If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then PopCap must feel downright exalted upon spotting this new casual tower-defense affair. Trolls vs Vikings is so similar to the massively successful Plants vs. Zombies that the two would be barely discernible if not for this game’s slightly cruder art style. Almost every friendly and enemy unit and gameplay element has a direct analogue, and while Trolls vs Vikings is competently designed and tries to improve the groundwork that PopCap laid, it whiffs on some of the fundamentals.
Foursaken Media barely misses a beat on Bug Heroes 2. It takes 2011’s hit tower defense/dual-stick shooter/real-time strategy hybrid and pumps out a cool, fun, great-looking, and fast-paced sequel that ups the ante on just about everything (but sadly marginalizes the story of feuding bugs). Strategic nuances mix brilliantly here with arcade-style action, and the mission, skirmish, and endless modes alike all offer plenty of variety in the flow of play — though not in terms of scenery, as only three maps are included.
Tengami, a new point-and-click adventure game from indie duo Nyamyam, takes place in a dreamlike version of mythical Japan. It’s all cherry blossom groves, abandoned pagodas, and gently rolling seas, painted in pastel pinks and blues and set to ethereal music. Still images are pretty enough, but Tengami is defined by the cues it takes from old pop-up storybooks: secret passages are hidden beneath paper flaps, and new areas spring into existence with each turn of the page.
Oquonie revels in obfuscation. On the surface, it’s a simple isometric arcade adventure, of the type enjoyed by gamers since the likes of Knight Lore and Head Over Heels on ancient 8-bit systems. Taking the role of a dopey-looking cartoon bipedal dinosaur in a suit, you amble about a maze-like office complex, bumping into photocopiers that bestow you with cards and simultaneously spew gibberish via a series of cryptic glyphs.
Good old, Steve Jobs is back in the news this week with two stories. You want to know why Apple TV hasn't been kicking butt lately? No Steve is the answer there. But if you need your Steve fix, just take a jaunt down to the post office. Meanwhile, who's up for some games? And where's your place in the universe?
Radiohead has long been known for its compelling collaborations with animators and video artists, which have resulted in cool music videos, performance projections, and graphics. Now the band has now extended its interest into the iOS world with PolyFauna, a strange sonic tour through a decidedly eccentric audiovisual realm. It’s not a game – there's nothing to win, nor a final destination – but rather a wacky piece of interactive art that is deceptively simple to navigate and oddly soothing, even for those who are not usually turned on by Radiohead’s expansive, moody musical stylings.
Whatever your gaming style, we've got some hot titles for you. And most of them are free or barely a buck. And if you're a music maker, we can hook you up with some DJing apps too, and everything is on sale.
Last week was a little quiet for App Store releases, but consider this a fine bounce-back, thanks to very alluring originals like Tengami, Oquonie, and Second Chance Heroes, along with the anticipated Bug Heroes 2. We’ve already got reviews of a couple of these titles up, but be sure to keep an eye out for more in the coming days, and then check back next Thursday for an all-new list of notable games to consider.
It’s hard not to look up at night sometimes and wonder what’s out there, off in the world of unimaginably humungous stars so far away that they appear as mere specks of dust to our eyes — or even just in our planet’s backyard, over on the Moon or Mars. The universe is infinitely vast, and despite millennia of insights from studying the skies as well as the Earth, we’ve barely begun to unlock its many incredible secrets. With these eight apps, you can gaze at the cosmic beauty of the universe and pick up some juicy factoids about the planets, stars, cosmos, and everything in them.
This week, we're gonna save you some money. Sure, we save you money with our weekly deals every single Thursday, but today, we're looking at big money. We're talking savings of over $300 on refurb Macs and over $700 on new, out-of-the-box Macs. We're talking a huge chunk of cash staying right where you want it — in your pocket — while you pick up a great Apple computer. And then, if you have an iOS device, you can spend some of your savings on a little something for your them, too.