Hello again, fellow mobile gamers! I’ve been taking a loosely enforced break from social media, which means my screen time is largely focused on my great love of reading articles and playing mobile games. A GYGO or so ago, I wrote about Longleaf Valley, a merge game that plants trees when players accrue enough tokens. I suggested it might be my new Lily’s Garden, and while that not might be exactly true (the plot doesn’t grab me quite as much) it’s a great little game to pass time during commercial breaks. It’s just organizing, folks. We know I love organizing.

I hope you had time to grab the itch.io Bundle for Palestinian Relief, which raised over $575,000 for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). If you missed the bundle, you can still donate to the PCRF at their website. You could also consider eSims for Gaza, which provides people in the region with a way to communicate with their families and people outside the region. If you like a little extra for your donation, Cartoonist Cooperative has a program where you can send them proof of purchasing an eSim for Gaza in exchange for art.

Here’s what’s been happening in the mobile gaming world!

Apple Now Allows Emulators on the App Store

Apple has changed its rules about emulators. Previously, emulators were banned by the platform, preventing them from being available on the App Store. Likely due to changes from legislation in the US that forced the company to be more open to alternative storefronts, Apple is now allowing emulators—and purchasing games for those emulators—on the App Store. Interestingly, as PocketGamer points out, emulators are a notoriously tricky thing, legally speaking—they’re used to play games that are no longer available, but also to pirate current games. Nintendo is notoriously litigious when it comes to emulators, so it will be interesting to see how this develops for Apple, and for the emulators that are available on the app store.

Pokémon Go Takes Players Back to Kanto and Makes Everybody Angry

Pokémon GO recently updated avatar appearance in the game, reportedly to make them look more realistic. Players largely do not appreciate the change—it’s altered clothes, skin tones, and body shapes, making the avatars look very different from how players designed them. Many player have taken to social media to complain about the updates, with some threatening to delete the app. The company who designed the new avatars, Very Very Spaceship, has since laid off multiple employees, though Pokémon GO Hub reports that the layoffs seem unrelated to avatar update.

Pokémon GO‘s Rediscover Kanto event is running now through May 9, so if you’re looking to nab some new Pokémon or explore the new visuals, get in quick!

What’s New in Fortnite

I continue to read Fortnite news with a somewhat baffled expression on my face, and can you blame me? Here’s some bite-sized news about what’s been going on with the game since we last spoke, with my question marks signifying how baffling I find each piece of news.

  • Fortnite is giving players the ability to mute certain animations that have been used to bully others on the platform. The controversial emotes include Laugh It Up, Take the L, Whipcrack, and Make It Plantain, most of which are pretty self-explanatory, aside from Make It Plantain, which features the player character “making it rain”… but with bananas. Or plantains. (???? because I don’t know how they thought letting players crack whips at one another wasn’t going to cause problems! And why throwing bananas/plantains?)
  • April saw the launch of Avatar: The Last Airbender skins in Fortnite, so you can now play as your favorite member of the Gaang. Except Sokka. Because fuck Sokka, right? Because he’s not a bender, he doesn’t appear in the game because of an in-game event that lets players harness the elements, and people were not happy about it. (???????? Sokka’s my boy how could you do this?)
  • Combining aspects of the two previous bits of news, people are having a great time with the Zuko skin. (No question marks, I love it.)
@extrmzx rip to my vbucks😞🙏 why on gods name they were 2000 i dont know but oh well #zuko #atla #avatarthelastairbender #cartoon #fortnite #collab #zukoavatar #fyp #foryou #parati #xyz ♬ Zuko – Kali

  • Billie Eilish is the newest star of Fortnite Festival, the rhythm game by Harmonix/Epic inside of Fortnite that lets players sing along with their favorite tracks. Players can now perform three Eilish tracks in the game, as well as get skins and items inspired by the performer. (No question marks, this makes perfect sense to me.)
  • Everybody’s favorite character has Lando-ed in Fortnite as of May 3 to celebrate Star Wars day. Other new content includes Chewbacca, Darth Maul racecars, and Lego lightsabers. (????? Darth Maul racecars? Does Fortnite also have a racing game built into it?)
  • Salad will trade your GPU power for Fornite skins. Just let them create AI-generated porn with your GPU and you can have your choice of skins, Minecraft cosmetics, Roblox bux, and more! Not weird or creepy at all! (????????? Do not do this!!!)

New Games I Might Actually Play

Aurora Hills Chapter 1, a new point-and-click adventure game that blends hidden object mechanics with escape room elements, is out now for iOS and Android. The game is also out for PC if that’s more your speed.

Divineko – Magic Cat is a new puzzle game that plays a bit like an old-school typing game. Instead of typing the correct letters to destroy incoming enemies, you draw the correct shape. It’s out now for iOS and Android.

Pilgrims is now on Android after previously only being available on iOS. The adventure puzzle game is set in a world reminiscent of European folk tales and features card-based gameplay and hand-drawn art.

I’ve been meaning to play Ghost Trick for—oh, just a decade and a half or so. Anyway, the remastered version is out now on iOS and Android, so maybe I’ll do it! (I probably won’t, sorry.)

Playing Kafka, a puzzle game that brings you into a—you guessed it—Kafkaesque world of schemes and twists and strange familiarity, is due out May 21. The game commemorates the hundred-year anniversary of Franz Kafka’s death and was developed with experts of the literary figure.

Hamster Inn, a new game from HyperBeard, allows you to manage a hotel full of cute chubby hamsters! What more could you want out of a video game?

Hold on, I’m now hearing that Cat in Donuts: Sweet Shop is out now on iOS and Android, and lets you run a donut shop full of chubby cats. We’ve done it, folks. We’ve developed the perfect video game.

In other news…

Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail now have anime movies in development thanks to a government initiave to make Shanghai into more of a city for film production. Also, Honkai Star Rail made more than double Genshin Impact‘s revenue this March. Fun fact: Honkai Star Rail and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s roller skating musical Starlight Express have become inextricable in my mind, so every time I see Honkai Star Rail I assume it’s about anime girls who can turn into trains. I don’t want to be corrected.

The BBC has launched their own Roblox experience featuring a number of British celebrities. PocketGamer refers to my fave Ncuti Gatwa as “the Fifteenth Doctor,” which, yeah, might be his highest profile role, but he’ll always be Sex Education‘s Eric to me. Other people are there too, I guess.

The new Fallout TV series from Amazon boosted Fallout Shelter downloads by an incredible 516%. Daily revenue has also increased by 384%, which is pretty damn good for a game that came out over a decade ago.

Stefano Corazza, head of Roblox Studio, says it’s great, actually, that actual child labor goes into some of the game’s content. That was a sarcastic interpretation—what he actually said was, “We are offering people anywhere in the world the capability to get a job, and even like an income… So, I can be like 15 years old, in Indonesia, living in a slum, and then now, with just a laptop, I can create something, make money, and then sustain my life.” So really, Roblox Studios is in the right here, because child labor just gives 15-year-olds a shot at a better life, I guess! It’s morally sound for children to work instead of, you know, going to school or being a fucking child because now they can make money creating digital content under crunch conditions. We live in a hell world!