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It feels like ages ago that Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars [$4.99] made its way to the iPhone, and it kind of was. It was all the way back in January of 2010. That was at a time when it still felt like "Wow! A big publisher bringing a major IP to my little iPhone!? Amazing!" But beyond just being a major coup for iOS as a fledgling gaming platform, Chinatown Wars actually made a ton of sense for the iPhone. It was originally developed as a Nintendo DS exclusive, so it had both portability and touchscreen implementation built in from the beginning, which translated extremely well to iOS. But as I said, 2010 was a long time ago, and Chinatown Wars on iOS hadn't exactly aged well over the years...

Visual novels have been a pretty big genre in Japan since nearly the inception of gaming in the country. A major presence on PCs in the 1980s, they started appearing more frequently on consoles in the 1990s, and have enjoyed popularity on handhelds and mobile devices from the 2000s onward. Yet, for most of that time, the genre's been largely ignored outside Japan, with virtually none of the popular titles in the genre localized. The big break for the genre was likely Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a risky gamble that went over well enough to get other publishers to take a chance. Even then, though, most of the games that were localized were hybrids, mixing in adventure components or RPG scenes. Only very recently have we seen some pure visual novels getting a chance in the west, such as Banshee's Last Cry [Free]...

Telltale and Mojang Announce 'Minecraft Story Mode' Adventure Game

Well this is some pretty crazy news that I'm not sure anyone expected: The word on the street this morning is that Telltale has paired up with Mojang to release a new adventure game series set in the Minecraft universe. It's called Minecraft Story Mode and it either makes no sense, or makes perfect sense, depending on how you look at it...

Square Enix Announces 'Mevius Final Fantasy'

You don't know how hard I had to fight myself not to include a punny reference to Carly Rae Jepsen with that title. That's your Christmas present, friends. Anyway, on to the meat of this little news item. Square Enix, a company rather fond of announcing new Final Fantasy games, has announced a new Final Fantasy game for smartphones and tablets. It's called Mevius Final Fantasy, which is not to be confused with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Final Fantasy Dimensions: Crystal of Time And Space, Final Fantasy Record Keeper, or Final Fantasy Agito. What makes this one so special is its planned scope. Perhaps I'll let Square Enix's words, from the game's official website, speak for themselves here...

Out Now: 'Brothers in Arms 3', 'Galcon 2', 'My Om Nom', 'Spoiler Alert', 'Platform Panic', 'Docking Sequence', 'Ultimate Robot Fighting', 'The Taekwondo Game' and Tons More

It's that time of year again, as this is the last release week before iTunes shuts down all of next week for the holidays. There's a massive amount of new games tonight, and I'd guess there will be some stragglers tomorrow and Friday as well. It's been a great year of gaming on iOS, and during the slow time next week you can look forward to what we thought was the cream of the crop. But for now, bask in the warm glow of a ton of new games to check out in the list below...

The Best-Reviewed Game of the Year was...'VVVVVV'?

December 17th, 2014 9:17 PM EST by Carter Dotson in News
$2.99 Buy Now

All sorts of publications are starting to get their 'game of the year' awards out there, and Time had a particularly interesting list. But since the majority of review sites use review scores, and are catalogued by Metacritic, we can get an interesting view of what the consensus game of the year might have been. And the list they've cataloged is topped by an interesting choice: VVVVVV [$2.99] was the highest-rated game tracked by Metacritic this year. The game's a great one, but it might not be on the lists decided at the end of the year, because it's a port of a game that's several years old. Number two was Hearthstone [Free (HD)]. The top 'original' iOS game is Threes [$1.99], at number three. The list has some interesting games that are high up. Bug Heroes 2 [$1.99] was the 6th-highest rated game of the year, ahead of Monument Valley [$3.99] at number eight. Proun+ [$1.99] also just sneaks in at number 25...

More games are going dirt-cheap or even free in this busy holiday period. We covered Skullduggery [$4.99] going free last night, but that's not the only freebie. Gangstar Vegas [Free] from Gameloft has just dropped to nothing, as part of an update making the game free-to-play, with a new diamond currency to earn and buy. Cooperative gang battles and a number of new costumes, including holiday-themed ones, are available as well. Flick Golf HD [$0.99 (HD)] from Full Fat has just dropped to free as well, in case you want to get some golf action in on your iPad...

Simogo has been known to blur the lines between games, art, film, sound, literature and more, so when they took to Twitter today to tease a new project called The Sensational December Machine, it's kind of hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of project it is. All they've revealed so far is the following (extremely lovely) teaser image:..

Rusty Moyher released Astro Duel [$2.99 (HD)] earlier this year, a top-down space shooter built around local multiplayer on an iPad. He then made Astro Party [Free], an iPhone version that was majorly reworked with a simpler control scheme, as well as a new mode, called Pilot Execution. Well, Pilot Execution was notably missing from Astro Duel, and the universe was truly imbalanced. Until now. Astro Duel 1.2 is making its way around the world, and it brings with it the beloved Pilot Execution mode...

I don't think a person needed to be a fortune-teller to see this outcome, but going back to my review of Tomb Raider 1 [$0.99] from last year, I ended it by expressing little hope for a potential port of Tomb Raider 2 [$1.99] fixing the control issues with the first game. It wasn't hard to guess because the problem is neither with the unorthodox and somewhat fussy controls of the Tomb Raider series, nor was it with virtual controls, but rather the marriage of the two that the mobile version offered. There's simply no clear way to map virtual controls to these games in a satisfying way. Tomb Raider 2 only makes that problem clearer with its increased challenge and greater emphasis on pulling off non-stop sequences of moves, particularly in timed situations. It's the kind of situation where I don't feel good about giving it a score, because if you have an MFi controller, this game is an incredible experience at a ridiculously low price, but if you don't, it's just about pointless to buy. Consider the number at the end of this review to be the middle of those two scenarios and apply it to your own situation accordingly...

I've run out of fingers and toes to keep track of all the Plague Inc. [$0.99] updates, as today the tenth major update for the game has been released. The update includes two brand new scenarios, one about the upcoming Christmas holiday and one which uses portals. For the holiday one, called Santa's Little Helper, the setup is that the government has banned holidays, laughter and celebrations. Basically, fun and happiness is now against the law. This pisses off a lot of people, including Santa Clause and the Neurax Worm, who form an unlikely alliance and work to infect the world with happiness again. The worm even renamed himself the Neurax Miracle for this mission! I love the whole idea of Plague Inc.–infecting the world with killer diseases and eradicating humanity–being flipped on its head in this scenario...

'Brother in Arms 3: Sons of War' Review - A Freemium Sibling

As we mentioned earlier this month when we posted the teaser trailer, Gameloft’s Brother in Arms 3: Sons of War [Free] has been a long time coming. Announced in June of 2013, we took it for a spin back in E3 2013 and enjoyed the big changes to the series - namely the transition from a traditional shooter to one that was mostly a cover-based on-rails affair. Fast forward nearly a year and a half later and Sons of War is significantly different than when last we played it. For folks hoping for a significant shift in the series direction, Sons of War may disappoint as it goes back to its traditional roots, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing...

You don't win the tutorial mission in BattleLore: Command [$9.99]. I found that kind of interesting, and in a way, it sets the pace for this strategy board game adaptation. While many strategy games like to puff you up with some early victories before pulling out the Customer Service Bat, this one teaches you the basics of how to play in a couple of turns and then almost immediately comes at you virtually as hard as it ever will. It's a real sink or swim situation, but if you've got the wits and patience to see it through, you'll find a game with a very rewarding core that suffers a bit from its overall lack of options...

'Tales from the Borderlands' Review - Less Loot, More Talk

The idea of Tales from the Borderlands [$4.99] was certainly an intriguing one once it was announced. The Borderlands series definitely has a unique feel to it from its setting, dialogue, and characters that can be easily screwed up by a developer not quite in tune with the way the series operates. The good news is that Telltale Games are experts at story, so the idea that they could approach and do justice to this universe while also expanding on it in a way that isn't just a loot-filled first-person shooter is an interesting proposition...

New iPhone Games Coming Tonight: 'Brothers in Arms 3', 'Galcon 2', 'The Taekwondo Game', 'Ultimate Robot Fighting' and More

Well boys and girls, this is the last Wednesday night release extravaganza before Christmas, or actually, maybe even this year since the Wednesday following the iTunes freeze falls on New Years Eve and it's hard to say how many developers are going to be scheduling their apps for release on January 1st, which is that following Thursday. Like all pre-iTunes lockout weeks, I'd bet money that this isn't even a smidgen of what we'll see released before the week is up:..

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