It is August – the best month of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere – not only because of the peak sunny weather, but because it’s time for us to look at the latest wave of new mobile games you can play now on Android and iOS.
Whether you want to rule over a football team by barking orders from the dugout, a clan of kilt-clad Scots on a remote Scottish island, or a faction of Space Marines, this month’s mobile games lineup has it all for you.
Here are our mobile gaming picks for August 2018.
The Horus Heresy: Legions
If there’s one thing that mobile platforms haven’t had enough of, it’s Warhammer, the grimdark tabletop game that’s given us so many great board games and videogames over the years.
The Horus Heresy continues Warhammer’s great videogame form. It’s a deck-building card game pitting factions of Space Marines against each other, which you can play as a single-player campaign or online, joining up with Guilds to take part in gripping card warfare.
The actual cardplay is fast-paced and well-balanced, as you build decks around special Warlord cards and need to be careful with how you expend your limited energy stores. If you fancy a darker take on the Hearthstone-style card game, then look no further.
Asphalt 9: Legends
Whenever a new entry in this long-running racing series comes out, it’s pretty much a shoe-in on our list of recommendations. Maybe Gameloft are milking it a bit, but the fact is that Asphalt remains one of the best-looking and instantly gratifying racing experiences on smartphone.
The latest entry in the series is more iteration than reiteration, but that’s fine when the fundamentals are so good. The controls are extremely simple, you don’t even control or accelerate the car yourself, just take care of the fun stuff like drifting and jumps.
It may sound simplistic, but for the fiddly controls of the touchscreen, it may just be the perfect system for a mobile arcade racer. As it’s free-to-play (with no serious paywalls), you may as well hop along for the ride and see what you think.
New Star Soccer Manager
Platforms: iOS, Android (later in the year)
Unless you’re French, you’ll probably want to forget about the inevitable heartbreak of the World Cup (while not forgetting what a great event it was). What better way to do that than to chuck on your suit or tracksuit, hit the dugout, and embrace the fantasy of being a club football manager in time for the new season.
New Star Soccer may not have all the real names and licensing of Football Manager, but it’s a more all-encompassing game, tasking you with everything from sorting out club sponsors to carving open defences on the pitch. It may not be hardcore exactly, but it will keep you tapping through the matches, season after season, with its diverse and accessible gameplay.
Isle of Skye
Ever wondered what it’d be like to run a clan of Scotsmen on the Isle of Skye? Probably not, but this digital version of the critically acclaimed board game gives you a good reason to try it.
The aim of the game is to make your clan as prosperous and successful as possible. The map slowly expands each turn using tiles, revealing resources like water, cows, sheep and whiskey barrels, which pop out of the ground like cabbages in Scotland. Like Settlers of Catan, it’s all about connecting your castle up to these resources and trading with other players to ensure your clan comes out on top.
Developed by Asmodee Digital, Isle of Skye is another shining example of how to convert a board game into digital form.
The best wrestling games of recent years, like Fire Pro Wrestling, have taught us that you don’t need to have a WWE license or The Rock shooting you the People’s Eyebrow to be successful. You just need to capture some of the absurdity of this ultra-violent, scantily-clad form of soap opera.
Rowdy Wrestling does that in its own simple way. Taking place on a 2D plane, Rowdy Wrestling is a sequel of sorts to Colin Lane’s Wrassling, pitting you as an arm-swinging high-jumping wrestler, trying to create some order out of the ridiculous physics to knock your opponent out.
It’s that chaos and silliness that makes Rowdy Wrestling so fun to play, and it’s bolstered by a career mode that sees you climbing up the wrestling ranking ladder. You can keep your piledrivers and your stunners; just give us these pixelated guys with their swinging gorilla arms, and we’re onboard.
Let’s talk frankly here, you and I. Any game with the word “Pokemon” in it is going to hit a million downloads faster than you can say “PIKAAAAA!” Whether it’s actually any good is beside the point – the phenomenon transcends what any critic has to say about it.
Here’s the thing, though, Pokemon Quest is actually quite fun. It’s a Crossy-Roady-looking game where you traverse a colourful world in search of treasure, battling other Pokemon by frantically tapping the hell out of them and building up your base camp with various Pokemon-themed bits and pieces.
The combat is more immediate than the turn-based action of mainline Pokemon, and it works surprisingly well, with plenty of customization thrown into the mix, too.
For the first time in a while, a game has come along that makes you question how such a thing is possible on mobile platforms. Darkness Rises is a breathtakingly good-looking action RPG, where you charge through hordes of monsters and bosses with swipes and slashes.
It’s pretty linear stuff, but the high-octane combo-based gameplay is as close as you get to a Platinum Game on mobile, while the storyline is pretty much nonsense. But that won’t matter because it’s all about that immediate hit-hit-hit-dodge combat.
Great PvP multiplayer mode, too.
The Evoland series is so weird and eclectic, that it’s worth dipping into because of its sheer carnival curiosity.
It’s a mad, genre-jumping adventure that can switch from platformer, to green-and-black top-down Game Boy game, to 3D fighter just like that, always keeping you on your toes.
Despite the game’s genre hyperactivity, it all flows wonderfully, and there is a nice sense of narrative and progression even as you get thrown into a new perspective. It builds upon its predecessor very well, too, never feeling like more of the same, making it the perfect game for dewy-eyed nostalgics.
You may or may not have heard about the little legal snafu surrounding this people-management sim, as Fallout Shelter creators Bethesda accused it of using the “same copyrighted code” as their game.
So maybe it’s worth checking out Westworld and judging for yourself before it gets pulled from the Play Store in shame. It is, in fairness, quite Fallout-Sheltery, tasking you with managing a training simulation where you maintain a building, create AI hosts, hook them up with guests, and generally ensure everything goes smoothly.
Cheeky cash-in? Yes. Copycat? Somewhat. Fun? Absolutely.
ARK: Survival Evolved
When one of the biggest survival games on PC comes to mobile devices, it would be remiss to ignore it. With that said, ARK doesn’t quite headline our list this month as the mobile versions (Android in particular) do suffer from performance issues, particularly on weaker devices.
ARK chucks you into a prehistoric (yet futuristic) world with nothing but a rock and a loincloth around your bits. It’s an online survival game where you can play with or against other players as you gather resources, build weapons, and of course learn to weaponize and ride dinosaurs. To what end? It’s a survival game. There is no end!
It’s free, so definitely worth trying out, but to reach its potential, it still has some evolving to do. Yes, that was a crap pun, and no, we won’t apologise.
Any hidden gems that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!