Nintendo's kid-friendly multiplayer shooter Splatoon has been making a splash (sorry) in the wider gaming world ever since its release, thanks to an engaging mix of bright, colorful design and fresh gameplay ideas. We're never going to see the full Splatoon on Android (even when Nintendo does get around to making mobile games), but if you'd like something with a similar feel, give Splash Cars a try. It hits a lot of the same notes in a single-player mobile package.
If you haven't yet checked out Rick & Morty, Adult Swim's delightfully foul science fiction cartoon, you're missing out - and not just on obscure Android Police posts. The show is only two seasons old, but it's taken the Internet by storm, filling the irreverent, high-concept, mean-spirited place that Futurama used to hold. For those of you who are already addicted and waiting patiently for season three, take a portal ride over to the Play Store: Adult Swim Games just released a licensed game that drops Rick & Morty into a tongue-in-cheek version of Pokemon.
When the best thing that you can say about the latest crop of a long-running video game property is that "the tie-in children's TV show isn't completely terrible," it's not a ringing endorsement. Such is the case with Sonic Boom: after nearly two decades of hit-and-miss remixes on the familiar Sonic formula, SEGA hit a real stinker with the almost universally-reviled Wii U/3DS dual release last year. The "hip" new designs for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and the rest of the gang might have been forgiven if the game itself hadn't been one of the worst entries in Sonic's 24-year catalog.
It's odd, then, that SEGA is continuing the "Sonic Boom" label with its latest mobile game, instead of relying on the tried-and-true classic version of sonic that appeals to the nostalgia crowd.
When Amazon announced Underground, the remodeled Appstore that features the ability to play paid and freemium games (as well as other apps) for free, I immediately raised the question of how they planned to make money on this venture. Users obviously benefited by getting free stuff and certain developers would make more money since Amazon compensates them on a per-minutes-used basis. But where was the cash flow to Amazon?
A deeper dive into their developer documentation gives a clue. The following comes under a heading labeled "Interstitial Advertisements":
When a user launches an Amazon Underground app for the first time, a welcome message in the form of an interstitial ad plays.
If you're a fan of the super-popular top-down MOBA genre (think Dota, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm), you'll want to sit up and take notice of a little game called Vainglory. This mobile interpretation of the well-known formula has been built from the ground up for touchscreens, and the experience has been praised on iOS since its launch back in November. It's available for free today on the Play Store.
Vainglory doesn't make an attempt to hide its inspiration. If you're not familiar with the standard MOBA formula, it's basically a shorter and more action-packed version of a real-time strategy game where each player controls a single unit.
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. To look upon this game is to go mad.
No, not just because it's another fairly brainless free-to-play mobile game - which it is.
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? Do you consider Ronso prettier than Wookies? Can you actually tell all of the Cids apart? This game might just be your dream come true, as long as you're not put off by the F word.
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.
Pictured: not something you want to see in your "free" game.