Mobile Games Hotspot: 'PUBG' Gets First Major Update of 2020; New Tracks, Characters for 'Mario Kart Tour'

PUBG Mobile - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of PUBG Corporation

Elsewhere in gaming-on-the-go: new monsters to catch in 'Pokemon Go'; 'Morbius Final Fantasy' to shut down servers; and Riot Games' sets release month for 'Teamfight Tactics.'

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

PUBG Mobile's first major update of the year is here with the release of its latest royale pass. The start of season 11 includes a number of rewards and unlockable in-game items, as well as changes to existing gameplay modes, along with a brand-new map.

Players who purchase the royale pass for 600 UC — the in-game currency that roughly converts to $9 — gain access to the Elite tier of rewards. As you play matches and complete challenge missions, you earn royal pass points that will help unlock levels and their corresponding prizes. Rewards this season include the Silly Chicken Backpack, the Elite Force Set and the Black Rose set of cosmetics that includes skin, airplane and frying-pan styles. There is always the option to play through the royale pass without purchasing anything, but this will get you significantly fewer rewards. 

The introduction of the season 11 royale pass also includes the 0.16.5 update. A new mode dubbed Domination is also available. Teams of two, each with four players, are formed. In order to win, a team must capture two of three bases on the map. At the start of a match, only one base is available, and the next will only appear once the first is captured. To go along with this mode is Town, a new map that lets players run through alleyways and buildings.

Other additions include a new vehicle, the Light Snowmobile. You'll only find it spawning in the Vikendi map, and it can carry two players. It's faster than the normal snowmobile but is more susceptible to damage. Another change is the restoration of the Warehouse map to its original version. This map is used for training purposes.

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

Ice Tour Races Into Mario Kart Tour

Two new tracks, three new characters and even a new item were all added with the start of the new Ice Tour in Mario Kart Tour. Frappe Snowland from Mario Kart 64 and Vanilla Lake 1 from Super Mario Kart are both included as snowy themed maps, and the new Ice Flower item was also added, but it is exclusive to certain characters. Peach (Wintertime), Penguin Luigi and Ice Mario are the three new characters this time around.

Teamfight Tactics Sets Release Month

Teamfight Tactics will release on iOS and Android sometime in mid-March, developer Riot Games has announced. Upon launch, seasonal sets will rotate a different variety of champions, origins, classes and items a few times a year. With the game's initial reveal last October, Teamfight Tactics was announced as a separate mobile game outside of League of Legends. The original mode is an Auto Chess battler where characters are selected and strategically placed on a chess-like board before dueling it out in automatic battles.

Goodbye, Mobius Final Fantasy

Square Enix sadly announced the servers keeping Mobius Final Fantasy alive will be shut down on March 31 in Japan and on June 30 worldwide. Updates to current in-game events will continue, and Square Enix promises a conclusion to the ongoing Warrior of Despair story. The gacha-styled game (virtually versions of Japan's capsule toy vending machines) uses Magicite as in-game currency and can still be used until the server shutdown date.

New Pokemon Arrive in Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go continues to slowly release its massive collection of Generation 5 Pokemon, and this past week brought about a dozen new monsters into the mobile game. Pokemon like Tympole, Roggenrola, Trubbish, Dwebble, Joltik, Karrablast, and Shelmet can all be found in the wild, but some can only be evolved using new trading mechanics. For example, Karrablast and Shelmet will evolve into Escavalier and Accelgor, respectively, when both Pokemon are traded with each other. Evolution through trading has been retrofitted to some older Pokemon, like Machoke and Haunter, and new regional Pokemon, like Maractus in Central America and South America, were also added.