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.
You may need a computer to play popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) titles like League of Legends or DotA, but the genre is starting to make inroads on other platforms. The first mobile MOBA of its kind, Heroes of Order & Chaos successfully brings the feel of the genre onto iPhone and iPad without sacrificing too much of what makes the game approach so much fun to begin with.
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.
As dusty as the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition rulebooks it's based on, Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is a relic from gaming's past. For long-time tabletop RPG nerds like myself who get misty-eyed over the nostalgic glory days of rolling up a fresh character, recruiting a party of misfit NPCs, and gallivanting off in the Forgotten Realms to bash in the heads of some ne'er-do-wells, this antiquated fantasy adventure still hits a certain sweet spot. Baldur's Gate's classic sword swinging and spell flinging is well-preserved in this iPad port of the PC original, though it's perhaps a little too faithful to its roots for modern times.
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.
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.
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.
Atlas by Collins is a very attractive app. It doesn’t hope to compete with the amount of data you can unearth by searching Google, but you’ll find much more than just the essentials, presented in an easy-to-use, self-contained app. Offering access to seven different globes grouped into three collections, the app covers everything from standard atlases to people, energy consumption, and production, as well as our impact on the planet -- with more promised in the future.
Don't enter your polling place without doing a little research first! Before you run out to vote next week, be sure to consult these political apps to find out who is running where, the politicians' real stances on issues, and which talking points actually hold up after fact checking.
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.