”PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ Reveals Miramar Desert Map at Game Awards

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The game is pure fun and terror (hiding in a bathroom has never been more nerve-wracking), but it also currently comes with only one map, and as large at that map is, it’s starting to get stale. Fortunately, a new map is coming to the game, and it was properly shown off last night during the Game Awards. The new map is desert themed and is called Miramar. While the idea of a desert map usually connotes images of brown monotony, Miramar is actually quite varied, with all kinds of landscape features that will make for some great firefights and even crueler deaths.

The PC update that will add Miramar to the game will also add the new vaulting system, which will make PUBG a more nimble game. Few things are as frustrating as being shot at while running at a low fence and knowing that by the time you get over that tiny obstacle, you’ll be riddled with bullets. I’m very curious to see how the vaulting system will work on mobile or whether it will even make it to the platform. Now all we can do is be patient and hope to get PUBG on our phones sooner rather than later.



TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Portal Knights’

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…


Portal Knights

Portal Knights [$ 4.99], developed by Keen Games and published by 505 Games, launched in Early Access on Steam back in February of last year before officially launching on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam proper in May of this year. During that early access time the game developed quite a following, and upon its official release it garnered favorable reviews. The biggest news for Portal Knights recently was the highly-anticipated arrival on the Nintendo Switch just a couple of weeks ago, but this week the developers surprised everyone by releasing the game on iOS as well, and boy howdy am I glad they did.

Portal Knights is like an amalgamation of several games, and to use mobile examples, it’s like a mix of Minecraft [$ 6.99], Oceanhorn [$ 7.99], and Junk Jack [$ 4.99]. Or for a simplified comparison, you could say it’s a 3D version of Terraria [$ 4.99]. Whatever the case, Portal Knights takes elements from many types of genres and mashes them together into one cohesive experience. There’s the open world sandbox building and crafting of Minecraft, the world-hopping of Junk Jack, the real-time combat of Oceanhorn, and RPG-like character progression.

As someone who has dumped hundreds of hours into Minecraft across a variety of platforms, I really appreciate the structure that Portal Knights brings to the formula. Sure, you can while the hours away simply exploring or building or crafting stuff, but there’s actually a very interesting story campaign to play through too. An event called The Fracture has, well, fractured your whole world and split it up into many smaller worlds. Being a Portal Knight you’ll work towards restoring the various portals found in each world and those will then allow you to travel to and from the other worlds in the game. Along the way you’ll battle a bunch of enemy types and even engage in some epic boss battles.

All this exploring and fighting and questing will net you experience which you can use to upgrade your character, and although Portal Knights has been described as “grindy” in this regard, I actually love having that sense of progression to urge me to continue further. In fact, if you’re the type of person who always wished they could enjoy Minecraft but it was just too open-ended for you, Portal Knights is your savior. You constantly have goals to work towards, whether it’s storyline based or random side quests, and so you never feel like you’re without direction if you need it. Of course, like I said, you can just plop down in a world of your choosing and build away for no reason at all if you want too. It really is the best of both worlds.

There’s a cooperateive angle to Portal Knights too, though on iOS it’s limited to local multiplayer rather than online like other platforms. That’s perhaps the reason for its $ 5 price point compared to other platforms where it costs $ 20. Even with the lack of online, there’s a stunning amount of content here for five bucks. iOS devices with 2GB of RAM or more will also enjoy the ability to create larger worlds, and there’s a graphics quality slider in the options so you can suit the visuals to the strength of your device. Portal Knights looks absolutely stunning on my iPhone X with graphics cranked up and it fills out the entire screen beautifully.

I’ve really only scratched the surface of what this game has to offer, but as someone who has grown tired of the aimlessness of Minecraft after spending so many years playing it, I’m absolutely loving the more structured, RPG-like Portal Knights. If you’ve felt similarly about open-world sandbox games, or you’re just looking for a neat spin on the formula, you should definitely give Portal Knights a look and drop by the forum thread for more information and discussion.


Go behind the scenes on Game of Thrones in this featurette from the season 7 box set

Winter has come, both in the sense that it’s December, and in the sense that Game of Thrones has wrapped for 2017, and we’re all doomed to share a two-year slog through the Game Of Thrones-less wilderness before the final season comes around. Not much to do now except look for other fantasy epics to fill the gap, talk over the past season, and revisit it on video, free of the frantic rush to be the first to comment on every plot development online. The seventh-season Blu-ray and DVD sets of the series arrive on December 12th, which will make that last part easier. And as a bonus, they’ll come with the usual round of cast commentaries, an animated history of Westeros, and some behind-the-scenes featurettes. Here’s a short exclusive…

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Should you blow into your video game cartridges?

Blowing into cartridges. The practice has basically been around as long as video games have existed — almost like a magic formula. Cartridge isn’t working? Blow into it, and it’ll work again. But does it actually help?

Looking around on the internet, it’s pretty clear the answer here is “no,” as this MentalFloss article goes through. Nintendo even starting printing increasingly specific advice on the backs of its cartridges. On the SNES, it said to only use a proper cleaning kit. On the N64, it stated outright on each game: “DO NOT BLOW ON THE EDGE CONNECTOR.”

To get to the bottom of why this is a bad idea, I called up Christopher Grant, the editor-in-chief of Polygon and an expert in retro gaming…

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