Whether directly aping a popular franchise or simply picking and choosing elements from top genre entries, Gameloft's usual M.O. with its App Store releases is to deliver a console-like gaming experience on your tablet or phone. With the Duo Gamer, it's now possible to take that extra step towards console gaming, as the physical Bluetooth controller and stand let you prop up your iPad or smaller iOS device and play compatible Gameloft games much like the better-known titles they resemble.
When Gearbox released Borderlands in 2009, the studio managed to simultaneously combine the shooter and role-playing genres while creating one of the most enjoyable cooperative-play experiences ever devised. Borderlands 2 doesn't rewrite the book -- frankly, the changes are somewhat minor -- but when a formula works, sometimes a follow-up only requires just enough in the way of improvements and an expanded story to bring fans back to the fold.
It's easy to lose perspective on a game like Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, particularly for those of us who enjoy lavish first-person shooters on consoles or computers. Gameloft's military shooter series seems content to mimic the immensely popular Call of Duty series from other platforms -- and Zero Hour boasts some serious parallels with this year's Black Ops II -- but despite its lack of ambition, the franchise delivers a big and entertaining mobile shooter at a fraction of the cost. And Zero Hour really does improve on the formula in small, but meaningful ways.
The world has been forever changed by a zombie outbreak, and your only means of escape has crashed in the middle of a field crawling with the undead. As the zombies close in, there’s just one course of action available: sprint toward a radio antenna on the distant horizon, the sound of your own labored breath echoing in your ears, and do your best to dodge the flesh-eaters as they stumble out of the fog and rise up from the tall grass. Your predicament is hopeless; eventually they’ll catch you, and the last thing you’ll hear is your own screams. The only real question, as Into the Dead demonstrates, is how far you can get before that happens.
Calendar never really grabbed me on the iPhone, and for whatever reason, neither have the non-Apple scheduling and day-planning options that I've tried. But when I heard Flexibits' Fantastical was making the jump to iPhone and iPod touch, even I was intrigued. I had read so much about its much-loved Mac app that I couldn't resist the urge to try a cheaper, mobile version of the popular utility. And it's very easy to see why Fantastical is so revered.
Grand Theft Auto III was arguably the most influential game of the early ‘00s, ushering in a new age of huge open worlds and criminal anti-heroes, and its release on iOS earlier this year was a pretty significant achievement for mobile gaming. Where GTAIII pioneered, however, its sequels refined and perfected – and just as it did 10 years ago, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City improves on its trailblazing predecessor in nearly every imaginable way.
Despite transitioning from the PC to PlayStation 3 and now finally the App Store over the past few years, Magic Orbz really does feel at home as a bite-sized brick-breaker priced at a couple bucks. Unlike the classics it pulls inspiration from (like Breakout and Arkanoid) and the many subsequent knock-offs, Magic Orbz isn't primarily focused on smashing through blocks or other generic, stationary objects. Instead, its stages take the form of small 3D worlds filled with pirate ships, sharks, and castles, all of which you'll aim to destroy in a comical manner.
If the word “beat” quickly leads you to "tab," "bat," "ate," "bet," "tea," and "eat," you’ll probably do just fine at Writer Rumble for iPhone and iPad. Proving the pen is mightier than the sword, combatants in Writer Rumble duel not with fireballs, but word tiles. Dragging your finger across the grid of letters to spell words creates not only terminology but also projectiles, which are flung at the opponent to cause damage. The longer and more complicated the word, the more powerful the attack. Think Boggle, but more violent.
J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is a fount of inspiration, and beyond upcoming Hollywood blockbusters, there's sure to be no shortage of tie-in video games. But considering the amazing reference material – a tale of adventure with dwarves and goblins – it's a shame The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth is so unabashedly boring. It's a typical, free-to-play conquest sim with a veneer of Tolkien influence.
Duo Pinball aims to bring some of pinball's physical sensation back to the lap-based home experience, letting you affix a plastic dock to the back of any iPad — or less ideally, an iPhone or iPod touch — fire up a compatible app, and make use of the built-in plunger and side buttons for a seemingly more authentic feel. Powered by three AAA batteries and a Bluetooth link, the device pairs effortlessly and is easy to use, plus it'll hold your iPad snugly while you mash the deep blue flipper buttons — but the resulting sensation is less enthralling than expected.