Namco heads back into the wild blue yonder with Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, its second foray into the realm of iOS flight simulation games. If you're the proud owner of a new iPad, the game is easily one of the most impressive options available, thanks to its impressive high-resolution visuals and slick animations. A confusing campaign story and useless accelerometer controls are unfortunate, but Air Supremacy offers enough goofy fun to make it worth your while.
A journey to the seemingly barren red wastes of Mars to recover a missing research probe becomes a fascinating crash-course in the realm of alien botany in Waking Mars. Instead of intense laser battles and intergalactic conflict, Tiger Style Games’ inventive sci-fi adventure uses thought-provoking exploration and creative problem solving to draw you into its story-driven depths.
Geography lessons aren’t always the easiest subject to sit through in school, but for younger learners seeking a more interactive hands-on way to explore and absorb important knowledge about the world around them, Barefoot World Atlas is a delightful, information-rich resource for the iPad that proves learning can be a lot of fun.
Email clients have been mostly ignored in the App Store, but if one is going to stir things up, it's Sparrow. A mainstay on OS X, its polished, intuitive interface is tailor-made for multitouch – and as expected, it brings a lot of good things to iOS. Like the desktop client, Sparrow treats your inbox like a personal social network.
Angry Birds' remarkable success has made it an easy target for snide remarks and copycats alike, but it's been difficult for other creators to successfully mimic its beguilingly appealing formula – and it must be harder still for Rovio to try and expand its own design without losing the magic that made it such a smash. That's part of why it's so pleasing to see Angry Birds Space launch as a carefully considered and well-designed extension of the brand, rather than a quick attempt to draw some easy cash from the legions of series fans.
More often than not, licensed video games don't amount to much more than glorified advertisements. So, when word spread of a free-to-play The Hunger Games movie tie-in arriving on iOS, you'd probably be forgiven for any initial apprehension. But when that same game is developed several noted members of the indie games community, it's hard not to snap to attention and take a look. And as a free, universal download, there's certainly not reason not to see whether it lives up to the hype of the books and blockbuster film.
Switching away from the genre's typical in-car or behind-the-bumper view doesn't suck the thrills out of Reckless Racing 2, which uses a top-down camera to spotlight the action across muddy trails and cracked asphalt alike. While not quite as fresh or revelatory an App Store entry as the original, Reckless Racing 2 is a hearty upgrade packed with fresh tracks and customizable vehicles, plus a slick visual overhaul.
Designed to allow users to create hybrid images that sit somewhere between the realms of photo and video, Cinemagram is the latest in a long line of apps designed to leverage the iPhone’s powerful built-in camera. However, despite creating novel animated photos, the app ultimately feels more like a novelty than an essential app worth coming back to time and again.
Released to coincide with the launch of Mass Effect 3 on other platforms, Mass Effect Infiltrator is a third-person iOS shooter that places players in the role of a Cerberus Operative named Randall Ezno. Stunningly rendered with gorgeous characters and combat animations, Infiltrator does a great job of capturing the universe, but sadly flubs the combat controls in a big way.
Flight Control stands tall as one of the early and enduring App Store juggernauts, so the emergence of a sequel -- the outer-space themed Flight Control Rocket -- isn't a huge surprise. Rocket builds on the familiar line-drawing formula from the original entry by having you quickly trace flight paths for ships to land on a futuristic carrier, which takes up a large section of the screen and offers different landing spots for like-colored ships. Some of the changes and additions are unique and welcome, but Rocket's curious impression of a free-to-play game sucks much of the lasting appeal from the experience.