This month's lineup of the most notable new smartphone games includes Devil May Cry and a Titanfall clone, but are they any good?
This month's lineup of mobile games includes the excellent free-to-play factory builder, Assembly Line 2; Apple Arcade's Titanfall cartoon, BEAST; and Devil May Cry: Peak Of Combat, a new foray into mobile gaming for Capcom, featuring one of its most valuable franchises.
iOS, included with Apple Arcade subscription (Oh Bibi)
A cute third-person cartoon version of Titanfall 2, where you and two teammates take to colorful arenas, shooting enemies and accumulating power to summon beefy-looking battle mechs.
Once delivered, each mech deals extra damage and has a special ability to help you kill as many enemies as possible while preventing them from doing the same to you; a process that in the current meta seems to involve relentless spawn camping.
While everything works as planned, it still doesn't look all that appealing, which could be due to the sheer number of bots you play with and against. There is a lot of potential, but it remains to be seen whether this will be realized in the coming months.
Assembly line 2
iOS and Android, Free (João Reis)
Starting with a single manufacturing unit and a sales node, you slowly accumulate currency to purchase more components for your gradually expanding microfactory.
Earn money to unlock new components as well as blueprints, which allow you to create more complex products that are easily sold for higher amounts. The game that combines tactical assembly line construction with idle play works while you're away, accumulating resources.
Its interface seems clunky at first, but you soon get the hang of it, while the simple but effective graphics and increasingly complex gameplay loop prove pleasantly addictive.
Tiny Quest: Idle RPG Game
iOS and Android, free (excellent)
Looking like a glossy 16-bit adventure game with more than a dash of Secret Of Mana, Tiny Quest is an idle RPG set in a nostalgic, fantasy setting.
As with most inactive games, you are responsible for updates and deciding when and whether to spend money to speed up the process. The profusion of coins, summons, and fusions distracts you from the fact that virtually everything happens automatically, with or without your input.
You have to watch (very long) ads just to collect many of your rewards in a game that looks colorful and fun, but which mainly focuses on forcing you to watch paid advertising. In a word, joyless.
iOS, £1.99 (Night Jar)
Hack 'n' slash in old school 8-bit style, with your axe-wielding barbarian attacking only when you move, forcing you to keep running and jumping through each level on the screen.
In addition to running towards enemies, you'll also need to avoid traps and collect power-ups, which provide temporary but often destructive firepower.
It's a phone app, so if you play on the iPad it will enlarge to partially fit the screen, and the touchscreen controls are difficult to locate without looking. Other than that, it's exactly as basic as its graphics suggest.
Devil May Cry: Combat Peak
iOS, free (Capcom)
There's a long and ignoble tradition of turning best-selling console and PC franchises into dismal mobile cash grabs that rely on gacha and microtransactions, rather than player skill, to progress.
It's a shame that Devil May Cry is one of them. The fights look elegant enough, with your demon hunters bouncing around, putting together combos fueled by character switching at key moments, but beneath the enthusiasm the fights are condescendingly simplistic.
Resistance, the single currency necessary for progress, arrives in minuscule volumes, making cash payments the only viable path to progress in this offensively dull and exploitative perversion of a much-loved series.
Words in Progress
iOS, included with Apple Arcade (Gamious) subscription
From a line of letters on the screen you assemble words, while adding letters as compatible letters appear. This means that E can come SAND and, if you're very lucky, eventually AMPERSAND.
Along with an endless mode where you just try to keep going as long as you can, you can also play against friends or random players online in asynchronous matches.
Although the interface works, the game feels incomplete, lacking basic instructions and interactions. It's not terrible, but in its current state it feels unfinished, which for a game whose name evokes the expression “work in progress” is perhaps quite appropriate.
MORE: Best New Mobile Games on iOS and Android – January 2024 Roundup
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