2013 was a very good year for iOS gamers. Not only did we receive the unbelievably sexy iPad Air, a new A7 chip and official OS-level support for gamepads, developers outdid themselves and pushed our devices further than ever before.
You’d better hope you’ve still got plenty of free space available, then, because 2014 looks set to deliver some of the finest mobile gaming experiences to date. Here are ten of the hottest upcoming releases to whet your appetites.
It’s not every year Peter Molyeneux decides to make a new god game, but thankfully in 2013 he teamed up with developer 22cans to crowd-fund Project GODUS on Kickstarter. With a target of £450,000, the project was ambitious but still managed to smash its funding requirement with over £525,000 raised in total.
As can be seen from the proof of concept, Project GODUS operates along the same lines as Populus using a measure of followers. The more followers who believe in you, the more power you have, and the more you can influence the world. Eventually followers go on to create vast sprawling civilizations and wage war on other tribes, and who knows what else the team have planned.
Death Road to Canada
Bored of the usual iOS fare, looking for something… well, different? How about Death Road to Canada, the “Randomized Permadeath Road Trip Simulator” headed to mobile and other platforms this year. By randomizing everything, Death Road to Canada promises a different experience every time you play. It’s an interesting spin on the roguelike genre which has taken off through similar titles like The Binding of Isaac.
As you can see from the trailer above, the top-down retro graphics compliment the cheeky sense of humour, hack and slash gameplay and dialogue-based decision making. It’s possible to recruit people and animals to help you take on the “wall of death” zombie hordes, but you’ll have to make sure your followers don’t fight among themselves too. Death Road to Canada certainly looks like one of this year’s most interesting releases.
“Change the order, change the outcome” so says Framed’s tagline, referring directly to the game’s innovative gameplay mechanism, based on an arrangement of comic strips. By moving various frames around, you can manipulate and eventually completely change the outcome of in-game situations.
So it’s a puzzle game masquerading as an action game, and it looks perfectly suited to sofa-bound iPad gamers. This one was hotly anticipated last year, so lets hope 2014 is the year we finally see its release.
Currently in the process of soft-launching, Supernauts is a brand new free-to-play game that hopes to recreate some of the success Mojang experienced with Minecraft. The aim of the game is to build a world of your design out of squares, either on your own or as part of a social effort (sounds familiar).
Being a free-to-play title, it’s all about Facebook integration and premium currencies, so expect the usual freemium trimmings and in-app purchases. That said, the game looks wacky enough to be able to pull-off something special here, and it can’t be as bogged down as the free-to-play Angry Birds racer.
Jane Jensen is best known for being the creator of Sierra On-Line’s fondly remembered 90s point and click series, Gabriel Knight. Jensen last year started a Kickstarter campaign to fund her new studio, and the fruit of their first harvest will shortly be coming into crop in the form of Moebius, a “metaphysical thriller”.
It’s difficult to glean much beyond the high production values, unusually good voice acting and very shiny-looking water from the alpha trailer above. If you’re a big fan of the point and click genre on iOS keep an eye on Moebius as it’s set to be one of 2014’s most gripping releases.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there aren’t enough space exploration games around any more. Thankfully, Drifter hopes to tip the balance slightly by providing a procedurally generated galaxy that’s 100,000 light years across in size. Thankfully, they also plan to provide some spaceships to help you travese that massive distance.
Gameplay is open-world and open-ended, so players are free to explore the many tens of thousands of star systems, trade goods and chase bounties as they please. The game was initially slated for a 2013 release but that’s now been pushed back to 2014. Let’s hope it’s not too far off completion, and more importantly that it doesn’t do an X: Rebirth.
Tales from the Borderlands
Telltale Games, responsible for the excellent video game adaptation of The Walking Dead are teaming up with Gearbox Software, the people who brought you Borderlands, for spin-off series Tales from the Borderlands. The game will be set in the same space-Western universe vault hunters have traditionally combed in search of Handsome Jack’s bounty.
But this is a Telltale Games series, and not necessarily a Gearbox one. That means it’s more likely to resemble a narrative-driven point and click than a fast-paced action RPG. Senior vice president of publishing at Telltale, Steve Allison told Polygon: “the Borderlands universe has so much story potential, all those great characters. There’s a narrative there in Borderlands 2 but it serves a certain purpose, and we can serve a difference purpose with it for fans of the franchise”.
Finally, it’s almost ready. One terrifically popular Kickstarter campaign, $3 million and a legendary cast of voice actors have made Tim Schafer and Double Fine Studios the centre of attention in the point and click gaming world for this: Broken Age, formerly Double Fine Adventure.
Kickstarter backers can already play the game, and general release for Windows, Mac and Linux begins on January 28 – so let’s hope the iOS version won’t take too much longer to arrive after that. This very well may be one of those games they “just don’t make any more” so best clear a space on your “best of 2014” lists in advance.
Mew-Genics is a self-titled “crazy cat lady simulator”, not that you’d be able to tell that from the trailer above. The game is the work of Team Meat, best known for hugely popular platformer Super Meat Boy. They’ve gone ahead and described the game as “a cross between The Sims and Pokemon with a sprinkling of Animal Crossing and a dash of Tamagotchi” – sounds inviting!
Any game that takes elements of Nintendo’s finest neglected franchises and adds liberal helpings of feline cuteness all in the style of Team Meat’s signature visuals is bound to be good, right? You can read about the complexities involved in this one on the Team Meat blog.
World of Tanks: Blitz
It’s nigh time iOS got wind of World of Tanks, the massively popular free-to-play shooter for PC and consoles. I write this after just having played the knock-off Battle Supremacy for iOS for the first time, and I’m now very confident that we need more tank games in the palms of our hands.
The “Blitz” portion of the name reminds us all that this is indeed a mobile-optimized version of World of Tanks, rather than a hastily hashed together port. Like the PC version, it’s going to be a free-to-play release so expect the usual pay-to-win style premium weaponry and in-game currencies.
That’s Not All
There were plenty of games that didn’t quite make it onto this list, and that’s because we’re truly spoiled for choice on iOS. There are so many games coming out this year that I’m bound to have missed a favourite of yours – so let me know what you’re most excited about in the comments.
Are you looking forward to these as much as I am? Speak up!