Fortnite went impressively mainstream this week, what with the mobile invite event launching on Thursday and taking the app to number one (Despite not everyone being able to play it), and then Drake playing the game with Twitch streamer Ninja and shattering Twitch records in the process. And yet, on Friday night, Fortnite somehow got more mainstream. One of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County men’s basketball players, fresh off the biggest upset in men’s college basketball history when they became the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed (RIP Virginia), compared their historic win to getting your first win in Fortnite. Seriously.
Seriously, Fortnite is such a massive phenomenon at this point, that you pretty much have to play it at some point just to understand the hype. Pretty much the only way the game can get more mainstream is if Trump tweets about it. Or maybe if Obama actually does decide to play the game.
The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Someday, Fortnite will be seen as a massive milestone in mobile gaming. The game itself is fun, and the tip of the spear in the battle royale genre right now, sure, but it’s what the game represents. It’s the game that smashes down a massive wall between the platforms. Here is the hottest game in the world right now, that has Twitch streamers joining up with athletes and rappers to play. That game, the exact same game, is on mobile right now. Sure, it had to be scaled down visually a bit, and the controls need some tweaking, but this is Fortnite. Just, in your pocket. How crazy is that? How incomprehensible was this before March?
It helps that the game itself is fun. The colorful look to the game makes Fortnite feel like more than just the drab, generic military shooter experience that PUBG provides in comparison. This is a beautiful game, full of color, and nice little visual surprises. It feels like a world, and there’s all sorts of environmental storytelling. Compare this to some of the other battle royale games, where they just feel like a desolate island, and there’s little special. So much of Fortnite stands out because the style is so distinctive. Even the beautiful sunsets add to the experience, that this game looks good as well as feels good. Also, the game isn’t afraid to be funny, with its goofy outfits and weapons. Other battle royale games are at best emergently funny, and at worst unintentionally through glitches and whatnot. Fortnite has a toilet factory and ridiculous dance emotes.
But Fortnite is a serious experience regardless of how whimsical it migth be. The panic that sets inwhen somebody is near, triggering that fight or flight response, is amazing. Tension is the domineering emotion of battle royale games, as you never know when your end will come, or when the next enemy might just be. And then, whe nyou get into those firefights, will you succeed? Or will you choke? Plus, there’s all the strategic play decisions: do you want to drop in with a bunch of people and play for chaos early? Or are you patient enough to drop away from everyone else, at the same time having more uncertainty about your situation? Can you take the risk of building the structures you need to build, though what if your opponents have a rocket launcher to take you down? Everything that’s strong about the battle royale genre, Fortnite has and iterates upon.
The building aspects need a bit of work on mobile as I don’t think you can build as fast as on console, and definitely not on PC. And a few things like item descriptions need to come to mobile as well. But, after playing a few rounds, I couldn’t believe it: this felt like Fortnite. It’s not a different game, it’s just using a different control scheme. It’s essentially the same as going from mouse and keyboard to controller. And I’m excited to see if some expert touchscreen players can hold their own against these other control methods. There might be some folks who can track heads really well, in a way that’s tough on a controller with an analog stick.
Fortnite is absolutely going to cause shockwaves. Other manufacturers might have to find ways to get thier titles on mobile. Why not? Especially when publishers are showing that they’re willing to jump in with their own takes on popular genres (see NetEase and its many battle royale games), why not just take the full-measure of releasing the same game on mobile? Make whatever adaptations are necessary, but just find a way to make it happen. I’m curious to see how ARK: Survival Evolved pulls off its mobile adaptation, for example.
Fortnite isn’t quite available to everyone yet, but this game just massively disrupted 2018. Especially if this does well – and I wouldn’t be surprised if this does incredibly well in China in particular – then it forces other developers to rethink what they’re doing with their games. Why design only for the latest and greatest hardware, when mobile represents such an opportunity to have the same game, just on a phone or tablet? That’s what Fortnite represents: a massive change, and the coming of the great gaming convergence. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go chill out on my couch and get some Victories Royale. Just kidding, I’m probably going to die getting sniped out of nowhere…again.
Eli and Jared are currently aboard Train Jam on their way out to GDC, but fret not: instead of a classic episode, Carter and Shaun are here to discuss this week’s big games and news. Fortnite obviously takes up a lot of the discussion, as it is a potentially groundbreaking mobile release. We also discuss the upcoming beta for dinosaur survival game ARK: Survival Evolved, another similarly-surprising mobile port from console/PC. Shaun gets to discuss something a bit more familiar to him as we talk about Fighting Fantasy Classics [Free], and the ridiculous sale for Darkest Dungeon: Tablet Edition [$ 0.99 (HD)] over on iPad, before wrapping things up with some Armello [Free] discussion.
Don’t forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to firstname.lastname@example.org. We read ’em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below… And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!
As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we’re talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you’re logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.
Updating a game on a weekly basis comes with its challenges, and Fortnite has unfortunately run into a minor issue with the Boogie Bomb in update 3.3, and as such the unique grenade is temporarily disabled. This all happened through a server-side update, so there’s no client update necessary, though you might see some files downloading before you next launch Fortnite on whichever platform you decide to play it on.
Due to a bug with the Boogie Bomb, we’re going to be temporarily disabling it until we’re able to fix it. We’ll update you once this issue is solved. pic.twitter.com/bH2ZoQc9rd
Fortnite is having some occasional server issues after the iOS launch, which might be why they have a staggered loadout. There might be some login issues on the Friday afternoon after the game’s initial mobile release.
We're currently experiencing issues with our backend services. You may encounter connection problems due to this. We'll update you when we have more information. pic.twitter.com/0QAy2sF4nR
A few new cosmetic items are in the game’s store as well. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, you can get some leprechaun-themed items. The Sgt. Green Clover outfit costs 800 V-Bucks, and the Pot O’Gold Harvesting Tool runs 1200 V-Bucks. 1000 V-Bucks costs $ 9.99, though more expensive packs come with bonus V-Bucks, but still: one V-Buck roughly equals $ 0.01 USD.
Victory Royale is at the end of this rainbow. The Sgt. Green Clover Outfit and Pot O’ Gold Pickaxe are in the shop now! pic.twitter.com/sHHtjlFYWV
Also now in the shop is the Flippin’ Sexy emote for 500 V-Bucks. This emote might provide an interesting advantage, because early users found it was possible to use it to lay low in cover or cancel the emote while in midair with a gunshot. While Epic will likely patch the game if it proves to give players some kind of advantage, it might be worth the 500 V-Bucks to mess around with it.
V-Bucks purchasing is active in the mobile version, so you can buy your Battle Pass and any other cosmetics your heart desires. The Battle Pass awards V-Bucks and other cosmetics as you gain experience. While you will have to play a lot to max out your Battle Pass, it will pay for itself in V-Bucks over time, so you can buy some extra cosmetic items or essentially just keep having the Battle Pass pay for itself! Fortnite‘s Invite Event for iOS is live now, and you can sign up to get on the waitlist to get access to the game.
It might not have been the greatest week for new releases on the App Store, but don’t let that get you down, because there are some truly incredible games on sale for iPhone and iPad right now. Seriously, you could buy anything on this list and I guarantee you’ll have an awesome time.
In just over a week, Epic Games has made a flurry of announcements. First, they revealed that Fortnite—their ultra-popular PUBG competitor—is coming to mobile. This was followed by brief sign-up period for interested beta testers before sending out their first round of invites yesterday afternoon. Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on one of these early invites, so we can clear the air on exactly what Fortnite on mobile is like.
I’ve experienced a few games now from Magic Cube, and while they’ve always sounded interesting on paper, they never quite seem to come together like you would hope. Their latest, Mirror Land [$ 0.99], is a monster-collecting RPG built around a cute idea. The game uses your actual location and allows you to summon monsters based on that information. The farther you are from where you first started up the game, the more interesting and unusual creatures you’ll find. It’s obviously inspired by Pokemon GO, but it works a little differently in practice. The game attached to that cool idea, on the other hand, is simultaneously the best I’ve played from this developer so far and yet still quite flawed.
Mirror Land tries to spin some kind of story around a world parallel to our own where people battle using special creatures called Fingermons that apparently come from our real world. Or something like that. There are evil clones, the hero has amnesia and can’t remember their surely uneventful past, and rivals a-plenty. The plot is rolled out in conversations that occur before and after completing story missions, events that become so spaced out over time that it was hard to remember how things connected. Not that it really matters. This isn’t the sort of thing you’re going to play for its story.
No, you’re probably here to collect monsters and do battle, and I can happily tell you that there’s plenty of both things going on in this game. The only way to earn monsters is through summoning, but there are a few ways to go about that. The splashy location-based summoning lets you call a monster using either easily-obtained coins or somewhat harder-to-come-by cubes. You can only summon once in any given location, at least for a certain period of time. It seemed to refresh after around a day. Your initial location when you start the game seems to be set as the home lab in-game, and monsters you summon near that lab will almost always be disappointing and mostly the of the same type. Head a little farther afield and you might find something interesting, though.
Most of your monsters will probably come from the standard summoning, however, which doesn’t involve your location at all. Instead, you choose which of the three types of summon you want to perform, pay the required amount of coins, and collect a random Fingermon whose rarity more or less corresponds with how much you spent. Basically, you can summon a pretty weak bronze character after every couple of battles, hang in there for a bit and get a more useful silver character, or wait until Lucifer dons a knitted sweater and nab a powerful gold character. Mirror Land contains no IAPs whatsoever, so the only way to fill out your collection of monsters is to grind those coins.
And grind you will, my friends. There are a lot of things I like about Mirror Land. It’s generally well-crafted, the summoning gimmick is neat, and the battle system is actually pretty fun and somewhat original. Battles play out sort of like the Active Time Battle system in many of the Final Fantasy games. Each character has to wait for a meter to fill up before they can do anything. Once the meter is full, you tap on them to use their action. If you tap just as the meter fills up, you’ll get a bonus. You can also tap just before an enemy strikes to block some of the damage at the cost of a bit of your meter. If you tap before the meter fills, the character will not only fail to act, the meter will also slightly drain. It’s lively, somewhat strategic, and surprisingly tense at times.
Unfortunately, it’s also the entire game. You’ll enter battles from a map screen, where you are presented with a random assortment of missions with different conditions. In this one, you can only use bronze monsters. Over here, you’ll have to fight one-on-one. Most of the time, you’ll have a few types to pick from, though they’ll occasionally collapse into a single mission that you’ll have to either pass or fail to get a new spread. The battles earn experience for participating Fingermons, experience for your hero, and either coins or cubes. Fingermons can only level as high as the hero’s level, and your regulars will usually cap out well before your hero gains their next level. Presumably the idea is to keep the players using an assortment of creatures.
The story is advanced by completing special story missions. These appear after you fulfill a certain set of requirements, like fighting a specific number of battles or summoning a particular amount of Fingermons. You can then tackle the story mission and should you win, you’ll be given the next set of requirements. Things move quickly enough in the beginning, but the further in you go, the more time-consuming it gets to satisfy those requirements and the more difficult the story missions themselves become. Some requirements ask you to summon using the location mechanic, so if you can’t go wandering around in the real world, you won’t be able to move forward. Mirror Land eventually devolves into a game where you grind battles to satisfy the requirements to make the story mission pop, then grind more battles to get to a high enough level to be able to beat that mission. Rinse and repeat.
Contributing to the problem is that the fundamentals of combat don’t change as the game unfolds. The same things that you do near the beginning are what you’ll be doing hours down the road. Watch carefully for each character’s turn to come up, try to tap them at the right moment, and hope your team is strong enough to outlast the other. It’s fine when you only need to do a few battles in a row, but when the game starts asking you to do twenty battles or try to level up to match enemies that are fifteen to twenty levels higher than you in order to proceed, it starts to feel like a genuine grind. A grind that demands your attention, mind you, so you can’t get away with doing it while you watch a movie or something.
The characters also feel like they’re not balanced very well. Faster Fingermons are definitely more useful than the rest, as any attack will drain some of a character’s meter and slow their ability to take their own turns. That goes both ways, so using slower Fingermons becomes a formula for frustration as you watch your meter slowly climb only to get knocked down with each swift strike. I picked up a speedy silver character early on who could punch well above her weight level-wise, while a higher-ranked character who was strong but slow tended to get beaten up by far weaker foes.
Besides leveling up through battling, you can also enhance your creatures by spending coins on their special abilities or cubes on ranking them up. Higher ranked characters tend to be a lot more powerful than their low-ranked cousins, though you’ll still want to keep an assortment of characters of each rank around for specific battles. Characters who are silver-ranked or higher have access to special abilities like drain strikes, attack buffs, and so on. They’ll use them automatically, but you can spend your coins to improve their effectiveness. Fingermons come in different types, with the usual system of each type having one type they’re strong against and one that they’re weak to. This doesn’t usually matter that much, but it can make a big difference in tough battles.
It’s not hard to imagine a world parallel to our own where Mirror Land was a free-to-play game with a stamina meter and premium-currency summons. I applaud the developer for not taking that particular route, but I honestly feel like the game works a lot like one of those kinds of affairs. You can run as many battles in a row as you want to here, but I wouldn’t recommend doing too many at once lest the game start to feel tiresome. You can dump your coins into a ton of weaker summons, but you’re probably best to wait until you can afford a shot at the best ones. Progress is slow and tedious, battle strategies don’t change a whole lot over time, and the story feels like a bunch of weak connecting tissue to provide some kind of context for rolling the same situations over and over again. I liked this game in the moment, but the longer I played it, the less I wanted to.
Mirror Land is better than I was expecting given this developer’s track record, and it can be quite enjoyable at times. But for a game that doesn’t try to extract any additional money from the player beyond the initial asking price, it sure feels structured like a game that does. The stop-and-start pacing and tremendous amounts of repetitive grinding required detract greatly from a game that could otherwise be pretty solid. There’s a decent game here, and it’s really only in the incidentals that it doesn’t shake out to be more than that.
Check your inboxes: the first wave of invites for Fortnite  on iOS are now going out. Not everyone is going to get in with the initial batch of invites, but Epic promises that more players will get in with the coming days and weeks. Also, if you have a friend that gets acess to the game, they can offer you a code to sign up for the preview event yourself. And there is the cross-platform multiplayer, so if you have the game on PS4, Xbox One, or desktop, you can play with someone who has the mobile version Fortnite is available on the App Store, but for now your Epic Games account must have access to the game in order to play.
It appears that the 3.3 patch, out today, was required before Fortnite‘s mobile invites could start to go out. Epic promised that the mobile Fortnite will feature the same weekly updates as every other version of the game, so while the mobile version will get its own optimizations and performance tweaks, they’ll not miss out on any of the content that everyone else gets. And Epic updates Fortnite on a weekly basis, so there is a lot to keep up with!
Fortnite version 3.3 adds in Remote Explosives, which you can use to detonate opponent’s fortresses in quick fashion. The Supply Llama will appear in unexpected places and provide some sweet loot, but only three will appear per match. They contain 500 wood, stone, and metal; 10 stacks of each ammo type; three traps and consumables. Epic has vaulted the smoke grenade in this update. Version 3.3 also includes Blitz mode, which will enable on March 19th. The storm times are shorter, and the maximum match length is 15 minutes, with changed loot availability.
We were blown away earlier this month when Epic Games announced that Fortnite: Battle Royale would be coming soon to iOS. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last week and a half, Fortnite has been busy overtaking Minecraft and PUBG in popularity while breaking Twitch stream records. A few of us over at TouchArcade were in the first wave of invites went out earlier today to check out the iOS version. I’ve been playing Fortnite: Battle Royale for a few hours now and it simply blows my mind how well it works in the mobile arena.
I’ll save the long diatribe for how games like Battle Royale and PUBG operate, but to put it simply, you enter a game with 99 other people in a last man standing arena style combat. Along the way, you’ll find weapons and ammo to attack and defend yourself, and accumulate resources to build your way to hopeful victory. Fortnite has been steadily rising in popularity primarily due to how well Epic Games has improved on this formula.
What everyone wants to know at this point is how well Fortnite: Battle Royale plays on iOS. Well, at least on my iPhone X, I can safely say that I’m blown away with just how amazing it plays. Battle Royale’s colorful visuals are well represented in this mobile port and the game runs at a pretty smooth framerate with some occasional popup. The touchscreen controls do take some time to get used to, but the game’s strafe and aim assist do a decent job of compensating for the understandably lost of precision. The same goes for build mode, where the game’s intelligent placement system works well enough in letting me quickly build structures on the fly. Cool control options such as double tapping to lock in running and multiple fire options also do a great job of transitioning to touch screen controls. In fact, my biggest issue with the controls probably has to do with switching between weapons, as having to tap between each one on a small screen takes some practice to be precise.
So, Fortnite: Battle Royale easily passes the visual, framerate, and control tests in my book. But, most importantly, is it still as fun on mobile as it is on other platforms? I’d say the answer to that is a resounding yes. The general length of games are perfectly acceptable for holding a mobile device (although expect some heavy battery drain) and the game’s myriad of cosmetic unlocks combined with the gameplay itself lends the title to an insane amount of replayability.
I plan on continuing my adventures in Battle Royale indefinitely, but there are a few things to keep in mind. My awesome experience was on an iPhone X, so these impressions don’t cover other versions of iPhone or the iPad or controller experience (which I imagine would be quite a bit different from a control standpoint). Also, I haven’t had a chance to play a cross-platform game, which may change the general difficulty depending on your opponents. Even still, based on what I’ve seen and played so far, this is going to be the game to play for quite some time. If you’re interested in checking the game out ahead of its release, be sure to register for a chance to get an invite.
Welcome to the March 15th SwitchArcade Roundup, where we are covering the latest Switch news and releases! A busy day with nine releases, yet it’s tough not to look over the shoulder and see iOS players starting to enjoy Fortnite. It plays surprisingly well even on older mobile hardware, so a Switch version seems absolutely imminent, right? With controllers and Nintendo’s openness toward cross-platform play, it sure feels like this game is coming soon, it absolutely has to be. Battle royale needs a home on the Switch, and why not have it be the most popular battle royale game going right now? Oh well, until then we’ll have to entertain ourselves with this massive other cavalcade of games.
Hex Gambit new trailer, comes to Switch later this year
One Man Left has a new hex grid strategy game in the works called Hex Gambit. It’s in the works right now for Steam and Switch, and it will hit Early Access on Switch in April. To commemorate the occasion, One Man Left has a new trailer. Check out all the bop-based transportation you’ll do in this one! Matches are designed to take 15 minutes tops, and there’s both 1v1 and 2v2 play in a system that features both asynchronous and real-time play, with a natural transition when players drop out. Looks like another potential winner from One Man Left, and here’s hoping that we see the Tilt to Live games on Switch someday. Or perhaps a second life for Outwitters?
Runner3 Switch release date and physical release revealed.
Choice Provisions’ latest Runner game, initially part of the Bit.Trip series, has a release date: May 22nd. Their auto-running platformer starring Commander Video will feature new abilities, new alternate-path levels, and plenty more quick-reflex challenges to tackle. The physical release will include an instruction manual (a rarity these days with physical releases!), a light-up PVC character strip, and a 3″ CD with a sampling of the game’s music.
Fangamer has a vertical grip for the Switch in the works.
When I wrote about Danmaku Unlimited 3 the other day, I lamented that there wasn’t a great way to play handheld games in portrait mode, perfect for shoot ’em ups and other arcade titles that support rotating the screen. It appears this void in the Switch’s accessory lineup might be filled, with Fangamer partnering with game journalist Jeremy Parish for this grip project. If this covers the vent, then it might prove to be problematic, as that is quite necessary to keep the system’s innards from melting. That would be bad, but I’m pretty sure this has been taken into consideration.
No one ever bothered to make that vertical Switch grip I begged for a year ago, so I teamed up with @Fangamer and @mechachoi to make one for ourselves. And for YOU… more details to come in the near future! pic.twitter.com/bBMkiileKE
— Jeremy Parish took the wrong step years ago (@gamespite) March 14, 2018
Sparkle 3: Genesis
Forever entertainment’s Sparkle series of games comes to the Switch. You control a strange, sea-creature-esque organism, and make your way through 12 surreal levels in a dreamlike atmosphere, controlling and evolving your creature the way you want by consuming elements throughout the digital ocean. Sparkle 3 Genesis feels like the perfect kind of title to rejuvenate itself with a new audience on the Switch, or even just with a group of players that maybe missed it the first time around.
tinyBuild’s latest Switch port has you trying to drive trucks through chaotic tracks. The floor is lava, the trucks go fast, and eventually lasers get involved. Thankfully, you’ll have a grappling hook, a truck cannon, and time control abilities to help you through this trucky situation. This is the kind of game that will give your screen recording function a workout, as you will constantly find new and ever more hilarious ways to watch your trucks crash and explode through the game.
This is the paid Switch port of the free-to-play iOS/Android game of the same name. You immigrate to a faraway kingdom, and enjoy a new life, possibly finding love and forming a party of heroes to fight monsters. You know, the typical immigrant experience. There are still a few cosmetic in-app purchases for this one, but otherwise, this is essentially what happens if a free-to-play game gets converted into a paid one. This likely is more for Asian markets than western ones, but perhaps there’s an appeal here for people who might have avoided a free-to-play, online only title on mobile like this, that would love it on their Switch.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Play in four different types of Bingo with up to four people at once. Hey, this might not be for the gaming enthusiasts who pick up a bunch of the retro shoot ’em ups, but the Switch is for everyone. There’s surely an audience for a simple party game like this, and it only costs $ 4.99, and looks like it has some decent production values to it.
Another simple title, albeit one for those looking for ladies named after Chinese constellations. If you want to unlock these artworks, you’ll have to play through 140 levels of increasingly difficult Mahjong. puzzles. Probably not for the grandparents, unless they’re really cool.
HAMSTER announced the other day that they were working on bringing other Video System titles to modern consoles, and the Neo Geo title Aero Fighters 3 is now out on the eShop. This shoot ’em up gets a little weird, as enemies vary from standard military hardware to giant sea creatures. Oh, and the playable characters include two animals. There are branching paths and multiple endings for the intrepid player to discover. An intriguing choice for the discerning shoot ’em up fan.
This pixel-art thriller makes its debut on the Switch. The Ukrainian developer Painted Black Games puts players into modern-day New Hampshire, as the protagonist Calvin explores a strange facility and discovers what’s happening just around the corner from where he lives. Or, don’t: players don’t have to discover everything happening in this game, and features plenty of deception and trickery to screw with players. Sounds like an interesting experience if you’re up for a game that claims inspiration from The Cave and Lone Survivor.