It’s almost time for the holidays, and frankly, they could not be arriving at a more welcome time. From an unusually high number of beloved celebrity passings to political stress, 2016 has been a trying year, and we’re looking forward to seeing it out the door by relaxing with family and friends.
You know what else helps us relax? Mobile game, especially good ones. That’s why we tirelessly scour the lists of new releases each week to be able to point out the ones that are the most promising.
Actually, that’s not 100 percent true. It’s not like it’s a big burden or anything, simply a service we enjoy doing. And with that, here’s our latest batch of mobile games new to the app stores that you might want to check out.
Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
At first I thought this might be a game about the smartphone cases used by wizards. Then I thought, “Fantastic Beasts is set way before smartphones,” before rebutting myself with, “Yeah but they’re wizards, they could have phones!” Turns out my self-argument was for naught, because this is actually a hidden object game that puts you in the robes of a new recruit to the Ministry of Magic, investigating cases at locations from both old and new Potterverse movies alike. If you need something to play while waiting for your showing of Fanatstic Beasts to start, this is it.
Super Cat Tales
Look, the internet loves cats. We’re part of the internet. I don’t think I need to explain any more than that about why this game might show up on our list of top picks for the week. In the sake of giving you more than that, Super Cat Tales is an adorable looking platformer where you attempt to help Alex the Cat make his way through a mysterious island to be reunited with his siblings. Six playable cats all bring different abilities to the table, and the devs promise “lots of hidden secrets” throughout the game’s 50-plus levels. But again, they had us at cute cats.
Gods and Glory: Age of Kings
For a build and battle-style mobile MMO to grab our attention at this point, it really needs to have something different going for it. Preferably more than one something. Gods and Glory: Age of Kings looks like it might qualify thanks to its unique art style, seven different heroes to customize and six gods to call upon. Or maybe that should be “upon whom to call.” Grammatical challenges aside, Gods and Glory appears to be an interesting entry into a crowded field. We’re willing to try it as long as you promise not to have your alliance wipe us out right away.
The whole “use evil to fight evil” thing has worked out pretty well for heroes like Ghost Rider and Spawn. Devilian is in that vein, as you choose from one of three characters with some devil in them, then tap that power to fight the forces of evil. Works for us. Plus we’re suckers for a good action RPG with lots of enemies to fight, good graphics and the promise of plenty of ways to gear and level up. If Devilian can deliver on even two of those three things, it’ll be worth a download.
Football Manager Mobile 2017
If you’re fan of non-American football, you don’t need us to tell you about the Football Manager series, which goes beyond merely being a game and becomes something more akin to a way of life. The team at Sports Interactive has steadily iterated on its mobile companion titles, making them more and more details and immersive each year. The 2017 edition adds new countries in which to coach, improved scouting, more transfer options and the ability to more precisely discipline players. Because there’s nothing like yelling at virtual footballers to make you feel better about your own failings.
Little Briar Rose
Is there such a thing as love at first sight when it comes to mobile games? Possibly, at least when they offer visuals as stunning as the ones on display in Little Briar Rose. The obvious comparison is to a stained glass come to life, in this case to tell a story that you probably have heard or seen before. Let’s just say it rhymes with “Weeping Cutie.” Ahem. Not sure how this one plays, but it doesn’t exactly have to blow anyone away in the gameplay department thanks to those graphics. A feast for the eyes is always welcome.
- App Store ($2.99)
We’ve mentioned this before in this space, but mobile developers are really stepping it up when it comes to racing games that aren’t part of established IPs. Go Rally is another title oozing potential, armed with multiple vehicle types to race, a career mode featuring more than 100 tracks and Apple TV integration. Yet what really caught our eye is the option to design your own courses and then share them with other players. Tackling a track that you built yourself sounds like a lot of fun.
- App Store ($4.99)
I always liked the idea of dominoes more than the actual execution. Who had the space to make cool layouts like the kind you saw on TV, or one assumes these days, on the internet? Dominocity helps solve those logistical issues by turning the whole process virtual, challenging you to place dominoes so they fall exactly the way they need to in order to keep those crazy chains going. It also has an inviting art style and just looks relaxing. And that fits perfectly with our theme for the week.
- App Store (free)
Not to be confused with the boss of the same name from Terraria, Plantera is a game where you control a little blue thing and help it plant and grow a garden, complete with trees, bushes, other kinds of plants and even animals (note: I don’t think you’re supposed to plant those). Eventually, critters are going to want the fruits and veggies you’ve got, so you have to plan a way to protect your crops as well. Farming sims are a dime a dozen, but this side-scroller has its own unique aesthetic and looks like it allows you to choose how active you want to be. Got to like that.
Neon Chrome sounds like it should have been the name of a character from a not so great anime from the 80s. Instead, it’s a top-down, twin-stick shooter that blends a cyberpunk sensibility with the kind of action you remember from Robotron: 2084. Or at least I do, because I’ve been playing video games for a long time. In any case, there’s no lack of things to shoot and blow up, and if you enjoyed the Steam version that released back in the spring, you’re probably already looking forward to diving into this on mobile as well.
- App Store ($4.99)
This is something that actually does not look relaxing, but we want to play it anyway. Battleship Lonewolf has you at the helm of a ship that has been abandoned in some part of space without any help, which tends to happen in these things. With plenty of ways to customize your vessel for the frantic looking top-down combat, tons of levels in the campaign mode and a survival wave mode as well, Battleship Lonewolf promises some white-knuckle times. Those can be fun too.
- App Store ($2.99)
We always try to single out at least a game or two just for their uniqueness alone, and unWorded has raised its hand to be recognized on that front. You play as a writer who has suffered a terrible accident, and while on the precipice between life and death, you need to listen to your wife read your own works back to you and try to use the letters and words to reassemble the pieces of your existence. Sounds heavy, but also pretty different. Add in the minimalist but striking visual style unWorded uses and it’s safe to say you won’t see words and punctuation quite the same way again.
- App Store ($3.99)