I like playing games, especially on PC and consoles (and lately even on VR headsets). When I was little my go to gaming machine was an handheld called the Atari Lynx. From there I moved on to Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation and once older my main platform for gaming became the PC. I did have a Nintendo DS for a short while but gave that away because I simply was not using it. My main device to game on when on the road is my mobile phone and I think that for many of us, this is the new normal for mobile gaming. Combine this with game streaming services like Stadia, xCloud, PlayStation Now or GeForce Now, I doubt that specific gaming handhelds will have a future.
However when it comes to gaming on a smartphone, I really dislike the solutions many game developers use when it comes to user interface and controls. Most of the time games are being ported with joystick like controls and buttons on the screen, or a game is a twin stick shooter. While this might work for most people, I came to the conclusion that only games that were created with a ‘touchscreen first design’ would work for me. Enter Ticket to Earth an iOS game released back in 2017.
Ticket to Earth is a match 3 game, like Candy Crush is. Tiles are displayed on the battleground floor and you have to match it. These types of games work really well on smartphones due its simplicity. What the developers Robot Circus did however, is genius. Behind this simple matching gameplay an interesting RPG mechanic is hidden. The more tiles you match, the stronger your attack will become. Also the specific tiles you are matching will determine what powers you are charging. These powers vary from instant damage, healing, defensive shields, teleportation, area of effect damage or battlefield manipulation.
See the trailer below to get an impression of the gameplay:
And what you are seeing in that trailer is just the basic gameplay. As you progress through the 10+ hour campaign, you will unlock new weapons, powers and 3 more playable characters, each of them also having their own weapons and powers.
The story in my opinion was great with lots of plot twists when you go into chapter 3 and 4 of the game. Every fight can be short, so it is easy to pick up and play when you have a few moments to spare. Just keep in mind, even though the game might look simple, it still is a RPG. If you screw up your build, expect fights to be a lot harder.