There was never any real doubt that 2012’s turn-based strategy darling XCOM: Enemy Unknown would be a good fit for iOS. Its isometric battlefields, uncomplicated menu-driven controls, and methodical turn-based pace all practically screamed for a touch-based interface. The only question was what it would look like once it got there—and now that it's here, we can say it’s lost impressively little in the translation.
You'd think it would be a simple task to make a great game based on the latest Superman film, what with all its high-flying action and superhero awesomeness. Sadly, Man of Steel is a bland, repetitive, and weak (though ultimately competent) Infinity Blade knock-off, minus the exploration. You'll fight one Kryptonian after another, going through a Story Mode of loosely-connected scenes based on events from the movie, all while leveling up your skills along the way and watching a handful of neat comic-style cut-scenes that hint at the presence of a plot.
Our kids may have been able to unlock our iPhones since before they could walk, but that doesn't mean they're actually gaining anything by using them. There are countless cartoon and character apps to keep them occupied, but sometimes we want them to learn and create while they're having fun. Montessorium's "Intro" apps have always struck a keen balance between education and entertainment, but its latest entry, Intro to Colors, might be the best to date. With a vivid, interactive interface inspired by the Montessori color tablets, Intro to Colors just might turn your child into the next Picasso.
Compared to more basic to-do apps that focus on simplicity by limiting your options, Pagico goes in the other direction. But don’t let that put you off, because this is its greatest strength. You can dump nearly anything into it: ideas, files, contacts, PDFs, images, notes, to-dos, whatever, and organize anything in your life and work.
The iOS games market generally isn’t defined by the kinds of action titles with pinpoint-precise controls that dominate consoles. That makes it all the more daring when a game on iPhone and iPad attempts to go in such a direction, and even more impressive when one does it well. Quadropus Rampage manages to leap that particular hurdle with relative ease, though the touch screen interface does keep the controls from feeling particularly on point.
Like its predecessors, Gangstar Vegas takes many of its cues from popular open-world action games like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row, offering plenty of story-driven missions and a large setting to explore. As such, you can expect to drive around in stolen cars, engage in gunfights with random thugs, and perhaps even run over a pedestrian or two. It may not win any awards for innovation or originality, but this robust copycat offers plenty of pick-up-and-play entertainment if you can overcome its unreliable controls.
Last year's FIFA 13 from EA Sports delivered an excellent simulation of the world's most popular sport, albeit one that essentially translated the home console versions to a touch screen using virtual buttons. Still, considering the warm reception and strong sales, you might expect more of the same from this fall's FIFA 14 on iPhone and iPad. Surprisingly, that's not the case. Sure, FIFA 14 is notably bulked up, offering more leagues, teams, players, and features than ever before, but the biggest change comes from its significantly overhauled gameplay approach.
Console-like action games don't always make the most graceful of transitions to iOS devices, and English developer Ninja Theory certainly knows the console side of the genre, having designed such well-regarded affairs as DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Luckily, the studio's first touch screen effort doesn't try to shoehorn a controller-based experience onto iPhones and iPads, instead delivering a streamlined, free-to-play take on a beat-'em-up brawler.
Most of the focus at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was on the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, but E3's a big show, and games for other platforms — including iOS and (to a lesser extent) Mac — played a big role as well. In fact, more iOS games than usual joined the mix this year, with major publishers like Konami, Ubisoft, and Square Enix getting in on the action. It was a lot to take in, but here's the best of what we saw.
It was a big week for WWDC news and we've got a few stories from that, but we figured there might have been a story here and there that slipped under the radar during the iOS 7 unveiling. So here's a few bites at the Apple news that slipped through your fingers. But worry not, we've recapped a few stories from one of Apple's biggest annual events.