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Celebrating 5 mobile games that will hopefully make it to PC and console

Part 1: Zombie Rollerz, Piffle, Bird Bed & Breakfast, Pocket Love!, and Cats and Soup

I recently reviewed Zombie Rollerz: Pinball Heros on the Nintendo Switch, and something about the exhibit made me think there just had to be a Zombie Rollerz game that came out before this one. After about half an hour of digging around, I discovered that the original Zombie Rollerz was a mobile app game. I was curious how the mobile game compared to the Switch game.

After playing several rounds in mobile gaming, I started wondering if there were other mobile games that would be good candidates to launch an expanded console or PC version. I’ve been scrolling endlessly for free game apps in the iOS store (Sorry for paid games, but I don’t have the money to pay just to try you out for a GiN column. You look great. Maybe be later.) I started downloading any game that caught my eye, trying to make sure I covered multiple game types. I limited myself to what I thought I would like to play which limited my selection as golf and car games aren’t really my style. After all was said and done, I had downloaded 24 new games to my phone…and used up all of my phone’s remaining memory.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about the 24 games now. I only threw 7 of the 24, and only spent a lot of time on a fraction of them. I estimate it will be a 5 part series. For Part 1, I’ll talk about the differences I found in Zombie Rollerz, as well as my thoughts on the following games: Piffle, Bird Bed and Breakfast, Pocket Love!, and Cats and Soup. In the words of Sam Reich, the only way to start is to start. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Zombie Rollerz (Zing Games Inc.)

Mobile and Switch Zombie Rollerz games are two separate and distinct games. I won’t go into too much detail about the Zombie Rollerz Switch game. See my full review if you want to know more. The mobile game started with the same two characters as the Switch game: Burnjamin and Omnipedia, but the next two characters were unique. I finally understood some of the references made in the Switch version and the plot made a bit more sense after playing the mobile game. The second character I got was the Omnipedia talking bear mentioned a few times in the Switch game, Ursula. The mobile game also explains the effects of weather conditions better, and I finally experienced the benefits of the dance skill!

There’s a lot of overlap with the different skills, buffs, and level layouts. I know I’ve seen at least two levels with nearly identical layouts between the two games. The style of play is also not very different.

In the mobile game, you can activate the ultimate skill after collecting enough energy, and you can recall the flipper after reloading a short reload meter. Support skills in the Switch game are passive skills in the mobile game. I don’t think they are as effective in the mobile game as they are in the Switch game. Level progression is one of the biggest differences. In the mobile game, you travel along a route where levels are replayable at three different skill levels. In the Switch game, you have to choose the difficulty before starting the game and you cannot replay levels.

Ultimately, after spending a lot of time on the mobile game, I still wish the Switch game had more. There were plenty of opportunities to send the heroes on a truly epic quest, ideally one that lasted more than 3 short chapters.

Piffle (hipster whale)

Piffle is a game I immediately fell in love with. It reminded me of the old Bust-A-Move ’99, a puzzle game that my mom and I used to play for hours on the PlayStation when I was growing up. For unknown reasons, a flying robot is attacking your dog and you have to use piffle balls (big cat heads that meow) to remove the blocks in order to pass the levels. You can earn up to three stars per level depending on how many points you score, and each level is infinitely replayable, so don’t worry if you can’t get that third star right away.

While playing Piffle, I kept thinking about what I would change for a console game. I kept coming back to Bust-A-Move ’99. Some things that worked well in this game that I would transfer over to Piffle are the ability for multiple playable characters and a co-op option to race your friends to the end of a level. I would also like to flesh out the story more. I don’t even know my dog’s name, or why the robot stole it. A potential story arc would be for the robot to steal pets all over the neighborhood. During your journey, you team up with a handful of neighbors who also seek to rescue their pets. These would be the other playable characters. I don’t think I would really change anything to the actual gameplay. It’s a nice and relaxing puzzle game that can be used to pass the time without being too difficult.

While researching for this column, I found that Piffle is available on the Switch. From the gameplay trailer, it looks like the game is a direct 1:1 port. I’m a little disappointed that there don’t seem to be any new additions, and the price seems a bit steep considering I can play the game on my phone with relatively few ads. It’s currently $19.95, but if it ever goes on sale for less than $15.00, I’ll take it.

Bird Bed & Breakfast (Runaway)

I think Bird Bed & Breakfast has a lot of potential to expand well on console or PC. You start by helping Pepper and Mango open a guesthouse with a simple nest in a tall tree. The more guests that visit your bnb, the more types of birds you can unlock. You take care of your guests by sending them to sleep, waking them up, letting them take a bath and giving them breakfast before checking them in. You should also clean nests and baths after a few uses. You plant seeds under the tree to grow the food used to feed the birds. As you level up, you can add additional nests to the tree and unlock different types of nests. Different birds have different preferences for nests and foraging, as well as different waiting times. It can take a lot of multitasking to take care of a full tree of guests. The most demanding customers pay more, which is worth it.

The game is very detailed in bird designs, with the app page where each type of bird is “based on an actual species with accurate wing patterns and bird songs”. Birds can also leave a review with up to five stars. There are also VIB characters (very important birds) with their own names and outfits. I haven’t confirmed if their reviews carry more weight, but the title makes me try harder to make sure they are fully satisfied during their stay at the bnb.

One area that I think Bird Bed & Breakfast could develop on a console or PC version is allowing you to open different bnb locations with different habitats and birds available. The mobile game’s tree appears to be in a North American forest, but African gray parrots and lovebirds are among the first guests. It would be really cool to start with the North American tree and have guests that are strictly local in North America, and then you could expand to a tree in Africa with native birds there, and so on. It would also be cute if you could hire workers to help clean up the facilities and grow the food. I imagined little wood mice cleaning the nests between visits and squirrels collecting the berries and carrying them up the tree. It would also add another layer of bnb management, as you would have to spend money to recruit the helpers.

Pocket love! (HyperBeard Inc.)

I’ll be honest, Pocket Love! was a miss for me. I only spend about 10 minutes there before continuing. The premise is that you and your girlfriend move into a new one-room house and buy new furniture, clothes, and other accessories for your tiny house. It just doesn’t suit me.

Maybe if I liked playing games like The Sims I would be into it more, but alas. Let’s move on…

Cats and soup (hidea.)

Cats & Soup is probably my favorite game from the first batch. You start with a few cats making soup and chopping carrots and cabbage. As you sell more soup, you can buy more facilities to make different types of soup and juices, as well as support areas for cats to relax. Do I like this game just because I’m a big fan of cats and these cats are totally adorable? Maybe, let’s not rule that out. The premise of the game is so simple that I was sure I would get bored, but for reasons I don’t know well, I keep coming back. Each station, cat and recipe can be upgraded for increased production and higher profits. Very quickly, you can create a bulletin board where special orders fill up for high rewards. You can also take photos of your cat colony at the right time for extra gold. You can fish in a pond to feed the cats and upgrade them. Each cat also has its own little room that you can decorate, and you can add cute costumes to increase your skills. The art is gorgeous, the cats are adorable, and I even convinced my mom to upload it after only sending 3 photos.

It’s also the game I thought about the most about how it could be expanded into a console or PC game. I thought the game could put more emphasis on cats as characters. The cat soup business is a family business, with a cat grandfather and grandmother running the business along with several generations of cat children. The family could grow throughout the game, much like in the mobile version, but instead of coming from the stars, the new cats would be the children. Kittens could improve their skills as they grow up and they could help adult cats with their chores. The business could include expenses as well as profits, with ingredients being purchased from other dwellers.

One of the main drawbacks of the game is that it is full of ads. The rewards for ads are so tempting that I keep watching them, but it would be a big draw from a console release. I’ve never played Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon, but I think some of the mechanics from those games could be adopted in a console version of Cats & Soup. I wouldn’t want a full copycat (pun not intended, but appreciated), but some flavors (this one was intended) of this type of game would be good inspiration.

Well, here it is, friends. Let me know if you tried any of these games and what you thought of them. Be sure to check back in two weeks for my next batch of mobile games. Stay cool, be you. Goodbye!

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