As a clear effort to emulate big-budget console shooters like Panzer Dragoon or Star Fox, Star Horizon is perhaps most notable for how true it stays to its vision. It's a game that takes very little influence from the usual iOS design trends, thankfully eschewing common devices like virtual sticks, tilt steering, or in-app purchases. As a result, it’s a mostly successful homage that shines particularly in its presentation, with the game serving as a showpiece for the iOS platform.
Replace trainers with keepers and Poké Balls for monster traps and you’ve got Monster Legacy, a game that offers a glimpse of what a free-to-play Pokémon could play like if Nintendo ever took its popular franchise mobile. This means fighting alongside a team of monsters, training them to evolve, and even completing missions for rare items. But before you dismiss this game for another creature-catching clone, Monster Legacy mixes in various clever elements and modes that make it more than just another Pokémon wannabe.
Anyone who’s ever been stuck at a nightclub, concert, or sporting event with spotty wireless connectivity knows the frustration of being unable to ping friends or family waiting nearby. That no longer has to be the case thanks to FireChat, a free messaging app for iPhone that takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity framework introduced with iOS 7. This service allows nearby devices to discover and communicate with each other using peer-to-peer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, even in areas where an Internet connection is unavailable.
Cartoon Network’s mobile division—particularly that behind its edgier Adult Swim-branded fare—has historically been a pretty good fit for goofy, whimsical little arcade-style titles that focus on simple game design while still managing to be fun. Globlins doesn’t really fit that criteria, despite looking decent enough at a glance, with colorful storybook art and a cute, kid-friendly premise involving blotting out tiny microscopic organisms. Most of the puzzles require little to no skill or thought, while the wildly difficult boss battles feel concocted to nudge you towards spending money on power-ups.
You can always rely on Crytek to push graphical boundaries, and the Crysis developer’s latest iOS outing is no exception, with detailed and realistic environments that sparkle in all the right places. But beneath the glitz and the glam—and beyond a strong core, top-down arena shooter design—The Collectables suffers from a toxic progression system, which forces you to spend big or grind repeatedly through already-completed missions.
You would be forgiven for mistaking Steller for a Storehouse companion, but in actuality they're independent variations on the same social storytelling theme: simple, elegant narration. Like Storehouse, Steller doesn't overwhelm you with design options, but it gives you just enough to get your creative juices flowing while inspiring you to turn your life into art.
Although the verdict may still be out on whether mobile devices actually make us more productive, there’s no denying that gadgets like the iPhone help take some of the drudgery out of our daily lives—including keeping a journal of what we’ve been up to lately. Such is the premise of Rove, a free journal/diary app that promises to automate the thankless task of documenting our lives in excruciating detail. Similar to last year’s excellent Heyday, Rove uses geolocation data to keep a running tab on where we’ve been, importing new photos taken with the device to put a visual stamp on those memories.
There's always a slight sense of fear when one of our favorite apps gets the iOS 7 treatment. Our finger hovers just a second longer over the flattened icon as we brace ourselves for what awaits us inside, hoping that the new guidelines haven't messed with any of the functionality. AccuWeather epitomizes these concerns. With a ground-up redesign that strips away everything that previously set it apart from its competitors, the popular weather app has reinvented itself with version 7, but far too much of its new identity feels cribbed and undeveloped.
Glorkian Warrior: Trials of Glork is what would probably happen if a quirky cartoon series was suddenly invaded by a host of goofy aliens trained by the kamikaze pilots from classic arcade blasters Galaxian and Galaga. The hero of the hour—a bipedal, three-eyed fellow wearing a talking backpack with automatic weaponry—must defend his asteroid from countless terrors intending on blowing it to bits. It’s here where you come in, guiding the purple protector left and right, blasting pulsating alien formations and occasionally having him leap about a bit in order to avoid swooping foes.
Dudeski asks just one question: are you rad enough to be a Shred Lord? Evoking fond memories of classic Windows game SkiFree (or MacSki for veteran Mac-heads), the game at its core is an arcade-style take on downhill skiing. Red and blue gates check your progress against a pursuing avalanche and a host of gnarly obstacles waiting to trip you up, while fast-moving pixel graphics and cheery chiptune music lend a light, playful air to what is an inherently difficult game.