For our younger readers out there, it’s a bit hard to explain just how hot mutants were in the 1990s. Between Marvel’s X-Men hitting soaring heights and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles slicing and dicing their way into the hearts of kids everywhere, there was no better time to have genetic anomalies. It seemed like every company with mutant characters were pushing them forward, and every company without them was making their own. Just the word ‘mutant’ itself was enough to draw attention. So it was perhaps no surprise when SNK introduced Mutation Nation ($3.99) in 1992 for its NEGOGEO system. A beat-em-up filled to the brim with mutants to battle? Sure, why not?
Over the years, there have been many games that debuted on consoles and PC, that felt perfect for potential mobile versions. Dicey Dungeons ($4.99) took things further. It even looked like it was built for mobile interactions from the start, but it is the rare game that feels amazing with touch or button controls across all platforms. The deckbuilding roguelike dungeon crawler hybrid experience Dicey Dungeons is a fascinating game that might be my favorite mobile game of 2022 even though it is a late port. I’ve now played it across Steam Deck, Switch, and iOS for review, and will be comparing those versions with the iOS release as with my other port reviews.
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.