While a shop simulator and a dungeon crawler are distinctly different, they are both RPGs, and it isn’t surprising that they blend together well. In a dungeon crawler you will frequently find junk items that serve no purpose other than to fill your all-too-limited inventory, forcing a decision between holding them until later for some coin or discarding them now in hopes of filling that space with something more useful. Some dungeon crawlers will allow you to turn those junk items into enchantments, or gems, or perhaps even crafting them into better equipment. Others try to limit or completely remove the trash with filters, or automatically smelting it down… but, inevitably, some gets through.
After a long wait, Forager from HopFrog and Humble Games finally hit mobile this month by way of an iOS port done by BlitWorks, bringing the crafting survival idle hybrid experience that players on PC and consoles have been enjoying for a while now. BlitWorks does fantastic ports to consoles and I had high expectations for Forager on iOS going in once I learned that the port was done by them. I initially played Forager on both PC and Nintendo Switch and had fun despite the lack of updates on Nintendo Switch initially when I put in close to 60 hours across both platforms. When Forager finally hit Xbox One, a major update hit Switch and PS4 bringing it up to speed with PC, but that update was and still is buggy.
The fantastic tactical RPG XCOM Enemy Unknown surprised a lot of people when it hit iOS a long time ago not just because of the port but also the price point. Fast forward to today and the full sequel has arrived on iOS devices in the form of XCOM 2 Collection ($24.99) as a premium and very demanding release.
One of the cool things about covering one beat for a really long time is in watching developers improve in leaps and bounds over the years. When Valorware first brought 9th Dawn to mobile a whopping seven years ago, it was an impressive throwback to an era of RPGs where the graphics were limited but the worlds seemed nearly limitless. 9th Dawn II ($1.99) arrived a few years later, polishing some rough edges and expanding the possibilities of the world it put in your pocket. Now here in the cursed year of 2020, 9th Dawn III ($9.99) arrives. So many things have changed, but one thing remains the same: the 9th Dawn games are really hard to put down once you get into them.
Now and again, we all grow a little nostalgic thinking of the games we used to play. Be they Diablo, Paper Mario, or, for me, Warcraft III, it’s fun to go back and play them again. Of course, we wouldn’t want to play them exclusively (modern games have made some improvements, after all!) but it is refreshing to note the highlights and draw parallels to the good in modern gaming, as well as the bad.
Originally released on PC back in 2006, Company of Heroes ($13.99) is now on iPad thanks to Feral Interactive. The real time strategy classic has been adapted for touchscreen with two control options and a plethora of enhancements in its newest incarnation on iOS as a premium release. Since this is a Feral Interactive port, expectations are very high given their superlative track record. I’ve been playing Company of Heroes on a first generation iPad Pro (9.7″) over the last week and the conversion is mostly everything I wanted with a few issues holding it back.
One of the earliest iPhone games released on the App Store back in 2008 was Tap Tap Revenge. Following games like Guitar Hero and Rock band before it on consoles, Tap Tap Revenge was structured around having players follow falling, colored dots on the screen and tap as they fell within a hollowed circle at the bottom of the screen. There have been multiple mixed of this idea since the birth of the App Store, but SAAZ ($2.99) takes a welcomed, simplistic spin on the idea while leaving the core mechanics the exact same.
There are some things that you don’t realize you want until you actually have them, and for me this mobile port of Konami’s classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ($2.99) is one of them. This is one of my favorite games of all-time, one that I obsessed over for a couple of years following its release on the PlayStation in 1997. I found every item, uncovered every secret, and squeezed out every last percentage point of map exploration. I’ve replayed it time and again on various platforms and have written numerous pieces about it, with the most recent being less than a month ago.
Incredible Mandy ($2.99) is an adventure through dreams searching for memories lost, people forgotten, and experiences once treasured. It is a third person platformer with a little bit of combat and a whole lot of environmental puzzles in a semi-open world, sprinkled with collectibles to fill in the story. It, in short, looks really, really interesting.