Batman always saves the day in the nick of time. So it's a bit out of character for him to come to Android for a mobile tie-in to his latest high-profile PC and console game... a full nine months after the game came out. Which is, incidentally, nine months after the iOS version of the tie-in game was released. At this point, we're probably closer to the release of the next full Arkham game, Arkham Knight, expected early next year.
Update: After we reached out to a Google representative, the company gave us the following statement:
We’ve been working closely with the European Commission and consumer protection agencies for the last few months to make improvements to Google Play that will be good for our users and provide better protections for children.
The representative was unable to comment on potential changes for the Play Store in the US or other non-European locations.
You almost have to respect the developers of Game of Thrones Ascent, a free-to-play role playing game based on HBO's uber-popular dark fantasy series. It takes real guts to make a text-based game these days, especially one that's clearly aiming for a wide audience. And despite the pretty backgrounds and sweeping music, that's what Ascent is: a text-based adventure game, set in the unforgiving and ruthless lands of Westeros. It's a free download in the Play Store.
The various detractors of the free-to-play gaming model, including yours truly, often refer to such titles from the likes of Glu and Gamevil as "pay-to-win." That's never been so true as in FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE 2 PLAY, where an ogre steals the princess and you have to literally ransom her back. You could spend hours and hours grinding through the 2D platformer, avoiding the advertising that will crush you and stomping on it to collect coins, slowly building up to 1,000,000 in-game dollars.
There are a lot of people upset with Electronic Arts, and more than a few of them are unhappy about the company's mobile re-release of Dungeon Keeper. Even the CEO called the mobile game, which is riddled with in-app purchases alien to the original, "a shame." But an empty apology is unlikely to placate the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority, which today declared EA's description of the game as "free to play" to be misleading advertising.
Have you ever seen marionette puppets feign a martial arts battle? They look a lot like the fighters in Dragon Finga, a 2D brawler that lets the player control multiple points of articulation at once to take on enemies. Usually rag doll physics in 2D games look a little janky (see Flop Fu for a good example), but Dragon Finga's tongue-in-cheek take on classic Hong Kong fighting cinema is a surprisingly effective game in its own right.
Free-to-play is a divisive topic in the games industry right now. Some developers and publishers, especially in the mobile gaming world, love it - free games get downloaded more, and they have the potential to bring in more revenue. Gamers used to the "pay once, pay forever" model of games and software in general over the last 30 years think it's changing the industry and damaging both the economics and the mechanics of gaming itself.
You can't talk about mobile gaming without mentioning the elephant in the room: the free-to-play model. The bane of many a purist gamer and unwitting parent, an over-reliance on free downloads and hooks for in-app purchases has made mobile gaming a minefield of games based on upsell and addiction. Italy's had enough, and its antitrust authority is investigating app store owners Google, Apple, and Amazon, and game publisher Gameloft, for unfair commercial practices.
Google's recent foray into Maps-based monster catching has proven that even full-grown Android users love them some Pokemon. Maybe that's why storied publisher SEGA has decided to make its own entry in the monster-catching genre. But why, oh why, is the core mechanic in Dragon Coins based around those little quasi-gambling quarter-shooter arcade games?
Try to follow along here: in Dragon Coins, your party of anime-style monsters is represented by little drawers in a shelf.
Diner Dash was one of the first incarnations of the modern casual game: simple mechanics that are easy to learn and hard to master. Wikipedia says that publisher PlayFirst has seen over 550 million downloads of the game in its various versions, to say nothing of sequels and spin-offs. That's probably why Glu Mobile, one of the more visible mobile game publishers, has snatched up the company. Glu's stock priced jumped 8% this morning on the announcement.