They were originally slated for a fall 2016 release, and, well, we have since seen how that turned out. In late January, Nintendo announced that Animal Crossing had been delayed until its next fiscal year. We suspected it'd make an appearance at the Apple keynote in September, but everything was quiet in the world of Animal Crossing until the Nintendo presentation this week which concluded with the soft launch only a few hours later.
The above video is me playing the first "session" of the game, which goes through the entirety of the game's tutorial as well as getting pretty close to running out of things to do for the day. That took a little under two hours of playing, so at least on the surface it seems like Pocket Camp gives quite a bit of content away for free. We published a more in depth first impressions / review but the basic gist is Pocket Camp is exactly what you'd expect: A slimmed down version of Animal Crossing that runs on your iPhone.
Stranger Things season two is now on Netflix, giving everyone something to absolutely binge out on this weekend... And it seems that for whatever reason, Minecraft is also hopping onboard the Stranger Things hype train. (Or is it the other way around?) Either way, there's a new Stranger Things skin pack in Minecraft which potentially contains spoilers as there are skins for both season one and season two characters. It's pretty impressive how much these skin packs change the feel of the game, so, if that's a thing you're into... add Stranger Things skins to your collection right now.
If you haven't heard of Paladins: Champions of the Realm, it should probably be on your radar. Basically, it's a free to play Overwatch-like title that has system requirements which are shockingly low for a modern game. It's been a hit in the PC world, and Hi-Rez just soft launched Paladins Strike, which is a mobile MOBA that uses Paladins characters and the universe to create an experience that's way more fitting on touch devices. With Arena of Valor on the horizon, and many other good mobile MOBAS already out, I'm curious to see where this one will find a home on the App Store when it's finally released.
In the world of Blizzard, next week is Blizzcon and you can download the Blizzcon app right now. It's how you access all the virtual ticket content if you're watching from home, and it does even more cool stuff if you're actually at the event. If you're even remotely interested in Blizzard stuff, the virtual ticket is worth picking up as you'll see every event and presentation streamed in real time. If that's what you're into, watching the streams is a surprisingly great experience. Also, this week's tavern brawl in Hearthstone is an amazing Halloween-themed event that you really shouldn't miss. Definitely fire up Hearthstone and give it a go.
MOBAs seem to be the cool new thing on the App Store, and being one of the oldest, Vainglory isn't about to let these new kids on the block get any headway in the market. They just announced a new 5v5 mode that you can pre-register for, and as part of that, they're also updating the game to take advantage of the 120hz screen of the iPad Pro. I'm not sure how 5v5 will turn out, but Vainglory at 120fps sounds absolutely amazing-- Provided you've got a new iPad to play it on.
Last, but not least, is an upcoming game from Annapurna Interactive titled Florence. There aren't a whole lot of details just yet, but the tagline is "an interactive story about love and life." It's being made by Mountains, which is a new indie studio that has Monument Valley alum Ken Wong as the creative director. Annapurna releases awesome things and Ken is an ultra-talented guy, so we're expecting big things. There's no release date yet beyond 2018, so hopefully it comes earlier in the year instead of later in the year.
That's it for this week's big stories in the world of iOS gaming, and as always, if you're into these sorts of things and want an absolute overflow of information in the mobile gaming scene be sure to visit TouchArcade.