Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Pokemon Go' Overhauls "Buddy" System; 'Civilization VI' Offers Free Holiday Content

Pokemon Go - Getty - H 2016
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Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: The Holiday Tour begins in 'Mario Kart'; Square Enix role-playing game 'The Last Remnant' goes mobile; and action game 'Danganronpa' creator unveils new title.

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

A complete overhaul of the buddy system in Pokemon Go (a feature introduced in 2016 which allows players to pick a specific pet monster to appear alongside them on their profile screen and receive in-game bonuses based on their choice) was revealed this week. 

Pokemon Go's original buddy system was introduced just two months after the initial release in 2016 and hasn't changed in functionality since. The basic feature allowed you to pick one of your caught Pokemon to stand beside you on your profile screen. Walking a certain distance with your buddy would reward it new candy, and that was the extent of the feature.

The new system, known as Buddy Adventure, is set to release worldwide before the end of the year. Buddy Adventure aims to get players to bond with their virtual pets by feeding it berries. The more you feed your monster, the higher its Buddy Level will go. Each of the four levels offer different rewards and features: Good Buddies will join you on your map and follow your character; Great Buddies will occasionally pop into a battle and bring you a helpful item; Ultra Buddies will tip you off to interesting places and landmarks nearby, and they can also bring you souvenirs; Best Buddies will get you a special ribbon and they also get a boost in combat.

Affection is a new unit to measure your buddy Pokemon's mood. Collecting hearts increases the affection and can be found by walking around with your buddy and feeding it berries. Hitting the highest mood tier will cut candy distance for that Pokemon in half and earn you bonus hearts.

Plans for a Shared AR Experience are set for 2020. This will allow players to sync up with two other trainers to take a group photo with everyone's buddy.

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

Free DLC for Civilization VI, But Act Fast

Civilization VI players on iOS devices can expect a holiday gift in the form of free downloadable content. Those that purchased the full game will be able to download the free DLC packs, each of which have a specific window to be acquired. Each individual pack comes with a new nation and leader. The available content (and their corresponding download window) is listed below.

Dec. 18-20: Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack
Dec. 20-22: Vikings Scenario
Dec. 22-24: Australia Civilization & Scenario Pack
Dec. 24-26: Persia and Macedon Civilization & Scenario Pack
Dec. 26-28: Nubia Civilization & Scenario Pack
Dec. 28-Jan. 1: Khmer and Indonesia Civilization & Scenario Pack

Holiday Tour Begins in Mario Kart

The final tour of 2019 has hit Mario Kart Tour. Three new characters, two new tracks and another round of new cups and challenges were launched alongside the start of the two-week in-game Holiday Tour. The spotlight characters include Yoshi (Reindeer) and Pauline (Party Time), along with Birdo, who can be found in one of the new character bundles. Variations of the New York Minute and 3DS Rainbow Road tracks are also available as part of the new tour.

The Last Remnant Comes to Mobile

Square Enix role-playing game The Last Remnant Remastered got a surprise release on iOS and Android this week and is currently available for $19.99. The original game launched on Xbox 360 in 2008. A remastered version was released on the PlayStation 4 in December 2018 and on the Nintendo Switch in June of this year. The new version features an upgraded engine with improved graphics.

Danganronpa Creator Announces New Game

Death Come True, the latest from Danganronpa creator Kazutaka Kodaka, is headed to mobile devices in 2020. The adventure game puts players in the shoes of a serial killer suffering from amnesia who has the ability to "time leap" to past events, allowing you to replay scenes with different outcomes. Full-motion video will be used and Japanese actors are set to play various characters.