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9 New iPhone & Android Games You Need to Play This Week

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.

Play ball!

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.

KAMI 2

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.

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.

Bethesda Pinball

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.

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.

Power Rangers: Legacy Wars Review – Megazord, Activated!

Somehow, my favorite childhood  show – Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers – is still kicking around, and there’s a brand new movie to show for it. That means it kind of makes sense that there’s a new mobile game for it too. Power Rangers: Legacy Wars is that game, and it’s a free-to-play fighting game that offers a little more depth than you’d expect. Sure, it’s not overly memorable in the long run, but for fans of the franchise it’s fun to knock around with for a time.

Primarily a PvP fighter, you’re working towards earning more characters for your roster. As the name suggests, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars contains characters from various different Power Rangers shows from the beginning to where we are now. Through a series of grinding and a heck of a lot of beating up other players, you unlock new characters and can feel suitably smug as you work your way through the league tables.

Yup, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars likes to lure you in through league tables and a plethora of achievements to unlock. It’s all really quite like a combination of all your favorite free-to play-elements, along with a side helping of nostalgia — providing you were the right age for the Power Rangers.

Combat is a lot like Rock, Paper, Scissors, only more tactile. You get to choose from a few different attacks, dictated by how many energy points are available to you. Conducted in real time, speed is of the essence — but so is choosing the right attack at the right time. Button mashing won’t get you very far against other players, meaning you need to think fast. Supposedly, each attack will be familiar to fans of the shows, but I didn’t find any move particularly iconic. Being able to move left or right to dodge attacks for free is a useful way of ensuring you always feel in control, though.

It’s a mostly fairly satisfying form of attack, with each battle only taking a couple of minutes at most to complete. Once you’re done, you then move into the meatier side of Power Rangers: Legacy Wars. You see, there’s plenty of room for unlocking loot boxes and upgrading your Rangers. So much in fact that it’s going to take you a fairly long time to see substantial results.

The joy comes mostly from putting together a fairly tough team. Sure, you can spread yourself thin, but what you really want to do is collect up your favorite people and work to upgrade them the most effectively. It’s a bit of a tedious process, but it’s oddly satisfying to watch your beloved favorite Rangers get tougher.

That’s mostly what will keep you coming back for more. Combined with being able to work your way up the league tables, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars is reasonably entertaining. Its main curse is that you’ll soon reach a point where spending money feels almost necessary if you really want to stand a chance of progressing.

For the most part, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars is a fairly well designed fighting game. It includes various freemium elements that work quite well in this context. In particular, league tables are rewarding to traverse, and you’ll enjoy being able to collect up so many different warriors. You might never have the time to unlock everything possible without a ton of grinding, but the time you do spend with Power Rangers: Legacy Wars will be quite pleasant if not overly memorable.

Club Penguin Island Reimagines Disney’s Virtual World for Mobile

Club Penguin is no more. Long live Club Penguin Island.

Disney shuttered Club Penguin, its award-winning virtual world known for providing a safe, fun environment in which kids and tweens could interact, for the best of reasons. After 11 years, it was showing its age, and it needed to be something it could not.

That means mobile-first, since that’s where its target audience is in 2017. Instead of simply porting it over, Disney decided to tear down and rebuild. And after some geo-testing (a.k.a. a soft launch in specific markets), Club Penguin Island is open to the world on both iOS and Android.

We’ve got a suite of new features, and the way we’re looking at it is that we have the opportunity to evolve the brand and the product in every way we could,” Club Penguin Island producer Rebecca Warden said to Gamezebo in a recent phone interview. “From a technology standpoint, from a game design standpoint and from an art perspective, with a very immersive 3D world.”

“It’s to really reach a whole new era of kids too, that are on their mobile devices much more than desktop computers,” community manager Bobbi Rieger said. “It’s all a part of that process of continuing the adventure of Club Penguin so that kids of all ages can really come back and feel the nostalgia of classics but in a new wrapper and new environment.”

The emphasis there could really be placed on adventure. While Club Penguin Island contains the same trademark interactivity and self-expression, parts of it are also structured like a more traditional MMORPG. It offers quests and daily challenges, providing players with the option of simply hanging out or tackling its overall narrative.

In other words, while beta testers were getting silly and dressing like slices of pizza to form their own bands, they were also right in the thick of things with Club Penguin personalities like pirate captain Rockhopper and journalist Aunt Arctic.

Club Penguin Island

 

“Those famous penguins have been really important to our players, so they really are an important part of Club Penguin Island,” Warden said. “Rockhopper and Aunt Arctic are both sort of the hosts of adventure threads, so members can opt into adventures where they’re really interacting with these characters, they’re there solving problems with them, they’re saving the island. And that, I think, is the real strength of the product.”

Like the original Club Penguin, Island has a heavy emphasis on safety, with a chat filter and reporting tools to help the community police itself. The moderators also don’t mess around, as other outlets have discovered by intentionally putting them to the test.

That’s likely more important than ever because both Warden and Rieger noted that the buzz around Club Penguin Island prior to launch convinced many lapsed players of the original world to return for a last hurrah. Since Club Penguin was around for so long, those players are obviously older now, and it’s logical to assume that they might check out the new game even though they’re no longer in its primary demographic.

Club Penguin Island

 

Fortunately, Disney has used its soft launch period to learn all about how new and returning members might mesh, as well as a few things they might not even have fully expected.

“One thing our developers have noticed in geo-beta is that players pretty much try and get wherever they can on the island, so areas where colliders might not really go all the way, players are able to squeeze through those and enter areas that you might not normally be able to get to,” Riger said, explaining that one area reserved for members (subscriptions for Club Penguin Island are set at $4.99 a month) was accessible to non-members, and the dev team decided to leave it in as an Easter egg. “How players figure that out blows my mind. It’s incredible to watch, and you’ll go online and players will show you how they did it, and they’re so stoked about it.”

Disney is hoping a lot of people will be stoked by the full Club Penguin Island experience. You can check it out for yourself right now by downloading it for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Trilogic Review: Tri-mendous

Rock-Paper-Scissors is a simple game that is so effective in its design that it has not only been used as tool to determine multimillion dollar deals, but is also an extremely common mechanic used in video games to balance the relationships between weapons. 1Button has taken RPS to a surprisingly fresh place in their minimalist puzzler Trilogic. Featuring a vibrant color scheme, modern icons and a modular board, Trilogic is deceptively simple while offering an appealing series of increasingly more difficult challenges.

Trilogic Review

Trilogic uses fire, water and leaves as the three elements in relation to one another; fire consumes leaves, leaves consume water, water consumes fire. The goal of the game is to fully consume two of the three elements, leaving a board entirely covered in one element. To accomplish this, elements need to be moved and used strategically to clear or create paths and large blocks of colors, ultimately ending up with just one solidly colored board. Each element has a limited number of moves it can make, so your success depends on how well you can negotiate the space with your elements. (Check out Gamezebo’s guide to Trilogic for tricks and strategies to help you move through levels with ease).

The visual components and the game mechanics are quite simple, but there is nothing low-fidelity about the gameplay experience. Trilogic loads and moves quickly, there is very little waiting, and it is quite responsive. No action feels like a waste, and I never felt moments of tedium. Swiping to undo a move is efficient and clean, though I would love to see a feature where swiping backwards along the path would also undo a move. As you progress to more difficult levels, each puzzle requires a matrix of thinking, where each element is considered in relation to one another, along with how successive moves will impact each remaining element on the board. These layers of thinking will be very satisfying for folks who like to feel like each choice they make will matter.

Trilogic Review

If you get stuck, there is an IAP to get ten keys which allows for ten level skips. However, Trilogic is already a premium game, so I feel like additional charges are bad form. Either make the game free-to-play with ads and IAPs or charge for the game download. If you must keep those IAPs, then also give players a good-faith free key when they clear a stage (that would amount to only three keys by level 60); or if you’re just not feeling that generous, how about just one free key for clearing an element (for a total of three keys per game). Keeping up morale is a very important part of the puzzle experience and with no hint system, keys are the only fallback to bring a player back to the game if they’ve gotten really stuck.

Gratefully, the pace of Trilogic is entirely at the player’s discretion, with gameplay sessions lasting only as long as the player wants. I normally dislike timed games immensely, especially puzzle games because I like to take my time working out solutions at a mellow pace. However, I could definitely see a timed arcade stage offered in Trilogic that could repeat all previous levels with a time constraint. This would offer some replayability to the game, even for the pros who have already mastered all of the levels.

As with 1Button’s physics puzzler Super Sharp, Trilogic pushes you to consider positive and negative space in a new way as you overlay each progressive element. In a chess-like fashion, you’ll need to plan several moves in advance to accomplish your goal of clearing the board, which results in truly satisfying solutions. Trilogic is an ideal game for people who like to work on puzzles at their own pace and who enjoy gameplay sessions that can be short or long, depending on their window of time to play. But, considering how enjoyable Trilogic is, we suspect your windows for gameplay will get longer and longer.

Alicia Quatermain: Secrets of the Lost Treasures Review – Adventure Time

There’s treasure out there, and if anyone can find it, it’s Alicia. One part adventurer one part daughter searching for her lost father, Ms. Quatermain heads out with a pack of explosives on her back and a few workers at her side, ready to carve a path through jungle and temple. Nothing’s going to get in her way. Not even a pack of baby pandas.

Alicia Quatermain: Secrets of the Lost Treasures is a time management game that focuses on gathering resources as efficiently as possible. Alicia ventures through a variety of locations with maze-like roads stuffed with piles of stone, food, and gold. Send out workers to grab the easy pickings, then use those resources to clear piles of rubble or fill in pits that block the way. The more you gather the more of the map you can open up, giving you access to resource generating buildings and other surprises.

Alicia isn’t content to sit by and let her workers have all the fun. Once her path is clear, she can strut out and blow up blocks with her handy pack of explosives. Alicia is also the only character who can interact with certain treasures or push hidden buttons on the screen. She’ll also enlist the help of certain NPCs who clear other road blocks out of the way, such as Jade Lee, the resident panda rescuer.

As you progress through Secrets of the Lost Treasures, stages get more complex and resources become leaner. To help speed things along you can unleash timed power-ups that do things like provide an extra worker or make everyone faster on their feet. These come in especially handy when surprise events come your way, such as the never-do-wells that plant bombs early in the game. Hey, nobody said being an adventurer was going to be safe.

Alicia Quatermain: Secrets of the Lost Treasures is built like your everyday resource management game, but it does things slightly different in a number of areas. For starters, the base game is extremely simple and easy to understand. There are only a few resources to worry about, buildings are a snap to set up and add to your resources pool automatically, and obstacles are clearly labelled with their requirements, no fussing about required. This provides a fantastic jumping off point for the more intriguing aspects of the game that spice up some of the levels. Yes, the dynamite guys are pretty fun, even if you’ll hate yourself for not disarming the TNT in time.

All in all, Alicia Quatermain: Secrets of the Lost Treasures is a surprisingly captivating entry into the resource management genre. Simple to learn, fun to master, and with enough gameplay variety to set it apart from the rest of the pack.

Ubisoft Announces Tom Clancy’s ShadowBreak for iPhone, Android

Tom Clancy has unfortunately not been with us for several years, but his name lives on, attached to the kinds of video games that jive pretty well with the kinds of books he made famous. Another one, Tom Clancy’s ShadowBreak, was recently revealed by Ubisoft and is headed to iOS and Android later this year.

The gameplay for ShadowBreak is described as ” real-time multiplayer sniper shooter that features fast-paced action, tactical decision-making, international arenas and real-world weapons.” Real-time PvP is perhaps the biggest selling point, and it sounds as if you may control one soldier and deploy others to help achieve your objectives.

That feeling gets even stronger when you consider that Ubisoft mentions deck combinations, so there are undoubtedly cards in the mix too. Both troops and weapons sound like they can be upgraded and swapped out for plenty of strategic options.

The announcement trailer, while lovely, doesn’t reveal much on the gameplay front.

As for the setting, to the press release we go!

True to the series’ DNA, Tom Clancy’s ShadowBreak imagines a near-future scenario where disparate criminal and radical factions, known as Shadow Nations, pose a new threat to global stability. Seizing the territory of sovereign countries through a coordinated series of attacks, these Shadow Nations have taken entire populations hostage overnight. To combat this sudden threat, elite marksmen trained in unorthodox warfare and counter-insurgency are granted command of a squad of disavowed military specialists, an initiative now known as ShadowBreak.

Thanks for that, Ubisoft, because otherwise, we might have suspected that a “ShadowBreak” was a fighting game counter or some kind of JRPG move. Glad that’s all cleared up.

In any case, the first Tom Clancy game franchise designed specifically for mobile is definitely something we’ll be keeping our eyes on, and in the meantime, you’ll want to brush up on your sniper skills, since it seems like you’ll be needing them.

Trilogic Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Trilogic is a colorful puzzler from 1Button that relies on a rock-paper-scissors mechanic to clear a board of fire, water or leaves all in relation to one another. Each element can be consumed by another, with a goal of leaving just one remaining element at the end of a level. With a limited numbers of moves per element and increasingly more complex paths to clear, you’ll need some complicated logic to best Trilogic. Here are Gamezebo’s tips and tricks to make the most of every move.

Create Color Chunks

Trilogic Guide

The three elements work in relation to one another, so each puzzle will require laying an entire base of one element (like fire, for example), covering that entire layer with the middle element (water, which will consume fire), and finishing with the target element (leaves, which will consume water). To end with your target element, you must create large chunks of colors, squared off whenever possible to avoid leaving one-block or one-row tails that are difficult to reach. Work in concentric circles from outside in to cover ground efficiently and fill in any gaps you encounter as early in the stage as possible.

Watch Your Tail

If there is a section with a tail of a single row, use it as a guide from which to work backwards. You can’t change directions on a path (unless it is to undo your move), so you’ll know that this tail is where you’ll need to end up. Similarly, if you need to lay down a path (for example, you need to lay down water, to feed plants, to consume with fire), only use the minimum you need and try to keep it as squared off as possible. Trailing tails will only be more difficult to reach with your final target element.

Head To The Islands

Trilogic Guide

If you have islands of elements scattered around your board— a single block not adjacent to anything it can consume— bring out the element it can consume as early in the stage as possible. Advancing toward those islands will reduce the variable options you are required to work around and will get you closer to solving the puzzle quickly.

Pace Yourself

For any individual element, you don’t have to use all your moves in one shot (i.e. if your leaf has 9 moves, you don’t have to use all 9 in a row). In fact, in several cases you only move one or two spots which will allow the second element to fill in or open up areas in preparation for the last target element. If the puzzle is symmetrical, you can go one move at a time on each symmetrical side. You’ll save yourself a lot of time (and effort to remember whatever it was you did) as you solve the two halves at once. Additionally, if you are really stumped on how to proceed, there are often pieces on the board that can only make one possible move; move each of these pieces to that first position. This will start to create a series of paths while using the process of elimination to your benefit.

If you get really frustrated, you can purchase keys to unlock levels, but you can also just skip a troublesome level to give yourself a break. As with most puzzle games, leaving the game and returning with a fresh perspective can help you work through it more effectively.

Telltale’s Guardians of The Galaxy Game Hits Mobile in April

Not sure if you’ve heard this or not, but there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel film coming out in early May. There’s a chance it might be a pretty big deal.

That means if you had a video game in the works starring said Guardians, it would be best for business, as Triple H might say, if the game was out in the hands of the masses before the movie released. Telltale Games is doing exactly that, as its upcoming Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series (and yes, that’s the only time we’ll type out the entire title because carpal tunnel) is due out on iOS and Android on April 18.

Like other Telltale epics, this means the first episode only, and it will also release on PC and console so there will be virtually no way anyone will be able to say they can’t play it. The game is said to be influenced more by Marvel Comics than the movie, but it will have a cast of heroes that people who only know the film will appreciate, and the premise — that the Guardians come into possession of a powerful artifact that each would like to have for his or her own reasons but may need safeguarding from a larger threat — sounds like a winner.

The episode titles might show the most direct movie influence, as the first one is called “Tangled Up in Blue” like the 1975 song by Bob Dylan. Might there be a separate Awesome Mix just for the Telltale game? One can only hope. But in any case, the first Telltale/Marvel collaboration is something you probably don’t want to miss, and now you know exactly when to check the app store of your choice. That galaxy isn’t going to save itself, so hop to it.

New Disney Crossy Road Toys Coming 1 April

If you’re one of the 31 million people who has tried the Disney iteration on mobile classic Crossy Road, the Walt Disney Corp has been cooking up something special for you! Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media has partnered with Moose Toys to create a new line of products. It’s the familiar faces you know and love in all of their 8-bit glory. Like Moose Toys’ other product lines – the ever-present Shopkins and Grossery Gang – if you’re a parent you’ll likely be hearing about it non-stop very soon.

Disney Crossy Road Mini-Figure 4 Pack

The initial product line includes the ever popular 6” plush dolls and mini-figures. There’s also ‘hangers’, little keychain like toys that can be used to decorate school bags and the like. There seems to be nothing worse than a plain old boring backpack anymore.

Disney Crossy Road Plush

Looking for blocky but squishy versions of Simba, Woody, Minnie Mouse or Beymax? There are six different plush figures to collect in line one. Looking for more variety? There are 12 different hangers to collect and with them being packaged in mystery bags, it could take more than a few tries before you land upon a beloved Donald Duck. It’s a bit like playing the lottery, except you’re less likely to be injured by stepping on a lottery ticket in the middle of the night.

Disney Crossy Road Hangers

There’s an even more expansive line of the mini-figures which include less prominent but equally loveable characters like Zazu (The Lion King), Pete (Mickey & Friends) and Stinky Pete (Toy Story). With over 40 to collect, including legendary and limited edition figurines, as was the case with the tsum tsum line, you’ll likely be hearing tales of playground envy for a while.

Disney Crossy Road products will be carried by major North American retailers including Toys R Us, Target and Walmart as of April 1. International Disney Crossy Road fans will want to keep an eye on Amazon for official versions of the product.

KAMI 2, Griddle and Other New iPhone Games You Can Play Tonight

Need something tranquil to play tonight? Or strategic? Or maybe just with a giant snake? Tonight’s new mobile games have got you covered.

KAMI 2

State of Play makes some very pretty games (Lumino City, INKS), and KAMI was no exception. Tonight this paper-folding puzzler is getting a sequel. This time around you’ll be folding triangles instead of squares, and players will be able to make and share their own puzzles.

Temple Run 2: Lost Jungle update

There’s a fresh (and terrifying) new update to Temple Run 2, and it involves a very big snake. YEESH! And I thought demon monkeys were bad. This is a free update, and it’s available now, so be sure to grab Temple Run 2 from the App Store or Google Play if you need to get your run on.

Griddle – Speed Puzzle

If you like sliding things into place and working crazy fast, you’re going to want to check out Griddle. It’s a game about sliding tiles to get them to match the icons below, and it plays a little like a Rubik’s Cube. We’ve had a chance to play it, and it’s pretty great. Expect it on the App Store and Google Play tonight.

Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion

Did you love Rome Total War on your iPad when it launched earlier this year? Good news! It’s standalone follow-up, Barbarian Invasion, is available right now. Get in all of the strategic combat you can handle as you either defend the last days of the Roman Empire, or lay siege to is as a ruthless Barbarian commander.