Jump Dash Roll's Mobile Roundup #15 - May 2019
Spring has sprung and the sun is peeking through the clouds, but while you’re waiting on the standard British allotted 36.7 minutes of annual acceptable barbeque weather, why not check out some new mobile games?
Cartoon Network: Match Land (iOS, Android)
Yes, it’s another match-three puzzler, but one with some cool features and a well-liked cast of characters! Following on from the original Match Land, developers Race Cat Games teamed up with the big CN to deliver more tile-swapping fun, this time featuring a host of characters from the likes of Adventure Time and Steven Universe. The innovating mechanic is that each turn you’re given a few seconds to make as many matches as possible, enabling the biggest attack. Diagonal moves are also possible, so it’s worth taking a little time to plan the optimum combo before making the first swap. Matching like-coloured tiles translates into powerful attacks from your squad, consisting of members of various popular CN shows.
Defeating the multitude of snacks allows them to be sold at kiosks, earning currency to further improve your stats. Besting a level with the maximum three stars allows you to collect the rewards from it again instantly, letting you focus on the meta-game of levelling up your characters. As ever with big company mobile games, here there be microtransactions, but if you’re happy to let the game progress at its own pace and aren’t driven to unlock everything right away, there’s no reason to go near them.
Spitkiss (iOS, Android, PC)
Human bodies are arguably gross at the best of times, but here we have a game that invites us to look past the icky biology and accept our fluidic transfers as the loving gestures they are intended to be. In this colourful world, the inner workings of regular folk are populated by the Spitkissers, who communicate our various emotional feelings through, well, spitting at each other.
Controlling a wad of saliva probably shouldn’t feel this intuitive, but Danish dev Triple Topping Games has crafted an innovative technique here; the action slows to a crawl when aiming to allow for extreme precision. Certain collectibles allow you to re-aim mid-flight to allow your loogie of love to reach its intended target, all to an appropriately whimsical soundtrack, packed with squelchy synths.
A dystopian tale of rogue AIs provides a sparse but effective framing device for a minimalist game of dexterity, reflex and and anticipation, set in a vector-lined labyrinth lit in brightest neon.
So far, so Tron, but look past the cyberpunk tropes and you’ll find a well-paced challenge.
Red projectiles and solid bars dance around the target objectives, taunting you to be deft enough to avoid them. Using a small on-screen circle controller you’ll guide your spark through the network, at first just touching targets to activate them, but later having to link them together with light beams.
The background will often shift and contort in convincing pseudo-3D, often at times as much to throw you off balance as to merely look impressive. Developer Semidome clearly knows the appeal of its simple but striking visuals; they encourage players to try the game on the big screen via Apple TV, and the pause menu has a snapshot option, if you’re in need of a cool desktop background.
Immortal Rogue (iOS)
Sometimes being everlasting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but what’s a dark lord to do?
As long as there’s blood to be had, your undying pal sticks around from medieval times to sci-fi future scenarios. With every major enemy defeated you gain a new vampiric power, as hundreds of years pass and society marches on. Each time you rise you’ll be faced with a another social quandary; do you attack the greedy landlord or the squalid squatters? The beat cop or the angry looters? Turning important social figures to your side allows their abilities to benefit you in future playthroughs.
Rather than rely on clunky onscreen controls, your bloodthirsty protagonist moves by sweeps of your finger, with simple swipes of your equipped weapon and more powerful ranged attacks being triggered by taps and long presses respectively. As with many roguelikes, the majority of your power and influence evaporates upon your (un)death, but certain upgrades earned with blood persist. Even after being slain, your perennial status ensures you can always rise again and have another go at slaking your thirst and changing the ongoing course of events.