The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are coming out soon! Yay! They’ll cost hundreds of dollars! Less yay. The games will cost $60. Oh.
Alright, your enthusiasm about the new consoles probably hasn’t waned that much, but all the same, it’s time to get excited about the gaming coming your way this fall. These games won’t cost a month’s worth of whatever kind of payments you make to keep living in your domicile. We’re talking about mobile gaming, and while, yeah, mobile gaming doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation for quality, there are always some diamonds in the rough to be found if you dig hard enough. And, hey, with mobile gaming, you’re probably just looking for something that makes the morning bus ride less excruciatingly boring. The bar’s not all that high.
Here are a few picks for your fall gaming slate, to tide you over while you cross your fingers as hard as possible that someone delivers the console goods during the holiday season.
Bomberman. If you forgot about that storied franchise, I’ll bet you’re really happy I just reminded you, because the old NES and SNES Bomberman games were the greatest. The mad bomber in you got to blow your way through arenas trying to wipe out your friends, who were getting decidedly less friend-like as the matches accumulated. It’s a classic franchise, and it’s a good thing there was never a reboot attempt on the Xbox 360, because Bomberman: Act Zero doesn’t exist and you can’t tell me otherwise.
Anyway, Blast Zone looks like it might be the spiritual successor to the old 2D-style Bomberman games, and that is terrific news. The action takes place on a checkerboard-like grid, much like the old Bomberman games. And, like in the old days, the goal is the same – to blow up your opponents. You can do that with the help of tons of power-ups and special moves, and dancing and trampolines will be involved. There will be over 400 different stages, customizable avatars, and head-to-head online play. When you’re lacking a quality Internet connection, there’s a single-player campaign, too.
The fuse is lit, and Blast Zone will be blowing up Android and iOS phones comes this December.
Fast & Furious 6: The Game
Movie tie-ins are always a mixed bag, but if you’re a fan of the franchise, it might be worth checking out this free-to-play iOS game. What you’ll find is pretty standard for a mobile racing game – single-player and online multiplayer races with customizable and upgradeable cars. There’s also a single-player heist mode where you can complete missions to earn gold and coins that you can use for upgrades. Of course, as with any free-to-play game, those coins and upgrades can be had as in-app purchases, as well.
The other nice thing about this game is that the developers are steadily adding new content as time goes on. Fast & Furious 6: The Game recently got a Halloween update with themed upgrades and decals, and there’s a Race Wars update coming in November, which is probably not the best name they could have chosen.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed
Not that Sonic needs a cart to race, but he’s hopping into one in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed. Although the now long-ago passing of Sega from the world of consoles was worthy of tears, the upshot is that Sonic can now go run on any platform he pleases. The quality of those ventures is another matter, of course. Fortunately, this cart racer looks to be one of Sonic’s more solid outings, with 10 characters to choose from and dynamic levels that take place on sea, land, and air, with carts that transform appropriately.
You might have already played the original iOS game, and been disappointed that it was never updated for the iPhone 5. Well, Transformed is that update, and it’s coming in December of this year, along with local and online four-person multiplayer. We’re not sure how much Transformed will be, but the previous version of the game was $1.99, and the price will probably be comparable to that. Transformed is coming out for iOS and Android.
Go Dance is a dance game for iOS, but you won’t be tapping buttons on a screen and pretending to dance. No, this is a somewhat less-than-mobile game where you’ll want to set up your device so that the front camera can record your dance moves in all of their glory. So, a bus game this will not be. Or, I guess it can be, if you don’t care about the judgments of strangers.
If the strangers don’t judge you, the camera will. You’ll get points based on the quality of your dance moves, as you dance to – initially – ‘Party Rock Anthem’ from LMFAO or ‘Super Bass’ from Nicki Minaj. So, I hope you can shuffle. The tracklist is limited, but there are other songs that you can purchase as in-app downloads, and the development team is slowly adding more. There’s online mulitplayer and leaderboards, too, and you can use the game with Apple TV to get big screen action.
Go Dance is on the iTunes App Store now for $1.99.
Plants vs Zombies 2
The essential tower defense game of the mobile gaming era now has a sequel. That means more zombies, more plants, more zombie-killing plant powers, more levels, more worlds – basically, more of everything that made the first game awesome. In Plants vs Zombies 2, the developers are going for a historical theme, showing you the rich tapestry of plants killing zombies throughout world history.
At launch, there are over 60 levels, and more will certainly be added as PopCap continues to take care of its baby. There are tons of new side missions to explore and upgrades to toy around with, too, but the basic point here is that the gameplay – mowing down zombie hordes before they wreck your garden – is still intact and just as wonderful as ever.
Iron Force is your tank battle game, and doesn’t need much more justification than that. There are 12 tanks to choose from, and you can upgrade each one as you see fit while you mow down the opposition. You can engage in six-person free-for-all battles, or, if you’re a team player, join in on 3 vs 3 matches. With four arenas, in-game power-ups, and over 100 different upgrades, Iron Force has enough replay value to keep you going until you find a new mobile addiction.
The developers have historically been good at adding at new features, like new tanks, so that’s always a good sign. Iron Force is free-to-play with cash and upgrades available, but not required, as in-app purchases.