When Craig Stern, the singular force behind Chicago video game developer Sinister Design, unsuccessfully tried to fund his Mac game Telepath Tactics at the tail end of 2012, he saw the result not as a closed door, but as an opportunity — a chance to refocus both the campaign and the game itself to better execute his battle plan. And now that the second Kickstarter has doubled its original goal and generated much more backer enthusiasm with a few days still left to go, he spoke with Mac|Life to discuss how initial crowdfunding failure doesn't have to be ultimately fruitless.
There's no denying that Ms. Splosion Man – a port of the 2011 console original – is an incredibly well-designed platformer. Its 50 lengthy levels are filled with inventively demanding puzzles, it's built around an incredibly fun gameplay mechanic (the heroine explodes to jump or attack enemies), it looks great, and it exudes a constant stream of goofy charm. So it's a shame that on iOS, an otherwise fantastic experience is hamstrung by a couple of key problems.
Every Free App Friday we bring you a nuanced look at some of the best and brightest free content available in the App Store. This week, however, we're going to take a look at some smaller apps you might have missed over the past few months. While these offerings may be bite-sized, we still think they're worth sinking your teeth into.
It's become increasingly popular to try and shoehorn console-style shooters onto iOS, but there's still something to be said for building a game around a system's limitations, rather than ignoring them. With that in mind, Frontline Commando: D-Day might look like a World War II-themed third-person shooter with (presumably) kludgy controls, but it's actually an arcade-y series of shooting galleries linked by auto-runner sequences. That combination creates a streamlined experience that lets us focus on what really matters: ducking behind cover and popping up just long enough to shoot Nazis in the face.
Only three things really matter in Hotline Miami: speed, surprise, and savagery. Highly stylized and yet shockingly realistic in its depiction of violence, the game pits a seemingly mute, possibly psychotic vigilante against buildings full of heavily armed Russian gangsters, and gives him just one goal: Kill everything that moves. True, that description could apply to any number of other bare-bones video-game plotlines, but Hotline Miami's mix of taut top-down strategy, hair-trigger ultraviolence, and neon-drenched '80s style make it utterly unique.
Few types of games are as engrossing as a well-made puzzler, and the fact that the iPhone and iPod touch can put one in front of us wherever we are can be a real lifesaver. Whether you prefer color-matching puzzlers, ones with a role-playing or wordplay twist, or something that mimics the feel of tackling a physical puzzle, the App Store is absolutely loaded with stellar options that can fit nearly any interest or block of available time. Here are our picks for the 25 best iPhone puzzle games today, which we'll update as new and more perplexing puzzlers pique our interest.
As with last year's Temple Run: Brave, the new Temple Run: Oz takes the framework of the latest core entry – in this case the recent Temple Run 2 – and gives it a Disney-fied makeover tied to a big-budget flick. This time around, it's Oz The Great and Powerful, a prequel to the iconic Wizard of Oz, and the result is a game in which you'll guide a digital approximation of James Franco along a yellow brick road filled with obstacles and collectibles alike. While visually vivid and solidly enjoyable as a behind-the-back runner, Temple Run: Oz simply hits too soon after Temple Run 2 to generate much enthusiasm.
Trivia contests are one of those things for which most people feel like they have expertise in at least a single category. It is soul-crushing to realize that as much as you think you know something, there's someone at the pub quiz who likely spent at least two semesters on the topic, and then they proceed to crush you beneath their boots. Embracing humility, nothing will more rapidly prepare you to accept your mortal insignificance before the cosmos than your first encounter with 94 Seconds by Scimob.
It's easier than ever to put your ideas online and in front of an eager audience these days. There are a ton of different reasons why you might want to start your own blog. Perhaps you want a space to share your writing. Maybe you like posting comics or pictures of your friends. You might even want to share your disgruntled rants at the end of a particularly crappy work week. Whatever the case, options for blogging right from your iOS device are plentiful. Grab these apps to give your blogging life a big boost.
Slot machines, RPG combat, zombies, and quirky comics? Yes please! King Cashing 2 is a mishmash of oddities that go surprisingly well together, though the inspiration for throwing all these disparate elements into the same pot is a bit of a head scratcher. This addictive, if somewhat short sequel builds on and improves the original formula with more battle options and a fresh new presentation, but having played the first game isn't a prerequisite to properly enjoying this amusing timewaster.