Back in the video-game heyday of the ‘90s, it wasn’t uncommon to see high-profile titles get releases on portable systems as well as home consoles. The former ports were invariably watered down — handhelds could at best make a valiant attempt at capturing the spirit of whatever the game was, but the chunky hardware just couldn’t quite get there. Surprisingly, the iOS conversion of well-regarded shoot-'em-up Sine Mora feels like a throwback to those days.
Pac-Man is in the midst of a renaissance right now; between multiple video games built to support an upcoming cartoon launch, the character is headed in a lot of different directions at once. Pac-Man Dash! is his latest iOS incarnation, and it's an endless runner with some enjoyable gameplay mechanics — and also a few missteps in its approach to in-app purchases.
We're past the halfway point for the year, and 2013 has already proven to be an incredible time for new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch games. Whether you tend towards quick-hit affairs or engrossing, strategic time sinks (or a little of both), there's been an absolute wealth of great options to choose from in a huge array of genres. Why wait until January rolls around to look back on such greatness? We've compiled our picks for the 25 best iOS games of the year to date, all of which are surefire options for on-the-go entertainment.
In Le Vamp, it was an angry mob; in Temple Run 2, a giant gorilla. What’s chasing you in Greedy Dwarf? A dragon on a bicycle (!) — but thankfully, he’s not seen during actual gameplay, as you never slow down enough for him to appear onscreen. In fact, you have no enemies to contend with at all. Your only goal in this auto-runner game is to coast through each of its 32 stages without falling off the path into hot lava, grabbing as many gold nuggets and rocket boosts as you can.
Building a new kind of obsessive virtual pursuit out of the various parts of two real-life ones, Super Paper Pool combines elements from billiards and miniature golf, challenging you to hit colorful pieces into their rightful spots with a cue ball. It starts simply enough, with early holes featuring just one piece to maneuver around a winding path, but hazards and multiple pieces quickly turn each round of tables into a sometimes-brutal gauntlet. Engaging as it can be, however, the requirements for progression begin to feel too intimidating far too quickly.
Back in the early '90s, the fighting game was king and arcades were consumed by a three-way battle between Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and the games created by SNK for its Neo-Geo system. Samurai Shodown was one of the latter, and its combination of samurai-movie tropes, gratuitous bloodshed, and weapons-based fighting immediately made it a fan favorite. Out of its numerous sequels, Samurai Shodown II has long been regarded to be one of the best 2D fighters of all time — and now, for better or worse, it's fully playable on iOS.
Contra has never been easy. Like many of Konami’s old-school ‘80s arcade games, the punishment in this run-and-gun series is designed to come quickly and often, as you attempt to break through endless hordes of enemies using only your reflexes and aim. Death is only a hit away, so winning means memorizing every attack pattern the game throws at you. If and when you screw up – losing one of the few precious lives given from a finite supply of continues – the loss really hurts. Strip that necessary roughness from Contra’s bones and all that’s left is a sad husk trading on a venerable name. This is essentially what Contra: Evolution does.
The App Store is a wonderland of diverse gaming goodness, including deeply absorbing role-playing and strategy games, gripping narrative experiences, and titles that let you build up a character and skills over a large stretch of time. But for many of us, the games we turn to the most are the ones that offer immediate, short-term thrills – the games we can play for a few minutes at a time with minimal hassle, but which are entertaining and engrossing enough to play for much longer when desired. For those needs, we present the 25 best quick-hit games for iPhone and iPod touch, all of which let you play a game, level, race, or round in a few minutes or less. When you need to fill a short stretch of your day, these are the games you'll want.
Xyla Entertainment is looking for a few more closed beta testers for the Mac version of their beat-based platformer Rush Bros, so now's a good time to rush to their homepage and sign up. It looks like you'll have a good time if you get in. Reminiscent of the Sonic franchise with its focus on speed, Rush Bros lets you use your own music to alter puzzle-packed levels that you and another player race through simultaneously.
Halfbrick established itself as one of the App Store's top developers thanks to games that feature simple, engaging mechanics and delightfully manicured aesthetics. Both Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride alike were sensations when they respectively launched, and remain among the best all-time iOS titles because they're tremendously fun and so thoroughly well crafted. Fish Out of Water is the studio's latest original affair, and while some of the hallmark elements are there – notably a unique approach augmented by quick-hit missions – the game curiously doesn't have the same hook as those earlier favorites.