iOS

Angry Birds Blast isn't explosively fun, but it's not bad either

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money).

Angry Birds mania is seemingly past its prime, although the nearly $350 million worldwide gross of last year’s The Angry Birds Movie seemingly ensures that the franchise will keep hanging around for a while. In recent years, however, rather than keep iterating upon the familiar pull-and-fling formula (aside from the solid Angry Birds 2), Rovio has mostly delivered an array of spinoffs that bear little resemblance to the main games. 

fft angrybirdsblast gameplay Rovio

Look, it’s like an Angry Birds stage in the form of a puzzle game... except the birds are balloons now.

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iOS

Tenacious tapping fun might make Best Fiends Forever your iPhone's new BFF

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money).

As described, “clicker” games sound painfully mundane. They’re designed to be played by doing nothing more than tapping your phone or tablet screen, and there’s little complexity or variety to the interactions, just constant finger-battering… and then results. Boring, right? Surprisingly, some games have figured out how to build fun experiences around that action.

fft bestfiendsforever gameplay

I don’t actually know why we’re pummeling these slugs, but it sure is amusing.

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iOS

Archery King misses the competitive target with its paid perks

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money).

Have the urge to shoot at things, but don’t want those things to look like people, animals, or other living creatures? Well, Archery King might be right up your alley. As the title suggests, it’s a target-shooting, arrow-flinging affair, and truth be told it’s pretty sterile: there’s little in the way of personality, but also nothing to get upset about. Aim and fire, rinse and repeat.

fft archeryking gameplay

Archery King provides some diverse settings for its shootouts.

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iOS

The Trail's destination doesn't justify the tedious journey

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money). 

“Walking simulator” is a term used to deride games like Gone Home, Dear Esther, and Firewatch—all critically acclaimed, first-person experiences that get slammed by some gaming aficionados for focusing on storytelling over complex interactions. The Trail isn’t exactly like those games, but it sure is all about walking: you’ll stroll ahead on a fixed path from one camp to the next, attempting to survive the trek and ultimately make it to the big city.

fft thetrail walking

It’s not the most precise aesthetic, but it provides some pleasing vistas.

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iOS

Asphalt Xtreme trades blacktop for mud and ice, but keeps the raucous fun

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money). 

Gameloft’s Asphalt racing series plodded along for nearly a decade, releasing several entries that were fine but never quite great—and then Asphalt 8: Airborne bucked that trend to a rather startling degree. The 2013 release finally launched the series into the upper echelon of mobile racers, delivering the best arcade driving experience on iPhone and iPad, plus it sold for only $1 at launch. Just a couple months later, it was turned into a free-to-play game. 

Three years later, it’s still the best of its kind, but Gameloft is back with a fresh take: Asphalt Xtreme. It actually ditches most of the titular roads and finds you instead whipping through mud and dirt and across ice, sand, and water, plus you’ll use monster trucks, mud buggies, pickup trucks, and rally cars instead of the sportier rides seen in Airborne. It’s just as fast, fun, and attractive, but what about that free-to-play model?

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iOS

Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes shakes up the strategy formula, but it's still super fun

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money). 

Plants vs. Zombies is one of the all-time great iOS and Mac games, putting a colorful and approachable spin on the oft-hardcore tower defense strategy genre—and while the free-to-play shift muddled the impact of sequel Plants vs. Zombies 2 just a bit, it remained a pretty essential mobile pick.

fft pvzheroes plants

All of the familiar plants are back, along with some fresh faces as well.

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iOS

Get fake rich making fake videos in the really tedious PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator

Free-to-play games often look appealing, but it’s difficult to know at a glance whether the business model is insidious and fun ruining, or reasonable and worth pumping a few bucks into. With Freemium Field Test, we’ll take a recent free-to-play iOS game, put it through its paces, and let you know if it’s really worth your time (and money).

Of all the YouTube personalities to strike gold with their social video channels, none has been bigger than Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg. The 26-year-old Swedish phenom began back in 2010, sharing videos of himself playing (and reacting to) video games and sharing other comedic clips, and his success has grown exponentially to encompass 13.5 billion video views, 48 million subscribers, and tens of millions of dollars in income.

Unsurprisingly, given his primary focus, the man himself has already crossed over into the gaming world. Last year’s PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist delivered a solidly fun retro-stylized adventure based on his friends and personality, and now his second effort is a certified smash. PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator has racked up millions of downloads in recent weeks, and lets you seek success by creating your own viral videos. 

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