Square Enix, listen to me: stop making Android ports. Please. You're really bad at it. All of these games, most of which are decades old and extremely expensive by mobile standards, are embarrassingly lacking in polish and features.
Take the latest, Dragon Quest VI. By all accounts it's a classic JRPG, and one that many never got to play in the west since the original Super NES version was only released in Japan.
Yep, we're reviewing the iOS version. Don't worry, we're not planning on making a habit of this. Fallout Shelter is one of the only mobile games in recent years to garner true attention from the mainstream gaming press, and it has skyrocketed to the top of the App Store since its release. It is an exceptional case. Since an Android port is currently under development and the ETA unknown, I felt it would be best do a review now while the game is still fresh in the minds of many people, instead of waiting months to review something that would already be old.
Pity poor Sonic the Hedgehog. The guy is basically the Dallas Cowboys of the video game world: after gaining almost universal appeal in the 90s, his victories over the last few years have been few and fleeting. But SEGA isn't giving up on its blue mascot, if only because he's probably the only marketable franchise that isn't a Kickstarter campaign or a hyper-sexualized murder machine. So here we are, with a new Sonic game that sees one of the most iconic platforming stars in the world... aping mobile endless runners.
To be fair, Sonic as an endless runner makes a lot of sense, and Sonic Runners (a bit on the nose, ain't it?) does a good job blending the genre's standard single-tap controls with classic Sonic elements.
Not many Android apps can say they've been installed a billion times. In fact, before today there were only ten - and out of those ten, only three of them were non-Google apps (and all owned by Facebook). Today Google's first party messaging client, Hangouts, joins this elite group of billion-device apps... notably behind its competitors, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
A billion installations doesn't mean a billion users, it means one billion different Android devices have downloaded the app once. (Phones and tablets now out of service count, multiple downloads and updates don't.) That said, Hangouts' daily users probably number in the hundreds of millions at this point, if only by virtue of its inclusion as the default SMS app on many Android phones.
Baseball fans who recall more pixelated ages of gaming will remember R.B.I. Baseball as one of the more consistently good MLB franchises, and it's been revived for mobile platforms. Surprisingly, it's a true premium game - five bucks gets you the entire experience, complete with licensed teams, stadiums, and player likenesses, all without an in-app purchase in sight. It's an odd and happy thing to see come out of a pro sports license.
The 2015 edition of R.B.I. Baseball is more than just a roster update. This year's version includes 3D stadiums for each team that mirror their real-world counterparts, roster management in full simulation style or the 16-player lineup you may remember from the original games, "over 1000" pro ball players with accurately modeled statistics (and no BS leveling up), and the ability to save and resume full games.
Facebook would really appreciate it if you would help them take over the world. You know, if you're not too busy or anything. To that end, they've decided to make Facebook Messenger (recently graduated from a simple social network feature to a quasi-platform) truly stand on its own. So now you can use Facebook Messenger even if you're not one of the billion or so people with a Facebook account - or even if you are, and you don't want to associate your account with your messages.
Facebook made the announcement in its official Newsroom blog, encouraging new users to simply use their phone numbers to create a Messenger profile.
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.
Circa News launched on Android in late 2013, and right from the start it was a neat way to keep up on the day's events. However, CEO and co-founder Matt Galligan has announced via Medium that Circa is shutting down its news operation. The company is low on cash and has yet to figure out how to monetize, so that's the end.
The standalone Photos app was released to the public during last month's Google I/O conference, finally completing the separation with Google+ as rumors (and facts) had long suggested. While the new Photos app was widely accepted as an improvement in many ways, it also lacked many of the enhanced editing features that had made the old version so useful. Unfortunately, installing the standalone Photos app effectively hid access to the version built into Google+. That was probably a pretty good sign about what was to come. With the latest update to Google+, users who have stuck to the old version will be warned that it is not long for this world.
The Steam app for Android has been rocking the same ancient UI since it launched years ago, but that changes today. The app has jumped from v1.1 all the way to 2.0 and it comes with a revamped UI. It's being called "material," but I don't know if I'd go that far. It's still a vast improvement over the old app.