Song Blaster is an arcade-style shooter that loosely incorporates your personal music library into gameplay. The concept has been done before by games like Beat Hazard and Audiosurf, but rarely has it been this playful. You won’t find in-depth strategy or demanding tests of reflex with the free-to-play Song Blaster, but what you do get is a fun, stimulating way to virtually interact with your favorite tracks.
Hauling around a heavy backpack crammed with a Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, dice bag, pewter miniatures, and other tools of the tabletop RPG trade can be exhausting. Luckily, Dungeons & Dragons action is more portable than ever thanks to the iPad re-releases of BioWare’s celebrated Baldur’s Gate games, and 2000’s Baldur’s Gate II is the latest to make the leap. This return romp through the Forgotten Realms definitely recaptures the magic of playing AD&D 2nd Edition long ago, but the old-school design doesn't make a perfectly smooth transition to iPad.
Unlike most games invoking a 16-bit aesthetic, Lost Yeti feels and even sounds as though Nintendo itself had originally released this action-puzzler alongside the likes of Tetris Attack or Kirby’s Dream Land 3. It’s certainly sugary enough, with the cheery yeti waving hello before you send him on his way towards the goal of each compact level. Taking a page from the puzzle classic Lemmings, you don’t actually control the creature in Lost Yeti, and therein lies the challenge.
It makes a strange kind of sense that you’d send inhumanly tall and athletic pro basketball players to ward off an alien invasion, as is the offbeat hook for the fun (but generic), free-to-play endless runner, NBA Rush. All 90 players are licensed from the 30 current NBA team rosters, and are modeled in a rough likeness to their real-world selves, right down to their respective signature dunking styles. There’s little to distinguish them beyond aesthetics, however.
It’s just as well that ninjas have long been associated with a mercenary take on warfare as opposed to honor-obsessed samurai. In Shadow Blade, hero Kuro isn’t averse to quite a bit of unsporting bloodshed after he receives news about the Amida clan rising once again — and reasons that he must immediately inform the sole surviving ninja master. Unfortunately, Sensei lacks a cell phone, and so Kuro must fight his way through 30 smallish core levels of traps and bodies that inconveniently lie in the way of his goal.
The Stanley Parable defies description or explanation – not because it outpaces our vocabulary or comprehension, but because saying too much would tarnish part of its mystery and charm. Nevertheless, here goes: The Stanley Parable, designed by Galactic Cafe, is a first-person exploration game set in an abandoned office building. Stanley dutifully plucks away in his cubicle, day in and day out, until the day that every single one of his coworkers inexplicably vanishes. A honey-voiced narrator guides Stanley in his search, alternately directing him toward the truth or complaining when he walks through the wrong door.
Tower defense games can be seen far and wide on the App Store, so for a new entry in the genre to stand out, it has to be something special. Castle Doombad lets you play as the bad guy for a change — Dr. Lord Evilstein — and requires you to lay down traps all over your fortress to keep heroes at bay. Adult Swim’s game not only delivers a fun experience with its cartoonish presentation and enjoyably vertical levels, but it also offers enough depth and variety to keep both newcomers and veterans of the genre invested for the long haul.
Archangel's foundations are simple but strong. Shaken from your thousand-year slumber by the yammerings of demon neighbors, you slap on armor and get to the business of shutting them up. Your groggy attacks as you recall your moves yield one of gaming's best excuses for learning new skills within the early minutes, but it ultimately means little as most hints of a story vanish before the primal impulse to hack and slash. It's faux-Diablo on a touch screen, in short, and the concept usually delivers.
Hopping onto a motorbike and barreling through the air while doing backflips is exciting stuff, but executing daredevil stunts while atop a tank or riding a runaway rocket? Joe Danger certainly doesn't shy away from peril in his latest action-packed obstacle course romp. While it doesn't add much new to the core stunt-centric formula laid out in predecessor Joe Danger Touch, Infinity's fresh settings, goofy characters, and challenging stages still make for a joyous ride.
Atypical Games made a name for itself with Sky Gamblers, a series of combat flight sims with an emphasis on sharp visuals and energetic dogfighting. Its latest outing, Battle Supremacy, trades B-15 bombers for Panzer III tanks — and speed for lumbering, destructive power. Sluggishness makes the campaign seem slow and plodding, but it turns Battle Supremacy's multiplayer skirmishes into tense, purposeful chess matches.