You might know Activision Blizzard as the mega-publisher behind huge franchises like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. And you might know King as the mobile publisher behind Candy Crush Saga, the Bejeweled clone that's inexplicably become one of the most popular casual games on the planet. In a few months the two companies will be one and the same: Activision Blizzard has announced its intention to acquire King for a staggering $5.9 billion.
For comparison, that's approximately six times what Facebook famously paid to acquire mobile photo sharing app Instagram. Activision currently has practically zero presence on the mobile game front with the notable exception of free-to-play collectible card game Hearthstone, while King's various games across Android, iOS, Windows, and web platforms have amassed hundreds of millions of downloads and billions of dollars in revenue from in-app purchases.
Activision's Geometry Wars series is one of the more popular casual shooters ever developed and really needs little introduction. Instead of writing something tiresome, I'll just let you watch the trailer for the newest entry in the franchise, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions.
Warning: Viewing The Following Video Is Not Recommended For People With Epilepsy, An Aversion To Techno, Or Who Find The Mass Slaughter Of Innocent Shapes To Be Objectionable.
The big news here is that the franchise has finally released one of their games on mobile platforms. It was first made available a couple months back on iOS, but as of today, it is also available for Android.
Hey, Call of Duty fans: do you want to experience the fast-paced military shooter action, breathless multiplayer competition, and facepalm-worthy single-player campaigns of your favorite console franchise on your mobile device? Well too bad, here's Clash of Clans with some guns and tanks.
Call of Duty: Heroes is the standard base-building, tower defense/offense game that you've seen about a hundred times before, but this time it's got a thin veneer of the CoD franchise sprayed on top. The "Heroes" bit comes from the fact that some of the leading characters of the previous games in the franchise will show up to help boost your forces.
Update: We've checked out the Play Store page on various AP writers' accounts, and apparently the game is now marked as incompatible with everything, including the hardware listed in the description. At this point I'm guessing that the Android app was published prematurely, and this will change on the multi-platform release date for Trap Team, which is October 5th in the United States.
There have been three Skylanders-branded games published on the Play Store so far, Battlegrounds, Cloud Patrol, and Lost Islands. All of them count as Skylanders games, in that they make use of the ubiquitous plastic toys as digital characters.
Do you really like cereal? I mean, a lot? Then Activision has the game for you with Pitfall! Krave. It's a 3D endless runner type game that comes with a totally egregious Kellogg's tie-in. It's free, though, and they're giving away real cash money.
Cabela's Big Game Hunter series has made the jump to Android, and while it may not come with a giant white and orange plastic rifle, it will still let you shoot down forest critters until your heart's content. For the uninitiated, Big Game Hunter is a casual hunting simulator. You won't be fending off hordes of blood-thirsty monsters here, though some of the animals you come across won't take kindly to your creeping around in their neck of the woods.
Big Game Hunter gives you 20 different animals to hunt across multiple environments modeled after the American Northwest, the arctic North, and other isolated locations.
In case you haven't seen Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, the local news, or the latest rabble-rousing speech from your ineffectual Congressman, today is the yearly release of Activision's Call of Duty franchise. Kudos to the publisher: they've managed to get the Android companion app published on day one, so half the male college students in the country can spend today's lecture time customizing their multiplayer loadout.
If you've played a multiplayer shooter in the last few years, you know how this goes. The CoD: Ghosts companion app allows you to adjust your weapons and equipment outside of multiplayer matches and communicate with your clan members in a limited social network, as well as see each other's stats.
For the uninitiated, Skylanders is a series of kid's video games that use collectible (read: expensive) real-world toys to unlock and enhance the power of the digital characters. The games have been smash hits on consoles, but so far Activision's only concession to the Play Store has been Cloud Patrol, a basic turret shooter that leaves a lot to be desired. The new Skylanders Battlegrounds, a more conventional action-RPG, should make much better use of the property.
The game allows you to gradually unlock the Skylanders heroes, or if you've got the titular toys, warp them directly onto the field of battle.
If you've never heard of Skylanders, you either don't have children aged 6-10 or you haven't walked down the video game aisle of a supermarket in the last two years. Today Activision has released the first Android entry in the series, Skylanders Cloud Patrol, which integrates with the eponymous toy line. It's available 18 months after the iOS version - try not to act surprised.
The game is a pretty basic tap-and-drag shooter, tasking the player with shooting down trolls from a mounted turret on an airship. Completing levels and collecting loot lets you unlock more Skylanders characters for use in the game, but if you've got the corresponding Skylanders toy you can unlock it immediately.
Of course it wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of last month's very best games. December, like most months, saw the launch of plenty of great titles. Checking out every last game that debuted in a month can take a long time, though (besides racking up a pretty hefty total). To that end, we have – as always – compiled a short list comprised of six of December's best offerings. No matter what kind of gamer you are, there's something on this list that'll suit your taste.
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery is, in a word, awesome.