Main title
News from F5
Weekly Game News Roundup - July 10
posted on: Monday, July 13, 2020

It has been another great week for game news. Let's dive in to the roundup for this week and find you a new game to play.

Curse of the Moon 2 Launches

Starting off with a game you can actually play today, Curse of the Moon 2 is now available for the Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One! I picked this up today for the Switch and have already played through the first few levels. I have loved the retro presentation and I really enjoy the nostalgia it generates for one of my favorite NES games of all time, Castlevania III. Apparently not wanting to take a break Inti Creates has already announced an update that will be hitting next week for the game. Version 1.2.0 will include a Boss Rush mode as well as other fixes and enhancements. Check out the trailer below for a look at the Boss Rush mode but be aware it shows off several bosses from the game as well as some advanced coop techniques.

Xbox Series X Games Showcase coming July 23

It appears the next salvo in the next-gen battle will be fired on July 23rd. Microsoft has announced that they will be showing off their first-party game lineup for the Xbox Series X later this month in a streaming event on the 23rd. The Xbox Games Showcase will be broadcast on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter on Thursday, July 23 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. If you are a Geoff Keighley fan, like myself, then you will want to check out his Summer Gamefest pre-show which starts at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT.

Ubisoft Forward Event and Assassin's Creed Valhalla Gameplay Leak

Ubisoft has announced that their Ubisoft Forward event will take place on Sunday July 12th. We are expecting reveals for Farcry 6, gameplay for Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and whatever crazy end of show surprise Ubisoft has planned for this year. As is often the case however, there has been a leak of nearly 30 minutes of gameplay from the new Viking themed Assassin's Creed prior to the show. Polygon has the details on the leak although it appears the footage has been pulled from most sites at this point. Thankfully we won't have to wait long to see what Ubisoft has in store for us. I have embedded the video stream for Ubisoft Forward below so you will be able to check it out on Sunday starting at 12 p.m PDT / 9 p.m CEST.

Great new games coming for Nintendo Online Subscribers

Nintendo has announced that new games are coming to the NES and SNES collection for Nintendo Online subscribers on July 15th. The SNES will get Donkey Kong Country, one of the biggest SNES games of all time, as well as Natsume Championship Wrestling. On the NES side we will be getting a cult classic action RPG from EA named Immortal. This is a game that I remember playing as a kid and just getting destroyed by the difficulty. I'm excited to try it again now that I am so much older and wiser. Check out the trailer below for a better look at these gems and make sure to try them out on the 15th.

Ghost of Tsushima gets an awesome Japanese trailer

We are only a week away from the launch of the last big PS4 release from Sony, Ghost of Tsushima. To celebrate the upcoming launch Playstation Japan put together an awesome trailer that mimics the retro movie trailer style of days gone by. It's really pretty incredible and I encourage you to check it out. Make sure you turn on subtitles so you can get the full experience. I am really looking forward to checking this game out when it launches next week.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend and let me know on Twitter what you think of Curse of the Moon 2

Weekly Game News Roundup - Independence Day Edition
posted on: Friday, July 03, 2020

Happy Independence Day! While we are going through some troubling times here in the U.S.A I think it is important to recognize the history of this great nation and celebrate its founding. Before we all head out for a weekend of BBQ, Fireworks, and swimming pools, let's recap some of the interesting game news from the last week.

Curse of the Moon 2 Launches Next Week

Curse of the Moon 2, the retro action game announced by Koji Igarashi last week, already has a second trailer and a release date! Thankfully we won't have to wait long for this awesome looking throwback to hit Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, as the game will be available for download on July 10th. This trailer also shows off the games new coop mode, which is something I am definitely interested to try out. Check out the new trailer below and look forward to our impressions in the weeks to come.

Next-Gen Games Getting a Price Hike?

With the announcement this week of the 'Mamba Forever' versions of NBA2K21, 2K Sports also dropped a next-gen bombshell about game pricing. While some publishers like CD Projekt Red and EA have announced that their cross generational games will allow owners of the current-gen game to upgrade for free to the next-gen version 2K is taking a different approach. 2K has announced that the next-gen version of NBA2K21 will cost $69.99, which is a $10 hike over the standard price of $59.99 that has been in place for the last two console generations. Also, there is no upgrade window like we have seen from other publishers, which mean that if you would like to grab the current-gen version and then upgrade to next-gen later you will either have to purchase the game a second time or you will need to purchase the 'Mamba-Forever' version for $99.99 which will give you access to the game on both generations of hardware. For more details on the specifics of this check out this article on Polygon

While it isn't clear if this will be an industry wide move for next-gen games I wouldn't be surprised. Game budgets continue to grow and the technical requirements for next-gen are only going to increase that problem. Bumping up the standard pricing for new games to $70 will help offset that additional cost, and I imagine more and more publishers will give this a try. If this does start to look like a trend across the industry you may want to think twice about purchasing a digital only console. Physical games still continue to see much better discounts than digital titles after launch and if the prices are going to start higher those discounts may be more important than ever.

Ghost of Tsushima - A Storm is Coming Trailer

Ghost of Tsushima continues to impress with each new reveal, and this new story trailer is no exception. I am very interested to see what Sucker Punch has been able to do with the long development cycle for this game. By all accounts it looks fantastic, and thankfully we won't have to wait much longer to find out for ourselves. Ghost of Tsushima will be released on July 17 for PS4.

Fallout Getting a TV Series?

As reported by Eurogamer, Amazon has teased a new Fallout TV Series for their Prime Video service. Industry news says that this project is being headed up by the creators of the HBO hit Westworld and that it will dive in to the dark comedy and off-beat storylines of the game world.

For more details check out this article at Eurogamer

Crysis Remastered Trailer Leaks and the Game Gets Delayed

Early this week Crytek started a tease for the first trailer of Crysis Remastered, an upgrade of the legendary Crysis with the latest graphics tech that would be coming to current-gen consoles. This is a game that has been highly anticipated by fans for years and something that I was personally excited for as I never had a PC that 'could run Crysis'. After the tease the upcoming trailer leaked, as they tend to do these days, and basically all hell broke loose.

WARNING - Late game story elements of Crysis are revealed in this trailer

It didn't take fans long to start complaining that, based on the trailer, Crysis Remastered looked worse than the original Crysis! Honestly, I don't see the issue but I am not as familiar with the original version. Interestingly the outcry from fans was so negative that within a day of the leak Crytek announced that they would be delaying the game to improve its quality and visuals. Hopefully Crytek can make some upgrades to the game and release it in a condition that will please the fans. I am excited to give it a try and will definitely check it out on release.

Blackjack Masters Leaderboards Update

The latest update for Blackjack Masters launched this week on iOS and should be coming soon for Android and Kindle Fire Tablets. It includes leaderboards so you can compare your Blackjack skills against other players from around the world and it allows you to link up with your friends so you can compete with someone a little closer to home as well.
You can grab Blackjack Masters for iPhone and iPad by tapping here. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by this week. I hope everyone has a fun and safe July 4th weekend and that you'll swing by again next week for another round of gaming news updates.

Blackjack Masters
Weekly Game News Roundup - Jun 26
posted on: Friday, June 26, 2020

What a week for game news! Over the last week we have seen several new game announcements and updates for some old favorites. I thought it might be fun to highlight a few that we are excited about at F5 Games.

Star Wars: Squadrons

I was a huge fan of the Wing Commander and Star Wars dogfighting games for PC back in the 90s; I played through every level of the first 5 Wing Commander games, X-Wing and Tie Fighter. While the space sim used to be a staple genre in video games it has really fallen on hard times over the last few years with very few releases to speak of. That is why I am extremely excited for the reveal of Star Wars: Squadrons, an all new Space Dogfighting game for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. The trailer below covers all of the details we know as of right now except for the fact that this will be a $40 game and that there will be no micro-transactions!. I will definitely be picking this up on Oct 2nd, the only question I have is how in-depth the single-player story will be. I really hope we are getting a fleshed out single-player experience in line with the classic X-Wing and Tie Fighter games, if we do this could be in the running for my Game of the Year.

Pokemon Unite

While Nintendo has been pretty quiet on the announcement front lately there have been several updates from the Pokemon Company over the last week. Last week we heard about Pokemon Cafe Mix, a new F2P Pokemon puzzle game which is available now on Mobile and Nintendo Switch. The bigger announcement, in my opinion, was the reveal this week of Pokemon Unite, a new Pokemon themed Moba for mobile and Nintendo Switch. This game is being developed by Tencent and is set up like a Pokemon version of League of Legends. I don't know about you but this almost feels like a Meme. LoL + Pokemon = Profit!

If a Pokemon multi-player team battle game sounds like your jam, check out the reveal trailer below.

Curse of the Moon 2

A few years ago Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night was kickstarted as a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series. As a long time Castlevania fan I was interested but I never could have imagined how an unexpected outcome of that Kickstarter would end up being one of my favorite games of the last couple years. That game, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, was released as a downloadable title that looked like an homage to Castlevania 3 within the Bloodstained universe, I grabbed it on day one and never looked back. It is a small snack of a game that really takes me back to the glory days of hair pullingly difficult NES platformers while still giving you just enough help to get over the hump.

I say all of that to let you know how excited I am that there is GOING TO BE A SEQUEL to Curse of the Moon! Check out the reveal trailer below for Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 and get hyped for some awesome retro action coming our way 'soon'.

Cyberpunk 2077

This week saw the first in a series of reveals for Cyberpunk 2077 called Night City Wire. This first episode was a roughly 25 minute video that showed off a new gameplay trailer, walked through some new gameplay features like 'BrainDance' investigations, and included some discussions with CD Projekt developers. This game looks fantastic and it is really shaping up to be an incredibly detailed world, I hope they can pull it off by November.

Blackjack Masters Update

We have also been hard at work here at F5 Games on our latest game Blackjack Masters. Next Monday we will release our next update for the game which includes Leaderboards so you can compare your success at the Blackjack tables with our other players. We have also added the ability to link up with your friends in the game in case you want to see which one of your friends is the best Blackjack Player.

The Tournament update for Blackjack Masters should hit iPhone and iPad on Monday with Android and Kindle Fire version getting the update later in the week. Please let us know what you think of the new additions and if you are enjoying the game please spread the word and leave us a review on the App Store. Get Blackjack Masters on the App Store for Free

Thank you for reading. With many more rumored announcements coming up in the next few weeks we would like to make these weekly roundup posts a more regular occurrence. Check back next week for more coverage.

Blackjack Masters
Best Games of 2019 and A Look Ahead to 2020
posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2019 is already at an end, I can hardly believe it! That means it is time for our annual recap post. Grab a drink, get comfortable, and let's take a look back at 2019 in gaming and guess what might be coming in 2020.

F5 Games News from 2019

Before we start talking about other people's games from 2019 let's talk about our own! F5 Games released its first game in nearly 4 years just this month. Our latest game, Blackjack Masters, entered soft-launch on iOS and Amazon Kindle a couple weeks ago and so far things are looking good. In Blackjack Masters you can practice your blackjack skills with the help from Basic Strategy and Hi-Low Card Count helpers that teach you how to play each hand correctly. Before you know it you'll be increasing your bank roll and going on a Blackjack World Tour, playing in different casinos with more decks and higher betting limits!

The current version of Blackjack Masters is just the beginning though. We're currently working on daily missions, leaderboards, customization, and even weekly tournaments so there will always be something fun to do in the game. If you have an iPhone or Kindle Fire please download Blackjack Masters and let us know what you think!


Best of 2019

This has been an interesting year for gaming. While Playstation and Xbox are gearing up for their next-gen fight the Switch has continued to turn out hits and gain market share. We also saw the release of Apple Arcade bring back 'premium' games to mobile in a way that has been really refreshing. As a game developer I'm very interested to see where Apple Arcade goes from here. Will people continue to pay for the subscription month after month? Will Apple continue to work with developers to bring new games to the platform? These are all questions that will take time to answer but so far I think the answers are encouraging.

Alright, that's enough waxing poetic; let's get to the awards.

Best Mobile Game of 2019 - Grindstone

We saw some really huge mobile releases in 2019. Nintendo kicked it off with the release of Dr. Mario World and then kicked it into another gear with the release of Mario Kart World Tour which set records for most downloads in a week and month. Then those records were eclipsed just a couple weeks later by the release of Call of Duty Mobile which went on to record over 100 Million downloads in no time at all.

However, for my money, the best mobile game of 2019 was Grindstone. This Apple Arcade puzzle game is such a joy to play that I have continued to grind my way through its levels since release. It combines the traditional saga-style level progression with light RPG mechanics and a puzzle/combat system that is very inventive and a blast to play.

If you haven't given Grindstone a try yet I highly recommend it.

Most Inventive Game of 2019 - Creature in the Well

Creature in the Well is an indie delight that really stood out for me in 2019. As soon as I heard it was a mashup of Pinball and Dungeon Crawling I was interested, once I got a look at the awesome art style I was onboard, and once I started playing through the puzzle-combat rooms, I was hooked.

There are a couple rough edges. This is definitely an indie project made by a small team and not everything is polished to the same degree that you may get from a first-party Nintendo title. Honestly though, the little imperfections make this game even more endearing in my opinion.

Playing Creature in the Well feels like a breath of fresh air because it is just so different from most things on the market. There are basically no enemies, or I guess just one enemy, the titular Creature. As you work your way through the game world, restoring power and righting wrongs that had been lost to time, the game slowly builds up the tension between you and the Creature. At every encounter you know that you're building toward an incredible final confrontation. But, if you're like me, you'll also be sad to see it end.

Creature in the Well, highly recommended

Best Long Running Game About Space Ninjas - Warframe

I'm extremely late to the Warframe party, but as the game was released for the Switch this year I'm going to slide it in here on a technicality. After watching the NoClip documentary about Warframe and how it was developed I became very interested in trying it out for myself. Once I heard it was released for the Switch I decided to give it a try, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Warframe can be pretty inscrutable at times, everything has a weird name and almost nothing about the story makes sense early on. But its kinetic combat, huge game world, and co-op multiplayer make it a really interesting place to spend some time. It also looks incredible on the Switch, to the point that you almost can't believe it is running in the palm of the hands. If you haven't tried it yet I definitely suggest giving it a try. Because, as always, Ninjas play for free.

Best Multiplayer Game - Tetris 99

I love Nintendo Directs. You just never know what is going to be announced, it could be a new Zelda game, some new indie fever dream, or a 99 player battle-royale Tetris game! Tetris 99 came out of nowhere as an add-in for Nintendo's online subscription service and it quickly became one of my most played games of the year. In a year full of Battle Royale game modes Tetris 99 was the perfect combination of fast puzzle gameplay with the building tension and excitement of fighting your way to be the last Tetrimino standing.

The beauty of Tetris as a game is undeniable. To go from the solitary and almost meditative Tetris Effect in 2018 to the frantic and combat focused Tetris 99 in 2019 just shows how timeless and malleable the Tetris framework really is. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Game of the Year - Luigi's Mansion 3

Luigi's Mansion 3 is a joy to play. It is amazing to see in motion. It is the best co-op gaming experience of the year. It has the best boss design, best level design, and most satisfying moment to moment gameplay of any game I've played this year. It is the quintessential Nintendo game, polished to a shine that almost no other developer can equal. If you own a Switch then you absolutely need to own a copy of Luigi's Mansion.

Luigi's Mansion is so great that my two oldest children played through it together in co-op, my wife and I are currently doing the same, and our youngest daughter asks if she can 'watch Booigi's Mansion' because to her it's like a cartoon about Luigi's ghost busting adventure. It's just incredible and it is definitely my Game of the Year.

Notable Mentions

I recently picked up God of War through PS Now and have really enjoyed its early levels. I also received Days Gone for Christmas and have started playing it when I can find the time. So far it feels like 'Daryl Dixon - The Video Game' and I'm totally okay with that.

I have heard so many great things about Remedy Entertainment's Control that I had to pick it up at Christmas as well. I haven't had a chance to dive in to it yet but when I do I'll do a post to let you know my thoughts. May people have been naming Control as their game of the year so I'm excited to dive in and see what they enjoyed in it.

Looking Ahead to an Incredible 2020

2020 is going to be a very exciting year for gaming. By the time I do this post again we will likely have seen the release of the PS5, Next Xbox, and possibly a more powerful Switch model. We will also get to see all the new launch titles for these systems which is usually interesting because publishers are more willing to take changes when a new generation starts. Hopefully we'll see some interesting new titles announced in the next couple months.

There are also a ton of games that have been pushed into the first half of 2020. I'm especially looking forward to Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk: 2077, both of which look incredible and will likely look and play even better on the PS5 with its rumored backwards compatibility. I'm still waiting on more info for Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4 but those are likely the games Nintendo plans to use to combat the next-gen systems next holiday season. I'm planning to do a post in the next few weeks that takes a look at what Nintendo could do in the next year as it has to face off against two new system that will greatly outclass it in power. I think this could be one of the most interesting questions of 2020.

F5 Plans for 2020

Here at F5 will are really excited about 2020 and what it will bring. Early in the year we will be updating and fully launching our latest game, Blackjack Masters. After that we have several other card and puzzle style games planned for release in 2020. We're hoping to launch 2 or 3 new games next year so stay tuned here and to our Twitter account for more info in the coming months.

I hope you had a great 2019 and an even better 2020 is on the way for you. Thanks for reading!

Blackjack Masters
Mario Kart Tour and Nintendo's Mobile Strategy
posted on: Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mario Kart Tour has garnered a lot of discussion in the games media since its launch last month. There have been articles chronicling its record breaking downloads of over 20 Million on the first day and over 90 Million Downloads in the first week. But, almost as soon as it was released, there were also articles slamming the game for aggressive monetization, poor controls, and a lack of meaningful gameplay. While I think there is some validity to these criticisms I also think that the highly negative reaction of the game press and 'hardcore' gamers may have created an echo chamber that caused many people to simply write the game off as a flop and move on to the next story of the day. In this is post I would like to take a step back to understand how Nintendo's mobile strategy has changed, and what we can see about that change in Mario Kart. We will also take a look at how the game has done with players since launch.

Industry View on Mario Kart Tour

In the article linked above Sensor Tower states that while Mario Kart Tour is the most downloaded Nintendo game its first week it is only third in revenue, coming in at an estimated $12.7 Million. This gives Mario Kart a revenue per user number of only about $0.14, which is low for this style of game, and is why many people in the mobile industry are writing it off. I think it is highly likely that a large number of players downloaded Mario Kart based on brand recognition alone and then bounced off the game either due to the required Nintendo ID or by the floaty controls. I'm not making excuses for Nintendo, these are both issues that they should have done better with but I think they are likely to give us a muddled picture of just how many players this game currently has.

Another issue that many people have voiced concern over is the inclusion of the Gold Pass in Mario Kart Tour. The Gold Pass is a $4.99 per month subscription that works like a Battle Pass and offers additional rewards to players for playing the game while also opening up the 200cc race mode for the fastest cart action. There have been many articles lambasting the Gold Pass, like this one from Polygon: Mario Kart Tour's $4.99 monthly subscription fee is out of touch with reality. I think the timing aspect of this subscription coming out just weeks after Apple Arcade, and at the same price point, has a lot to do with the negative coverage. Many people feel that the value of Apple Arcade is much better than simply unlocking rewards in Mario Kart, and while that may be the case for them it isn't necessarily how fans of Mario Kart see it.

What I find interesting about this comparison between Apple Arcade and Mario Kart Tour is that while Apple is currently seen as trying to 'save' mobile gaming from free-to-play monetization it was just a few years ago that Nintendo was being lauded for trying the very same thing! Super Mario Run was billed as a push back against all the F2P games that constantly asked players for more and more money. Nintendo was going to change mobile gaming by focusing on quality and allowing players to try the game before asking them for a one-time unlock purchase that would let them play forever. What Nintendo quickly learned was that most mobile game players hated this approach and very few people bought the unlock. While the game press was lauding Nintendo for fighting back against aggressive monetization the market slammed Nintendo with poor reviews and revenues. All of Nintendo's mobile releases since that point have done more and more to try and find the sweet spot between what players on mobile actually want, and how Nintendo feels comfortable monetizing their players. Mario Kart Tour is just another step on that journey.

Stepping Outside the Bubble

With all of the negativity and disappointment that the press and industry insiders have leveled at Mario Kart Tour you might expect that it has been a massive flop. However, if you take a look at the available data you'll find a very different picture emerging. At the time of this writing Mario Kart Tour has a 5 star average rating on the App Store with over 750,000 reviews! It has also continued to chart as a top 10 game for downloads and top 20 in grossing since launch on iPhone. When you actually look at the response from players, and not members of the games industry, you'll find that Mario Kart Tour has been very well received. People are playing the game, reviewing the game well, and they have made the Gold Pass the top In-App Purchase!

Nintendo has also already updated the game with two new 'seasons' that change out the race tracks and available rewards for players, and this has had a very positive effect on its monetization. After dropping down to a low of 16 in the grossing ranks Mario Kart Tour quickly jumped back up into the top 5 after the release of the Tokyo season. If they can continue the planned two-week season schedule I think that their monetization numbers will continue to spike with each new update. Also if the Gold Pass subscription continues to be the most popular In-App Purchase that will mean that there is a high level of repeatability to the revenues for Mario Kart Tour every month. This is the first time that Nintendo has sold a subscription in any of their mobile games so it will be interesting to see if players stick with it.

Again, this isn't to say that the game doesn't have problems. And I think it's fair to discuss the problems and odd choices that Nintendo and DeNA made in the development of this game. But it is also useful to take a step back and see how mobile players are actually interacting with a game before we assume that it will be a failure. Earlier today Sensor Tower released an article stating that Mario Kart Tour has earned nearly 124 Million Downloads and $37.5 Million in revenue through its first month! This means that Mario Kart Tour has been Nintendo's most successful release in terms of downloads and the 2nd most successful release from a revenue perspective. With continual updates, and the expected multiplayer modes that are surely coming, I expect Mario Kart Tour will be one of Nintendo's most successful mobile games yet.

What Does This Mean?

What I take from all of this is that while members of the gaming press and so-called 'traditional' gamers may not like the design decisions that Nintendo has made with Mario Kart, they actually aren't the target audience for the game. I've seen many people cry that for the price of one In-App Purchase in Mario Kart Tour a person could buy a 'real' Mario Kart game on the Switch and play forever. What they don't realize is that most of the people playing Mario Kart Tour have zero intention or desire to purchase a home gaming console. By adapting to the desires and expectations of the mobile market Nintendo is showing that they can provide products for two different breeds of gamers, and hopefully give them all something they want to play.

I'm definitely interested to see where this goes. Will Nintendo continue down this road with their other franchises? What would a F2P Mario game really look like? What about Zelda? Would it be better for Nintendo to leverage their lesser known IPs on Mobile so they don't alienate 'core' players, or are they such a small part of the overall player base that it doesn't matter? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Don't Write Off Apple Arcade, and Don't Miss These Great Games
posted on: Monday, September 23, 2019

Apple Arcade made its debut this week with more than 70 games launching on the service; and wow, what a lineup! I have heard many people in the mobile game industry, especially Free to Play developers, write off Apple Arcade over the last couple months but I don't think any of them could argue with the quality of the games that Apple has launched with. There are games for everyone in this first batch of releases, so many in fact that I'm afraid several great games will fall between the cracks.

To try and help you find some of these quality titles I've put together a little list of the games I've enjoyed the most over the first few days. I obviously haven't tried all the games on the service yet but so far these are my favorites.

Best iPhone Game on Apple Arcade - Grindstone

Grindstone is a new game by Capybara Games that they describe as a 'puzzle-battle splatter-fest', and I couldn't come up with a better one-liner than that! Grindstone is an awesome melding of line-drawing puzzle games like Jelly Splash with Dungeon Crawling and lite RPG mechanics. It also has an incredible presentation with great sound and stunning hand-drawn graphics.

In the game you slide your character around the puzzle grid by connecting 'creeps' of the same color into the longest chain you can create. Once you have planned out your move, a quick tap on the 'Go!' button will send your character swinging and swirling his way through the enemies in a haze of cartoon blood and guts that is always satisfying. Each level also adds a new enemy, hazard, or item mechanic that keeps the gameplay interesting and ramps up the challenge.

If you're at all a fan of puzzle RPGs then you should definitely give Grindstone a try.

Best iPad Game on Apple Arcade - Mini Motorways

While all the games on Apple Arcade will work on your iPad there are certain games that just cry out for that extra screen real estate. So far, I haven't played any Apple Arcade game that is better suited to the iPad than Mini Motorways.

Mini Motorways starts as a relaxing game where you are simply drawing roads to connect commuters' homes with their offices. However, connecting each new house or office to your grid of roadways ramps up the complexity and difficulty of the game to the point that you will be sweating by the time your city grinds to a halt in gridlock.

While the premise of Mini Motorways is fairly basic it continues to draw me back in. In some ways it reminds me of Tetris, in that it takes a straight-forward and simple idea and then amps up the pressure until you don't see how you could keep playing. However, just like Tetris, you'll be drawn back to the game and find that with each city you plan your roadways will fair just a little better, and get you just a little higher on the per-level leaderboards.

If you enjoy puzzles, Simcity, or just watching tiny cards drive around like ants, then Mini Motorways may be for you.

Best AppleTV Game on Apple Arcade - Exit the Gungeon

You could also say this is the 'Game in most need of a traditional controller.' Enter the Gungeon is one of my favorite games from the last couple years. It is an awesome rogue-like experience of bullet-hell dungeon exploration that keeps me coming back for more. Exit the Gungeon, which surprise launched on Apple Arcade this week, keeps all of the charm and awesome gameplay of the original but places it in a side scrolling style that mimics an escape sequence from an outrageous action movie.

So far, I'm loving this game. But only when playing with a controller. While the developers have added a touch based control scheme it really doesn't work for me, and it takes away from the precision that a game like this requires. Playing on the Apple TV or an iPad with a bluetooth controller is definitely the best way to enjoy this gem.

What Apple Arcade Could Do For Mobile Gaming

If you can't tell from this post, I've really excited about the prospects of Apple Arcade; both as a player and a game developer. The gamer in me is excited by the prospect of a constant flow of new and high quality games that don't need to monetize through advertisements and in-app purchases. As a developer, I'm very excited by the idea of being able to bring some of the game ideas we have had on the back burner to the service. If Apple is able to bring in an audience to the service, and keep them subscribed, it could really change the type of game, and the type of developer, that can succeed on mobile.

There are definitely still a lot of questions to ask. Will players stick around after the first, free, month ends? Will there be enough players on the service for it to make economic sense for developers to release their games on Arcade? Will Apple be able to continually deliver high quality releases every week to keep players engaged? I don't know, but I can't wait to find out! For the first time in quite awhile the mobile gaming space feels exciting again, and I'm really happy to be a part of it.

Thanks for reading! We'll be back next week with another update.

F5 Games is an independent game developer in Tulsa Oklahoma. We strive to create the very best in tablet and mobile games.