This week in mobile games, an all-time classic strategy game came to Netflix, Apple confirmed that Arcade is losing 15 games and an ambitious new Star Wars game got delayed – again.
Oh, and there’s yet more new Netflix games incoming plus other new stuff to play.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
Netflix keeps nailing it
Whoever’s directing the play over at Netflix Games has impeccable taste. The streaming giant has already made a splash by signing new releases from League of Legends maker Riot, Monument Valley creator Ustwo, Downwell auteur Ojiro Fumoto and several games from cult label Devolver.
It’s a deep, tactical turn-based strategy game with smart roguelike elements and lush pixel art. And it’s hard to find a games critic who didn’t love it when it came out on PC, Mac, and Switch in 2018. It works great on mobile, too. It’s arguably a better fit for touchscreens than it is PC. Grab it now.
Apple Arcade is losing 15 games
A new Leaving Apple Arcade section suddenly appeared on Apple Arcade this week, which included games from Square Enix, WayForward, Noodlecake and more — 15 titles in total, all for the chop.
A day later, Apple quietly updated some support pages to explain what it was all about. Basically, a bunch of contracts Apple had signed with developers to host their games on Arcade had run their course, and now the developers are free to do as they please with them.
So if you’re keen to try a few of them before they leave, we’d recommend Cardpocalypse, EarthNight, Spidersaurs, Towaga: Among Shadows, and Various Daylife as the highlights among the 15 titles disappearing soon. Fs in the chat.
Star Wars: Hunters delayed... again
Star Wars: Hunters is a big deal for developer Zynga. It's a big, flashy multiplayer arena battler with an all-new cast of characters, from Wookies to Droids and everything in between.
It was announced back in February 2021 during a Nintendo Direct, no less, because it’s coming to Switch, too. But now, when it's coming out is a bit of a thorny issue.
It was first slated for 2021, was later delayed to this year, and this week was bumped back to 2023.
Why? Well, as we’ve said many times: making games is hard. It’s especially difficult if you’re making one during a pandemic. And mobile games, in particular, are living, breathing things - developers will test and tweak them for years on end in soft launch before releasing a game worldwide. And with a big license like Star Wars, Zynga clearly wants to get everything right for day one.
Until then, though, most folks will have to wait – unless you’re reading this in Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, or Taiwan, where an early version is playable now.
What’s next for Netflix in games
The same day Into the Breach dropped, Netflix also confirmed four more games coming to the service next month. And two of them are thrillers with that cinematic, Netflix-y vibe.
Firstly there’s a new game from Half Mermaid, the studio led by Her Story and Telling Lies maker Sam Barlow. It’s called Immortality, and it’s about figuring out what happened to a missing Hollywood starlet by piecing together footage from her lost films.
The other cinematic game incoming is Twelve Minutes, a time-loop thriller starring the voice talents of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe. It got some mixed reviews when it launched on PC and console when it came out last year, but as effectively a freebie through your existing Netflix sub, it’ll be worth a shot.
Elsewhere, there’s perennial party favorite Heads Up, which now has rounds based on Netflix shows like Stranger Things, and a slightly more mysterious prospect, Rival Pirates, which looks like a multiplayer arena battle game.
All good stuff, and a bunch more free games to check out if you’re already a Netflix subscriber (and who isn’t?!)
What else to play this week
Two management games caught our eye this week where you'll oversee very different clientele.
MMA Manager 2: Ultimate Fight might be up your street if you like the idea of overseeing and expanding a bustling gym full of highly trained, very frightening people you daren’t argue with. Alternatively, there’s Pet Rescue Empire Tycoon, which is a broadly similar thing, but with furry friends instead of furious fighters.
Meanwhile, over on Apple Arcade, there’s a new fantasy battler HEROish to try out. It’s like a tower defense game, but you’re the one on the ground fighting and directing the troops. The App Store veterans among you may remember the classic Royal Revolt; if you liked that back in the day, you’ll love HEROish.
That’s it for now. Back next week!
- Neil Long
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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.