Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It’s time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. Well, it’s a holiday in America today. Apparently, anyway. I never stop working ever, so I surely wouldn’t notice such things! As such, here is a normal slate of updates for you to enjoy during this lazy day. I threw a couple of Apple Arcade games in there just for variety’s sake. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is just here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let’s go for it!
Ah, I love me some Horizon Chase. I play it on my phone, I play it on my Switch, I play it anywhere I can. And now I can play on some new tracks with a new car. This free update to the game adds two tracks set in Porto Alegre, the hometown of the developers. You’ll encounter those tracks in the Brazil Cup. And yes, as mentioned, there is also a new car. This update also adds a new feature in the form of the Weekly Challenges, which give you some new rules to contend with each week. If you’re a Premium player, you’ll get more tracks and some special rewards.
Jetpack Joyride rockets into the awkward period between spring and summer with this hot-but-not-too-hot update. So what can you look forward to in this one? Just a new event, and not one with any sort of special license or seasonal tie-in. Instead, the Zappy Bird event seeks to see just how skilled you are with that Profit Bird. Show off your skills by navigating through a ton of deadly zappers and you can get some nifty rewards.
Generally speaking, most of the updates to Mario Kart Tour end up being a new cup where you can unlock, like, Peach wearing a new hat. Sometimes literally that. But every once in a while, a genuinely new character gets added. And in even rarer cases, it’s a character people actually care about. The latest update to the game is one of those latter situations, filling out the Kong family with two popular characters. Funky Kong jumps into a Mario Kart game for the first time since Mario Kart Wii, and Dixie Kong joins for the first time ever. Of course, you’ll only be able to get them if you’re very lucky or spend a lot of dough. Cranky probably wouldn’t approve, which may be why he isn’t here.
This update to the long-running Transformers: Earth Wars game is mostly aimed at pleasing the higher-level players. Basically, if you’re looking for a stiffer challenge in Alliance Wars, you can now choose to battle harder versions of bases in Prime League. If you manage to pull this off, you’ll earn you and your alliance more points per win, up to a maximum of 300 points. Other than that, it’s bug fixes and optimizations as far as the eye can see.
The kids from Subway Surfers are on the move again, living the life we can all only dream of these days. The next stop on their un-ending tour is Marrakesh, Morocco. Race through the deserts, spas, and marketplaces, collecting Birthday Cake tokens to earn cool prizes. Salma gets a new outfit, and there’s a Birthday Cake board you can earn. There are lots of prizes to earn, so get cracking if you want to pile them up.
Star Traders: Frontiers rarely goes a week without an update of some kind, so it’s really a matter of whether or not I’ve got space to include it in any given article. Today… there is space. This update adds in four new landing zone environments with new art for glacial wilderness, ice world outposts, desert outposts, and Cadar and Steel Song Prime Worlds. The Wing Bomber job has had its skill progression rebuilt to make it a better match for bomber craft. There are several other bits in here, but I’ll let you fire up the game yourself if you want all of that.
Even on a holiday, we don’t take a break from the obligatory free-to-play matching puzzle update. It’s Toon Blast, again. It’s 50 levels, again. The explanation this time in the update notes talks about some kind of magic show that is being put on, though as usual you should not expect that to be reflected in-game at all. Instead, expect another batch of levels on top of the thousands that are already there. Which is fine, and what most players of the game probably want.
Hot Lava, which is not to be confused with Hot Coffee, is one of two Apple Arcade updates I’m including this week. There’s quite a bit in here, so I’ll just hit on some of the highlights. First, a new community-created map called Sunshine Shore is available. There’s a new Chase course in School as well. Some new control options have been added, and you can now listen to your own music while playing the game. Feel free to check the update notes yourself if you want all of the little details. Pretty solid update all-around.
Rolling around at the speed of sound is all well and good, but sometimes a ‘hog just wants to kick up his feet and travel in style. Well, he shouldn’t actually kick up his feet as he needs to work the brake and gas pedals, but you know what I mean. This update brings in the Final Fortress Zone, a new environment that plays host to three new tracks. It also adds a four-player mode, certainly a welcome feature in any racing game but especially ones aimed at family fun. The UI has also seen some big improvements based on player feedback. I have a bit of a fondness for SEGA and this update is worthy, so a coveted UMMSotW award shall be granted to Sonic Racing on this day.
We’ll bring things to a close today with yet another update to the excellent Another Eden. This one adds in a new character called Myunfa, and Manifestation: Weapon Discovery is available. To go with that, some new weapons have been added for Anabel (Paladin) and Shanie (Arc Knight). Some text fixes and bug smashing has also happened, and I think we can all agree those are good and right things to do. Anyone who says otherwise is clearly a bug and needs to be SMASHED.
That about wraps it up for last week’s significant updates. I’m sure I’ve missed some, though, so please feel free to comment below and let everyone know if you think something should be mentioned. As usual, major updates will likely get their own news stories throughout this week, and I’ll be back next Monday to summarize and fill in the blanks. Have a great week!
Tencent is determined to have more of an impact on gaming outside of China, and not just by pouring money into existing studios. Reutersreports that Tencent Holdings has created a new California studio, LightSpeed LA, that will develop and publish “AAA” (read: blockbuster) titles. The team will be led by former Rockstar Games studio manager Steve Martin and will have alumni from both Rockstar as well as 2K Games, Insomniac and Sony.
The Grand Theft Auto veteran didn’t outline what LightSpeed would work on, but joined the wave of companies hoping to end crunch time with promises of a “stress-free work environment.”
There’s not much mystery behind the strategy. Tencent want half its gaming revenue to come from beyond China, and that means developing games suited to wider audiences like its upcoming Pokémon Unite battler. The new studio won’t end concerns that Tencent is becoming a dominant force in gaming outside of China (it owns Riot Games and has a minority stake in Epic Games), but it could show what the tech giant is capable of with a US team made from scratch.
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We’re past the halfway mark in 2020 and we’ve already seen some great VR games release this year. But what else is coming between now and the end of the year? Let’s take a look at upcoming VR games for the rest of 2020.
Some recent announcements have elevated what was looking like a rather quiet H2 2020 to an exciting few months. We’ll be taking off in X-Wings and making Dreams come true.
At long last, Media Molecule’s fantastic creation tool is ready to add VR support. Dreams is essentially a development engine unto itself, letting players make their own games and share them online. The brief tease we’ve seen of VR support so far is hugely exciting. This will arrive as a free update to owners of the base game.
The much-anticipated Oculus Quest port of Onward is very nearly here. The ever-popular military simulation shooter makes its way to the standalone headset with all the same features including, multiplayer, single-player and cooperative modes as well as, crucially, cross-play with PC VR players. If this port is up to snuff, expect Onward on Quest to be one of the biggest upcoming VR games for 2020.
Solaris: Offworld Combat (Rift, Quest) – August (PSVR in 2020)
The makers of Firewall: Zero Hour return with a new multiplayer VR shooter that trades Rainbow Six for Unreal Tournament. Solaris offers 4 v 4 battles in which players sprint and slide across maps, picking up new weapons and finding the high ground. Given the developer’s past experience, we’re hoping for a top-quality VR shooter here.
Star Wars: Squadrons (PSVR, PC VR) – October 2nd
We’ve been lucky enough to have lived out several Star Wars dreams in VR already, but Star Wars: Squadrons seems to have struck a particular chord with the fanbase. The chance to jump into the cockpit of an X-Wing or TIE Fighter in VR makes us a little weak at the knees. Fortunately, we’ll be seated for its online multiplayer battles and single-player campaign, though. This is probably the most anticipated of the upcoming VR games in 2020.
Medal of Honor: Above And Beyond (Rift) – 2020
Respawn Entertainment is one of the game’s industry’s best developers, which gives you more than enough reason to be excited for Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. Add in that this Oculus exclusive sees the developer return to a series it helped established as Infinity Ward, plus the promise of an expansive campaign and multiplayer support, and you have one of the most promising games of 2020.
Lone Echo 2 (Rift) – 2020
Lone Echo’s sequel has been a long time coming, but we’re hoping it finally enters orbit in the second half of this year. It’s high time we checked in on Liv and Jack after the first space odyssey’s dramatic cliffhanger and, now that Ready at Dawn is owned by Facebook itself, we wouldn’t expect this Oculus exclusive to hold back.
The Walking Dead: Onslaught (PSVR, PC VR) – 2020
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners may have stolen hearts and minds on PC VR and PSVR platforms already, but we’re just as excited for VR veteran Survios’ take on the zombie franchise. Aimed at the TV show instead of the comics, Onslaught delivers a full campaign with iconic characters including none other than Darryl Dixon, voiced by Norman Reedus himself. Definitely keep this on your radar for upcoming VR games 2020.
Blankos Block Party is a colorful and intriguing-looking MMO party game of sorts that features a unique setup. The premise is that this game takes place in a world where vinyl toys come to life and have their own lives when humans aren’t looking.
As part of GameSpot’s gaming celebration Play For All, we caught up with Mythical Games chief creative officer Jamie Jackson who told us all about this imaginative project. In the video, Jackson talks about numerous aspects of the game, including its robust-looking level-editor that allows players to create basically anything they can imagine.
Basically, Blankos Block Party seems to combine the free-flowing gameplay of titles like Fortnite and Roblox with the aesthetic charm of a Funko Pop vinyl toy come to life. A beta test for the game launches later this year, so keep checking back with GameSpot for more!