Week in Mobile: Pantheon the Legends, Bumpin’ Uglies, and Ghostbusters
Every Saturday now here on GameZone, we'll feature a handful of new titles released for iOS/Android and update you on the biggest news we covered that week.
Last time, we talked about the hidden expense of Final Fantasy. Now, Temple Run 2 has overtaken the App Store, Apple reported some product sales numbers, and we took on gods, ghosts, and ugly ball thingies.
Pantheon the Legends
Think of Pantheon the Legends as “Hercules and Zeus vs. Magic: The Gathering”—that’s how we were pitched the new card collecting and battling game (optimized for iPhone 5 but playable across devices) Pantheon the Legends from RedAtoms.
Pantheon doesn’t seem very compelling at first. You gradually build a deck of character cards and level them up by participating in Quest mode, where you spin a roulette to gain experience points, treasure, silver, or new cards. You can enhance your active cards — the ones you battle with — by using others as sacrifices, and the game gives you an estimate read-out for either cost or results in any aspect of the game, including battles. This can clue you in to how your cards might change or what your gains (or losses) might be, but the details aren’t too important. It’s a very casual approach to gameplay.
Quests have four phases, and you can keep clicking “Go!” as long as you have the stamina for it (this regenerates over time, but you can also purchase potions to renew it automatically). The real appeal, though, comes from acquiring and strengthening new favorite cards, which represent creatures and mythological beings from all pockets of Olympus. You can “ascend” them to make them more powerful once you max out their levels, and you can equip treasure or gain skills.
As you progress and unlock new card slots, you get to open free card packs, which yield good cards. That’s part of the fun, too, but the other big half of the game’s appeal comes from making friends, battling players (with Spirit, which also regenerates or renews with potion use), and collecting treasure parts, which you can combine into complete sets that you can give to your active cards. But you don’t really participate in battles; rather, the game quickly decides the match.
Don’t be fooled by the advertisement for a “high-quality original soundtrack," either. One theme plays over and over on a continuous loop. At least it’s free to play. Guilds are coming in February.
If you don’t know what the title Bumpin’ Uglies refers to, then you don’t have a dirty enough mind. Minneapolis-based social and mobile developer Ham in the Fridge has released a game (free for iPad and iPhone) that’s all about exploring the complexity and combination of the gene pool … in really repulsive ways.
You play as a … well, let’s just call them “uglies.” The goal of each level is to fling yourself over obstacles and bump into the other ugly at the end. The more “mojo” you have left (you deplete this meter the more tries it takes you to reach the finish), the more successful your “bumpin’” will be, and the more little baby uglies (called Bumplings) you’ll spawn. These cross the traits of the two parent uglies. Nature’s grand, isn’t it? You’ll even have family photos to remember all your illegitimate children by — camping trips and visits to the beach, and so on.
You can customize your ugly, name it, and even share it with friends. I was impressed by the number of free options available for skin, eyes, mouth, and hair. This and the album are the best features of the game.
The gameplay probably won’t thrill you, though. I found it frustrating even with the power-ups (boosts) that can help you pass through the level faster and more efficiently. They’re all aptly named for the crude sexual humor in the game. “Fore Play,” for example, reveals your trajectory as you adjust your aim, and “Shrinkage” helps you squeeze through tight spots.
Right now, you can play through 45 levels, but unless you get a sick kick out of … ugh … “bumpin’ uglies,” you might not care to. Still, it’s naughty fun, just not so much in actual gameplay.
Ghostbusters is from the same developer who made Smurfs’ Village and Monster Pet Shop. After a heavy tutorial, you can start hiring new recruits who fall into three classes: Wranglers, who distract ghosts away from other team members; Blasters, who deliver a powerful zap to the enemy; and Scientists, who can give a health boost to anyone who needs it (including himself). You’ll need to be quick at maximizing their strengths and abilities whenever you take on a “bust,” or a job, which vary in difficulty.
These combat scenarios get a little hectic and often require you to sloppily draw lines from a character to an enemy in a hasty attempt to fend off multiple ghosts at once. Reducing their health and then trapping them by tapping the red icon above their heads when they’re stunned will capture them.
You can head back to headquarters and swipe up and down to view different floors, and this is where you can research equipment and ghosts to become more powerful and unlock items for the team. Clicking on Slimer once a day is a good incentive for coming back and seeing what new free reward awaits you.
Objectives are compiled in a checklist that updates as you play. The ultimate goal is to ascend the big tower in the middle of the city, but you need to collect slime samples to disintegrate the slime walls blocking each door. (Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.) To do so, you’ll have to take on odd jobs where you fight and trap ghosts and collect enemy types to further your research. The beginning part of the game has you headhunting for rats, which is pretty funny if you consider they’re often the lowest-level grinds in games with role-playing elements. (You can never escape them!)
Power cores can speed up research, hire new 'busters, and buy items and boosts, and you can purchase more with real money if your supplies run low. It doesn’t seem like you can earn them through normal means, though, which is a big downfall — no matter how much fun you're having.
These games were reviewed on an iPad Mini.
Developer Mojang submitted a “small patch” for Minecraft Pocket Edition for review early this week. It contains some new features, slight tweaks, and bug fixes. If all goes well, Update 0.6.0 should be ready for Android and iOS in one to two weeks’ time.
After only four days on the App Store, Imangi Studio’s Temple Run 2 hit 20 million downloads. That’s a good headstart for the sequel to a game that’s been downloaded over 170 million times across the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Marketplace.
Temple Run 2 is now available for Android.
Terry Cavanagh, the maker of VVVVVV, has released his popular mobile game Super Hexagon on Android for 99 cents. Plus, Treasure’s shoot-em-up Ikaruga made its way to the platform as well. It’s a little pricier ($9), but it’s one of the best out there.
Apple announced that it sold 47.8 million iPhones during Q1 of the 2013 fiscal year, which is a significant increase over the 37 million from the same period the previous fiscal year. It sold 22.9 million iPads, 4.1 million Macs, and 12.7 million iPods during the quarter. Its profits and revenues also increased.
Xseed Games, the publisher of niche games like The Last Story and the upcoming Pandora’s Tower in the U.S., is quietly promoting a mobile game — a change for the company — called Ark of the Ancients. It’s due out in summer.
If you’re looking for a great football experience, try GREE’s NFL Shuffle on iOS. Collect player cards and build a stellar offense and defense to defeat real and fantasy squads. Check out writer Lance Liebl’s review.
French developer Dancing Dots and publisher Chillingo have released Super Knights, the gem-collecting game with princesses and loot, for Android. You can also find it on the App Store.
Developers around the world have given Ouya tons of feedback on its new controller, and the team is listening. It’s reworking its design in time for launch in March.
Visceral has pointed to the mentality of the mobile-gaming crowd as the reason why it’s implementing microtransactions in the upcoming Dead Space 3.