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.
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.
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.
Last week, Feral Interactive released Creative Assembly and SEGA’s beloved strategy classic Total War: MEDIEVAL II ($14.99) on iOS and Android devices. Unlike past Total War releases that either launched on iPad first or saw Android releases later, the developer has brought the full release to iOS, iPadOS (universal) and Android simultaneously in an excellent conversion that brings the full strategy experience to mobile devices and tablets for the first time.
Given the time and place the NEOGEO occupied, it’s surprising that it didn’t have more shoot-em-ups than it did. I mean, I know it had no small number of them, but the number pales next to how many fighting games were on the platform. Blazing Star is one of the better-remembered ones, and the Aero Fighters games certainly had a following. One that came somewhat early in the system’s long life supposedly came by way of some ex-Irem folks, and if that story is true it really shows. Last Resort ($3.99) is a staple of many of SNK’s NEOGEO reissue projects, so it’s not surprise it has also made its way to the mobile Arcade Archives line.
Your brother has been selected to be a sacrifice, and that’s not something that sits right with you. In you go after him, without so much as a weapon by your side. Probably not your best plan. Well, at least the dungeon is only… 100 levels deep. And these aren’t like the floors of your local dying shopping mall, either. Each one has at least one way to kill you, and most have a few. Sometimes you’ll be quickly dodging around fireball traps activated by pressure plates. Other times you’ll be doing the combat dance with some goblins. Most monsters can kill you in a single swipe, so you’ll have to be light on your feet. Luckily there are a few traps you can use to your own advantage if you play things right.
It’s taken a little while, but the final game in Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster project has arrived. In some ways, it’s the game that people have most been looking forward to in this line. In other ways, there’s been a hint of dread about it. Given the scope of the other Pixel Remasters and the state of the original Final Fantasy VI, this game perhaps stood to benefit the least from this remake. Yet for mobile gamers, it’s not so much about taking the place of the original game but rather the somewhat maligned 2014 remake. That feels like an easier bar to clear, at least.