Mac|Life - Games http://www.maclife.com/articles/9/feed en Crazy Taxi: City Rush Hands-on Preview http://www.maclife.com/article/games/crazy_taxi_city_rush_handson_preview <!--paging_filter--><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Crazy Taxi is meant to be played in short bursts — which makes sense given that it started out as a quarter-munching arcade game. The pick-up-and-play nature of Crazy Taxi makes it ideal for mobile devices,&nbsp;as the 2012 iOS version illustrates.&nbsp;But as fun as that game was, it was still just a port. Now Sega has a brand-new entry in the franchise that was made specifically for mobile devices — Crazy Taxi: City Rush.</p><p>Developed by Hardlight Studios (Sonic Jump, Sonic Dash) and Crazy Taxi creator Kenji Kanno, City Rush is a free-to-play title in which the goal remains the same as it always has in this series: race around town, pick up fares, and drop them off within the time limit in order to accrue cash. But some significant changes have been made to better suit the touch screens of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u338318/2014/03/screenshots_ipad_nohud_03.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>The most obvious change is in the actual gameplay, which is now all about one-touch control. Your car drives forward on its own, à la an endless runner such as Sonic Dash. To avoid obstacles that could slow you down, you swipe left or right on the screen to change lanes, and you can tap and hold your finger on the screen to drift. Once you reach your destination, a brake-pedal icon appears onscreen, and you have to tap on it as fast you can until the brake meter fills up and you come to a complete stop.</p><p>The structure of the game is also different than in previous iterations of Crazy Taxi. Instead of driving around an open world and picking up random people, you select missions that you get from Gena (from the original Crazy Taxi) in your HQ. In addition to these HQ missions, there are daily challenges and a mode called Tank Smash, in which, as the name implies, you drive around in a tank and, well, smash things.</p><p>Embarking on missions consumes gas, and you have a limited amount of fuel at your disposal. Once the meter is empty, you have to wait for it to refill or you buy a quick refill with diamonds, the “hard” currency that pops up in the game rarely but is easily purchasable with real-world cash. Diamonds are also used to buy certain vehicles and upgrades; fortunately, most of the vehicles and upgrades are available to purchase with the in-game “soft” cash that you earn by playing. There are a wide array of cars to buy—each with its pros and cons — and you can customize virtually every aspect of them. Not only can you pimp your car’s appearance, but you can also improve areas such as top speed and car strength.</p><p>You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on Crazy Taxi: City Rush — Sega tells us it will be available on the App Store very soon.</p><p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/em7kky1xaFc" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.maclife.com/article/games/crazy_taxi_city_rush_handson_preview#comments Gallery News action arcade City Rush Crazy Taxi hands on Hardlight Studios iOS iPad iPhone iPod racing Sega Games Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:13:35 +0000 Justin Cheng 19571 at http://www.maclife.com 9 Reasons to Love 999: The Novel for iOS http://www.maclife.com/article/games/9_reasons_love_999_novel_ios <!--paging_filter--><p>Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors — also known as 999 — grabbed attention for its brutal plot, devilish mysteries, and compelling characters when it hit the Nintendo DS in 2010. On March 17, Aksys Games is scheduled to bring the title to iOS as 999: The Novel, and though it lacks the danger-filled puzzle rooms of the original version, it still features the same branching, interactive storyline, as well as the same unique cast of nine characters that find themselves trapped on what appears to be a giant cruise ship. (It also contains anime-style visuals to complement the storytelling.)</p><p>Anyone who’s played 999 knows that its characters — ranging from a perky schoolgirl to burly amnesiac — are one of the title’s strongest points, especially since any one of them could live or die depending on the choices you make in the story. But which character is the best? It’s hard to pick just one, so we asked the man primarily responsible for the game, director/scenario writer Kotaro Uchikoshi, to pass judgment. Unsurprisingly, he couldn’t pick just one either, so here are Uchikoshi’s insights into why any of the game’s nine main characters could end up being your favorite.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Ace</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/ace.png" width="620" height="436" /></p><p>“Ace is the most dependable. He is always neutral about everything, and takes the lead as soon as he’s sure about what needs to be done. He is a gentleman. Kind, peaceful, but at the same time he has an aura of dignity about him that makes him popular among the other members. At one point, he risks his own life to try to save the others. I’m sure if you follow him, there will be no problems.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Snake</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/snake.png" width="620" height="500" /></p><p>“Snake is the wisest. Despite his blindness, or perhaps because of it, he has the insight to see through various truths. He is level-headed, calm, rational, and logical. He is also very knowledgeable about a variety of topics and well-versed in various genres. He loves his little sister Clover, and wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself if it would save her. Who would have thought we would find him like that...?”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Santa</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/santa.png" width="620" height="374" /></p><p>“The most dangerous. Like a lone wolf, he has no spirit of cooperation. Self-righteously does what he wants. As long as he's okay, that's all that matters to him; he doesn't care what happens to everyone else. He often is the voice of dissent, starting arguments and causing cracks in the tenuous group peace. However, because he is so rebellious, I'm sure once you get him on your side, he will be a great ally. If you are able to get him to be frank, you may even be able to find out about his secret past.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Clover</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/clover.png" /></p><p>“The cutest. Miss Clover, you’re so cute! However, her charms can be poisonous fangs for men. She uses her wiles as a weapon, toys with men, and uses them to her liking. She's still in her teens, but she's already emerged as a devilish woman. She's spoiled, selfish, and perverse. She's defiant and bratty. But when it comes to her older brother Snake, she completely dotes on him and will do anything he says.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Junpei</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/junpei.png" width="620" height="438" /></p><p>“The man you can trust the most. The reason being, he’s the protagonist! He will be the reader's other self, and by the reader choosing his action (i.e. which doors to select), they will advance the story. If you cannot trust in what he is doing, then you probably can’t trust anyone. He has a strong sense of justice, and is rather hot-blooded. Clearly a determined and daring young man; many are moved by him boldly facing off against evil. He's a childhood friend of June’s.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>June</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/june.png" width="620" height="470" /></p><p>“She is truly a sincere girl. She's tidy, graceful, refined, and a little too serious. Her level of ‘ideal woman’ is at a point where they should approve her to be a world heritage site herself. Her heart is delicate and she’s very much a crybaby. She hopes for love and peace, and believes that everyone in the world can become friends if they just talked it out. She also believes in Santa Claus...and that Elvis Presley is still alive. And that the other side of the moon is used as a dispatch base for UFOs. She's Junpei's childhood friend.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Seven</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/seven.png" width="620" height="350" /></p><p>“The most powerful. He is sturdy, both physically and mentally. He's awkward, lacks delicacy, and his words tend to be frank and to the point. Visually he may be intimidating, but he's actually quite nice and rather lenient. He has amnesia and no memory of what happened to him before he woke up. However I will tell you one thing: He is someone who holds the key to unlocking the truth behind a particular incident. If his memory comes back.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Lotus</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/lotus.png" width="620" height="450" /></p><p>“The most sensual woman in the group. Or maybe that’s just because of her chest. She's licentious, bewitching, and lascivious. But don't let that curvy silhouette fool you; she is a top-rated programmer and her IQ is extremely high. She may seem selfish and cold, but she’s actually the most rational and sensible out of all of them. She has the intellectual ability to make very logical decisions. Supposedly her children were involved in an incident back in the day....”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The 9th Man</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/9th.png" width="620" height="458" /></p><p>“The most pitiful man in the story. There is nobody in this story you’d feel more sorry for than him. I mean, his body is cruelly blown to pieces from the get-go.... So because of that no one will really find out much about him. So who was this man? Did he really die? All of the mysteries will be revealed at the end of the story.”</p> http://www.maclife.com/article/games/9_reasons_love_999_novel_ios#comments News 999 Aksys App AppLife interactive novel Interview iPad iPhone iPod Japan Preview visual novel Zero Escape Games Coming Soon Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:50:12 +0000 Chris Hoffman 19416 at http://www.maclife.com Final Fantasy VI Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/final_fantasy_vi_review <!--paging_filter--><p>This year marks the 20th anniversary of the last 2D entry in the "numbered" Final Fantasy series, so it's hardly surprising that Final Fantasy VI has followed its predecessors in getting an expensive, visually overhauled iOS remastering. What <em>is</em> surprising is how engrossing it still manages to be, two decades past its prime and with a purist-infuriating new look. Final Fantasy VI's leap to touchscreens is hardly flawless, but it's nonetheless impressive, and it's an easy way to slip into a true classic of '90s console role-playing games.&nbsp;</p><p>Considered one of the high-water marks for its series' storytelling, Final Fantasy VI assembles a cast of surprisingly well-developed characters around an amnesiac young woman, who's being sought by a sinister empire for the strange, magical powers she wields. It's not a unique setup, but the narrative distinguishes itself by leaping straight into the action with little exposition, and then jumping almost seamlessly from character to character while it gradually establishes its world.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/02/img_0385.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>There's a resistance movement to help, minor villains to fight, and a psychotic clown behind it all — and for a 20-year-old game, the story takes some shockingly dark turns. But its real strength is in its 14 memorably diverse heroes (including an engineer-king with a mobile castle, a wilderness-dwelling feral boy, and an old wizard with a supernaturally talented artist granddaughter) and their often-tragic backstories, which are explored organically without ever fully putting the brakes on the overarching plot.</p><p>From a gameplay standpoint, not a whole lot has changed since 1994; you still divide your time between exploring a huge world and getting swept up in random, quasi-turn-based battles against bizarre monsters (which usually have zero relevance to the story). Every Final Fantasy adds its own touches to the formula, though, and FFVI's is its unique approach to the way its characters develop. Each of the heroes comes with a unique skill — Locke the thief, for example, can steal items from enemies during combat, while gambler Setzer leverages a magic slot machine that yields unpredictable results. Each can also learn any of the game's magic spells simply by carrying pieces of Magicite (stone-like objects that can summon powerful "Esper" monsters to attack during combat) long enough to master the spells they have to teach. It's a system that offers a lot of freedom to customize your fighters (or just to make everyone all-powerful, if you've got the time and patience).</p><p>The iOS version also brings a few improvements to the table; when exploring, for example, you can now tap a "?" button for a reminder of what you're supposed to do next (useful if you leave the game and come back days later), as well as adjust the size of the onscreen map for a better idea of your surroundings. In battle, each character now has a separate action menu that rises slowly from the bottom and activates when they're ready for their next move, giving you big, easy buttons to tap and letting you instantly switch your focus between heroes. If that proves tedious, there's a fast-forward option that simply keeps repeating your last move, which is useful for grinding through the more repetitive, low-threat random battles in a hurry.</p><p><img src="http://www.maclife.com/files/u330237/2014/02/img_0446.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>Not all of the enhancements are so helpful. The virtual-stick controls for simply walking around the world feel loose and imprecise; most of the time, that's at worst a minor annoyance, but every so often the game actually demands precision or speed. On those rare occasions, moving a few steps in the wrong direction or getting hung up on furniture for a few seconds suddenly becomes a serious setback. (An MFi controller might help this, but despite requiring iOS 7, FFVI doesn't support them.)</p><p>Then there are the graphics. For all the flak it caught initially, Final Fantasy VI's iOS makeover is both fairly minor and weirdly inconsistent. Onscreen characters now sport a smoother look, speech bubbles are accompanied by high-res character portraits, and the environments have gotten a crisp visual upgrade while staying (mostly) true to the look of the 16-bit originals. The monsters seem like an afterthought, though; as good as everything around them looks during combat, your enemies have a fuzzy, chunky quality, as if they were simply blown up and blurred in Photoshop to match the new screen resolution. For better or worse, though, the visuals become superficial once you're engrossed in the gameplay and story — and fans can at least rest easy in the knowledge that FFVI's iconic music hasn't been tampered with.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Despite the strangeness of some of its surface-level changes, Final Fantasy VI has aged surprisingly well, and holds up beautifully on iOS.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/final-fantasy-vi/id719401490?mt=8" target="_blank">Final Fantasy VI 1.0.1</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Square Enix </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.square-enix.com/" target="_blank">www.square-enix.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $15.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Remarkably enjoyable and easy to dive into despite its age. Sports new enhancements that keep it from getting tedious or confusing. Makes excellent use of iCloud for transferring saves.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Visual makeover is unevenly applied, and the characters' smooth new looks have already infuriated fans who wanted the game in its original form. Awkward exploration controls. No MFi support.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-score"> <div class="field-label"><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 4.5&nbsp;Excellent </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/final_fantasy_vi_review#comments Gallery Reviews App app store reviews AppLife Apps Final Fantasy Final Fantasy III Final Fantasy VI Games iOS ios games iPad iPhone iPod iPod and iPhone role-playing games Software Square Enix Games Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:02:08 +0000 Mikel Reparaz 19368 at http://www.maclife.com Slice Fractions Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/slice_fractions_review <!--paging_filter--><p>One of the challenges facing educational game developers is how to strike a balance between lessons and fun. Too much teaching, and the game ceases to keep a child’s attention; too little, and it becomes just another game. That’s one of the reasons Slice Fractions is so great: it has mastered teaching kids about fractional math without having overt lessons to do so.</p><p>Slice Fractions tasks players with clearing a path for a woolly mammoth to get from one side of the screen to another. The mammoth’s path is blocked by chunks of ice or lava that must be eliminated by hitting them with equally sized blocks. This is achieved by slicing up a large block hanging in the sky, and then popping the bubbles holding it up in the correct way to make sure the blocks drop where you need them to. Anyone who's played Cut the Rope will recognize the similarities right off the bat.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/02/angry-volcano.png" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>The educational aspect of Slice Fractions is presented in a number of different ways, giving kids a variety of opportunities to see how fractions translate in real-world terms. Early levels focus on shapes and sizes, while later levels bring in the numeric representations of fractions. Mastering the levels earns players goofy hats for the mammoth.</p><p>Slice Fractions does a really great job of teaching without making it feel like a lesson, though it also dynamically gives hints if it senses you're stuck. The controls are straightforward and easy to use, with the exception of the levels that allow you to slice up a brick any way you choose; even if you know the shape and size you want, it can be difficult to be exact with touch controls. The only other drawback is that the game is very short. More free content is coming, but it's something to keep in mind if you have a kid who's likely to fly through it.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Slice Fractions is a charming, albeit brief game that teaches fractions in a fun and effective manner.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slice-fractions/id794730213?mt=8" target="_blank">Slice Fractions 1.00</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ululab </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.ululab.com" target="_blank">www.ululab.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $2.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.3 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Educational without overtly teaching lessons. Cute artwork.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Very short. Free-slicing levels can be frustrating.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-score"> <div class="field-label"><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 4.5&nbsp;Excellent </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/slice_fractions_review#comments Gallery Reviews app store reviews AppLife Apps arithmetic Children Education edutainment Games iOS ios games iPad iPhone iPod iPod and iPhone Kids learning math mathematics Numbers Slice Fractions Software Games Sat, 15 Feb 2014 00:04:51 +0000 Nicole Tanner 19335 at http://www.maclife.com Eliss Infinity Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/eliss_infinity_review <!--paging_filter--><p>Eliss Infinity hurls you into an abstract universe where you sort planets for obliteration. They materialize somewhat randomly on the screen and must be manipulated by your digits, making them a suitable size to dump in “squeesars” that periodically appear and wink said planets out of existence.</p><p>Naturally, there are twists that hamper any thought that you’ll be done with your planet disposal within mere minutes. Almost immediately, you discover that the limited energy bar is rapidly depleted when two planets of a different color collide. Fortunately, you get a brief warning should an incoming planet appear ready to materialize beneath one of another color, but constant vigilance is the order of the day.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/02/elissinfinity_620.jpg" width="620" height="411" /></p><p>As you move through Odyssey mode’s 25 sectors, it’s soon clear that each requires a different approach to succeed. Early sectors are simple, merely tasking you with tearing apart or merging planets before dumping them in squeesars of the same color. But then furious, roaming red storms arrive, along with planet-sucking whirlwinds, while some levels throw planets at you at a blistering pace. There’s occasional respite in the form of slowdown bonuses and triangular space dust that can be mopped up to replenish energy, but such relief is rare.</p><p>It’s easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated, as your fingers perform an intricate dance atop your device, desperately holding back some planets while tearing and flicking others into the abyss. But even the toughest levels are solvable with the right approach, and Eliss is just so good — so perfect for iOS — that you won’t stop until you’ve beaten the entire game.</p><p>Savvy longtime iOS gamers will of course have experienced much of this in the original release of <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/feature/99_awesome_iphone_apps_you_must_download" target="_blank">Eliss</a>, back in 2009. For them, the lack of new levels in Odyssey might disappoint; however, along with Retina, widescreen, and iPad support, the game now boasts a noodly sandbox, where you can fling planets about without losing, and the endless score-based Infinity mode. The last of those is the real prize: a frantic, faintly ridiculous, manic, and totally addictive juggling act that welded a broad grin to this reviewer's face that refused to disappear.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong>&nbsp;We’ve been dreaming of an Eliss update for years, and Eliss Infinity proves dreams can sometimes come true. More importantly, what was innovative in 2009 remains fresh, tactile, and truly terrific today.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id700971134?mt=8" target="_blank">Eliss Infinity 1.0</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Little Eyes </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.toucheliss.com" target="_blank">www.toucheliss.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $2.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Fantastic multitouch gaming. Each sector demands a unique approach. New endless mode is bonkers and brilliant.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Later sectors can be brutal. No new sectors in Odyssey mode. A bit fiddly on iPhone and iPod touch.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-score"> <div class="field-label"><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 5&nbsp;Awesome </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/eliss_infinity_review#comments Gallery Reviews app store reviews AppLife Apps Eliss Games indie Infinity iPad iPhone iPod iPod and iPhone puzzle Software space Steph Thirion Games Sat, 08 Feb 2014 00:17:56 +0000 Craig Grannell 19276 at http://www.maclife.com The 25 Best Games to Play With iOS 7 MFi Controllers http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/25_best_games_play_ios_7_mfi_controllers <!--paging_filter--><p>With the advent of officially supported iOS 7 controllers, many types of games that weren’t always a perfect fit for a touch interface — like shooters, racing games, and 3D adventures — suddenly have an opportunity to shine much brighter on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Granted, many of these games are former console titles (or games inspired by prominent console games), but now you don’t need a dedicated gaming box to experience a wider array of really excellent experiences. As of this writing, only a limited number of notable games actually support iOS 7 controllers, but even so, there’s plenty of great stuff in the mix.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/rsg_gtasaipad_screenshot_620.jpg" /></p><p>Here are our current picks for the 25 best games that support iOS 7 controllers, and we’ll be updating this list from time to time as even more stellar games add support or are released. A word of caution, though: some of these games may not support every available gamepad released thus far, so be sure to check each respective App Store listing for further details.</p> http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/25_best_games_play_ios_7_mfi_controllers#comments Gallery App Store AppLife Apps controller Features gamepad games Gaming iOS iPad iPhone iPod video games Games Sat, 01 Feb 2014 01:42:47 +0000 Andrew Hayward 19214 at http://www.maclife.com iOS 7 Controller Showdown: Which is Best? http://www.maclife.com/article/features/ios_7_controller_showdown_which_best <!--paging_filter--><p>With the release of iOS 7, Apple finally recognized the demand for physical gamepads via built-in support through its Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) program, which means all game developers and peripheral manufacturers alike can use the same compatibility standards. Gone are the days when each individual iOS controller or joystick required its own unique programming, which made many developers shy away from physical controls and diminished the value of such peripherals. Now, any game that supports iOS 7 controllers should work with any MFi gamepad – in theory, at least. That hasn't exactly worked out thus far, with at least one game only compatible with a certain early controller, and a few titles that work better on some gamepads than others.<br /><br /><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/mfiroundup.jpg" width="620" height="369" /></p><p>It took a few months, but the first supported controllers began launching before the end of the year, and three have trickled out to date: MOGA's Ace Power for iPhone/iPod touch, the Logitech PowerShell for iPhone/iPod touch, and the SteelSeries Stratus for any iOS device. Each is distinctly designed and offers its own respective array of input options and other features, though all three arrive at daunting price points. Is it worth being an early adopter, or should you wait for the next round of options?<br /><br />We've got full reviews of all three between our current and upcoming print and digital issues, but if you're thinking about investing in an iOS 7 game controller now, here's a concise look at the strengths and weaknesses of each, complete with our review scores from the full appraisals.</p><h3>MOGA Ace Power ($99.95)</h3><p>MOGA made a name for itself in the Android market with appealing phone controllers, but the Ace Power marks its first foray into the iOS peripheral world. When closed, the Ace Power looks much like a compact console gamepad – complete with a pair of analog sticks — albeit with an opening in the center. Pull on both ends, however, and it stretches out wide enough to snugly hold an iPhone or iPod touch, which connects via the Lightning port. That also allows the controller to charge your iOS device via its built-in 1800mAh battery pack.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/moga.png" width="620" height="280" /></p><p>Despite its array of input options and the portability-friendly contracting design, MOGA's debut iOS controller suffers from a very cheap-feeling build — and among the initially small number of games compatible with the Ace Power, some aren't well optimized for the device. However, the biggest issue we encountered came with the unresponsive front buttons, which required a very firm press to register. We could lightly tap a button numerous times over and see no in-game result, which means missed inputs are sadly common. For $100, we expect a whole lot more.<br /><br /><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/screen_shot_2014-01-29_at_5.41.35_pm.png" alt="Score: 2.5 (Okay)" width="620" height="99" /></p><h3>Logitech PowerShell ($99.99)</h3><p>Logitech's PowerShell is similar in philosophy to MOGA's controller, with a design built to encase your iPhone or iPod touch and a 1500mAh battery built in to charge the iOS device during use. It's sturdier than the Power Ace and feels a bit more premium in build, but it's functionally a much simpler option, with only a d-pad, four face buttons, and two shoulder buttons. Luckily, the buttons are very responsive and work perfectly.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/logitech.jpg" width="620" height="310" /></p><p>The same can't be said for the d-pad, which makes the PowerShell effectively useless for many types of games. Its unresponsive design means that subtle, nuanced inputs aren't possible, which makes racing games, 3D action games, and other types of games less playable (and much less enjoyable) compared to using touch and/or tilt controls. Some games – mostly 2D side-scrolling ones – don't suffer as much, but that hardly justifies a purchase. It's been sold for as low as $70 already, but even cutting its MSRP in half wouldn't make up for its significant deficiencies as a controller.<br /><br /><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/screen_shot_2014-01-29_at_5.41.57_pm.png" alt="Score: 2.0 (Weak)" width="620" height="102" /></p><h3>SteelSeries Stratus ($79.99)</h3><p>The third time's a charm – relatively speaking – when it comes to iOS 7 gamepads, as the most recent release is the best of the bunch. SteelSeries has a long history of quality peripherals for various platforms, and the Stratus is the first iOS controller that actually makes a physical gamepad seem worthwhile on the platform. Unlike the other two options, it's a wireless Bluetooth pad, thus making it most ideal for iPad use (though it'll work with all iOS 7 devices). With dual analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, and four shoulder buttons up top, it offers the full array of input options that most advanced games demand.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/steelseries_copy.png" width="620" height="389" /><br /><br />It's not a perfect option, however. While better built than the MOGA, it still has a non-durable, cheap plastic feel to it, which doesn't match well with the price point. And with dimensions not far removed from an older iPhone (albeit a bit thicker), it's remarkably small – and to a fault. The cramped design puts the L2/R2 buttons inset near the center, making them harder to reach and thus impacting the likes of racing and shooting games. And despite the price dropping $20 for the launch, it's still too expensive; sturdier and better-designed controllers for other platforms cost much less than this, but we don't have those kinds of options as of now.<br /><br /><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/screen_shot_2014-01-29_at_5.42.35_pm.png" alt="Score: 3.5 (Good)" width="620" height="100" /></p><h3>The bottom line</h3><p>Among the three early iOS gamepads, the only one we can really recommend is the SteelSeries Stratus – primarily because it's the only one that fully works as a game controller. Granted, that's a somewhat qualified recommendation, as the steep price and cramped design are notable drawbacks. But does it make certain games play much better, especially on the iPad? Absolutely. So if you need an iOS 7 controller right now, the Stratus is the one to get. While the battery functionality on the MOGA and Logitech peripherals is a nice touch, both suffer as game controllers, and neither is worth seeking out at or near full price.<br /><br />It's early days still for iOS 7 controllers, and these are merely the respective first stabs by a trio of manufacturers. For the average consumer, we'd advise a wait-and-see approach. We will no doubt see additional – and hopefully better – options in the months to come, and with luck, we'll also see a more palatable range of price points to appeal to all levels of iOS gamers. And when that happens, there will also be many more compatible games, making a gamepad purchase all the more worthwhile. But if you're set on getting an iOS 7 controller now, heed our advice and choose wisely.</p><p><em>(Editor's Note: The original version of this article listed the Logitech PowerShell's price at $69.95, which is actually a limited-time offer. We've corrected the piece to list the standard MSRP for the peripheral.)</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/features/ios_7_controller_showdown_which_best#comments Reviews Analysis controller controllers Features Hardware Input Devices Interface iOS 7 iOS 7 controller ios games iPad iPhone iPhone Hardware iPod iPod Logitech Logitech Powershell MFi MFi controller MOGA MOGA Ace Power Steelseries Steelseries Stratus Games Thu, 30 Jan 2014 01:47:18 +0000 Andrew Hayward 19187 at http://www.maclife.com Broken Age Act 1 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/broken_age_act_1_review <!--paging_filter--><p>Becoming a teenager is never easy, but it's even less so when you've spent your life trapped on a spaceship with Fisher-Price décor and an omniscient, obsessively overprotective mom-puter. And don't even get us started on how tough coming of age can be when you've been selected as your village's maiden sacrifice to a giant, mysterious monster. These predicaments couldn't be more different, and yet they're intertwined in Broken Age, which follows space-boy Shay Volta and sacrifice-girl Vella Tartine through goofy parallel quests to subvert their destinies. &nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/screen_shot_2014-01-18_at_12.03.36_pm.png" width="620" /></p><p>A lavishly hand-painted, beautifully realized point-and-click adventure, Broken Age lets players wander semi-freely through a series of oddball environments, where they can chat up the locals, click on potentially useful objects, and figure out ways around pesky obstacles. For Shay, that includes going on childish "missions" engineered by his ship's computer — stopping a runaway toy train, for example, or assisting the survivors of a "hug attack" — while interacting with artificial creatures made of yarn and sitting down to monotonous meals of cereal and nutrition paste. As he begins to learn a little more about the universe outside his cuddly prison, however, his focus shifts to finding ways to distract the computer long enough to bend the ship's systems to his own ends.</p><p>Vella's story, while about as long as Shay's, feels broader in scope, mainly because — after escaping the maiden-eating monster known as Mog Chothra — she travels between a cult's compound in the clouds, an enchanted forest, and a seaside village, all on a quest to find and kill the beast. Getting help from the townspeople is harder than you'd think, since they actually seem happy with the monster-feeding status quo, so forging ahead actually takes more trickery than Shay's plotline. And while that might sound darker than Shay's misadventures, it's just as silly, as Vella solves the problems of persnickety giant birds and tries to sicken sanctimonious talking trees.</p><p>You can switch between the dueling storylines at will, meaning that if you get frustrated or bored with one story, you can always switch over to the other one for a change of scenery. Not that boredom and frustration happen often; Act 1 keeps its story moving at a brisk pace, and its numerous puzzles can usually be solved just by paying attention to subtle hints in the dialogue. Since Broken Age is billed as a revival of old-school point-and-click adventures, this may actually be off-putting to hardcore fans from the days when nonsensically obtuse puzzles and frequent deaths sent all but the most persistent players running for walkthroughs.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/screen-shot-2014-01-18-at-12.22.jpg" width="620" /></p><p>For everyone else, however, they're just challenging enough to be rewarding, and just easy enough to ensure that the game is accessible for players who came for the story and gags, which are brilliant. Act 1 of Broken Age is fantastic while it lasts — which, sadly, is only a few hours if you don’t get too badly hung up on any of the puzzles. Still, the price includes the game's second half, due out sometime later this year, so at least there's more to look forward to.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Broken Age Act 1 is vividly pretty, memorably funny, and absolutely worth playing if you've ever enjoyed point-and-click adventures.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/232790/" target="_blank">Broken Age Act 1</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Double Fine Productions </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.doublefine.com" target="_blank">www.doublefine.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $24.99 (price includes access to Act 2) </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>OS X 10.6.8 or later, Intel Core Duo processor, 2GB RAM, 512 MB VRAM</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Beautifully rendered and animated world and characters. Engaging plot with clever dialogue and an endearingly silly tone. Fun exploration and puzzles. Voice cast includes Elijah Wood, Wil Wheaton, Jack Black, and Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward, among others.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Over pretty quickly. Puzzles might be too easy for players expecting a full return to convoluted old-school adventures.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-score"> <div class="field-label"><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 4.5&nbsp;Excellent </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/broken_age_act_1_review#comments Gallery Reviews 2D Adventure games Broken Age Broken Age Act 1 Double Fine Games Mac mac games Mac OS X 10.6.8 point-and-click Software Games Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:34:19 +0000 Mikel Reparaz 19171 at http://www.maclife.com Song Blaster Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/song_blaster_review <!--paging_filter--><p>Song Blaster is an arcade-style shooter that loosely incorporates your personal music library into gameplay. The concept has been done before by games like Beat Hazard and Audiosurf, but rarely has it been this playful. You won’t find in-depth strategy or demanding tests of your reflexes with the free-to-play Song Blaster, but what you do get is a fun, stimulating way to virtually interact with your favorite tracks.</p><p>In Song Blaster, you control a missile-loaded ship from overhead as it flies towards the top of the screen. Enemies — in this case musical notes — attempt to take you out by running into your ship and firing projectiles. Naturally, you’ll need to blow them up. Unlike most shoot-'em-ups, however, Song Blaster takes its background music from the tracks stored on your iOS device. At the start of a new round, just tap "import new song" and you’ll be taken directly to your library. Choose a song you think you’d enjoy wreaking havoc to, import it, and watch the colorful action ensue.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/song-blaster-screens.jpg" width="620" height="411" /></p><p>The game interacts with your selected track in a few ways. Most significantly, it determines the background color of the stage by measuring tempo. Blue is casual, orange is moderate, and red is intense; as tempo changes throughout the song, so too does the background color, and the current one also affects which enemy types are shielded. This mechanic, though creative, is largely more aesthetic than functional, and it doesn’t always work as expected. Slow sections of songs were sometimes categorized in our testing as intense when they shouldn’t have been, and vice versa.</p><p>Certain moments in each song can initiate a "music explosion." When these explosions successfully synchronize with beat drops, the result is nothing less than epic, especially during bass-heavy, fast-paced tracks. Oftentimes, though, the effect feels weak and misplaced. Other in-game uses of music like on-beat enemy spawns are fun to watch, but don’t tend to have a major impact on gameplay.</p><p>The freely downloadable Song Blaster is generous at first, allowing three initial song imports and the chance to unlock a few others rather easily, though importing any more than that will require re-playing songs or spending money on in-app purchases. Luckily, the cost isn’t overly steep.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Interacting with your music through Song Blaster may not be a mind-blowing experience, but it’s one of the more lighthearted and accessible uses of the concept that we’ve seen.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/song-blaster/id722986364?mt=8" target="_blank">Song Blaster 1.3.0</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> GameFly Digital </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.gamefly.com" target="_blank">www.gamefly.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Free </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>A fun, colorful way to interact with your music library. Importing songs is painless, and leveling is well-paced.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Imported songs only affect gameplay lightly, mostly serving as background tracks with occasional explosions on-beat. Beyond the first few freebies, you’ll spend either time or money to import tracks.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-score"> <div class="field-label"><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 3.5&nbsp;Good </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/song_blaster_review#comments Gallery Reviews app store reviews AppLife Apps arcade Audio GameFly Games iOS ios games iPad iPhone iPod iPod and iPhone Music shooter Software Song Blaster Games Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:05:29 +0000 Matt Akers 19160 at http://www.maclife.com Battle Supremacy Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/battle_supremacy_review <!--paging_filter--><p>Atypical Games made a name for itself with Sky Gamblers, a series of combat flight sims with an emphasis on sharp visuals and energetic dogfighting. Its latest outing, Battle Supremacy, trades B-15 bombers for Panzer III tanks — and speed for lumbering, destructive power.</p><p>Stretched over the French, Russian, and Pacific Theatres of World War II, Battle Supremacy’s campaign is full of unimaginative, bog-standard objectives, punctuated by optional bonus missions that allow you to drive a Jeep or fly a fighter plane. When your surprisingly fragile platoon inevitably gets gunned down, unskippable cut-scenes and glacial movement speeds make getting back into the action more arduous than it should be. This repetitive and monotonous single-player trek is thankfully just a prelude, however, as Battle Supremacy has excellent online multiplayer.</p><p><img src="/files/u330237/2014/01/bs3.png" width="620" /></p><p>Sluggishness makes the campaign seem slow and plodding, but it turns Battle Supremacy's multiplayer skirmishes into tense, purposeful chess matches. Multiplayer modes run the gamut from team deathmatch to king of the hill, but they all share a focus on positioning, tactics, and movement. The various multiplayer maps are huge, and most of the environment is destructible, so isolating lone enemies and flanking opposing groups is the order of the day. There’s even a pseudo-stealth aspect, as a falling tree or burning building can clue you in to enemy positions (and vice versa).</p><p>The combination of slow movement and long reload times makes Battle Supremacy feel more like a turn-based game than a third-person shooter, but it takes timing, patience, and anticipation to bring the full weight of an M4 Sherman to bear on one’s enemies. At least in its multiplayer modes, Battle Supremacy deftly balances cerebral strategizing with the simple pleasure of blowing stuff up with a really big gun.</p><p>Battle Supremacy’s multiplayer modes are enjoyable despite the game’s controls: the virtual joystick used to steer the tank is unresponsive, and the camera and cannon controls are often indistinguishable. Atypical Games’ devotion to authenticity is understandable in terms of visual fidelity and historical accuracy, but these clumsy, awkward controls don’t add tension or nuance, just tetchy annoyance.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Battle Supremacy’s slow, purposeful shooting isn’t thrill-a-minute stuff, but sustained online firefights are satisfyingly tense.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battle-supremacy/id725222149" target="_blank">Battle Supremacy 1.0.0</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Atypical Games </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.battlesupremacy.com" target="_blank">www.battlesupremacy.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $4.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Destructible environments are put to good use in a set of excellent tactical multiplayer modes. Servers are full of players and the experience is smooth.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Awkward controls make movement irritating. Forgettable campaign lacks interesting objectives. Several tanks to choose from, but there’s no appreciable difference between them.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-score"> <div class="field-label"><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 3&nbsp;Solid </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/battle_supremacy_review#comments Gallery Reviews action app store reviews AppLife Apps Atypical Games Battle Supremacy combat Games iPad iPhone iPod iPod and iPhone military multiplayer Online simulation Sky Gamblers Software tanks war World War II Games Fri, 10 Jan 2014 23:27:13 +0000 Joseph Leray 19038 at http://www.maclife.com