This week in mobile games, we learned that Diablo Immortal is one of the biggest mobile game launches ever, second only to Pokémon Go.
It looks like there’s also a new Sonic mobile game incoming, there’s a new Star Trek: Lower Decks tie-in to check out and a Netflix game you control by blinking. Yep, blinking.
Plus! Other new games this week include an Octopath Traveler prequel and a tower defense classic new to Apple Arcade. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Diablo does the business
Angry gamers, avert your eyes: Diablo Immortal is one of the biggest mobile game launches ever, second only to Pokémon Go.
Blizzard’s mobile RPG has been controversial in some quarters for its monetization practices, but that certainly hasn’t meant it has flopped — far from it. It has generated over $100 million from players since it launched in most countries on June 1. And the China launch earlier this week was huge, too.
It's only been two months since the game launched, so this number makes Diablo Immortal the second fastest game ever to hit that milestone. The first is, of course, Pokémon Go, which took just two weeks to pass $100 million in revenue.
As we’ve discussed here in this column before, Diablo Immortal has attracted some pretty extreme, and we would say unfair, reactions to the way it makes money from players. But that hasn’t stopped it from being a wild success.
Is there a new Sonic game incoming?
Our friends at VGC spotted an interesting job ad at U.K.-based Sega Hardlight this week: An open position for a lead artist on a “new Sonic game” described as an “ambitious narrative driven platform game." Huh!
Now, this comes as no surprise if you’ve been paying attention. Sega Hardlight recently confirmed it was working on a new title based on Sega IP and that it was “a year or so” away from launch. And it has already made a bunch of Sonic Dash games.
But this one sounds different. Thanks to the story elements, it sounds more like the full-fat Sonic games we’ve seen on console and PC, unlike the infinite runners Hardlight has specialized in previously. Color us intrigued.
Forget free-to-play — try blink-to-play
Culty, blink-to-play game Before Your Eyes got a new lease of life this week thanks to its arrival on Netflix.
Using your phone’s front-facing camera, you guide the story by blinking and glancing your way through a tale where you help lost souls get through the afterlife.
Despite winning a BAFTA back when it was released in 2021, it’s still a pretty obscure game, so it’s nice that Netlfix has (presumably) given indie developer GoodbyeWorld Games a decent payday to bring it to the service.
It has put a unique and worthy game quite literally in front of loads of new eyeballs. You can find it in the Netflix app on iPhone and iPad for free if you’re a subscriber.
Star Trek Lower Decks: Hmmm
Animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks is a fun, animated comedy spin-off helmed by Rick and Morty writer and producer Mike McMahan. And the game? Well, it’s…hmmm.
The story bits look the part. They look like they were pulled straight out of the show, with the characters bickering and bumbling through tasks. But the game itself is a pretty typical idle game where you make numbers go up and then upgrade various stations to produce more…stuff, which you put back into upgrades to produce more stuff again. And so on and so on.
Developer Eastside Games has done this before. Its game based on The Office (subtitled Somehow We Manage) took some fun story scenes that feel true to the show and dotted them around a pretty uninspiring idle game.
So yeah, Star Trek: Lower Decks (and indeed The Office: Somehow We Manage) are perhaps only for series megafans rather than your average game player.
What else to play this week
Octopath Traveler made a bit of a splash on Switch back in 2018 with its lush “HD 2D” retro JPRG look and eight different lead characters.
New mobile game Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is a prequel to that original game, and arrived this week with a stronger focus on combat, collectible characters, and upgrades (which is where the free-to-play stuff comes in).
It looks and sounds great; Square Enix often maintains its sky-high production values for its mobile games because they’re wildly successful in Japan, and its fanbase expects nothing less. It's worth checking out if you can overcome some crazy download times at the start.
Over on Apple Arcade, Kingdom Rush Vengeance TD+ is new this week. It’s a re-release of the tower defense game from Ironhide that’s just as good as all the other excellent tower defense games Ironhide keeps pumping out.
It’s $4.99 on the "real" App Store, so if you’ve already got an Apple Arcade sub anyway, it’s worth a look.
Until next week!
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Neil Alexander Long is a gaming contributor for iMore, as well as the founder and editor of mobilegamer.biz, a mobile games industry website that specialises in exclusive news, interviews and insights.
He started his games media career almost 20 years ago on UK games industry magazine MCV, before editing Official Nintendo Magazine, interactive iPad magazine iGamer (RIP) and edge-online.com (also RIP), Edge magazine’s online presence.
In 2014 he moved to Apple to serve as App Store games editor. There he helped launch new App Stores on Apple Watch and Apple TV, the App Store's UK Today tab, Apple Arcade and countless games, including Clash Royale, Monument Valley 2, Brawl Stars, Candy Crush Friends Saga and Beatstar.