TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Pokemon Go Fest Fallout, Classic Titles Go 64-Bit, New Rocketcat Game

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Awesome things have been happening over at TouchArcade this week, as we picked up not one but four additional writers. This has significantly increased our game review output, making our top reviews page really worth having bookmarked to keep up on all of the best iOS games that have come out recently. We've awarded top marks to Layton's Mystery Journey, Linelight, Miracle Merchant, and The Elder Scrolls: Legends. So many five-star reviews in one week even had me re-publish an editorial I wrote back in 2016 about the unique challenges of reviewing mobile games, which is worth a look if you're interested in some behind the scenes stuff surrounding review scores.


Anyway, as usual, it's never a boring week in the world of iOS gaming, and the saga surrounding Pokemon Go Fest continues. If you missed the recap a few weeks ago, it was such a disaster that Niantic eventually just gave everyone refunds. Aside from offering an official apology, they also announced that upcoming European events will be postponed. Hopefully this will give them an opportunity to reevaluate connectivity options so they don't get another park full of tens of thousands of people who can't play the game. In other Pokemon Go news, the Legendary Pokemon Moltres is now available in game.


With iOS 11 approaching, we've been closely watching our list of 32-bit games that are going to stop working, with fingers crossed for updates. As of this week, Jet Car Stunts and Canabalt both got 64-bit updates and Square Enix confirmed that Final Fantasy Tactics will be getting a 64-bit update next month. As far as classic titles that should be on everyone's iPhone, at least one of those three games is going to be on anyone's list, if not all of them. Now, I've just got my fingers crossed for an update to Dungeon Raid...


If you're the kind of person who looks for mobile games with incredibly distinctive art styles, the survival horror game White Night should be on your radar. It's entirely in black and white, and takes place inside of a mysterious mansion where you solve puzzles to discover its path. The black and white art utilizes light and shadows in interesting ways, which I'm excited to experience. White Night was received very well when it launched on Steam, and will be available on mobile this fall.


There were some interesting developments in the Android world this week, with Google making some tweaks to the way the Google Play store works. In a nutshell, they're going to be using the analytics that Android reports back on how often apps crash, how much battery they use, how often they're deleted, and other similar metrics to determine ranking. On paper, it sounds great, as this should send junky apps and games that crash all the time, burn your battery, and get instantly deleted to the bottom of the pile. Once all of this shakes out, I'm really curious to see which approach ends up working better: Google's analytical approach, or Apple's hyper-curated iOS 11 App Store.


Finally, over on TouchArcade we're huge fans of everything Rocketcat Games has ever released. We gave their most recent game, Death Road to Canada, five stars in our review, and their entire App Store catalog is similarly good. After a year of updating Death Road, they're shifting gears over to working on a new game which we were all pretty sure was a joke. It's called I Can't Believe My Boyfriend is Some Sorta Fish Creature!, with developer Kepa Auwae describing his motivations as, "I want to make the Dark Souls of boyfriend simulation games." It's inspired by the Sega Dreamcast game Seaman, which was delightfully weird, so add in some Rocketcat charm and I'm sure this game will be ... something else.

That's it for the biggest stories this week. As usual, if you want to closely follow what's going on in the world of iOS gaming, be sure to visit TouchArcade. We post all sorts of news, reviews, guides, and much more that will help you make sense of the cluttered mess that is the gaming aisle of the App Store.

Top Rated Comments

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41 months ago

With the App Store still selling 32 bit games, without any kind of warning they'll stop working in 2 months, I can't believe Apple are really going to pull the plug on 32 bit apps. Or are Apple are just playing chicken with devs?

We've talked a lot about this on various episodes of the TouchArcade podcast, and I'm still in a state of disbelief that they'll ship iOS 11 without any kind of compatibility mode or sandboxed way to run legacy apps. Sure, it might be a little silly to talk about it in the context of games as at the end of the day if I can't play some old puzzle game I really like it's not like that's going to impact my life in any meaningful way.

However, imagine I have some weird pre-HomeKit home automation system or other "smart" product that isn't supported anymore. At my house I've got a complicated setup of an old TV and a few different switch boxes to have all my old game systems hooked up and playable. To control it all (and to replace remotes I've long since lost) I use an ancient Bluetooth infrared transmitter that links up to an app which was released right around the time, years ago, when every company under the sun first started selling these kind of app-enabled "smart" devices.

The app to use it hasn't been updated in years, and will die with iOS 11. I need to decide between updating my phone to the latest OS (or, more accurately, not buying an iPhone 8), needing to come up with a different solution for controlling this setup, or just keeping an old iOS device around to keep using this app. None of these things feel like Apple solutions.

Worse yet, there's serious potential here for real data loss in a round about way. Imagine I've been using some super specific app for the last 8 or so years. Something to log my blood sugar, work outs, the contents of my wine cellar, or whatever else. I could potentially have years of data in an old app which scales weird and looks kind of junky on modern devices but still totally works. I let my phone automatically update like I always do when it asks, and suddenly not only can I not keep entering data into those apps, I can no longer access years of my historical data.

It's not hard to come up with zillions of other examples like this, and if Apple just cuts off access to 32-bit apps without appropriate warning to users, it's going to be an incredible mess. Hell, compare this to the x86 transition on Macs. There was, what, a good five years where Apple continually informed users what was happening, insisted developers get onboard with the fat PPC/x86 binaries, offered different layers of emulation environments, then eventually cut off support all together when PPC was totally dead.

Comparatively, in the iOS world, you just get some confusing popup that I'm not sure many people even read or understand, and then apps just aren't going to work? There has to be a better plan for this. The PR disaster Apple is sailing towards otherwise is going to be off the chain.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago

Seems to me nobody cares about this on MacRumors, >12 hours in and NOBODY replied to this article, maybe better to leave this kind of 'news' to the other site ('http://toucharcade.com').
Again, this is Macrumors, not iOSgamingRumours ('http://toucharcade.com').

This is MacRumors, not ComplainingAboutRumors.
[doublepost=1501979179][/doublepost]

Way too many of my old, favourite games don’t run on ios11. Many aren’t even available to redownload. It’s sad really and pretty much the biggest reason why I don’t bother with gaming on iOS and prefer to stick to Nintendo’s line of consoles :) .

I had Phoenix Wright, and it was the only game I played. It randomly stopped working from an update. Why?? What did they change in the APIs that makes stuff like this break?
[doublepost=1501979336][/doublepost]

I'm so tired of nintendos "save the children" reasoning for no features. Want chat on your device? Nope, think of the children. Want a browser or App Store? No, think of the children. Want a friend system where you don't need a 15 digit code to find your friend? Nope, think of the children.

I get the issue with finding friends, but why do Nintendo consoles need smartphone features? If you want to message someone, there are already more ways than there should be to do it. I like that Nintendo has kept their stuff simple while the Xbox and Playstation console have kept getting more annoyingly complicated. Like that time we spent 15 minutes trying to play split-screen Halo 3 because the Xbox Live accounts were being annoying. If the experience isn't easy, I might as well play on a PC.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

Whilst I think Niantic has been covered negatively somewhat - at least in the gaming media I consume - I do think that particular statement is incredibly true in today's world where media access is given to journalists like the rose on the Bachelor.

Say one bad thing about a company and see yourself not getting an invite to the next hyped up press event that ALL the cool kids get access to, which in turn means YOU can't report (and get viewers/reader's attention) like the rest.

It's an insane imbalance, because suddenly tough questions get avoided like the plague.

And if you want to read about the black belt master of this scheme, here you go:

https://9to5mac.com/2014/08/29/part-3-strategies-the-art-of-deep-background-and-controlling-the-press/

There was another link that's related to this that I wish I could find, but the article is plenty enough I think and the whole thing is a very good read. One of my go to articles to link.

Glassed Silver:ios

Yep, totally agree about journalism and it's a shame really. It's a tight spot these journalists get put in, ask the tough questions and lose out on event access(views would undoubtedly be higher, though) or ask the questions that fit the ceos prepared answers and get invited to press access events.

As for Niantic being viewed negatively, yes public perception of them is not good, for good reason. John Hanke has not had to answer 1 question about rural players or about why the servers can't keep up. Yeah we understand it's a lot of traffic but that doesn't excuse the fact proper infrastructure hasn't been put in place.
[doublepost=1502049546][/doublepost]

This is MacRumors, not ComplainingAboutRumors.
[doublepost=1501979179][/doublepost]
I had Phoenix Wright, and it was the only game I played. It randomly stopped working from an update. Why?? What did they change in the APIs that makes stuff like this break?
[doublepost=1501979336][/doublepost]
I get the issue with finding friends, but why do Nintendo consoles need smartphone features? If you want to message someone, there are already more ways than there should be to do it. I like that Nintendo has kept their stuff simple while the Xbox and Playstation console have kept getting more annoyingly complicated. Like that time we spent 15 minutes trying to play split-screen Halo 3 because the Xbox Live accounts were being annoying. If the experience isn't easy, I might as well play on a PC.

Those aren't smartphone features, they are basic OS level features. I could give you a lengthy response on why these features are needed but I'm going to try to not do that.

Browser- would be extremely handy when I've already got my switch in hand and need to look up something quick about the game I'm playing.

Chat- no reason killing 2 batteries when a system level chat function would be more efficient and you wouldn't need to buy new headset adapters.

Apps- I, at least would like to have video streaming, so I could finally use Netflix's download and watch later feature. And it's hooked up to my tv in the evenings. Makes sense to me.

I agree that sometimes trying to do too much with the software(xbox1), can be troublesome. I still use chat via Xbox and not some phone app. If Microsoft went the same way as Nintendo I would not buy another system from them.

To me, it makes sense to cook these features in, because people would use them and it's 2017. This console will fail if Nintendo does nothing. This console could be huge if Nintendo opens up the platform.
[doublepost=1502049839][/doublepost]

Nintendo huh? What happen to all of my Virtual Console purchases from the WiiU to the Switch? I agree Apple has been quick to cut out the fat from it's platforms but if it didn't we would end up like .net which has 16 bit drivers in a 32 bit system.

Apple moved to 64-bit 4 years ago. If your game developer couldn't be bothered to re-compile (that is all it takes) then find them in the App Store and give them a bad rating.

I assume you will still be able to play them on your Wii U. I would be shocked if they let those purchases carry over to a different console(they never have before, AFAIK).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

If your game developer couldn't be bothered to re-compile (that is all it takes) then find them in the App Store and give them a bad rating.

This is a gross oversimplification of the problem. Take a game like Hook Champ, which came out in 2009. While it isn't widescreen, it still is totally playable on an iPhone 7, and both a great as well as historically important title in the arena of iOS gaming. Assuming they could even get Xcode to open and recompile a 8 year old project without errors (which is exceedingly unlikely), Apple has moved the goal posts so far on what is and isn't an acceptable app anymore that it wouldn't matter. At absolute minimum, it'd need to be widescreen, have different icons and screenshots for all the various resolutions, etc.

So let's assume the absolute bare minimum of work is done to get it resubmitted, the game was designed for a 3:2 480x320 screen, and making the view port wider would mean the levels would need to be totally rebalanced as you can see significantly farther ahead of you and get way ahead of the ghost that chases you. Also, it hinges on OpenFeint for all of its online and social components, and there's elements of the OpenFeint SDK which, again, 8 years later, aren't acceptable by Apple. (OpenFeint used UDID's, etc.)

To remove OpenFeint you either need to dig into your code and engineer game center support, or take out all the online stuff entirely which might also require you to totally rejigger the way the game handles online saves, where scores are even stored, etc.

Even these minimal things to get the game to compile to 64-bit and be acceptable by Apple standards involve substantial work under the hood, and when you're changing this much stuff around in an 8 year old codebase who knows what other things you might break in the process. The entire physics engine could break, and much more. It's an unbelievable amount of work, to the point that it makes almost no sense to even update versus just releasing something new, as at least then you can charge for it.

We've seen a lot of people with this attitude as the 64-bit deadline approaches, and really, it just sort of exemplifies the entitlement complex that App Store customers have settled into over the years. On no other platform on the planet is it realistic to expect that a piece of software you paid $3 for nearly a decade ago should still be supported, and if it's not, you're going to punish the developer with a bad iTunes review.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
With the App Store still selling 32 bit games, without any kind of warning they'll stop working in 2 months, I can't believe Apple are really going to pull the plug on 32 bit apps. Or are Apple are just playing chicken with devs?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
Way too many of my old, favourite games don’t run on ios11. Many aren’t even available to redownload. It’s sad really and pretty much the biggest reason why I don’t bother with gaming on iOS and prefer to stick to Nintendo’s line of consoles :) .
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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