It’s E3 week, which means the movers and shakers of the video game world are all in Los Angeles meeting up and seeing what’s coming next. Just not any of the Gamezebo staff this year, as we continue to battle our crippling fear of crowds and other people. Just kidding … as far as you know.
Anyway, E3 week isn’t always the greatest for mobile games, except for two years ago when the gaming gods folks at Bethesda blessed us with the gift that was Fallout Shelter and got everyone talking about mobile for a while. Good times!
There was nothing like that in 2017, even though E3 continues to grow in importance for this sector of the industry. And the app stores still got a full complement of new releases, including the addition of a brand new entry in one of the longest running franchises phones and tablets have ever seen. Let’s dive into them now.
Angry Birds Evolution
Okay, it’s not clear exactly when the Angry Birds went from lovable to scary, but if some of the birds in this new game showed up at our door, we’d barricade ourselves inside the office. It’s pretty amazing how far Rovio has come in terms of both presentation and design since the original Angry Birds, and you’ll see what we mean as soon as you download Evolution. This one is more of a tactical RPG, but it retains the OG series flavor because you still have to pull back and aim when you make attacks. There’s a PvP mode and plenty of cool stuff to see, so if there’s any life left in this IP, one hopes this game would find it.
The original Framed was one of those titles that grabbed you with its unique style as soon as you saw a trailer for it and just never let go of you. Not literally, of course, that would probably be at least misdemeanor assault. Oh, and it had Hideo Kojima’s personal seal of approval, so there’s that. The sequel is apparently actually a prequel, as it takes place prior to the events of the first game. It still looks incredibly cool, so even without the element of, “Wow, this looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before” going for it, one expects this could be well worth your time and money.
This is an augmented reality title that uses real airplanes as targets for you to skyjack. Wait … what? As the App Store write-up assures us, “This is a game! It is built for fun and not for any activities that might endanger yourself or the lives of others. The flight data used in this game is publicly accessible and used by many other websites and plane tracking apps found in the App Store.” Ah, so … good. When you find planes nearby, you can act like you are taking control of them and either divert them or let them proceed to their original destinations. A cool idea that probably will force you to explain it multiple times to make sure people around you don’t call law enforcement.
No weekly list of new mobile games is complete without one entry that is simply bats–t crazy. From a premise perspective, Fowlt is definitely that, as it tells the tale of an owl who finds itself in Hell. There’s probably a theological discussion to be had here, but we’ll simply focus on the minimalist graphics and intense-looking gameplay and say that this game has our attention. Simple controls, huge bosses and buzzsaws that we assume cut you in half over and over for eternity … all things you didn’t know you wanted but probably do.
Accept no substitutes! I’ve always wanted to say that for some reason. It applies here because Slayaway Camp charmed us in its own demented way when it came out on iOS, marrying puzzle solving, atmospheric horror tropes and Minecraft-esque graphics in a manner that, frankly, we wish we would have thought of ourselves. Some people tried to ape that formula for the wild and woolly world of Google Play, but the real thing has now arrived for Android gamers. That’s a good thing.
There have been a lot of Asphalt games from Gameloft over the years, so many that it’s hard to keep track of them all. This one isn’t part of the main series; that is, there is still an Asphalt 9 in the works, and this isn’t that. Rather, it’s the Asphalt version of drag racing that other companies have already proven works really well on mobile. Will Street Storm have some new tricks to show the old dogs? It’s free to download so there’s no barrier to finding out.
Noddlecake has certainly been busy, as the studio just released Bouncy Hoops. Flipping Legend appears to be what you’d get if you stuck a rhythm game and a pixelated adventure in a blender and poured out whatever you got after putting them on high for a spell. What’s interesting is the hidden depth it promises, with eight playable characters that all have their own abilities and skill trees. You could almost say it’s more than meets the eye, but we’re pretty sure there’s a big IP out there with a trademark on that phrase.
Do digital eggs come before digital chickens or vice versa? You may find out the answer to that question in this game, where you discover the last working prototype of the system invented by the titular Dr. Nakamoto. Once you hatch a digital egg, it becomes a new take on the time-honored virtual pet thing, and you’ve got to keep it alive, happy and healthy. It might evolve into a more advanced digital life form after a while, or you can simply move on and try hatching one of the other 81 pets. Weirdly cute or cutely weird. Maybe both.
We could all use a little more quality Metroidvania in our lives, and according to people who have played it on console or PC, forma.8 resembles that description. Stranded on an unexplored alien planet, you’ve got to find and recover a powerful energy source before it’s too late. The write-up promises “ancient civilisations, great perils and dystopian visions,” and all in the same game. The usual array of power-ups and boss battles awaits as you uncover all of the game’s secrets. Bonus points for actually describing itself as a Metroidvania game.
Ninjas are from the past, but their skills could still be useful in the future. See, they’re masters of the whole stealth thing, and that comes in handy when one wants to infiltrate powerful but evil corporations and uncover what they’re scheming. In this case, it’s cloning an army of ninjas to use for … well, evil, probably. So you’ve got to ninja like you’ve never ninjaed before to ensure that your fellow ninjas don’t get cloned to become bad ninjas. Take that, keyword stuffing.
This interesting looking puzzler puts you in control of what look like disco balls and using them to wreck stuff. The designer says there are no tutorials or explanations, so you’ve got to figure out the various game mechanics on your own. Even after you do that, there’s supposed to be an hour of gameplay, with levels “designed to surprise, enchant, and give you a fantastic puzzle game experience.” You could definitely do worse than that.
The sequel to what Flat Black claims was the “somewhat-acclaimed retro-rpg, Lowlander” (and K. Dot would appreciate that attempt to be humble), this is taking the throwback RPG to its logical extreme. As in, it says it will “make your iPhone 7 Plus feel like an Apple II+.” And yet it has over 16 hours of gameplay, cloud saves so you can pick up on another device and no IAPs. In other words, all the modern comforts to go with the old school adventuring. Now if there was also a version for the Apple II+, that would be pretty boss.