You’ll be nursing more than a bruised ego if your friends come out ahead in Bam Fu, an entertaining same-screen multiplayer game from the makers of Fingle that quickly turns into a full-contact sport. However, redemption won’t be so sweet when the novelty wears off. A free-for-all battle to turn virtual pebbles your way with kung-fu-like speed and precision, Bam Fu is best played on a full-sized iPad laid flat between a few friends, although you could get a decent two-player experience on an iPhone.
Remember Minesweeper? It was a semi-blind guessing game, and if you hit a mine, it was game over. No, it wasn’t exactly thrilling. Playing Blip Blup, a decidedly sleeker, more interesting, and modern puzzle game, it’s hard not to have Windows 3.1 flashbacks. Here you also have tiled grids that – when touched – send out a pulse wave that expands from your finger tap outward, sending color in every mappable direction. Thankfully, solving puzzles by coloring in grids is both more interesting and unsurprisingly much brainier than in Minesweeper.
Holiday weekends usually mean long car rides and time with your family. Distract the kids in the backseat and make music when you're hanging out and do both on the cheap with this week's holiday batch of deals.
One of the most amazing things about the App Store's offerings is the fact that you get so much punch for relatively few bucks; so when a drum app shows up that costs a whopping $49.99, it’s hard to think that it’s truly better than 10 existing $4.99 drum apps combined. While Different Drummer does indeed offer a unique take on the process of laying down a beat, it’s a bit rich at the current price, which is a pity – there's some real innovation to be found here. Different Drummer really lives up to its name: It’s a drummer, alright, but it’s radically different from any other iOS beat machine – or most plugins we’ve ever run into on the desktop.
Last fall's release of the HeroClix TabApp tried to bring together the worlds of physical and digital games, letting users place specialized figures from the HeroClix tabletop game series on an iPad screen and transport them into a game. Unfortunately, while it did a solid job of recognizing the figures, the game itself was an utter mess: Painfully repetitive, both ugly and filled with lag, and lacking the strategic spirit of the tabletop source material. The brand new HeroClix TabApp Elite forges a fresh path with distinct gameplay and much different figurine implementation, but while it's thankfully a much smoother experience, the game itself still isn't strong enough to warrant the investment.
Not so long ago, armchair astronomy used to involve lugging along stacks of charts and flashlights if you wanted to know the name of a star (aside from notables like Polaris and Betelgeuse). The advent of astronomy apps for iOS devices changed all that for the better, but until now, the best ones have emphasized utility over beauty. That all changes with Sky Guide, which achieves a remarkable balance of both.
Games are a relatively young narrative medium, and plenty of them boil down to punching and/or shooting the bad guys. But wherever you find a canvas, a painter can’t be far behind to turn it into a masterpiece. The App Store is no exception, and creative minds have already used the platform to tell their own interactive stories on the ubiquitous iOS devices. We’ve compiled a list of games to satisfy the story itch, from the playful to the spooky and downright bizarre.
Button-mashing brawlers make for a great time when you've got real buttons to mash, but they don't always translate so well to iOS touch screens. Rather than attempt to shoehorn all of the intense fighting action into a traditional arcade-style control scheme, indie studio The Game Bakers concocted a fresh touch-centric battle system for its quirky new face-pummeling fighter. Combo Crew's fast-paced fisticuffs and streamlined combo system hinges on simple swipe controls that are far more satisfying to wield than you'd expect from an iOS beat-em-up.
Google+ is a hit-or-miss proposition for many socially connected folks, so the company’s first Hangouts attempt — originally part of the Google+ app — passed by largely unnoticed. Now available as a standalone app, Hangouts appears hell-bent on reinventing the messaging wheel, but winds up leaving too many spokes off to make this a smooth ride.
The Fast & Furious movie franchise has gathered a cult-like following of fans who enjoy the intense action and tricked-out vehicles, with the sixth entry expected to dominate the box office once more this weekend. Fast & Furious 6: The Game is true to the elements that made the film series such a smash, with beautiful graphics and plenty of extras relating to the films – though the actual racing in this free-to-play affair can get a bit dull and repetitive after a while.