Hey, y’all! It’s your boy, back again, doing this app thing we do. It’s a little later than I’d envisioned, ending the wonderful streak I was on, but we made it through. I hope you’ve been having a great month, and that the times aren’t too hard for you out there. This month I decided to try some big new apps, as well as one I’ve been meaning to get to, and one you’ve definitely heard about before. Also, two Apple Arcade games! This month is a mess, but I’m excited to get into it! Shall we?
You may recall a few months back when I refused to play Honkai Impact 3rd due to its insanely large install size. Well, call me a hypocrite, because Genshin Impact – from Honkai creator, miHoYo Limited – clocks in at 5.66 GB, and I freaking love it. Put aside the fact that I can’t fathom how anyone could maintain having a game so large on their phone, Genshin Impact delivers the perfect mobile open-world JRPG experience. You play as an “outsider” whose sister has been stolen by an unnamed god. Accompanied by a fairy named Paimon, you must traverse this strange foreign land on a quest to get your lost sibling back. Along the way you meet many other colorful characters, some of which you can add to your crew. The first crewmate comes in the form of Amber, a knight whose spunk for adventure and archery skills spice up the story and gameplay alike, and whose city is under attack by an enormous dragon – and so your journey begins! Genshin Impact is absolutely breathtaking from the get-go, with visuals that rival a console experience, and combat that feels so fluid, you’ll forget you’re playing on a mobile device. My only real gripe with the game is its UI can feel a bit cluttered at times, from upgrading equipment to cooking meals to using skills during combat. There are plenty of buttons to keep track of, and I can’t help but yearn for a more streamlined interface on, say, a PS4. While you just might find me reviewing a console version in the future – can you tell I had a blast trying this game out? – the biggest takeaway is that with a game so large and detailed as Genshin Impact on my iPhone XR, how have we not received a mobile World of Warcraft yet? It’s obviously doable, as long as the multiplayer aspects work, and my god, it would be glorious.
If you haven’t heard of Among Us by now, well, you’re in the same boat as me a couple of weeks ago. I hopped on this train late, let me tell you. The first time I even read the words “Among Us” – in a non-Telltale context – was in our VGU group chat. It was then that I took the game for a spin on my phone. After playing the role of an imposter in my first game, accidentally reporting my own victim’s dead body, and subsequently getting voted off the ship unanimously, I decided to give the game my seal of disapproval. However, once my girlfriend got her hands on the PC version, and we played a few rounds together cross-platform, I’ve fallen more in love with Among Us and ultimately, I must say I get the hype. It’s weird, though, that a 2-year-old rip-off of One Night Werewolf – or Town of Salem, if you remember that old gem – would have such a resurgence in 2020. Perhaps it’s the quarantine that’s got people craving a good old whodunnit? Nevertheless, the gameplay of Among Us is as frantic and enjoyable as any other game of its ilk, with crew members racing to complete tasks aboard a spaceship before a rampant mystery murderer takes their life. Upon a corpse’s discovery, the crew members will convene to discuss the tragedy and vote to send one unlucky teammate into the void. If you kill the imposter(s), you win! But if the imposter can turn everyone against their own crewmates, they’ll leave with the victory. Among Us keeps you on your toes in short bursts, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. My only wish is for a progression system, but with the team currently focusing on improving the base game – rather than working on a proposed sequel – I bet an update is right around the corner.
Another mobile trend I dabbled in a few months back was that of sniper games. They’re abundant on the platform, and most of them follow a similar format: aim and shoot a designated target from afar. However, Lonewolf offers a refreshing addition to the genre: a gritty, captivating story. That’s right, a mobile sniper game – that’s entirely free to play, mind you – includes a deeply engrossing story that kept me up late attempting levels over and over to watch the plot unfold. Lonewolf is a game I’ve been meaning to get around to for a couple of months now, and I’m ashamed that it’s taken me so long. I had a genuine blast with this one from start to finish. You play as a no-nonsense sniper known only as “Lonewolf,” who is hired by a mysterious organization called “The Assembly” to carry out their secret assassinations. Being the best in the business, Lonewolf is tasked with the typical mobile sniping missions – albeit a bit more difficult with multiple targets – as well as some more intense scenarios involving sidearm shootouts and moving vehicles hindered by distance and wind resistance. Lonewolf had me frustrated many a time, and every mission failure displayed the game’s biggest flaw: retry cooldown. Each attempt is on a 5-minute timer, with 10 being the maximum amount of failures allowed. If you’re not good, you might find yourself waiting a while to jump back into the game. Retries can be purchased as microtransactions – as can certain weapons and upgrades – but the entire game can be experienced at no cost at all if you’ve got the right amount of skill. Couple this with a free play range mode and the aforementioned narrative that twists and turns like that of a big console title, and you’ve got one of my favorite mobile games to date!
The Last Campfire
If you’ve followed my work on the site recently, you’ll know that I’ve had my eyes on The Last Campfire for a while. The first title from Hello Games since No Man’s Sky, I knew this little emotional indie-type game would fly under the radar, and it seems I was correct. I never saw much fanfare for the title, and as I played it throughout the month, not many people seemed to care at all to try it. Yet here I am, standing atop my soapbox – as is the reason for this monthly column in the first place – to tell you all that The Last Campfire is actually worth checking out. Better yet, The Last Campfire holds up on mobile incredibly well, considering it released alongside console versions as well. Call me crazy, but once I learned this game was coming to Apple Arcade, I actually called PlayStation to refund my PS4 purchase. I’ll say “call me crazy,” but in reality, I’m incredibly glad I stuck with the mobile version. This little puzzle game plays so well on a small screen. The visuals are beautiful, the music is serene and fitting for the happenings onscreen, and the puzzles in short bursts are perfect for mobile gaming sessions. While I couldn’t quite figure out when the game saves itself – which was anxiety-inducing from the get-go – I was finding myself playing The Last Campfire one puzzle at a time whenever I had a chance. Puzzles range from running around a large map to shift blocks and choose the correct paths to gather fires, which can then be used to help your fallen brothers pass on to the afterlife. Not only is The Last Campfire tense and downright frustrating at times, it tells a somber story accompanied by an equally depressing voiceover that will have you questioning just how can a mobile game be so complex?
World’s End Club
I remember the first time I ever tried a game by Kotaro Uchikoshi, which was Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. I had rented it from the local library, and while its story was extremely gripping and I adored its concept, it got me started on my hatred of games that require replays to get the full story. This idea of forcing the player to experience the same game over and over with minimal change – in order to ultimately solve the whole mystery – has ruined quite a few games for me over the years. I almost didn’t want to touch NieR: Automata because of it (thankfully I did). This longstanding grudge aside, I was curious to try Uchikoshi’s latest game, an Apple Arcade exclusive called World’s End Club. Apparently in development for quite some time – and initially titled Death March Club – this game has the player controlling a group of students as they are kidnapped and forced to play a “Game of Fate” to save their lives. Each kid is given a wristband, which contains a task for another one of the students. Only one kid can complete their task and come out as the clear winner, which causes alliances to be formed and an endless race to discover your own task on someone else’s arm. The puzzle/platformer/visual novel style of gameplay kept me glued to the screen for nearly an hour, and the most unfortunate part was when that entire plot came to an abrupt halt, and a seemingly new game began out of nowhere. I’ll be honest, I’m still making my way through the rest of World’s End Club, and it’s now begun to feel more like the typical Uchikoshi games of old. But based on the first hour alone, I had to mention World’s End Club for taking me on a thrilling journey, albeit a rather brief one. Plus, the music is fantastic.
I gotta say, this month took me some time to really get into. I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, and on top of that I had to pick the biggest games on the App Store, it seems! But hey, we did it. One more month down in this crazy year, and we’re rounding the corner now! What do you say, should I do some more spooky games next month? Just for fun? Perhaps I will, you’ll just have to stick around and see for yourself! Until then, please stay safe, wear a mask, and freaking VOTE!!! See ya!