Category Archives: Game Center

Coming into iOS gaming from a background in consoles, dedicated handhelds, and old computers, my first steps into the already-massive catalog were cautious ones. I stuck to familiar brands and the odd breakthrough that had made waves in the traditional media, such as Game Dev Story [$4.99]. One of the first real iOS originals that I fell absolutely in love with was League Of Evil [$1.99], from Ravenous Games. The game will always hold a special place in my heart for hammering it into me that, yes, virtual controls could work marvelously for an action game if they're handled correctly. These guys had their stuff together, I decided, and I began to follow them closely, anxiously awaiting their next big title. By all accounts, that game looked to be Random Heroes [Free], and I bought it pretty much the second it became available...

It's a frequently-visited topic throughout the history of the hobby, but the topic of the length of games (or the lack thereof) has been coming up a lot recently among mobile gaming fans. Faced with a market that that is often frighteningly resistant to handing over more than a few dollars in lump sums, many developers who want to build a traditional game with a beginning and ending, free of IAP consumables and other monetization techniques, are faced with a pretty hard economic reality. The answer to that problem is usually to scope the game's content according to some very meager budgets, leading to some great games that don't take all that long to play through. This was a very hot discussion when it came to Monument Valley [$3.99], and it may well be the same for those who pick up Space Expedition: Classic Adventure [$0.99]...

Being the ever-watchful observer that I am, I've noticed a trend in paid puzzle games of late. Perhaps battling against the effervescent, candy-coated, pastel shine of King's free-to-play offerings, puzzlers from the little guys are turning to the dark side. First, it was Darkin [$0.99], and now, Muertitos [$0.99]. Two games make a trend, right? I'm going to go ahead and call that science. While Darkin gave Dungeon Raid [$1.99] a spin with creatures of the night, Muertitos does something both familiar and unusual with its setup. That little bit of innovation combined with its very stylish presentation is enough to help it rise above the dense crowd, though just barely...

Late last month, Portable Pixels unveiled their latest project, a sequel to their popular 2012 virtual pet game Hatchi, and as of this morning Hatchi 2 - The Virtual Pet Breeding Game [$0.99] is now available in the App Store for 99¢. The original Hatchi was unabashedly retro, featuring a blocky faux LCD experience that closely mimicked the physical Tamagotchi and Digimon toys of the '90s. Hatchi 2 kicks things up a notch with full color visuals, but not too far, as it's still decidedly pixely and retro...

Pixelbite's fantastic drift-heavy, top-down racer Reckless Racing 3 [$0.99] has received a significant content update and is on sale for $2.99, down from its regular price of $4.99. The update adds support for Apple's Metal graphics API, and while Reckless Racing 3 was a very attractive game to begin with, there definitely seems to be a bump up in the lighting, shadows, smoke and other effects. This update also adds some classic levels from the original Reckless Racing, which is nice because the original appears to no longer be available. A new cup, additional arcade events, and a tweak to the difficulty in arcade mode round out the latest update...

This falls squarely in the "Huh, that's neat" category of iOS gaming, and I thought it was worth mentioning. Overglide [$0.99], released today, is a tiny game that you play in the "Today" section of your Notification Center on iOS 8. It takes advantage of iOS 8's new capability of having "live" widgets that can be added to Notification Center, giving you up-to-date looks at weather, sports scores, and even allowing you to make calculations. To my knowledge, Overglide is the first to actually let you play a game right from the lock screen. The game itself is a simple cave flyer where you control a paper airplane and dodge obstacles for as long as possible...

App Store Classic 'Space Miner' Getting a Modern Update, Sequel Still in the Works Too

I've mentioned this before, but I have a list of games that I'd do practically anything to have them be updated for modern screen sizes and iOS versions. There have been a lot of amazing games released on iOS in its fairly short history, but not all of them are in a position to be continuously updated to keep up with new iOS software and hardware. Some of those games aren't even available anymore, probably for that very reason. One of the games that was very high up on my update wish list is Venan Entertainment's Space Miner: Space Ore Bust [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)]. Well, I'm very happy to say that Venan has posted in our forums that an update is in the works for Space Miner that will bring support for all the different iOS screen sizes as well as iOS 8...

Forge Reply's wonderful digital realization of Joe Dever's classic gamebook series Lone Wolf is set to get its fourth and final act later this month on November 20th, the developer has announced in our forums. The new act is titled Dawn over V'Taag, and you can see it in action in the following trailer...

For the first time since releasing in September of last year, Ian MacLarty and Jon Kerney's fantastic behind-the-back runner Boson X [$2.99] is currently free on iOS. We loved the look of Boson X since we first laid eyes on it prior to it being released. The premise is that you're a scientist running through a particle accelerator, leaping from platform to platform while avoiding falling into the gaps, and running across the glowing platforms to hit an energy threshold that lets you move on to the next level. It's proudly inspired by Super Hexagon both in its look and the fact that you're rotating a giant angular shape by tapping either side of the screen. Though Boson X is based on a decagon as opposed to a hexagon...

We figured this week would be quite busy after the packed list of releases on Wednesday night, but there's still games sneaking out that didn't quite come out last night that are of particular note. Cosmic Crown [$1.99] is one of those games, and in fact it released totally under the radar last Friday. It's a curious game that seems to mix in any number of genres, perhaps a fusion of turn-based roguelikes with an endless runner. ..

In early October Everplay unveiled their latest game, a matching RPG hybrid called Adventure Age [Free]. It was only about a week ago that Everplay soft-launched the game in Canada to test things out, but apparently everything was going smoothly as as of late last night Adventure Age is now available worldwide. I didn't get in on the soft-launch version, but I've played around a little with the full release and so far I like Adventure Age quite a bit...

There are lot of reasons developers might choose to put a game on mobiles, and plenty of them have nothing to do with the unique interface presented by the touch screen. Most of us have learned to deal with virtual buttons and such just fine, but it's always nice when a developer clearly designs their game around the hardware's natural input methods in an intuitive way. Splot [$1.99], a new platformer from the developers behind the Trine games, benefits greatly from its easy-to-understand control setup. Its controls work very well, and that should theoretically open the developer up to more challenging level designs, an element I think most platform fans can agree on. Unfortunately, Splot doesn't quite go as far as I'd like it in that regard, but it still ends up being a fun, content-rich game that will keep you busy for at least a few hours...

In December of last year, developer Infinite Dreams announced they'd be remaking their classic scrolling shooter Sky Force for modern touch devices. Being a huge fan of both the original Sky Force and its sequel Sky Force Reloaded, I was really excited for the news. However, the purist in me wasn't sure how I'd feel about new graphics, and I was leery at the prospect of the game being free to play. Luckily, when Sky Force 2014 [Free] launched in June my fears were put to rest, as the game was absolutely fantastic. The new visuals were incredibly impressive while still retaining the style of the original, and the free to play system built into the game was one of the best I've ever seen, allowing you to play completely for free if you choose or buy permanent IAP to turn the game into a true "premium" experience...

Okay, so if you've been around the block a few times in the mobile or flash game scenes, you've almost certainly come across a time management game before. Going back as far as Activision's Pressure Cooker, this puzzle sub-genre typically requires you to match pieces of things just right while under a time limit. It's enjoyed a bit of a comeback in recent years thanks to games like Diner Dash [Free] and Cook, Serve, Delicious! [$4.99 (HD)], and you can find dozens if not hundreds of games in the genre on the App Store, covering a wide variety of jobs or tasks. The difficult thing, then, for a new time management game is to differentiate itself from the enormous pack. Twisty Hollow [$2.99] opts for a more abstract view of the action, and from there it finds a few tricks to call its own...

I love how far mobile device hardware has progressed over the years, and the complex and impressive games that are possible because of it. But I also have a soft spot in my heart for those simplistic time wasters that aim to fill those brief moments of downtime throughout our busy lives. Specifically, I love portrait-oriented, one-handed, single-thumb games. Games like Bouncy Trampoline [Free], SlamBots [$1.99], Doug Dug [$1.99] and yes, even Flappy Bird are frequented by me when I feel like playing something but don't feel like thinking too hard about what I want to play. I even have a folder on my home screen dedicated to games like this, games that I know I can tap on any of them and reliably be entertained...

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