Android Gaming recap: Diablo Immortal finds itself on the internet's bad side
Razer also released an exceptional upgrade to its Kishi controller line.
Despite Not-E3 season focusing on console and PC reveals, the mobile gaming world had its time to shine with a few announcements over the past month. Anticipated titles like Diablo Immortal finally hit the market with much less enthusiasm than Blizzard would have wanted, and companies like Razer showcased the newest mobile controllers hoping to improve on previous iterations. Elsewhere, Netflix revealed more about its mobile game venture and it's still looking disappointing to us.
With that said, let's get into what happened this month.
Diablo Immortal is instantly review bombed at launch
Microtransactions have long been a sore spot for video games, but especially mobile ones. It's no surprise that Diablo Immortal has them, but they are particularly egregious. While we found the game itself to be a well-adapted mobile version of the classic series, its microtransactions sour the entire experience. One man spent nearly $16,000 to obtain a rare 5-star gem, only to quickly destroy it in protest before deleting the game entirely.
Spending that amount of money is unfathomable for most people. What's even worse is that maxing out your character build could cost up to $110,000 — or maybe over $540,000 — as players have calculated. I don't really have words for how ridiculous it is to have a system that requires that much money to progress.
As you can imagine, this hasn't gone over well. Diablo Immortal was already panned at its announcement, and now that it's released people have review bombed it on Metacritic, earning it a 0.4 User Score on mobile with over 5,500 ratings at the time of this writing. Its PC counterpart (which is still in beta) sits at a lower 0.3 User Score with just over 4,000 ratings.
Backbone is finally releasing an Android controller
Backbone has been known for its excellent iPhone controller, but it looks like the company is set to release an Android version this November. Though no official announcement was made, a store listing revealed the Backbone One controller for Android, complete with a three-month trial of Discord Nitro, two months of Stadia Pro, and one month of Xbox Game Pass for those who purchase. Besides working with Android instead of iOS, it retains the same form factor. Preorders are now available for $100.
Razer releases the Kishi V2 controller for mobile
Speaking of new mobile controllers, this one you can get your hands on right now. Razer released an updated model of its Kishi mobile controller, appropriately named the Razer Kishi V2. We said in our review that it's a notable improvement over its predecessor, but it still has a few flaws that keep it from being perfect, especially for first-person games.
Thankfully, with so many mobile controllers on the market, there are plenty to choose from. Razer increased the compatibility of the Kishi V2 to support a wider variety of phones with special inserts, but you may have a device that's better suited for another one.
Disney Mirrorverse brings a magical adventure to Android
Disney fans are in for a treat with Disney Mirrorverse, a new action RPG now available. When stars collided to create an alternative universe with malevolent forces, it's up to Disney's heroes and villains to unite and save the day, defeating the evil forces attempting to destroy the Mirrorverse.
Unfortunately, despite having a cool premise and solid gameplay, we found that, like Diablo Immortal, its gacha mechanics ruin the entire experience. Its monetization is so excessive and hits just about every aspect of the game in some way. I understand that developers have to make money, but there has to be a better way than this.
Honkai: Star Rail debuts new location
Honkai: Star Rail is under a lot of pressure to meet some high expectations since it comes from the developer behind Genshin Impact. During Summer Game Fest, a new trailer debuted for the upcoming turn-based JRPG that revealed a new location and set the stage for its epic story.
Honkai: Star Rail doesn't have a release date just yet, but it recently held a closed beta on Android, iOS, and PC. I spent some hands-on time with the beta and had a lot of fun with it. It's clear that Genshin Impact fans will feel right at home, and the turn-based combat makes it more accessible to a wider amount of people.
Netflix plans to have 50 games by the end of the year
Netflix Geeked Week was a big moment for the company that left some fans disappointed and others looking forward to its slate of upcoming projects. As for its games division, Netflix revealed that by the end of this year it expects to have 50 games released through its platform and on mobile. Games like Spiritfarer and Raji: An Ancient Epic are being ported while others like Shadow and Bone: Destinies are originals. It also announced later in the month that it'll have the rights to the mobile version of Into the Breach, a roguelike strategy game.
I couldn't care less about Netflix games myself. The mobile titles it has in development look like shovelware, and I can get my fix on better games through my PS5 or Xbox. It remains to be seen whether Netflix will succeed in this venture, but I don't have high hopes, especially considering all of the company's struggles.
Notable games without release dates
While Apex Legends Mobile and Diablo Immortal may have come and gone, plenty of players are still waiting for Valorant, Battlefield, and Rainbow Six to release for Android. Many of these games don't have release dates just yet, but if they manage to hit before the year is up, they'll make 2022 a force to be reckoned with on mobile devices.
– Jennifer Locke
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.