Author Archives: Eli Hodapp


About the Author

Eli as been obsessed with mobile gaming his entire life. Originally starting with Tiger Electronics handhelds, graduating to the original Game Boy, and upgrading to nearly every handheld platform leading up to modern day portables.

Blizz' has been absolutely killing it these last few years with Hearthstone [Free] esports, and things are only getting better. This afternoon they announced the 2018 Hearthstone Wild Open, which will be a real-deal tournament entirely in the Wild format. If you missed the boat on what "Wild" is, a few years ago Blizzard introduced card rotation into Hearthstone so if you're playing a "standard" Hearthstone game you only need to have cards from the most recent sets. "Wild" includes all Hearthstone cards, and watching games in the Wild format can be nuts...

Best New iPhone Games on Our Forums: 'Death Squared', 'Florence', 'Dice Brawl: Captain's League', 'Purrfect Date', and More

Hey it's International Book Giving Day, which is a great way to unload all those old books you move from apartment to apartment while looking super generous at the same time! Once you've finished doing that, you can relax and play some of the new iOS games that have hit our forums this week. The biggest two releases are probably Death Squared and Florence (which we already reviewed). These initial roundup posts are getting a little weird because of the whole preorder thing, so make sure you check out full listing later in the evening where we catch all that stuff as it hits the App Store...




'Florence' Review - A Brief Fling

'Florence' Review - A Brief Fling

StarStarStarStarStar
February 13th, 2018 6:46 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in 4.5 stars, Games, Interactive Fiction, Reviews

Mountains has been an interesting studio to watch as their team has some serious industry street cred- Particularly with their involvement in both Monument Valley [$3.99] and Cuphead. Backed by Annapurna, it seemed like Mountains had the luxury to release anything they wanted. What they decided on was an interactive love story and after waiting what feels like an eternity, Florence [$2.99] is finally here. Florence is a tricky game to review, as it's the sort of project that invokes all those annoying arguments surrounding what is and isn't a game. (I'm not sure it's possible to lose, it's fairly difficult to not progress, and you can "beat" it in 30 minutes.) I think a better lens to examine Florence through is not as a game, but rather, as a really clever evolution of a visual novel. In that respect, Florence succeeds on a level that's really just sort of absurd...

One thing that still amuses me about the App Store is after all these years it seems like there still isn't a great way to release a game at a specific time and have any level of certainty that it'll actually happen because of how weird iTunes Connect can be. Developers typically pull the trigger early just to make sure there aren't any problems, which is why you see so many games leak out a day or two before their "official" release. (Amusingly, this also creates back-end drama for us as developers sometimes insist their game is "not officially out" yet for coverage purposes, even though anyone can download it.)..

Eli's on the road this week, so we got Carter Dotson to make his return to the show, guest-hosting along with Jared. They discuss several of the news stories that hit this week, including the news about Rules of Survival [Free]'s download success, the new PUBG mobile games in China, the Sid Meier's Civilization VI [Free (HD)] sale, and the news that Mario Kart Tour will be free-to-start on mobile. Along with that, the gang discusses three of the most notable releases of the week: Dandara [$14.99] and its ambitious multi-platform release strategy, Dig Dog - Treasure Hunter [$2.99] and its unique hands-free development, and of course, the shrunken-down Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition [Free].

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read 'em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we're talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you're logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-341.mp3, 44MB

..

New iPhone Games on Our Forums: 'Stickman Disc Golf Battle', 'Dandara', 'Inochi', and More

It's a short list so far of new games that have popped up on our forums, but that's alright because everyone should just be playing Dandara [$14.99]. We've already got a review up, along with another article discussing whether or not it's better on the Switch or on iOS. If you're more into made up holidays than you are iOS games (which would be weird), today is National Fettuccine Day, so be sure to carb up if you have the opportunity...

A few years ago, Tabletopia [Free (HD)] pitched their idea on Kickstarter. In a nutshell, instead of having a million different individual digital board games, why not just build one super solid virtual tabletop that can effectively support any board (or card) game? Clearly, it resonated with tabletop gaming enthusiasts as they raked in just under $134,000 from their original $20,000 goal. The "full" version on PC has over 500 available games in it, and the platform monetizes by limiting how many games you can be involved in at once. Without paying anything you get access to a smaller, non-"premium," game library and you're limited to two game sessions at a time. For $4.99 a month you get access to the "premium" games, and can play up to six games at once. For $9.99 you can have 10 sessions and invite guests to play the "premium" games with you. All in all, it seems like a fair setup, as I'm sure that money is being split a gazillion different ways as many of these digital versions have physical counterparts that are often quite expensive...

When Rules of Survival [Free] first launched, I didn't have much hope in the game because of just how mind-blowingly confusing NetEase's strategy was. Along side one Playerunknown's Battlegrounds knock-off, they also released two more nearly identical games: Knives Out [Free] and Survival Royale [Free]. Why they didn't just pool those resources into one really good game is a mystery to me, but it seems like over time Rules of Survival has come ahead as the NetEase PUBG clone that's most worth playing. It got a massive update this morning, but if you were waiting for an update to pop up on the App Store to start playing, it doesn't seem you need to do that- The game magically updates itself by downloading around 50MB when you launch it today...

Blizzard has been teasing a few major changes to Hearthstone [Free] over the last couple weeks, and the update just went live unleashing those tweaks to the world. First off, as we posted back on the 25th, ranked play is once again being shook up. Instead of being a tiered system with additional ranks taking more and more stars to unlock, now each level is five stars. It's an interesting change, as players who frequently reached levels that required more than five stars to progress might feel like it's easier? Maybe?..

Take a Look at the New Launch Trailer for 'Florence'

Earlier this morning we posted about Annapurna's Florence being available to pre-order on the App Store, but it turns out there's one more Florence snippet to be had today: A launch trailer and a set of screenshots that give us a fantastic (although brief) look into this upcoming interactive love story. Take a look:..

The StreamWorld series of games is one of those family of titles I've always heard fantastic things about but for one reason or another never got around to playing myself. On iOS, we've got SteamWorld Heist [$9.99] which Shaun reviewed when it was first released in 2016. On the Nintendo Switch eShop, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Heist and recently, the original SteamWorld Dig are all available. When looking for something new to play last weekend, I decided to jump directly into SteamWorld Dig 2 which turned out to be a game I blasted through in a single day, taking a little under seven hours to make it through the main campaign without much focus on searching for collectables...

A big part of the news discussion this week surrounds the surprising announcement that a Mario Kart game is coming to mobile. Is it going to be a full-blown racing game like Angry Birds Go [Free], or something closer to CSR Racing [Free] where all you really do is equip your karts with minimal interaction? We could see it going either way, and who even knows if it'll launch in time, so we've got at least a year of speculating ahead of us! As far as games that are out now are concerned, we hit on Run Gun Sports [Free], Unicycle Hero [Free], A Hollow Doorway [Free], Magic Golf [Free], Pako 2 [$1.99], and Disc Drivin' 2 [Free].

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read 'em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we're talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you're logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-340.mp3, 70MB

..

Grab 'A Dark Room' for Free This Weekend

February 2nd, 2018 4:15 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in News

Created by Michael Townsend, A Dark Room [$1.99] is one of those ultra minimalistic browser games that for whatever weird reason went totally viral sometime around the tail end of 2013. It's still playable online, but it seems like the game really took off when the game hit the App Store not long after. It was one of the most downloaded games of 2014, and is one of those games that's way better if you go into it knowing absolutely nothing...

While there's a heck of a lot of different awards and contests out there for mobile games, there's always room for one more, right? Appodeal is a pretty cool SDK developers can use to increase the monetization of their ad-based games by allowing games to run the ads that pay the most across loads of networks. I've heard good things about it, and I sort of like how it pits the ad networks against each other. Anyway, they're running a contest called the "Indie Game Blast Off Contest." They're not giving away actual cash, but instead, a bunch of stuff which could be super valuable if you're trying to get your game off the ground...

While Arena of Valor [Free] is bigger than sliced bread in Asian territories, the game hasn't yet made a similar massive impact on the Western market. You could point your finger at a lot of reasons for this, but the one I find the most reasonable is the stigma towards mobile games from people who would likely really enjoy AoV if they just gave it a try. In Asian countries, hardcore gamers don't have any problem playing games on their phone, which isn't really the case here. This week, an insider at Tencent let us in on plans to turn that perception around with a global mobile esports strategy that aims to put mobile esports on par with esports on any other platform...

HQ Trivia [Free] is close to reaching Flappy Bird-levels of popularity with practically everyone I know, even total non-gamers, playing along. If you haven't fiddle with it yet, HQ is a live trivia game show that fires off a couple times a day and after asking 12 questions awards anyone who gets them all right a share of the prize pool. The game I just played was for $2,500 resulting in a surprisingly decent split of $17.24 per person- All for just diddling around in a game for 15 minutes. Like most trivia game shows, the questions start out easy and rapidly increase in difficulty and obscurity...

Niantic is really upping their trailer game with the latest promotional video for Pokemon Go [Free], it's narrated by Stephen Fry of... well, loads of things. Additionally, ot's scored by George Fenton who among other things is responsible for the music of the Planet Earth series, Life, Frozen Planet, and loads more. It all comes together to create a animated short that I really wish was more than a minute long, check it out:..

Two of the apps I find myself using the most on my iPhone are Discord [Free] and Spotify Music [Free]. Neither should need any kind of introduction, but in case you haven't heard of them, Discord is a gamer-centric chat service that spawned from the defunct mobile MOBA Fates Forever (another piece of Discord trivia: Some of the same folks behind OpenFeint are in charge of Discord). We've got really awesome TouchArcade Discord Server that's filled with hundreds of people talking about iOS gaming around the clock. We also use it to coordinate TouchArcade content, so the whole TouchArcade crew is super active. Spotify Music is my preferred online music service, largely because I've been using it forever and now I'm so deep in the Spotify ecosystem with different Spotify-connected hardware and services I can't ever leave. (This is how they get ya'!) That being said, I have zero complaints with Spotify and the $9.99 I give them is some of the best money I'll spend in a month...

'Mario Kart' is Coming to the App Store via the Just-Announced Game 'Mario Kart Tour'

I don't even. What is happening. Nintendo just announced that Mario Kart is coming to mobile via a new game titled Mario Kart Tour. Due out sometime before March 2019, we've got loads of time to wildly speculate what this game is going to be about. Judging by Nintendo's other efforts on mobile, I doubt it's going to be anything close to a "full" Mario Kart game, but, stranger things have happened...

Best New iPhone Games on Our Forums: 'Onmyoji', 'Hero Hunters', 'Final Fantasy Dissidia Opera Omnia', 'Pako 2', and Loads More

We're finally getting back to "normal" Wednesday mornings- Or, as normal as a Wednesday on the App Store can be, anyway, with a huge amount of games getting released. We've already had news posts (and reviews) published for a few of these, but I'm pretty excited to dive into Pako 2 myself. On the made-up holiday front, today is National Hot Chocolate Day and if you're looking to celebrate with something other than the chalky pre-mix stuff, America's Test Kitchen has a clever alternative...