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.
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. It's got full races, power-ups, multiple characters and carts, and even single-device split screen multiplayer.
The graphics are a little better in the sequel, though the handling is what has really improved.
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.
Pirates may sound like a companion title to any of the recent Assassin's Creed console titles, but it's actually a full standalone game that's exclusive to mobile titles.
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.
The free version of 1Password will function primarily as a reader app, with users able to view and delete (but not create) items.
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. Going forward, the crew has decided that it's done making free-to-play games.
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. Your sojourns to the wild via hot air balloon are played out on a grid with a limited number of moves available.