Darklings' endless arcade-style approach uses gesture controls to deliver an experience that keeps you coming back for more. Using just your finger, you’ll need to draw the symbol that appears above a monster’s head to destroy it before it gets too close and knocks you out. That may sound easy, but with constant waves of enemies coming at you from all sides, plus the ever-present temptation of collecting as much currency as you can, it makes for one challenging and addictive game.
Our monthly recap looks back at the games we reviewed during November, with a total of 25 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. We covered a great array of entries this month, including big-name affairs like Star Wars: Tiny Death Star and Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies — plus Mac add-ons/expansions for BioShock Infinite and XCOM: Enemy Unknown — along with under-the-radar gems like The Shivah and Pathogen.
Despite its 3D graphics, physics engine, and any marketing material you may have seen, Touchgrind Skate 2 is not a realistic skateboarding game. For one, there is no rider, only a pair of fingers spectrally guiding a deck through a series of blunt stalls, 50-50 grinds, and kickflips — it’s skateboarding by marionette. If there’s one aspect of Touchgrind Skate 2 that comes across as completely authentic, it’s that skateboarding is difficult and requires practice. Amazingly, that proves a pretty effective hook.
Strike Force Heroes: Extraction is a noble – if uneven – attempt to replicate the classic side-scrolling console shooter. Likely due to the complexity of its control scheme, the genre hasn’t often been particularly well served on iOS devices, but Strike Force Heroes (HD iPad version reviewed; also available separately on iPhone) has found a few clever shortcuts. The result is fun to play in short bursts, even if the smoothness of some controls makes some of the weaker spots more glaring.
So many of the little details surrounding Google Play Music for iOS suggest that the tech giant isn't so eager to win over iPhone owners as recent overtures might suggest. Never mind that six months passed before its iOS launch, but the in-app keyboard retains the design of iOS 6 and the skeuomorphic icon stands in stark contrast to its updated brethren. It's a shame, because there's a really well designed music app lying in store once you make it through such chaff.
Ah, Thanksgiving. A relaxing day full day of floats, football, family, and food, it may be the perfect holiday — that is, unless you're in charge of the meal. Any number of things can sink your supper, from a dry, overcooked bird to subpar side dishes. So if you're worried your meal won't be memorable, we've got eight apps that'll have you giving thanks for the App Store come Thursday.
A reimagining of the 1990 Sega Genesis game of the same name, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a creative, whimsical platformer featuring the world’s most recognizable rodent. The action is as traditional as it gets — Mickey runs and jumps through predominantly side-scrolling levels, all the while hopping on baddies, grabbing collectables, and leaping over bottomless pits — but the gameplay stays compelling and fun thanks to well-designed stages, interesting environments, and ample charm.
If you appreciate the Beatles and John Lennon, you will simply adore this lavish, lovely app-based work of art devoted to the last truly creative period of Lennon’s life: the crafting of his final album, Double Fantasy. With truly innovative use of the iPad and iPhone as an entertainment consumption device, it’s one of the finest multimedia attempts we’ve experienced on the platform.
PikPok’s latest Flick Kick game offers the most complete and varied experience in the series so far, with the whole gamut of basic on-field soccer situations backed by team building, a curious tale of revenge, and a multi-division league structure. But you’ll have to battle through a barrage of ads or pony up some cash to make the most of Flick Kick Football Legends’ solid gameplay.
The Shivah opens with a question, simultaneously straightforward and cosmic: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Lead writer and designer Dave Gilbert attempts to answer it with fuzzy pixel art, a jazz soundtrack, and the restrained and cynical story of Rabbi Russell Stone, who takes it upon himself to investigate the murder of a Jewish businessman. Gilbert is well versed in noir-tinged mysteries, but The Shivah is understated and realistically grounded when compared to Wadjet Eye’s science fiction games (like the great Gemini Rue). The Shivah dispenses with many of the adventure genre’s more cumbersome traditions, too, leaving room for investigation to drive the plot forward instead of awkward, arbitrary puzzles.