Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Dota Underlords' Debuts; 'Pokemon Go' Celebrates Main Series' Anniversary

Dota Underlords - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Valve

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: a classic update drifts into 'Mario Kart Tour'; tons of new customizations arrive for 'CSR Racing 2'; and a third 'Plants vs. Zombies' might be closer than once thought.

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

Valve's Dota Underlords kicked off the start of its first season of content this week with the introduction of a battle pass featuring new characters, items and more. Over 100 rewards are available to those who purchase access to the premium tier of rewards for $4.99. XP points are earned through challenges and general play to help players unlock tiers and their corresponding incentives.

Moving into season one brings the beta period of Dota Underlords to an end. Players who participated in the beta throughout the previous year get a number of bonuses. If you reached level five in the beta, the two beta season boards will still be available and will join the new default board plus an extra five unlockable boards. Reaching level five also nets you a golden Ricky Ravenhook board prop, a new type of item that lets you decorate board maps. An additional prop can be unlocked through the battle pass.

Roster changes also made their way into the new season update. Alliances are getting a mix up with the Scrappies and Inventors classes getting the boot while the Summoner, Vigilant and Void Alliances roles are introduced for the first time. Hats are new item types that give your hero an additional alliance when equipped. 

A new "City Crawl" mode serves as the campaign of Dota Underlords and provides challenges that unlock prizes like poster art and new outfits. Additional balance changes and game-play adjustments implemented in season one can be found here.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

Pokemon Go Celebrates Series' Inception

To commemorate the Japanese launch of the original Pokemon games on Feb. 27, a new Pokemon Go event simply titled "Pokemon Day" is increasing spawns of specific monsters while offering new exclusives in raids. Special event-themed Pokemon like Pikachu and Eevee will spawn wearing new party hats and Pokemon from Generation 1 will appear more frequently in the wild. Raids during the event see the return of Armored Mewtwo along with the addition of clone versions of Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise. The special event runs from Feb. 25 until March 2.

Tons of New Customizations for CSR Racing 2

A new feature dubbed "Elite Customs" gives players a chance to fully customize their vehicles with new options in CSR Racing 2. After earning Elite Parts by participating in the game's multiplayer mode, players can customize their cars and use exclusive paints, add new options for interior options, change wheels and make use of new license place mods. Decals can also be placed on cars, allowing players to add numbers, player and crew names, and country flags.

A Classic Update for Mario Kart Tour

Another round of alternate Mario skins is here as the new Mario Bros. Tour starts this week. The spotlight characters this time around include Mario (Classic) and Luigi (Classic) as they sport their original classic colors from back in the arcade days. The new track, RMX Mario Circuit 1, takes Mario Circuit from Super Mario Kart and gives it a new layout with a remixed feel. The tour, which adds new challenges and a round of new unlockables, will end in two weeks.

Plants vs. Zombies 3 Might Be Close to Release

News on Plants vs Zombies 3 has been scant since it was first announced last July, but a surprise launch in select countries suggests a worldwide release is not too far off. Players in Romania, Ireland and the Philippines can download the game during the current soft-launch period. Typically, when mobile games launch early in select countries, a worldwide release follows shortly after the developers use the early launch to monitor stability and user feedback. A pre-alpha version of the game was available last year but the current version has likely changed a significant amount.