Gameloft surely hopes that GT Racing 2’s flashy lighting and obsessively modeled licensed cars will make it stand out from — or at least keep pace with — a recent surge of App Store racing sims, notably genre leader Real Racing 3. Lens flares and dust effects are well and good, but GT Racing 2’s visual fidelity threatens to overshadow its real strength: as free-to-play racers go, it’s got great controls. GT Racing 2 doesn’t reinvent the iOS racing control scheme, but it executes it better than most of its competitors.
It’s been only six months since Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol brought its unique, tactical take on World War I air combat to iOS, and already we’ve got a sequel. Pushing the action forward to the Pacific during World War II, Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies pits American and Japanese aces against each other in missions that range from simple dogfighting to defending or destroying vital ships, bases, or other structures.
What's the fastest way to get the space bucks needed to get your giant galactic battlestation fully operational so you can terrorize the galaxy? Opening up a snack shop and peddling womp rat stew, apparently. Tiny Death Star leans heavily on its adorable pixel art presentation and silly personality to suck you in, as the cutesy Star Wars-skinned take on Tiny Tower reimagines the Death Star as a strip mall of sorts. And keeping it running smoothly is fun — assuming you don't expect any action, explosions, or space battles.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings' transition to iOS is impeccably smooth, even if you'll miss out on some of the more exciting moments from the Mac version. Guiding Frodo Baggins and his crew of heroes on the path to Mordor works amazingly well on the smaller screen of an iPad or iPhone — and when the ring is finally cast into the fire, you'll still want to return to the fold to grab all of the elusive collectibles in Free Play mode.
Touchscreen platforms typically do a solid job of recreating individual aspects of a sport (like swinging a bat or kicking a ball), but they're rarely good at offering full simulations. While it might be a decidedly unrealistic take on football, Football Heroes does provide a fairly complete — and, more importantly, a very fun — version of the sport. Heroes is a straightforward version of 8-on-8 football with a few key differences, the most notable being your ability to punch opponents and use various power-ups.
Death is permanent in Rogue Legacy, but it is never final. When a plucky Barbarian Queen is invariably fried by a warlock or chewed up by a warg during her quest to conquer Castle Hamson, one of her children will always be available to take up the mantle. Here's the catch: almost everything in Rogue Legacy is randomized, procedurally generated, or otherwise the result of some cosmic roll of the dice.
Each week, we highlight a selection of the most interesting, exciting, and unique new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch titles released on the App Store. We’ve got a good mix of new options this week, from the promising Bit.Trip Run! and Anomaly 2 — both of which found success on other platforms before launching on iOS — to high-profile free-to-play offerings like Thor: The Dark World, Backyard Monsters: Unleashed, and Stack Rabbit. And if you’re seeking some Halloween-themed thrills, audio-centric horror adventure Papa Sangre II is well-timed to provide some sound-based scares.
Batman’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, possessing a genius-level intellect and an endless arsenal of gadgets that let him maneuver and solve problems in interesting ways. He’s also known for getting into plenty of fistfights with thugs, and it’s this latter aspect that the iOS version of Batman: Arkham Origins focuses on. While Bats explores Gotham City, unravels mysteries, and terrifies criminals with stealthy scare tactics in the console and PC versions, his iOS adventure couldn’t be more straightforward, as he tackles tap-heavy one-on-one fights against a seemingly unending procession of goons.
Somewhere in 1980s New York lives a hidden community of fairy-tale refugees, called Fables, who fled their homes centuries ago when they were invaded by the monstrous armies of a being called The Adversary. They've been living in the Big Apple since it was New Amsterdam, and in that time their old rivalries and grudges (as well as the stresses of day-to-day city life) have made them more than a little dysfunctional. The only creature tough enough to keep everyone in line (and safe from detection) is the Big Bad Wolf, who walks the streets in human form as Fabletown's sheriff, Bigby Wolf.
Our monthly recap looks back at the games we reviewed during September, with a total of 18 iOS and Mac games presented here in bite-sized, to-the-point encapsulations. And if you want to read more, simply click the link on each slide to read the full, scored critique and find the link to purchase each game. September was headlined by major App Store releases like Infinity Blade III, Angry Birds Star Wars II, and Call of Duty: Strike Team, not to mention unique originals like Incredipede and Giant Boulder of Death. And on the Mac side, SimCity and Shelter are both standout options to consider.