I've spent at least a solid hour each day for the past couple weeks poking at a giant virtual cube, chipping away thousands of tiny blocks, one at a time, until my hands get tired. And you know, for the life of me, I can't explain why I keep at it. I know it's not likely that I'll be the one "lucky" person to reach the center of the cube and capture the mysterious, life-changing thing that its creator purports is awaiting within. It might take months, and maybe even years for that to happen. So why are thousands of other players like myself addicted to the repetitive cube-poking grind? That's the grand mystery of Curiosity: What's in The Cube.
With a wide array of turn-based iOS titles likely taking up your time, it can be difficult to find a chunk of time large enough to sit down and play through an entire game of Madden on your iPhone or iPad. That’s where Madden NFL 13 Social hits its stride. Taking the simplistic style of other asynchronous turn-based titles, Madden NFL 13 Social tasks players with completing a game in alternating bursts. Each turn consists of one offensive drive, however long that may be, and you don’t ever play defense, as that wouldn’t really work for the style of play here.
With its shiny trappings, familiar wasteland heroes, and cool top-down perspective on Pandora's desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, Borderlands Legends HD makes an impressive transition from a first-person shooter on other platforms to an iOS hybrid of real-time strategy and tower defense. The slick presentation is deceiving, however, since muddling through battle after battle is more often then not an unwieldy, unsatisfying experience.
Pulling together a pair of entertainment juggernauts, Angry Birds Star Wars does a stellar job of blending elements from both properties in clever and well-executed manners, making this mega-mash-up much more than a mere cash-in – though it's sure to bring in plenty of that for its cunning creators. Splitting its focus between the classic series fling-and-smash approach and the newer gravitational pull twist established in Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars utilizes classic characters, scenery, and scenarios from the original film trilogy, recasting the colorful birds as iconic heroes like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
In a world crawling with undead, it seems the opportunist is alive and well. A bespectacled Los Angeles film director wants to make zombie films, and he needs a murderous star. Enter your broad-shouldered, square-jawed avatar. Zombiewood is, through and through, a twin-stick shooter. One virtual analog stick dictates movement; the other controls which direction your hot lead flies. Using pistols, machine guns, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers, you’ll mow down hundreds of zombies as they vie for your noggin.
NIt's almost certainly not pulling in as many users as Words With Friends, but the App Store's buzziest word game right now is Letterpress, an elegantly designed asynchronous experience that even loops in territorial control elements. And it's a slick freebie that actually lives up to the hype. Spawned by Tweetie creator Atebits, Letterpress is a marvel of minimalistic design.
Beware playing O. with anyone who's aggressively competitive. This minimalistic orb-grabbing game has the potential to bring out the beast in even the most docile opponents. Games may start off friendly enough, but when it gets down to the wire, smacking hands, flicking fingers, and wrestling digits is par for the course. You might just find yourself declaring a thumb war... or worse.
Last week in Free App Friday, we took a look at Fix-It Felix Jr., a movie tie-in app for the celebration of retro gaming taking place in Wreck-It Ralph. However, if I were going to be completely honest, as fun as Fix-It was, that was a representation of a bygone era even by the time I first held up an NES controller. This week we celebrate a free app that harkens to a time that thumbs were blistered, giant robots and monsters were slain, and the guns were entirely unrealistic and awesome.
If you ever wanted to see how the pairing of minimal effort and a free-to-play model could decimate a play experience, NFL Pro 2013 may be the greatest example to date in any genre. It's a disaster in nearly every respect. NFL Pro 2013 has the real-life teams, but not the players, stadiums, or schedules, instead substituting laughable fake names and generic faces for the identical-looking player models. But that's not nearly the worst of it. As a wildly cynical freemium offering, you'll have to use your limited in-game currency to purchase even basic plays in the middle of a game.