Without much ado, here are our suggestions for your digital Christmas gift shopping we picked from November releases. The month has been eventful for the fans of gamebooks, space RPGs and strategies, and of course the fans of Rovio, Mockingjay, Big Hero and more. Check it out.
Galaxy on Fire™ – Alliances Freemium By Deep Silver
We have just reviewed this outstanding space sci-fi strategy MMO, and are absolutely fascinated by its grandeur. Don’t expect too much battling scenes, though, but if you are into a thorough strategy and don’t mind a bit overwhelming amount of micromanagement, Galaxy on Fire: Alliances has you covered. The game offers an unprecedented amount of visually top-notch content, an immersive gameplay and a fair approach to in-app purchases. You will uncover its true potential when you join an active alliance, and that’s when you can aspire for some galactic domination. If you are a loner, you will undoubtedly enjoy the meticulous empire building, stellar design and a surprisingly smooth performance for an Internet-dependent game of this mass.
Valiant Hearts : The Great War $19.99 and $5.99 By Ubisoft Entertainment
Ubisoft released an adventure gamebook that takes you to the trenches of the World War I, where you get to choose to play as one of the four characters trying to help a German soldier find his love. The gamebook combines puzzles, adventure narration and even action. You can play the four characters one by one, but every time your loyal canine companion Walt is by your side to save your glorious, heroic buns. The game makes a light historic tour of the war events at the Western front spanning across the Battle of Somme and the Battle of Marne. So, if World War I is your subject of interest, you can combine your favorite hobby with an entertaining mobile gameplay.
The Banner Saga $9.99 By Versus Evil
Genre: Role Playing
The Banner Saga manages to combine a tactical RPG with strategy and role playing as you fight your way to become the greatest and most fearsome Viking of them all. The game features a beautiful 2D design, compelling story to engage in, interesting combat system and an entire world of Norse mythological folklore. On top of a very immersive gameplay sits a perfectly fitting soundtrack, which creates a truly magic experience, but the true gem here is the ability to play 25 characters from 7 classes, each with a well developed personality and a unique story. With all the awards and media hype, Banner Saga offers an interesting gameplay experience unlike other games in the genre, which alone is worth the price.
Civilization Revolution 2 $15.99 By 2K Games, Inc.
The second installment of Civilization Revolution is as gorgeous as it is expensive, but it is also well worth the purchase, or it could make a great Christmas gift this season. You might be even more compelled to buy the second game because it will not be released on other platforms but mobile. The game offers plenty of new content for the strategic empire builders from the Korean civilization to new leaders like Lenin and King Sejong. Military-wise, you will be able to play with jet fighters, aircraft carriers and state of the art military tech, as well as deploy information wars against your foes via Internet, and enjoy the latest medical research.
XCOM®: Enemy Within $13.99 By 2K Games, Inc.
XCOM®: Enemy Within is a grand follow-up to the Enemy Unknown offering tons of new content, so it is very well worth the purchase if you are looking for a digital Christmas gifts to your boyfriends, sons and Dads. The multiplayer mode is a black hole for your productivity, so don’t indulge yourself in playing it at work. The game features new soldier types, new enemies, maps and missions, but make sure you check your device for compatibility, available space and resources. It probably goes without saying, but if you have problems managing your anger, walk on by because XCOM Enemy Within is abundant in violence.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 $2.99 By Scott Cawthon
More horrifying animatronics awaits you in the second installment of Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s, only this time the game offers as much as seven nightmare inducing nights. The developer introduced some improvements to the UI and control system, but the core gameplay remains the same – you still get crashed by the kid-friendly robots that entertain restaurant visitors by day, and hunt unlucky security guards by night. Make sure to download the demo version, which is free and offers first two nights. We recommend you start with the demo not because you might find the game boring, but because the game is a bit capricious, or rather focused on higher-end devices.
Contract Killer: Sniper by Glu, Free, offers IAPs
We have reviewed Contract Killer: Sniper and were thoroughly satisfied with the experience. You play as a mercenary working for some international private army eliminating mafia thugs all over the world. The missions offered by game are diverse in a way that you are not always a sniper. In fact, in some cases you need to engage in close combat, throw knives, deploy bombs with timers, or handle other, more complex weapons like lasers, heavy guns, tesla guns and rocket launchers. Some missions will task you with infiltrating a criminal organization and eliminate the leader without revealing your true identity. The game is flawed by the restricting business model, if you know what I mean, but you can still enjoy it, engage in heavy-loaded PvP, where you can loot other players’ stock of gems. The game looks spectacular, but is Internet-dependent.
VEGA Conflict by KIXEYE, free, IAPs
Category: Strategy, requires Internet connection to play
November was generous on space colonizing mobiles games, and VEGA Conflict is one of the best entries alongside Galaxy on Fire Alliances and previously released Haegemonia Legions of Iron, so if you enjoyed those games, you should check out VEGA.
The VEGA Federation is a hostile entity you fight, but you also build up your space station, fleet, hangars, modules, laboratories, troops and all that space station attire, extracting resources from the drifting asteroids, looting federation convoys and picking your battles against other players. The game looks and plays great, and unlike Galaxy on Fire, it offers frequent combat missions, where there is no way to win unless your fleet rank is higher than that of your opponent. You can have AI control the battle, or take the manual command, which is a welcome cherry on top of the overall delicious cake. The game offers a gazillion of planets to colonize across multiple galaxies, and what will please the RPG fans – a great deal of combat ships and weapons to research and deploy. Make sure you have stable Internet connection, and study some reviews and user feedback before you proceed to avoid unnecessary spending.
The Hunger Games: Panem Rising by Kabam; Free, IAPs
Category: Role Playing, requires Internet connection to play
I first complained about the lack of depth in the Panem Rising mobile game, but I take it back because the movie is even worse, leaving those who read the books with a nagging feeling we’ve been robbed an entire year of waiting first for the Mockingjay Part 1, and now another year for the second and closing part. The game is a card collecting and card battling entry that exploits the movie fans’ endearing with the movie heroes. You start off as one of the secondary characters leading, and assembling, you squad as you purge Districts from Peace Keepers. If you are lucky, you will get Katniss the Survivor card some time at the beginning like I did, but in many cases it does not happen too soon. The best part is the characters on the cards are exact copies of actors playing the parts, so yes, Finnick Odaire, Beattie, Katniss and Haymitch, as well as Effie look exactly like in the movies. The gameplay is somewhat repetitive, but since there really is no alternative for now, it will do. Check out our tips and tricks for success in the Hunger Games: Panem Rising or read full review here.
Angry Birds Transformers by Rovio Mobile Ltd. , free, offers IAPs
Angry Birds Transformers is definitely the closest thing to the original Transformers animated series than any Michael Bay movie. The birds look surprisingly at home in Autobot’s suits while pigs are always pigs, even when they fly helicopters. The gameplay puts your autobirds running along a beach, or forest, or some other setting, as you tap on pigs for the bird to fire a missile or some sort of autobot laser at the green Deceptihogs. The visuals are delightful, and I will tell you the kids go crazy about this game, demanding the Telepods and constant in-app purchases to let them play. Parents, beware – the game is IAP-loaded and the implementation is not the best, but then again, it has been Rovio’s name card for a long time now. So, yes, the game is fun and addicting, but it makes you wait a lot, and if you don’t have the nerve to wait, get ready to cash out a good buck.
Big Hero 6 Bot Fight by Disney, Free, IAPs
If you are a fan of the Candy crush Saga-like mobile games, check out Big Hero 6 Bot Fight. It is a movie tie-in, but you don’t really need to watch the movie to be able to enjoy the game. A bright, colorful and fun match-three, or four, or more, puzzler, it offers hours of non-IAP-offensive gameplay, fun for kids and adults alike. However, you will need to read our review if you want to get the hang of the color-coded bots that are the main characters here. I myself skipped the reading part (who reads that?!) and found it challenging, if not confusing to figure out how those colors work with one another. There is a whole philosophy to it, so take a minute to sort it out, and you will enjoy this loud, vibrant, splashing and exploding match-three puzzler, which is a breath of fresh air for this long worn out niche.
Necklace of Skulls by Cubus Games, $2.99
Category: Adventure gamebook
My personal favorite on the list of November releases is this adventure gamebook by Cubus Games, a studio I started keeping an eye on after I got my hands on their Heavy Metal Thunder Gamebook in October. Necklace of Skulls (review), again, makes you read a lot, but if the name Dave Morris rings a bell, you know you will be reading an engrossing adventure story of a Mayan young man, or a woman because there are four playable characters and three game slots for parallel gameplays. The protagonist sets out on a dangerous journey, where thirst can kill him as much as a spider, snake or one of the gazillion of mythical creatures can, too. However, he has to finish that journey because the life of his twin brother is at stake, and most likely the latter is already dead, but you can try to gamble his life if you beat the Necklace of Skulls, a dark sorcerer. The art work and sound score are fantastic, and you can also download the wallpaper app with the illustrations from the book. The game features a dice-free combat system, but the main lure is the thrilling branched-out adventure, which is never the same each time you play it.
Creature Academy Freemium By Kabam
I dare say this one is for the kids, but it doesn’t mean entire families can’t enjoy it. You have a team of creatures, and you unlock more creatures as you play. That system works like card collecting because you can forge stronger cards by evolving or upgrading them. And then, you set out on a battle. This is where the game becomes truly interesting because you are actually involved in the combat. You move your hero across the setting and tap on enemies to battle, deploy special abilities, or change the active member of the team, or summon a friend to help you out. You need to make friends with other players so that you always have someone to help you when the battles get rough, and you also need to send out love, or friendship, point to your community of friends. There is also an PvP and infinite battle modes, where you can get some powerful perks. The game looks like a Disney crtoon – colorful, fun and somewhat childish. It also relies on a somewhat limiting business model, but you can still have fun with it until you run out of keys, that’s the in-game stamina counter. You can read the full review here.
Kingdom Rush Origins $3, IAPs by Ironhide Game Studios
Genre: tower defense
Kingdom Rush fan base will probably say this is the best release of November, and they would be right. Kingdom Rush Origins, being the prequel to the best mobile tower defense game, is a stellar entry in the genre. Never mind the pre- or se-quel attire and the story – the gameplay is what shines here, and you will be delighted to lay your hands on the screen to build those towers, deploy those new troop types and explore the new environments of this truly epic universe. The downside is the premium title comes with in-app purchases, but hey, it’s Kingdom Rush prequel after all.
Godus Free, IAPs by DeNa Corp
Godus a long-lasting entertainment that will keep you warm, cozy and Zen during the long winter nights. You play god as you sculpt land, throw lightning and rains for your devoted believers dubbed followers to live, breed and evolve their civilization from beach huts to space exploration. The game is visually gorgeous, but requires some patience and a lot of finger-precision from the god to sculpt the right layers of ground. Ultimately, the game is about sculpting and collecting Cards that give you more god power because by default you can’t do anything but sculpting. Unfortunately, to make progress slow, or urge the player to pay, or invest, Godus makes Cards active only when you unlock stickers, but it does not hamper the gameplay when you start off prepared and willing to dedicate your time and patience. In return, you will be rewarded with pink bubbles of Belief from your followers, a beautiful gameplay and an ego-pampering illusion of playing god at least to little digital people in pink. Read full review of Godus here.
The Witcher Adventure Game $5.99 by CD Project RED
Genre: board game
This is not exactly what we have been expecting from CD Project RED, and we have been expecting the Witcher Arena. Alas, that might have to take more time, but for now the Witcher Adventure mobile boardgame will do. The developers released the physical board game and the mobile game comes as a tie-in for iOS, Android and PC. Set in the dark world of the original Witcher, the game lets you play as one of the four game characters – Yarpen Zirgin, Geralt, Dandelion and Triss Merigold. Naturally, each character comes with special abilities and peculiar dice mechanics, so with each character you will be playing a totally different game. You can play with friends, or against AI. Naturally, there is a story to each character, and each protagonist has to accomplish special goals like defeating monsters. It is not the cheapest kid on the block, but can very well make a perfect Christmas gift for a Witcher fan because the art work has been taken from the original game, with over 288 cards and 30 monsters.
Satis-Factory Free, By Concreterose
Another board game on the list is Satis-Factory, which could be the baby if Pandemic were to marry Chicken Invaders. We are under attack by the pesky aliens who do not want to fight directly. Instead, they stationed their brain hub not too far from our atmosphere and developed a special weapon to efficiently destroy humanity – a genetic weapon, which already infected millions of people. Within a single generation, the malicious gene evolves and becomes contagious, spreading the plague. You play against AI, or better yet with a bunch of friends, as you take turns throwing dice and making important decisions on whether to collect resources, or spend them on scientific research that can save the humanity, or restrict the spread of pandemic onto neighboring communities. The game allows for up to four players in a multiplayer mode, so check it out – it’s free.
Bunny To The Moon by Bitserum, Free
In our review of the game, we said Bunny to the Moon is the best thing that ever happened to Flappy Bird. Indeed, and endless vertical flappy bird, this game is both visually gorgeous, addicting, difficult to master and endearing in the best ways. The protagonist is a cute pink bunny that believes rabbits can fly, so he starts flapping his long ears as you help him avoid all sorts of obstacles. It’s a fun little game from an indie developer, and a real gem for the fans of the twitch games. Give a try and see if your bunny can make it to the Moon.