GameCentral takes a closer look at this month’s iOS and Android games, including the mobile releases of Fortnite Battle Royale and PUBG.
Even though practically everyone has a phone, making mobile gaming all but universal, iOS and Android titles very rarely have the same weight or importance as PC and console releases. This month, with the arrival of extremely passable ports of both Fortnite and PUBG, mobile gamers are finally at the forefront of what video games and the Internet can do together.
But there’s plenty more going on, from the sequel to all-time classic adventure Baldur’s Gate to Evoland 2’s time-travelling hijinks…
Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! for iOS, £6.99 (Daylight Studios)
The latest in the Holy Potatoes! series sees it stray into FTL territory in this turn-based roguelike space exploration game. Like Holy Potatoes! A Weapons Shop?! it has very high production values and its colourful, cartoony visuals have a matching zany sense of humour. Unfortunately, despite splashing some cash on the user interface, the combat is primitive and rapidly becomes boring; the chance encounters on each planet repeat ad nauseam and its whacky comedy is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is. Comparing this to FTL is like comparing Bubsy The Bobcat with Super Mario World – they’re the same genre, but not in the same league.
Pocket Build for iOS, 99p (MoonBear)
Pocket Build is a world builder that lets you add buildings, shrubbery, and landscape without the usual constraints of scores, goals, or dangerous beasts. It’s been out for a few months, but in that time has been generously expanded with free extras, including innumerable new items with which to populate your miniature world, and in the case of its latest update, the addition of a day/night cycle with campfires and street lighting to ease the newfound intermittent darkness. Pocket Build’s approach to world making is unusual in that there are no goals or enemies, your time and effort freed up for aesthetic concerns and the mellow process of terraforming and building towns, villages, and parks populated by humans and goblins. Your tiny denizens will fight each other, but fallen combatants can easily be revived. It’s the essence of relaxed geniality for those with a high boredom threshold.
Evoland II for iOS and Android, £6.99 (Playdigious)
Taking its inspiration from such diverse but illustrious sources as Zelda, Metal Gear Solid, Metroid, and Prison Break, Evoland 2 once again takes you on a quest that steadily evolves from faux 8-bit graphics to the kind of polygon-driven 3D we’re more used to seeing, with play-styles to match. Its biggest problem is touchscreen controls, the joystick and buttons regularly proving elusive and making precision platform stages just as nightmarish as you’d expect. But get past those moments of finger-slipping, iPad-hurling frustration and you’ll discover an unusually well-made and inventive tour of gameplay from the last three decades.
The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands for iOS and PC, £3.99 (Xigma Games)
Building your own settlement is a surprisingly common goal in mobile games, and here you have to gather wood to build a bonfire that attracts wanderers who become your workers. Construct a farm, make food, dig mines, use iron to make tools and weapons, create a steel works, and then defend your burgeoning village from nightly attacks by wolves and far more fearsome beasts. As well as building your town, your overarching quest is to awaken a titan and kill a dragon. Getting there takes plenty of resource management and job assigning, but the late game drags horribly in the gap between completing all your buildings and killing the dragon, and while it’s mechanically interesting, it’s also a short game with absolutely no replay value.
Fortnite for iOS, Xbox One, PS4, and PC, £Free (Epic Games)
For about two months in 2016 you couldn’t move for Pokémon GO, and so it is with Fortnite at the moment. Forget poor old abandoned H1Z1, if you want online battle royale Fortnite is the biggest show in town. Although touchscreen outings for first person shooters are normally riddled with wearying compromises, this looks and plays like the full game, even if you can never quite recreate the precision of mouse or even joypad control using touch alone. Of course there are still glitches and places where characters merge alarmingly with scenery, but compared with the Xbox One version of PUBG it’s a technical tour de force. There’s an Android release in the works but no release date has been announced.
PUBG for iOS, Android, Xbox One, and PC, £Free (Tencent)
Nobody has time to say ‘PlayerUnknown’s Public Battlegrounds’, which is why it’s become famous as the far more compact KFC-style, PUBG. As in its PC and console-based big brother, you’ll be attempting to kill 99 other hopefuls on an island with an ever-shrinking play area. And, like Fortnite, the most surprising thing about PUBG’s trip to the small screen is that it works so well, with the controls and environment holding together magnificently even on older phones. There’s been a little bit of server instability in its opening few days, but given how solid the rest of the experience is that’s likely to be nixed in short order, making this pretty much the best month ever for battle royale fans.
Ava Airborne for iOS, £Free (Laser Dog) - out 5 April
Taking its cues from laid back infinite sand-boarding game Alto’s Odyssey and its predecessor, Ava Airborne has you attempting to keep hang-glider pilot, Ava aloft as long as possible. As with Alto, that requires just one finger: holding the screen makes Ava ascend, while letting go allows her to drift back down. Avoid obstacles, pop balloons, get fired out of floating cannons and frantically tap the screen to revive your pilot post-collision and prevent her hitting the deck. Graphically it’s pretty sparse and the flight dynamics are simple-going-on-remorselessly shallow, but there’s a world of upgrades to unlock at the usual snail’s pace of freemium titles. Due on Android later this year.
Baldur’s Gate: Siege Of Dragonspear for iOS, Android, and PC, £9.99 (Beamdog)
Baldur’s Gate was originally released in 1998, and while this sequel only emerged on PC in 2016 it’s very close indeed to its ageing but still almost unique source material. Using the rules, characters and monsters of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, with all the arcane complexity that comes with it, Siege Of Dragonspear takes you and your plucky band of adventurers crawling dungeons, having detailed conversations with non-player characters s and generally attempting to overthrow evil using weapons, magic, and light tactics. If you missed the original this will be incomprehensible, featuring no training whatsoever, but if you played Baldur’s Gate you can import your party and just carry on. It’s not as good, but then there’s really nothing else quite like it.
By Nick Gillett
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Source : https://metro.co.uk/2018/03/29/mobile-game-march-2018-round-up-the-best-new-gaming-apps-on-ios-and-android-7425666/