To pay or not to pay? We read that somewhere once, maybe by that Shakespeare guy? Or words to that effect, anyway.
We bring this up because despite some opinions to the contrary, there’s no one way to present mobile games to the masses. Free-to-play with IAPs is the most popular method, sure, but there are any number of games that let you pay one price and just enjoy all the goodness they have to offer.
(And yes, some games that charge you to download and hit you with IAPs, but let’s not talk about that for now.)
We bring this up because our selection of promising new mobile games for this week runs the gamut from F2P to very premium, a term we just made up but should henceforth be applied to any game that costs more than $10 to download. Yet they all look intriguing, regardless of price, so let’s check them out.
Million Onion Hotel
First impressions can be deceiving. If you just looked at some of the screenshots for Million Onion Hotel, you could be duped into thinking it’s one of about a zillion match-3 games out there. But no; instead, it’s aptly self-described as an “action puzzle” and has a ton of quirky characters and an offbeat story. Or maybe you don’t think a tale about magical onion soup that has the power to shunt people into an intergalactic adventure is all that strange. To each their own.
PES Card Collection
Konami has figured out several ways to make use of its PES soccer franchise on mobile, from full-featured console ports to sims. This is something different but still very much in the company’s wheelhouse, as it lets you collect and train cards of real life soccer stars and then use them in exaggerated but entertaining matches. It’s a whole new approach to the beautiful game and we are here for it, as the kids might say.
Sonic Forces: Speed Battle
Sonic has had kind of a mixed record of success on mobile, just as he has on consoles for the last decade or so. But with Sonic Forces set to arrive in less than a week, this new game offers a chance for you to get your Hedgehog fix in early. It has some Mario Kart vibes as you race other players and try to stifle them with attacks and traps, plus there are a bunch of different characters included from throughout the franchise’s history.
Final Fantasy Dimensions II
Hey, it;’s the game that made us make up the “very premium” moniker! Jokes aside, Square Enix has never been shy about releasing Final Fantasy games on mobile and making people pay a pretty penny for them, but it never seems that bad because Final Fantasy. Dimensions II is an interesting case, though, because Square Enix tried releasing a F2P sequel to Dimensions in Japan first before scrapping that and circling back with this. Looks like time-tested FF as you like it, though some early reviewers are griping about it a bit.
Though we’re endlessly in love with builders, we’re also the first to admit that F2P mobile builders often don’t really let you build exactly the farm/city/whatever that you picture in your head. There are good reasons for that, but paid builders don’t necessarily have to obey those constraints. Thus, we give you Pocket Build, which really does promise to let you construct the town or castle you imagine, plus it’s promising new items with which to build in every update.
- App Store ($3.99)
Abi: A Robot’s Tale
With a setup that will remind you a little of WALL*E — two robots discover that humans have gone and they have to figure out why — Abi has the kind of immediately spellbinding visuals that can’t help but pull you in and make you want to find out more. In this case, you’ll find that you need to use both Abi and DD to solve the game’s puzzles. Along the way, you just might find yourself pondering whether our reliance on technology is such a good thing, albeit while ironically clutching your phone or tablet.
- App Store ($2.99)
Pint and click adventure games are another favorite Gamezebo genre, meaning The Memoranda caught our eye right away. Describing itself as “a game about forgetting and being forgotten,” it centers on a woman who is gradually coming to terms with her own memory loss, including the basics like her name. Inspired by the short stories of Haruki Murakami, it looks to have a super interesting cast of characters and boasts thousands of lines of dialogue to make it a top contender for this week’s most immersive newcomer.
- App Store ($4.99)
We know, we know. You’ve farmed before on your phone. Probably many, many times. So much farming. Even so, Merge Farm lets you do something most farming games do not, which is to combine crops — or rather, merge, since that’s in the name of the game — to grow bigger plants that produce even more fruits and vegetables. Is this some kind of genetic science or sorcery of some sort? Only one way to find out …
- App Store (free)
We haven’t yet talked about any fantasy-themed games, and since we’re contractually obligated to do so every week (note: not really), we’re doing it now before this list runs out. Runic Rampage lets you unleash the fury of Grimbard, the last champion of the dwarfs. Since dwarfs are surly under the best of circumstances, you can only imagine how angry Grimbard is now that his kingdom has been wiped out. Something tells us that helping him to get his reckoning in this action-packed dungeon brawler will be a lot of fun.