Hello again, mobile gamers! I have admittedly not been mobile gaming all that much in the past few weeks after a series of ridiculous events and being down with the flu for an entire week. Don’t get the flu! I had a flu shot and everything! Just don’t do it!! You’ll be so tired you won’t even be capable of disappearing into Baldur’s Gate 3. You’ll spend eight or so hours watching the first season of Bridgerton and feel unable to figure out why you did that even though you couldn’t stand Daphne. Just say no, folks.

Fellow GYGO writers have done an amazing job providing resources to learn more about the ongoing atrocities the Israeli government is committing against the people of the Gaza strip. In addition to the many resources they’ve provided for learning more and supporting individuals and organizations that provide aid to those in the region, I also recommend Operation Olive Branch, a compilation of links, fundraising opportunities, and more for people in need, and the Stop Gaza Genocide Toolkit, which contains action items and information you can visit and revisit as often as you like. I also find Crips for Palestine, a newsletter of digital actions for disabled people and allies written by our own Zainabb Hull, extremely helpful and informative.

Here’s what’s been going on in the world of mobile games while I wasn’t paying any attention whatsoever.

All the Weird Shit That’s Happening in Fortnite Right Now

Lady Gaga has joined Fortnight.*

The pop queen joined the Fortnite Festival Season Two alongside Marshmello, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, and more, with several of her songs playable as Jam Tracks on an in-game stage inspired by her album, Chromatica. Purchasing the Unlock Your Talent Festival Pass (available from February 22 to April 22) gives players access to these tracks as well as others. For an additional 1,800 V-Bucks, players can get the track “Poker Face,” a Lady Gaga outfit, and Chromatica-inspired instruments.

For the Fortnite-ignorant among us (me), this whole thing is apparently a rhythm game-esque mode within Fortnite, much like Guitar Hero, that lets you play beloved songs on a stage. Huh! Who knew? Presumably the 230 million people playing the game in January through February of this year alone.

But that’s not all! There’s also an unofficial Skybound Entertainment/Invincible experience right now. What does an unofficial experience look like? Skybound Entertainment, run by Invincible creator Robert Kirkman, created the experience using Fortnite Creative, a meta-game within Fortnite that allows players to create their own structures that can be shared with up to 100 players. Though the Invincible side is official, being produced by Skybound, this is an unofficial creation because Epic did not sponsor, participate in, or endorse it. It’s a fascinating use of creative tools, even if I know almost as much about Invincible as I do Fortnite.

The game’s Chapter 5, Season 2 update is also out, including a bunch of Greek myth-inspired locations and content. It also includes a huge warrior statue with six-pack abs, which, naturally, people are thirsting over.

Apple Is Still Fighting Epic’s iPhone Presence

Remember all that stuff I wrote explaining how the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in Europe was going to finally mean that Apple would have to let Epic have a presence on the App Store? Apple said, “Fuck all that, actually,” and banned Epic Games Sweden from the iOS App Store. According to Epic, Apple denied a DMA consultation with the company that would let them return to iOS sometime this year. The Epic Games Sweden developer account was meant to start developing the new Epic app, but Apple stated that Epic Games Sweden’s account was granted through an agreement not evaluated by Apple management. Apple claimed Epic’s previous “egregious breach of its contractual obligations to Apple” was the reason for the ban, and upheld their right to continue to ban the company because of previous behavior. Epic countered that this was a move meant to throttle potential competition. Epic also argued that they received a letter on March 2 from Apple that cites a Tweet from Tim Sweeney criticizing Apple’s approach to controlling the app store.

So where is all this going? It’s hard to say just yet. Apple did revise their “core technology fee” a little (a little) after blowback from developers, but the company is still one of the biggest targets for investigation now that the Act is officially in effect.

This Month in ~ Fashion ~

I confess that I’m only giving this its own section because I thought it was funny that last month I had a Tommy Hilfinger thing and now I’ve got two more fashion-oriented mobile game news tidbits. Who is all this for? Why are we doing this? Who’s excited about it?

Anyway, Hugo Boss has launched a Roblox world to celebrate a new denim line, as well as their wider fashion catalog. The world includes a “social styling experience” and… face-tracking integration?? Hey, I hate this!

Meanwhile, over in Rec Room, a social gaming platform, you can get three limited-time items from Puma. What do you think the crossover between Rec Room users and Puma fans is like? Like, I know Puma is a big brand, but 9,000 Rec Room tokens is between $10 and $20 USD (depending on what pack you buy, naturally). Are we willing to pay that much for virtual Puma? Are we willing to pay that much to be a walking virtual advertisement for Puma? These are questions I cannot answer.

New Releases This Month, for Me

I’m sure other people have great taste in games but as this is my beat, here are some mobile games I think look interesting that are coming out soon.

Tilting point has an Avatar: the Last Airbender strategy game called Avatar Legends: Realms Collide on the way. I like strategy games. I like Avatar. Will I play this? Almost certainly not.

I may, however, spend some of my Google Play credits (from doing copious Google surveys) on Strange Horticulture, an occult-themed puzzle game due out March 26. It will be nice to spend my credits on something other than gems for romance games for once.

Wytchwood (reviewed by fellow editor and GYGO-er Zainabb Hull) is also out on mobile now!

Potion Permit, which has you creating potions to help out townsfolk, is out now!

Plants? Pinball? Count me in. Except, fuck, From Eva With Green is only available on iOS, and I am a filthy Android user.

Hades, a game I thought I would hate, is coming to mobile in partnership with Netflix. You’ll need a Netflix subscription to play it, which is… weird, but sure. I already have Hades on Switch so I’ll not be participating in this one, but if you haven’t jumped on the Hades train yet, now’s as good a time as any! Even if I feel like the screen is a little small to appreciate those beautiful character portraits…

Neko Atsume 2! Neko Atsume 2!! More cats!!!

Reports suggest that Tencent may be bringing Elden Ring to mobile, which is ridiculous. I will not be playing this, sorry, but I thought we all should know so we can tilt our heads and go “Huh? Huh.” about it.

In other news…

Monopoly GO made two billion fucking dollars since its launch less than a year ago. Two billion!

In “Worst Man in the Gaming Industry Somehow Gets Worse” news, Bobby Kotick is considering buying TikTok. If that wasn’t bad enough, he wants to get OpenAI CEO Sam Altman in on the deal.

The Pokémon Presents Pokémon Day broadcast this year featured the announcement of Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket, a mobile game that will grant players the opportunity to open Pokemon card packs without buying the actual packs themselves. As Polygon outlines in their piece, Pokémon cards saw a huge resurgence during the pandemic, causing shortages in supply. Players will get two free packs per day and can purchase more. The Pokémon Company also said this is not an NFT thing and that the company has “not developed or approved” any Pokémon NFTs within the game or elsewhere—any Pokémon NFTs are unofficial.

SYBO (the studio behind Subway Surfers) CEO Mathias Gredal Nørvig co-authored Gaming for Good with founder and CEO of Playmob Jude Ower. The book aims to use Subway Surfers‘ popularity to combat climate change, and features interviews from numerous other figures in the gaming industry.

Longleaf Valley, a merge game about a woman working to restore natural habitats, has planted over one million trees thanks to the efforts of players. Treesplease Games, the studio behind Longleaf Valley, allows players to collect in-game tokens that can be donated to plant trees in real life. Also, the art style’s really cute and this might just be my new Lily’s Garden….