If April was a big month for Android gaming, May somehow managed to eclipse it. Not only did Apex Legends Mobile finally release, but Fortnite is now back on mobile. After a long legal battle with Apple, Epic managed to get Fortnite back on iOS and Android officially with the help of Microsoft's Cloud gaming platform. In case you missed any of the big news this month, we'll run through exactly what you'll want to know.
Apex Legends Mobile launches worldwide
Apex Legends Mobile made its worldwide debut after several regional betas and a soft launch earlier this year. It'll be interesting to see how it pans out over the coming months and if it can retain its playerbase, but Season 1 seems to be promising. Respawn has already stated that Apex Legends Mobile is a separate entity from Apex Legends on console and PC, so it'll have its own roadmap with different seasons of content and an independent update cadence.
I spent quite a while playing it for my review and had a lot more fun than I had expected. There will certainly be growing pains as Respawn optimizes controller support and people get used to the touch controls and gameplay flow on mobile devices, but it makes the franchise much more approachable for new players.
Respawn even designed a Legend exclusively for mobile. Fade is all about movement to try and increase the pace of gameplay. His passive talent, called Surge, grants players a quick boost of speed after performing a knee slide. His tactical, Flash Back, transports him back 60 meters to his previous location.
All in all, Apex Legends Mobile is off to a solid start.
Warcraft Arclight Rumble announced
Blizzard's mobile venture continues with Warcraft Arclight Rumble, a PvE collecting strategy game featuring a single-player campaign, quests, dungeons, and raids. Players are meant to collect a variety of minifigures that can then be used in battles. These battles primarily take place in hand-crafted levels where troops are sent to march down one or more lanes to defeat a boss at the end.
We were able to go hands-on for an early preview and found that while it has the basics down, it definitely needs some extra polish before it's ready for launch. The team at Blizzard is also still discussing which game modes should have co-op or not.
"We're still figuring out the specifics of which modes co-op is going to be in. One of the things that made WoW Classic so great was playing dungeons with multiple people, playing Raids with multiple people," said Adam Kugler, associate game director at Blizzard Entertainment. "We're testing it out, we're gonna see how our audience reacts to find the right thread for it."
Will I try out the game myself? Probably not. It's not my kind of game, but I'm glad that more people will be able to experience the Warcraft universe in a new form.
Fortnite available on any screen through the Cloud
Fortnite's had a rough life on mobile devices. It wasn't officially available on either the Google Play Store or App Store for the longest time — it was infamously pulled from iOS, resulting in a rather large lawsuit between Epic and Apple and for similar reasons on the Play Store — but it could be sideloaded on Android. Thanks to the power of the Xbox Cloud Gaming, now practically any device can run it.
Microsoft partnered with Epic to bring Fortnite to its Xbox Cloud Gaming service, allowing just about anybody with a phone and an Xbox account to stream the popular battle royale. Even better is that streaming it means that it can be played at the highest settings possible, provided your internet connection is stable and up to snuff. Best of all, it's free; you don't need an Xbox Game Pass subscription to play it!
GeForce Now even got in on the Fortnite action, bringing what's just about a PS5-level graphics upgrade to mobile devices. Its touch controls aren't wonky anymore either, so that's nice.
EA brings Lord of the Rings to mobile
The Lord of the Rings is getting the mobile game treatment. EA announced that it's making a free-to-play collectible RPG titled The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth. Though the company hasn't provided a wealth of details, we know that it will feature "immersive storytelling, turn-based combat, deep collection systems, and a wide roster of characters" from the beloved universe, according to a press release.
I'm all for more games based on The Lord of the Rings, but they have to be done right. Monolith's Middle-earth series was fantastic with its Nemesis system, and it makes me wonder just what EA can bring to mobile. There's also The Lord of the Rings: Gollum set to come out later this year, but I don't know how I feel about that one.
Catalyst Black hits Android
Developer Super Evil Megacorp released its battleground shooter Catalyst Black on May 25. This comes nearly a decade after the studio released Vainglory, one of the very first MOBAs to hit mobile devices. While Catalyst Black isn't a MOBA itself, it takes lessons from Vainglory to create an even better experience where every player has a chance to become the hero.
It's joining the growing ranks of Android games to release this month, and considering that the team has gone to great lengths to listen to player feedback during early access, it should have a long life ahead of it.
Genshin Impact Update 2.7 finally releases
Genshin Impact Update 2.7 was mysteriously delayed due to unknown reasons, breaking a long-running consistent update cadence, but HoYoverse revealed that it's finally ready for players to enjoy. Update 2.7 hit all platforms on May 31, and the developer even stated that Update 2.8 would follow shortly after on July 13.
While Update 2.7 adds Yelan and Kuki Shinobu as playable characters, HoYoverse also teased what players can expect in the coming months by announcing Shikanoin Heizou, a "young detective from the Tenryou Commission," described as "free-spirited and unruly, but cheerful and lively."
Let's see what's announced this summer
It remains to be seen what the summer will hold for Android game announcements, but players should likely expect some big news in the coming months. Though EA was coy about The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about that sooner rather than later. But then again, my predictions are often wrong. So who knows 🤷.
Until next time 👋
– Jennifer Locke
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