Most adventures that send you slicing and spell-flinging through pixelated dungeons lead you along the path by dangling some form of juicy carrot, whether it's a quest to save the world or amass a trove of cool gear. Wayward Souls buries its carrot under a foot of concrete and suggests you dig for it with your bare hands. This brutal retro “roguelike” game walks a fine line between the grueling and fun sides of intense challenge, often robbing you of your life just when you feel like you're making good progress. The real question, then, is what is it about this brawler that’ll keep you pushing onward, death after death?
March may be all about the madness of college basketball, but for baseball fans, April is the start of seven glorious months of excitement. With so many connected screens and apps, we know you won't miss a minute of action when your favorite team takes the field. But if you're a true die-hard, it's not enough to follow just one club—you’ll want to catch as many balls and strikes as you possibly can. And since we're pretty sure you've already secured your MLB.com At Bat season subscription, we've found eight other apps that’ll help you soak in the thrill of the game all season long.
Archangel's foundations are simple but strong. Shaken from your thousand-year slumber by the yammerings of demon neighbors, you slap on armor and get to the business of shutting them up. Your groggy attacks as you recall your moves yield one of gaming's best excuses for learning new skills within the early minutes, but it ultimately means little as most hints of a story vanish before the primal impulse to hack and slash. It's faux-Diablo on a touch screen, in short, and the concept usually delivers.
With a subtitle like “The Next Generation Slicing Game,” KingHunt invites comparison to other titles in this done-to-death genre. Most slicing games — the definitive example being Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja — are ostensibly endless: you’re free to keep playing as long as possible without failing. KingHunt’s hook is that it features all of the trappings of more traditional action games, like power-ups, life bars, distinct levels, and enemy bosses — but it lacks the timing and restraint to keep from feeling mindlessly chaotic.
Romancing socially awkward elves might be on the outs in this free-to-play spinoff, but Heroes of Dragon Age for iOS nevertheless manages to capture the spirit of BioWare's beloved dark fantasy series from consoles and PC. However, the familiar music and faces merely amount to a pretty show. Strip away the ambiance, the lore, and the heroes, and this could be any one of the better collectible card games crowding the App Store these days.
There’s a strong sense of déjà vu that comes from playing Oceanhorn. This mobile adventure stars a brave boy that sails to different islands, overcomes puzzling dungeons, and gains the tools necessary to combat evil and essentially save his kingdom. Despite not featuring princesses or golden triangles, there’s no denying that the game draws heavily from Nintendo’s iconic The Legend of Zelda series, particularly Wind Waker. However, instead of merely giving us a facsimile and porting it to iOS, Oceanhorn handpicks what it borrows and creates an experience well worth playing.
In some games, story is the spice; in others, it’s the whole meal. Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! fell into the latter category, as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style series of choices unwrapped into seemingly endless possibilities. Sorcery! 2 is largely a continuation rather than a fresh iteration on the concept, since it’s meant to pick up right where the last one left off — though new players can start fresh here if they see fit. And while it’s a little less novel this time around, the game still packs the unique flavor that made the first such a unique treat.
Open-ended, world-building sandbox games are spawning at an increasingly rapid pace on iOS of late, with each offering a slightly different twist on Minecraft's addictive mix of exploration, scavenging, building, and crafting. While Terraria builds off of the Minecraft vibe in some interesting and adventurous ways, Junk Jack X copies it a bit too blatantly. Lack of originality aside, that's not entirely a bad thing. Translating many of the familiar-looking gameplay and visual elements to 2D works fairly well, offering moments of fun for patient players with collection obsessions.
Like a cross between the critically acclaimed PlayStation 2 hit Shadow of the Colossus and Forbidden Forest for the Commodore 64, A Ride Into the Mountains asks you to hop on your pixelated horse and shoot odd floating monsters with arrows until a distant relic regains its luster. This shooting mechanic is core to the experience, involving an Angry Birds-like slide gesture whereby you pull back and drag to aim and fire — with a bigger gesture needed for longer shots. Most enemies must be hit in a particular spot, too; otherwise arrows are ineffective. It's basic, but tough to master under duress from enemies and their projectiles.
For many, video games are an opportunity to live out a fantasy. And in the case of Bloodmasque, it's possible to actually watch yourself take on the role of a vampire hunter (via a photo-snapping feature), hacking and slashing your way through a macabre version of 19th-century Paris. But after the initial amusement of seeing your own head atop a game character wears off, Bloodmasque struggles to keep things interesting