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App Attack: Avoid ladders, save a kingdom, and protect sheep in these 3 quirky games

app attack b the game mushroom heroes sheepwith
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It’s understandable that switching back and forth between Facebook and Twitter can become super boring after a while, especially on long commutes or waiting in lines. We’ve rounded up three new mobile games that will make you realize how boring mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds can be, especially when you can mindlessly — but also strategically — play a quirky game instead.

Mushroom Heroes

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Upon first glance, the protagonists in Mushroom Heroes bare some resemblance to the mushrooms in the Super Mario Bros. series. But the game is far more similar to The Lost Vikings, where cooperative gameplay forces you to figure out how to complete each level through teamwork.

The storyline takes place over 1,000 years ago in a “mushroom country” where the king assigns three of his best warriors — Yuppi, Jumpi, and Dombi —  to defeat the enemy. The environments are quite different, and you’re tasked with completing different puzzle-like challenges. The catch is figuring out which mushroom warrior is best suited to completing each level. Yuppi comes equipped with a bow — useful when it comes to enemies and detonating bombs — and Jumpi can jump the highest and float. The third mushroom warrior, Dombi, can block enemies with a shield and push objects. Even though this game doesn’t offer realistic graphics, the retro look definitely makes it more fun. The controls mirror old school game controllers, with two left and right arrows along with A/B buttons to execute an action or skill.

The levels become tougher as you further advance into the game. You’ll have to jump over sharp objects, as well as avoid evil frogs, and fire breathers. While it is a game based on teamwork between the characters, you start to slowly realize exactly how dependent the mushrooms are of one another. Sometimes, you’ll often find yourself switching back and forth between each mushroom just to complete one action — like having to stack all three to jump up to another floor.

In the beginning, it was easy to fly through each challenge. As I progressed, I began to slightly question my intelligence and why I couldn’t figure out how break down a wall without killing off any mushrooms. Thankfully, if you’re stuck you’ll receive pop-ups guiding you on steps to take. It’s definitely a game that will help get those brain-juices flowing, and it’s available for both iOS and Android.

B – The Game

Don’t be fooled by the bright graphics that mimic the pages of an innocent children’s storybook. B – The Game is far more difficult than the plot suggests. The point of the game is simple: Don’t die. The beginning starts out with a cute little creature (we’ll call him “lil man”) sitting on a bench, but he’s weirdly connected to a bee on a rope. The bee starts flying — resulting in lil man soaring through the sky looking happy and content to be among the fluffy clouds. While the bee swings lil man around, your only job is to tap on the left or right sides of the screen to make sure he doesn’t hit the random ladders — kind of like a vertical scrolling Flappy Bird. If he does hit a ladder, it’s game over and you start from the beginning.

Initially, I thought this game would be super easy given that there’s barely a plot and zero levels. But once it started, I realized the bee isn’t messing around — getting past the ladders is really hard. As it swings, lil man swings back and forth (go home bee, you’re drunk), and you have to try and predict its movement when choosing whether to tap left or right. This becomes increasingly difficult when you float further up into the sky, because the ladders start to take up the entire screen leaving little room to pass through.

However, what the game lacks in depth it makes up for in intensity. The denial you start to feel from not being able to easily beat the game will keep you playing round after round. It also becomes a little easier to navigate the rope once you get the hang of not spazzing out while tapping on the screen. B – The Game is currently only available on iOS, but it’s free and requires no in-app purchases.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Even though I was never an avid FarmVille gamer, I couldn’t help be reminded of the game while playing Sheepwith. Maybe it’s because the premise involves taking care of farm animals — you’re a pilot whose main goal is to save animals, like pigs and sheep, from dangers outside their pens.

The game’s set in a sunny town with clouds, gardens, and a barn, and as you fly, you scoop up animals spread throughout the grass. The controller has a joy stick feel to it, but flying around takes some skill as you become accustomed to the different speeds while cutting corners. The first level gives you the opportunity to go for a test run without having to save any animals — it’s where you’ll realize that flying this thing requires a little practice. After you get the hang of it, you move on to saving animals via a pocket claw attached to the plane by a rope.

Don’t assume that losing in this adorably-styled game will result in an upbeat ending if you mess up — the plane will crash and burn if you run into anything as delicate as a flower. Completing the level is heavily dependent on also making a safe and swift landing on the tarmac, even if you managed to pick up all the animals. If you land too quickly or too slowly and bump into anything along the way, you lose a life and the pilot shakes his head at you in disappointment. Thankfully, you don’t have to completely start over until you lose all your lives, so the animals you took time to save are still in their respective pens.

The game features four different aircrafts, depending on the world you find yourself in as you excel throughout the game — one being a spaceship as you fly through a galaxy — and 35 different levels. There’s also various tools you can purchase using the points you earn, like a snail to help you slow down during the landing, or you can opt for more lives. Sheepwith is available on both Android and iOS.

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Brenda Stolyar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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With Valiant Hearts: Coming Home, Netflix finds its video game voice
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As we are in the earliest stages of Netflix’s foray into the games, the company is still trying to discover what a “Netflix game” really feels like. We’ve seen ports of fun console beat ’em ups and enjoyable puzzle games, but I don't feel that those really define the platform’s emerging identity. Valiant Hearts: Coming Home, on the other hand, does. A sequel to a 2014 narrative adventure game set during World War I, it's a thoughtful and emotional journey that naturally reflects some of the film and TV content available on Netflix.
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It’s both highly educational and a solid sequel to one of Ubisoft’s most underrated games. Like Before Your Eyes, narrative is a clear priority, as is the distinct visual style that would work even if this was a traditional animated show. Netflix is known for evolving prestige TV and defining what storytelling in a streaming-focused series could be, so it would benefit from giving its exclusive games a similar focus. Valiant Hearts: Coming Home might not be a perfect game, but it’s a solid example of what a premier Netflix game could look like in the future.
War stories
Valiant Hearts: Coming Home, like its predecessor Valiant Hearts: The Great War, is a narrative-focused adventure game that hops between several stories from soldiers (and a medic) who served during World War I. Familiarity with the first game is helpful, as some characters reappear, but not necessary as the sequel tells a new story mainly focused on the Harlem Hellfighters, a group that fought with the French after the U.S. joined the conflict. It’s a story about the horrors of war and the family and friendships that wither through it all that focuses more on human stories rather than the bloody combat that games typically like to highlight. 
While its story doesn’t feel quite as intertwined as The Great War’s, Coming Home is still enlightening, shining light on parts of the war that aren’t typically covered in your standard history class. I’d even recommend it as a good entry point for kids learning about World War I, especially because the game features plenty of collectible objects and facts that allow players to learn more about the battle. Like the best content on Netflix, it’s a creatively rich and additive experience.
It does all that with a minimalist style, as its characters speak in pantomime, only saying a word or two as a narrator eventually cuts in to fill in narrative blanks or give context on the state of the war. While it might seem disrespectful to represent such a brutal war in a cartoonish manner, the horrific moments stand out all the more clearly as a result. One particularly memorable set piece doesn’t contain any dialogue. It has the player walking across the bottom of the sea as you see bodies and ships from the Battle of Jutland sink to the seafloor. It’s equally awe-inspiring and horrifying, bolstered by Coming Home’s distinct visual style.

The gorgeous 2D art is colorful, looks hand-drawn, and almost feels kid-friendly despite how grave the subject matter it’s portraying is. Netflix is home to some great animation, so it would also make sense for that artistry to apply to its games. On the gameplay front, Coming Home is comparatively simple. Players use touch controls to easily walk around, climb, and interact with objects throughout the game to solve simple puzzles. Occasionally, some minigames with unique mechanics, like treating and patching up soldiers’ wounds, spice up the game. It is approachable in design and never particularly complicated, but that also means the gameplay never gets in the way of its storytelling and art.
The biggest downside to is that it’s regularly interrupted by loading screens. Even though they were very brief on my Google Pixel 7XL, they dampened some scenes’ artistic and emotional flow.
What makes a Netflix game? 
Valiant Hearts: Coming Home is a beautiful narrative-focused game that feelsat home on Netflix. It demonstrates how titles with compelling stories can be just as engaging on a phone as they are on PC and consoles. That mentality is a perfect match for a platform that made a name for itself mostly through serialized, story-driven TV shows and movies, and now also offers games with strong stories like Desta: The Memories Between, Before Your Eyes, and Immortality. 

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Legends of Runeterra 2023 road map outlined by Riot Games
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Riot Games has laid out its plans to revitalize its collectible League of Legends card game, Legends of Runeterra, in 2023. The backbone of the road map is a recurring three-month release cycle that rotates through the releases of Expansions, Live Balance Patches, and Variety Sets.
Each quarter of the 2023 road map will feature an Expansion, which Riot Games says will primarily focus on new champions and game mechanics. As such, these will be the biggest updates of the year, with Riot Games teasing that brand-new and returning champions are coming alongside a reworking of PvP. The month after an Expansion drops, players can expect a big Live Balance Patch, which Riot Games describes as "dedicated spaces where we’ll be focused on addressing anything that may have room for improvement."

After releasing an Expansion and making any needed adjustments with the big Live Balance Path, Riot Games will conclude the cycle with the release of a Variety Set, which is the developers say are akin to a "quarterly booster pack or a mini-expansion" that contains new non-Champion cards, as well as even more balance updates. After that, the cycle will start anew, ensuring that Legends of Runeterra will get a notable update every month for the rest of 2023.
On top of that cycle, Riot Games also shared a higher-level road map outlining what players can expect in 2023. The developers are promising that new Legends of Runeterra champions and items, relic balance updates, a competitive PvP revamp, and new play formats are coming very soon. After that, new achievements, ways to get legacy content, and monthly Path of Champions adventures will be part of future updates. Riot Games is also working to add ways to play with international players and support player-hosted tournaments, although those updates are further out.
Regardless, it looks like 2023 is going to be a busy year for Legends of Runeterra, and Riot Games is being pretty clear about how it's rolling everything out. Legends of Runeterra is available for PC, iOS, and Android; Xbox Game Pass subscribers can get some special bonuses by syncing their accounts, too. 

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