The original HOOK ($1.99) had a very simple idea behind it. You were presented with a tangled mess of hooks and loops, and you needed to remove each one without snagging any others. Extremely simple at first, but as the puzzles rolled along, additional layers of complexity were woven in. By the end, the puzzles would take a blend of careful observation and patience to untangle. As an added bonus, those later puzzles were also beautiful objects to look at. The game was a surprise hit, and it left people hungry for more.
A few weeks back, we took a look at Burning Fight ($3.99), one of SNK’s many early attempts at striking beat-em-up gold on its fledgling NEOGEO platform. It almost shamelessly cribbed from Capcom’s Final Fight, and it was perhaps that lack of thematic individuality that hurt it in the end. Well, no one can accuse Robo Army ($3.99) of not having its own identity. Robot warriors that can beat down their robot enemies with their own arms, and sometimes turn into cars for a while? Yes, I think SNK got to that particular well first.
Seven and a half years ago, the original Hero Emblems ($2.99) was released on the App Store. Just under six years ago, its sequel was formally announced and a trailer was shown. A couple of weeks after that, I played Hero Emblems II ($6.99) for the first time while attending the 2016 Tokyo Game Show. At that time, the folks at Heat Pot Games told me that the game was still a ways off from release, with a late 2017 date at the absolute earliest.
One of the tough things about being a newcomer to the console manufacturing party is that you generally won’t get a lot of third-party support until you’re well-established. That means you have to carry your system with your own power, filling any and all gaps as needed. The NEOGEO was not a typical platform, of course. Indeed, the home console version was likely of secondary concern to SNK. But even in the arcades, it was selling a platform. If SNK couldn’t provide fresh titles in the genres players wanted on a regular basis, there was always going to be room for another company’s cabinet. It’s a big ask, and it’s a rare company that can handle that kind of demand with grace.
Following the Ace Attorney Trilogy on mobile has been quite a journey since we had the Ace Attorney Trilogy HD hit iOS back in 2013 globally. If you’re not familiar with this release at all, Capcom’s Ace Attorney series has mostly amazing games, memorable characters, great music, and superb courtroom cases spread across multiple games on different platforms. Mobile has been lucky with the full set of mainline games available, while current consoles can play the first three and the newly-released in the West set of two games that are only available in Japan on mobile in the form of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. Last week, Capcom delisted the Ace Attorney Trilogy HD and released the new and improved version in the form of the Ace Attorney Trilogy ($19.99) which is out now as a premium release. For this Ace Attorney Trilogy iOS review, I’m going to try and compare all the versions I can as always with these reviews of ports, but I am also going to cover why despite all the improvements, this might not be for you.
Up until now, I haven’t been paying a great deal of attention to Netflix’s gaming offerings. Sure, I have a subscription, but that is mainly for Spider-Man related purposes. But the recent additions and announcements have caught my attention, with Poinpy (Free) chief among them. A new game from Ojiro Fumoto, the creator of Downwell? Yes, please.
Somehow, Diablo Immortal (Free) is here. It was announced back in November 2018 in a presentation that has been written into memetic legend. It feels like a million years ago that the words “Do you guys not have phones?” were uttered by a fellow who probably regretted them as soon as they left his mouth. The explosive (and not in a good way) reaction from fans. A slow and steady development. A global pandemic. The rise of Apple Arcade. All that nonsense between Epic and Apple with Fortnite. Serious allegations against Blizzard and Activision. Microsoft buying the whole darned shebang. And somehow, Diablo Immortal is here.
Square Enix celebrated the 36th birthday of the Dragon Quest series in Japan by releasing the original Dragon Quest Builders ($21.99) on mobile. Dragon Quest Builders was a pleasant surprise for me when I played the PS4 game back in 2016. If you’ve never heard of Dragon Quest Builders, it is a spin-off series that blends the Minecraft aesthetic and building with the charm of Dragon Quest. The original Dragon Quest Builders saw a sequel on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC that built (no pun intended) on the original in almost every way making it a much better game. That’s what made this mobile release of the first game feel a little confusing. Having played it across multiple iPhones and iPads alongside consoles to compare the visuals, Square Enix has done quite a bit to improve the game here, but there are some baffling issues holding it back from being as awesome as it should be on mobile.
When I played Streets of Rage 4 () on Nintendo Switch at launch, I was blown away by how it looked, played, and sounded. I’ve since replayed it multiple times across basically every platform and it has moved into the list of games I install on all platforms for easy access when I want to relax alongside games like Dead Cells, No Man’s Sky, and whatever rhythm game I’m currently playing. Playdigious announcing Streets of Rage 4 for mobile was awesome, because I had another platform I can play this masterpiece on, and get to see how this version of the game compares to consoles and the PC version including how it runs on Steam Deck. As with my other reviews of ports on mobile, I’ll also be comparing the different versions.
While I have given up on reviewing every single one of these weekly Arcade Archives releases from SNK and Hamster, I will occasionally be popping in for games that I really like. Aero Fighters 2 ($3.99) is one of those games, so here we are. Unlike many of the games we’ve looked at so far, Aero Fighters 2 wasn’t anywhere near the system’s launch window, hitting instead during the middle of the NEOGEO’s most active period on the market. This is also a noteworthy release in that it’s technically one of the relatively small number of third party games for the console, having been created by Video System.