Shovel Knight — a side-scrolling, retro-styled action game that successfully earned more than $300,000 on Kickstarter back in April — is on its way to Mac. The development team at Yacht Club Games is currently hard at work on the title, preparing it for a tentative holiday 2013 release, but company “captain” Sean Velasco took some time out of his hectic schedule to tell us why we’re gonna dig this whimsical, retro-inspired adventure.
The App Store is a wonderland of diverse gaming goodness, including deeply absorbing role-playing and strategy games, gripping narrative experiences, and titles that let you build up a character and skills over a large stretch of time. But for many of us, the games we turn to the most are the ones that offer immediate, short-term thrills – the games we can play for a few minutes at a time with minimal hassle, but which are entertaining and engrossing enough to play for much longer when desired. For those needs, we present the 25 best quick-hit games for iPhone and iPod touch, all of which let you play a game, level, race, or round in a few minutes or less. When you need to fill a short stretch of your day, these are the games you'll want.
Ask any game critic to name the most important or influential games of the past decade, and odds are they’ll bring up Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. First released for Xbox and PC in 2003 (and again for Mac the following year), KOTOR instantly became one of the most revered games of its generation, delivering a sprawling, original role-playing epic set thousands of years before the events of the Star Wars films. It helped raise the bar for player choice in RPGs and bolstered fans’ flagging faith in Star Wars — and now, 10 years later, it’s fully playable on iPad.
Strategy-game developer Firaxis has made a couple of small but impressive forays into iOS territory this year with turn-based titles Haunted Hollow and Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol, but it’s poised to go a lot bigger this summer. Specifically, it’s bringing its 2012 strategy blockbuster, XCOM: Enemy Unknown (which debuted on Mac in April), to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch — and we’ve had a chance to take it for a spin.
On the off chance that you need further evidence of mobile gaming's rapidly changing landscape, IDC and App Annie recently released the results of a study demonstrating that revenues for iOS and Google Play gaming rose sharply in 2013's first quarter. Revenues for the handheld gaming devices made by Nintendo fell during the same period. Google's still behind Sony and Nintendo's overall revenue for the time being, but with the rate of growth they reported during their recent I/O, it's expected that Google Play, too, will overtake traditional handheld gaming devices sometime during the next quarter.
If you were a gamer with an Apple II in the mid-'80s, there are a few names likely to stir nostalgic echoes somewhere deep in your heart; names like Choplifter, Hard Hat Mack, Ultima, and (most relevant to this review) Karateka. The first-ever game by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, Karateka finally reappeared as a rhythm-based remake in late 2012, but now Mechner's giving old-school Karateka fans what they really want: the unvarnished original, adapted for iOS and fitted with tweaks designed to tug at our sense of nostalgia (while also making the game less frustrating).
Firaxis, the developer behind Civilization, has been busy on Apple platforms lately. The past few weeks brought us an excellent Mac port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the kid-friendly iOS strategy game Haunted Hollow, and now the company's rolled out Sid Meier's Ace Patrol, a free-to-play, turn-based tactics game set in the skies above World War I.
Tower defense games sprung to life on the PC and have also thrived on consoles, but it's on iOS devices where we've seen the largest and most diverse number of great entries. These strategic affairs challenge you to protect a base from waves of increasingly tough and complex enemies by placing offensive turrets along the way, and the tactical thrill of managing an effective array of fortifications can be hugely satisfying. Need a brainy fix wherever you are? Here are our picks for the 10 best iPhone tower defense games, each of which offers a distinctive test.
In preparing this year’s 20 Under $20 list, we loved the idea of presenting 20 killer Mac apps you might not know about — 20 is such a round, pleasant number, and would hopefully let us find something for everyone. But $20 per app might not seem like the bargain-basement price that it used to, even just back in the summer of 2011 when we did our last 20 Under $20 feature.
But guess what? Most of these polished, stable, user-friendly, and utterly useful applications don’t come anywhere close to a full Andrew Jackson, anyway. Four of them are free, and only two cost over $10. We thought about calling it “18 Mac Apps Under $10 and Also Two That Are More Than $10 But Still Less Than $20, and By the Way, Four Are Free,” but that’s just too long, wouldn’t you agree
Resurrecting a beloved old gaming franchise for a modern audience seems like a challenging, thankless task. Even if you succeed in making something great, you run the risk of alienating existing fans if you stray too far from the original formula. When the alien-fighting strategy revival XCOM: Enemy Unknown was released last year on PC and consoles, however, it accomplished something we thought was impossible: It made just about everyone happy.