Even by the standards of post-apocalyptic shooters, game worlds don't come much bleaker than the one glimpsed in Metro: Last Light. Two decades after a nuclear war, the remnants of humanity huddle deep underground in the Moscow Metro, where stations have become a loose network of city-states increasingly consumed by war between communists and neo-Nazis. The surface is a toxic ruin haunted by literal ghosts of the past. Horrifying mutants are out for blood, bullets are currency, and Artyom — the series' nominal hero — inadvertently destroyed what may have been humanity's last hope in the previous game.
Originality and weirdness often blend well in the indie sphere, spawning games that spark the imagination and sometimes spur you to scratch your head in equal measure. Incredipede is one such offering. Ferrying your ever-morphing creature through challenging obstacles and hilltops made of meat is indeed peculiar business in this unique puzzle platformer. Wonder occasionally mingles with frustration, however, given the trial-and-error nature of the game's more grueling stages.
Riding the success of Disney Infinity's huge console launch last month, the Toy Box app for iPad allows players to build and test their creations from inside Infinity's creation mode, and then transfer it all back to your console. It benefits from the intuitive nature of touch controls and portability that the tablet allows, but struggles with keeping a constant frame rate even when dealing with a low number of items in your world. That takes some of the shine off of the experience, especially when transitioning from a glossy home console game.
Hunting never felt so base and inhumane as in Deer Hunter 2014, the latest in a long line of titles that has evolved progressively far from its moniker and expanded now to include endangered animals. The core shooting and weapon upgrading experience is actually very well executed, albeit easy – assuming you can look past the ethical blunder is blasting near-extinct creatures – while its rapid-fire mission structure across three exotic locales makes for some compulsive gaming. However, there’s little by way of deer or realistic hunting on offer.
Angry Birds Star Wars II is once again a colorful, pull-and-fling interpretation of the films, this time focusing on the events and characters of the prequel trilogy. But while it's another amusing, well-produced nod to the Star Wars franchise, the quality of the core game experience lacks that inspired edge of its predecessor. In fact, it lacks nearly any edge at all, as the expected puzzle-solving aspect that typically defines Angry Birds is rarely seen throughout. More stages than ever can be cleared with a single and typically obvious opening shot, and while it's entertaining to watch the destruction, such an approach fails to tax the brain to any real extent.
Launching alongside a couple of other juggernaut releases – the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 – Infinity Blade III concludes the trilogy in expectedly slick fashion. The single-player quest trumps its predecessor as the best-looking iOS game to date, with fantastic detail throughout the environments and an array of wide, swooping camera shots to create the sense of an epic scale on even a small iPhone screen. And while the combat remains reliably enjoyable, the grinding nature of the series' campaign approach makes this third entry feel a bit more tiresome amidst the overall triumph.
Tell us if you've heard this one before. In Dead Effect, you assume the role of an elite soldier aboard a spaceship, where an infection has turned everyone into zombies. Odds are, this setup is not unlike one you've seen numerous times before, and unfortunately it's not just the story that proves so familiar. The weapons, setting, music, and enemies are all equally uninspired, and the gunplay is too weak to compensate. As a result, Dead Effect is a thoroughly run-of-the-mill first-person shooter.
Oswald Mandus, the meat-processing tycoon at the center of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, is a terrible father. He wakes up on New Year’s Eve 1899 – wracked by fever, with no memory of the past several months – to find that his two sons have disappeared. And rightly so: Mandus is an alcoholic and a violent pervert, and his London manse is littered with grimy, blood-slick hammers, calipers, hacksaws, and other instruments of whatever gruesome work happens underneath the abattoir and processing plant that bears his name. Nevertheless, the search for his children sets the game in motion.
Using your device’s front-facing camera, Go Dance turns your iPhone or iPad into a motion-capturing sensor, providing you with a dance game experience like you’d normally find on home consoles. While the game looks and plays like the popular Just Dance titles, it only comes with two songs and lacks distinct features to choose from. Go Dance may not be very robust, but its simple controls and cheap price tag make it easy for any iOS device owner to get up and groove.
Where’s My Water? is Disney’s best-known original mobile smash, with a couple of successful spin-offs following since, so naturally a proper sequel couldn’t be far behind. Where’s My Water? 2 might seem like a sure thing, as such, but it sadly squanders the well-earned respect of its predecessor. Its few new ideas simply aren’t enough to justify a fumbling attempt at injecting free-to-play hooks.