Mobile Games Hotspot: 'Pokemon Go' Ushers in Wave of New Content

Pokemon Go - Getty - H 2016
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Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: 'Alien: Blackout' studio Rival Games shutters amid coronavirus pandemic; resource management game 'Sandship' opens for preregistration; and 'Pokemon Rumble Rush' to cease services in July.

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

Another wave of changes and new additions is coming to Pokemon Go in a continued effort to keep players at home.

A new Incense Day event is scheduled for this Sunday and will feature specific Pokemon types spawning more frequently, depending on the hour. The incense item attracts Pokemon to your location without the need to move. Since March, Niantic has increased the duration of incense to last one hour rather than 30 minutes, and the spawn rate of Pokemon has also increased. This will continue during the event. 

Starting at 11 a.m. local time, water type Pokemon will appear more frequently, followed by fire types at 12 p.m., grass types at 1 p.m., psychic types at 2 p.m., bug types at 3 p.m. and ground types at 4 p.m. Sentret will appear more often throughout the duration of the event, giving players a chance to catch its coveted shiny variation.

How players access raids is also getting a change. Normally, players are able to join timed raid battles at gyms when physically within the small radius of the gym. A new change is coming that will allow players to join any raid that appears on their map or on their nearby radar, provided they have a Remote Raid Pass. These special passes can be purchased in the shop for 100 PokeCoins. 

Other quality-of-life changes include being able to level up a Pokemon completely in one step and the ability to use the same time-based item multiple times, like a Star Piece or Lucky Egg, to increase the time limit. Players will receive one bonus Field Research task each day without having to walk to and spin a PokeStop. 

Niantic also announced a similar feature headed to its Harry Potter: Wizards Unite game that will transport players to Hogwarts Castle using a Knight Bus to allow them to participate in Wizarding Challenges without having to physically move.

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

Rival Games Closes Its Doors

Rival Games, the studio behind the mobile exclusive Alien: Blackout and The Detail, announced its closure after the current COVID-19 pandemic caused potential partnerships to fall through. In a blog post detailing the decision, CEO Jukka Laakso detailed the studio's high points and struggles. "We still had some potential partnership opportunities and publisher negotiations going on at the beginning of this year," said Laakso. "I was feeling optimistic about them. Then something happened that I nor the world was prepared for: a global health crisis in the form of a coronavirus. It shut down all the leads that we had and left us lost in the dark with no way out." Thief of Thieves: Season One and Alien: Blackout will continue to be sold as they are now, but The Detail will eventually be pulled from Steam and the App Store. "I know we are not the only ones there, and I hope that at least some will find a light to guide them through the darkness," said Laasko.

Sandship Opens Preregistration

Resource managing game Sandship, by Rockbit Games, can now be preregistered on the App Store and Google Play. The upcoming mobile game features an endlessly moving tank as it collects a single resource while the player configures the machines inside to produce new materials and tools. Starting today, a few lucky players will be able to play through a soft launch exclusive to New Zealand. Sandship was one of the few playable mobile games at the PAX East 2020 show floor and currently does not have a definitive release date.

An End for Pokemon Rumble Rush

After just a year after its initial launch, Pokemon Rumble Rush will cease service July 22 and will no longer be available to download. Starting today, players will no longer be able to purchase Poke Diamonds, and any unused Diamonds will be refunded July 22. However, remaining events, like the Shaymin Cup and the Zygarde Cup scheduled for April and May respectively, will continue.

A Bundle of Games for an Anniversary

For its 20th anniversary celebration, Gameloft launched a Gameloft Classics: 20 Years as a free download containing 30 of the company's iconic games. Each game falls into one of five categories including puzzle fun, run and gun, life and love, arcade action, and sports and cards. Bubble Bash 2, Zombie Infection, Date or Ditch 2, Hero of Sparta and Midnight Pool stand out as some of the bigger games of the bunch.