iOS

Sky Force Reloaded scores a hit with its freebie blasting

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). 

Many free-to-play games are laid-back, casual affairs meant to fill small moments during your days—including recent Freemium Field Test picks like Uncharted: Fortune Hunter and Bejeweled Stars. But occasionally, you’ll find something a bit livelier and action-packed; the kind of game that pulls more inspiration from classic console and arcade games than the App Store.

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Laser bursts, enemy attack planes, and plenty of glossy scenery to take in.

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Clash Royale is even more addictive than Clash of Clans

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).

I’ve played a lot of free-to-play mobile games in my time, not only during the lifespan of this column but also in the years prior, and I honestly can’t recall a game that has completely enraptured me quite like Clash Royale. Truth be told, I didn’t believe the hype around it and I got blindsided.

During my first week and a half with the game, I logged more than 100 victories—and that didn’t account for my losses (thankfully less than the wins) and all the time I spent unlocking chests, upgrading cards, playing with my deck, and interacting with my clan. True, the few-minute matches are short, and playing this one-on-one strategy game for 15 minutes at a time isn’t too crazy.

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iOS

Seeking puzzle treasure? Uncharted: Fortune Hunter delivers in spades

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).

The mobile world is overflowing with clones and me-too games, so the release of Uncharted: Fortune Hunter might seem like a real bummer to fans of last year’s excellent Lara Croft Go. The popular console game series have already had this back-and-forth: Uncharted took cues from the earlier Tomb Raider games, and Tomb Raider repaid the debt by making its recent reboot entries much more like the action-packed Uncharted in feel and focus. 

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Simply draw a path from Drake to his destination—but in this case, watch out for the spiked floors that trigger with every third movement.

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iOS

Bejeweled Stars aims higher than Candy Crush and soars

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).

bejeweled stars currents

Currents shift certain gems around a rotating path in some stages—plus you’ve got butterflies to contend with.

Bejeweled is an absolute classic in the match-three puzzle genre, and developer PopCap is a casual gaming legend for that series, Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, and other alluring creations. But in recent years, the dominant mobile puzzle experience has been Candy Crush Saga, with its grids of colorful candy icons, the limited moves allowed to solve each puzzle, and the myriad premium power-ups dangled in your face.

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iOS

Angry Birds Action! delivers little Angry Birds satisfaction

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).

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Some stages can be awfully busy: you’ll pull and fling the bird, spin around that pole, and smash through barriers to reclaim all the eggs.

In the last few years, Angry Birds has become a lot of things: A go-kart racer, a bubble popper, an incomprehensible puzzle-battler, and a role-playing adventure, for example. And next week, it’ll be a big-budget, big-screen animated film, with the once-simple colored birds getting anthropomorphic features and celebrity voice actors. 

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iOS

Futurama: Game of Drones is a familiar, yet fun (and funny) puzzler

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).

mw futurama gameplay

Stronger crates can take several hits to clear later on, but at least those power-ups can help.

“Remember Futurama? It’s back—in puzzle game form!”

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iOS

iSlash Heroes is a cut above the average free-to-play game

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). 

Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja is one of the all-time App Store classics, putting your iOS device’s touch screen to excellent use with fast-paced, responsive slicing and dicing. The original iSlash, released a few months later in 2010, effectively slowed down the pace, making precision cutting as crucial as speedy reflexes. And it worked very well, although that app hasn’t been updated in years. 

But now iSlash Heroes is here to refine the concept, amp up the production values, and deliver a couple hundred missions to enjoy—albeit in a freemium form now. That means you now have to contend with an energy meter, world-blocking barriers, and an array of optional power-ups that can slow your progress or push you to spend for an advantage. Does Duello’s latest entry really warrant your frenzied finger-swiping action after all these years? 

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