in Japan, it was partly responsible for saving the PSP from an early grave, ultimately selling over 6 million units.

The iOS release of Freedom Unit is not a stripped-down mobile edition. This is the real, full-fledged PSP Monster Hunter, improved and upgraded for the far-more-powerful iPhone and iPad hardware. It has been updated with vastly improved graphics, significant resolution boosts, enhanced performance, and full Gamevice support.

Monster Hunter Gameplay screenshot

So yes, while our console brethren enjoy the new Monster Hunter today, now is a great chance for you to treat yourself to a classic Monster Hunter experience on iOS. This isn’t just an important release in the history of mobile gaming – it’s still a damn great game.

Featured image for post Rocket League Gains Cross-Platform Multiplayer

Rocket League Gains Cross-Platform Multiplayer

Interesting news for PC and console gamers:

From Hope Corrigan at IGN:

It looks like the popular vehicular soccer game Rocket League is set to see cross-platform party support in 2018, building off of its cross-platform play functionality.

When asked on Twitter whether the feature was coming, the official support account for the game replied, saying “We’re actively working on cross-platform party support for a 2018 release.”

Cross-platform play is great, but of more interest to mobile gamers is the question: “when will Rocket League finally come to mobile?”. Rocket League has been ported to pretty much every console under the sun, but sadly, we’re still waiting on this one last platform. We’ve reached out to the developers, and we’re hoping for good news!

In the mean time, mobile gamers have the similarly-structured Turbo League, available for iOS and Android. It’s not a bad game – it plays well with Gamevice, has real-time 3v3 online multiplayer, and even supports cross-platform play between iOS and Android. But still… it isn’t the same as the real deal.

Of course, if you already own a PS4 or a Nvidia-powered gaming PC, you have other options. Thanks to the magic of streaming, PC gamers can use the excellent Moonlight app to play Rocket League with your Gamevice today, on iOS or Android. PS4 gamers can use R-Play to stream the real Rocket League direct to iOS.

Featured image for post Oceanhorn 2 Development Update

Oceanhorn 2 Development Update

Cornfox & Bros shared a progress update on their sequel to their RPG classic, Oceanhorn.

Oceanhorn 2 city walking

From the Cornfox & Bros blog,

It has been too long since we gave you guys an update on the development of Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. Well, all five of us have been focusing on the game, and when you’re really concentrated on your work, the time flies!

So, what have we been up to? We have been building an adventure! More gameplay, more story, more levels, more worlds. A city. Capital is one of the central locations of Oceanhorn 2’s story and it offers tons of open-ended exploration for curious adventurers. In the heart of the city is the gigantic machine Grand Core.

Oceanhorn 2 industrial city screenshot

Oceanhorn hit the App Store 4 years ago, but it still ranks among the best mobile games available. In the years since its launch, it has received countless updates, and been ported to every platform under the sun. Just recently, the iOS version was updated to support the iPhone X’s new screen size.

The Original Oceanhorn played like a love letter to the classic Zelda games. This sequel seems to be keeping closer to the style of more modern, 3D RPGs. As long as it brings the same level of quality and polish to its new presentation, we could be looking at something truly special.

Oceanhorn dungeon screenshot

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid picking up the original Oceanhorn before now, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try. I can’t think of a better game to spend my time with while I wait for Oceanhorn 2’s eventual release.

Featured image for post Rockstar Does Not Have Any iOS Releases Planned for This Year

Rockstar Does Not Have Any iOS Releases Planned for This Year

Sad news, via TouchArcade.

Unsurprisingly, loads of speculation began circulating about a potential Rockstar release, as they’ve been pretty regular with blasting out iOS ports this time of year. Last year we got Bully: Anniversary Edition (which we also reviewed), but there won’t be any Rockstar iOS ports this year.

Rockstar usually has a great game release planned for this time of year. Last year, it was the excellent Bully. The year before, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, one of my personal favorites.

I’m disappointed that we won’t be seeing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, L.A. Noire, or Grand Theft Auto 4 any time soon. Maybe next year.

Featured image for post The Brief Story of Cuphead’s Surprise iOS Release

The Brief Story of Cuphead’s Surprise iOS Release

If you were following anyone in the iOS gaming community this morning, you probably saw some interesting news: Cuphead was – apparently – released on the App Store.

Sadly, this was too good to be true. The release was a scam app. It re-used fake assets from the PC version of Cuphead, re-packaged them into a bundle that looked official, and slapped a $4.99 price tag on it. This was a sophisticated job, though – TouchArcade fell for it, and they’re usually good about spotting fakes.

Scam apps like this are nothing new – see the multitude of games called “Minecraft 2” that briefly climb the App Store charts before being pulled – but I’ve never seen a scam app release that looks this polished. The level of detail in the store description is superior to many real releases from major developers.

Be careful out there. For all the talk about App Store rejections, Apple doesn’t actually do much to police their store.

Featured image for post You Can Now Control Your Very Own R2-D2, BB-8, and BB-9E with Gamevice

You Can Now Control Your Very Own R2-D2, BB-8, and BB-9E with Gamevice

This is pretty awesome news for owners of Sphero gadgets: they just released a brand new app for controlling the various Star Wars Sphero products with the Gamevice.

The original Sphero has supported the Gamevice for years, but before now, the Star Wars versions have been notably lacking in support. With this new app, the Star Wars droids gain feature-parity with the original model.

One thing to be aware of: certain functions still require the touch screen. You can use the Gamevice to steer the droids, and to engage certain basic functions. Some of the more advanced functionality will still require touching the screen. We’re hoping controller support is expanded in the future, but even in its current form, the experience of using these droids with the Gamevice is far better than only having the touch screen.

Featured image for post ‘Oddworld: New n Tasty’ Brings the PlayStation Classic to the App Store

‘Oddworld: New n Tasty’ Brings the PlayStation Classic to the App Store

After 3 and a half years of teasing, Oddworld: New n’ Tasty has finally hit the App Store, with full Gamevice support. And it’s as good as you could possibly hope for.

The story of Abe’s Odyssey – originally criticized for being quite dark – has aged well. Abe is enslaved as a factory worker at a facility responsible for processing meat into a variety of food stuffs enjoyed by the aliens that make up this universe. One day, he stumbles upon a meeting between the higher-ups, where they reveal that because they’ve harvested almost every other creature into extinction, they’re planning on grinding up Abe’s species into a new meal – “New n’ Tasty”.

As dark as that premise sounds, things never devolve into self-seriousness. Abe’s aww-shucks demeanor and overall positivity keep the tone grounded as a dark comedy. In fact, while replaying this iOS port, I was most struck by how much Abe reminded me of Jar-Jar Binks – who came several years after Oddworld was released. Almost like if Jar-Jar was transported into Soylent Green, and then superimposed over a story about escaping from slavery. Yeah, it’s a weird tone. But it works.

Oddworld Screenshot

Previous games in the Oddworld franchise have been ported to iOS before, and work great with the Gamevice. Unfortunately, while these games are perfectly competent, they also never quite captured the magic of what made the original Oddworld so special. They were in-universe spinoffs, but that is all.

New n’ Tasty is a ground-up remake of Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey. Whereas the original was a great looking game for the original PlayStation, its pseudo-3D visuals and low resolution graphics don’t quite convey the sense of wonder they once did. New n’ Tasty fixes this. Visually, this is about as good as 2.5D platformers get.

Gameplay, on the other hand, is almost completely unchanged. Oddworld has always been a complex game, blending strategy and platforming, and taking full advantage of pretty much every button on your controller to command a deep set of actions. This gameplay, while complex and difficult, holds up perfectly well. If you’ve ever played Flashback, or any of the classic Prince of Persia games, Oddworld feels like an expanded version of that type of game, with the same difficulty you’d expect.

Oddworld Screenshot 2

Oddworld’s challenge is mitigated somewhat by a few modern features. Quick saves are probably the biggest – you can quickly save your place, and reload from exactly where you left off, rather than relying on checkpoints. Far from feeling like the developers are just throwing a bone to casual gamers, these quick saves actually enhance the gameplay experience, removing frustration points that hurt the original release.

If you have fond memories about playing the original Oddworld, or if you want to see what all the fuss is about, and why so many people consider Oddworld such a cult classic, now is a great chance to pick it up and see for yourself.

Featured image for post Indie Classic ‘Fez’ Just Hit the App Store

Indie Classic ‘Fez’ Just Hit the App Store

Fez just hit the App Store yesterday, and I’ve been having a blast with it all day today.

Considered a modern platforming game classic, and the primary subject of the critically-acclaimed film Indie Game: The Movie (93% on Rotten Tomatoes!). Fez presents itself as a classic 2D pixel-art platformer, but quickly changes things up by introducing a novel new 3D perspective shifting mechanic.

Fez Gameplay

Using the shoulder buttons, you can shift the camera between 4 views, revealing new perspectives on the 2D platforming world you inhabit. Changing the camera perspective flattens every axis back into two dimensions. As a result, platforms that would be far away along a Z axis in a three-dimensional world can be brought right next to each another when flattening back to just the XY axi.

This is a difficult mechanic to describe, but it quickly becomes second-nature during gameplay, and is a novel, unique take on bridging three dimensional and two dimensional platforming games.

I know this one is a hard sell in writing, but if you’re a platforming game fan, you need to take my word on this one – there’s a reason Fez has gotten as much acclaim as it has. It may look like a bunch of other indie games, but Fez is one of the most important games to hit the App Store.

Featured image for post The App Store Now Supports Preorders

The App Store Now Supports Preorders

Out of nowhere, Apple just added support for preordering upcoming apps and games to the App Store.

The first wave of games have already been made available for preorder, and they’re some big ones. Life is Strange, Bridge Constructor Portal, Inside, and Thumper: Pocket Edition (no words yet about whether or not these will support controllers, but we’re optimistic!)

From Apple:

Customers can pre-order your app from your product page, search results, and the Today, Games, or Apps tabs if your app is featured.

On launch day, your app automatically downloads to the device on which the customer requested the pre-order, and to their other devices that have automatic downloads enabled. Customers will also receive a notification letting them know the app is available.

Customers who pre-order a paid app won’t be charged until the day the app is released for download. If the price of your app changes during pre-order, they will be charged the price that is lower: the price they accepted at pre-order or the price on the day of release.

Customers can cancel their pre-orders in their App Store settings on iOS and macOS, and in their iTunes settings on desktop for iOS, macOS, and tvOS apps.

Pre-orders can be made on devices running iOS 11.2, tvOS 11.2, and macOS 10.13.2 or later. Product pages during pre-order are accessible for customers on earlier operating systems through direct links. However, the buy button is disabled and customers are prompted to update to the latest OS version to pre-order apps.

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At first blush, preordering digital apps and games would seem to make no sense. In the physical realm, preorders are used by retailers as a way to gauge demand, to help the retailer know how many of a product to order for launch day. This reason doesn’t apply to digital goods, obviously. But there are other reasons to allow preorders.

Developers frequently upload apps to the App Store early, but don’t make those apps available for download. This is done for numerous reasons, such as making sure the information in the store is accurate and allowing promo copies to be gifted to media. If nothing more, preordering provides a more codified way of implementing these features.

Developers of premium apps and games frequently have special launch day pricing, to rewards fans. Developers will often promote a game on social media, and then rush to tell fans to buy the game early if they want to be rewarded with discount pricing. Preordering provides a way to give special discounts on apps to people who are already committed to buying, without hurting profit from first-day sales.

For users, the benefits are less obvious, but not entirely absent. If you’re already 100% committed to buying an app, the preorder might give you a discount. It’ll also provide a convenient notification when the app is finally available to download, so you don’t have to remind yourself about release dates. Lastly, if developers change their mind about pricing and launch the app for cheaper than you preordered, you only end up paying the cheapest price – you’ll never be hurt by preordering.

Honestly, this doesn’t seem like a huge change for users or for developers, but it also doesn’t seem to have any downsides. If it helps make premium games more viable on the App Store, there’s nothing to complain about. If it mitigates some of the risks involved in the App Store, and convinces bigger studios to consider porting more games to mobile, everyone wins. If it turns out to be a rarely-used and unpopular feature, well, we’re not any worse off than we would be without it.

Featured image for post GRID Autosport

GRID Autosport

If you’re a car person, GRID is probably an essential buy. While many mobile racing games strive for a more casual, arcade-friendly experience, GRID is all about realism. Original developers Codemasters spent a long time trying to make the handling of every car feel true-to-life, and while I can’t speak for the accuracy of how it would actually feel driving these cars on these tracks at high speeds, it feels right.

Many of the courses in GRID are directly based on famous real-world circuits. Courses not based on real racetracks, such as the city locations, still match the feel of the locations. You’ll be driving on these tracks in a variety of real-world licensed cars, for that added dose of realism.

Grid screenshot

Porting studio Feral Interactive really went all-out with this iOS version. GRID has lost absolutely nothing in its transition from console to mobile, and in some ways, actually looks better than it in its previous life on the PS3 and Xbox 360. This shouldn’t be a surprise – modern iOS devices easily outclass previous-generation consoles. But far too often, developers seem to struggle to take advantage of this power, and release games that simply show off what the hardware is capable of. GRID bucks this trend.

Quite simply, GRID is a breathtakingly beautiful game. Installing the optional (but free) DLC texture packs make it even more beautiful, but either way, you’re looking at one of the best games ever seen on iOS.

GRID city driving

Unfortunately, GRID doesn’t quite run as good as it looks. Despite limiting itself to only the most powerful iOS devices available, GRID is capped at 30fps, and occasionally stutters trying to reach that. This is unfortunate – modern iPads run natively at 120fps, and racing games, in particular, really benefit from a high frame rate. Maybe future updates will solve this problem.

Perhaps the best part of GRID is one thing it did not gain in its transition to mobile – a new business model. There are no freemium currencies here, no wait timers, no ads, no nonsense. This is a serious, console-class experience. For a one-time fee, you get the whole game. There are quite a few DLC packs available with additional content, but in a welcome break from expectations, these DLC packs are entirely free. Yes, you can install all the extra courses, cars, and HD textures you want, for no added fee.

If you’re a fan of racing games, GRID is an essential buy. And if you’re a believer in premium, console-class games, GRID is one of the best examples yet of a real-deal, top-flight, no compromise console game on mobile.