IPhone and iPad users were girding for war in 2018 as a multitude of battle-royale games became so popular the category was named Trend of the Year by editors at Apple’s App Store. But there were also quieter and more intellectual games honored. Here are four of the best mobile games of 2018 as picked by Apple.
(iOS, Android; free)
The wildly successful game became a pop-culture phenomenon and was named Game of the Year. Fortnite is the most popular of the battle-royale games, where the last-surviving player is the winner. And this is not easy with Fortnite: Developer Epic Games said that at any one time there are more than 8 million competitors vying to kill or be killed.
(iOS, Android; free)
Hearthstone, from Blizzard Entertainment, developers of the enormously popular Overwatch and World of Warcraft, was honored by Apple as a top battle-royale game (along with PUBG Mobile and Clash Royale), even though it is actually a role-playing card-collecting game. It may be less frenetic than Fortnite, but the goal is the same: kill or be killed.
No donuts, but lots of holes. Named iPhone Game of the Year, Donut County is a puzzle game in which your character is an expanding hole in the ground. Your goal is to get bigger by eating everything in your path. Who’s responsible for this nightmare scenario? Well, it appears to have something to do with a raccoon and a donut shop. Don’t ask too many questions — just enjoy this charming game from hot Los Angeles-based developer Annapurna Interactive.
(iOS, Android; $4.99)
Also from Annapurna Interactive, this captivating and beautiful interactive puzzle game brought originality not typically seen in mobile games and was named iPad Game of the Year. (It’s also available for iPhones and Android devices.) The stunning artwork behind the puzzles was not computer-generated —Gorogoa features thousands of lush hand-drawn panels. Editors at Google’s Play Store also singled out Gorogoa, naming it Most Innovative Android Game of 2018.
Fake Netflix email warning
The Federal Trade Commission is warning about a Netflix phishing scam in which users receive an email that claims their account is locked. The email has a link to “update account,” which takes you to a fake Netflix page where you are asked to provide personal information. The FTC says there are some “tells” in this scam — for example, there is no user name listed after the “Dear” salutation.
— PETER KING
App Store sets sales records
Apple’s iPhone may be putting up disappointing sales, but its App Store is stronger than ever. Apple said users spent $1.22 billion in the App Store between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a holiday-season record. And on New Year’s Day, the App Store rang up $322 million in sales, a single-day high. Apple said gaming and self-care apps were the most popular categories.
— PETER KING
Suit alleges age bias at IBM
IBM managers discussed ways to make the company’s workforce younger and move jobs overseas, according to a lawsuit by a former IBM executive who says he was fired based on his age. The suit alleges IBM proposed to “lift and shift” U.S.-based jobs to places such as India. IBM says its employment decisions are “based on skills and business conditions — not age.”