Just last week SEGA published Football Manager Mobile 2016, a version of its long-running soccer management sim that skips out on fancy graphics in order to make it play nice with older hardware. Now Football Manager Touch 2016, a more high-powered version with full 3D simulated football matches, has joined it. SEGA's naming scheme is a little convoluted: Touch is more of a high-end game than Mobile, though both of them support mobile hardware and touch controls.
It's also much more expensive. FMM2016 wasn't cheap at $8.99 plus in-app purchases, but Football Manager Touch 2016 costs a whopping $19.99... and yes, it still has in-app purchases, up to $6.99.
Isn't it interesting that now that we have the kind of graphical horsepower that our parents could only dream about while they were playing Pong and Adventure, we seem to be developing a serious case of nostalgia addiction. While high-end console and PC games are starting to look photorealistic, simpler fare like Minecraft and Crossy Road are earning enough money to make Solomon blush. Take Horizon Chase: it's about as simple as racing games come, but its charming graphics and straightforward setup are taking the mobile gaming world by storm.
Considering the last year of events in the NFL, my usual cheeky poking of soccer fans would probably be in bad taste. After all, when one of the most visible "managers" in America's version of football is Jerry Jones, a man who would probably punch a baby in the face while he ate a puppy sandwich if it meant he could win a Superbowl, I'm in no position to take jabs at The Beautiful Game.* So, for all you football fans who dream about managing a World Cup team, SEGA is back with another entry in its endless Football Manger series.
Turn-based games are perfect for mobile platforms. The fact that they're essentially paused after every move means you can play in bits and pieces throughout the day. That same relatively slow pace means that the disadvantages of touchscreen controls are erased, and in fact the UI can be optimized for taps and swipes. If the rest of the game is designed well (particularly to account for a smaller screen), a turn-based game on a phone has the potential to be more engaging than a console or PC equivalent.
Remember those Terran levels in the original Starcraft, where your entire planet was being overrun with H.R. Geiger knock-offs and all hope seemed lost? Remember how you wished you could jump down into your screen, strap on a suit of power armor, and serve up hot lead to all comers instead of directing troops like an omnipotent general? Well since Blizzard is never (never) going to give us Starcraft Ghost and Microsoft won't let Halo out of the Xbox playpen, Crimsonland might just be the closest you can get to that experience.
You wear a disguise, to look like human guys, but you're not a man, you're a Chicken Boo. The classic Animaniacs sketch, wherein a six-foot chicken passes himself off as human in various Chaplin-style short farces, might very well be one of the inspirations for indie gaming hit Octodad: Dadliest Catch. In this casual physics game you play an eight-legged cephalopod trying to live the American dream, passing himself off as an average Joe as he gets married, enters the workforce, and raises a family.
At the moment pixelated faux-retro graphics are all the rage, partly because they're trendy, partly because they don't require lots of hardware resources to implement, and (let's be honest) partly because they're easier for developers to create than high-resolution 2D sprites. So occasionally it's nice to see a game like In Between, which bucks the trend with both characters and backgrounds that are completely unique and drawn by hand. Check out the trailer below to see what I mean:
Lately it seems that "retro" games have become synonymous with faux NES-era pixelated graphics. And while some pixel art is impressive, it's often just a means of seeming somewhat trendy without having to put in the extra effort and expense of making high-resolution 2D graphics work well. Not so with the latest SHIELD exclusive: Pix the Cat manages to blend truly nostalgic gameplay with absolutely gorgeous 2D visuals for an altogether unique experience. Unfortunately you'll need either a SHIELD Android TV or SHIELD Tablet (and a hefty $10) to play it.
The gameplay of Pix is somewhere between Snake and Pac-Man.
Remember that brief period in the late 90s and early 2000s when every other console game came with a seizure warning? The developers of Raywar: Pandemonium might want to consider adding one to their game. Twin-stick shooters with "retro" graphic elements have begun to blend together since Geometry Wars typified the sub-genre, but this entry pushes the visual elements over the top with absolutely insane levels of lighting effects, on-screen enemies and pickups, and shiny, shiny explosions. Check out the video below, which hardly does the game justice.
NVIDIA must be paying its developer partners really well. That's the only reason I can think of that so many developers of 2D games, which could be played well on just about any modern Android device, keep creating SHIELD-exclusive games. Heck, half of Devolver Digital's current games could run on a bargain bin tablet ripped from a Wallgreens shelf. So I invite you to wonder just how many potential sales Frima Studio (developer of previous wide releases like Nun Attack) is giving up by making Chariot exclusive to the SHIELD TV... and how much NVIDIA incentivizes developers to make up for those sales.