December 2015

Five Big Surprise Announcements In 2015

Looking back at 2015, we received many of the awesome gaming experiences we were promised. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt turned out every bit as awesome as expected, the team at From Software pushed us to our limits once more with Bloodborne, and Nintendo enabled us to bring our imagination to life with the intuitive creation tools found in Super Mario Maker. Each of those releases was anticipated heading into 2015, and while they helped define the year in gaming, 2015 will always be a year when several dream-come-true announcements were made.

With 2016 knocking at the door, we wanted to look back at some of the most exciting announcements that caught us by surprise over the past 12 months.

The Return Of Music Games

The year of surprises began with Harmonix’s announcement of Rock Band 4, a franchise that hadn’t seen a new retail entry since 2010. Even the series’ trailblazing downloadable content release schedule had lapsed since mid-2013 as the interest in the genre plummeted. Many figured the franchise was dead and buried, which is why Harmonix’s announcement that it was bringing the series back this year was shocking.

Right off the bat, the team …read more

RPG Reload Special Edition – ‘RPG Reload’s Favorite RPGs Of 2015’

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to yet another special edition of the RPG Reload. In this weekly feature, we usually take a look at a game from the App Store’s past, but due to the New Year’s holiday, we’re doing something a little different this week. That’s right, it’s time for the second annual listing of the RPG Reload‘s favorite RPGs of the year. I thought it might be cool to come up with a catchy name for these prizes, but since I couldn’t come up with anything good, I’ve settled on calling them the Golden Pancho Awards, in honor of the frequently-seen Kemco monster. No actual trophies yet, unfortunately, but ‘Golden Pancho‘ sounds a lot better than trying to spell out the whole article name, right?

To repeat myself a little bit from last year’s awards, I know we already did some Best Of articles here at TouchArcade, but RPGs are what the Reload is all about, so I want to give them some special attention. There were tons of cool RPGs again this year, so paring that list down was as difficult as ever. Like before, I’ve separated games into ports and originals in the interests of fairness, and …read more

Eli’s Favorite iPhone and iPad Games of 2015: ‘Hearthstone’, ‘Bean Dreams’ and… Wait, Those Came Out in 2014!

Phew, well, that’s 2015 officially in the books. The App Store should thaw sometime tonight or tomorrow, and we’ll be back to business as usual, or, as “usual” as the constant state of insanity that we’ve grown used to following the world of iOS can be. This year felt weirder than most when it came to figuring out our best games, as the App Store has really been trending towards the idea of making games “evergreen.” If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means developers have figured out that it’s often better to just endlessly support existing titles with live teams constantly pumping out updates and other content than it is to continually release new stuff. For our “official” best games and Game of the Year post we decided to only include games released in 2015, which makes sense, but feels odd at the same time because a lot of my favorite games of this year were actually released last year.

When figuring out what to do about all this, I consulted with friends who run other web sites focusing on PC and console, and this is just one more thing unique about the world of mobile that …read more

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Huawei Celebrates The New Year By Boosting Sales Expectations

While many Chinese smartphone vendors are looking to 2016 for a reprieve from dwindling smartphone demand, Huawei Technologies Co. is ringing in the New Year with some better news.

The company said on Thursday that their 2015 revenue is expected to rise 35.5% over the previous year, significantly higher than a prediction release earlier this year of 20%.

The Shenzhen-based company has seen stronger smartphone sales in the second half of 2015, beating out Xiaomi to become the No. 1 player in China’s smartphone market. Huawei now expects to reach 390 billion yuan ($60 billion USD) in sales for the year, according to acting Chief Executive, Guo Ping.

China’s smartphone market has slowed across-the-board in 2015, causing several vendors to downplay expectations, including Xiaomi who likely missed their low-end sales target of 80 million handsets this year.

This year Huawei made several strategic moves to combat ebbing demand. The company released their most expensive flagship yet, the Huawei Mate S, in an attempt to edge into Apple’s territory. The Mate S, which received praise form critics, has several features that compete directly with the latest iPhone technology, including Force Touch.

2015 saw less first-time smartphone buyers in China, as sales attention turned to consumers looking …read more

Jared’s Favorite iPhone and iPad Games of 2015: ‘Card Crawl’, ‘Hero Emblems’, ‘Mos Speedrun 2’ and More

It’s the end of 2015 and time to say goodbye to what was another crazy year of iOS gaming. As I’ve mentioned in years past, I hate doing these “best of” things because I’m terrible at making concise lists. There’s far too many great games released in any given year, and I have an absolutely awful time cutting any of my favorites from a list in an effort to get it down to just ten. After putting together and writing our Game of the Year and Best Games of 2015 post, many of my own personal favorites found their way onto that list anyway, so in a way it’s kind of like I get some bonus picks in my personal list here as I’m not going to be listing any repeats. Hooray! So, while looking through this list, keep that other list in mind too as all but a very few would also have been in contention for my personal picks this year. Oh, and much like last year, despite these “bonus picks” I still couldn’t keep this list down to ten, so enjoy my *ahem* fourteen favorite iOS games of 2015. Have a Happy New Year and …read more

Oculus Pushes Back Touch Controller Launch To Second Half Of 2016

Sometimes timing creeps up on you and you have to move things back. It’s an ugly reality for hardware creators, but it happens. Today, Oculus announced that its Touch controllers will be shipping in the second half of 2016 instead of immediately with the Rift, which is still coming in Q1 2016 with preorders coming “soon.” Oculus founder Palmer Luckey tweeted a link to a blog… Read More …read more

We’re Close

All of the chatter about virtual reality shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Over the years, we’ve been forcing our way to get closer and closer to content of all types.
For example, before anyone ever sat to watch a movie we’d hang out at a playhouse to watch a live show. The people who actually enjoyed sitting in the back were few and far between. They were probably there… Read More …read more

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TouchArcade’s Top Stories of 2015: Confederate Flags, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Town Hall 11

We put together one of these posts last year, and it’s always fun to go back and look at site statistics, so, why not do it again? To figure out these lists, I’ve pulled up the cumulative traffic of everything we specifically wrote in 2015 over the entire year. Now, stories posted earlier in the year obviously get the benefit of being around longer and got a bit more traffic as a result, but, it’s not that significant as most of the clicks we get come right around when something was posted, with some stories having a longer tail than others. Oddly enough, all of our top stories from 2014 are still going strong as well.

Reviews / First Impressions

  1. ‘Final Fantasy VII’ for iPhone and iPad First Impressions: It’s About What You’d Expect
  2. ‘Mortal Kombat X’ Review – Vengeance Feels A Lot Like Justice
  3. ‘Chaos Rings 3’ Review – Put A Ring On It, This One’s A Keeper
  4. ‘Implosion – Never Lose Hope’ Review – Hope Is The Thing With Missiles
  5. ‘Radiation Island’ Review – Get Chased by Katana-Wielding Zombies and Have Fun!
  6. ‘Attack the Light – Steven Universe’ Review – Power Levels Over 9000
  7. ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s …read more

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (December 31, 2015)

With 2015 in the rearview mirror, this week was a time to reflect.
From the best multiplayer games to the greatest tales told this year, plenty of
blogs dissected the best games of the year. Let’s hope 2016 also delivers great

Community Blogs For
December 24 – December 30:

You, Game Informer

MightyMagikarp has reached 100 blogs published on
Game Informer. To celebrate, he writes about his time on the site, what he’s
looking forward to in the world of gaming, and if he’ll ever evolve into

Favorite Christmas Memory

Rebekah Lang takes us back to 1989, a much simpler time in gaming, but also
the year of one of her favorite memories. Spoiler alert: It contains plenty of
Super Mario. And really, it should.

Writing Challenge

Game Of The Year Is Still Up In The Air

Attackcobra can’t quite respond to this past week’s challenge to choose the
best game of the year. If not for the influx of holiday releases, Batman:
Arkham Knight would be the top game of the year. I also enjoyed the game, but
felt a little tired after two games in the series. But my love of Batman helped
me persevere.

Community Writing Challenge Of The Year: My Retro GOTY Winners And Best
…read more

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Surprise! ‘Final Fantasy IX’ Is Coming to the App Store

Final Fantasy fanatics officially now have something super awesome to look forward to with the new year: This morning Square Enix quietly announced that Final Fantasy IX is coming to iOS, Android, and PC. It’s surprising news considering there’s been rumblings for the last decade or so that Squeenix lost the source code for Final Fantasy IX, and if that’s true, this is likely just an emulated version of the original PlayStation game… Which is A-OK with me. Here’s the trailer:

A lot of folks consider FF9 to be the best of the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy RPG’s, but then again, people said that about FF7 and FF8. Whichever one you consider the “best,” they’re all great games, and definitely something to get excited for next year. According to the game’s web site, you’re going to need to have a reasonably recent iOS device running iOS 7.0 or later to play.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Update: Shaun spotted some additional details inside of the FF Portal app: “With high-definition graphics, newly added achievements, auto-save, high speed mode, and several game boosting features, the game is easy to pick up and play no matter …read more