Led by the growth of mobile devices, social gaming is one of the most engaging and popular activities across all screens. In fact, according to a report conducted by Newzoo, players around the globe spend one billion hours daily playing games. To put that into perspective, that’s more than five times the amount they spend on YouTube or Facebook.
Another report, this time from Flurry, an apps analytics and ad tools marketplace for developers, shares that the average U.S. consumer spends two hours and 42 minutes a day on mobile devices; 86 percent of that time is spent in apps and 14 percent is spent browsing the Web. Gaming commands roughly 32 percent of consumers’ app time.
Looking ahead, analysts are already predicting that mobile gaming will generate upwards of $100 billion in revenue by 2017. But just how is social and mobile gaming growing at such a swift pace? Below are a few of the biggest trends and tactics being utilized to keep players locked on, and engaged with their social games. (more…)
Blastron is an iPad and iPhone game from Kabam. It is available now on the App Store as a free download and contains additional in-app purchases.
Blastron is a competitive action game that combines elements of 2D platformers and shoot’em ups in order to create a rather unique, but often flawed, experience. The game starts off by walking players through ass aspects of the game as an in-depth tutorial. The tutorial kicks off by summarizing the basics of gameplay. Blastron is focused around two core on-screen buttons. The left side works like a virtual analog stick that lets players move and jump. The right side works the same way, letting players aim and shoot in any direction. Players are also given access to menus that let them switch weapons and equipment. All these controls serve a purpose, but they lack the precision and comfort needed for an action game.
Players first experience in to the realm of Blastron’s multiplayer is representative of the entire Blastron experience. In Blastron, up to four players will take turns moving around an area. Each turn gives players a time limit to freely move how they want. At any point, provided there’s still time remaining, players can fire a weapon or use equipment. The goal of every game is to attack the opponents, score points, and avoid damage. Because of the turn-based nature of games, both online and offline, the player who is given the first move has a slight advantage over his or her opponents. Good strategy and execution will always prevail over shooting first, but in an even match, the first player to move will be the likely favorite to win. (more…)
Wizard & Dragon Defense is an Android app from Basalt Games. It is available now as a free download from Google Play and contains additional in-app purchases.
Wizard & Dragon Defense is a side-scrolling game that is modeled after a basic tower defense layout. On one edge of a stage lies a giant Dragon egg, and on the other is a portal. During a level, monsters will regularly spawn out of the portal and start walking toward the egg. Players will take control of the hero and use standard attacks, special abilities, and summoned allies in order to protect the egg and destroy all the monsters. It’s a formula that allows inexperienced players to quickly adapt to the genre, but even they are likely to find the game far too repetitive after just a few stages.
Wizard & Dragon Defense seems to put a large emphasis on creating an experience that caters to new and inexperienced players. Helping players learn the mechanics and the flow of the game is the title’s strong suit. While there’s no formal tutorial, the first few levels of the game go over some of the most important aspects. Players can move the characters left and right by tapping the respective sides of the screen. Attacks are done automatically, but special abilities can be executed with the press of a button. Items can be consumed by tapping their icon on the top of the screen, while allies can be summoned from a list, provided players have built up enough mana over time. (more…)
Battle Bears Gold is a third person shooter with its main focus on online multiplayer games. Players who have played shooters on their mobile devices before can skip the game’s useful tutorial. Others will find that the tutorial is a great way to get used to the control scheme, which can take some adjustment time for fans of shooters on consoles or PC. Even with a tutorial that teaches players how to move, look, shoot, and use abilities, one of the biggest issues out of the gate is helping players learn to adapt. With the game’s focus on online, players will be forced to adapt quickly, or be prepared to lose a lot in the process.
When players are ready to play, they’re given a choice between two game modes: Team Battle and Plant The Bomb. Team Battle is the traditional team-based deathmatch. Two teams of up to four players each will square off with a time limit to see who can land the most kills. Players who need extra motivation to learn the ropes of the game will likely enjoy Team Battle because dying directly benefits the opposing team, so players will be forced to learn to survive. Plant the Bomb is a more strategical game mode where each team attempts to take a bomb and arm it in the enemy base. The large maps and few players lead to numerous one-sided battles, so most players will stick to Team Battle. (more…)
Dead Ahead is an iOS release from Chillingo. It’s available now as an ad-supported free download from the Apple App Store and carries additional in-app purchases.
Dead Ahead is an endless runner-like game that gives the player a motorcycle, a gun, and a ton of zombies. Players start off in the forest with just a scooter and a pistol. Moving at a slow pace, they’ll need to drag their finger up and down the right end of the screen to navigate their character around roadblocks, parked cars, and plenty of zombies. Occasionally, zombies will begin charging at players from behind, so they’ll need to either use the accelerate button to outrun them, or fire their weapon to shoot them down. It’s not a concept that’s entirely original, but could be implemented well.
Right off the bat, that’s one of the most noticeable problems with Dead Ahead. In theory, players dragging their fingers along the right side of the road is a neat way to control steering. In practice, the movement of the bikes feel sluggish, and holding the right edge of the screen causes players to not see part of the screen, creating somewhat of a blind spot. The blind spot itself wouldn’t be bad, but the slow steering and occasionally fast speed of the motorcycles require players to have an almost-instant reaction time. Once the running zombies are factored in, the experience is much more frustrating and difficult than it needs to be. Dead Ahead is a situation where numerous little issues come together and create a larger issue that hurts the entire game. (more…)
Battlestone is Zynga’s first venture into the realm of action RPGs. Battlestone starts off with a brief tutorial that goes over the controls of the game. The core gameplay loops are simple: get to the end of the level, accomplish the set goal, and destroy enemies along the way. It’s a theme that’s not entirely original, but Battlestone executes it just as well as any other mobile game. The controls are a simple matter of tapping where the character should move, swiping enemies to attack them, and pressing various on-screen buttons to perform numerous tasks. Battlestone’s gameplay is simple, but it can be a lot of fun.
The tutorial also introduces players to the large amount of work that takes place outside the battlefield. Using gems and coins earned from playing (or via in-app purchase), players can buy new characters or power up the ones they already own. If players get a hold of duplicate or other unwanted characters, they can fuse them with others, allowing characters to become stronger quicker. Players are also encouraged to sign into their Zynga account and join guilds, groups of other players who can assist each other. There are a few other ways players interact with each other, but the biggest is a player vs. player duel feature, where a player can fight another player’s character and earn potentially large rewards.
There are a ton of rewards and items to collect in Battlestone. The top of the menu screen shows off various in-game currencies and collectibles. Gems and coins are used to purchase in-game goods, potions are consumed to go on quests, and stars and trophies mark single and multiplayer progress. Multiplayer is a tad thin, and comes down to guild interaction and duels, but single player features a lot of content that will challenge many players. Single player is built around a series of quests. Each quest has its own goal and completing enough quests will unlock a boss stage. If the boss is defeated, a new map is opened and the process starts over. It’s a simple process, but the game’s difficulty will challenge players of all skill levels.
Battlestone’s monetization comes through purchasing coins and gems. Both currencies can be obtained in-game, but neither comes frequently. Gems can be used to purchase nearly every item, so a lack of gems is always noticeable. The bundles for each of these currencies ranges from $0.99 to $99.99. Players will generally need to spend at least $19.99 to get any real value from their bundles, especially with gems. Players who don’t spend much money on gems will still have many items available for purchase, but they’re also likely to miss out on buying new characters. If a player unlocks a character solely through purchasing gems, it’ll cost about $9.99. Many players may not enjoy spending $10 to unlock a random character, possibly hurting appeal to the core audience.
Overall, Battlestone is an excellent action RPG that will likely appeal to core gamers looking for a bit of action on their mobile devices. The controls work very well, and the gameplay is able to appear to both casual and experienced gamers. The array of character management options might feel a tad overwhelming for casual players, but the tutorial does an excellent job explaining how it works. The high price of in-game currency will likely turn off many players, but those who do spend will be able to get a good bang for their buck.
You can follow Battlestone’s progress on AppData, our tracking tool for mobile and social apps and developers.
A simple role-playing game with a ton of depth and strategy.
Combo Crew takes inspiration from arcade-style beat’em up titles, like Double Dragon and Final Fight. The arcade influence of the title is apparent from the start, with the shallow music most users will quickly forget. Combo Crew has a ton of potential in its presentation and gameplay. There are a handful of character that can fight their way through a ton of levels. Each character has his or her own set of quirks and maneuvers, and the amount of customization is enough to leave the most serious of players satisfied for a long time. The one thing holding Combo Crew back is that the gameplay isn’t very fun.
When players first hop into Combo Crew, there’s one game mode available, King of the Tower. The first few stages of King of the Tower work as the game’s tutorial. Each level starts off with the selected character surrounded by enemies, and the player must swipe the screen where they want the character to attack. Typically, the faster players swipe, the faster characters attack, but there’s a limit on speed. Players can also swipe and hold the screen to perform a power attack, capable of hitting a guarding enemy. When a player has an opening, they can also unleash a combo attack by swiping with two fingers. Finally, if players can land enough hits in a short amount of time, they can use a super attack, potentially hitting all enemies on screen. The simplicity to fighting could be the game’s biggest asset, but it turns into its biggest issue. Many fights turn into swiping the screen furiously, and countering enemy attacks when necessary, removing the sense of fun and challenge from the gameplay. (more…)
Run is an Android app from Albino Blacksheep. The ad-supported game is now available for free on Google Play and carries no additional in-app purchases.
Run is a direct port of an Albino Blacksheep Flash game. The game follows the same style of other endless runners like Temple Run and Sonic Dash, where the player gets control of an always-running character who must be told when to jump and how to move. Unlike those other games, Run is much simpler. There’s no turning, no obstacles to avoid, and no structures to slide under. The only hazards present are holes, which can be jumped over or ran around. The other key difference between Run and other runners is the ability to shift the field. By running toward the wall, players can rotate the field, which makes avoiding gaps much easier.
That isn’t to say Run is a difficult game to begin with. Most players won’t face any struggle due to difficulty level. Run feels much slower than similar titles, making it easier to react to upcoming hazards. Players will have more than enough time to notice gaps in the road and have more than enough time deciding if they want to jump, swerve, or rotate around them. As players progress through the game, either in the level-based or infinite modes, the game gets a bit harder, but its speed is more than reasonable for most players to deal with.
Just because it’s slow doesn’t mean players won’t die. In fact, players are likely to die, and die a lot. Since Run is a direct port of a Flash game, the only noticeable change is the buttons for moving and jumping, replacing the keyboard controls of the Flash game. The problem with these controls is that they’re frequently unresponsive or delayed. The precision required for a button to register is likely to cause numerous headaches for players, and when a press does register, it occasionally takes a second to activate. These controls will lead to a boatload of failures for players. Luckily, there’s no serious penalty for falling down holes — users will instantly restart the level, which is typically short. Then, there’s the issue of the game asking players to press the “r” key to restart a level, a feature obviously not removed in the mobile version of the game. (more…)
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