When baseball mobile games are starting to pop up on the app stores, that’s usually a pretty clear sign that spring is either here or right around the corner.
Oh sure, there are other hints too. Flowers, trees, things that make pollen and drive allergy sufferers back indoors, if you’re into that sort of thing.
We tend to keep to a pretty tight focus around here. Holiday updates mean it’s time to go Christmas shopping. Baseball games mean it’s time to put the coats in the back of the closet. It works.
There’s a lot more than just baseball on here, including action, puzzlers and a new take on a beloved kids brand. But rest assured, if you read our list of the nine new iOS and Android games you need to play this week, America’s pasttime is represented.
Gangstar New Orleans
Is it, in fact, good to be bad? You probably shouldn’t try to find out in real life, but in Gangstar games it’s always been the way to go. Obviously, there’s a new setting for this one, and one where you might be able to get your evil and party on at the same time. The developer write-up from Gameloft describes it as “the gold standard for open-world action-adventure series” on mobile, and that was true, once upon a time. Is it still? Only one way to find out.
Club Penguin Island
Club Penguin lived a good life. Eleven years is practically the virtual world equivalent of a human living to 100, and it was time for a change. Club Penguin Island is hoping to be that change, taking the idea of a fun, safe place for kids and tweens to hang out and interact and buffing it with quests and adventures like you’d find in an MMORPG. It’s also bound to look a lot more impressive and has been designed specifically with mobile devices in mind. Still a lot of penguins who like to dress in unusual ways, so if your younger gamer is looking for a new fix, this could be it. Or you can check it out too. We don’t judge here.
If the name didn’t clue you in, this is the sequel to the puzzle game KAMI. The idea is to get the entire board to turn a single color in as few moves as possible, in gameplay that starts our relatively simple but gets increasingly complex as you progress through the game’s 100+ levels. There’s also a creative element as you can devise and share your own puzzles. This looks like the kind of thing that would make me throw my phone, but it claims to be calming, so I’ll take its word for now.
- App Store (free)
Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed
The Dynasty Warriors series has allowed us to take on waves of enemies so big they fill the screen for some time now. What it hasn’t done is put that same experience on mobile, but Unleashed definitely does. Build your team of officers, each one an impressive fighting machine in his or her own right, and battle ridiculous hordes of foes and challenging bosses. Even if you generally dislike virtual stick and button controls, like yours truly, you’ll probably be impressed with the way they keep up with the large scale action here.
I have a confession to make: I’ve never played pinball and thought to myself, “Self, this is fun and all, but it would be even better if games like Skyrim and Fallout were involved.” Apparently I was missing out, because it does, in fact, look awesome for mobile pinball boards to be based on those classic video games. I blame myself for not being a creative enough thinker. Mea culpa.
Griddle Speed Puzzle
The other puzzler on this week’s list comes to us from Punch Wolf Studios, which sounds like a group that would have made something a bit more action-y than a 2D abstract puzzle game. Then again, maybe punching wolves is a bad idea. In any case, we dig the simple but fact=paced play involved here as you attempt to complete shape son the playing field in either a limited number of moves or in a certain amount of time. Looks like it could get frantic on occasion, and that’s not a bad thing.
ROME Total War: Barbarian Invasion
Barbarians are at the gates, to arms! Unless, of course, you are the barbarians, in which case you are already armed. In any case, you can play as either side in the real life conflict between a fading Roman empire and ambitious tribes of barbarians, along with some other factions that were also in the mix. The Total War games have made very nice transitions to mobile all in all, and there’s no reason to suspect this one will be any different.
- App Store ($4.99)
MLB Manager 2017
Sometimes you just need to lose yourself in a great sports sim. MLB Manager 2017 is almost guaranteed to be that sim for baseball fans, seeing as the OOTP Developments people make an unparalleled PC baseball sim. Naturally, things get a little scaled down for the mobile game, but not so much that you’ll be missing too much unless you really enjoy micro-managing the minor leagues. If you dig taking a hopeless team to the World Series or fancy yourself a baseball manager in any way, this is a game worth considering, especially since it packs in new features every year.
MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2017
As a contrast to the previous title on our list, Tap Sports Baseball takes a fairly complicated sport and boils it down to one-touch gameplay that is surprisingly fun and deep. Glu Mobile has been doing this for several sports for a while now and is darn good at it, and the official MLB license — new to the series for the first time in 2017 — definitely doesn’t hurt. Glu is even marketing the game with ads built around Kris Bryant, a guy who helped his team break a streak of futility last year that you might have heard about. Looks like good stuff all around.