It's mid-October, so the days in the northern hemisphere are getting way colder, way too fast. But at least more time spent indoors means more opportunities for mobile gaming. So, here are the titles we're playing this month, in order of our most to least played ones.
Monster Hunter Stories
At $20, Monster Hunter Stories is about as premium as mobile gaming gets. This price point is also what kept me away from Capcom's port for over a year. It's well above the impulse purchase territory, so if I'm paying it, that's only if I have time to play it right here and now.
Well, the circumstances aligned just enough for that to happen this month. And all things considered, I'm enjoying my time so far, some 15 hours in. This is a port of a 2016 Nintendo DS game, so mechanically, it's way more complex than what you'd expect from your average mobile release. It's also more suitable for playing on the go than the typical Monster Hunter title. Largely on account of being a spin-off with turn-based battles instead of a fast-paced action RPG. Which is a format that's just about perfect for smartphones and tablets.
Furthermore, the amount of new and varied content the game kept throwing my way quickly dispelled any thoughts about whether I was getting my money's worth here. The main gameplay loop is like a combination of Pokemon, Jurassic Park, and Dragon Quest. It's accesssible, addictive, and ever-evolving, constantly challenging your mastery of the game. But never so much so that you can't brute-force your way through any section with a short level-grinding detour. If that's what you feel like doing, that is.
All in all, Monster Hunter Stories is a game that's bound to impress any RPG aficionado; doubly so if they happen to be avid fans of the series. If you're looking to make a single big-buck purchase likely to keep you entertained for a 100 hours on its own, this would be one of the few games to consider. Not least because it was fairly easy on the battery of my Galaxy Note 10. All that's missing is controller support, really.
Lastly, if you're one the fence about getting this, a pretty sizable vertical chunk of the game is available for download free of charge, subtitled “The Adventure Begins”. So that you can spend a couple of hours with Monster Hunter Stories and see how you like the main gameplay loop, no strings attached. It will also let you transfer your save if you do end up buying the whole game in the end.
- Download Monster Hunter Stories from the Play Store ($19.99)
- Download MHST: The Adventure Begins from the Play Store (free)
Broken Sword: Director's Cut
A timeless point-and-click classic from the golden age of adventure games. Elegantly translated to touchscreens. Witty humor, memorable characters, and all-around sharp writing included. A masterful take on interactive storytelling for the price of a Happy Meal.
If you have never played the original Broken Sword, now is the time to right that wrong. If you have, you know you'll enjoy another refresher just the same.
By far the freshest release on this list, Pokemon Unite just hit the Play Store a few weeks ago. This is a super accessible MOBA designed for Pokemon fans first and foremost. So, coupled with the fact that it's free-to-play and not aggressively monetized, it's definitely worth giving a go if you like either the genre or pocket monsters themselves.
Seeing how the player base is still surging, you should have zero issues finding games within seconds. The only caveat is that you need to be on a decent connection, speed-wise, in order to have the intended gameplay experience.
I actually stumbled on this old Gameloft release while doing a write-up on last month's edition of Galaxy Gaming. Namely, I was looking for more mobile racing games bold enough to ditch the impossible task of adapting traditional racing gameplay to a touchscreen in favor of a more refined, linear experience. Overdrive City fits this bill perfectly, and it's old enough to have evaded the modern era of hyper-aggressive monetization that newer Gameloft titles succumbed to. At the same time, it's still a regularly updated game. Meaning it takes advantage of tall aspect ratios characteristic of pretty much every smartphone Samsung released in recent years.
This all amounts to a highly enjoyable experience combining racing with some tycoon genre staples such as incremental upgrades and micro-management. All free of charge, unless you're so into the game that your sessions end up running for over an hour. Overall, Overdrive City is an easy recommendation for all sorts of racing fans.