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League of Legends: Wild Rift headlines console-quality games coming to iPhone 12

Riot Games adapts its popular title “League of Legends” to mobile and console systems with “League of Legends: Wild Rift.”

RIOT GAMES/TNS

By GIESON CACHO | The Mercury News | Published: February 19, 2021

Smartphones have quickly closed the gap between handheld devices and consoles. As Genshin Impact has shown, the gaming machine in your pocket can produce graphics that are equal to anything you’d see on the past generation of machines.

The iPhone 12 emphasizes this point with three games that are on their way or already on the smartphone. The device’s A14 Bionic chip and 5G support means that it can handle more complex games and players can enjoy them at home or on the road. Gaming has come a long way from Bejeweled being played in a browser window.

Here’s a look at three titles that are expected to draw some buzz on the platform.

League of Legends: Wild Rift

After years of being solely on PC, Riot Games is bringing its famed MOBA to mobile devices and consoles albeit with a few changes. This custom version has tweaks that tailors it for a different audience. Executive producer Michael Chow said, “We rebuilt everything from the ground up.”

Although Riot Games makes changes to its multiplayer online battle arena formula in Wild Rift, Chow said many of the alterations are so subtle that the new version feels close to the original. Many tweaks will be imperceptible save for one — the map is substantially smaller and that reduction cuts the match time.

Chow said the average League of Legends games take 40 minutes while Wild Rift contests average 17 minutes. “That allows the game to better fit different parts of the day and different parts of life,” he said. That means players can get a quick game during their commute or lunch break.

Wild Rift has the same rhythm and typography but everything happens much faster, Chow said. Because of the compact dimensions, it also means that actions are magnified in a match. Mistakes are more devastating and the swings in matches are much more drastic.

With that said, it could mean that playing Wild Rift could have an impact on play in League of Legends. Chow said the talent and skill sets in one can translate to another and vice versa. “Playing one makes you better at the other,” he said.

On mobile devices, Chow said the touch-screen works well but the game can support controllers. He said Wild Rift will have a full esports ecosystem and that it is scheduled to have a regional open beta in the Americas in March.

Online: wildrift.leagueoflegends.com

Crash on the Run!

Picking up on the theme of console games on mobile devices, Activision is bringing the Crash Bandicoot franchise to smartphones with the help of Candy Crush-maker King.

The project takes elements of the endless runner genre popularized by the likes of Temple Run and applies it to the beloved franchise. In doing so, they removed the “endless” part and created a level-based format that players would see in typical Crash Bandicoot game. The hero travels to different worlds and biomes, overcoming obstacles and even defeating bosses.

The game doesn’t skimp on the visuals and looks as good as a title one would see in the PlayStation 3 era. King’s Bob Woodburn said Crash on the Run! offers a sense of exploration and discovery as the bandicoot runs and leaps across a linear path with different levels of height and obstacles. He said the team has been looking to see if they could do a side-scrolling portion, but it’s still undetermined so far.

Like other Crash games, players will unlock skins, but in the mobile game, they’re more than just decorative. The skins have different attributes. Some may boost resource gathering while others may give players an extra Aku AKu so they can handle tougher levels.

In addition to the core runner gameplay, players will find some light base-building that incorporates the expertise of Crash’s sister, Coco. Players tackle levels to get material to build new structures that unlock weapons and other goodies.

Lastly, “Crash on the Run!” has three modes with the plans to introduce seasonal content. Players can check out survival runs, which has asynchronous multiplayer. They also have time trials and challenge runs for players who have the need collect or speed run everything.

Expect to play Crash on the Run! in the spring. Players can preregister the game on iOS and Android.

Online: king.com/game/crashontherun

Marvel Realm of Champions

Not to be confused with Kabam’s other Marvel product, Marvel Contest of Champions, this action role-playing game lets players control their favorite comic book characters in an open arena.

The game takes place on a planet called Battleworld, where the environment is in disarray after its emperor, the Maestro, was assassinated. His death leads to conflict among the Champion Houses. The gameplay is easy to pick up with players moving around and fighting with light, heavy and special attacks. They also have a dash to help them dodge attacks.

It has MOBA feel but it’s more direct as players battle over a center of arena to get supercharged so that they can defeat the other houses’ battlefield leader. The concept can be addictive as players level up and earn new gear to customize their heroes.

Ethan Young, Kabam’s development director, said Marvel Realm of Champions will get a 2.0 build with alliance events, new game modes, world quests and the introduction of a narrative mission. Later in a subsequent update, the game will also have a new map called Pleasant Hill and an eighth champion — Thor. News on Thor and the new map will be shared at a later time.

The game is out right now, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have controller support though it’s something that “we’re talking about,” Young said.

Online: marvelrealmofchampions.com