Supercell's Boom Beach sticks close to the basic formula established by mega-hit predecessors Clash of Clans and Hay Day, but it brings an enticing new combat system that grants you greater control over your own fate. It's war of oceanic proportions, as you work to liberate the natives of one island after another from the evil Blackguard (as well as from rival players). Your goals boil down to two needs: keeping your headquarters protected from invaders—with help from an assortment of mines, defensive buildings, and strategic placement—and building up an army strong enough to take down the headquarters of any island not under your control.
John Woo’s reputation as a director and filmmaker was built on graceful action set-pieces and high-stakes melodrama. Unfortunately, his first foray into mobile gaming — Chillingo’s thuddingly titled Bloodstroke — has neither. You play as a private security contractor, codenamed Lotus, whose task is to escort a brilliant, nervous doctor through a series of levels stretching from Hong Kong to Beijing — all while dispatching the roving bands of gangsters, hitmen, and thugs trying to kill him.
Game Dev Story and Dungeon Village developer Kairosoft very nearly returns to form with its shogun-themed strategy and city-management hybrid, Ninja Village — but a promising setup and compelling core mechanic too soon devolve into tedious grinding. Managing a village full of ninjas trained in the art of war, your task is to build up a thriving local economy while battling rival lords, all in an effort to help the shogun reunify Japan.
Atypical Games made a name for itself with Sky Gamblers, a series of combat flight sims with an emphasis on sharp visuals and energetic dogfighting. Its latest outing, Battle Supremacy, trades B-15 bombers for Panzer III tanks — and speed for lumbering, destructive power. Sluggishness makes the campaign seem slow and plodding, but it turns Battle Supremacy's multiplayer skirmishes into tense, purposeful chess matches.
For all of its strengths, Fightback is a game that feels tuned to reward in-app purchases more than strategy or skill. Ninja Theory, the studio behind the '80s-tinged brawler, is known for big console projects like last year’s Devil May Cry reboot and 2010’s Enslaved: Journey to the West. Those games were great — underrated, even — which is why Fightback’s shortcomings come as such a surprise.
With a laser pistol in one hand and a glowing sword in the other, charging through long corridors filled with killer robots, oozing slime creatures, and alien freaks sounds like a good time. It is — at least to an extent — in Echo Prime. This sci-fi brawler from Robot Entertainment (Hero Academy) is a high-energy tap-fest that balances smart controls and formidable challenge. The satisfaction that comes from cleaving through droves of foes in a successful run dampens during longer play sessions, however, due to intense repetition that'll leave your wrists aching.
Frantic action games occupy a weird space on iOS, offering right-to-the-point entertainment that's ideal for portable games while often lacking the precise controls such games demand, due to the missing physical buttons. Soul Grinder stands out by doing something uncommon: It offers an experience that not only fits its platform in terms of length and straightforward design, but also by featuring a control scheme that provides just the proper amount of control for an App Store action affair.
There's apparently still a lot of you running around with older iPad models out there, and quite a few of you were disappointed to learn that Deus Ex: The Fall wasn't playable on the iPad 2 despite Square Enix's original marketing to the contrary. Fortunately, today Square Enix proved that the original listing wasn't a typo after all, as the famed publisher announced full support for the iPad 2 in the recent patch notes.
If Cold War is any indication, the Sky Gamblers series may have reached maximum altitude with last year's stellar Storm Raiders. Sure, there's still plenty of high-flying dogfighting action to be found in this latest entry, but there's a legitimate question as to whether this fourth outing on iOS is running on fumes after so many entries in a relatively compact span of time. Thankfully, Cold War does bring some fresh ideas to the table, and the online multiplayer still provides the best aerial combat on the App Store. But the core campaign experience of Cold War is a bland and tired-looking stroll through what is an otherwise fascinating portion of American history.
Sure, there's enough enemy combat playing out in the world around us right now, but Modern Combat fans can't get enough of it. Now you can bring the battle onto your iOS device with the latest chapter.