The legal conflict between Epic Games and Apple has already had some fairly substantial fallout. The court of public opinion pressed Apple and Google to reduce marketplace fees for developers on the App Store and Play Store, and a number of Apple's antics have fallen under the scrutiny of politicians and the general public. The hearing also shined light on iMessage's Apple exclusivity, with the company admitting that it kept the messaging platform from Android in order to create a lock-in effect. But apparently that stance wasn't shared with everyone across the board.
Genshin Impact is a free-to-play RPG that has been frequently compared to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, thanks to a similar cell-shaded art style. As you would expect, many gamers have been eagerly anticipating the release of Genshin Impact, and now that it's here, it would seem the wait was actually worth it. Sure, this is a free-to-play release. It's also a gacha game. So all of the typical underpinnings of F2P titles are here. Thankfully genuine care was taken to craft an enjoyable game that doesn't teeter too far into pay-to-win territory, resulting in a game that's not only worth playing but elevates the F2P field by setting a high benchmark that's going to be tough to beat.
Tree Men Games racing series PAKO has found a fair bit of success thanks to its breezy controls and casual obstacle avoidance gameplay. The last title we covered was PAKO 2, which was released two years ago, and expanded on the original title's gameplay. It was an enjoyable release. Today Tree Men Games has launched PAKO Caravan. It, too, offers a bunch of casual avoidance fun, but it also provides a new mechanic where you'll collect cars in a line, much like the classic video game Snake, making for a familiar but unique experience for seasoned fans of the previous titles.
Afro-Ninja Productions and Armor Games have teamed up once again to bring a sequel to their successful idle RPG Soda Dungeon to a host of platforms on July 9th. Better yet, the publisher and developer duo have released Soda Dungeon 2 in early access on the Google Play Store ahead of its official launch, leaving PC and iOS in the dust. Much like the original, this sequel is a free-to-play release, which means eager fans can check out the game right now without spending a dime.
Samsung held its annual Unpacked event yesterday, revealing a plethora of products, such as the new S20 line of phones. In an effort to make these phones look appealing to gamers, Samsung also announced that Microsoft's racer Forza Street will come to the Galaxy Store this spring as a free-to-play release. Of course, the game is already available for pre-registration on the Google Play Store, and seeing that I'm an extremely impatient person, I've sideloaded the APK (V29.0.9) to take the title for a spin to see exactly what it has to offer.
D3 Go! has announced today that its next mobile game is called G.I. Joe: War On Cobra, and it will be officially launched on Android on January 20th. The title is already available for pre-registration on the Play Store, and for the most part, it would seem that this will exist as a branded release that contains the same amalgamation of gameplay mobile gaming is best known for. So if you're looking to play yet another gacha game that's betting on '80s nostalgia to get people interested in a title built around the same shallow card-based strategy mechanics we've all experienced over and over again, I suppose G.I.
If you live in a smaller or more obscure country, chances are you won't have access to paid apps on the Play Store. Thankfully, Google is always looking to expand support to more nations, and another batch has just been added to the list, Iraq chief among them.
In this day and age, it's easy to be cynical about the games industry, advertising, and the general state of a lot of consumer technology. Google has magnanimously decided to help Android game developers increase monetization opportunities by offering means to re-capture wayward players and keep paying ones happy in ad-free bliss. How, you might ask? Two ways: using ads to draw people back into a game and by using machine learning to only serve advertisements to those deemed less likely to buy in-app purchases.
There is no doubt that Hipster Whale is best known for its immensely popular endless arcade hopper Crossy Road, but did you know this is also the same company that developed Pac-Man 256 and Shooty Skies? That's a solid track record that speaks for itself, but if you've been wondering what the studio has been up to since Disney Crossy Road landed on the Play Store in 2016, then you'll want to take a look at its new self-published title Piffle, an adorable multi-ball brick-breaking game that mixes in some of the familiar bubble popping gameplay from Bust-a-Move.
A few months ago I wrote about the pre-registration announcement for Bandai Namco's casual free-to-play fighter Dragon Ball Legends, and it was clear that the game was going to be a more cinematic take on Tekken Mobile with a Dragon Ball skin slapped on top. Tapping on cards to pull off a few power moves as you balance holding your thumb on the screen to charge their power is really all there is to it, which in the end plays out more like a game of rock paper scissors instead of the traditional fighting games we are all familiar with.