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.

By now, you've probably heard of HQ Trivia [Free], it's growing at a rate that reminds me of the rise and fall of Draw Something [$2.99 / Free] in that I have friends of mine who I know don't care at all about mobile gaming asking me if I've played it. Like HQ Trivia, Qriket [Free] is another live stream game show anyone can play through an app. They're like something out of an episode of Black Mirror on Netflix, and as soon as I first saw HQ Trivia, I thought to myself, "This is neat but man this format is going to open up so many possibilities." ..

'It's Full of Sparks' Hits the App Store Next Week, Now Published by Noodlecake

Late last year we posted about a rad looking game called It's Full of Sparks which (at the time) was looking for beta testers on our forums. Sometime between then and now the boyz up north, Noodlecake, picked up the game for publishing and has announced that it'll hit the App Store next week. There's even a new(ish) trailer:..

One of the weird things about the freemium side of Arena of Valor [Free] is that (currently) there's a daily gold cap. In our region of North America, without any gold doubling hijinks, the most gold you can earn in any given day is 750. Gold allows you to do important things like buy Arcana and can be used as a substitute for buying heroes with real money (which I don't really recommend until you've got a full set of level III arcana). The problem with this setup is that it's a significant time investment every day to maximize your daily gold earning potential. If you miss out on playing one day, you missed out on that gold cap...

New iPhone Games on Our Forums: Unlikely Heroes, Let Them Come, Dresden Files Co-op Card Game, and More

Things are still a little slow since the holiday rush, which has actually been pretty nice as I've been able to get all sorts of things done that got pushed to the back burner with how wild December was for iOS game releases. In honor of Houseplant Appreciation Day, there's a tiny bundle of new iOS games that have hit our forums recently. The App Store is a weird platform, as on anything else (except maybe Steam), this list of releases would be an overwhelming number of games. In the mobile universe, it's just another slow Wednesday...

'Lord of Dice' Pre-Registrations are Now Available for North America and Oceania

Among the many interest things about the mobile game scene is when you hear of a game that's super popular in Asian regions and then seeing how it does in the west. Arena of Valor [Free], for instance, is the biggest thing ever in China and comparatively has had a super slow launch so far in North America. Lord of Dice is the latest Asian game headed to North America and Oceania, and like all these games, they're doing a pre-registration thing which you can find right here. Pre-registering gives you all sorts of goodies when the game actually launches, with rewards that scale up depending on how many people pre-register...

We loved the direction Telltale took the Batman universe with Batman - The Telltale Series [Free], and that whole vibe continues through the sequel, Batman: The Enemy Within [Free]. What we love about these games so much is that you actually play as Bruce Wayne and Batman, instead of Bruce really only existing in cut scenes. Decisions you make as Bruce Wayne impact your play as Batman, and vice versa. It's really cool, and works incredibly well inside of the narrative arc Telltale has built...

The 'Overwatch' League App is Now Available

January 8th, 2018 5:17 PM EST by Eli Hodapp in News

In the world of esports, few things are as fascinating to me as The Overwatch League. I'm pretty big into the competitive League of Legends scene, but it's always been a little weird to me how team allegiances are formed. In the "real" sports world, chances are you just prefer your local sports teams. When it comes to baseball, I'm a fan of the Chicago White Sox, just because they're my local team. When it comes to esports, things get weird. You might have a streamer you prefer and just sort of gravitate towards the team they're on, or maybe you just like their logo, or a million other reasons...

While it's a little annoying that North America is so far behind the curve on Arena of Valor [Free] compared to Europe and Asia, the up-side of this is they can have a super fast-paced release cycle of new content that is already available in other regions. We're seeing one new hero released every week, with this week's newest addition to Arena of Valor being Kriknak, an assassin beetle-looking hero that plays a lot like League of Legends' Kha'Zix. His abilities all are based on physical damage, but his core damage-dealing ability deals bonus percentage-based magic damage. If your opponents are stacking armor, the magic damage will rip them up, and vice versa...

Hands on With Hi-Rez Studios' Upcoming 'Bot Smashers'

Jared and I have been spending the week down in the arctic tundra of Atlanta to attend the Hi-Rez Expo. It's an annual celebration of all the games made by Hi-Rez Studios, and it kicked off with a keynote where they announced a new mobile title: Bot Smashers. Details were vague at the time, but we just sat down with the game's executive producer Rory "Drybear" Newbrough who overloaded our brains with everything they're doing with Bot Smashers. Check out the video:..

Picking up from yesterday's Arena of Valor [Free] guide series, in this entry I'll be focusing on the Arcana system and how to spend your in-game gold. If you missed the previous guides the best place to start is at the beginning with the basics of MOBAs, but below I include the full table of contents of everything that has been written so far. If you're not sure what Arena of Valor even is, go read our review. The idea of doing these individual guides is never making any one guide too overwhelming, as MOBAs are a super difficult genre to master...

Death Road to Canada [$11.99] was our favorite game last year, and one of the big reasons we gave it our Game of the Year award was that aside from being an all-around great game, the update cycle Rocketcat Games and Madgarden have been on is just nuts. It seems like multiple times last year I was hitting points where I was like, "Alright, I think I've done everything there is to do in this game..." then they'd release another update. Well, keeping in line with the theme of Death Road being the game that keeps on giving, today's update again provides the opportunity to hop back into the game and try out all the new stuff...

Hi-Rez Studios Announces 'Bot Smashers' and Teases more 'Paladins Strike' at Hi-Rez Expo 2018

Jared and I are down in Atlanta this week to attend the Hi-Rez Expo or "HRX". It's super cold here, by Atlanta standards, which is pretty amusing for me coming from Chicago where it was -15ºF on the day I left. But, hey, whatever! HRX is a celebration of all of Hi-Rez Studios' games which includes Smite, Paladins, and Hand of the Gods...

If you're an indie developer, dealing with advertising is something you should be doing, but (as we are fully aware of here on TouchArcade) it really isn't a thing many mobile developers consider anymore. Well, Apple recently released an ad product called Search Ads Basic which allows developers to easily create iTunes search ads with a very predictable cost. Unlike previous iTunes ads, which were an easy way to burn a bunch of money, Search Ads Basic only charges you when someone actually installs your game. I reached to 10000000 [$2.99] and You Must Build a Boat [$2.99] developer Luca Redwood who was tweeting about this earlier today, and he mentioned that when he experimented with the old search ads he was paying nearly $30 for a single $3 install. Comparatively, with the Search Ads Basic you can basically low-ball your cost per install, which on a paid game allows you to turn a profit no matter what on these ads, as you're paying far less per install than you're making on the actual purchase. For example, Luca has paid £11.55 for 23 purchases of YMBAB:..

Continuing where we left off yesterday in our Arena of Valor [Free] guide series, today we are focusing on The Armory and how to win games through intelligent itemization. If you missed the previous guide on the basics of MOBAs, go check that out. Also, if you're totally new to what Arena of Valor even is, take a look at our review. In future guides we'll dig deeper into the individual roles and typical builds for them, but all of those things depend on an understanding of how these main systems work first...

New iPhone Games on Our Forums: Antihero, Shurado, Hex Commander: Fantasy Heroes, and a Few More

If you're not celebrating Festival of Sleep Day by sleeping all day today, we've got a tiny haul of new games that have been released since the iTunes freeze ran out on the 27th. It's still a short week for us in the US (and most of the world?) with New Years Day on Monday, so game releases have been a little strange. Hopefully things spool back up to the same overwhelming Wednesdays we're used to soon. Antihero [$4.99] is probably the biggest game release this week, and we've already got a review up, so be sure to check that out...

Tencent's Arena of Valor [Free] has been "soft launched" in North America for a couple weeks now, and while I gave it in our in our launch day review, I'd score it even higher than that if I could today. It effectively is League of Legends, which is one of my favorite games of all time... So, of course, I've fallen madly in love with Arena of Valor, as it's LoL, but I don't need my PC to play it. The problem with these games, and Arena of Valor is no different, is that doing well in them involves less of a learning curve and more ... smashing your head against a learning wall. MOBAs are incredibly skill intensive games, which is why people get so unbelievably sucked into them, but getting to that point can involve a lot of frustration as you die over and over and over. So, we'll be publishing a series of Arena of Valor guides starting at the absolute basics and (hopefully) culminating in total MOBA newbies seeing some level of success climbing the ranked ladder...

TouchArcade's Top Stories of 2017 - Supercell Games, 'Civilization VI', and 'Rules of Suvrival'

Last year when we went over our top stories, we found that Pokemon Go [Free] had generated so much traffic we had to put all the Pokemon stories into their own category just to allow other games to get on the charts. 2017 didn't really have a mobile game that hit the same level of interest, but random Pokemon stories still performed very well. Unsurprisingly, Supercell games and other free to play mega-hits generated loads of traffic and we're still wondering what in the world they're going to do with Brawl Stars. Now that Arena of Valor [Free] is out in North America, I'm curious if it sees anywhere near the interest here as it has in other regions. If nothing else, I love the game, so you'll see a lot of coverage from me as I follow along with the AoV scene...

TouchArcade Game of the Year 2017: 'Death Road to Canada'

This has been a truly incredible year for iOS gaming. We started with a list of hundreds of fantastic titles, whittled that down to a Top 100 Best Games list, and then started the day off with a short list of eight games in consideration for TouchArcade Game of the Year: Splitter Critters [$2.99], Data Wing [Free], Gorogoa [$4.99], GRID Autosport [$9.99], Cat Quest [$4.99], Reigns: Her Majesty [$2.99], Death Road to Canada [$11.99], and Arena of Valor [Free]. On this week's episode of the podcast, we walk through all of these games and what made them so special before eventually hashing out what was going to win what. Normally, we reserve the video version of the podcast for TouchArcade Patreon backers, but since this is a special event that only comes around once a year, we figured that we'd just put the video up for everyone to see. If you're at all curious about these additional titles, or the reasoning that went into what games won and why, definitely check this out or listen to our Podcast on iTunes:



I'm not sure what kind of witchcraft is enchanting both Rocketcat Games and Madgarden, but it seems like the monkey's paw wish they made years ago is still paying off with their ability to flawlessly release game that push every single one of our buttons. Back in 2014 we awarded Rocketcat Game of the Year for Wayward Souls [$6.99], and this year we are happy to announce that our 2017 Game of the Year is Death Road to Canada.

We absolutely loved the game in our review back when it was released earlier this year. It was the game to beat, and while many games came close, nothing dethroned Death Road to Canada. The roguelike gameplay of completely random games and the absurd events that would transpire made trading tells from your time on the Death Road just as fun as playing the game itself. Additionally, a barrage of updates has pulled us right back into Death Road to Canada multiple times throughout the year. The game was among the most popular titles on our forums as well.



One thing we really loved about our 2016 Game of the Year, Crashlands [$6.99], is how it took a fairly complicated genre and made it unbelievably approachable. The Gentlebros' Cat Quest [$4.99] is dripping with similar magic, and is both a super lightweight RPG you can just play for a few minutes at a time which also features loads of depth if you're looking to explore it. Great touch controls, a ultra cute art style, and perfectly paired music all come together in one of the top must-play experiences of the year. (And our forums also agree!)



With our top two picks being pretty deep in the gamer-y games category, we also wanted to give a special nod to the best iOS puzzler of the year, Splitter Critters [$2.99]. When we first saw this at PAX it was obvious that Splitter Critters was either going to win tons of awards or it'd just be totally under the radar. Thankfully, they ended up winning all sorts of things including an Apple Design Award. As we explain in our review, gameplay involves making tears (or splitting) in the game world to then rearrange those pieces of the level into a way that allows your Lemming-like little blue aliens to reach their space ship. The base game was amazing, and then they updated it to support ARKit, turning one of the best puzzlers of the year into the best AR experience we've seen yet. Folks on our forums also really dig it.

For more end of the year coverage of the best games of 2017, be sure to check out our top 100 best iOS games list, as well as these personal top tens that we've been drizzling out over the week:

Also, if you'd prefer to listen to our Game of the Year discussion in the form of an audio podcast, here's all the links to do that:


iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-336.mp3, 83MB

Thanks a ton for sticking with us all through 2017. It's been a wild year filled with amazing games, and we really can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. Something tells me 2018 is going to be filled with lots of mobile games, but that's just a hunch.

🤔 Like this article?

We pride ourselves on delivering quality, long-form articles like this one instead of the SEO-driven click bait that is slowly taking over the internet. Unfortunately, articles like these rarely generate the traffic (and as a result, the ad revenue) of listicles, cheat guides, and other junk.

Please help us continue producing content like this by supporting TouchArcade on Patreon, doing your Amazon shopping by first visiting, making one-time contributions via PayPal, and/or sending Bitcoin to 1Bodu89YrJKBLwS8y8tVF4XyQ5b2dR2cnK.



Eli's 10 Best Games of 2017 - These Games Need to Be Listed SOMEWHERE

The thing that sucks about putting together a top 100 best games list is that even though it seems like a ton of games, all sorts of awesome stuff inevitably gets left out. Mobile is a totally unique platform where 100 games can be released in a single week, so doing this end of year coverage often feels like trying to fill a shot glass with a fire hose. This year I'm dedicating my list to great games that I feel like should be somewhere in our "best of" year-end coverage...

Tencent's Arena of Valor [Free] launched late this month, and I really just can't get enough of this game. I posted a launch day review, and I still completely stand behind all five of those stars. Arena of Valor is a ton of fun. The one strange thing about the game, however, is the way they're dealing with releasing heroes across regions is ... a bit odd. Each region the game is operated in has a different content release cycle, so the "newest" hero in North America is old news in every other region. Presumably we'll eventually get caught up, but right now the discrepancies between which heroes are available in which region is real weird. For example, other regions have DC Superheroes like Batman and Superman, but those are still "coming soon" in North America. Whatever rhyme or reason is powering all this decided that this week NA is getting Cresht the Mermidon...