Our 10 most anticipated iOS games that are in soft launch right now
Not quite Finnished
These days, you don't need to pour over screenshots, trailers, and previews written by barely-educated, basement-dwelling simpletons to know how a game works.
Thanks to the magic of demos, betas, server tests, and soft launches you can often go hands-on with a game long before it's officially "out". Or even announced.
That's why we make a habit of surfing app stores around the world, looking for crazy new games that are still in progress, but you can download right away to try out. Like these 10.
You'll need a foreign iTunes account to get them - here's how to make one.Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
We've had Cloud. We've had Lightning. Now welcome the latest weather-based Final Fantasy protagonist: Rain! Brother of Fog and Drizzle, presumably.
He's the hero of a new FF game that looks curiously like an old school JRPG, complete with towns to explore, turn-based battles, and trillions of lines of text to read through.
It's even got some characters from past Final Fantasy games. And it was developed by the creators of the ultra popular Brave Frontier. So we're expecting good things from this one, which is currently available in Sweden on iOS.Angry Birds Goal!
The Angry Birds are once again following in the footsteps of Mario (space, an RPG, go karts, a movie) with a soccer-themed spin-off of its own.
This looks a fair bit like New Star Soccer, and even has off-the-pitch action where you maintain relationships with players and the fans. Only, you know, the players are all birds.
Rovio has about eighteen billion games in soft launch so who knows when this one will see the light of day.
But if you're hankering for a weirdo top-down football game with pigs, Goal! is on the App Store in Sweden and elsewhere.Monster Hunter Explore
Monster Hunter has come to mobile before. We spent a fair while playing the old Freedom Unite on our Twitch channel. But that game is sadly unplayable and gone from the App Store.
Luckily, there's a new one. And it still has real-time cooperative play where you can get together with three pals and take on gigantic boss monsters for fun and profit.
But don't get too excited: it's streamlined, free to play, and focused on social stuff over proper monster-toppling antics. But it should scratch that itch when you leave your 3DS at home.
It's currently in soft launch in Canada for iPhone and iPad.Ghostbusters: Slime City
Don't like the new, all-female cast of the new Ghostbusters movie? Let's see if you can do any better then, ya weirdo, with this paranormal shooter that lets you build your own team of spectre battlers.
Slime City is part city builder, where you spread out from the Ghostbusters HQ and take over Manhattan. And it's part shooter, where you suck up ghosts in simple action sequences.
It's got all the usual trappings of a free to play game, complete with asyonchrous co-op, crafting (make your own proton pack!), and leaderboards. It's out now in places like The Philippines.Plants vs. Zombies Heroes
Plants vs. Zombies may have started life as a wacky tower defence time killer, but it's now this enormous PC and console franchise with recognisable characters on both the flora and undead fauna sides.
That does make it the perfect brand for a card battler though. This Hearthstone-like game lets you play as plant or zombie, with very different cards and playstyles for each.
You'll also have heroes who can unleash special attacks and help turn the tide of battle. You can start collecting them now, to get a head start, on iOS and Android in New Zealand and elsewhere.Battle Bay
Not every Rovio game in soft launch is about miffed avians. Battle Bay doesn't have a bird in sight. Or a pig.
Instead, it's about funny little men in hovercraft who get together in dinky ocean battlefields and proceed to blast the bejesus out of each other. It's got team death match, in real-time battles.
I guess it might be Rovio's answer to World of Tanks. Only, a bit more wet and featuring tiny characters who wear masks. And wait... what's under the mask? I bet it's a bird! Damn you Rovio!
The game's out on Android and iOS in loads of regions, notably New Zealand.Midnight Star Renegade
Midnight Star was supposed to change everything. A shooter that would work well on mobile, made by dudes who built Halo. And it was actually pretty good! We called it a "fast-paced and engaging tappy shooter that looks stunning".
Didn't seem like a huge hit, though. Nevertheless, Industrial Toys is trying again with sequel Renegade.
It still has a control scheme based on taps and swipes, but instead of being on-rails it looks like this follow-up will let you choose how you explore the level. Just tap on the ground to move.
You can check it out for yourself if you pop to the App Store in The Philippines.Pokemon GO
I don't know why this game - which uses augmented reality and GPS tech to make it look like Pokemon are living in the real world - needs to exist. Because Pokemon already are real.
I have a Squirtle. He is my friend.
But I guess if you're not lucky enough to have a Hitmonchan living in your wardrobe then this funky mixed-reality game will have to do. It even has crazy community events where loads of players come together to tackle huge monsters.
This one's a little harder to get your hands on. It's in field test, rather than soft launch - but it is available in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and United States.Transformers: Earth Wars
You thought Clash of Clans-style games were dead? Think again, dear reader. Space Ape is back with another base builder meets RTS meets tower defence cabal.
And this time, that mouthful of a genre is meeting Optimus Prime. Once you've picked team Autobots or team Decepticons you can make a base, train robots, and do battles with others.
Obviously, players from around the globe (or, more specifically right now, Australia), want to take your resources by force. So you better build yourself a strong base to keep those metal nasties at bay.Micro Machines
Ahh Micro Machines. I have many happy childhood memories with this game, as friends and family members tried to outrace each other on kitchen tables and in bathtubs and gardens.
To see it turned into a free-to-play game with pay-for boosts and upgrades is a little, how shall we put it? Soul destroying?. But I'll give it a go all the same. Memories are there to be sullied, after all.
Chillingo and Codemasters are working hard to make the game look and feel good, mind, with one update that made the game go at 60 frames a second on recent devices.
So if you've got a flash phone and access to the Singaporean App Store, go get it.