Ubisoft seems to have an odd fixation with horse-themed mobile games. The publisher made an Android version of the inexplicably popular Howrse, a sort of equestrian-themed adaptation of free PC RPGs like Ragnarok Online. Now Ubi has created its own horsy mobile game, the innocuously-titled Horse Haven World Adventure.
It's terrifying. Completely, utterly terrifying. If H.P. Lovecraft and H.R. Geiger had some kind of genetically engineered offspring with too many initials, it would not come close to approaching the horror that lies beneath Horse Haven World Adventure.
Final Fantasy Record Keeper has been out for a bit in Japan, and now it's opening up to a larger market, overwhelming even more players with heavy doses of unapologetic 90s nostalgia (and some from the early 2000s). The game lets you relive Final Fantasy highlights using a combination of your favorite heroes shrunken down into cute, little sprites.
Have you ever argued over whether Cloud and Squall had the cooler sword?
Here at Android Police, we've made our position on the prevalence of free-to-play mobile games perfectly known, to wit: most of them suck. It often seems like instead of embracing the audience-widening possibilities that the phrase "free game" implies, developers and publishers use it as an excuse to design games around compelling in-app purchases for more and more fleeting rewards. The phenomenon is well-documented, so I won't bore you with the inherently manipulative methods of most F2P games - you can read here and here if you really need a refresher.
The original Beach Buggy Blitz was one of the first graphically-intensive games on Android, a frequent install for people who wanted to show off the power of their new phone or tablet. That being said, it was a bit simplistic: you "raced" along an endless beach, more or less playing catch up until you ran out of time. The sequel, Beach Buggy Racing, is much more of a conventional kart racer.
After toying around with Assassin's Creed Pirates' price tag over the past few months, Ubisoft has decided to drop it entirely. The game contains in-app purchases that raise revenue through other means, but now players are empowered to hop in and start sailing without having to pay a cent.
Ubisoft has also updated the app with a "Cold Blood" chapter that leaves behind the warm Caribbean for the frigid Arctic Seas. A new crew member that can help gather resources is present to help players survive this new adventure, and there are new ship customization options.
When a vastly updated 1Password app hit the Play Store earlier this summer, developer AgileBits still wasn't sure on how it was going to price its revamped product. At the time, the app was free to use for anyone who wanted to put it through its paces, but the company planned to eventually tuck most of the features into a premium version. Now the team has followed through and settled on a freemium pricing model, which it is introducing with the app's 4.1 update.
Many game developers these days are going free-to-play, permitting people to download their creations for free only to nickel and dime them for additional lives, time, characters, levels, coins, or anything else that may be required to make the experience actually enjoyable. In an interview with Pocket Gamer, Double Stallion, the team behind Big Action Mega Fight, explained how it decided to buck this trend by turning their freemium game into a premium one - and how they ultimately ended up making more money in the process.
With a name like "Disco Zoo," you can probably tell that Tiny Tower developer NimbleBit isn't taking its latest game entirely seriously. And indeed, this really isn't a Zoo Tycoon-style game, and it isn't trying to be. In Disco Zoo, you "rescue" animals under questionable circumstances, then display them in marginally unsafe conditions to farm money out of gawking patrons. And then you throw a disco party.
Disco Zoo is a mix of Kairosoft-style pixelated property management (slightly modified to fit the free-to-play model), and, strangely, minesweeper.
Update #1: Rovio has since taken to its blog to address the issue. Regarding Android in particular, the company has this to say:
On Android the issue occurs because, for technical reasons, the purchase history cannot always be restored on that platform. Our customer support is aware of the issue and we would recommend contacting us at [email protected] to anyone who is still experiencing this.
We've reached out to the company for further clarification.
If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.